Putty in my hands, Zany gets acerbic on the Improv stage
December 13, 2012
STATELINE, Nev. — With the Mayan apocalypse just around the corner (Dec. 21), we thought it best to have Bob Zany at the Harveys Improv to make the horror of that event easier to accept. If that sounds cruel, you haven’t tuned to radio station KRLT on Tuesday to hear the “The Zany Report.” Every time I chat with him on my little show, it’s like going through a roast on Comedy Central. “The Zany Report” is Bob’s take on contemporary topics with his unique, patented tag at the end, “Bay-bee!” Bob is on the road probably more than any other comic I know. When he calls in to my show, nine out of 10 times, it’s never calling from the same state. How does he do it, you ask? Well, for one thing, it’s a combination of Bob setting it up from his home in Southern California and clubs, theaters and radio and TV stations calling him.“I’ve been able to stay pretty relevant in this business” Zany said. “If I can make someone laugh at a joke in Fairbanks, Alaska, they’ll probably laugh at the same joke in Wichita, Kansas.” Zany’s humor crosses that entire spectrum of demographics because his humor is so universal. I love working with Zany not just here in Tahoe but off the mountain whenever I get an opportunity. One of my most memorable experiences happened just a few months ago working at the Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley with Mark Pitta, Bob Zany and Robin Williams. I owe Bob that one for being included on the bill. Zany is one amazing promotional machine. When he’s not on the radio doing “The Zany Report” he’s on Twitter with more than 10,000 followers and his website (BobZany.com) and always has a plethora of merchandise. In fact, just last week I received a package from Zany (after having drug-sniffing dogs check it out) that came from his Zany Putty factory out of Des Moines, Iowa. He’s also marketing his DVD documentary “Close But No Cigar” that chronicles Bob’s ups and downs in the comedy business and how he has survived through three decades in the comedy business. He also has several CDs and a treasure chest of Zany merch on his site. I’m playing with my Zany Putty right now as you’re reading this. With credits that include “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” 17 years as part of the annual Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, and Comedy Central spots, Zany’s career on the small screen is still relevant. On the big screen you might have seen him in the documentary “I am Comic,” starring with David Spade in “Joe Dirt,” opposite Linda Blair in “Up Your Alley,” playing a lawyer in Matt Damon’s “The Informant!” and his latest movie, “23 Minutes to Sunrise” directed by Jay Kanzler and starring Eric Roberts and Nia Peeples. Between his own shows, Bob has produced numerous comedy shows breaking in then unknown acts such as Garry Shandling, Yakov Smirnoff, Robert Wuhl, Kevin Nealon and Nia Peeples. He’s also done radio himself being hired by KLOS radio out of L.A. as a personality Saturday mornings. It was Bob who suggested (OK, insisted) that I give a young comedian out of the Midwest a shot on my radio show. Bob’s intuition proved to be spot-on, so every Thursday Tahoe listeners get to hear “A Moment of Zan” with Zan Aufderheide, who herself is now going to be here in February for the very first time … with who? Bob Zany! I’ve always had respect for established comedians, giving newer comics a chance to shine and get exposure in the business. Good karma, Bob. When it comes to the world of comedy Bob has a philosophical attitude when it comes to the comedy business: “What makes people laugh hasn’t changed in the past 30 years. That and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”
Last week at this time Suli McCullough had just finished writing on “Saturday Night Live” for its host Jaime Foxx. And where does one go after a sweet gig like that? Disneyland? Oh, hell no. Tahoe, Bay-bee! Although a fine comedian bar none Suli is an exceptional writer having been a writer on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” & “Lopez Tonight.” You can tell Suli’s a good writer just be experiencing his stage show. He just doesn’t tell jokes, he weaves stories that are very funny and before you know it you’re pulled in and can’t wait ‘til what he’s going to say next. He played the character of Mouse on “The Jamie Foxx Show” and I saw him on TV two weeks ago in the Charlie Sheen, James Gandolfini and Nastassja Kinski movie, “Terminal Velocity.” Although he had a nice role in that one, Suli will forever be known for his character as “Crazy Legs” (The dude in the wheelchair!) in the Wayans Bros. feature spoof, “Don’t be a Menace to South Central while Drinking your Juice in The Hood.” That movie developed a late night cult following and Suli’s part was, shall we say memorable? Suli told me that “Fans still come up to me and ask, “Where’s my wheelchair? or if I’ll do a “Crazy Legs” laugh for them. It’s one of those comedies people love to watch over and over again! I had a blast making that movie.” Suli’s standup has been featured on Comedy Central and did pretty well on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” but here on our stage you get to see Suli in a much more extended format.