Rocky LaPorte: Leno’s loss Lake Tahoe Improv’s gain
September 20, 2012
Voted one of the funniest guys in his class at a recent GED reunion, Rocky LaPorte didn’t plan on a career of standup, it just sort of found him.
Rocky was driving a truck when he started doing comedy in his native Chicago. He would deliver goods in some of the toughest areas of Chicago often times having his life put in jeopardy. Rocky realized it was easier to handle hecklers than making trips in neighborhoods where a bullet might have the last word.
After winning some comedy competitions in the Windy City, Rocky went on to win the Johnnie Walker National Comedy Competition, beating out more than 1,100 contestants from a dozen cities. He went on to do numerous television shows.
Rocky joked that his timing wasn’t too good, having starred in shows that were soon to be canceled. Those shows included “Cheers, ” “Pat Sajak,” “Comic Strip Live ” and a CBS pilot titled “The Rocky Laporte Show” which didn’t get picked up.
Things really started taking off for Rocky mid-’90s. He performed coast-to-coast non-stop culminating in a Comedy Central special and receiving a standing ovation his very first time on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” Of course, Leno hasn’t invited him back for reasons that still baffle me.
Other people in the business weren’t quite as insecure, such as Tim Allen casting Rocky in several of his movies including a remake of the Disney classic “The Shaggy Dog” and “Crazy On the Outside,” where Tim made his directorial debut and starred Sigourney Weaver, Ray Liotta and Kelsey Grammer. Rocky also starred on Showtime’s “The Godfathers of Comedy” which featured an ensemble of five comedians with Italian roots (including Rock). When he found out that his performance at the very prestigious “Just For Laughs” Montreal Comedy Festival, hosted by the legendary Carl Reiner, was being shown on Air Canada flights, Rocky responded by saying “Man, I’m having a good week!”
When he was asked to tour overseas in a war zone to entertain our troops, Rocky immediately said, “Yes!” and worked with other big names in the biz (Drew Carey, Ryan Stiles, Blake Clark to name a few) to bring some much needed laughter under such adverse conditions.
Two years ago at the Las Vegas Comedy Festival Rocky was awarded “Best Male Club Comedian of the Year ” presented by George Wallace and Andy Kindler. Rocky was also voted as one of the best club comics out there performing today. When not headlining clubs and theaters around the country Rocky has worked with a wide variety of talent that includes Brad Garrett, Louie Anderson, Garry Shandling, Drew Carey, Tim Allen, Hootie and the Blowfish and the Righteous Brothers. He also does a ton of fundraisers and was the inspiration for the Max Alexander fundraiser we did here, packing Harrah’s South Shore Room. Rocky’s helped raise funds and awareness for such organizations as St. Jude’s for Children, benefits for the homeless, cancer research and police and fire department fundraisers as well.
Check out Rocky if you’re up in the Tahoe area. You won’t be disappointed.
Still affectionally referred to as “Skippy” to his good friends, Marc Price has carved out a very good career, starting out in front of the camera. Best known for his role on the NBC sitcom “Family Ties” (which also starred Michael J. Fox and Justine Bateman), Marc went on to star in numerous Made-for-TV movies, various guest appearances on game and talk shows all over the dial while developing his standup act that would have him performing at some of the most prestigious comedy clubs and theaters all over the world.
Marc has co-produced, written and created a lot of television shows both for network and cable television. Some of those shows include 65 episodes of “National Lampoon’s Funny Money” for the Game Show Network, “Green Collar Comedy,” a one-hour special that aired on Showtime featuring environmentally oriented comedians in an eco-friendly setting, and co-produced “Comics Unleashed” on The Animal Planet, which to me is still a personal favorite.
Catch “Skippy” this week with Rocky for a very entertaining week of laughter.