What a great way to ring in 2014 at the Improv at Harveys, with one of the most positive and friendliest guys around: John Caponera. He’s not only very funny but has brought his entire family up to share in the new year. Sometimes it’s all about the family and, with John “Cap” Caponera and Frances Dilorinzo bringing her family, it sounds like I’ll be doing day care duties backstage.
Both comedians talk a lot about family in their acts, with “Cap” tapping into his Italian roots because nobody is more Italian than Caponera. In fact he was part of the successful “Godfathers of Comedy” show that aired on Showtime last year with a tour that accompanied the premium cable special. He’s also been on “The Good Life” and hosted Comedy Central’s “Jocks” and ESPN’s “Talk II.” He guest starred on NBC’s long-running hospital drama, “ER,” in addition to “Love & War,” “Blossom” and one of my favorite cable shows, “Tales From The Crypt” on HBO. His sports-oriented material is one reason we secure him a slot up here for the annual American Century Celebrity Golf Championship in July.
In addition to his skills as a stand-up comedian and actor, John does very good voice impressions. My favorite voices find their way into his act nightly and include some of this country’s greatest sports commentators. Because of his Chicago roots, John tosses in one of the greatest ever: Chicago Cub’s announcer Harry Caray. But John goes beyond just impersonating him. He slots him into these crazy situations as if he were broadcasting the game while telling the listeners what happened to him the night before. You have to see it to really appreciate the bit. My other favorite voice he does is that of Vin Scully, longtime voice of the L.A. Dodgers.
John has a lot of great press and, more importantly, great press from his own backyard. Howell J. Malham Jr. of the Chicago Tribune wrote of Caponera, “Every so often the kingdom of comedy is graced with a gifted, naturally refined performer who can effectively demonstrate the transcendental powers of the medium while making it look deceptively easy.”
John is a Chicago native and always will be, even though he now resides in Southern California. Michael Paskevich of the Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote, “Unafraid of letting a room grow quiet Caponera sets his own intentionally erratic pace, pausing to perfection to complement his oddly timed but rewarding comic insights. The jokes are further bolstered by his talent for facial gestures that range from goofy to arrogant, making Caponera arguably the hottest club headliner going at present.”
With John it’s not just jokes but more stories that the audience can easily relate to. That’s the best kind of comedy, where you can plug yourself into just about any of his situations because what John finds funny we all find funny too. It’s a great ride.
I’ve always had a lot of admiration for Frances. I mean, she’s a hard-working comic,yes, but how she’s able to balance being a professional comedian and a mother is quite a balancing act. I love her fan page on Facebook that says it all: “Mommy by day, comedian by night!” There must be quite a bit of juggling to satisfy both demands in her life. And yes, she brings some very poignant, yet funny, observations regarding family life, being married and a woman on the road, which makes for a very well-rounded performance. It pretty much offers up a little something for everybody in the audience.
Frances acquired “the funny” back in college and, even though she didn’t get her degree in it, she has since graduated in the field of comedy and is doing rather well. She has appeared on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” “Comics Unleashed” and Comedy Central. Frances has also been on both the Lifetime and BET networks, “Inside Joke” on SiTV and “Funny Money” on the Game Show Network. Past credits include “Que Loco” on Galavision, “Comic View” on BET, “South Coast Review” on Cox Cable and “Comedy Factory” on Netherlands TV.
Like myself and Caponera, Frances has performed overseas for our men and women in uniform, and it’s no surprise she is one of the more sought-after comics. Part of that popularity is because of her wildly popular “Homemade Implants” bit, which has topped several million views and keeps on growing. Expect 2014 to keep the hits coming.