Lake Tahoe comedy scene with Howie Nave: Griffin at The Improv, Betancourt hits Riffs, Carson club |

Lake Tahoe comedy scene with Howie Nave: Griffin at The Improv, Betancourt hits Riffs, Carson club

Howie Nave (right) with comedian Nick Griffin.

One of my favorite comedians returns to the top of the mountain this week.

That would be New York City’s Nick Griffin, and he’s here this week at The Improv inside Harveys Lake Tahoe.

Griffin used to be based out of Los Angeles and did he pretty well getting gigs and auditioning for the talk show circuit but once he relocated eastward and became a New Yorker, things really took off and soon he was frequently appearing on the late night talk shows.

Griffin is a regular at The Comedy Cellar, Stand Up NY and Gotham Comedy Club when not out on the road spreading his comedy cheer.

‘Cheer’ is probably not the best word to describe a Nick Griffin show.

Since he draws a lot of his material from his life expierence well, it’s anything but cheery.

But the end result is hilarious.

Yes, I know it sounds mean to be laughing at somebody else’s misery but I like to think it’s a form of therapy for Griffin and in the process a great evening for those who come out to see his show. And the proof of that is his numerous comedy credentials that he has including an impressive 12 times appearing on The Late Show with David Letterman.

Griffin also had his own special on Comedy Central, appeared on the national syndicated Bob & Tom Show and on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

And Griffin’s latest comedy special, Nick Griffin: Cheer Up (released by Comedy Dynamics) is his funniest piece of work to date.

Insightful, observational and a touch of brilliance first come to mind.

It’s funny though when you comment to him about appearing on all these well-respected shows, he’ll tell you it really hasn’t helped him that much.

I believe though there’s a vast undercurrent of people who are just now discovering Griffin.

There are many things that come to mind when wadon’t know why but you never tire of watching his act.

I’m a bit biased because there’s only a handful of comics that share the same passion about movies (horror, sic-fi and cult being favorite discussions).

He’s written a plethora of scripts, treatments and full blown screenplays with his best stuff being the ones that are kind of dark and not everyday stories.

Sometimes Griffin will text me late at night asking how many bagels I gave a certain movie (I rate movies by bagels with five being the best) and why I liked or disliked it.

Some of those texts are pretty funny now that I think of it. I don’t want to say things have been looking up for Griffin because then he would question what went wrong.

I just tell him he’s been adequate so he doesn’t have to decide which direction to go.

Griffin said he really enjoys performing and spending time up here in Tahoe in part because he said he feels safe which allows him to concentrate more on his writing and less on having to worry about making bad decisions.

When I asked him how things were going he said, “Things have been okay lately, which is huge for me because I always expect the worst.”

With that kind of not-so-high expectations the rest of us are going to be in for a real treat but don’t let him know (because he’s kinda sensitive).

The Improv at Harveys takes place at 9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. For more information, visit

Betancourt at Riffs, Carson club

Comedy has always made for some interesting bedfellows.

My latest is comedian Mike Betancourt and his true love is to be part of Wrestlemania 31.

That’s right, Wrestlemania 31.

He was one of Rusev’s soldiers and Bray Wyatt’s scarecrows (you’ll have to Google it).

But wait, there’s more. Betancourt is also seen in a feature film called “Mamaboy” (co-starring Gary Busey and Stephen Tobolowsky).

Betancourt can also be seen in television commercials from products he would never buy.

But, is he funny?

Yes, he’s also a comedian and writer as well.

He also gives good voice and engages the audience and makes them a part of his act, so consider yourself part of the comedy show.

Betancourt gives it his all on stage, sweating his butt off to entertain (okay, some of that is because of his size) leaving the audience in pain from laughing so hard.

I’m looking forward to working with him up here at Riffs Comedy Club Saturday night in the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Lake Tahoe.

Those who wanna see him the night before can catch him at the Carson Comedy Club inside the Carson Nugget.

Riffs Comedy Club hosts shows at 8 p.m. on Saturdays. For more information, visit

Shows at the Carson Comedy Club in the Carson Nugget start at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

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