Nave: Caldor comedy Fundraiser will be evening of laughter, appreciation

Howie Nave
Special to the Tribune

I knew there were was going to be an outpouring of generosity in this town once we were allowed back into our homes after the Caldor Fire, but I wanted to give something back to all those first responders in a way not just to say, ‘Thank you’ for keeping my place from burning down, but to also show all of them how much this community appreciated them.

The Caldor Comedy Fundraiser will be held Friday, Dec. 10, at Harrah’s.

The best and only thing I felt I could do was through the one thing that I know how to do best: making people laugh.

During the Caldor Fire evacuation a lot of folks reached out to me asking if they could help in any way and among those offering their assistance were a lot of my comedian friends. The ones who offered me a place to stay lived at least 400 miles away so I think that’s why they asked if Connie and I needed a place to hang. Chicago comedian Rocky LaPorte offered not just a place to stay but asked if he should send any water out my way too.

In all seriousness, when I came up with this idea of doing a two-hour comedy show dedicated to all first responders “Rock” said, “Yes” immediately when I asked if he wanted to be part of this show.

The other comedians who offered to come out were Allan Havey, Eddie Ifft and Nick Griffin. I didn’t want anyone who was already booked with an engagement to cancel because with entertainers recently being able to work again because of COVID it didn’t feel right having anyone lose out on a paying gig.

Brian Chandler, entertainment manager for Harrah’s and Harveys gave me a number of dates to choose from which really helped. I knew this was going to be a pretty big event to pull off so I invited Karie Hall, the new senior vice president and GM for Harrah’s and Harveys on my morning radio show for my “Professional Women” segment and asked if she would green light this event.

She didn’t even bat an eye which saved me a lot of time in the long run having to go through the various departments to get approval for something of this magnitude. Karie was really enthusiastic which doesn’t surprise me since she was a local. I just had to wait until she found her way back up here after going through I imagine a myriad of properties one goes through in the corporate world before coming back home.

Like comedy it’s all about timing, right? In retrospect, getting the comedians was the easy part. The tough part was getting in touch with the firefighting districts, the various law enforcement agencies, forest service, Cal Fire and all the other first responders to make sure all those who were involved with fighting Caldor would be comped to the show along with their significant others. What an undertaking. I definitely learned the value of delegating that’s for sure.

In addition to offering a free kick ass comedy show to all of the first responders, I wanted to find an outlet that would handle the funds for those who bought tickets. After seeing how successful Lake Tahoe AleWorx’s Caldor Community Festival was back in September, I asked owner Luca Genasci where he was going to direct the money they raised to help those in need? Enter Chris Kiser, GM of the Barton Foundation, who’s organization had already done a stellar job setting up help for those affected by COVID last year and through their Barton Emergency Response Fund has helped those affected by the Caldor Fire as well. Again, delegating something of this magnitude with an organization that has a solid track record really helped (plus I got a nice lunch out of it too with Chris).

As mentioned earlier, my headlining comedians for this show include Rocky LaPorte, Allan Havey, Eddie Ifft and Nick Griffin. Havey is currently in the Showtime series, “Billions,” and was on AMC’s “Mad Men” not to mention HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and was in the Coen Brothers’ movie, “Hail, Caesar!” I lucked out because “Billions’ Just finished wrapping up their sixth season which freed Allan to fly out from New York to attend this gig. You might remember him when he was on our Monday morning segment on my radio show, “Howiewood & Haveywood,” where Allan and I would talk about all things movie and entertainment related. COVID put the kibosh on that segment but now that Havey has some free time maybe we can fire it up again.

Griffin is also a favorite and I think I’ve known him as long as I’ve known both Havey and Rocky. Nick has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman a dozen times, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, starred in his own half-hour Comedy Central special and constantly works the road. Nick and I both share a love of horror movies and when I was managing The Improv tried to get him up here during Halloween just so we could attend any Halloween parties that were going on. He also has a podcast with comedian Lori Palminteri called the “Scary Monsters Podcast.” To this day I still get text messages from Griffin all hours of the day and night asking me for my take on certain horror flicks and how would I rate it?

Ifft is my mom’s favorite comedian. I think I rank fourth behind Nick and Rocky. Sometimes I rank higher depending on how often I call her. Eddie spends quite a bit of time performing in the southern hemisphere and in fact is pretty popular in Australia where he has appeared on numerous television shows. His critically acclaimed DVD Live From Australiawas filmed in front of a sold out audience at the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia. Eddie’s been on numerous TV appearances such as Showtime’s The Green Room with Paul Provenza, NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central’s Premium Blend, BET’s Comic View, NBC’s Late Friday Night, VH1’s Comics Unleashed and has appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience several times.

LaPorte is not only a great comedian but get this: he was best man at my last wedding and since that didn’t work out said he’d be best man at my next wedding. Like all the other acts on the bill he loves Lake Tahoe and is pretty stoked he gets to perform for firefighters as he’s done numerous fundraising events for both the police and fire departments in his hometown of Chicago. Rocky’s been on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and received a standing ovation when he finished. He’s been featured on his own “Comedy Central Presents” special, opened for fellow comedians Louie Anderson, Garry Shandling, Drew Carey, Tim Allen and musical acts Hootie and the Blowfish and the Righteous Brothers just to name a few. Like many of us he was also deployed out to the Middle East entertaining our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Of course I wanted to highlight some of our firefighters up here so, in-between the headlining comedians I have Tahoe Douglas Fire Marshal Eric Guevin, Lake Valley Fire Chief Brad Zlendick and South Lake Tahoe Fire Captain Kim George who will all take part in the evening’s program.

I’ll of course be your host/emcee and can’t wait. It’s been awhile since we had any comedy up here so I can’t think of a better evening of extremely good karma to launch an evening of laughter and who knows, maybe will launch comedy back up here in South Lake Tahoe on a regular basis.

Howie Nave is host of “Howie’s Morning Rush” radio show on KRLT 93-9 The Lake at 6-10 a.m. Monday through Friday. You can also hear him on Howie’s High Sierra Comedy Vault podcast by going to and follow him on Twitter @howienavecomedian

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