ANT’s marching into The Improv | TahoeDailyTribune.com

ANT’s marching into The Improv

Howie Nave / Special to Lake Tahoe Action

ANT and his big boots will be onstage all week at The Improv.

Well, it’s been so long since ANT last graced our stage that I can’t even remember. I do remember that he was the middle act and that Judy Gold was headlining. That the week was memorable.

But let’s delve into the obvious here, shall we? Who is ANT, and what’s his real name? Born Anthony Steven Kalloniatis during the late ’60s, ANT honed his skills performing at comedy clubs across the nation. Beginning in 1995, he was a semiregular cast member on the series “Unhappily Ever After.” This only lasted so long, and from that point, ANT went above and beyond the comedy springboard.

He got involved in that new medium called the Internet and created an online voyeur cam business that the film, “WebCam Boys” would document in 2001. He also co-produced the movie.

But it was his stint on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” that really got his mug out there onto the national landscape. He appeared in four of that show’s five seasons and released a comedy album, “Follow My Ass,” on Comedy Central Records. In 2005, he released the comedy DVD, “ANT: America’s Ready.”

ANT has been a television mainstay as the host of the VH1 reality series “Celebrity Fit Club” and was a regular judge of talent on Steve Harvey’s “Big Time.” His television series, “U.S. of ANT” premiered on MTV Network’s gay-targeted Logo cable channel in the summer of 2006. You’ve also seen him on everything from VH1’s “Best Week Ever,” to CNBC’s “Dennis Miller,” and he’s a regular guest on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno ” as well as “The Howard Stern Show.”

I remember when we went over to then Caesars Tahoe, now MontBleu, to see him open for Kathy Griffin. They were a very good fit together. Now he’s here and playing our room, so it’ll be a little like homecoming week. Guess who the queen is?

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Doug Starks is a melting pot of various incarnations of talent.

He has the kinetic pace of Robin Williams and Eddie Murphy, with the smoothness of Johnny Mathis, topped by the dancing skills of Gene Kelly with a tad of the musical skills of a Vegas Wayne Newton. He’s like that classic entertainer from yesteryear with a modern sensibility thrown in

This is Doug’s second appearance at the lake, and I have to admit that outside of a few TV appearances, I wasn’t too familiar with his act until the first time he come here.

His movie and televisions credits include “Hollywood Shuffle,” “Fear of a Black Hat,” “Comic View” and “Stand-Up Spotlight,” but it’s his remarkable impression of Sammy Davis Jr. that really put him in the forefront on the comedy scene. His impression of the great entertainer is haunting and was so convincing that it lead to a hit Las Vegas Show, “The Rat Pack is Back,” which had a very long run at the Sahara in Las Vegas.

The former manager of that hotel said after seeing Doug’s impression, “I get lost every time I see him perform.”

Doug has worked with a number of top acts in the business, including Julio Iglesias, Whitney Houston, Natalie Cole, Ray Charles and Smokey Robinson.

” Howie Nave is the host and emcee of The Improv and Lake Tahoe Action’s comedy columnist.