Bob Zany and Sammy Obeid perform this week at Tahoe’s South Shore
Special to Lake Tahoe Action
Nobody promotes themselves better in the business of comedy than Bob Zany. He will perform at the Improv at Harveys this week with Sammy Obeid.
With this being an election year, Bob Zany adds more to his plate — writing hysterical, politically charged jokes that you can hear every Tuesday with “The Zany Report” on my morning radio show.
Bob is a one-man promotional machine and utilizes both traditional, old-school media and social media probably better than anyone. There’s his podcast, “The Bob Zany Show with Erin O’Conner,” Bob Zany on Twitter (@bobzany), Bob Zany on YouTube with his ongoing show, “Baggage Claim” (where he snags famous folks at airports as they wait for their baggage), ZanyBob on Instagram (because some loser took “Bob Zany”) and, of course, all of his radio call-ins coast to coast.
Even before the internet Zany was expanding his vast horizons by not only performing in probably every venue in all 50 states, but also as a writer for other shows and as a producer for his own self-produced comedy shows. Some names performing on his shows include such stalwarts as the late Garry Shandling, Yakov Smirnoff, Robert Wuhl, Kevin Nealon and actor Nia Peeples.
Bob at one time had his own radio show as well and, because of this, Zany was approached by Frazer Smith (also a comedian), host of the top-rated radio show on KLOS/Los Angeles. He asked Bob to do regular guest spots on his show, which led to his own radio show on KLOS Saturday mornings. After that it was regular stints on the nationally syndicated “Bob & Tom Show” and Tuesdays on Howie’s Morning Rush here in South Lake Tahoe.
In addition to comedy, Bob is also an actor appearing on the big screen in movies like Matt Damon’s “The Informant!,” “23 Minutes To Sunrise,” “Up Your Alley,” and recently on Showtime playing the Roast Master of Brace Land in the comedy, “Gigolos.” Bob has also appeared in several documentaries and even made one himself called “Close But No Cigar,” which should be mandatory viewing for all those wanting to go into comedy as a career. The documentary is an autobiographical journey chronicling Bob Zany’s professional life.
This marks comedian Sammy Obeid’s second appearance up here in over three years. I knew of Sammy even before he performed on Tahoe’s South Shore — as he called asking to do a guest set Thanksgiving night. When I asked him, “Why? What’s up?,” he said he was doing 1,000 consecutive nights of comedy. His marathon started on Dec. 26, 2010, and concluded on Sept. 21, 2013, four days after an appearance on TBS’s Conan O’Brien. He broke the old world record on Day 731 and wound up doing 1,001 nights of comedy — so he could call it “1,001 Arabian Nights of Comedy.”
The Lebanese-American was born in Oakland and was a double major at UC Berkeley, majoring in business and applied mathematics. I wonder if he thinks about how long it will take to pay off his college tuition every time he performs on stage?
Sammy did well at the annual San Francisco International Comedy Competition, placing in the top three amongst veteran comedians. On the national front Sammy Obeid’s appeal earned him “Best of the Fest” in the Arab-American Comedy Festival in New York as well as the Out of Bounds Festival in Austin, Texas. He was also the youngest member of the national touring troupe, CoExist Comedy, the founder of his own comedy group and enterprise, KO Comedy, and the first comedian ever to appear on the Food Network telling jokes. He was in Season 7 of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” and recently performed at the Arab-American Civic Council’s first annual Arab American Heritage Gala held at the Pacific Hills Banquet Hall in Laguna Hills.
Based in Los Angeles, Sammy seems to tour colleges a lot when not doing clubs and is well aware of the politically-correct attitude that is currently polluting college campuses. When he considers doing material on race, he starts with tester jokes to gauge what the audience thinks is funny. The first one is about himself — ”You know, I’m Lebanese, and the other day I was playing beer pong,” he said. “My friend told me he called the game Beirut. I didn’t know that, so I took him hostage.” If that works he’s take it one step further and go from there. In one of those jokes he says: “I believe God is a woman. So I don’t say ‘Amen.’ I say, ‘That’s what she said.’ ”
Howie Nave is the MC at the Improv at Harveys. The comedy club is inside Harveys Lake Tahoe. Shows begin at 9 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and tickets are $25 plus fees, except Saturdays. Tickets are $30 on Saturdays. The Improv is dark on Mondays and Tuesdays. Must be 21 or older to attend. More information is available by calling 775-586-6266.