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Bobby Collins and Jack Coen to perform at the Improv

Howie Nave
Special to Lake Tahoe Action
Jack Coen, with Howie Nave, will perform this week at the Improv.
Courtesy photo |

BOBBY COLLINS

Bobby Collins is back for the very time this year (and he only appears during the months when we have snow). He will perform with Jack Coen at the Improv at Harveys.

It’s a good thing for us Bobby loves coming up to do our room because he now pretty much only does theaters — our room is kind of that, however, being a cabaret room that seats 300 when packed.

A New Yorker through and through, Bobby has that sarcastic edge that power-points his jokes. Named after his father’s favorite comedian, Bob Hope, Collins told me that, “I’d never seen Bob Hope perform, but when I was appearing in Philadelphia for the first time a newspaper reporter from New York City caught my act and liked it so much he put me on the entire cover of the paper’s weekend section. Lost in the cover’s corner was a tiny picture of Bob Hope. While I was visiting with friends at the club, a black limousine pulled up and the driver handed me a manila envelope. There was a signed photo of Bob Hope inside along with a handwritten note saying, ‘How dare you get top billing on a weekend’ with a happy face drawn at the bottom.”

Bobby has a lot of credits, including several Showtime specials and being host of VH1’s “Stand-Up Spotlight.” He’s opened for Cher, Dolly Parton, Julio Iglesias, Tony Bennett and scores of others. He was nominated for a Cable ACE Award as well as for the American Comedy Awards “Stand-up Comic of the Year” and he recently appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.” He has six CDs out as well — “I’m on the Boat,” “Women and Children First,” “On the Inside,” “I Wanna Go Home,” “You’re Not Coming With Us,” “Mr. New York” and “Out of Bounds” (which earned him a Grammy nomination). His DVD, “Bobby Collins: Live from New York City” is one that I have and captures the best of his stand up performance. Bobby has also appeared in five feature films and numerous other television shows.

Bobby is additionally an author. His book, “On The Inside” and subtitled “Witisms and Wisdomisms” is about all things that make people laugh and cry. As Bobby puts it, “I have a special-needs daughter and I write a chapter about growing up with her and how it changes your heart and life.”

JACK COEN

Jack Coen is well known amongst senior comics in the business. You see, for years he worked with Jay Leno on the Tonight Show as its head writer and he was responsible for many of the bits and sketches heard when Jay was at the helm. He also saw a myriad of comedians that appeared on that show. He’s obviously a very good writer himself and told me he’s enjoying being back on stage as just a comedian without having to be so competitive.

Jack began his comedy career in the early 1980s in New York City and quickly started making a name for himself, which is pretty impressive considering the tight-knit community that is the New York comedy scene. He soon began to headline comedy clubs across the country and in 1987 he made the inevitable move to Los Angeles where he became a regular at the Hollywood Improv. Jack appeared on Showtime’s “Comedy Club All-Stars with Woody Harrelson,” MTV’s broadcast from the “Just For Laughs Comedy Festival” in Montreal and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson (again when Leno was the host) and even had a stint on Ted Koppel’s “Nightline.”

Over time he assisted in giving comedians work as staff writers for the show; and now in his “retirement” he is back on the road — not as a full-time road comic however. He selectively picks the best venues.

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.


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