Charles Fleischer and Brant Von Hoffman to appear at the Improv
You think you have voices in your head? Try being Charles Fleischer. Not only does he have hundreds of voices in his head, but he gets paid when they get to speak. On top of that, he’s also very cosmic. He once told me, “I’m thinking the universe is either a dodecahedron or a cheeseburger and for me, that’s a win-win.” Closer to home (Earth) Charles has not only starred in numerous motion pictures but has voiced animated features as well. The movie that broke things wide for Charles was voicing the lead character in 1988’s “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” He was so good in this flick that its director, Robert Zemeckis asked Charles to voice several other characters in the film that included Benny the Cab and the two sinister weasels, Greasy and Psycho. Other movies he has appeared in include 2004’s “The Polar Express” (also directed by Zemeckis) as the voice of Elf General and 2007’s “Zodiac” playing the creepy in-the-basement character of Bob Vaughn. Some of my personal favorites include his character from “Back to the Future,” where he portrayed both the young and old versions of Terry, the owner of the Western Auto in 1955 and later seen outside the courthouse in 2015. He was also in one of my favorite movies, “Gross Anatomy” (which also starred Mathew Modine, Daphne Zuniga and Christine Lahti) playing one of the professors. His latest movie is the apocalyptic thriller, “Dystopia.”
Fleischer’s television credits include starting out on “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” back in 1972, which lead to appearances on a number of short-lived variety and sketch comedy programs and sitcoms that included “Keep on Trucking” (on ABC in 1975), “The Richard Pryor Show” (on NBC in 1977) and as a sweat hog during the 1978-79 season of “Welcome Back Kotter.” In 1983 Alan Thicke tapped Fleischer to be part of his comedy troupe performing sketch segments on his late-night program, “Thicke of the Night.” There are so many other TV credits it would take forever to list them here. On the big screen (again, too many to mention here) he did a wide variety of flicks such as “Die Laughing” (1980), “Night Shift” (1982) and “Bad Dreams” (1988).
Charles will include the audience as part of his show and it doesn’t matter where you’re seated either. Don’t worry, he’s gentle. But, be forewarned, if he picks you, you not only get to be part of the act, but may wind up as part of the song he composes at the end. I wonder which voice will emerge when he sings the finale?
Brant Von Hoffman
We have another actor from the big screen this week, Brant von Hoffman, who returns for the first time in two years. Brant is not only a fine comedian and actor but also but also a writer, author and producer. As an actor Brant has co-starred in such comedy hits as “Guarding Tess” with Nicolas Cage & Shirley MacLaine, “Rustler’s Rhapsody” with Tom Berenger and Sela Ward, and “Police Academy” with Steve Guttenberg. For eight years Brant teamed up with production partner Hugh Wilson (writer/director for such hits as “First Wives Club” and “Guarding Tess”) and helped bring the funny to such productions as “Blast from the Past” and “Dudley Do-Right.”
His comedic background has also produced a very funny book that USA Today called, “A must-have manual for any man.” That book, “The Von Hoffmann Brother’s Big Damn Book of Shear Manliness” sums up Brant almost to a tee. The book includes funny observations, clever short stories, tips, lists and definitions. Contents include a look at “Spartacus” (the manliest film ever made), a guide to fishing lures, chili recipes, drinking songs and a tribute to the guy who painted the “poker dogs,” with more than 300 photos included. The book went on to become a best-selling coffee table book. Later the Von Hoffman Brothers went on to write, produce and host “American Hombres” for the History Channel.
Let’s not forget that it is the comedy that has given Brant his springboard to launch into all those other endeavors. As a stand-up comedian he has appeared on stage in hundreds of comedy clubs, casinos and colleges all over America and Europe. Who knows what project he’ll develop while he’s up here this week. Maybe it’ll be a reality show with Tahoe as a backdrop? Nah, Brant is more talented than something lame as a reality TV show.
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