Charles Fleischer headlines Improv at Harveys this week
Special to Lake Tahoe Action
Well, it’s one of those weeks when we get an amazing headliner with many voices in his head. That’s right. When you have Charles Fleischer performing you’re getting a chorus of many voices all from the same person. Although most recognized as the voice of Roger Rabbit (from the 1988 blockbuster movie, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” directed by Robert Zemeckis), Fleischer is much more. He’s also the voice of so many other animated characters, both on the big screen and on television.
Fleischer is a fascinating character himself and his comedy goes far beyond this planet and into the cosmos.
“I’m thinking the universe is either a dodecahedron or a cheeseburger — and for me that’s a win-win,” said Fleischer.
When Fleischer starts discussing all things galactic and his alternate theories on how the universe was created (causing my head to implode) — that’s when he gets really interesting. You see, Fleischer is very mathematical, especially when trying to explain the concept of Moleeds and its relation to all things numerical in value. For example, Charles discovered an interesting relationship between the numbers 27 and 37, which impacts everything “from protons to neutrons to croutons.” According to Fleischer, this “blueprint for infinity is called Moleeds.” As strange as it seems, Charles’ theories of all things molecular has found its way into his comedy, which is very abstract and uses different voices to emphasize his set ups and punch lines. Those voices, by the way, have served him well.
As mentioned earlier most became familiar with Fleischer because of Roger Rabbit. In that movie he was contracted only to do the voice of Roger, but the movie’s director, Robert Zemeckis, was so impressed with him that he asked Charles to voice several other characters that included Benny The Cab and the two sinister weasels, Greasy and Psycho. Fleischer’s other movies 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. Other movies include 2010’s “Chain Letter” and “Rango” as the voice of Elbows, which also stars Johnny Depp. Two of my personal favorites include his character from “Back To The Future II” (starring Michael J. Fox) and “Gross Anatomy” (which starred Mathew Modine, Daphne Zuniga and Christine Lahti) where he played one of the college professors and the apocalyptic 2013 thriller, “Dystopia.”
As impressive as his big screen work is, Fleischer’s work on television is just as impressive (and extensive, too) dating as far back appearing on “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” in 1972, which led to appearances on a number of sketch comedy and sitcom programs that included “Keep on Trucking” (on ABC in 1975), “The Richard Pryor Show” (on NBC in 1977) and as a sweathog during the 1978-79 season of “Welcome Back Kotter.” In 1983 Alan Thicke tapped Fleischer to be part of this comedy troupe performing sketch segments on his late-night program, “Thicke of the Night.” There are so many other TV credits, but 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), 2015’s “Mozart in the Jungle” and this year’s “A Week in London,” where he plays a talk show host.
In his stand-up comedy show, Charles will often include the audience as participants; and it doesn’t matter where you’re seated because you might just wind up in his finale. If you are selected don’t worry, but be forewarned (spoiler alert) — if picked you not only get to be part of the act, but wind up as part of the song he composes at the end compiling all of those he talked to throughout the evening.
It’s a great show and I like it because I only do 10 minutes up front and Charles does almost an hour.
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.