Clean " but not always so PC, Wendy Liebman returns to The Improv |

Clean " but not always so PC, Wendy Liebman returns to The Improv

Howie Nave, Lake Tahoe Action
Wendy Liebman is returning to Tahoe for a week at The Improv.

Wendy Liebman is well-respected within the comedy community and a joy to share the stage with. There are times when I think we could be related.

OK, maybe not in this life. Liebman is one of those people you warm up to almost immediately. Some might call it stalking, but she is genuinely one of the nicest people around, and that’s tough to find sometimes in this line of work ” let alone the world.

Liebman loves coming up to Tahoe whenever she can, so we try to get her up here at least twice a year, and this is her first week here for this year.

Crowds seem to enjoy her as well. Liebman has a unique style of stand-up when it comes to the delivery. She says that the entertainment bug goes way back in her family.

“My mother is a ventriloquist ” but not professionally. For 10 years, I thought the dog was telling me to kill my father.” She adds, “I got my brother to do it.”

Originally from Long Island, N.Y., she studied psychology and histrionics at a college in Boston she refers to as IOU. Liebman got her start in stand-up by enrolling in a class called “How To Be a Stand-up Comedian” at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education.

She started doing open mic nights at Boston comedy clubs, and for the next six years, she performed throughout New England.

“I kept my secretarial day job, though I would call in sick a lot,” she said. “I would say I had ‘female problems.’ My boss didn’t know I meant her.”

Liebman’s stock-in-trade is the one-liner with the subliminal afterthought. The effectiveness of her technique lies largely in the unexpectedness of her timing. The punchline invariably falls after the joke seems to be over.

Last year was a good one for Liebman. She received an invitation to perform for the 25th anniversary of the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal, where she was the darling of both fans and the media. She’s also a favorite guest of David Letterman’s and has appeared on “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” and as expected, Ferguson adored her. He told me (when he performed up here last year), “She was hilarious and a great lady, too.”

Liebman was one of the rare few to work on “The Tonight Show” with both the great Johnny Carson and now Jay Leno. Wendy has appeared on “Politically Incorrect,” “Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist,” “Louie Anderson’s Comedy Showcase,” Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” HBO’s “Women of the Night,” Comic Relief VII and the movie “The Aristocrats,” which comedian Paul Provenza directed.

She has starred in her own HBO Comedy Half Hour special (one of the highest-rated comedy half hours in the cable network’s history), and her peers voted her Best Female Stand-up Comic at the American Comedy Awards, where she received the award from Lily Tomlin and Roseanne.

Where does she keep the award? In her shower so she can see it every morning.

Welcome back, Mr. Sanders

Lowell Sanders returns to Tahoe after a long absence.

Whether headlining clubs, opening in concerts for major headliners or performing at colleges corporate functions or on cruises, Sanders is an act worth seeing. His CD, “Man Overboard,” is very funny. Sanders is an incredibly versatile and accomplished comedian blending material that is both provocative and, most importantly, real. His astute observations on everyday life culled from today’s headlines is always dead-on.

After high school, the Detroit native served three years in the U.S. Navy before launching his comedy career during an open mic night at the Comedy Castle in Detroit while studying telecommunications at Eastern Michigan University. He later moved to Los Angeles, where he soon appeared on the hit sitcoms “Home Improvement” and “The Drew Carey Show.”

He made his movie debut in Walt Disney’s “Jungle 2 Jungle” and appeared in “Joe Somebody,” both with fellow Detroit veteran Tim Allen. Musically speaking, Sanders has opened for such notables as the Temptations and Whitney Houston.

” Writer Howie Nave is the host and emcee of The Improv at Harveys and host of Howie’s Morning Rush on 93.9 KRLT FM. The Improv Showtime is 9 p.m. There are two shows on Saturdays, at 8 and 10 p.m. Tickets are $25, Sunday and Tuesday through Friday, and $30 on Saturday. The Improv is dark on Mondays. Nave’s new DVD: “Howie Nave: Like at Lake Tahoe” is available through his Web site at

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