Comedian Allan Havey: From ‘Billions’ to sheltered-in-place
Special to Lake Tahoe Action
What a difference a pandemic makes.
One day you’re shooting scenes for one of the most popular dramas on Showtime and doing spots at the prestigious Comedy Cellar in New York City, the next day you’re sheltered in place back home in Santa Monica wondering when you can go back to work again.
For a lot of my comedy buds, their weeks of being booked up were literally erased overnight and with it, thousands of dollars went spiraling down the drain.
I remember when I worked the road full-time, the closest thing to job security was getting booked at minimum three months in advance. At least you were guaranteed you’d still have a place to return to and a vehicle to get you to those gigs.
In the case of comedian and actor Allan Havey, it’s a double whammy.
“Before coronavirus, I had gigs booked in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe and New York City where I was going to be doing The Comedy Cellar, catch a Broadway show and shoot another episode of “Billions” (on Showtime),” Havey said. “Both my main things are done. That’s all gone now.”
Havey has a distinguishing list of credits on both the big and small screen. His most recent include HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” the Coen Brothers’ “Hail Caesar,” AMC’s “Mad Men” and, until just a couple of weeks ago one of Showtime’s biggest dramatic original series, “Billions” that stars Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti.
“One week, Howie, I’m eating at fancy restaurants in NYC the next I’m home in Santa Monica eating meat out of a can,” Havey said in a sarcastic rant. “It got so bad when my father-in-law came to visit for dinner I had to feed him with a selfie stick.”
Actually, Havey is taking it all in stride and counting his blessings.
“I’m fortunate that I live in Santa Monica,” he said. “I’ve got a view right outside my office window with this beautiful Persian oak and it’s the only one in Santa Monica.”
No, Havey doesn’t live right on the beach but if you stand on your tippy toes you can see the Pacific Ocean from several blocks back and yes, it is gorgeous.
“As far as my work goes it cannot be replicated at home but here’s my theory on creative people: creativity is like quicksilver, it’ll roll,” Havey said. “It’ll go somewhere else whether it’s writing or reading. You find these other outlets. I’ve had more time to sit and practice my ukulele and I’ve decided to take Spanish lessons. This is like nothing we’ve ever been through before.”
I didn’t even know Havey played the ukulele until COVID-19 came along.
When I asked him if he was doing constructive things around his place since being a shut-in he said, “Yeah I’ve got some popsicle sticks and some Elmer’s Glue I’m gonna make a f**kin birdhouse, Howie. I’ve gone back to finger painting too,” said Havey in a non-stop thread of pure optimism.
I like making Havey laugh and when I told him that fellow comedian Doug Stanhope had tweeted out, “So far no comedian has come down with coronavirus, maybe they are the chosen people after all.”
A lot of comedians have resorted to a number of things trying to stay relevant, posting videos on Instagram, Skyping comedy sets from their living room or posting everywhere and everything on Facebook and Twitter
I can see them wanting to keep their face out there. I have to remember I’m fortunate that I still have my morning radio gig that is (shameless promotional plug) Howie’s Morning Rush KRLT 93-9 The Lake being deemed an ‘Essential Business” that I keep reminding people listening in both over the airwaves and worldwide online (at KRLTFM.com).
So, in addition to giving out the latest updates on the coronavirus I also have comedians on my show and of course the guardian of the Angel of Tahoe, Ricky Reich who’s been giving away $1,500 a day to three very lucky listeners on my show.
That’s $500 a piece which has not only brought some happiness to a lot of sheltered-in-place Tahoans but has made my morning radio show even more popular. I call them our “Corona Winners.”
In fact, Havey is on my radio show every Monday for our long running segment, “Howiewood & Haveywood” where we talk about all things entertainment related. Well, it was mainly Havey doing most of the talking, inserting jokes and him reminding me I’m lucky to be up here and not in Southern California. For a while there he had to stop doing our segment because he was auditioning and getting not just flicks on the big screen or cable series but a lot of work via online shows like Netflix or Hulu.
During these topsy-turvy times Havey has been able to sort of center himself and enjoys the more simpler things like not being so rushed.
“Just the other day I took a drive along the ocean listening to Steve Miller and just taking it all in one day at a time,” he said.
When I asked him what he did today Havey said, “Let’s see, I’m rearranging drawers, alphabetizing all my CDs and I’m trying to watch some new movies to entertain myself, plus I went to the weed store and got some good weed.”
When life gives you a pandemic …
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