Comedians Bob Zany and Kat Simmons perform at the Improv at Harveys Tahoe
Special to Lake Tahoe Action
Comedian Bob Zany is almost family up here. Dysfunctional, but family nonetheless. He performs at the Improv at Harveys this week with Kat Simmons.
It’s Zany who’s heard every Tuesday on my morning radio show during the “The Zany Report,” which is Bob’s take on current affairs. This guy is so intertwined with social media with his Facebook page, “The Bob Zany Show,” Twitter (@bobzany) and YouTube’s “Baggage Claim” (where he snags famous folks at airports as they wait for their baggage). Then there’s all of his radio call-ins, including my little show where he chats with me (well, more like insults me but in a loving way).
Zany has a lifetime of experience as a comic and writer/producer for comedy shows utilizing other comics, some of whom have become household names like Kevin Nealon, Yakov Smirnoff, Robert Wuhl and Garry Shandling. Because of these abilities Zany was approached by Frazer Smith, host of a top-rated radio show on KLOS/Los Angeles, to do guest spots, and then his own radio show, on KLOS Saturday mornings. After that work Zany did regular stints on the nationally syndicated “Bob & Tom Show” and eventually had the high point of his professional career doing Tuesdays on “Howie’s Morning Rush” here in South Lake Tahoe.
Zany is also an actor, appearing on the big screen in such movies as “The Informant!,” “23 Minutes To Sunrise” and “Up Your Alley.” He’s also appeared in several documentaries and made one himself called “Close But No Cigar,” which should be mandatory viewing for all those wanting to go into comedy as a career. The documentary is an autobiographical journey chronicling his professional life and includes numerous interviews from people Bob met over the years, including some with those who have become major players in the comedy business. It’s pretty sobering seeing one individual working a sweet gig as one of the top writers for “Saturday Night Live” before a cut to Bob leaving a one-nighter he just performed somewhere in the Midwest. It’s the brutal reality of comedy, and Zany captures the ups and downs along the way.
I like to call Kat Simmons “The Queen of Gardnerville.” She’s a local girl who’s done good and is an all-around decent soul. She, like Bob Zany, has many irons in the fire, be it performing as a solo artist, as an ensemble in the very successful “3 Blonde Moms,” as a producer of comedy and stage shows, as an instructor for those wanting to try their hand at comedy or as a corporate comic/motivational speaker. I’m exhausted just listing what it is she does on a continual basis.
Kat is one of those entertainers who crosses over a wide range of demographics and you can plug into any event. She’s very accessible and works “clean,” which means her language is family friendly. Kat also has this likability factor about her that is also part of her appeal. She’s worked with a lot of very fine entertainers, including Tim Allen and Kenny Rogers. In addition to being likable, Kat is also a “physical comic,” utilizing her body to punch up her delivery so the audience gets a real show. Not too many comics can pull it off, but Kat does very easily. If Dick Van Dyke, Carol Burnett and Lucille Ball had a daughter, it would be Kat Simmons.
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 and Sundays and tickets are $25 plus fees. Saturday shows take place at 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. and tickets cost $30 plus fees. The Improv is dark on Mondays and Tuesdays. Must be 21 or older to attend. More information is available by calling 775-586-6266.