Comedians Eddie Ifft and Jodi Borrello perform at the Improv at Harveys
It’s a bit disconcerting that Eddie Ifft is my mom’s favorite comic. Second place goes to Rocky LaPorte. Where do I rank? Sixth place. That’s OK. I have a list of other moms that I probably rank higher for best, but that’s for another time.
I am glad, though, that Eddie is back at the Improv at Harveys, with Jodie Borrello, this week. It’s his first time here as a dad, too, so I bet there’s plenty of new material. Eddie was referred to as one of the most underrated comics in America by The Onion and proudly jokes that his shows are usually sold out around the world. Yep, Eddie is pretty popular in Australia. One of his DVDs is called “Live From Australia,” which was filmed in front of a sold-out audience at the Sydney Opera House.
Eddie has a boatload of credits from both hemispheres, including appearances in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, China and the United Arab Emirates. His travels were chronicled for the feature-length documentary film “America the Punchline.” He has also worked with some pretty big names in the business, like Dave Chapelle, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock and the late Robin Williams. Some of his other appearances include Showtime’s “The Green Room” and “Tommy Chong 420 Show,” E!’s “Chelsea Lately,” NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend,” BET’s “Comic View,” NBC’s “Late Friday Night” and VH1’s “Never Mind the Buzzcocks.” Eddie has also worked as the host of Shark Week, spent a season as the ABC college football guy, hosted a pilot called “Strap-On for Comedy Central” and co-hosted a sports radio show on New York’s legendary WNEW.
Like myself, Eddie has a podcast. It’s called “Talkin’ ****” and is recorded on the Bingle Bus, a small yellow school bus that was basically converted into a roving studio. It wasn’t a cheap transformation, and Eddie wound up going to the online funding site known as Kickstarter, getting more than 600 backers to pledge $60,486 to help bring the project to life. I think he drove the Bingle Bus up here, too!
The last time Jodi Borrello was here she made this incredible gumbo dish that was amazing and oh so authentic. Born and raised in New Orleans, Jodi’s fantastic recipes are only matched by her fantastic comedy.
She draws a lot from her upbringing in Louisiana and her family. Her style is very down-to-earth and has definitely caught the attention of those in the comedy world. She’s opened for Dennis Miller and was asked to be a contributor in the bestselling book, “She’s So Funny,” which features some of the biggest female comedians in the business. Jodi has a unique perspective living in New Orleans, being a mother, performing full time and having her family as one of the instrumental influences on her material. She carries part of each family member to the stage and brings them to life in a clever, witty and honest manner. One of my favorite jokes she tells is when her daughter asks, “Mom am I adopted?” To which Jodi answers, “Of course you’re not adopted. We tried to adopt, they said we were unfit parents.”
When Hurricane Katrina hit her hometown Jodi organized and was also part of numerous benefit shows to help all those affected. Jodi was also hit pretty hard by Katrina but was able to turn heartache into laughter when she was performed at one of her benefits after doing a week at the Las Vegas Improv.
“You’d think people in Las Vegas would be different than us here in New Orleans but they’re not,” she said. “They’re all walking around saying, ‘I lost everything. I lost the car. I lost the house.’” Jodi has appeared on CNN’s “Showbiz Tonight,” NPR, The Weather Channel and was chosen as one of 30 people to watch in New Orleans. Jodi has also been active with writing for programs on VH1 and is a contributing writer for The Times Picayune.
Jodi was instrumental in bringing comedy to her community and teamed up with businessman Louie Duet to reinvent the Castle Theatre in Kenner’s Rivertown. She’s booked some pretty big names in addition to providing a place where up-and-coming comics can hone their craft. The intimate theater seats just under a 100 people. The Castle Theatre also produces a variety of shows with national headliners, music and small theatrical productions as well.
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.