Comedians James Stephens III and Marc Price perform at the Improv Lake Tahoe
I’m not sure how many more times James Stephens III will be doing stand-up because he said he was joining the ministry, but maybe he decided to hold out a little longer on the comedy circuit. He’s serious, though. James says that being a minister is not that far removed from being a stand-up comedian. Makes sense, I suppose, as the late Sam Kinison was a preacher before becoming a comic. With James, I guess it’s just reversed. If God has a sense of humor, he couldn’t have picked a better individual to bestow upon. Then again, maybe God did pick him. Stephens performs with Marc Price at the Improv at Harveys this week.
James combines comedy, voice impersonations and music into his act, making him the consummate entertainer. He has a quick wit, utilizing improvisational skills to keep each show fresh. When he throws in the piano, it just makes the audience enjoy the show even more. His singing is always a showstopper, and his uncanny impressions include a dead-on Ray Charles, Michael Jackson, Prince, Babyface, Bill Cosby (which I notice he has updated lately) and many more.
A graduate of Howard University, James is an alumnus of the Washington D.C. comedy scene, The Improv and The Comedy Store. He has also worked corporate engagements, cruise ships, theaters and just about any place that has a stage and a piano, but you may want to check him out this week because you may never see him onstage doing comedy ever again. His new stage is going to be the pulpit.
It’s funny. Just when you think you know everything about a comedian who’s worked up here for a long time, you find out the comic in question, Marc Price, actually starred in a Halloween movie years ago. I had to hunt around to find it, but there it was, “Trick or Treat” from 1986. The movie starred Marc, as well as rockers Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne. The movie consists of four stories that intersect with each other on Halloween.
Marc got a lot of parts because of the success he had on NBC’s “Family Ties,” which also starred Michael J. Fox. He also had appearances on “Archie Bunker’s Place,” “One Day At A Time” and numerous Disney programs. Yes, Marc was a child actor, but he wound up having more success behind the camera. He produced, wrote and directed 65 episodes of “National Lampoon’s Funny Money” for the Game Show Network and was executive producer/creator for the “Green Collar Comedy” special on Showtime. He also co-produced “Comics Unleashed” on Animal Planet but still enjoys stand-up, hence his working this week, which includes Halloween no less. He loves doing comedy and tries to make time to get on the road whenever time allows.
“Skippy” (friends get to call him that, and he’s cool with it) is a very likable guy and audience members seem to enjoy him, as it brings back memories. His stand-up is pretty rapid fire and, yes, he’s even known to poke fun of himself on occasion for being a child actor that, thankfully, didn’t go crazy and grow up to become a serial killer.
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.
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