Comedians ready for takeoff at Harveys Improv | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Comedians ready for takeoff at Harveys Improv

She’s back and headlining up here for the very first time! Are we a little excited about this? Yes, because as good as a middle act that she has is, getting the opportunity to have more time to extend her humorous stories as a headliner is even better. The very quick-on-her-feet Shayla Rivera has built a nice following up here and her segment, “It’s Rocket Science With Shayla Rivera” every Wednesday on my morning radio show is probably the most popular during the week.

If you haven’t seen her stand-up, this is a good week to check her out for yourself. Her life story was staged as a one-woman show called, “Rocket Science and Salsa: The Shayla Rivera Story” (directed by renowned actor/choreographer Debbie Allen and written by Shayla Rivera and Michael Ajakwe, Jr.) which chronicled her story growing up in Puerto Rico barely knowing any English to graduating with honors from Texas AM University, to working as a bona fide rocket scientist for NASA and yes, chucking it all when she decided that a life of stand-up would be much more rewarding. I can still hear her parents crying somewhere out there. One of the reasons Shayla makes for such a great comic is her varied background, and working on the space shuttle program and Space Station systems at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston ranks up there at the top of the list. It was her job to determine where the rocket boosters would splash down in the Atlantic after take-off to make it easier for the Navy to retrieve them and use again. That meant a lot of mathematics and to pinpoint and approximate when and where they would land. I can barely set the clock forward with any accuracy.

When Shayla started doing stand-up the response was almost immediate. She merely traded one launching pad for another, but this time the comedy club was her liftoff pad taking her (and her audience) to another world for a brief period of time. In addition to her stage work, Shayla does so many fundraisers for the Hispanic community that it’s tough to remember what city she’s in on a daily basis. She’s also a first-class, sought-after motivational speaker in addition to her club and theater work. When you ask her what she likes best when it comes to comedy, she’ll tell you that making our troops laugh at military installations overseas is her favorite. She’s good people and having her here as a headliner here makes for a good week.

Rick D’Elia

Rick hasn’t been here in well, I don’t know how long, but it’s been a long time. He splits his time between Reno and Los Angeles, but Boston is when you see him light up. A diehard Red Sox fan don’t even get him started when it comes to pretty much anything New York related. He co-authored a book with Andy Wasif titled “How to Talk to a Yankee Fan” (available now in paperback), which New Yorkers wouldn’t appreciate but have to admit it’s a funny read.

Rick was a regular sketch performer on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and his keen take on observational humor lead him to the finals in the 2000 San Francisco Comedy Competition. He’s appeared on “Stand-up Stand-up,” “America’s Talking,” “Grand Slam Comedy Jam,” “The Naked Truth” and “Inside the Extra’s Studio.” When not doing the comedy on stage in front of an audience Rick does a lot of stuff off-stage such as producing three stand-up specials to Showtime: “Going Native” (2009), “Green Collar Comedy Slam” (2010) and “The Godfathers of Comedy (2011).” He’s also the director, writer and co-host of the “Half Hour Happy Hour” which is a late night comedy show on the CW Network in northern Nevada & California. A fine week of comedy with these two.


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