Comedy at the Improv: Bil Dwyer and Suli McCullough perform this week
Special to Lake Tahoe Action
The last time I worked with comedian Bil Dwyer (yes, only one “l” in the first name) was in the last century. I was relatively new at it and (here comes the insecurity) hope he sees some improvement since then. From what I remember, Bil is a good guy. I mean, he’s from Chicago — so that’s a start. People who saw him back in the day know he was not only a good performer, but also an exceptional writer.
When I met Bil he was on this Comedy Central show called “Battlebots.” After that he moved up, appearing on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn” and went back to Comedy Central to do his very first special. Other television credits include shows like “Parks and Recreation,” “The Middle,” “Children’s Hospital,” “House of Lies,” “Suburgatory,” “The Larry Sanders Show,” “Hot in Cleveland,” “Ally McBeal” and, yes, “iCarly.”
Bil’s material hits pretty close to home with audience members and I think that’s why so many folks enjoy his comedy. He tackles marriage, kids and family — and even though he’s somewhat sarcastic, you can see his Midwestern sweetness emerge. Bil is well-grounded and has a life well beyond the world of comedy. He’s been able to include his passion for sports and take it commercially, being part of Fox Sports’ “Ultimate Fan League,” PAX-TV’s “Dirty Rotten Cheaters,” GSN’s “Extreme Dodgeball” and “Tiny Football League,” which ran at halftime on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.
Bil also wrote with sitcom and television star/producer Christopher Titus, co-creating a show based on his stand-up comedy called “Back After This” for Sony Pictures Television. Maybe this is why Bil hasn’t been to Tahoe; he has too much work going on.
It’s funny when you hear his voice pop up unexpectedly on shows you wouldn’t think he’s be on, like the Cartoon Network’s live action/animation hybrid series, “Out of Jimmy’s Head.”
Although Bil’s a regular commentator on various cable shows, he is most often recognized for his work on VH1’s highly-rated “I Love the…” series. Bil was additionally seen as a finalist on Season 4 of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” and hosts “Stardumb!,” a live celebrity game with improvisational comedy hybrid format, which has been seen twice at L.A.’s RIOT! Fest and three years running at San Francisco Sketchfest.
Another great writer who’s also a comic is Improv regular Suli McCullough. I’ve known Suli now for 20 years and he still looks the same. It must be the genes. It’s rare when you get a comedian who is just as good at performing as he is at writing. That couldn’t be more evident when comedians have their own late night talk shows and hire comedians such as Suli to write material for them. First it was Jay Leno, who hired him to be part of “The Tonight Show” staff then it was comedian George Lopez for his show, “Lopez Tonight.” But it’s a real testimonial when an Oscar-winning actor Jaime Foxx (who started out as a comedian) asked Suli to write material for him when he hosted Saturday Night Live.
Suli is an accomplished actor as well. He played the character of Mouse on “The Jamie Foxx Show” and alongside Charlie Sheen, James Gandolfini and Nastassja Kinski in “Terminal Velocity.” However, it was his character known as “Crazy Legs” (the dude in the wheelchair!) in the Wayans Bros. cult classic, “Don’t be a Menace to South Central while Drinking your Juice in The Hood,” that Suli will forever be identified with (which is a good thing). That movie developed a huge late-night cult following. Suli told me that “Fans still come up to me and ask, ‘Where’s my wheelchair?’ or if ‘I’ll do a Crazy Legs laugh for them.’ It’s one of those comedies people love to watch over and over again! I had a blast making that movie.”
Suli ‘s stand up has been featured on a number of television shows such as Comedy Central, late night talk shows and was also on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.”
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.