Comedy at the Improv: Charles Fleischer performs this week |

Comedy at the Improv: Charles Fleischer performs this week

Charles Fleischer, pictured with Howie Nave, is set to perform this week at the Improv.
Courtesy Photo |

When you attend a comedy show with Charles Fleischer as the headliner, you’re really getting a chorus of comedians. Granted, those other comedians are contained in his head; they do, however, come out — each one with a different tone and humor.

Fleischer’s voice is probably best known as the lead character of Roger Rabbit (from the 1988 blockbuster movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”). Director Robert Zemeckis was so impressed with him that he asked Charles to voice several other characters in the movie, which included Benny The Cab and the two sinister weasels, Greasy and Psycho. Charles’s voices have also appeared in other movies, like 2004’s “The Polar Express” (also directed by Zemeckis) as the voice of Elf General and 2011’s “Rango” as the voice of Elbows (which also stars Johnny Depp).

As an actor you can see Fleischer in 2010’s “Chain Letter,” the apocalyptic 2013 thriller “Dystopia,” “Die Laughing” (1980), “Night Shift” (1982), “Bad Dreams” (1988) and three of my personal favorites, “Back To The Future II” (starring Michael J. Fox), “Gross Anatomy” (which starred Mathew Modine, Daphne Zuniga and Christine Lahti) where he played one of the college professors, and as the creepy character (I think so, at least) of Bob Vaughn in 2007’s “Zodiac.”

As impressive as his big screen credits are, Fleischer’s work on television is just as impressive (and extensive, too) dating as far back as appearing on “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” in 1972, which led to appearances on a number of sketch comedy and sitcom programs that included “Keep on Trucking” (on ABC in 1975), “The Richard Pryor Show” (on NBC in 1977) and as a sweathog during the 1978-79 season of “Welcome Back Kotter.” In 1983 Alan Thicke tapped Fleischer to be part of this comedy troupe performing sketch segments on his late-night program, “Thicke of the Night.” There are so many other TV credits, but it would take forever to list them here.

In his stand-up show Fleischer will include the audience in what adds to a very unique finale — and it doesn’t matter where you’re seated, too, because Fleischer likes to include the whole room. If you are selected, don’t worry — it’s all in good fun, but be forewarned (spoiler alert) if picked you not only get to be part of the act but may wind up in a song that Fleischer composes on the spot. After the show Fleischer (if he has them) will have his CDs for sale and some of the most impressive artwork ever! It’s other-worldly and looks almost like he created them with a laser.

Fleischer is a fascinating person — not just as a comedian, artist and actor — but also as a thinker. If you’re fortunate enough to catch him in the right spirit and have a love of science (both mathematical and sci-fi) you get to experience another side of Fleischer that is mind-blowing.

When I asked him about a subject as expanding as the universe Charles said, “I’m thinking the universe is either a dodecahedron or a cheeseburger —and for me, that’s a win-win.” When he continues to discuss all things galactic (and his alternative theories on how the universe was created and what really happened), that’s when my head considers imploding. Fleischer is passionate about the concept of Moleeds (I had to Google it) and its relation to all things numerical. He discovered an interesting relationship between the numbers 27 and 37, which affect everything (as he says) “from protons to neutrons to croutons.” According to Fleischer this “blueprint for infinity is called Moleeds.”

As strange as it seems, Fleischer’ theories of all things molecular find their way into his comedy, which, as you can imagine, is very abstract and uses different voices to emphasize his set-ups and punch lines.

Suffice it to say, Charles Fleischer is a very multi-faceted individual; and as a comedian, he incorporates a little of all these traits into a very unique and entertaining show. That’s why we have just Fleischer as the headlining act with no middle act.

I go out, do a little time, and then it’s all Fleischer for an hour.

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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