Comedy at The Improv with Howie Nave: Bob Zany and Larry “Bubbles” Brown perform this week at Lake Tahoe
December 14, 2017
What can I say about comedian Bob Zany that he hasn't already said on my morning radio show every Optimistic Tuesday with his "The Zany Report" segment? He's back and ready to take Tahoe by storm (although I wish it was by snow).
Apart from "The Zany Report" — broadcast coast to coast on select radio stations — he also has a podcast ("The Bob Zany Show" with Erin O'Conner), is on Twitter (@bobzany) and Instagram, has a YouTube show called "Baggage Claim" (where he snags famous folks at airports as they wait for their baggage), and of course his stand-up (he tours relentlessly in this country and others).
Zany has produced comedy shows and booked up-and-comers, establishing big-name acts as well. Some of those acts have included Garry Shandling, Yakov Smirnoff, Robert Wuhl, Kevin Nealon and Nia Peeples.
Zany is also an actor: He's appeared in Matt Damon's "The Informant!" as a lawyer, in "23 Minutes To Sunrise" (with Peeples) and opposite Linda Blair in "Up Your Alley." Zany has been in several documentaries and even made one himself ("Close But No Cigar") that documented his career in comedy.
In addition to his documentary, Zany has a new CD out — "Live in Vegas: I Just Can't Win Bay-Bee." It was recorded at the Laugh Factory and is his best effort yet. Other CDs include "Hi Home I'm Honey" on Laff Records, "Bob Zany B to Z, Bay-Bee!" and "Son of Bingle: His Greatest Hits, Bay-Bee!" He also has a published diet scrapbook, "Laugh at Fat, Bay-Bee!" (which chronicles his 175-pound weight loss).
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Zany's had many highs and lows — one of his biggest highs was being hired by his idol, Steve Martin, to appear on "George Burns Comedy Week." His biggest low is probably appearing on "Howie's Morning Rush" radio show here in South Lake Tahoe.
It's sobering to see one working so hard and, even with his impressive credits, still trying to become a household name. We in the comedy community all know him, and he has a solid reputation for being both consistently funny and a pleasure to work with.
Larry "Bubbles" Brown
Probably the best counterbalance to Zany is Larry "Bubbles" Brown, a fine comedian who we refer to as Mr. Optimism because he's anything but.
Comedians everywhere love Brown so much that both the late Robin Williams and Dana Carvey utilized him as an opening act for many a show. The first time I worked with Brown was back in the late '90s — and it scarred me. When I first saw his act I couldn't believe how down on himself he was, and realized it wasn't an act. What? Yes! Brown is the same off stage as he is on. I think that's why audiences enjoy his show: He's not faking it.
The comedian has appeared in movies as well; some include "The Kite Runner" and Roger Nygard's "Suckers." But the best role he's had is that of himself in the documentary, "3 Still Standing," which chronicles the career of three bay area comics: himself, Johnny Steele and Will Durst. It's a fascinating piece of work from filmmakers Robert Campos and Donna LoCicero, who were huge fans of the San Francisco comedy scene back in the '80s. The project examines why better-known acts such Carvey, Williams and Rob Schneider (all Bay Area performers) were getting big-time television and movie deals while others didn't seem to be getting the same breaks.
Brown continues to work consistently, but would rather call the Bay home instead of southern California. I'm just psyched he's here this week once again working with Zany before the year closes out.
The Improv at Harveys takes place Wednesdays through Sundays at 9 p.m. Learn more at http://www.harveystahoe.com.