Comedy at The Improv with Howie Nave: Bobby Collins and Kathleen Dunbar perform this week at Lake Tahoe
Special to Lake Tahoe Action
The last comedian performing on South Shore in 2017 comes in the way of Bobby Collins. It’s fortunate for us — as he primarily does theaters — but because of the location he’s more flexible.
Bobby Collins is a New Yorker through and through. If you close your eyes listening to his act you can almost picture him getting into a scuffle with someone trying to challenge him (which one should never do to an individual from the Big Apple).
Named after his father’s favorite comedian, Bob Hope, Collins told me that he had never actually seen the legendary comedian perform, but had a fun interaction with him: “When I was appearing in Philadelphia for the first time a newspaper reporter from New York City caught my act and liked it so much [he] put me on the cover of the paper’s weekend section. Lost in the cover’s corner was a tiny picture of Bob Hope. While I was visiting with friends at the club, a black limousine pulled up and the driver handed me a manila envelope. There was a signed photo of Bob Hope inside along with a handwritten note saying, ‘How dare you get top billing on a weekend,’ with a happy face drawn at the bottom.” Now that’s a great story.
Collins has many credits, including several Showtime specials and VH1’s “Stand-Up Spotlight.” He’s opened for Cher, Dolly Parton, Julio Iglesias, Tony Bennett and scores of others. He was nominated for a Cable ACE Award and for the American Comedy Awards’ “Stand-up Comic of the Year,” and recently appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.”
The comedian has multiple CDs out: “I’m on the Boat,” “On the Inside,” “I Wanna Go Home,” “Mr. New York” and “Out of Bounds” (which earned him a Grammy nomination). One of his DVDs, “Bobby Collins: Live from New York City,” captures the best of his stand-up performances. Collins has also appeared in five feature films and numerous other television shows — and he’s an author, too. His book, “On The Inside: Witisms & Wisdomisms,” is about things people can relate to; you’ll find yourself both laughing and tearing up.
Making her debut in our room is Kathleen Dunbar, who was the winner of The Las Vegas Comedy Festival and voted Vegas Favorite Comedian. Hailing from Las Vegas but born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Dunbar has a sarcastic edge — so that’s a bonus right there.
She was living out in the Midwest when, like a lot of comedians, she did her first open mic on a dare. She must’ve done something right because soon after Dunbar was opening for Emo Philips at a local comedy establishment and in 2002 made the move to Las Vegas. Less than a year later she was starring in her own show, “Ladies Night Out,” at the Greek Isles Hotel. Soon after she won the Las Vegas Star Search Comedy Competition (sponsored by KLAS TV 8 and Station Casinos).
From there, Dunbar’s “Divas of Comedy” was featured on the Strip at the Sahara Hotel — which is a huge boost when one considers all the entertainment on Vegas’ most popular piece of real estate. In 2005 the Entertainment Consumers Exchange awarded the Excellence in Entertainment Sunrise Award to Dunbar and in 2006 and 2007 she received the organization’s Favorite Comedian award.
But the comedian isn’t what you’d call a Vegas act. Dunbar headlined clubs and casinos all over the country, and there certainly isn’t a shortage of material. Between motherhood, aging, family and today’s youth culture — all topics she tackles with razor-sharp sarcasm and quick, precise timing — she keeps you laughing throughout her entire show.
The Improv at Harveys takes place Wednesdays through Sundays at 9 p.m. Learn more at http://www.harveystahoe.com.