Comedy at The Improv with Howie Nave: Charles Fleischer, voice of Roger Rabbit, performs this week at Lake Tahoe
Special to Lake Tahoe Action
The man of many voices is back! That’s right, folks: Charles Fleischer returns with his mix of never-before-heard voices and those featured on the big screen. He is most famous for voicing Roger Rabbit in the 1988 blockbuster movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.” Director Robert Zemeckis was so impressed with him he asked the comedian to voice several other characters (Benny The Cab and those two sinister weasels, Greasy and Psycho) as well. Fleischer’s voice was also featured in the movies “The Polar Express” (Zemeckis’ 2004 film, in which Fleischer was the voice of Elf General) and 2011’s “Rango” (with Johnny Depp) as Elbows.
Fleischer made appearances in 2009’s “Chain Letter,” the apocalyptic 2013 thriller “Dystopia,” 1980’s “Die Laughing,” “Night Shift” (1982), “Bad Dreams” (1988) and some personal favorites: “Back To The Future II” (starring Michael J. Fox), “Gross Anatomy” (with Matthew Modine, Daphne Zuniga and Christine Lahti) and as the creepy character Bob Vaughn in 2007’s “Zodiac.”
His notable television credits include “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” in 1972, “Keep on Truckin’” (on ABC in 1975), “The Richard Pryor Show” (on NBC in 1977) and the 1978-79 season of “Welcome Back, Kotter.” In 1983 Alan Thicke tapped Fleischer to be part of a comedy troupe performing sketch segments on his late-night program “Thicke of the Night.”
But it’s Fleischer’s stand-up where the comedian really expands — every show is different, and he includes the audience in a unique finale. It doesn’t matter where you’re seated because Fleischer will find and include you! Don’t worry — it’s all in good fun, but be forewarned: If picked, you get to be part of the act and will most likely end up in a song Fleischer composes on the spot.
As if his comedy, voiceovers and acting weren’t enough, Fleischer is also an amazing artist, and his creations are otherworldly. The detail is unbelievable and I think his artwork stems from his fascination with science and theories on the universe’s creation. If you’re fortunate enough to catch him in the right moment and love science (both mathematical and sci-fi), you get to experience another side of Fleischer that is mind-blowing. When I asked him about the expanding universe Charles said, “I’m thinking the universe is either a dodecahedron or a cheeseburger, and for me that’s a win-win.” That’s usually when my mind implodes.
Fleischer turned me on to the concept of Moleeds (look up his TED Talk if you’re confused) 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, his theories of all things molecular have found their way into his comedy, which, as you can imagine, is very abstract and he uses different voices to emphasize his set ups and punch lines.
Charles Fleischer is a multi-faceted individual and as a comedian incorporates all these traits into a unique and entertaining show, which is why we have Charles on as a solo act. You get more Charles, which — trust me — is a good thing.
The Improv at Harveys takes place Wednesdays through Sundays at 9 p.m. Learn more at http://www.harveystahoe.com.
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