Comedy at The Improv with Howie Nave: Dennis Blair, Alycia Cooper perform this week at Lake Tahoe
Special to Lake Tahoe Action
Blair was last here four years ago, but he certainly hasn’t been idle. The comedian has accomplished a lot as a headliner, but he’s also made the rounds as a warm-up guy — the late George Carlin, The Beach Boys, Tom Jones, Gloria Estefan, the late Joan Rivers, Jackie Mason and the legendary Rodney Dangerfield have each used the comedian to open shows.
Dangerfield was known for giving many young comics their big break (example: Sam Kinison), so when he was booked across North America and playing sold-out theaters he asked Blair to come along and open for him. After that, doors opened almost immediately. Blair got booked on “The Tonight Show,” appeared on HBO and served as co-host on the “Stephanie Miller Show” with comedic legend Elayne Boosler.
In addition to his comedy, writing and acting, Blair has a solid music background that he utilizes in his comedy. He wrote and performed the song “Ordinary Man,” which appeared on the “Easy Money” soundtrack, and also won the Charlie Chaplin Award for Best Comedian in New York. Randolph Hogan of The New York Times said, “It wouldn’t be fair to call [Blair] an impressionist, because he’s more than that. He’s a parodist and a satirist and a singer…well, there’s no word to describe him.”
But it’s Blair’s fellow comedians that offer him the most praise. Boosler called him “The funniest man in the world,” and Dangerfield added, “He has the fastest comedy mind of anyone I ever met. If life is fair, he should make it big.” And then there’s Carlin, who said of Dennis, “He’s the only person who can make me have a belly-laugh.” Impressive.
Blair has been called a Renaissance man — given his varied background, he really is. He’s putting together a national theatre tour with other comedians (who are also musicians) in 2018, and has a jazz album due out by the end of this year. Stay tuned.
Every time Alycia Cooper returns she has a new credit. Her list of appearances is impressive, and includes being on Byron Allen’s “Comics Unleashed,” “America’s Got Talent,” “The Mo’Nique Show,” “The Ricki Lake Show,” “Wanda Does It,” “The Gossip Queens,” “NickMom Night Out,” “Stand Up & Deliver” and “StandUp in Stilettos.” She taped her first DVD in 2002 for a Christian Comedy Show called “The Spirit of Comedy.”
Cooper has also appeared in “Grounded for Life,” “The Parkers,” “Raising Hope” and has taped two hour-long DVDs (self-directed and produced) called “Paper Chasin’” and “Stimulus Package.” She also has a CD, “Alycia: Unchained” (a personal favorite).
In addition to her on-camera credits, Cooper is just as adept at working behind the scenes, producing and writing many projects. Currently she serves as the CEO of Triumphant Enterprises, LLC, which creates and pitches television shows, films and documentaries. The company also provides stand-up comedy performers for events. Before this, Cooper produced and directed for the likes of Dr. Phil, 21st Century Fox, Comedy Central and BET Networks, to name a few.
Of all her credits, the one she cherishes most is entertaining our troops. “The biggest benefit of being a comic is being able to perform overseas for our men and women in uniform,” she said.
The Improv at Harveys takes place Wednesdays through Sundays at 9 p.m. Learn more at http://www.harveystahoe.com.