Comedy at the Improv with Howie Nave: Gene Pompa and Felicia Michaels perform this week at Lake Tahoe
Special to Lake Tahoe Action
Welcome back, Gene Pompa. Just when you thought he’d fallen off the face of the earth, the comedian and writer returns to Lake Tahoe before 2016 comes to a close. With regular appearances on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and “The Late Late Show” on CBS, Pompa is one of those often referenced as “a comic’s comic.”
His additional credits include Showtime’s “Latino Laugh Festival,” Fox’s “In Living Color” and Paul Rodriguez’s “Comedy Rehab.” Pompa is an acquired taste with an offbeat and skewed look at things. His comedic weirdness was chronicled in two half-hour solo standup specials: Comedy Central’s “Pompalicious” and a self-titled standup special for Si! TV.
Pompa was born in east Los Angeles and raised in the working-class suburbs of Southern California. As he says, “I’ve been a Mexican-American for most of my life, except for a few years during the ‘70s, when I was a ‘practicing Chicano.’”
Due to his upbringing in the multi-ethnic suburbs of Los Angeles, Pompa was easily able to soak in diversity that would find its way into his standup routine. As funny as his act is, Pompa infuses social commentary, and I can’t think of a better way to get a message across than under the guise of comedy.
Felicia Michaels has appeared on networks including MTV, A&E, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, NBC and more. While she was also named a Comedy Grand Champion on “Star Search,” this is her first time performing at The Improv at Harveys.
Michaels’ first comedy CD, “Lewd Awakenings,” landed her on XM Satellite’s list of top 100 jokes. The comedian was nominated twice for American Comedy Awards’ Funniest Female before she clinched the title — Michaels is just flat out funny. When she started out, she wasn’t going to let her gender define her or what a female comic was supposed to be. As an Army brat growing up, Michaels already had experience being on the road, so in the late ‘90s she welcomed the rigorous traveling schedule that came with being a newbie comic.
The multi-faceted Michaels took film and photography courses at New York University and The New School, which eventually led her to writing and making her directorial debut with the Cine Eagle Award-winning short film “In the Weeds.” She created many of her own breaks, but being an actor and assistant director on Mitch Hedberg’s Sundance Film Festival selection “Los Enchiladas” was a huge moment. Soon Michaels was appearing on sitcoms, and her ongoing photo documentary project “Stand UP / Stripped DOWN” won first place at the Prix de la Photographie competition in Paris.
After giving birth to her second child, Michaels took a hiatus from standup to make time for her kids, and quickly followed that up touring with the underground podcast “Beauty and Da Beast” with fellow comic Joey “Coco” Diaz. Their “raw-some” comedy chemistry earned them a Best Comedy Podcast nomination from the Podcast Awards in 2012, keeping company with the likes of fellow nominees WTF and Nerdist.
Currently Michaels keeps herself busy as a returning regular on NickMom’s “Parental Discretion” while touring and putting finishing touches on a new directorial project.