Comedy at The Improv with Howie Nave: Henry Phillips, Jessica Michelle Singleton and Rick D’Elia perform at Lake Tahoe
Special to Lake Tahoe Action
Phillips is a triple threat (but only a double threat on stage) with his stand-up and musicianship. He’s also a filmmaker and chef! The comedian has a YouTube channel (“Henry’s Kitchen”) devoted to some of his favorite recipes — the episodes include “How To Make Killer Oven-Baked French Toast,” “How To Make Henry’s Romantic Sushi For a Date,” “Lip Smacking BBQ Beer Fish” and “How To Make Superbowl Chicken Pot Pie.”
Phillips’ comic style is dry, soft spoken and subdued, but it more than delivers. The last time he performed here he had quite a bit to say about relationships: Songs such as “Maybe They Won’t Kill You” and “End of the World” sum up his thoughts. The comedian has released several CDs, combining his bitter romantic ballads with lyrics to match — they have a slight psychopathic slant.
Some of Phillips accolades include a mention in Billboard Magazine’s “Critic’s Choice,” as well as positive feedback from notable recording artists like Moby, who refers to Phillips’ songs as “disconcertingly funny.” The performer has also written songs for two award-winning musicals: “Blake: the Musical” and “Chips.”
As a filmmaker, Phillips scored with his semi-biographical comedy film “Punching the Clown” and received the Audience Award at the prestigious Slamdance Film Festival in 2009. He also scored a bigger hit with its sequel, “Punching Henry.”
Jessica Michelle Singleton
One of my favorite Alaskans returns this week, and as I write I’m listening to her comedy CD “Please. Don’t. Leave. Me.” It reached No. 1 on iTunes ahead of veteran comedians Brian Regan and Jim Gaffigan, and was considered for a Best Comedy Album Grammy in 2016.
Singleton is a paid regular at The Comedy Store in Hollywood and can be seen there whenever she isn’t traveling the world. The comedian can also be seen on Playboy TV’s “Talking Dirty,” has been a featured guest on Ari Shaffir’s “Skeptic Tank” and has opened for the great comedian George Wallace. She’s also heard regularly on Sirius XM.
It was just a matter of time before Singleton outgrew the 49th state and found her way to California. She’s now global and was the first English-speaking female invited to participate in the Montreux Comedy Festival, Europe’s largest and longest-running comedy festival in Switzerland. From there she was appointed the inaugural ambassador for the U.S. and Canada for the #Jokenation International Showcase, which launched one year ago and features comedy giants from all over the world. Singleton was the only female ambassador, as well as the youngest.
In addition to being invited to several other festivals (including NuvoTV’s Cabo Comedy Festival, Laughing Skull and Bridgetown Comedy festivals), she’s a regular on the talking head pop culture program “Headline Punchline” on Larry King’s network Ora TV.
Filling in as host this week is Bostonian Rick D’Elia, who could easily middle or headline — and has! A diehard Red Sox fan, D’Elia co-authored a book with Andy Wasif entitled “How to Talk to a Yankee Fan,” which New Yorkers wouldn’t appreciate (but have to admit it’s a funny read).
D’Elia was a regular sketch performer on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and his keen take on observational humor led him to the finals in the 2000 San Francisco Comedy Competition. He’s appeared on “Stand-up Stand-up,” “America’s Talking,” “Grand Slam Comedy Jam,” “The Naked Truth” and “Inside the Extras Studio.”
When not doing live comedy in front of an audience, the comedian does a lot off-stage such as producing, writing and directing shows locally and nationally. D’Elia’s been involved with three stand-up specials on Showtime: “Going Native” (2009), “Green Collar Comedy Show” (2010) and “The Godfathers of Comedy” (2011).
D’Elia also directed, wrote and co-hosted the “Half Hour Happy Hour,” a late-night comedy show on the CW Network in northern Nevada & California.
The Improv at Harveys takes place Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays at 9 p.m. Two shows are held on Saturdays at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Learn more at http://www.harveystahoe.com.