Comedy at The Improv with Howie Nave: John Caponera and Alycia Cooper perform this week at Lake Tahoe
Special to Lake Tahoe Action
This is Caponera’s second time back this year — his first was back in February and he offered to help shovel snow off my roof during one of the biggest winters ever.
Caponera’s a great comic and family man and much of his comedic stories are centered on family and his Italian upbringing. He parlayed those elements into a Showtime comedy special called “The Godfathers of Comedy,” which also starred fellow Italian comedian Rocky LaPorte.
Caponera has also starred in numerous shows, including “The Good Life,” and was the host of Comedy Central’s “Jocks” and ESPN’s “Talk2.” He guest-starred on NBC’s long-running hospital drama “ER,“ in addition to “Love & War,” “Blossom” and one of my favorite cable horror shows of all time: HBO’s “Tales from the Crypt.” Other appearances include “The Tonight Show,” “The Dennis Miller Show,” “L.A. Law,” NBC’s miniseries “Drug Wars: The Camarena Story,” “The John Larroquette Show,” “The Drew Carey Show,” “The Crew” and the ESPY Awards. His greatest credit is performing overseas for the troops in the Middle East and still believes there has never been a more appreciative audience than that of our military.
In addition to being a top-notch comedian, he is also an author who chronicled his comedy career in the book “A Life in Comedy,” which charts his highs and lows from his start as a young stand-up during the 1970s in Chicago to the “pseudo-celebrity hell” of corporate golf tournaments and sharing stories from a guy who has seen it all. The chapter about cocaine-addicted club owners is pretty spot-on, as are his observations regarding fickle TV executives, uptight cruise ship directors and the harsh reality of life on the road (and sea).
Caponera is not that far away from his Chicago roots: He pays homage to the late Harry Caray, the play-by-play sports announcer and one-time voice of the Chicago Cubs. Caponera will infuse Caray into crazy situations as if he were broadcasting the game while telling the listeners what happened to him the night before. He also does a great impression of long-time voice (and recently retired) of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Vin Scully.
Michael Paskevich of The Las Vegas Review-Journal describes the comedian thus: “Unafraid of letting a room grow quiet, Caponera sets his own intentionally erratic pace, pausing to perfection to complement his oddly timed but rewarding comic insights. The jokes are further bolstered by his talent for facial gestures that range from goofy to arrogant, making Caponera arguably the hottest club headliner going at present.” How about that?
Ms. Cooper was also here earlier in the year, so it’s a treat having her return before year’s end. She was a semi-finalist on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” where Roseanne (one of the judges) called her brilliant.
Cooper has been on a plethora of television shows, including “Comics Unleashed,” “America’s Got Talent,” “The Mo’Nique Show,” “The Ricki Lake Show,” “Wanda Does It,” “The Gossip Queens,” “Nick Mom 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 since taped additional DVDs, directed and produced by herself: “Paper Chasin’” and “Stimulus Package.” She also has a CD, “Alycia: Unchained” (a personal favorite).
In addition to her on-camera credits, Cooper works behind the camera producing and writing. She currently 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, to name a few. Of all her credits, though, the one Cooper 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. “I have been to Japan, Korea, Guam, Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Djibouti, Africa. While there, I had the opportunity to entertain and meet some of the most courageous Americans in the world.” Cooper has also opened for acts including Whitney Cummings, Felipe Esparza, Bob Marley, Tony Rock and the late, great Dick Gregory.
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.