Comedy at The Improv with Howie Nave: Raj Sharma and Sandro Iocolano perform at Lake Tahoe this week
Special to Lake Tahoe Action
Raj Sharma is a good act. He’s solid and funny, but if your politics differ from his — have fun. Saying he’s passionate about his beliefs would be an understatement; if you try to spar with him, good luck.
Sharma was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, in a traditional Hindu household — all great ingredients for a future in stand-up. Migrating to Los Angeles had to be a culture shock in its own right, but it worked ideally for Sharma, who was able to observe the changes around him and turn it into a strong stage act. Before long he was making the rounds in Los Angeles and performing at The Improv, Laugh Factory and spreading his comedic wings to other top-notch venues around the country. His first stand-up comedy special, “Laugh Factory Presents Raj Sharma Live in Las Vegas,” chronicles many of his daily observations and childhood stories.
Over the years Sharma has worked with some of the best in the business, including Tom Rhodes, Carl LaBove, Pablo Francisco, Frank Caliendo, Brian Regan, Bruce Bruce and many more. Sharma is an original member of The Gurus of Comedy and co-founder of the first-ever All South Asian Comedy night in North America, along with The Indians at the Improv. He’s also a classically trained actor and is co-creator/producer of “Raj Sharma Presents,” in which he and other comics perform to benefit charity foundations across the country. Good karma on Sharma’s part, folks.
Born into a retirement community to immigrant Italian parents with a German Shepherd, Iocolano grew up only speaking Italian until he was 5 (he learned English from cereal boxes and Twinkie wrappers). As the stand-up comedian puts it, “In order for my father to find more work as a plumber we moved to Florida, where I learned how to sweat profusely from my forehead. I enrolled in pharmacy school after high school, but soon found that I’d rather tell jokes than push pills, but often called one.”
Iocolano loves all forms of comedy and mentioned that he prides himself on his quick wit and ability to connect with audiences night after night. He also wanted me to let you know that he enjoys long walks off of short piers in the moonlight, just as you hit the water. The performer was called “off-center and quirky” by one of his first comedy mentors, and the description stuck.
Iocolano has appeared on HBO’s “Project Greenlight” and at the Aspen Laugh Festival. He also performs comedy all over the country and as of recently, Italy. He is a member of two improv comedy troupes and he regularly performs at The Comedy Store, Laugh Factory, The Improv and more. He currently lives in Los Angeles in a state of cloudiness. If you ever get a chance to meet him remember… his name is pronounced “YO-KO-LAH-NO.”
The Improv at Harveys takes place Wednesdays through Sundays at 9 p.m. Learn more at http://www.harveystahoe.com.