Comic Papa files suit to Howie’s phone
August 1, 2008
Steve Martin’s “Let’s Get Small” album inspired Tom Papa to become a comedian. Now Papa is getting big.
Papa’s second appearance at The Improv will be his first as the headliner.
Chuck Bartell will host and open the show, which means Tahoe’s Iraq-bound Howie Nave will be the funnyman in the middle.
Papa is a longtime opening act for Jerry Seinfeld. He also appeared in Seinfeld’s “Bee Movie” and “Comedian,” as well as “Analyze That” with Billy Crystal, and he collaborated with Rob Zombie to write, and play the title character in the adult animated film “The Haunted World of El Superbeasto.”
He sometimes serves as the field reporter on “The Tonight Show, and has appeared on Letterman’s and Conan O’Brien’s late-night shows.
The New Jersey native developed his funny in clubs throughout New York City. A half-hour Comedy Central special gave him the attention to land the Seinfeld connection.
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Papa likes to text.
When he had a last minute booking on “The Tonight Show” he immediately started texting me nonstop, letting me know that he was going to be on that evening. Of course I teased him, asking whether someone had canceled and that he was the only guy available. Tom fired off a text message saying, “Well, they’re not going to call you to fill in.” I shot back, “They probably asked you because you live closer and always wear suits onstage.” Tom answered back, “Well at least I have one.”
The entire family is coming to Papa’s Tahoe shows.
“I have to be careful that it doesn’t devour my entire act,” he said. “I write a lot about the human condition. But if you have a family around you, it’s impossible to get through a day without witnessing something hysterical.”
Howie is No. 2
Since I’m featuring this week, I’ll be trying out my new Middle Eastern material that I’ll be doing when I head overseas to Iraq and hopefully the new stuff will get some laughs. If not, all I can say is that it’s probably better to bomb here than in Iraq.
I’ll be in Iraq from Sept. 21 to Oct. 5.
Comics have already inquired about my job in case I don’t come back. Bastards.
Chuck’s up first
Bartell, from Minneapolis, was a finalist at the Great American Comedy Festival last month in Nebraska.
“Chuck has been opening for me all year,” Papa said. “He’s my favorite kind of funny. Weird, Stephen Wright kind of funny.”
Comedy Central sometimes poses questions to fledgling funnymen Here’s what Chuck had to say:
QWhat’s the first joke you ever wrote?
AMy uncle refuses to use the blinker in his car because he doesn’t want to wear out the blinker mechanism.
QWhat is the source of your sense of humor?
QIn school, were you the class clown or quiet nerd?
A10 percent clown, 90 percent nerd.
QIs it better to be feared or loved on your way up the comedy ladder?
QYour stardom: a karmic inevitability or old-fashioned luck?