Graham Elwood goes to the head of the stage |

Graham Elwood goes to the head of the stage

Howie Nave
Those who can't make it to the comedy show at Harveys Improv this week can still get a glimpse of host Howie Nave, left, and headliner Graham Elwood, whose wax models are displayed in front of a photograph at the cabaret's entrance.

Guess who’s headlining Harveys Improv for the first time?

Graham Elwood. Yes, Graham Elwood!

It took a while, but hey, he’s been headlining theaters and other clubs for quite some time now. We just wanted to make sure that’s all because more than 90 percent of the middle acts up here headline other places.

Graham is a personal favorite on many levels, first being he’s just straight-out hilarious. The other reason is, for five years, every Thursday on my morning radio show. Graham has had his own segment called, “Graham’s Crackers.”

Graham also has performed overseas six times, three in Afghanistan, three in Iraq. I was fortunate enough to be with him on one of those tours when we performed with comedian Scott Kennedy in Kuwait and Iraq. It made a world of difference being in a war zone with somebody you like both on and off the stage.

He has a DVD, “Comedy From the Front Lines: Live From Afghanistan,” and a new CD coming out shortly. His last one, “The Comedian’s Got A Boo Boo,” is available after his shows this week.

In addition to his CDs and DVD, Graham has successfully marketed himself as the “Palm Strike” comedian. Without giving too much of his stage show away, let’s just say nobody can beat him when it comes to his martial arts experience, having peaked out at the “yellow belt” level. Yes, he’s proud of that achievement so much that you can purchase your very own “Palm Strike” paraphernalia after every show. And who wouldn’t want a souvenir after seeing him weave the magic each and every night?

Graham honed his comedy skills all over the country (and later overseas) but I believe it was his years in Chicago doing clubs and colleges that paved the way for his unique style. How would I describe his style? Hmmmm. I think Graham is part sarcastic hipster, part game show host and part improvisation. Those would be the main ingredients.

He’s really adept at poking fun of himself, too, which has its own kind of delivery. Effortlessly absurd and silly, this professional wise-ass is one of the most versatile comics who has a very infectious laugh when offstage.

Graham has a very cool website, http://www.ComedyFilm, which he co-created with comedian Chris Mancini.

Graham’s been in several very funny feature-length documentaries which include Doug Benson’s “Super High Me” and his own project, “Hello Junkie,” which received very nice reviews when it screened at the Sundance Film Festival. On television you’ve seen him on Comedy Central, USA Network’s “Strip Poker,” “The Test” on “The Late Late Show.”

Having Graham up here is cause enough for celebration and a great week of comedy, but when you add David Feldman on the bill? Oh, man, it doesn’t get any better than this, folks.

Back for the first time in more than six years, David is another personal favorite. His comedy is very smart, satirical and at times political (perfect for this election year).

Feldman has so many awards it would be embarrassing to list all of them but he also has written for so many top-notch acts in television that eventually he was recognized for his work with Dennis Miller with an Emmy award. Other writing credits include writing for ABC’s Roseanne, HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Marty Short, Triumph The Insult Dog Comic, comedian/actor Steve Martin, The Academy Awards show as well as countless roasts on Comedy Central. Whew.

David also appears frequently on Conan O’Brien and Craig Ferguson and cable specials as well on Comedy Central and BBC America. David also is featured prominently in the book “Satiristas,” which profiles the most influential standups of the past decade.

But it’s the David Feldman Comedy Podcast Radio Show where he’s really brilliant. Here he gets to stretch beyond the stage with exclusive interviews, great comedic commentary and a host of incredible guests that just leave you wanting to hear more than what he offers every week.

I have to quit writing now before I get too excited on this mode of communication.

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