Howie is Starr struck at the Improv, which welcomes smoking comic Tony Camin |

Howie is Starr struck at the Improv, which welcomes smoking comic Tony Camin

Howie Nave
Whipsaw near the wilderness: When Howie Nave and Joe Starr are at work they laugh.

If you haven’t seen “The Adventures of Tintin” make sure that you do.

The Oscar-nominated movie features Joe Starr, who appears through Sunday at Harveys’ Improv, in the role of Interpol agent Barnaby Dawes. This isn’t Joe’s first movie but his most visible. I mean, when it’s directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by Peter Jackson, how can it not be?

Joe has done others movies including Oliver Stone’s “World Trade Center,” ESPN’s award winning mini-series “The Bronx is Burning,” “National Lampoon’s Dirty Movie” and “Date Night” with Steve Carrell and Tina Fey.

We love Joe Starr because he’s not only a very funny guy but also one of the best storytellers out there.

Joe calls Long Island home and still lives there, bypassing the whole must-move-to-Los Angeles thing and one reason why his comedy is so not generic. With Joe it’s always a New York attitude. And trust me that’s a whole lot of attitude.

Talent runs in Joe’s family too. His grandfather was a vaudeville performer and Joe says that talent in his family skips a generation so that makes Joe the keeper of the laughter.

The last time he was in Tahoe, I had him on both my radio and television shows. I asked him about talent skipping a generation in his family and he said “Yeah, it’s actually a common thread with most comedians I know. I’m sure it was the same with you, Howie. I mean, you’re father must have been hilarious.” Why, I oughta …

When he’s not dishing out the compliments, Joe is very good at dishing out the humor onstage. He’s also worked with some pretty impressive funny people in the business. Over the years Joe has opened for Jay Leno, Father Guido Sarducci, Soupy Sales and Robert Klein. He’s a big hit at comedy festivals and has done his fair share of criss-crossing the country much like his grandfather did. In New York City Joe is a regular at the Underground Comedy Festival and also the clubs that dot Manhattan but he prefers working his “home” rooms on Long Island.

Joe’s comedic make-up is a fusion of both comedy and movies that can be traced back to Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin (like Joe) likes to combine both acting and physical comedy but unlike Chaplin’s movies Joe talks.

“My influences pretty much ended when television went to color,” he said. “I’m proud of that because in a world of fads and flavors-of-the-month, fans tell me I remind them a bit of Lou Costello or Jack Benny or Jackie Gleason.

His philosophy on comedy is pretty basic. “I laugh out loud every chance I get,” he said. “I love to make people laugh until it hurts and I can watch someone do something they love for hours, I don’t care if its singing or delivering mail or changing the transmission in a car. To see someone in love with what they do is a beautiful thing.”

Making his Tahoe Improv debut and performing here for the first time is Tony Camin.

He’s been around the block for a while having been a three-time winner of the prestigious “Malcolm” award for outstanding work as a middle act which is great because he is middling here this week in Tahoe.

He’s appeared on “Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend” and a host of other late night cable shows. He’s worked on shows for NBC, VH-1 and slew of others that have since been canceled.

Tony is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, living in Mountain View before getting evicted and I think he now lives somewhere back east, maybe Brooklyn.

He co-authored a book, “The Marijuana-Logues: Everything About Pot That We Could Remember” along with comedians Doug Benson and Arj Barker.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.