Improv welcomes Thea Vidale to Harveys |

Improv welcomes Thea Vidale to Harveys

Howie Nave, special to Lake Tahoe Action

Marc Price and Howie Nave do their favorite Michaelangelo bit.

This is Thea Vidale’s first time at working The Improv in Tahoe. She’s been everywhere else, so coming up here is probably a highlight she’s been waiting for. She appeared at the prestigious Edinburgh Comedy Festival in Scotland, had a national standup tour called “Thea Vidale, Down & Dirty” and starred in her on TV show on ABC, “Thea” for which she a nomination for a People’s Choice Award as favorite female in a new series. In the show, she portrayed Thea Turrell, a widowed mother of four who works in a Houston supermarket by day, and runs a one-chair beauty salon on the corner of her porch in the evenings. The show’s appeal was centered in her hear-warming portrayal of a no-nonsense mother shepherding her children through their formative years.

Thea had a great intro (at least dealing with people) into comedy, working as a wisecracking waitress in Pasadena, Texas. She, like many others, caught the standup bug at an open mic night in 1986 and never turned back. Things really opened up for her when she appeared on Rodney Dangerlield’s HBO special “Where’s Rodney.” She has starred in numerous cable specials, including “Def Comedy Jam,” “Comedy from the Danger Zone,” “A Pair of Jokers” and “Comedy’s Dirtiest Dozen.”

That’s right, folks: Thea’s standup is anything but “safe.” I remember working with her in the late ’90s in Colorado Springs, and wow: She sure can dish it out! Oh sure, her style is confrontational, but it’s all about the bigger picture. What better target than our own American culture? Say what you will (and you will!), but she has a loyal following from Houston to Europe, the Caribbean to Australia. They’re drawn to Vidale because there’s also a warmth and honesty pervades her hard-edged material.

Television has been Thea’s best exposure reaching millions from her appearances on “Ellen,” “The Drew Carey Show,” “My Wife and Kids,” “Ugly Betty” and more, and she starred in Master P’s comedy movie “Repos.”

But, as I mentioned earlier, it was her portrayal on “Thea” that garnered her the most attention and recognition. And speaking of recognition, get this: Thea appeared for the first time at the Philadelphia GLBT Pride Fest, where and both she and Etta May received keys to the city as the mayor declared “Thea Vidale Day” and “Etta May Day.”

And in true Thea fashion (à la Andy Kaufman) she made her World Wrestling Entertainment debut in January 2006. Over the next several weeks, “Momma Benjamin” was involved in several backstage skits resulting in her challenging wrestlers to matches.

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Thea is glad to be back on the road, making it to the second round of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” last year.

Skippy is back! Marc Price still likes the name that made him a household name. Yep: Marc played the nerd-next-door Skippy on the NBC sitcom “Family Ties” from 1982 -90. Marc is much more than that, of course, but he knows people still like to refer to him as Skippy and has no problems with it whatsoever. Just don’t call him Extra Chunky.

Unlike some other post sitcom brats, Marc has been able to carve out a decent living for himself, always trying to get new shows the green light.

Marc has done a ton of television work, but can you remember all the shows he has been a part of? How many remember the Disney Channel’s “Teen Win, Lose or Draw” starring Marc in over a 150 episodes? And what about “Trick or Treat” with Ozzy Osbourne, Touchstone’s “The Rescue” and 20th Century Fox’s “Killer Tomatoes Eat France?” But the man once known as Skippy has also produced countless shows including man-on-the-street segments for “The Ricki Lake Show.”

Price co-produced those cooking-with-the-comics segments for Dick Clark’s “The Donny & Marie Show.” Before “Family Ties,” Price guest-starred on “One Day at a Time” and “Archie Bunker’s Place.” Price’s other acting credits include starring roles in New World Pictures’ “The Little Devils” and “The Zoo Gang,” the ABC TV movies “All That Glitters” and “Semester at Sea,” “Hearts Are Wild,” an Aaron Spelling pilot for ABC and another TV movie, “Combat Academy.”

There’s more but, man, isn’t that enough already? Marc can trace the talent into his showbiz family. Price’s father, Al Bernie, performed at the Playboy Clubs and was a frequent guest on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Price spent his childhood in the company of his dad’s friends Sid Caesar, Milton Berle and George Burns. He learned the art of funny from the best and still enjoys doing stand up as Marc Price.

But to me, he is and always will be “Skippy.” It’s OK too for you to call him that. Really.