Johnny on the slopes, and at Tahoe’s Improv |

Johnny on the slopes, and at Tahoe’s Improv

Howie Nave / Special to Lake Tahoe Action

Good news, Johnny: There’s still enough snow for you to ride on! Yep: Sometimes all it takes to convince comedians of Johnny Steele’s stature to perform up here is to book them during their favorite season ” in this case, anytime snow is still on the ground.

Johnny has been coming up to the lake long before he went into standup. He started way back in the ’80s after quitting graduate school in a move his parents called “Operation $40K Down the Drain.”

Good move, though: His in-your-face, satirical, improvisational banter has become a favorite at theaters and comedy clubs from coast to coast for 25 years.

As a San Francisco radio morning show host, Johnny’s popularity grew. The San Francisco Chronicle called it “the best morning chatter show,” and “clean and smart.” In true radio irony, the show was canceled shortly thereafter.

A television show followed on KRON/Bay. For three years Johnny’s informal interview style and outrageous ad-lib comments kept everyone laughing. The irrepressible Johnny once told photographer Annie Leibovitz that he bought her book, “Women,” because he thought it was a directory. Well, he kept almost everybody laughing. Johnny tells it like it is.

Although he’ll deny it, Johnny is a thinking man’s comic with a definite viewpoint, along with the sophistication, insanity and observational commentary. Some of his influences include Lenny Bruce and Will Rogers, and Improv founder Budd Friedman called him a young Mort Sahl.

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In addition to his standup, Johnny is also an excellent host and writer. He is a past winner of the San Francisco International Comedy Competition and has appeared on A&E’s “Evening at The Improv,” Comedy Central’s “A-List,” and MTV’s “1/2 Hour Comedy Hour.” He had the No. 1 morning show radio in San Francisco from 1997-98 on KITS-105.3 FM. I aspire to be a Johnny Steele one day ” but without the canceled radio show.