Kivi Rogers, Don Barnhart headline The Improv | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Kivi Rogers, Don Barnhart headline The Improv

Howie Nave
Kivi Rogers and Howie Nave.
ALL |

The Improv at Harveys welcomes back two comic favorites ” Kivi Rogers and Don Barnhart ” to the Tahoe stage this week.

Kivi Rogers

Kivi Rogers returns as to The Improv for the first time this year. The second youngest of six boys and one girl (and growing up in the Pueblo Del Rio housing projects) life was never a bore for Kivi. What with the constant gang shootings or the ever present police presence, Kivi found escape with his best friend Jerome.

Always the class clown and neighborhood prankster he didn’t plan on making a career out of comedy. After earning a degree in computer electronics, Kivi landed a secure position with a reputable law firm. So how did he go from executive material to writing comedy material?

When his co-workers dared him to go up on stage up at the local comedy club on stage during an open mic nights who knew he could make others laugh? I mean it’s much easier getting people who know you to laugh but absolute strangers?

But laugh they did and soon friends, relatives and victims coaxed Kivi to try his comedy again to see if this was just a fluke. He did and soon won his very first comedy competition.

It was soon “Good-bye” to the ‘9 and 5 job’ and “hello” to the comedy road. Hit the road he did and along the way Kivi has appeared at the prestigious Aspen Comedy Festival where he showcased for HBO and landed a development deal with Castle Rock Entertainment to star in his own sitcom.

He has also appeared on “The Tonight Show w/Jay Leno.” In 1998 Kivi was nominated for comedian of the year at the National Association of Campus Activities (NACA).

His film credits include appearing with Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow in the feature film, “Romey And Michelle’s High School Reunion,” “What I Did For Love” and with Academy award winners Mercedes Ruehl, and Cloris Leachman in “The Amati Girls.” Television credits include ABC’s Home Improvement, NBC’s The West Wing, CBS’s Everybody Loves Raymond and HBO’s Not Necessarily The Elections with Dennis Miller.

Kivi has also appeared on “A&E’s Evening At The Improv,”” Comic Justice” on Comedy Central, Def Comedy Jam and The Improv comedy clubs.

He recently returned from performing overseas entertaining the troops which, as most comics have commented on found to be the most rewarding experience ever.

Don Barnhart, Jr.

Don was born to be funny if environment has anything to do with it. I mean when you’re born and raised in Yakima, Washington how can you not be funny? No offense to the city of apples but it does make for some decent fodder. That’s not the only reason Don became humorous because of his surroundings. It didn’t hurt coming from a talented family.

His dad, Don Barnhart directed countless television shows in the 70s and 80s (including “Saved by the Bell”) which exposed the younger Don to myriad of entertainers. Don moved to southern California where he was raised by his television director father and literally grew up on the sets of LA watching Robin Williams and Jonathan Winters practice their craft on “Mork and Mindy.”

It’s no wonder Don went into stand up comedy. Doing background work to support his acting classes, Don was seen early on in “Happy Days,” “Mork and Mindy” and “The Great American Hero.” Cool stuff.

His first big break came after graduating from high school where he worked as the doorman for the prestigious Comedy & Magic Club in Hermosa Beach, CA. As luck would have it, the regular house emcee got sick and Don was asked to fill in.

He stayed on perfecting his craft night after night working with some of the biggest names is the business including Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Carry, Garry Shandling, Dana Carvey, Dennis Miller and Jay Leno who tries out his Tonight Show material every Sunday still to this day. Barnhart started writing jokes for many of the acts that he worked with at the famed club and soon became the house manager and talent coordinator.

Some of Don’s many credits include “An Evening At The Improv,” “Friday Nights” on NBC, “MTV’s Half Hour Comedy Show,” “Star Search.” The sitcom pilot “What’s She Thinking?”and was on the Sci-Fi channel’s series, “Genesis Wars” where he played Captain Zigaroff. In addition to all this Don has also written, directed and starred in several comedy videos and feature films.

He just finished directing and writing his first full length, feature independent movie, “China Dolls” which is currently on the film festival circuit. Don also performs regularly overseas entertaining the military for the USO and just completed a DVD entitled, “Comics on Duty” chronicling his tour in Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf.

” Howie Nave is host and emcee of The Improv at Harveys. Showtime is 9 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, with two shows on Saturday at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. The Improv is dark on Mondays. Order a copy of “Howie Nave: Live from Lake Tahoe” by going to http://www.howienave.com.


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