Lake Tahoe comedy scene with Howie Nave: Bob Zany, Larry Brown at Improv; Burrow at Carson Comedy Club
Special to Lake Tahoe Action
He’s a fan of all things canine and that to me is first class.
He’s also very funny.
No, he wasn’t born ‘Zany’ but he certainly lives up to the title.
The ‘Bob’ part of his name is real but it’s all part of the promotion, the brand if you will and nobody does it better.
Bob Zany is a one man promotional machine. He utilizes both traditional, old school methods of media as well as everything social media has to offer.
There’s his podcast: “The Bob Zany Show with Erin O’Conner,” Bob Zany on Twitter (@bobzany), Bob Zany on YouTube with his ongoing show, “Baggage Claim” (where he snags famous folks at airports as they wait for their baggage), ZanyBob on Instagram (because some hack took the ‘Bob Zany’ name) and of course all of his radio call-ins coast to coast including my little show.
Even before the internet was a gleam in Zany’s eyes, Bob was expanding his vast horizons performing in practically every venue in all 50 states and also as a writer for other shows and as a producer/writer for his own self-produced comedy shows.
Some of the names that have found their way on his shows included such stalwarts as the late Garry Shandling, Yakov Smirnoff, Robert Wuhl, Kevin Nealon and actor Nia Peeples.
Zany at one time used to have his own radio show as well and was approached by Frazer Smith (also a comedian), host of the top-rated radio show on KLOS/Los Angeles and asked Zany to do regular guest spots on his show which lead to his own radio show on KLOS Saturday mornings.
After that it was regular stints on the nationally syndicated “Bob & Tom Show.”
Zany is also an actor appearing on the big screen in such movies as Matt Damon’s “The Informant” playing a lawyer, “23 Minutes To Sunrise,” performing opposite Linda Blair in “Up Your Alley” and on Showtime playing the Roast Master of Brace Land in the comedy, “Gigolos.”
He’s also appeared in several documentaries and even made one himself called, “Close But No Cigar,” which should be mandatory viewing for all those wanting to go into comedy as a career.
The documentary is an autobiographical journey chronicling Zany’s professional life which includes numerous interviews from those he met over the years and some who have become major players in the comedy business.
It’s pretty sobering seeing one individual working a sweet gig as one of the top writers for SNL and then cut to Zany leaving a one-nighter he just performed at somewhere in the Midwest. As Steve Martin once said, “Comedy isn’t pretty.”
You can hear Zany every Tuesday on my morning radio show when he delivers “The Zany Report” which he does coast to coast.
Also on the bill is Larry “Bubbles” Brown who got his nickname years ago when he was sharing a hot tub with comedian Paula Poundstone who gave him that name (I don’t wanna know).
Brown is what you’d call in the business a “comic’s comic” which means other comics laugh at his stuff. He is so well liked in the comedy world that big name acts such as Dana Carvey and the late Robin Williams would often request him as their opener.
The first time I worked with him was back in the late ’90s in Santa Rosa where we were booked together and I couldn’t believe how down on himself he was. I thought it was an act but he’s the same offstage too.
I think that’s why the audience was laughing so hard. He’s not faking it. Sad but true but just hanging with Brown backstage is hilarious because he never breaks character.
Brown is an acquired taste and, as mentioned earlier, people who have low self-esteem or feel that there’s no hope after seeing him feel inspired to carry on with their own lives.
In all seriousness though, he’s one of the first comics to volunteer whenever there’s a charity event that involves another comedian.
I remember booking him (along with five other comedians) for a benefit show and literally had to take off to New York to do “The Late Show with David Letterman.”
Personally, I love self-deprecating humor and nobody does it better than Brown. Like Zany, “Bubbles” also has done work on the big screen.
He has appeared in the movie “The Kite Runner” and filmmaker Roger Nygard’s movie, “Suckers.” He’s also in the documentary, “3 Still Standing” which chronicles the career of three Bay Area comics: Johnny Steele, Will Durst and Brown.
What a line-up this week, huh? Zany and ‘Bubbles’ at The Improv inside Harveys.
The Improv at Harveys takes place Wednesdays through Sundays at 9 p.m. Learn more at http://www.harveystahoe.com.
Burrow at The Carson Comedy Club
Comedian Mitch Burrow is a Marine Corps veteran who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.
He then started a career in manufacturing before realizing that it sucked compared to his true calling of acting silly on a stage in front of strangers on a nightly basis.
Yes, we tend to come from very diverse backgrounds in this business and Burrow is no different. He appeared on six episodes of the Fox show, “Laughs” where he was listed as “The next big thing” on his very first appearance.
He has been heard on the “Bob and Tom Show” which is syndicated to over 100 cities as well as overseas on the Armed Forces Network.
Burrows performed in the Great American Comedy Festival (a tribute to Johnny Carson in his hometown), was a semifinalist in the Laughing Skull Festival and has performed in many other festivals such as Bumbershoot in Seattle, Laughing Derby in Louisville, Kentucky and the Rocky Mountain Comedy Festival in Salt Lake City.
Catch him over at The Carson Comedy Club inside the Carson Nugget.
Shows at the Carson Comedy Club inside the Carson Nugget start at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
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