Lake Tahoe comedy scene with Howie Nave: Charles Fleischer at The Improv
Charles Fleischer may be best known as the voice of Roger Rabbit from the 1988 blockbuster movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” but he’s so much more, and possess so many other voices too.
Director Robert Zemeckis was so impressed with him that he asked Charles to voice several other characters in the movie, including Benny The Cab and the two sinister weasels, Greasy and Psycho. His voice also has appeared in 2004’s “The Polar Express” (also directed by Zemeckis) as the voice of Elf General, and 2011’s “Rango” as the voice of Elbows which also stars Johnny Depp.
As an actor you can see Fleischer in 2010’s “Chain Letter,” the apocalyptic 2013 thriller “Dystopia,” “Die Laughing” (1980), “Night Shift” (1982), “Bad Dreams” (1988) and three of my personal favorites, “Back To The Future II,” “Gross Anatomy,” where he played one of the college professors, and as the creepy character (I think so at least) of Bob Vaughn in 2007’s “Zodiac.”
On the small screen Fleischer’s work goes back as far back appearing on “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” in 1972, which lead to appearances on “Keep on Trucking” (on ABC in 1975), “The Richard Pryor Show” (on NBC in 1977) and as a Sweathog during the 1978-79 season of “Welcome Back, Kotter.”
In 1983 Alan Thicke tapped Fleischer to be part of this comedy troupe performing sketch segments on his late-night program “Thicke of the Night.” There are so many other TV credits but it would take forever to list them here.
In his stand up show Charles will include the audience in what adds to a very unique finale — it doesn’t matter where you’re seated because Charles likes to include the whole room. Suffice it to say Charles Fleischer is a very multi-faceted individual, and as a comedian he incorporates a little of all these traits into a very unique and entertaining show.
After the show Charles (if he has them) will have his CDs for sale and some of the most impressive artwork ever. Like his act, his art is outer worldly and looks almost like he created them with a laser.
Fleischer is a fascinating person not just as a comedian, artist, actor and man of many voices but also as a thinker. If you’re fortunate enough to catch him in the right spirit and have a love of science (both mathematical and sci-fi) you get to experience another side of Charles that is kind of mind blowing.
When I asked him about expanding as the universe Charles said, “I’m thinking the universe is either a dodecahedron or a cheeseburger and for me, that’s a win-win.” When he continues to discuss about all things galactic (and his alternative theories on how the universe was created and what really happened) that’s when my head considers imploding.
Charles is passionate about the concept of Moleeds (I had to Google it) and its relation to all things numerical. He discovered an interesting relationship between the numbers 27 and 37, which affect everything, as he says, “from protons to neutrons to croutons.”
According to Fleischer this “blueprint for infinity is called Moleeds.” As strange as it seems, Charles’ theories have found their way into his comedy, which is very abstract and uses different voices to emphasize his set ups and punch lines.
He’s one of my favorites.
The Improv at Harveys takes place Wednesdays through Sundays at 9 p.m. Learn more at http://www.harveystahoe.com.
Mandel at MontBleu
The first time I worked with comedian Howie Mandel was at the now defunct Konocti Harbor Resort on the south shore of Clear Lake in California. He had a full head of hair and actually shook hands.
OK, maybe it was a fistbump but regardless there’s no denying Mandel is a top-notch comedian. He’s also prankster too. While working together at the Konocti they would put us up at these cool cabins right on the lake with access to boats and jet skis.
I don’t know to this day if he made the call but I remember firefighters showing up at my cabin at 2 a.m. because smoke was reported to have been coming from my cabin. He did smile when I asked him though.
Mandel is very versatile. In the early 1980s he landed a role on the drama series “St. Elsewhere” and the show was pretty gritty for its time. After that series Howie did a complete 180 creating the hit children’s cartoon series “Bobby’s World” and then really hit pay-dirt in 2005 when he became the game show host of the instant television hit “Deal or No Deal.”
Remember that show? They offered contestants the option of winning $1 million, depending on which suitcases they selected. In addition to his television work, Mandel continued to do stand-up comedy as well as voiceover work.
He was the voice behind the creature Gizmo in the hit film “Gremlins” (1984) and its sequel “Gremlins II: The New Batch” (1990). Mandel also voiced several characters in the animated children show “Muppet Babies.”
Starting in 2010, Mandel signed on to help judge the reality competition show “America’s Got Talent.”
Mandel has a treasure chest of solid material and you should experience that when he performs over at MontBleu on Saturday, Sept. 15.