Lake Tahoe comedy scene with Howie Nave: Tommy Lama at Carson Comedy Club; John Caponera at The Improv
Special to Lake Tahoe Action
It’s been a long time coming and he is finally up here: The Tommy Lama.
I’ve known his Lamaste for years. In fact, I even knew him when he was merely comedian Tommy Savitt, who won both the Boston and Seattle comedy festivals and the Best in Comedy category at the 2009 L.A. Comedy Awards.
Born in New Jersey and raised in Brooklyn, Tommy was in law school but opted instead for a life where the audience was judge and jury. Tommy’s been doing the funny for years, having been seen on WGN’s “The Bob & Tom Show,” SI TV’s “Funny is Funny,” Comcast’s Boston Comedy Festival, National Lampoon, “Man Up Stand Up” on MAVTV and on JLTV’s “James and Sunda.”
As an actor he has many commercial and stage credits, including appearances in commercials for Adidas, Monster.com and Lowe’s , and starred as Horatio in “Love’s Labour’s Lost” at the Expanded Arts Theatre in New York City.
His CD “Who Wants Me Now!” is one of the top requested comedic segments on satellite radio and just last month he won the third annual Comedy Cage Match at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Lake Tahoe. Locals up here tune in every Thursday when the Tommy Lama is on my morning radio show.
“They recognize me once they hear my voice,” Savitt says of the multitudes who listen to him both on my show and his clips several times each week on Sirius/XM’s Blue Collar Comedy satellite radio stations. “Some people are flying or driving from other states to catch my show. I am truly blessed.”
Tommy does comedy shows overseas whenever he can, performing at military bases in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, Japan, South Korea, Bahrain, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Curacao, Honduras and Ecuador. He has even performed at the United States Embassy in Belarus.
Check him out for a rare appearance this Friday and Saturday 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.
John Caponera at The Improv
I wish comedian John Caponera was here last week when the annual American Century Championship was in town. Why? Because a nice chunk of his material centers around his love of sports.
John has starred in numerous shows, such as “The Good Life,” and was the host of Comedy Central’s “Jocks” and ESPN’s “Talk II.” He guest-starred on NBC’s long running hospital drama, “ER,“ in addition to “Love & War,” “Blossom” and one of my favorite cable horror shows of all time, “Tales From The Crypt” on HBO.
However, the best part of any Caponera show (and always his closer) is a personal favorite. If you’re a sports fan you’re going to love John’s dead-on impression of Chicago’s greatest play-by-play sports announcer of all time for the Cubs, Harry Caray. He slots him into these crazy situations as if he were broadcasting the game while telling the listeners what happened to him the night before.
“I can’t come to Chicago and not do him because people eventually yell it out,” said Caponera. “A lot of people still remember him and a lot of people ask for it.”
The flamboyant broadcaster spent more than a decade with the White Sox and 16 years with the Cubs. Caponera said he grew up listening to Caray announce White Sox games and began mimicking him while performing at Zanies Comedy Club in Chicago. The stand-up comic has been lauded for nailing Caray’s facial expressions and raspy voice.
“The way I did Harry Caray, I did it to show his sense of humor. I had a lot respect for the guy. I just did him as a fun-loving personality,” said Caponera.
He also does a great impression of the long-time voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Vin Scully.
But, get this: he’s not just a very popular comedian but also a popular (and very funny) author. John wrote the book, “A Life in Comedy” that charts his the ups and downs, highs and lows in this chosen field of comedy ranging from his start as a young stand up in 1970s Chicago, moving to Los Angeles to be on “Star Search” to the “pseudo-celebrity hell” of corporate golf tournaments.
Yes, Caponera has definitely seen it all. The chapter about cocaine addicted club owners was pretty spot on during the ’80s as were his observations regarding fickle TV executives, uptight cruise ship directors and pretty much the harsh reality of life on the road.
With his signature tagline, “Comedy! Comin’ attcha!” Cap (as we affectionately refer to him) sets the stage for what will be a funny evening of comedy. John talks a lot about his Italian upbringing and the stories are hilarious. He’s a real powerhouse of positive energy and interjects that throughout his show.
Speaking of all things Italian, John parlayed that family background into a comedy special that aired on Showtime called “The Godfathers of Comedy,” which also starred fellow Italian comedian Rocky LaPorte.
The Improv at Harveys takes place Wednesdays through Sundays at 9 p.m. Learn more at http://www.harveystahoe.com.
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