Rocky LaPorte and Ron Morey perform at the Improv
Special to Lake Tahoe Action
The Improv Lake Tahoe just celebrated its 15th anniversary up here, making it the longest running revue in the history of Lake Tahoe.
First off, thank you for supporting “live” comedy; and secondly, here’s to another 15!
One of the reasons I believe that we’ve had a long run is the quality of comedians that have graced our stage, which includes top headliners like Rocky LaPorte, who will perform at the Improv at Harveys this week with Ron Morey. He’s paid back the favor by returning to our room even though he is now performing in theaters and getting a lot more money, too. “Rock” likes to come up here for part-vacation, part-work and our annual barbecue. Rocky has been performing for a long time, but it took being on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” to get him well-deserved national exposure.
When not headlining theaters and comedy venues across the country, Rocky works with other big-name acts such as blue-collar comedian Ron White, who brought him along for a segment on Country Music Television (which led to even more television appearances). Rock received other accolades as well, such as being named crowd favorite after performing at LaughFest’s Clean Comedy Showcase in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It’s not bad for a guy who grew up and drove a delivery truck for a living on Chicago’s South Side. That’s where he started out, in Chicago, honing his craft and slowly garnering a following. It was just a matter of time before Rocky headed out to Los Angeles, where he started getting booked for television and headlining some of the biggest rooms in Hollywood.
Rocky also had a small role in the classic Disney remake of “The Shaggy Dog” and Tim Allen’s movie, “Crazy On the Outside,” which co-starred Sigourney Weaver, Ray Liotta and Kelsey Grammer; it was Allen’s directorial debut. He appeared on Showtime’s “The Godfathers of Comedy,” along with four other comics of Italian descent commenting on their Italian upbringing. He additionally starred in his own one-hour Comedy Central special and received a standing ovation his very first time on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Rocky has many credits, but if you ask him which one is closest to his heart it would be his time spent in Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq performing for our men and women in uniform. On one of those comedy tours he performed with comedians Drew Carey, Blake Clark, Kyle Dunnigan and Jeffrey Ross; it would later become a documentary special that aired on Showtime called “Patriot Act.”
They usually travel in pairs, so having Ron Morey up here with Rocky is like two equally balanced bookends. Ron is a bundle of unbridled energy that commands attention. He has been known to whip an audience into a frenzy. The last time he was here in the High Sierra the audience started chanting, “MORE RON, MORE RON, MORE RON, MORON, MORON,” which is quite a feat having an entire room feel as one describing a talent that is Ron Morey.
Ron has worked with a lot of well-known entertainers and even appeared on the Snoop Dogg MTV show, “DoggyFizzle Televizzle.” Snoop was looking to cast a nerdy white guy for one of his music videos and went through piles and piles of professional headshots from actors, musicians and comedians. He stopped immediately once he saw Ron Morey’s mugshot. Snoop declared, “Damn! This dude is the whitest white man I have ever seen,” and Morey got the call. Ron has the dubious honor of being mentioned in The Entertainment Business Journal as “a stand out kind of guy” and does in fact stand out as he’s one of the few comics that still wears a three-piece suit.
There are so many things to appreciate when working with a comedian the caliber of a Ron Morey. He’s even more hilarious off stage than on, if that’s possible. Some of us in the business wish though that Ron would do more of his celebrity impressions on stage , including two of my favorites: Johnny Carson and Jay Leno. He doesn’t do them on stage, but will do them on my radio show and podcast — so if you’d like to hear them you’ll have to check out Howie’s High Sierra Comedy Vault podcast (free mention, thank you).
Howie Nave is the MC at the Improv at Harveys. The comedy club is inside Harveys Lake Tahoe. Shows begin at 9 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and tickets are $25 plus fees, except Saturdays. Tickets are $30 on Saturdays. The Improv is dark on Mondays and Tuesdays. Must be 21 or older to attend. More information is available by calling 775-586-6266.