Savitt: from Marine recruit to comedian |

Savitt: from Marine recruit to comedian

Howie Nave, Lake Tahoe Action
Tommy Savitt performs through Sunday, July 1, at The Improv inside Harveys.

Tommy Savitt is not just suave, but he also believes he can save anyone’s marriage. He says so during his act, so how could he not be telling the truth? I’ve heard him mention it four times. Tommy will tell the audience, “You know how many marriages I’ve saved?” Once you cheat on him with me, you’ll never do it again. Who wants me now?” So, if you do attend the show this week, you’re not just getting comedy, but a counseling session as well.

This is Tommy’s first time back in more than a year, and his second as a headliner. He’s been on the fast track ever since I first saw him win The Boston Comedy Festival’s Best New Comedians competition, beating out some pretty top-notch acts. The following year, Tommy won top honors at the Seattle International Comedy Competition. Now the East Coaster is based in L.A., has some heavy representation behind him and is getting as much recognition as he can. He still likes to call New York home (performing at Carnegie Hall, Caroline’s on Broadway) but pretty much has to split his time on both coasts.

Back to his stage act though. He dresses like some guy you’d see at a sleaze bar and really punctuates that by saying to the ladies, “You’re really missing out on this treat if you pass on this.” People will ask, “Is it an act or is he for real?” I’m not saying, so you’ll have to judge for yourself when you see him.

What’s even funnier is the career path he had taken before being a comedian. He actually wanted to be a lawyer, and a JAG (Judge Advocate General) lawyer, too – one that works for the military. It didn’t quite work out that way, though. At boot camp on Parris Island, S.C., Tommy was too busy cutting everybody up with jokes, trying to keep things light and lively for his fellow recruits (much to the dismay of drill instructors). Eventually he and the Marines had an amicable parting of ways. As Tommy put it, “I got in great shape, though. I was the most in-shape law student ever,” Savitt said. “As I was leaving, my drill sergeant pulled me aside and berated me, telling me what a failure I was, how incompetent I was, how I was a quitter, that some unfortunate woman was going to marry me and bear me a child. Then he winked at me and said, ‘Don’t be a lawyer, be a comedian, Savitt.'”

Sometimes it pays to get your orders from your superior, you know? Tommy still remains in touch with his military, performing at bases around the globe, including shows in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, Germany, Belgium, Japan, South Korea and the Netherlands. I can’t imagine what kind of officer Tommy would have turned but to be, but I’m sure glad he took the civilian route so we could all see his humor in a comedy club environment. Now that I think about it, he probably would have ended up in the stockade if his current act was any indication of what was really on his mind when he was a Marine.

I remember first seeing Chuck Martin on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” but had no idea how many awards he has racked up over the years. In addition to his stand-up, Chuck has is also an Emmy-winning writer, producer and director. Get this: he won an Emmy for his work (as writer/producer) for the Fox TV series “Arrested Development.” That was one of Fox’s best shows ever, albeit for those with an acquired taste.

Chuck’s other awards include being nominated as “Television Producer of the Year” from the PGA and two nominations from the Writer’s Guild for “Best Comedy Series.”

And he’s coming up here to Tahoe?

That’s right. This is Martin’s first appearance in our neck of the mountains, and I bet secretly he’s been trying to get up here for years but just wasn’t asked. Come to think of it, I do remember comedian Tom Papa telling me about Chuck, but didn’t realize until now that this was the same Chuck Martin.

Chuck was also a writer and producer for NBC’s “The Marriage Ref” that Papa hosted, which was also Jerry Seinfeld’s baby.

Speaking of television, Chuck’s other credits include “Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher,” “The Ellen Show,” “53rd Annual Emmy Awards,” and the “74th (and 77th) Annual Academy Awards.” And he’s up here in Tahoe?

As far as projects on the big screen, Chuck has a couple of feature films in development, one for Universal and the other for Paramount, for which he is also attached as director. You can also hear his voice in the DreamWorks animated feature “Bee Movie,” for which he was also a writer. Papa also mentioned that Chuck was in that project in part because he was. OK, now it’s all coming together: Chuck Martin should have been up here years ago. Well, better late than never, so be sure to get over to the show this week.

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