South Shore comedy scene with Howie Nave: John Caponera, Tahoe Improv Players on tap | TahoeDailyTribune.com

South Shore comedy scene with Howie Nave: John Caponera, Tahoe Improv Players on tap

Howie Nave
Special to Lake Tahoe Action

John Caponera is one of the better acts around and I'm glad he's back up here. His stories are unprecedented, and he weaves tales around his Italian upbringing. Some of those stories found their way on another Showtime special called "The Godfathers of Comedy," which starred fellow Italian comedian Rocky LaPorte.

The last time I saw Caponera was the same week he happened to appear on Showtime's "I'm Dying Up Here." He has also starred in shows such as "The Good Life" in addition to being the host of Comedy Central's "Jocks" and ESPN's "Talk II." He guest-starred on NBC's long running hospital drama "ER," along with "Love & War," "Blossom" and HBO's "Tales from the Crypt." His greatest credit, though, is performing overseas for troops in the Middle East and he believes there has never been a more appreciative audience than our military. Caponera's pretty patriotic, too, and makes no apologies about it.

In addition to being a top-notch comedian, Caponera is also an author who chronicled his comedy career in a book entitled "A Life in Comedy." It charts his highs and lows from his start as a young stand-up during the 1970s living in Chicago, then being on "Star Search" to the "pseudo-celebrity hell" of corporate golf tournaments and sharing stories from a guy who has seen it all. The chapter about cocaine-addicted club owners was pretty spot-on (mainly during the '80s), as were his observations regarding fickle TV executives, uptight cruise ship directors and the harsh reality of life on the road (and sea).

Caponera is not too far away from his Chicago roots, and pays homage to the late, great Harry Caray, the play-by-play sports announcer and one-time voice of the Chicago Cubs. Caponera will infuse Caray into crazy situations as if he were broadcasting the game while telling the listeners what happened to him the night before. Caponera also does a great impression of long-time (and recently retired) voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Vin Scully.

Michael Paskevich of The Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote of Caponera: "Unafraid of letting a room grow quiet, Caponera sets his own intentionally erratic pace, pausing to perfection to complement his oddly timed but rewarding comic insights. The jokes are further bolstered by his talent for facial gestures that range from goofy to arrogant, making Caponera arguably the hottest club headliner going at present."

The Improv at Harveys takes place Wednesdays through Sundays at 9 p.m. Learn more at http://www.harveystahoe.com.

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Improv at Valhalla

I like a good sketch comedy show as much as the next person, and when it's done right it can be hysterically funny. If you've been doing it for over 25 years, odds are you're doing it right. Such is the case with the Tahoe Improv Players, who perform at the Valhalla Art, Music and Theatre Festival this summer in the Boathouse Theatre. It's not only a great place to see comedy, but also a show where one can bring the entire family.

If you're not familiar with sketch comedy, the audience is an integral part of the performance: Suggestions are tossed out and performers take those tidbits, turning them into an improvised stage performance.

Tahoe Improv Players started out as ComedySportz of Lake Tahoe in 1994 and soon after adopted the new name. As mentioned earlier: When done right, this can be a truly funny evening of comedy. The next show is coming up on Tuesday, July 24 (7:30 p.m. show time). I mention it now because the sooner you get tickets, the better. Bring the family if you can because there are so few good comedy shows where parents don't have to worry about questionable language and can just enjoy the show themselves with a sigh of relief and laughter. Learn more at http://www.valhallatahoe.com.