South Shore comedy this week: Comedians go for world record | TahoeDailyTribune.com

South Shore comedy this week: Comedians go for world record

Howie Nave
Special to Lake Tahoe Action

Tom Rhodes, pictured with Howie Nave, performs at The Improv this week.

Here's an interesting concept for a comedy show: Get three comedians together who have 75 years of combined experience and try to break a world record, doing 50 comedy shows in 50 states. Starting on April 7 this year comedians Morgan Preston, James Heneghen and Justin Hayes hit the road with the idea of breaking the current world record: 48 states (held by Preston).

Preston has been doing stand-up for 33 years, Heneghen for 25 and Hayes — the "youngster" of the three — is a 17-year comedy veteran. Heneghen and Hayes are also armed forces veterans, the former a Vietnam vet and the latter an Army Ranger. These guys have stories and are widely regarded as some of the best comics working today.

Heneghen started doing stand-up in his mid-40s and still keeps it close to home in his state of Washington. He never wanted to make the move to Los Angeles, which is probably wise on his part since he'd find it difficult to get representation in the youth-driven field of entertainment. Documentary filmmaker Scott Moran (who has an ongoing series called "Modern Comedian") profiled the 65-year-old road comedian from Seattle: It's an interesting look at the life of a comedian who chose the road over seeking the spotlight and fortune in the entertainment capital of the country.

Heneghen's comedy bud Preston is also an anti-comic comedian trashing L.A.'s alternative comedy scene as (and I'm paraphrasing here) alternative to anything being funny. He's one of the most outspoken, in-your-face, "I dare you not to laugh" comedians working today. Preston will perform just about anywhere in the country, be it smoky out-of-the-way bars, rodeos, the occasional corporate event and whatever else he can think of that will keep him from being pigeon-holed. Like Heneghen, he is an enigma to the rest of the comedy world calling their own shots.

If anything, this sounds like a good opportunity to see three guys who have been around a while and hear a different perspective. The 50 Dates in 50 States: A World Record Comedy Tour happens at Vinyl, inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, on Saturday, May 19. Show starts at 8:30 p.m. and must be 21+ to attend. Learn more at http://www.hardrockcasinolaketahoe.com.

Comedy at The Improv

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Globetrotting comic Tom Rhodes returns for the first time in over a year. He travels so much that at one time he was the resident travel writer for The Huffington Post.

Rhodes' career started about the same time as Comedy Central became a force as a network. He had his own sitcom, "Mr. Rhodes," and even though it only lasted a season it was both funny and put him into more living rooms across the country. Rhodes was a regular at all the big rooms in New York City (Gotham Comedy Club, Comic Strip Live, Carolines, Comedy Cellar and Stand Up NY), and now he's back in our neck of the woods. Rhodes has also performed in Asia and Europe in addition to the states.

Paula Bel works with Rhodes at The Improv this week. She did well on NBC's "Last Comic Standing" and has appeared on Showtime's "Full Frontal Comedy," HBO's The Comedy Festival (held in Las Vegas) and headlined Just for Laughs' "The Nasty Show" as well as the off-season "clean" tours throughout Canada. Her other credits include BET, "The View" and "Comics Unleashed."

The Santa Cruz native splits her time between New York City and Los Angeles. Only six years into her stand-up career, Paula performed on "The Tonight Show." Not bad — and here she is once again in South Lake Tahoe.

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