The flavor of comedy is Basil |

The flavor of comedy is Basil

Howie Nave welcomes Harry Basil to The Improv.

The Improv at Harveys celebrates a couple of firsts this week, as Harry Basil and Jeff Capri hit town for the first time.

Both will be performing nightly through Sunday.

Basil, who is headlining, is a movie fan kind of guy, and that makes sense – he’s been in enough of them. He’s worked in the film industry writing, producing and directing a number of movies, working with some of the giants in the business. He pokes fun at the movie business in such a scathing way – impressive, since it’s his bread and butter. Harry “relives” memorable scenes from classic and not-so-classic films, with versions of Tom Cruise’s tribute to Jockey shorts in “Risky Business,” Barbra Streisand’s candlelit ballad to Yentle’s father, to the dance scene in “Flash Dance” and many others.

Harry owes a lot of his film career to the man who never got any respect, the late, great Rodney Dangerfield. It was Dangerfield who first took note of his talent, giving him a starring spot in his HBO “Young Comedian’s Special.” Would you believe from there Harry himself was co-writing and co-producing Dangerfield himself, in movies such as “Ladybugs,” “Meet Wally Sparks” and “My Five Wives?”

Basil worked closely with director Sidney Furie and Peter Baldwin and even had roles in the movies himself. I first recognized Harvey on the big screen in the Nicolas Cage/Kathleen Turner movie, “Peggy Sue Got Married.” He’s also been featured in the movies “Martians Go Home” and “The Seventh Sign” with Demi Moore.

Harry is also quite adept as a director, in horror films such as “Soul’s Midnight” and “Fingerprints,” the latter which last year won Best Feature at The New York Horror Film Festival. His first directorial effort, “The 4th Tenor,” a romantic opera comedy, is still one of my favs because it stars so many comedians, including Harland Williams, Dangerfield, as well as actors Dennis Quaid, Kirstie Alley, among others.

Harry has worked on stage with some truly great entertainers, opening for Chuck Berry, The Beach Boys, Liza Minelli, The Pointer Sisters, Julio Iglesias, and others.

Appearing with Basil is Jeff Capri, whom I have known even before I began working at The Improv. I was just starting out in the business, and I’m almost embarrassed to think of what I was like as a comic back. Hopefully Jeff has forgotten as well. Jeff is a great guy with a dynamic approach to comedy.

He first hit the stage with his father, Dick Capri, at age 6. As soon as he could get into a comedy club without a parent, he took the stage using nearly all of dad’s material. Dick Capri is still is a great comic himself, so how strange and cool is that? Wild.

Jeff’s own observational and physical comedy style touches on everything from the tacitly mundane to the overtly ridiculous. He has a cool stage presence coupled with a sharp wit and a timely delivery that has entertained audiences all over the U.S., and abroad. He has performed overseas entertaining our troops and is considered by his peers to be a consummate professional.

In this business you sometimes tend to work anywhere that will hire you, and Jeff’s resume reads like a twisted road map of comedy hell sometimes. Ranging from private corporate events to high school grad-nights, bars and nightclubs to national television, USO Celebrity Tours to even a nudist colony, Jeff has worked them all. He recently became one of the few stand-up comedians to graduate from The Second City’s Conservatory program in Los Angeles. He has appeared along side many fellow comics, including Adam Sandler, Ellen DeGeneres, and Sinbad.

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