Comedy at The Improv with Howie Nave: John Caponera and Suli McCullough perform this week at Lake Tahoe
Special to the Sun
You’ll never meet a nicer guy in this business than John Caponera. And that speaks volumes, given the behind-the-scenes nature of the comedy field.
Caponera is a solid comic because he knows his audience and at times incorporates some of them into his act. The Chicago native has so many great stories over the years that he finally compiled some of them in his book “A Life in Comedy,” which charts the highs and lows of his comedy career. It covers his beginnings in the 1970s living in Chicago to being on “Star Search” and the “pseudo-celebrity hell” of doing corporate golf tournaments.
With his signature tagline “Comedy! Comin’ attcha!” Caponera sets the stage for what will be a funny evening of hilarity. He talks a lot about his Italian upbringing, and the stories are both funny and true. He’s a real powerhouse of positive energy and interjects that throughout his show. Speaking of all things Italian, Caponera has parlayed that family background into a Showtime comedy special called “The Godfathers of Comedy,” which starred other comedians with Italian backgrounds.
Caponera’s also starred in “The Good Life” and was the host of Comedy Central’s “Jocks” and ESPN’s “Talk II.” He guest-starred on NBC’s long-running hospital drama, “ER,” in addition to “Love & War,” “Blossom” and HBO’s “Tales From The Crypt.” His other appearances include “The Tonight Show,” “The Dennis Miller Show,” “L.A. Law,” NBC’s miniseries “Drug Wars,” “The John Laroquette Show,” “The Drew Carey Show,” “The Crew” and the ESPY Awards. Caponera’s greatest credit, though, is performing overseas for the troops in the Middle East and he believes that there has never been a more appreciative audience than that of our military.
The best part of any Caponera show is his signature closer: paying homage to Chicago’s greatest play-by-play sports announcer, Harry Caray (voice of the Chicago Cubs). It’s not just the impression that makes it funny, but Caponera will slot Caray into crazy situations as if he were broadcasting the game while telling the listeners what happened to him the night before.
Howell J. Malham Jr. of the Chicago Tribune wrote of Caponera, “Every so often the kingdom of comedy is graced with a gifted, naturally refined performer who can effectively demonstrate the transcendental powers of the medium while making it look deceptively easy.”
Michael Paskevich of the Las Vegas Review-Journal adds his own rave review: “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.” So true, and what a way to bring in this new year.
Comedian Suli McCullough possesses that rare gift of being both an accomplished stand-up and a writer of comedy. He used to write for “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and for comedian George Lopez and his show, “Lopez Tonight.” But McCullough’s real coup as a writer was when Oscar-winning comedian/actor Jaime Foxx asked him to write material when he hosted “Saturday Night Live.”
McCullough has acted in the movies “Terminal Velocity” (starring Charlie Sheen, James Gandolfini and Nastassja Kinski) and the cult classic Wayans Bros. hit “Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood” (as Crazy Legs). McCullough is so identified with that character that he even sells T-shirts after shows with the Crazy Legs image on it.
The comedian also played Mouse on “The Jamie Foxx Show” and has appeared on a number of Comedy Central shows, late night talk shows and on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.”
The Improv at Harveys takes place Wednesdays through Sundays at 9 p.m. Learn more at http://www.harveystahoe.com.