Budd Friedman and Mark Lonow’s world-famous Improv Comedy Club at Harrah’s Las Vegas showcases a different marquee of acts each week. Shelley Berman takes the stage tomorrow through Sunday, with supporting acts Darryl Collier and Avi Liberman.
Shelley Berman started as a straight actor, receiving his training at the Goodman Theater in Chicago, honing his acting skills in stock companies in and around Chicago and New York. In the mid-fifties he became a member of Chicago’s Compass Players, the group today known as The Second City. Here he developed his skill as an improvisation pro.
In 1957, Berman landed his first job as a comedian at Mr. Kelly’s in Chicago. His comedy albums would earn him three gold records and he’d win the first Grammy for a non-musical recording. He was the first standup comedian to appear in Carnegie Hall. He continues throughout America internationally with his one-man comedy show. With the release of his 1995 CD recording “Shelley Berman – Live Again!” he crossed another career milestone. In 2000, he was honored at the Chicago Festival of Comedy doing Shelley Berman, A Body of Work. These days, Berman headlines in Las Vegas twice a year.
Berman also starred in the Broadway musical A Family Affair and the one-man show Insideoutsideandallaround Shelley Berman. In addition, he starred in the national tour of the musical Two By Two and Neil Simon’s The Prisoner Of Second Avenue. His work in the Chicago production of I’m Not Rappaport earned him a best actor nomination for the Jefferson Award. He was also awarded two LA Dramalogue Best Actor Awards.
Early in Berman’s career, he appeared regularly on the Ed Sullivan Show, The Jack Paar Show, and major variety of other shows. TV guest star credits include Nightcourt, Macgyver, recurring character Ben Flicker on L.A. Law, Friends, Arliss, Providence, Walker, Texas Ranger. In 2003, he was a guest star on the sitcom King Of Queens. He recently played Larry David’s father in HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Films include The Best Man with Henry Fonda; Every Home Should Have One co-star with Marty Feldman; Divorce American Style; Rented Lips; Teen Witch; Elliot Fauman PHD; After School Special The Kid Who Wouldn’t Quit; Burt Reynolds’ The Last Producer in 1999.
He has authored three books: Cleans And Dirtys, A Hotel Is A Funny Place and Up In The Air With Shelley Berman. He has written two plays: First Is Supper, first produced in Chicago in 1990 and Silver Sonata performed in San Diego in 1996. He has written TV pilots for CBS, Screen Gems, Desilu and NBC.
Berman is in his nineteenth year of teaching at USC in the Master of Professional Writing program. His subject is Writing Humor, Literary and Dramatic.
Improv shows are at 8:30pm and 10:30pm every Tuesday through Sunday. Tickets are $31.95 (plus applicable taxes) or $44.95 (plus applicable tax/fees) for VIP tickets that include special seating, an Improv t-shirt and post-show meet-and-greet with the comics. Special two-for-one tickets are also available for locals. Tickets are available at Harrah’s Box Office (702-369-5223) and online at www.harrahs.com.