Most folks know Charles Fleischer as the voice of Roger Rabbit — to this day he's recognized from the 1988 blockbuster movie "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" and he doesn't mind whatsoever (but he won't do the rabbit's voice because that would be like asking Jimmie "J.J." Walker to say "dyn-o-mite" — not gonna happen).
Speaking of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," director Robert Zemeckis was so impressed with Fleischer's voicing of the lead character that he asked the performer to voice over other characters in the movie: Benny The Cab and the two sinister weasels, Greasy and Psycho. Fleischer's voice has also appeared in "The Polar Express" (the 2004 film also directed by Zemeckis) and 2011's "Rango," which stars Johnny Depp.
Fleischer appeared in "Chain Letter" (2010), the apocalyptic thriller "Dystopia" (2013), "Die Laughing" (1980), "Night Shift" (1982), "Bad Dreams" (1988) and three of my personal favorites: "Back To The Future II" (1989), "Gross Anatomy" (1989) and — one of his best roles — the creepy character of Bob Vaughn in "Zodiac" (2007).
But it's his stand-up that allows Fleischer to expand, and every show is different because it includes audience participation. There's a unique finale that is very impressive, and it doesn't matter where you're seated either — Fleischer will find and include you! If you are selected, don't worry: It's all in good fun, but be forewarned that you get to be part of the act and will probably wind up in a song that Fleischer composes on the spot.
As if his comedy, voiceovers and acting weren't enough, Fleischer is also an amazing artist and his creations are outer-worldly. The images look almost like he created them with a laser in another solar system. The detail is unbelievable. I think his artwork stems from his fascination with science and theories on how the universe was created. If you're fortunate enough to catch him in the right moment and have a love of science (both mathematical and sci-fi) you get to experience another, mind-blowing side of the performer. When asked about the expanding universe, he said, "I'm thinking the universe is either a dodecahedron or a cheeseburger, and for me that's a win-win." That's usually when my mind implodes.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak came to one of our shows and I wish I had recorded him talking with Fleischer after the gig. It wasn't about computers, although a lot of mathematics was involved. Speaking of which, Fleischer turned me on to the concept of Moleeds and its relation to all things numerical. He discovered an interesting relationship between the numbers 27 and 37, which affect everything (as he says) "from protons to neutrons to croutons." According to Fleischer this "blueprint for infinity is called Moleeds." As strange as it seems his theories of all things molecular have found their way into his comedy, which (as you can imagine) is very abstract. He also uses different voices to emphasize his set-ups and punch lines.
Suffice it to say Charles Fleischer is a very multi-faceted individual and as a comedian he incorporates all these traits into a unique and entertaining show — which is why he's The Improv's only performer this week. With so many voices we just didn't have the room for anybody else.
The Improv at Harveys takes place Wednesdays through Sundays at 9 p.m. Learn more at http://www.harveystahoe.com.