When it comes to comedy, Jim TavarÃ© knows that the Atlantic Ocean is not the only thing that separates the U.S. and Britain.
TavarÃ©, born in Essex, England, has been a resident of both countries since he finished fourth on NBC's "Last Comic Standing" in 2008. He moved to Los Angeles at the recommendation of NBC executives.
"It's a great, creative place," said TavarÃ©, in a phone interview from his L.A. home in advance of next weekend's shows in Ogden. "You think it would be bad, Hollywood. But it's quite down to earth. It's all these people who have come from all around the country and all over the world, and getting together with their ideas."
The comic has also been a part of numerous television and movie projects, including "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" and British television's "The Sketch Show," co-created with Ricky Gervais. Still, his move to Hollywood brought with it more acting roles -- albeit with a bit of typecasting.
"I noticed people on the show ('Last Comic Standing') kept thinking I was scary or something like that," said TavarÃ©, who has played zombies and other disturbing roles. "So that was kind of my calling card, and actually, it worked out quite well."
TavarÃ© walked into Hollywood's Laugh Factory comedy club more than a year ago. He needed to cut some new comedy teeth in America.
He now has a regular featured spot on the weekends -- which he says has helped him get educated on "what makes Americans laugh."
He found there are definite differences in the two countries' humor.
"I think the British tend to be much more dark-overtoned, sarcastic. It's often lost here, and the British expect you to fill in the gaps," TavarÃ© said. "Where here, it is a lot more forward, bold, overstated -- but the laughs seem to be much more explosive."
British comics prefer to play with the language and incorporate more puns into the jokes. America's large comic population brings more competition, which in turn brings, according to TavarÃ©, more polished performances in the states.
Americans pride themselves on their performances, while Brits prefer to be more deadpan onstage and look at success in their writing.
"It does take a while to really get under the skin of it," TavarÃ© said. "I think you need to live here for a bit. That's why I don't think you see a lot of British people over here. Plus, it's hard to get a visa."
TavarÃ© has learned both styles and performs a specific one depending on his location. In America, he will bust a dance move as he mimics a Six Flags commercial. When he heads back to England, he will break out a routine that focuses heavily on a script.
In a way, TavarÃ© has always been a prop comic -- although not the type who carries a suitcase onstage and pulls out various odd items.
His prop has always been his double bass fiddle. Plus, he dresses the part of an orchestra man with a proper tuxedo.
Music is his sidekick as he explores humor in harmony. Instead of excerpts from Beethoven, he might play a sound effect called "man sawing off wooden leg." And the sounds of "Fiddler on the Roof" come with him actually standing on top of the bass.
In the early days, TavarÃ© used a piano. But he prefers the portability of the stringed instrument.
"Too bad you can't carry one of those (pianos) around," TavarÃ© said.
Recently, at the request of others, he started carrying around a recorder -- the flute-like instrument typically found in elementary schools.
"It's a great comedy prop. Makes great sound effects. Complements the bass and the exact opposite, I would say," TavarÃ© said.
Local college students will get two chances in the next couple of months to see TavarÃ© perform.
He will embark on a college tour beginning in April, and Weber State University is on the schedule for April 16 (a show that is open only to college students).
"It's great. Because when you do colleges, they don't allow the kids to drink until they're 21," TavarÃ© said. "It's much better when you have a sober listening crowd. That's what you need.
"The students are very bright and smart."
Watch a clip of Jim Tavaré