Harry Basil moved out to Hollywood from New Jersey and created his comedy acts at world famous comedy clubs, where he was discovered by Rodney Dangerfield on HBO's The 9th Annual Young Comedians Special. A close friendship developed between Basil and Dangerfield, and Basil became Dangerfield's exclusive opening act for 17 years.
Basil, being a human movie trailer, takes his audiences on a wild romp through current and classic movies, with a trunk of outrageous props and costumes that could fill a sound stage. Basil also recreates and spoofs memorable moments from classic hit movies. He is more than an impressionist, as he physically and vocally takes on a wide variety of unforgettable actors and movie characters, pulling unsuspecting audience members up on stage to act as his co-stars.
Some of the movies Basil chooses to spoof are Jaws, Titanic, Forrest Gump, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Departed, Goodfellas, There Will Be Blood, Superman, Spider-Man, Scarface, 8 Mile, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Rocky, Scream, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Pulp Fiction, Pretty Woman, The Untouchables, GoldenEye, Twister, Ghost, The Silence of the Lambs, Batman, Mission: Impossible, Aliens, Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, The Full Monty, The Terminator, Sling Blade, Brokeback Mountain, and the entire nine hours of The Godfather saga, just to name a few.
Basil's movie acts led him to co-write and co-produce three of Rodney Dangerfield’s movies, Ladybugs for Paramount Pictures, Meet Wally Sparks for Trimark Pictures, and My 5 Wives co-starring Andrew Dice Clay, Jerry Stiller, and Saturday Night Live's Molly Shannon, for Artisan Entertainment.
Basil has also opened for such superstars as Liza Minnelli, The Pointer Sisters, The Beach Boys, Gloria Estefan, Chuck Berry, Julio Iglesies, and fellow Jersey Boy, Frankie Valli.
In 2001, he made his feature directing debut with The 4th Tenor, a romantic opera comedy starring Rodney Dangerfield, Charles Fleischer, and Dom Irrera, released by Warner Bros. He followed that in 2002 with Back by Midnight, a prison comedy starring Randy Quaid, Kirstie Alley, Harland Williams, Gilbert Gottfried, Rodney Dangerfield, and a whole cast of colorful comedians.
In 2003, Warner Bros. and Franchise Pictures hired Basil to write and direct the family comedy Funky Monkey, also known as Hairy Tale, which had its theatrical release in September of 2004. The film stars Matthew Modine, Jeffrey Tambor, Gilbert Gottfried, Tommy Davidson, and a chimpanzee skilled in karate. Basil then directed Cloud 9, a sexy beach volleyball comedy written and produced by Albert S. Ruddy, Oscar Award winning producer of The Godfather and Million Dollar Baby. The film stars Burt Reynolds, DL Hughley, Paul Rodriguez, and Gabrielle Reece. Basil is also executive producer and co-writer of Funny Money, a wild farce starring Chevy Chase, Penelope Ann Miller, Armand Assante, Chris McDonald, and Robert Loggia. The film had its world premiere at the 2006 Aspen Rooftop Comedy Festival and is currently airing on Showtime.
Acting is also another of Basil’s achievements. Since moving to Hollywood, Basil has appeared in several films and television shows. He landed a feature role in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1950s period romantic comedy Peggy Sue Got Married, starring Kathleen Turner and Nicolas Cage. Basil was cast as a member of Nicolas Cage’s singing group alongside fellow comedian Jim Carrey. He also appeared opposite Demi Moore in the sci-fi cult film, The Seventh Sign, and wrote himself small parts in Ladybugs and Meet Wally Sparks.
In 1990, after only several years in the business, then NBC chief Brandon Tartikoff signed Basil to a network development deal. Out of that came several television pilots, one, a spin-off from the hit series Family Ties. Basil has been a frequent favorite on many of the stand up comedy shows. He’s appeared on An Evening at the Improv, Caroline's Comedy Hour, Comedy Central, MTV, Showtime, and HBO.