Funny People

It’s odd that I don’t go to more comedy shows. Comedy in all forms — sketches, stand-up, parody — is actually one of my favorite things. I spend hours watching clips online of all of the above, I’ve been known to rent/own the occasional stand-up DVD, but I think in my entire life I’ve seen less than a dozen live comedy shows. And most of those, let’s be honest, have been media comps over the last five or six years.

Such was last night’s visit to Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club at the Tropicana, a space with which I’m pretty familiar, because for years before the gargantuan funnyman’s name adorned its marquee, it was known as the Comedy Stop (which recently moved south on the Strip to the Sahara). The revamped club opened just this week, with Garrett as the first headliner. Not much has been done to the space, which retains its old-school Vegas adornments — dark wood, sight line-blocking pillars, giant, ornate chandeliers — though rumor has it Garrett had the ceiling above the stage raised to accommodate his 6-foot-8-inch frame. Though he’ll obviously not be in the club all the time, it’s the only place in Vegas to see the Emmy-winning comedian for the next two years.

Last night’s show was pretty good, the room packed with a mix of paid attendees and invited guests, including poker star Annie Duke, a friend of the poker-loving Garrett. But she was about the only person immune to Garrett’s roasting of the crowd, from the unfortunate folks seated front row to the ubiquitous Robin Leach, who, unbeknown to Garrett, threw quite the temper tantrum when his party arrived late to the club to find their seats unavailable. To be fair, we arrived a few minutes before showtime and already there were almost no seats left, but we didn’t have an entourage of questionably sourced young blonde vixens, nor a grating English accent with which to berate the Tropicana’s president.

But despite that nonsense, a good time was had by all, as evidenced by the nonstop, riotous laughter throughout the room. Garrett, humorously mean the whole while, took out the time to answer audience questions after his set, encouraging an interactivity that really made the whole night feel more like a big roast for good friends rather than just a trip to the local comedy club.

One major complaint — and this may be sorted out after the Tropicana’s extensive transformation into a South Beach-style resort is complete — is that Garrett’s club is damn hard to find, hidden behind a labyrinthine series of executive offices, salons and hallways on the casino’s upper level. Signage is iffy and vague, and even though I’ve been to the club a few times before, it was still disorienting to say the least. But maybe that’s part of the charm, the last vestige of that Vegas “insider” feeling guests boasted back in the “old days.” Or maybe Garrett and his rotating lineup of wise guys just want to make the yucks at the end of the journey worth all that much more.


  1. lisa levy June 30, 2010 8:18 pm 

    This is why you write a blog and Robin Leach gets VIP treatment, you will never be him:

    Care of Vegas Deluxe…by Robin Leach…

    It was standing room only during last night’s second evening of Brad Garrett’s new Comedy Club at the new-look and revamped Tropicana, and he’s off to a sensational start with jam-packed houses. As the owner and headliner, Brad even found himself organizing extra tables and chairs to squeeze in the overflow while his opening acts, singer-pianist George Bugatti and comic Rob Sherwood, got the show underway.

    “It’s a great problem to have so soon,” laughed Brad as he picked up the tab for some fans relegated to the back of the room. Backstage after the show, he greeted poker pro Annie Duke, Fantasy star Angelica Bridges, model Brittany Mason and Zowie Bowie singer Chris Phillips.

    Brad told us that the Comedy Club, originally his hero Rodney Dangerfield’s Las Vegas home, was a total dream come true for him since he was 25 and first arrived on The Strip opening for Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. at the old Desert Inn (now the site of Wynn and Encore) 26 years ago. He recalled that before Frank later fired him, the singer always mixed up his name, calling him Gregg Barrett — and never once got it correct!

    His savage and slicing humor is hysterical, and be forewarned if you sit in the front rows. He’s going to pick on you with high-speed jabs that had last night’s audience roaring in nonstop laughter. No one was safe last night, including me! It’s the best four-letter funfest show I’ve seen all year — and last. Brad is so fast on his feet tying the audience’s weaknesses, frailties and revealed secrets together that is a lambasting of pure comedic genius.

    His Q&A to wrap up the night is nothing short of brilliant, spontaneous and savage sarcasm. There were fans from as far away as Ireland last night, and he spared them no mercy, either. If you’re expecting his cuddly TV persona, you are in for the most delightful shock of your life, as this roller coaster of comedy high-speeds with out-of-control outrageous humor.

    Brad, who will walk Saturday’s celebrity red carpet at the Ante Up for Africa charity poker tournament at The Rio, headlines at his club through Sunday and returns mid-September. In between, he’ll not only have headline comics such as Kevin Nealon, Dom Irrera and Rocky LaPorte performing, but also will drop by to play host and greeter at the front door.

    I asked him about his close Hollywood pals such as Ray Romano dropping by, and he assured me that they will when it doesn’t conflict with their rival hotel contract appearances.

    Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

  2. Pj Perez June 30, 2010 8:56 pm 

    Why would I want to be Robin Leach? I’m pretty good with who I am, thanks.

    Appreciate you dropping by.

  3. Marilyn Perez July 1, 2010 1:15 pm 

    My dear Lisa Levy, Im sure Robin pays you well for your services…
    PS. EXACTLY!!!! Why would anyone want to be Robin Leach?