A little bit of comedy, a little bit of tragedy at Caesars Palace

For the uninitiated, I live about a mile from the center of the Las Vegas Strip. That means when I have to attend an event taking place on or near that famous four-mile stretch of road, I usually don’t mind too much. It’s a five-minute drive to the back entrance of a property’s parking garage, especially if it’s on my side of the Strip (for you non-Las Vegans, the Strip essentially divides our fair city in half, east and west).

The Comedy Festival has been taking over Caesars Palace since Wednesday or Thursday, HBO bringing together a number of the world’s top comics for four or five days of funny business. A good amount of heavyweights are here–Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Ellen DeGeneres, Eddie Izzard, Kevin James–as well as, um, some second-stringers and past-their-primers.

Being the media whore I am, I made sure I scored a few review tickets to a few of the performances this weekend, and tonight, I ventured over to Caesars’ Collosseum to check out the aforementioned Mr. Rock. (That sounds funny; read it aloud: “MISTER ROCK.” I picture some white dude in ripped jeans, a sleeveless Bon Jovi jersey and a glorious mullet, as opposed to the actual Mr. Rock, who is a skinny, well-dressed black man. Maybe this is why no one calls him “Mr. Rock.” Man, my tangents go on waaay too long.)

As mohawk-rocking journalist Al Mancini concurred, Rock’s performance was about 75 percent funny, which is pretty good for anyone, especially comedians like Rock who have used the same shtick most of their careers (in his case, of course, it’s race jokes). The Collosseum was well-packed, unlike the last time I was there for a Comedy Festival event, 2006’s Triumph the Insult Comic Dog show, which really should have been held in one of the ballrooms at the casino. It took about a good 20 minutes for the aisles to clear up after the show before I could even get out of my row of seats (hereafter known as “The Media Nosebleed Section”).

However, I should have seen what was next: The Caesars Palace parking garage debacle. Last time I was at Caesars for a big event, it was the Human Rights Campaign’s annual charity gala. However, there must have been another show/event letting out about the same time, because I found myself in my car stuck on the sixth or seventh floor of the behemoth parking garage, sitting unmoving for about a half-hour. My next destination was Krave, where the gala’s afterparty was being held. I pulled out of the line of cars, parked, and just walked to the gay club, which is only about two or three blocks from Caesars on the Strip.

Well, sure enough, the same thing happened after Chris Rock let out. After sitting in my car for another half-hour of pure boredom and frustration on the seventh floor of the garage, I parked, and decided to either a) grab some food at Caesars or b) hoof it home and come back for my car the next day. I walked back into Caesars, had a quick chat with the aforementioned Mancini and his wife, then decided to go with plan b.

As I mentioned at the start of this ramble, I live only about a mile from the Strip. In most cities, walking a mile isn’t so bad. In Las Vegas, however, it’s nearly unheard of to walk anywhere, let alone walk a mile somewhere. While I did consider grabbing a bus if one came along, it wasn’t until I was already a block from my apartment that one came rumbling down Flamingo Road heading east. The walk was nice; the weather has been about as perfect as it ever gets here, and at nearly 2 a.m., I had some quiet time with my thoughts for once.

However, Caesars Palace really needs to do something about the parking situation. A few years ago, they expanded the five-story garage to eight or nine stories, but the engineering geniuses neglected to incorporate such ground-breaking concepts as logic or common sense into its design. If every time a show at the Collosseum lets out, the situation is that bad (and I’m guessing it is, and I’m guessing between Elton John, Jerry Seinfeld and Celine Dion in that massive showroom, it’s often), then Caesars (or, I guess, Harrah’s, the parent company) needs to do SOMETHING to allow for better flow of traffic and/or another exit option in that garage.

Of course, I’m going back there tonight (well, actually, I’m going back there in a few minutes, to retrieve my car) for Eddie Izzard. But I think this time, I’m going to either a) leave the car at home or b) park across the street.

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