For Laugh Factory comedian/impressionist, Harry Basil, the month of May, 2014, is a very special and important milestone for him, as it marks the 30th year that the entertainer has been working on the Las Vegas Strip. Basil will be performing this week (May 26–June 1), at the Tropicana Hotel, along with Dean Delray and Traci Skene.
It was the week of May 4, 1984, when Basil was hired by Mitzi Shore, owner of the world famous Comedy Store in Los Angeles, to perform at The Dunes Hotel on the Strip. This was an experiment by Mitzi, to see if she could fill the 500-seat showroom, and make a profit doing it. It was also the very first comedy club to open on the Vegas Strip. The line-up that opening week consisted of: Louie Anderson, Jim Carrey, Blake Clark, Paul Rodriguez, Argus Hamilton, Andrew Dice Clay, and Basil. All of whom went on to become huge stars.
This was the first time for most of them to play Vegas. “It was very exciting, because we were in the main showroom,” Basil explained. “The Dunes was still old school too…you still had to tip a Maître d’ to get a good seat, and everyone dressed to the nines to see the show.”
Headliners on the Strip started to make it a ritual to catch the late show. Harry said the word was out that the Comedy Store had five new acts every week, instead of the normal two or three. Mitzi had Basil close the show that first week, because his high energy act was a real crowd-pleaser. She continued to book Basil, one week a month, for the entire run at the Dunes. Basil continued to perform on the Las Vegas Strip, opening for many of the leading stars of the day, including legends like Liza Minnelli and Rodney Dangerfield.
Today, Basil is one of the partners and producers of The Laugh Factory at The Tropicana Hotel. Going on its second year, The Laugh Factory has quickly become the hottest comedy club on the Strip. Currently it has a 4:00 p.m. Magic Show starring Murray SawChuck. The 7:00 p.m. “Headliner show,” that starred comedy legend Roseanne Barr for four months, followed by a six month run by prop legend, Gallagher, will soon announce another comedy star opening this summer.
Dean Delray is an enigmatic funnyman, who brings the party to the stage and pulls no punches with every rock-star performance. Drawing on his own “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll” lifestyle, his comedy leaves audiences with lighters in the air begging for an encore. Delray has appeared in Quentin Tarantino’s “Hell Ride,” “The Longshots” and “Noise Matters.” Dean toured internationally with The Wallflowers, and opened for Tom Petty and Lenny Kravitz. Traci Skene is a writer and professional stand-up comedian. Skene has been called the “funniest woman in Philadelphia.” Not only has she performed in all 50 states, but she has also appeared on VH1’s “Fools for Love,” VH1’s “Stand-Up Spotlight,” A&E’s “Comedy on the Road” and was featured on Season 7 of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.” Traci also co-wrote “The Comedy Bible: The Complete Resource for Aspiring Comedians,” with Brian McKim, which made its debut in 2011.
So come to the Laugh Factory this week and help Harry celebrate his 30-years of performing in Las Vegas. Show times are 8:30 & 10:30 p.m. and tickets priced at $34.95 and $44.95, may be reserved by calling 702-739-2411
THIS AND THAT QUICKLY:
This summer, The M Resort Spa Casino brings classic, feel-good hits to its 2,300-seat M Pavilion Theater, during its, “Sizzling Summer Concert series.” Marking the official first day of summer, the acclaimed tribute to the legendary Beach Boys, Papa Doo Run Run will take the stage for a special one-night only performance on Saturday, June 21. Sinatra Forever, starring Rick Michel, alongside a 24-piece orchestra, will dazzle audiences with a lauded interpretation of Sinatra’s original arrangements on Saturday, July 12. Then, summer will get even hotter, with The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Concert Show, featuring Justin Shandor, winner of Graceland’s Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist, performing on Saturday, Aug. 30. Doors to all concerts will open at 6:00 p.m., with show time set for 7:00 p.m. Ticket prices for all concerts are: $19.99, $24.99, $29.99 plus tax and fees
Tickets are on sale now at the M Box Office, by phone 800-745-3000, or at Ticketmaster.com.
A close friend, and a long time radio personality of our little village, Murray Westgate, is not well. Here’s the information I received from Cork Proctor (remember him? He now lives in Equador). Murray has had a stroke and is in Summerlin Hospital, Rm 422. He is responding well, and would welcome phone calls from old friends in the media. Murray could definitely use some cheering up and company. The best and quickest way to reach him is on his cell phone: 702-203-2917.
Acclaimed Neil Diamond tribute artist, Rob Garret & his KOD band will make their debut in the 1,500-seat Dallas Events Center of the Texas Station Casino/Hotel on Saturday, May 31. Garrett has had a long, prolific, career as a Las Vegas entertainer. Rob began performing with his band, ROCK N ROLL HEAVEN in 1980, working bars, clubs, lounges, and even some showrooms before he ultimately decided to change the direction of his career, by becoming a Neil Diamond tribute artist for Legends in Concert in 1995. He worked on and off for ‘Legends” for more than five years before going off on his own, traveling around the country (sometimes the world), becoming one of the most popular, respected, tribute acts in the industry, and earning the title “King of Diamonds”. His shows always sell out which is a testament to the hard work, and perseverance he has put into his trade. As one Las Vegas critic aptly put it “after witnessing one of Rob Garrett’s shows, you realize that there is actually an art to impersonating somebody else. Neil Diamond would be proud”. Last year Garrett was awarded the “Musical Tribute Artist of the Year” by the Entertainment Exchange in Las Vegas. Joining Garrett on stage is Keith Neal (guitar/vocals), Daryl Slade (bass), Steve Gerard (keys), Jay Boyer (keys), Steve Poncar(sax/vocals), Brian Kell, (percussion), Jeff Borree (drums), and Russine Zellner (vocals). Show times are 8:00 and 10:30 p.m. with tickets priced at $23.45 plus fees. For further information call 1-800-745-3000.
Well, gang, that’s it for this week.
I’m outa here!