Two wild and funny guys will be holding forth this week (through Sunday, Jan. 15) at the Laugh Factory inside the New Tropicana Resort on the Las Vegas Strip. Steve Hytner and John Melendez are co-headlining this special engagement at the award-winning comedy club, located on the mezzanine level of the hotel. Hosting the two nightly shows is Johnny Cardinale.
Steve Hytner has made an indelible impression on both the large and small screens. Currently he can be seen on the new ABC comedy “Family Tools”, he’s brought his unique talents to more than 25 films, starred as a series regular on seven TV shows and has been a guest repeatedly on more than 50 others. Combined with his stand- up career, commercial appearances, Steve is one of America’s most recognized character actors. He received critical acclaim for his portrayal of Kenny Bania on the long running hit “Seinfeld”, His other works include “Hung”, “Mike and Molly”, “Two and a Half Men”, “Curb your Enthusiasm”” “CSI” “CSI New York”, “Boston Legal”, “Friends”, “Roswell”, “King of Queens” and many, many more. He started his feature career in the film “Ski Patrol” and went on to co-star in such films as “In the Line of Fire” with Clint Eastwood, “Forces of Nature” with Ben Affleck and Sandra Bullock, “The Marrying Man” with Alec Baldwin, “Eurotrip”, “Love Stinks”, “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle”, “The Haunted Mansion”, and “The Prophecy” trilogy of films to name a few.
John Melendez, after 15 seasons on Howard Stern’s radio show, John Melendez moved over to NBC’s The Tonight Show where he served as Jay Leno’s nightly announcer, and where he regularly appeared in the show’s comedy sketches and did correspondent pieces. Melendez, who began with The Howard Stern Show as an intern in college, landed on the air almost immediately. During his 15 seasons with Stern, Melendez gained national acclaim and recognition as “Stuttering John” with his daring and irreverent interview style and prominent personality. In addition to interviewing countless celebrities on the radio, Melendez was simultaneously hired as a field reporter for the nationally syndicated Howard Stern Television Show, where he worked for two seasons as an interviewer and in sketch pieces for the show’s man-on-the-street segments. He continued his television work for Howard Stern on the highly-rated E! television show. Aside from his notable work on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and with Howard Stern, Melendez’s feature film credits include Private Parts, Dude Where’s My Car, Meet Wally Sparks, Airheads and Osmosis Jones. On television, he is credited with appearances on the reality series I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here and Celebrity Fear Factor, had guest-starring roles on Wings and Baywatch Nights and was the voice of “Bob” in the animated series Tripping The Rift on the Sci-Fi channel. Melendez starred in the full-length feature, One, Two, Many, which he wrote and executive produced.
Johnny Cardinale has been featured on “Chelsea Lately” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” and he made his feature film debut in “Bobby Khan’s Ticket to Hollywood,” which premiered in 2014. He also hosts the podcast “For the Love of Mic” on iTunes. Johnny has performed for troops overseas on ten separate occasions in over thirty countries and is a highly sought after comedian on the college circuit.
Show times are 8:30 and 10:30 p.m., with tickets ranging from $34.95 to $54.95. Call 702-739-2411.
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Multi-talented entertainer Sheena Easton will bring three decades’ worth of hits to the Suncoast Showroom on Jan. 21-22. Easton burst onto the music scene in 1981 when her hit single “9 to 5” peaked at #3 on the U.K. charts and was certified Gold, before topping the charts in the United States. Her third studio album, entitled “You Could Have Been with Me,” went on to achieve Gold designation while the title track reached as high as #6 on the charts. That same year, Easton won her first Grammy Award for Best New Artist. The following year, her performance of the theme song for the James Bond film of the same name – “For Your Eyes Only” – was nominated for an Academy Award.
Easton continued her success throughout the 1980’s, recording the #1 hit “We’ve Got Tonight” with Kenny Rogers in 1983 and winning another Grammy Award for Best Mexican-American Performancein 1984. Easton continued to release hit songs as the years went on, including “The Lover in Me,” “101,” “What Comes Naturally” and more. In addition to her success on the charts, Scottish-born Easton has toured all around the world, including Canada, China, Thailand, Singapore, and Japan. Throughout her career, she has sold more than 20 million albums and singles worldwide. Showtime is 8:30 p.m. each night. Tickets start at $27 plus taxes and fees, and can be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000; online at www.suncoastcasino.com; or in-person at gift shops inside The Orleans, Suncoast, Gold Coast, and Sam’s Town. Tickets may also be purchased the day of the show (depending upon availability) at the venue box office.
Grammy Award-nominated jazz musicians The Rippingtons will bring their award-winning music to Access Showroom at Aliante Casino + Hotel + Spa on Saturday, Feb. 18. Formed in 1986 by the group’s only original member, Russ Freeman, The Rippingtons have been performing jazz music for more than 30 years across the United States, and has released nearly 20 albums. Their first album, “Moonlighting,” was well-received by critics and known for the song “She Likes to Watch.” In the early 1990’s, the group released its first #1 album, “Welcome to the St. James’ Club,” followed by “Curves Ahead,” an album influenced by Freeman’s move to Colorado. The group continued to release albums throughout the 90’s and 00’s. The group’s 15th album, “Modern Art,” was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2009 for Best Pop Instrumental Album. Freeman continues to helm the group and released The Rippingtons most recent album, “True Stories,” in June 2016. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets start at $39.50 plus tax and fees, and luxury booths are also available.
Legendary vocalist Sonny Turner, former lead singer of The Platters, brings his signature style to Access Showroom at Aliante Casino + Hotel + Spa on Saturday, Feb. 11. Turner hit the national scene in 1959, when he was selected from 100 prospects to replace The Platters’ original lead singer, Tony Williams. Starting age 19, Turner toured the world with The Platters, performing hits “I Love You 1000 Times,” “With This Ring,” and “Washed Ashore.” He also re-recorded the group’s major songs, including “Only You,” “The Great Pretender” and “The Magic Touch.”
In 1970, Turner left The Platters to pursue a solo career. His vocals can be heard on the soundtracks of movies “The Nutty Professor II” starring Eddie Murphy, “Hearts in Atlantis” starring Anthony Hopkins and “Prince of the City” starring Robert DeNiro. In 2005, Turner received The Lifetime Excellence in Entertainment Award presented to him by Consumer’s Entertainment Exchange and the Doo Wop Hall of Fame. He is also a member of The Vocal Group Hall of Fame and Beach Music Hall of Fame for his musical contributions to The Platters. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets start at $30.50 plus tax and fees, and luxury booths are also available. Guests 21 or older may purchase tickets by calling 702.692.7777 or visiting ticketing.
Statesville-based GMS Racing (GMS) announced that, beginning in 2017, the team will compete full-time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) with driver Spencer Gallagher. The Las Vegas native will continue to the pilot the No. 23, a number that he has raced since 2006 in honor of former NASCAR driver TJ Clark and his son, Spencer Clark. Gallagher began racing at the age of 12 in Legends Cars at the Las Vegas Bullring to kick off his climb through the racing circuit. Gallagher has been with GMS since 2014, first competing in the ARCA Racing Series and most recently the NCWTS. Over three seasons and 58 starts, Gallagher earned three top-fives, 15 top-10 finishes, and two pole awards. The 27-year-old made his NXS debut this past season, earning a best finish of eighth place at Daytona International Speedway in July. The team debuted the GMS Chevrolet Camaro at Phoenix International Speedway with a goal of building the program in preparation of running a full-time season in 2017.
“I am really excited about running full-time in the XFINITY Series,” said Gallagher. “I made my XFINITY debut this year and we learned a lot as an organization. Though I have raced against some of these drivers, I know the competition is going to be much more competitive so I need to be focused and on my “A” game all year. For next year, my plan is to continue and grow this program, be consistent and make the Chase.”
Well, gang, that’s it for the first column of 2017.