By Bobbie Katz
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the showroom…
…you learn that master roaster and insult comedian Vinnie Favorito will be “eating you up alive” at the Flamingo through February 2017.
Well, hey, it isn’t often that you get the opportunity to experience “Jaws” upfront and personal and live to tell the tale. Favorito is proof positive that he has “teeth,” in this case, staying power. And no doubt about it, the quick-witted sharp-tongued comedian, who goes up, down and around and around Bugsy’s Cabaret nightly searching for his prey in his off-the-cuff audience participatory show, will try to make mincemeat out of you. But it comes with so much “ham” that you’ll be laughing with every mouthful.
“How lucky am I to be able to hurl insults and poke fun at people for a living?” Favorito asks rhetorically. “I have a couple hours of material that I never do because I think that the people sitting in the room are funnier than I’ll ever be. I do just a few jokes upfront to talk about the show and earn people’s trust. It sets the stage. Once I have their trust, I can get away with anything. And I do.”
Favorito, who has a reputation for being one of the quickest guys on his feet, possesses a phenomenal memory. He can talk to 40 people during his high-energy unpredictable show and refer to each of them throughout his evening, calling them by name and recalling pertinent details about them.
“I never worry about insulting people,” he admits. “The one question I’m asked more than any other after the show is if I’ve ever been attacked. I never talk to anyone who doesn’t want to be talked to and I can tell instantly who they are. But that doesn’t happen very often because, 99 percent of the time, people know what kind of show they’re going to be coming to and they’re there to have fun.. Some ask to sit in the back because they think they’re safe but they’re not. If someone goes after me, I know how to finesse it. I buff things up and make it fun. It’s like someone punches you to the ground then picks you up and asks if you’re all right.”
Favorito acknowledges that he doesn’t get personal and that he doesn’t do the fat, thin, bald, etc. stuff. He also never mentions issues such as rape, illness, religion, politics or abortion -- in essence, anything that can split the audience.
“I have regulars who come back to my show time after time,” he relates. “I’m really a very caring person. I do things you wouldn’t expect. One night, a kid in the audience opened up to me and said that his father wouldn’t talk to him and that his dad didn’t care about him. So I called his father on the kid’s cell phone during the show and talked to him. At first, I was serious, then I started joking with him and told him who I was. The upshot was that after the show, the kid was out in the lobby talking to his dad on the phone.”
The comic, who hails from Boston’s inner city and says he was once so shy that, at 24, he had to take a comedy class to get over his stagefright, notes that he comes at kids from a street level as opposed to a parental one. Having grown up in a tough situation himself, he can relate to them and visa versa. With his audiences ranging in age from 18-90, he gets a lot of 20-somethings in his show.
“They’ll come in wearing their hats backward,” Favorito muses. “I’ll remind them that they’re white and tell them to turn the hats around. Or some of the black kids will come in with grills in their mouths, which are teeth made out of diamonds or gold like the rappers wear. I’ll break it down for them about how ridiculous they look until they realize it’s really not so cool. I go down avenues others won’t. Like the late George Carlin, who was a fan of mine, said to me, ‘You walk that line without crossing it and that’s what I love about you.’ Actually, I became good at ad-libbing when I was growing up and had to talk myself out of fights going through different neighborhoods. I was small but the kids thought I was all right because I was funny.”
Favorito also has quite an older following, whom he says loves his show because they leave it feeling young. The comedian announces when he walks out on stage that everyone is going to leave his room feeling equal, regardless of age, sex, race or color.
“When people realize that everyone else is letting their guard down, it is a lot of fun,” he muses. “Some are afraid to be picked on but they come back time and time again and bring friends. No two shows are ever alike. People are amazed at my quickness and memory, to the extent that some even think I use ‘plants’ in the audience. Of
course, by the time. I get to the 20th person they’re saying, ‘Well he couldn’t have brought in all those people.’ But they come back to see the show again just to make sure.”
Everyday people and celebrities are also equal when it comes to taking Favorito’s heat. Over the years, the comic has roasted many well-known celebrities, including Tom Arnold, Larry King, Jerry Springer, Magic Johnson and Pat O’Brien, earning him the well-deserved reputation in Hollywood for being among the best celebrity roasters.
One thing’s for certain, Favorito’s show is one of those “you have to see it to believe it” evenings. If you enjoy a roasting, this is one you’ll definitely want to “catch.”
This article appears by courtesy of Vegas Insider Daily.com.