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By Dianne R. Davis

 

Photos by Dianne or Burt Davis
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Paul Rodriguez Brings the Laughs to Laugh Factory Opening at New Tropicana

What's everyone at the New Tropicana laughing about?

On Wednesday evening, May 23, the answer was the comedians at the renown Laugh Factory.   Jamie Masada, Founder of the Laugh Factory, welcomed the audience members and told them that, “This hotel is going to become known for comedy.”

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Paul Rodriguez and Laugh factory Exec Harry Basil

Headliner Paul Rodriguez brought his unique humor to a packed house of well wishers, media, and comedy fans.  Prior to the show, there was the traditional Las Vegas Red Carpet.

 

Murray Sawchuck, semi-finalist on America's Got Talent, was there with his trusty sidekick, Doug “Lefty” Leferovich” and lovely assistant Chloe Crawford. Murray's comedy show is running through the summer at 7 p.m. right in the Laugh Factory.

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Tia Carrere and Tropicana VP Tom Recine Tia Carrere represented Dancing with the Stars, also playing at the Tropicana.

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Skye Dee Miles, singer extraordinaire at the Ambhar Lounge at the Tropicana, was welcomed by Tropicana Director of Entertainment Anthony Pecora.

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Comic hypnotist Marc Savard, show with his wife Joanna, came over from the V Theater where he performs.

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The guys from Thunder Down Under with theirPR maven Penny Levin added to the fun.

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Local journalists John Katsilometes and Tricia McCrone aka Kats and the Dish joined in the laughter.

 

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Comedy-lover Seth Yudof was on hand to cheer on the comics.

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Miss Nevada, Alana Lee, ended up as part of one of the acts and was a trouper.

If they weren't fans of comedy before, it was clear that everyone was when the show ended. The comedians at this Grand Opening were top of the line. George Wallace George Wallace came by prior to his nightly 10 p.m. gig at the Flamingo. I know what you're thinking -- How can I mention a difference hotel and competing performer? Simple. The generous and gracious Jamie Masada set the pace when he told the audience members that after they enjoy their visit to the Laugh Factory, they should go see Brad Garrett at his comedy club at MGM. Class, huh! This man want us to laugh.

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George Wallace

Wallace brought his unique perspectives of the world and his particular political commentaries. Heck, he even brought free tickets to his show which he passed into the audience. I be thinkin' he's a good guy. Even if he did comment that, “All great presidents fooled around a little bit.” On the subject of Peta, Wallace remarked that, “You can't treat those animals like dogs.” The man is funny. And why does he keep flying? Simple, to go through security. “I'm over 50 and I just want someone to touch me,” he told us. We'd have been disappointed if the Momma jokes hadn't come and they did. “Yo Momma so fat,” Well, if you want the endings, you'll have to get them from George.

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Paul Rodriguezwith the women of Fantasy

Rodriguez won the audience over pretty quickly with his stories about the pressures of being Latino, virgins, the Middle East, bank robbers, and gambling. We're talking headliner doing warm up? Seems to me that the Laugh Factory understands that sometimes you win by breaking the rules. Dave Burley was hilarious as was Ron Pearson. Both seasoned professionals kept the laughter going strong. Burley's good looks didn't hurt any and Pearson's physical humor and talents as a juggler and unicycle rider just brought more laughter.

USA Today named the Laugh Factory “the #1 comedy club in the country."  Guest comedians have included Roseanne Barr, Drew Carey, Jim Carrey, Dave Chappelle, Dane Cook, Rodney Dangerfield, Ellen DeGeneres, Kathy Griffin, Andy Kaufman, Jay Leno, David Letterman, George Lopez, Bill Maher, Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Ray Romano, Bob Saget, Adam Sandler, Jerry Seinfeld, Sarah Silverman, Jon Stewart, Chris Tucker, and Robin Williams. According to the press releases from the Laugh Factory at the New Tropicana, performers will range from ”established stand-up superstars to the young rising stars of tomorrow.” If the talent brought in continues to be as good as it was for the opening, then the Laugh Factory will be a laughing matter. I loved it.

Murray The Magican is at Tropicana's Laugh Factory

Murray Sawchuckis finally performing in Las Vegas on a regular basis. The talent and charisma of this 30 something performer with the trademark spike blond hair has taken him to Tahti, Hawaii, Fiji, and all over the US. His semi-final finish on American's Got Talent brought him notoriety as did his appearances as a Houdini expert on Pawn Stars.

Now, he's spending the summer in the Laugh Factory at the new Tropicana. Murray's 7 p.m. show is the one you can take the entire family to see. Change that. It's the one you should take the entire family to see!


Yes, there are lots of magicians in this town, but this one is so endearing. He's got personality to go along with the magic. I've seen some of the tricks before, but he brings such a likability to the act that's just plain fun.

Murray has perfected the art of audience interaction, be it with a senior citizen or one of the kids who sit mesmorized as he does both the slight of hand and the larger tricks such as changing locations when locked in the box or changing out of his signature blue suit in mere seconds behind a curtain.

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Photo credit: Robert Seketa/loosepuppy.com



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Photo credit: Robert Seketa/loosepuppy.com

Adding to the fun is his assistant “Lefty”(Douglas Leferovich) who has some of his own tricks up his sleeves and Murray's beautiful assistant Chloe.  Hey, it is Vegas. We need pretty.

You'll love Murray as will your kids and grand kids. And say hi to Murray after the show.  Tickets start at $32 and are available at the  Tropicana box office or by calling  739-2222.

Best Little Whorehouse Draws from True Story for Texas Fun at Plaza

“Texas has a Whorehouse in it, Lord have mercy on my soul!” Folks, it is true. Texas really did have the infamous Chicken Ranch, located just outside of LaGrange, Texas. Now you can enjoy the broadway-ized somewhat risque version of the story of the demise of the brothel known as the Chicken Ranch. Just take your sense of humor and fun down to the Plaza Hotel and Casino where the story unfolds nightly at 7 p.m.

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“The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” tells the tail- um, excuse me, the tale - of how a crusading reporter shut down the well know establishment which had been visited and utilized by everyone from Texas Aggies on their way to and from school to Texas politicians on their way to Austin to vote on bills to help the economy. Fact is, the Chicken Ranch was good for the local economy. Hey, after the guys enjoyed themselves with the ladies, they might stop for something to eat or purchase an item or two to bring home to their wives.

That is until the early 1970's when a Houston-based crusading reporter stepped in and made a fuss that reverberated all the way up to the side stepping governor, humorously portrayed by John Ivanoff. This delightful fictionalized visit to Texas history is presented with a tongue in cheek attitude by an ambitious group of players who romp and stomp around the stage with a backdrop of Miss Mona's infamous establishment.

This isn't a full broadway production, but the players fill the stage with a combination of bawdy fun and softer moments as they bring the characters to life and actually make you feel like the Chicken Ranch should stay open. Miss Mona's girls, not surprisingly, trade their long gowns for scanty costumes. It is Vegas after all.

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The guys give us some great gymnastic dance maneuvers as the happy soon-to-be-satisfied Aggies. Jacquelyn Holland-Wright and Kellie Wright share the acting responsibilities for Miss Mona Stangley who runs the brothel. I saw Kellie's strong performance as the madam who started out as one of the girls.

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Ron Smith is well suited to the role of Sheriff Ed Earl who has known - and I mean known - Miss Mona for many years and is sympathetic to the plight of the girls who are about to loose their home base. I loved the incredibly talented Skye DeeMiles in the shared featured role of the feisty Jewel.

If you enjoyed the movie version with Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton or if you never saw the movie, take your good ol' Texas attitude for fun to the Plaza for The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Ticket prices start at $59.95 for general admission and are available at the Plaza’s box office next to the showroom, by phone at 702-946-8934 or 800-793-9332, or online at www.plazahotelcasino.com.

WSOP BEGINS 2012 RUN

The 2012 World Series of Poker began on May 27 at The Rio Resort and Hotel and will run daily until July 16.  Most people do not realize that the WSOP consists of much more than the $10,000 buy-in Main Event that garners the largest share of attention.

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The Main Event which begins on Saturday, July 7 is preceded by 60 unique tournaments ranging from $500 to $10,000 buy-ins.  Poker fans will recognize such events as 7 card stud, Omaha High/Lo and Low Ball Poker.

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Many of the well known poker pros participate in these events along with the amateurs who enjoy the thrill of tournament play with the pros without having to pay a $10,000 entry fee.

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Winners of the individual events will be awarded their winners’ gold bracelets at 2:20 PM in Rio’s Brasilia Room on the day following their victory. Tournament play will be stopped for the presentations.

The Big One for One Drop

The Big One for One Drop starts on July 1 at 1:11 PM and is the highlight of the preliminary events. This No-Limit Texas Hold Em event requires a $1,000,000 buy-in and is designed to raise money for The One Drop Charity.  There will be at least 35 entries to this event and the competition will be fierce.  Yes, you read it right, that’s one million dollars entry fee.

The Big One concludes with the final table on July 3 in time for everyone to get a breather prior to the start of the Main Event on July 7.  The Main Event continues until July 16 when the tournament plays down to the final 9 players.  Play for the final 9 starts on October 28 and will continue until October 30 when the main event champion will be determined.

ESPN will start its formal coverage of the events with the final table of The One Drop Tournament.  Many of the other events will be streamed live—check out WWW.WSOP.com for coverage details.

Visiting the WSOP at The Rio is a must activity for any visitor to Vegas, poker fan or not. Attendees can get close to the players and it is a real thrill to see so many folks playing poker and also get to see a well known poker pro or entertainment celebrity in action.  Events run well into the night. Many vendors add color to the tournament.

For more details and exact times of events visit www.wsop.com.  See you at the Rio.




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