Laughter Is The Best Medicine
June 13-19, 2002 ARCHIVES
"Laughter Is The Best Medicine" Covers The Vegas Comedy Scene Weekly

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by Florence Troutman
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Doesn't it seem that George Carlin has been around the comedy world forever? The 65-year-old comic's material is as new and hilarious as if he wrote it yesterday and he most likely did! Carlin doesn't let any grass grow under his feet or any topic he wants to talk about pass him by. No comic ever has been able to make the topic of suicide hysterically funny, but Carlin does. With twelve HBO specials, numerous CD's and several books to his credit, this man never stops working. He is most certainly not for the faint of heart but if you keep an open mind, your sides will be aching as you walk out of the Hollywood Theatre at the MGM Grand. Opening the show is Dennis Blair, a comedy headliner in his own right, who brings an audience to just the right place for Carlin.

The Comedy Stop at the Tropicana Resort and Casino features three comedy headliners every week. This week it's comic / juggler / magician Todd Paul with stand-up comics Phil Palisoul and Nancy Ryan. Shows are at 8:00 (non-smoking) and 10:30 nightly. Tickets are $17.50, which includes tax gratuity and 2 drinks.

"I Love LaFong" starring comic, impressionist, ventriloquist Michelle LaFong and her stud-puppet boyfriend Paco has moved to the Royal Hotel and Casino at 99 Convention Center Drive, adjacent to the Stardust Hotel on Convention Center Drive and Las Vegas Blvd. This show is wonderful for older children to seniors. LaFong's ventriloquism talent is remarkable. Her take on Abbott and Costello's classic "Who's on First" is a classic in and of itself.

We attended a press conference for the First Annual Las Vegas Comedy Festival to be held at the Stardust Hotel September 4 through 8. A 10-city comedy talent search will begin in Los Angeles June 6-8 and will include Phoenix (June 13-15), Dallas (June 20-22), Atlanta (June 27-29), New York (July 11-13), Chicago (July 18-20), Minneapolis (July 21-23), Denver (July 25-28), Seattle (August 1-3), San Francisco (August 8-10) and Las Vegas (August 15-17).

There are six categories comic hopefuls can compete in: Senior (65 and up), Main Stream (18-64) Prop Comics (Ventriloquists, Magicians and Jugglers) Musical Parody, Youth (13-17), Child (12 and under) and College (Must have college I.D.). Finalists from each city will win an expense paid trip to Las Vegas for the grand finals and festival with the Grand Prize in each category being a chance to perform on a Las Vegas stage and a sponsored tour throughout the country after the festival.

The festival will include a trade show, seminars, celebrity panels, performance workshops, exhibitor booths, a celebrity look-alike contest and an awards dinner. At the dinner, the first annual Steve Allen Pioneer of Comedy Achievement Award will be given to an industry professional who has been instrumental in advancing the careers of comedians and the world of comedy. The advisory board for the event includes Rodney Dangerfield, Jay Mohr, Walter Gausse, Phil Thomas, Pete Barbuti and several more well known names in the comedy world.

Steve Caito and Mark Allen, both comedy veterans in their own right, are the festival organizers along with Mary Thomas, the Executive Director of the festival and its subsidiary Laugh Across America. There is no fee to enter any of the 10-city competitions. For further information, contact Mary Thomas at (702) 736-6595.

In this weekend: Ray Romano, star of "Everyone Loves Raymond" (Mirage), Howie Mandel (Paris). The Smother Brothers come in Tuesday for eleven days (Hilton). Kevin Pollack and David Brenner open Wednesday through Sunday (Paris). If that's not enough comedy for you, check out Rita Rudner (New York, New York) Amazing Johnathan (Golden Nugget) Bottoms Up and Second City (Flamingo) Mac King (Harrahs).

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