Sin City And Bad Dogs
I can now say that I’ve played in Vegas. You can picture it as I would have. Big rooms. Tables in a cabaret-style. Wise guys glad-handing their way to the front of the room. Cocktail waitresses dropping off drinks and other sundries to the clients in a smoky room. Comics killing the Las Vegas crowd in between dancing girls, magic acts, and strippers. Yes, that’s how I pictured it.
What actually happened was more akin to a night at Ein-Stein’s in a place in the dodgy part of Vegas where the hookers look less like Elizabeth Shue in “Leaving Las Vegas” and look more like Katherine Helmond in “Fear and Loathing”. It was a place called the Bunkhouse that is open 24 hours, and houses one of the very few open mics in Vegas. My last trip down resulted in me scouring the internet looking for shows only to come up with one on the day I was leaving and a nicely penned article on how there’s no comedy scene in Vegas outside of the large resorts that do not welcome new talent unless their booked.
I was able to finagle my way onto the show by pulling the “I’m from Canada” card. Not proud of it, but desperate times, folks. For that shrewdish move, I was paid the compliment of going first up with no intro or warm-up save the MC stating to the crowd “How you all doing? We’re going to get the show started with a guy from Canada. Todd…I’ve forgotten his last name.” I was able to get three minutes of stage time and again realizing how much I hate small sets in that you always leave going “Damn, I should have done that bit.” I left Vegas knowing that in my small time on stage, I got more laughs than the guy who did 10 following me. I left and had a $1.99 shrimp cocktail at the Golden Horseshoe.
Martha O’Neill and I took part in the last Midweek Mayhem at Bad Dog Theatre as well. We took on three other improvisers to a packed house. That’s the good news. The bad news was the crowd was packed with a busload of 50 13-year-old girls. As you all know, my demographic defined. The plus part was that they were from Ottawa so I threw out as many North Gower, Beavertail, and Senators references as I could. It seemed to work but it reminded me exactly how out of shape I am in terms of improv. I’m just glad that I didn’t make a complete pants of it to the point that Martha didn’t invite me to her show on the Friday at Xavier’s Lounge. Really nice room and I hope it continues to goes well for her. If Vegas taught me anything, we should not only be thankful that rooms are plentiful, but most of them are actually decent.