A First, But Not The Last: Showbiz Roast

I think it’s safe to say, the Showbiz Roast was a success. The Stratosphere theater lobby was packed on arrival. Entertainers, local residents, movers, shakers.

The show kicked off at about 11:30 p.m. – the full theater was ready to witness the first ever Showbiz Roast Las Vegas. Singer Zowie Bowie (Chris Phillips) was the one to be roasted. What a good sport! Phillps currently performs at Red Rock Casino.

I was named one of the roasters. Honored to be a part of it, but also a bit nervous since I have never “roasted” before. The panel of other roasters included Vinnie Favorito, George Wallace, Gordie Brown, Robin Leach, John Katsilometes, Dennis Bono, Clint Holmes, Kelly Clinton-Holmes, Murray Sawchuck, vocal group BBR, Justin Spencer of Recycled Percussion, Frankie Scinta, and Brian Thomas.

This was a first for all of us. Well, except Vinnie Favorito, who makes a living roasting people during his show on the Las Vegas strip. He was the last to go, and as expected, he knocked it out of the park. What a way to end the show.

Back stage with Murray Sawchuck and Vinnie Favorito
Back stage with Murray Sawchuck and Vinnie Favorito

But, let’s rewind.

Back stage before the show, the roasters gathered to head out on stage to sit in our chairs and watch it all go down. In chatting with my fellow roasters, I realized, we were ALL a little nervous. I thought to myself, “wow, I’m surprised, I figured most of these guys and gals performed day in and day out, so this was just another day.” I was wrong. They perform their own show. They sing. They make people laugh. They do magic. But THIS was slightly “out of their element.” Plus, the room was full of Las Vegas friends, colleagues, and fellow entertainers. We all wanted to do a good job, especially since it was the first show of its kind.

This moment proved… we are all human!

The stage included a bar, cocktail waitress, live band, seats for the roasters, and the THRONE OF DOOM for Zowie Bowie. This chair was designed by producer of the show, Andy Walmsley. Walmsley is an Emmy award winning set designer. A couple of his designs include TV show American Idol and Human Nature’s new set at The Venetian. Walmsley wants to move into producing too. The Showbiz Roast was his creation.

Producer Andy Walmsley
Producer Andy Walmsley

The show was hosted by comedic magician Mike Hammer who performs at the Four Queens.

Chris Phillips entered the room from the back to the Rocky theme song, escorted by two showgirls. The roast kicked off and it was all laughs from there on out! One by one roasters made fun of the panel and Phillips. A little uncomfortable? Sure, at times. But that’s what it’s all about.

In the end, it brought everyone in the room closer and the community together to see a different side of some of our well known people.

Roasting Chris Phillips (Photo by Darryl Ginwright)
Roasting Chris Phillips (Photo by Darryl Ginwright)

The roast was a success. I followed an amazing musical roast by Clint Holmes. Tough act to follow, but I did my thing. I even poked some fun at myself. It was fun! I must reveal that all my lines and jokes were not my own. I did have some help from comedian Keith Lyle and Improv specialist Matt Donnelly, plus some friends. Thank you all! Putting it all together was a blast!

I received numerous phone calls and messages the next day from people saying they had such a good time and laughed all night long. Since then, I have bumped into Chris Phillips himself, who also had the time of his life.

Showbiz Roast Stage (Photo by khanhx.com)
Showbiz Roast Stage (Photo by khanhx.com)

Will there be another roast? Of course. Walmlsey is already on the hunt for the next roastee and roasters to follow. He admits the show went a little long, so he will work on cutting it down. He has many new ideas already.

Trust me, don’t miss the next one. It will be a night to remember. Cheers to everyone involved and kudos to Walmsley for coming up with a new and creative idea for the Entertainment Capital of the World!

Follow the Showbiz Roast on twitter to keep tabs on the next show.

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