Tag Archives: George Wallace

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.

Another Week in Vegas: Food, Wine, Music, Fashion, Cirque

It’s been a busy few weeks. As I said in my last post, I’m continuing to enjoy Las Vegas, times 10!

Attended a great wine pairing dinner at Bratalian in Henderson. Chef Carla Pellegrino cooked a wonderful meal for guests and they were paired with wines from Envolve Winery in California. It’s former “BACHELOR” Ben Flajnik’s winery, and he was there to present and tell us about the wines. The wines were delicious. The aroma was incredible!

Singer Stephanie Sanchez entertained us, and the night was perfect. Food, wine, friends, music!

Chef Carla served us a tasty Ragu and pasta. She hand chopped 100 pounds of meat!!! You can also catch Carla on this season of Bravo’s TOP CHEF.

Envolve Wines all around the table!
Chef Carla’s Ragu
with Chef Carla Pellegrino and Ben Flajnik

On Wednesday, I hosted an annual fundraiser for “Bead For Life.” The event is put on by MJ Christensen Diamond. I hosted RUNWAY FOR LIFE at the Boca Park location. Comedian George Wallace joined in too! Cliff and Darlene Miller of MJ raffled off a donated “Hearts On Fire” pendant worth more than $4000. Tommy Bahama Town Square and Couture Bridal put on a fun fashion show!! I was happy to be a part of it.

Darlene and Cliff Miller and George Wallace

Later that week, I stopped at a new restaurant at the Stratosphere. McCall’s Heartland Grill had its Grand Opening. The restaurant served up samples of food like corn chowder, lollipop chicken wings, bacon wrapped prawns (amazing), and a tasty salad! I liked the vibe too. Nice bar in the middle with tables all around. The new restaurant is straight back through the casino. It’s nice to see the Stratosphere adding more and more new things. I will be back to eat dinner!

(We also ran into Stratosphere headliner Frankie Moreno at McCalls, his parents were celebrating their anniversary. Frankie invited us to his show, and when Frankie asks, he usually doesn’t take “no” for answer! I always love seeing the show anyway, and it was terrific as usual. Moreno has some more great things coming up!)

Bacon wrapped prawn at McCall’s Heartland Grill

Friday night, Aria unveiled its latest Cirque Du Soleil show called Zarkana. It is visually stunning, the stunts are skilled and amazing to watch (even a little bit stressful, in a good way), and the costumes are beautiful!

Like most Cirque shows, there are characters that buy time while the set changes, in this case two larger than life clowns. I enjoyed some of their banter, but I think it could tighten up a bit. I must say, it was fun watching one of the clown soar over the audience though! If you like Cirque, you will enjoy this show!! There were many celebrities on hand to watch the show as well. I saw Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul sitting front row.

Cirque’s Zarkana (before the show)
Zarkana at Aria (final bow at the end of the show)

The Zarkana after party was at Haze Nightclub. It was over the top and full of Cirque fun! I saw many familiar faces, and as always, enjoyed time with my friend Chris Saldana (looking sharp, I might add.)

It was a great night. Actually, it was a great week!

with Chris Saldana at Zarkana after party