Tanyalee Davis, personal hero, awesome gal, and all around kick-ass comedian and I had a show at the Fitzgerald Casino ("Fitz of Laughter") room run by Kevin Burke, Roland Witt, and John Bentham. Kelly Hunt, and up and coming impressionist comic, whom I met through the Short Bus Comics show, served as the opener- and she also, rocked.
We were test-running the room for a show we're putting up starting in February. Kevin Burke, aka Defending the Caveman -Vegas, has worked 7 nights a week since he's lived here, and finally had an idea- he should, could, and may be able to have a night off if he found competent comedians who could take the show over for him. His Caveman show runs at the Excalibur, recently moved from The Goldent Nugget. After his grunting walk-through the world of a couple-psyche, he trapsed over to the Fitgerald Casino, to pick up on the stage that certainly gives a great space for comedy. He's helped build an audience, and certainly, John and Roland are capable stage managers and room managers.
I've known Kevin for a lot of years. For a majority of the time, we never even met in person- it was through our comedy that we're friends. I got to meet a few dozen great funny folk through an online newsgroup, Alt.comedy.standup. Some of us were seasoned pros, others were newbies, and still others were fans who always wanted to be comedians, but were afraid to try. Some of my Space and Facebook friendships are through that very source. It's been a great way to network for jobs- Steve Marmel, the Nickelodeon Darling, was a regular in one of my rooms in Orange County, for instance. I did a regular stint in a club in Sacramento, and San Francisco through another comic. We shared war stories, Tribble Run stories, and of course... Vegas stories.
So, years later, Kevin and I are both in the same town, and we're hanging out a bit more. Friends do that. We have him over for dinner, and superbowl, and that stuff. But we haven't worked together at all. He called me and said, "I need, I think, to have a break, do you want to book the room on Sunday nights so you can bring your crazies to the stage?" My crazies are the Short Bus Comics, and friends in town- and of course, YES. I would.
Kelly Hunt and I have been planning out ideas to bring another "Women in Comedy" show to the area. It was perfect timing. Tanyalee Davis is in town, Kelly and I are prepped from the months of working Short Bus, and it would be a great run to try for the first time whilst Kevin enjoyed a show, for one of the the first times since he's been here, that was on his day off. We could do a one-night of the Women show, and if it worked out, and they liked us enough, we could start February, a new weekly show.
We got to the venue, and Roland was generous, offering us his skills as a warm-up. He did fine, and Kelly took to the floor. She's got a few bugs to work out, but they're minor, and her set was ably done- lots of laughs, and the audience got her impressions. I went up next, and the crowd- unsure as to what to make of the ADHD style seemed to really appreciate the energy, and laughed lots. Lots. Lots and lots. Too much! I went over time! I never go over time! But it was happening! They were a great group- laughing in spots I had hoped were funny, and laughing at the riffing. Loved those people. I intro'd Tanyalee for the first time since I think- the show we did at the Greek Isles. I honestly don't remember if that was it, or if it was another show. Regardless... she gave me what to say, I said it.
The crowd adored her. She'd already done a few nights in the room, and the club BUILT her a stage. Whilst Kelly and I worked around it, the audience wasn't quite sure what to make of it. We gave no hints. She took to the stage and the crowd went nuts. She did her set wonderfully- with the facial expressions only Tanyalee can do. She used the word "Midget" and one lady just about fell out of her chair. Fellow comedians Greg Stevens and his friend, Chris "CJ" Jones, (yeah, I thought it was funny too), were laughing so hard, they bounced out of their seats a few times.
Afterwards, we went to the doorway, so she could sell some DVD's, and we could hear what the crowds were saying. It was a hit. We did a great job, and the room was happy. The opener was happy. Everyone seemed delighted, so we're definitely going to have a lot of fun with the new room. I still haven't emailed Kevin yet to see how his day off went... I'm guessing great.
More to come!