John Katsilometes and Tricia McCrone talk to Maria Walsh, aka "The Naughty Mommy," who recently won the Riviera's national comedy competition and a chance to headline at Riviera Comedy Club.
“The Naughty Mommy Does Vegas” sort of has an apt ring to it.
This is in reference to Maria Walsh, and she’s one competitive momma. The longtime stand-up comic from Long Island was the sole survivor in a field of 226 comedians who auditioned (in one way or another) for the first Riviera Next Comic Headliner contest held by the Riviera Comedy Club. Walsh won the contest in April by beating three other finalists during a rapid-fire, hourlong competition at the club (disclosure, I was on the judging panel, joining comic Greg Vaccariello and Riviera execs Tony Bender and Mark Massimino).
Walsh is now offered the opportunity to headline in a place where she never even performed prior to the contest: Vegas. She’s co-headlining with Vaccariello this week at the club. Walsh opened Monday and is at the Riv through Sunday.
Walsh was a guest on “Kats With the Dish,” the show that aired Friday. Some of those highlights in the chat with Tricia McCrone and I:
On being called “The Naughty Mommy”:
That’s been with me for the last 12 years. I was in a New York City club and I was talking about giving my kids Benadryl and Dimetapp to sleep. I just kind of said, “I’m such a Naughty Mommy!” When I came off stage one of the comediennes said, “You should use that as your hook.”
On getting involved in the Riviera comedy competition that she won:
I’ve only played on the East Coast and I’ve always wanted to travel (to Vegas). It’s just really hard to network and get out there unless you physically get out there. I was talking with a friend on Facebook and somebody sent me a link for this competition. I had a great video from a performance I did last summer and I threw it out there, not thinking anything would come out of it. Mark Massimino, the entertainment director for the Riviera, contacted me within a week and he asked me if I wanted to come out and compete.
On her first experience performing in Las Vegas:
What I loved about it was unlike performing here (East Coast), you are performing for people from all over the country. It seems to me that everybody that’s from Vegas is not from Vegas. Everyone is like, “I came out here for vacation and never went home.”
I like to play the table games and what’s crazy for me are the girls dancing on boxes while people are gambling. She’s dancing and working it and none of these guys are paying attention. I felt so bad for her. I wanted to help her. I really did. She was twirling upside down on a pole and nobody was even looking. It’s a good way for “The Naughty Mommy” to make some extra money I’m thinking. I could go at the senior buffet.
On performing at the Riviera Comedy Club:
What an iconic club. It makes my hair stand up when I see all of the people that have performed there. To be in the same venue is just really great.
On getting involved in comedy:
I grew up with four older brothers, so I was constantly always fighting for stage time for attention. I always wanted to do something silly and funny to get their attention. I was always a practical joker. In third grade I remember my first whoopee cushion and I brought it into class and I put it under this old crotchety teacher’s cushion and when she sat down the entire class erupted. That was my first experience with a group laughing and I thought that was amazing. I just always loved to make people laugh.