Pity the overhyped Las Vegas. In a world saturated with ads, movies, stories and social media all celebrating the extreme limits of human debauchery, what chance does the city have of ever living up to the fantasy of what it should be? Asking questions like this is exactly how I found myself getting married to a showgirl last week.
Las Vegas: The Game! promises to make any night epic with a whole host of tricks and pranks you can play on your friends to kick your Vegas trip up a notch. Choose a pre-arranged Night Out tour ($179 a person for groups of at least 14), or customize a BeSpoke or Prank à la Carte experience starting at $500. All are by reservation only.
The Game started with Chad Hardy and Justin Oswald, two Vegas entrepreneurs who punk Mormons for fun and profit (witness their Men on a Mission calendar, which became epically popular thanks to the Church’s attempts to ban it) and run team-building seminars for multi-national corporations. In short, they know how to get suits to loosen up and engage in what might not be the smartest behavior.
On their invitation, I piled into a party bus to tag along on one of their inaugural missions and see how it all happens. Over loud music and half-blinded by red and green lasers, our guides, Jacob and Jamie, poured vodka shots and announced our first stop would be Mix, high above the Vegas Strip.
Maybe because I knew the trip was a setup, that first ride was rocky. It seemed obvious that these two were performers and that this was all staged. But as we pulled into the parking lot at Mandalay Bay, something inside me switched: I decided if I was going to have any fun on this trip, I was going to have to play along—hard.
Was that really my decision, or was it pushed along by the situation and skill of our leaders? Regardless, I jumped in. When a showgirl showed up who just happened to be a long-lost friend of Jacob, I invited her to join us. And when a parole officer appeared looking for Jacob, I gladly confused him until the sign-twirler in the spandex monkey suit leapt on him and let us get away. I spun on the bus’ stripper pole; I gave a toast; there was dancing and drinking and embarrassing moments being committed by people who knew better up and down the bus. And yes, somewhere in there they definitely wanted me to believe I’d just gotten hitched to my new showgirl friend.
Still, I wondered how well this would work with people who either weren’t in on the joke or didn’t want to play along.
And then we got to the Vegas sign. By now, the joke was that one of our guides, Jamie, was practically fall-down drunk and completely incompetent at her job. She started photo-bombing random couples, pissing them off and then making them laugh. When she got into a fight with a homeless transvestite on the way back to the party bus and the showgirl had to intervene, things got really crazy. People who knew nothing about our trip were laughing hysterically, whipping out their cell phones to film. She really did give everyone there an “only in Vegas” experience.
As we boarded the bus for the final ride back to the Cosmopolitan, I was looking at Las Vegas: The Game! with different eyes—the eyes of someone who didn’t know what was happening and had just experienced a uniquely Vegas night. And judging from how people reacted at the sign, I couldn’t help thinking this might just work.
Las Vegas: The Game! 947-3489, lasvegasthegame.com