Stand-up comic Brandt Tobler reflects on his two decades in Vegas

Tobler performs at Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club March 29 through April 1.
Julie Seabaugh

Comedian Brandt Tobler found his first open mic in the pages of Las Vegas Weekly. Actually it was the only comedy open mic listed: Sunday nights at the now-defunct Boomers Bar. He has since toured all 50 states, released jaw-dropping 2017 memoir Free Roll and this month appeared on Comedy Central storytelling series This Is Not Happening with a tale about the time he tried to kill his father.

How did it feel recording your story for Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening alongside Louie Anderson and Byron Bowers? How have people reacted to it? It was such an honor to be on my favorite show! I remember watching the first episode and thinking, “One day I am going to be on that show.” I will never forget the tears of joy I cried—in a Chick-fil-A drive-thru in Flagstaff—when I got the call from the producers. It was amazing to be on the same show as some of the best comics in the world. I have gotten hundreds of texts, phone calls and emails from friends and fans all over the world telling me they really enjoyed it.

You moved to Las Vegas from Phoenix 20 years ago. How has the comedy scene here changed in that decade? Honestly, back then there really wasn’t a local comedy scene. When I started doing stand-up in Vegas there was only one open mic, and locals could never get a spot in the casino comedy clubs. But right now the local scene is stronger than it’s ever been. There are at least 75 local comics and multiple shows every night of the week. I think there is so much talent in this city, and I’m so proud to say I started in Sin City.

You’re currently working on a book of stories about some of your wildest Vegas experiences called Diary of a Piece of Sh*t. Are there any details about it you can offer as a preview? I’ll just tell you that there are stories about dive bars, massage parlors, the legendary Green Door, the 11 different casinos I’ve been kicked out of, stolen game-worn NFL Pro Bowl jerseys, staycations in the county jail … and the craziest, sexiest fantasy football draft that has ruined a handful of marriages. It’s my favorite stories from a decade of debauchery in the craziest city in the world.

Any other new projects readers should know about? My team has just finished a movie script based on the stories in my memoir Free Roll, and we are hoping to sell it to a major studio by the end of the year. And my new album Ramblin’ and Gamblin’: Live in Las Vegas, which was recorded last year at the L.A. Comedy Club inside the Stratosphere, was released on iTunes, Spotify and Pandora on March 5 of this year.

BRANDT TOBLER with Brad Garrett, Ralph Harris, Brad Trackman. March 29-April 1, 8 p.m., $43-$63. Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club at MGM Grand, 866-740-7711.

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