When Flamingo Las Vegas headliner George Wallace started his stand-up career, he had to explain that he wasn’t that George Wallace, a reference to the late governor of Alabama. Those days are long gone, and today he has one of the more dependably entertaining shows on the Strip. Wallace pulls much of his material from that day’s newspaper, and is also a noted hustler who passes out prizes to his audiences and spices up his performances by inviting special guests to share the spotlight. Chris Tucker has honed his stand-up act on Wallace’s stage, and even Sly Stone made a brief return to performing following a Wallace set in April. That coup made the ever-smiling Wallace positively beam. –John Katsilometes
Honour pillow photographed at Saks Fifth Avenue’s Laura Mercier cosmetics counter. Model: Tricia DeCosta. Photograph by Iris Dumuk.
Honour Pillow’s comedy often takes people by surprise. Anyone expecting quiet, demure humor will have their expectations shattered by the raucous end to Pillow’s “Big Titties” song, which always gets the crowd cheering.
In her six years behind the mic, Pillow had generated a long list of accolades. She was a student and featured performer at the Chris Bearde Comedy School, she’s won several competitions, including Die Trying and Snappin’ and Crackin’ (as far as she knows, she’s still the national champion of “yo’ mama” jokes), and she recently performed at the Apollo in New York. But her fondest memory comes from the Divas of Comedy show at the Sahara—the first time she performed on the Strip.
“I’d like to bring comedy back to my hometown in Cincinnati and open my own comedy club,” says Pillow, before adding with a laugh, “I’m still open to having fame and fortune, but I’m also realistic, and I don’t work that hard.” –Matthew Scott Hunter
“You can’t allow yourself to get caught up in that tourist route—shows, eat, fun, party. You have to have some sort of other life here. It’s really important, at least for me.
“I’ll talk to people and they’ll go, ‘Twenty years ago I saw Don Rickles, 10 years ago I saw Bill Cosby, I saw Rodney Dangerfield in the ’90s here.’ I’d like in 10 years, 20 years, to have people say, ‘I saw Louie Anderson there.’
“If any place was set up for a headliner as a comic, that was Las Vegas. That was always people’s No. 1 thing growing up as a comic in my era, to do The Tonight Show and to headline in Vegas.
“We’re in negotiations right now to shoot a TV show here, Livin’ with Louie. It would focus on how you do a show here, and how you live a life here. It could be a Vegas version of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
“There’s only so many showrooms. And also, hotels don’t want just anyone. Luckily I’ve had great relationships with MGM Grand for a long time, and now the Excalibur has opened its arms to me. So I’m having a great time.” –Julie Seabaugh
Photograph courtesy of Rob Weidenfeld.
“Whaddya mean, ‘old’? How dare you? What’s that got to do with me being funny? I’m 78 years old, and I’m hilarious.
“I can’t get a job in this town. It’s a sin, because people have bought the room. ... They’re not in Vegas when I was in Vegas, when Vegas was big. I’m not knocking today, but today it’s a metropolis, and it’s become very hard. Today you’re dealing with people who are crooked, who don’t know show business.
“Comedy is getting reckless. Too much of it. They’re shoving it down your everything. And it’s so overloaded that one day it’s going to bust. If you remember a few years ago it started to quiet down. Obviously I know my business like I know my name. I ate it, I drank it. I can produce, I can write. I try to tell people my kind of humor is over. My people die and it’s over. I can retire tomorrow, but I’ve got to work just to do something. I go to New York, and I sell out 800-900-seaters. I know I can’t sell out 2,000-seaters. It’s better than sex to me to get on stage.
“It may sound egotistical, and illegal: I look at my career and the money and all; how lucky can I get?” –Julie Seabaugh
Photograph by Jacob Kepler.
He’s opened for Norm MacDonald and Doug Stanhope, yet ideally, Brandon Muller would prefer to work his comedic craft behind the scenes, writing for Mad TV or Jimmy Kimmel Live. But the thought of Muller leaving stand-up horrifies his fellow comics, who’d miss his frequent and hilarious riffs on religion. (“I was driving down the highway, and I kept seeing crosses where people had died in car accidents. Cross after cross after cross, and I came to the conclusion that maybe Christians aren’t the safest drivers.”)
Muller took a break from the stage for a few months to shoot videos, including a satirical tribute to Linkin Park—written, sung and directed by Muller—which has garnered a million hits on YouTube and similar websites, as well as two tribute videos of its own.
But Muller has since returned to the stage and will be hosting a show at the River Palms in Laughlin during Thanksgiving week, sure to include a few more jabs at religion so funny that God Himself would have to chuckle. –Matthew Scott Hunter
Booya photograph by Richard Brian
“I just go onstage and talk about all the bad experiences I’ve had,” says Keyon “Booya” Romone of his comedy style. “And people think it’s funny.”
His so-tragic-it’s-hilarious stories have included everything from a visit to a woman’s roach-infested house (she handed him a coaster for his beer, and he placed it on top of the bottle to keep the bugs out) to wiping his injured brother’s ass (as a precaution, he wrapped his arm in toilet paper up to the elbow).
Booya’s tales of woe amused nearly 200 people at the House Party Comedy Jam in June—an event he put together with comedians Buffet Jackson and Marlen Baker—and in January, Booya will entertain the Marines at Camp Pendleton outside San Diego (along with several other local comics).
Having performed for little more than a year and a half, this local stand-up is already on the road to success. But hopefully, there will be a few bumps along the way. The material he gets from his misfortune kills. –Matthew Scott Hunter
Hecklers beware—Nancy Ryan’s best material comes from playing off the crowd. Her off-the-cuff and self-deprecating comedy style of reality with “a ridiculous twist” has been seen on Comedy Central as well as in a number of stand-up competitions. She was voted Best Female Comic on Comedy.com and was runner-up in the Bud Light Ladies of Laughter Competition. But the gig she’s proudest of is a charity event she performed for the troops for AnySoldier.com, for which she also serves on the board of directors. Her 16 years on the comedy scene have seen a great deal of success, but when it comes to the future, she likes to see herself ...
“... Retired. No, I just want to be as successful as I can be wherever I am. Stardom doesn’t matter at this point. I just want to be the best comedian I can be.”
Fortunately for Las Vegas, she’s chosen to do that here, where she’ll be a regular and house emcee at the LA Comedy Club at Palace Station, performing nightly. –Matthew Scott Hunter
Louis Anderson, Nancy Ryan, and Wayne Brady photographs by Iris Dumuk.
The genius of Wayne Brady doesn’t lie in his quick-firing comedic neurons (though those are mightily impressive in their own right); it’s in his adaptability. Improv, impressions, singing, dancing, acting, hosting, the general Making Up of Shit at the Venetian—dude’s even a multiple Emmy winner, fer Christsakes. Through kids’ movies, Whose Line Is It Anyway?, The Wayne Brady Show, 30 Rock, Chappelle’s Show and more, what emerges most clearly is that Brady possesses an unbelievable range. “The Marlon Brando of Comedians” seems a phrase that doesn’t do him justice. For now, “I’m Wayne Brady, bitch!” will just have to suffice. –Julie Seabaugh