Recent and rare Vegas appearances by top comedy names like Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock might suggest there’s a comedy boom happening here. In reality, there’s a Vegas boom happening; the Strip has built enough top-tier venues to accommodate the biggest names in any genre of live entertainment.
One of those rooms, the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, certainly wasn’t built for stand-up performances. But between its ideal environment and a diverse slate of bookings, it might be the most grand place for big laughs on the Strip.
“I don’t think there was ever a conscious decision to do more comedy, but we want to do more [at the venue],” says Bobby Reynolds, senior VP of entertainment at AEG, the exclusive booker at the Colosseum. “With the resident artists in there, it’s a crowded calendar, which is a great problem to have. It would be difficult to bring in a band, for example, during Celine Dion’s run, moving and loading up all that gear. A comedian typically requires a stool and a mic. So all of a sudden, we have another sold-out show on a Friday or a Sunday night, often with an iconic artist.”
Jerry Seinfeld (June 17 and 18) is at the top of the Colosseum’s comedy roster, but the venue has added more icons this year with return performances by Steve Martin & Martin Short (July 23, August 25 and October 29). Strip stalwart Jeff Dunham is always in the mix, and rising comedy stars Jim Gaffigan and Sebastian Maniscalco—the latter set to make his Colosseum debut in October—bring more diversity to the fun at Caesars.
“Comedy has always been in demand,” Reynolds says. “Chappelle and Rock have been selling out venues for over a decade. With Steve Martin and Martin Short, a lot more thought went into booking that and creating a new model for that show, and it has a lot to do with the Colosseum [being] the classiest room in town. I’m biased, but as an entertainment venue, there’s just a wow factor when you walk into that place, and that’s the same whether you’re Elton John or Reba McEntire or Sebastian Maniscalco.”