Las Vegas Backstage Talk

Ventriloquist Terry Fator

March 26, 2015 6pm-7pm PST 1230AM in LV & Web

Audio of show is posted below

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Singing impressionist/ventriloquist Terry Fator guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk with Comedian Michele LaFong on 1230AM KLAV in Las Vegas , and streaming live.

In 2014, “America’s Got Talent” winner Terry Fator celebrated his 5th year of the award-winning show at The Mirage, where he brings to life a hilarious cast of characters with his unique brand of entertainment combining singing, comedy and unparalleled celebrity impressions. With comedic banter and amazing vocal impressions of musical superstars such as Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Tony Bennett, Toby Keith, Roy Orbison and more, “Terry Fator: The VOICE of Entertainment” is a one-of-a-kind experience.

When audiences last saw Terry Fator, his loveable sidekick Winston the Impersonating Turtle was looking for a new gig on the Las Vegas Strip. Fast forward to 2014 and Winston has gone Hollywood in the updated version of “Terry Fator: The VOICE of Entertainment.” Winston leaves the bright lights of Sin City for big budget movies in sunny California, tasking Fator to audition a cast of characters to find Winston’s replacement as his right-hand man…er…turtle. Those auditioning include Vikki “The Cougar,” country legend Walter T. Airdale, Duggie Scott Walker, Julius, Emma Taylor, the world’s greatest Elvis impersonator Maynard Tompkins and Wrex the Crash Test Dummy.

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Tom Papa, Tony Butala

March 19, 2015 6pm-7pm PST 1230AM in LV & Web

Audio of shows posted below

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Comedian Tom Papa guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk radio show with Comedian Michele LaFong.

The twenty-year stand up comedy veteran, actor, writer and television and radio host brings the laughs to the Suncoast Showroom on March 20 and 21.

After touring with Jerry Seinfeld for several years, Seinfeld personally selected Papa to be the host of The Marriage Ref, which ran for two seasons on NBC. In 2013, Papa portrayed Ray Arnett in Steven Soderbergh’s Emmy Award-winning HBO film Behind the Candelabra. He also appeared on Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, The New Adventures of Old Christine and with Clive Owen this season on The Knick.

On the big screen, he has made appearances in movies such as Analyze That with Robert DeNiro and Billy Crystal, Comedian with Jerry Seinfeld and alongside Matt Damon in The Informant! He also provided voices and worked as a writer on 2007’s Bee Movie.

Papa’s first hour-long special, Tom Papa Live in New York City, premiered on Comedy Central in January 2012. His Rob Zombie-directed second stand-up special, Tom Papa: Freaked Out, was named one of the 10 Best Comedy Albums of 2013 by Laughspin.com. His hit SiriusXM show, Come to Papa, airs weekly on channel 99.

Tony Butala- Original founding member of The Lettermen

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Tony Butala, Original founding member of The Lettermen guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk radio show with Comedian Michele LaFong to promote The Lettermen’s  upcoming engagement at The South Point Showroom on March 20-22 at 7:30pm.

Butala estimates that the group made some 200 appearances on television shows such as Dick
Clark’s “American Bandstand” series, “Shindig”, and “Hullabaloo” were interviewed and
performed on talk shows and variety shows with Johnny Carson, Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin,
Jack Paar, Milton Berle, Steve Allen, Dinah Shore, and many others throughout the 60’s and 70’s,
cultivating new crops of fans.

Over its 50 years, the trio has gone through a few personnel changes. Engemann left in 1967,
replaced by Gary Pike, Jim Pike’s younger brother. A few years later, due to vocal problems,
Jim left the group and was replaced by his even younger brother, Donny Pike. The group stayed
stable, with this combination all through the seventies and early eighties led by the constant
member Tony Butala. Since then, Mark Preston, Ernie Pontiere, Bobby Poynton, Darren Dowler,
Don Campeau, Chad Nichols and Donovan Tea, have each had stints as members of The
Lettermen.

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Dennis Miller, Melissa Manchester

March 12, 2015 6pm-7pm PST 1230AM in LV & Web

AUDIO OF INTERVIEWS ARE POSTED BELOW

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Comedian Dennis Miller guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk with Comedian Michele LaFong in a “Getting Personal with the Stars” interview.

Celebrated as a witty comedian with an entertaining and intriguing stand-up routine, Miller keeps audiences laughing with his irreverent observations. A favorite of the public and critics alike, The New York Times said, “Mr. Miller is exquisitely attuned to contemporary foibles … his material can be scathing, his delivery low key … Mr. Miller reaches a bit farther than most comedians for the scorching comment … this smart aleck has an uncommonly sharp eye.”

Called “one of the premiere comedy talents in America today,” Miller emerged on the national scene in as the “Weekend Update” correspondent on NBC’s Saturday Night Live. After leaving SNL in 1991, Miller moved to HBO, where he hosted the critically acclaimed talk show Dennis Miller Live for nine seasons. No stranger to television talk shows, Miller is a regular on Fox News Channel’s Hannity and The O’Reilly Factor. He was also host and executive producer of CNBC’s Dennis Miller, which featured conversation, opinion and humor.

For more about Dennis and his radio show, click here.

Melissa Manchester

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Singer Melissa Manchester guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk radio show with Comedian Michele LaFong in a backstage interview at The Suncoast H & C.

After getting her start as a singer-pianist in the clubs of Greenwich Village, Manchester performed with Bette Midler as a “Harlette” before landing a recording contract. Her debut releases, “Home to Myself” and “Bright Eyes” laid the foundation for her solo career. In 1975, Manchester’s album “Melissa” produced her first top ten hit, “Midnight Blue.”

Manchester was nominated for a Grammy® Award in 1978 and 1979, and won the Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “You Should Hear How She Talks About You” in 1982. In 1979, she became the first artist in the history of the Academy Awards® to have two nominated movie themes in the same year – “Through The Eyes of Love” from the film “Ice Castles,” and the title song from “The Promise.”

As an actress, Manchester has guest starred in numerous television shows, including “Blossom” and “Fame,” and in films, such as “For The Boys” and “Dirty Girl.” She has also appeared in the Los Angeles-based theatrical production of “Sweeney Todd” and recently starred in the Chicago premiere of the musical “HATS!,” which features several songs she co-wrote.


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John Mulaney, Weird Al Yankovic

March 5, 2015 6pm-7pm PST 1230AM in LV & Web

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Comedian John Mulaney guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk with Comedian Michele LaFong to promote his upcoming debut at The Mirage on March 6 at 10pm.

John Mulaney is also an actor, writer, and producer. He is best known for his work as a writer on Saturday Night Live (SNL) and as a standup comedian. He is the creator and star of the Fox sitcom Mulaney. The series is a semi-autobiographical series about his life as a standup comedian and premiered on October 5, 2014.
In addition to writing for SNL, Mulaney has appeared on the show’s “Weekend Update” segment. He and SNL actor Bill Hader co-created the recurring SNL character Stefon. Mulaney was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series with the SNL writing staff from 2009-2012.  Mulaney won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics at the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards with Justin Timberlake, Seth Meyers and Katreese Barnes.
In addition to his work on SNL, Mulaney is a prolific stand-up comedian. He has performed once on Live at Gotham, once on Conan, once on Jimmy Kimmel Live, twice on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, twice on Late Night With Conan O’Brien, and once on Comedy Central Presents. Mulaney also released a stand-up comedy album entitled Primetime Emmy Award in 2009, and a stand-up comedy special called New In Town in 2012. Both were produced with Comedy Central.

Weird Al Yankovic

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Weird Al Yankovic guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk Radio Show with Comedian Michele LaFong on 1230AM KLAV in Las Vegas, and The Web.  In a backstage interview at The Cannery H & C,  Al was very playful and candid about his family life, and very successful, long career.   Weird Al, known for his costumed comedic song parodies, made it clear that he always asks for the green light from the artist before recording a parody of their song for a music video. When asked if he was ever refused permission by anyone, he said “Only Prince has consistantly said “no,” with no explanation given. Whenever possible I try to go to the artists directly because managers often get in the way, as with Lady GaGa.”

It’s because a lot of fans that were into me in the 80’s are still into me, and now they are bringing their kids. It’s become a family bonding experience. Another reason for my popularity with families is my New York Times Best Selling childrens book “When I Grow Up” Some of my fans are hard core! They’ll follow me from one city to the next. Sometimes it’s the same people in the front row city to city even though the shows are hundreds of miles apart.”

Weird Al was featured in Comedian Michele LaFong’s Syndicated Monthly Column “Las Vegas Backstage Talk” in Casino Player Magazine.  He will be performing at Planet Hollywood May 12-16.

More about Weird Al here–>

Get the “Alpocalypse” album here–>

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LV Backstage Talk column

March Las Vegas Backstage Talk column in Casino Player Magazine and Gaming Today.

By Michele LaFong

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Fellow artists, musicians and industry insiders were among the crowd that packed The Gordie Brown Showroom inside the Golden Nugget. They had all turned out for 80’s hit-master Eddie Money on Feb. 13.

Back in the 80’s, it seemed every time I watched MTV or turned on the radio another Eddie Money hit was playing. Hearing those chart-topping tunes in back to back concert, took me back in time. I was awed at how many great tunes Eddie had cranked out.

“Two Tickets to Paradise,” “Shakin’,” “Think I’m in Love,” “Take Me Home Tonight,” “I Wanna Go Back,” were just a few I remembered and some I didn’t – like “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me,” which I enjoyed.

When Eddie wasn’t singing he was wailing on the saxophone or harmonica. I got a huge kick watching him work the crowd. “The Money Man” hasn’t lost any of his charisma or showmanship; at age 65 he can still rock the house, keeping the audience on its feet.

A true entertainer, Money is comedic, fun to watch and a crowd-pleaser. It was obvious he doesn’t take himself too seriously. His main objective is to make sure everyone has a great time. He even signed tee shirts for a long line of fans with 100% of the proceeds donated to our troops.

I could tell from my interview with Money that he is extremely down to earth, one of the most genuine people I’ve ever run into in show business!

Solid Gold

After interviewing 5th Dimension stars Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., I was invited to check out their show “Up, Up and Away – The Music & Memories” at The Orleans on Valentine’s Day weekend.

I’m so glad I did. The sold-out performance was one of the classiest, well-paced, entertaining shows I’ve seen. The talented back-up singers and musicians, choreography, and attention to detail told us no corners were cut in this production.

Married and performing together for over 45 years, the chemistry between Marilyn and Billy was magical. Even the scripted shtick between them was endearing, well-timed, and masterfully performed. The pair took the audience on a journey through Memory Lane.

In between singing their biggest hits – “Up Up and Away,” “You Don’t Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show),” “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,” and more – they entertained with everything from The Beatles to Blues to Broadway, complete with costume changes and stellar solos from each.

Both voices were shockingly as strong, crisp and impressive as ever, which explains why they received several standing ovations and two curtain calls! This show could be a mainstay on the Strip, like Smokey Robinson’s Human Nature.

Got talent?

NBC’s “America’s Got Talent!” wrapped up all live auditions nationwide, and will soon inform those who made it to the next round, which will most likely be televised in New York in front of judges Howard Stern, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and Mel B.

The turnout for the one day open call auditions in Las Vegas for season 10 of the show was enormous. I bumped into every kind of performer I knew, and many I never want to know!

It was a sight to behold. That’s the wonderful thing about this show. It is the only television venue open to any age and any talent – nothing is off limits.

If you win, you receive $1 million. But you don’t have to win the show for it to change your life. Throughout the years, many acts have gone on to launch careers. 2014 winner Mat Franco just headlined in a Las Vegas show with fellow finalists.

Forte, the powerhouse operatic trio that made it to the finals this past season, landed a recording contract with Columbia Records and a special New Year’s residency in Las Vegas!

Kenichi Ebina, The KriStef Brothers, Collins Key, Cami Bradley, Jimmy Rose, Taylor Williamson and Tone The Chiefrocca all went on an AGT live tour around the country.

Among AGT’s success stories are Terry Fator, Recycled Percussion, Nathan Burton, and Jabbawockeez. All perform regularly on the Strip. Comedians Taylor Williamson and Tom Cotter sell out venues across the country and iLuminate is lighting up the Broadway stage.

Dice special

Andrew Dice Clay has a special airing on Showtime in March. The “Blue Show,” with some of his favorite blue comics, features Eleanor Kerrigan, Steve Wilson, Erik Myers, Jason Rouse, Michael Wheels Paris, Colin Kane and The Smash Brothers; Cory & Chad.

My Picks

Wayne Brady, Mirage, Feb.27; Roseanne Barr, Tommy James and the Shondells, Golden Nugget, Feb. 27; Jay Leno, Mirage, Feb. 28;

Bill Engvall, Treasure Island, March 6, Bill Medley and McKenna Medley, South Point, March 6-8; John Mulaney, Mirage, March 6; Tim Allen, Mirage, March 7;

Dana Carvey, Orleans, March 13-14; Jim Breuer, South Point, March 13-14; Whitney Cummings, Venetian, March 13-14; Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band, Palms, March 15; Elton John, Caesars Palace, March 18-April 14;

Bobby Vinton, Golden Nugget, March 20; Jo Koy, Treasure Island, March 20; The Lettermen, South Point, March 20-22; Ron White, Mirage, March 20-21; Bill Maher, Palms, March 21-22; Garfunkel & Oates, Venetian, March 21;

Charlie Murphy, South Point, March 27-29; Daniel Tosh, Mirage, March 27-28; Caroline Rhea and Elaine Boosler, Venetian, March 28; Shaq’s next All-Star comedy jam, Aliante, March 28.

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Debbie Reynolds, Shang Forbes

Feb. 26 & 28, 2015 6pm-7pm PST 1230AM in LV & Web

Audio of interviews are posted below

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Debbie Reynolds guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk radio show with Comedian Michele LaFong.  Debbie gave me my first running-show at The Debbie Reynolds H&C on the Las Vegas Strip in 1994.

For over six decades, our lives have been enriched by the talents of a singer, dancer and actress we know as Debbie Reynolds. With a rich life in talent and skills, she is a must see at The South Point Showroom whenever she comes to Las Vegas.

Debbie Reynolds gave me her first running-show in LV- “Vegas Live” starring Comedian Michele LaFong at The Debbie Reynolds Hotel & Casino on The LV Strip.

Debbie will soon be featured in Comedian Michele LaFong’s Monthly Syndicated “Las Vegas Backstage Talk” column in Casino Player Magazine, as well as LaFong’s Syndicated “Getting Personal with the Stars” column in Gaming Today.

Too much to list about the life and history of Debbie Reynolds here. For more about Debbie, click HERE.

Comedian Shang Forbes

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Comedian Shang Forbes guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk radio show with Comedian Michele LaFong.

The charismatic comic has proven his premiere stand-up skills with appearances nationwide and abroad with one of the most memorable performances of 1995 on HBO’s “Def Comedy Jam” & won Two half-hour Comedy specials on BET’s “Comic View Grand Stand.

Shang has cemented his position as one  of the brightest funnymen in the business & his political and explosive humor has been showcased on HBO’s Aspen Comedy Festival Special “Best of the Fest”. Other appearances include “Politically Incorrect,”& the BBC’s Funny Business,Mun2’s Loco Comedy Jam, NBC’S Comedy Showcase, MTV’s Choose or Lose,  National Lampoon’s New Faces, Comedy Central’s Jamie Foxx-presents “Laffapalooza”& was a Co-Host on Russell Simmon’s “One World Music Beat.

Shang also is a Co-producer & host of BET’S Access Granted & is a regular on Bet’s Comic View, which airs weeknights at 10pm. (Incidentally, BET reaches 80 million cable households according to Nielsen Media Research). In addition, he has displayed impressive comedic acting & writing ability as a series regular on the late-night laugh-fest ”The Newz” & a contributing writer for George Magazine.

Now Shang has been making headway into the acting field with recent guest starring roles on episodes of On CBS’s “NCIS”, ABC’s “Zack & Cody”, NBC’s “Passions,” WB’s The Jamie Foxx Show & just finished shooting a pilot for FOX TV Called “FACELESS” written & directed by hot new directorJoe Carmahan (“Narc” & Smoking Aces) & Produced by Tony Krantz ( “24″ THe PJ’s & Sports Night).

The debut of Shang’s first major release CD entitled “SHANGRY!!”, on Uproar Records is in stores now & has one of the most played Comedy Specials on XM Radio called “Live on Broadway” taped at the world famous Caroline’s on Broadway In NY. In addition, he will be featured in several Upcoming international televised shows in Japan, Ireland, London and Amsterdam. Shang will continue to rise to the top of the comedy ranks with high-profile acting & televised stand up & personal appearances.

His new comedy special is called Shang is…”SHANGRY!” and will be out next month on Showtime.

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