Las Vegas Backstage Talk

Aug. Las Vegas Backstage Talk column

by Michele LaFong

August’s Las Vegas Backstage Talk column in Casino Player Magazine and Gaming Today.

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Steve Rossi: May 25, 1932 – June 22, 2014
Show-biz Legend Steve Rossi was a frequent favorite in-studio guest on Las Vegas Backstage Talk radio show. I first met him in ’94 at my variety show “Vegas Live” starring Michele LaFong, at The Debbie Reynolds Hotel and Casino. He was very supportive, and came in frequently to watch the show, hang-out and schmooze…and what a fun schmoozer he was! Even back then he brought the party with him where ever he went. He is greatly missed. On June 26, in Steve’s honor we replayed his very first LVBST interview. It was incredibly colorful and entertaining. He shared his many experiences, lessons and stories in his amazing fifty-five year career in show business which covered everything from what it was like to room with Howard Stern many years ago when he was managing the frequently fired “Shock Jock,” to the real reason he claimed that he and Marty Allen could not get back together… not even for one last TV Anniversary Special that Steve claimed was offered to them last year for over a million dollars. The show is worth listening to and is archived on
Clint Holmes returned in-studio live on June 19, to update us on the exciting news of his new CD release, and monthly resident performances at The Smith Center on the first weekend of every month.
Mostly known for being the former co-host of ABC’s The View, Joy Behar will return to Vegas to perform a weekend of stand-up on Aug.22 & 23 as part of the new “Lipshtick Series” at The Venetian. She got nabbed-up pretty quickly after her successful engagement at The Orleans this past January. Apparently much of the general public was unaware of what an accomplished Stand-up Comedian Joy was. Back in the 80’s, when I was a touring headline comedian, I had a business called LaFong Productions. Joy was one of my top go to comedians that I booked in my 21 rooms. Come to think of it many of the comedians that I booked have done incredibly well in their careers including Kevin James, and Comedian and YouTube Sensation Vic Dibitetto, who recently got cast by Kevin in Mall Cop 2, teamed-up with Actor Nick Turturro (mostly known for his role in NYPD Blue.) I recently aired the lively interview with the pair on June 12, and it too is archived on our website. An edited video clip of Nick and Vic is posted on
Comedian Russell Peters, currently a judge on NBC’s Last Comic Standing with Roseanne Barr and Keenon Ivory Wayans, returned on LVBST and will return to the Pearl at The Palms on Aug. 2 exploring new material and crowd work. “Although the taping for Last Comic Standing has concluded, the competition is still playing out every week on television and even the three finalists do not know the outcome! We taped three different endings and they do not know which one will be aired.”
Jay Leno returns to The Mirage on August 11, and Nov. 21 & 22. He puts on a very strong well-paced, fluff-free show that is definitely worth catching. Last month, I aired Part 1 & 2 of a long interview with Jay covering everything from his comedy writing to why he doesn’t have a team of security escorting him around like most other celebrities.
Jay explained the security question with a great story. “Once I was at one of these hotels, and they insisted on sending two security people to walk me to the showroom…so these two huge goons come up with suits on that look like they are made out of sofa material, and we walk into the casino… and as we’re coming through they were actually pushing people…literally shoving old ladies out of the way…and people were like “screw you Leno!” “and I’m like no let me stop and take a picture, sign an autograph…it takes an extra few minutes but everybody’s happy. Having security walk me to a show was so much worse!
Superstar Al Pacino will bring his “Pacino: One Night Only” show to The Mirage Saturday, Aug. 16 at 7:30 p.m. This is an opportunity to step into Pacino’s world as he shares his passion for acting and directing in an up-close-and-personal setting in the Terry Fator Theatre. The evening will explore his life beginning in the 1960s when he performed Off-Broadway and will follow his career to present day. The show will include previously untold stories, never-before-seen clips, and a question and answer session. Pacino is one of the rare winners of the acting Triple Crown: the Oscar, Tony and Emmy Award.
Other Picks: Buckcherry, Otherwise, Hard Rock, Aug. 1, Caroline Rhea, Wendy Liebman, The Venetian, Aug 1 & 2, The Goo Goo Dolls, Daughtry, Plain White T’s, Red Rock Resort, Aug. 1, Herman’s Hermits with Peter Noone, South Point, Aug. 1-3, Journey, Steve Miller Band, Mandalay Bay, Aug 1, Kenny Wayne Shepard, Los Lonely Boys, The Palms, Aug. 1, Lady Gaga, MGM Grand, Weezer, Cosmopolitan, Aug. 1, Aerosmith Slash, MGM Grand, Aug. 2, Jonny Lang, Boulder Station, Aug. 2, Blues Traveler, Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth, Uncle Cracker, Golden Nugget, Aug. 8, Dirty Heads, Pepper, Aug. 8, Lisa Lampanelli, The Venetian, Aug. 8 & 9, Rob Schneider, South Point, Aug. 8-10, Aaron Neville & Dr. John, The Cannery, Aug. 9, Aries Spears, Mandalay Bay, Aug. 9, Kathy Griffin, The Mirage, Aug. 9, Lynard Skynyrd, Golden Nugget, Aug. 9, Counting Crows, Mandalay Bay, Aug. 10, 38 Special, Eastside Cannery, Aug. 10, Cesar Millan, “Leader of the Pack” Palms, Aug. 15, Whitney Cummings, The Venetian, Aug. 15 & 16, Yes, Hard Rock, Aug. 15, The Guess Who, Eastside Cannery, Aug. 16, ZZ Top, Jeff Beck, Hard Rock, Aug. 16, Daniel Tosh, The Mirage, Aug. 22 & 23, Dave Collier, South Point, Aug. 22-24, Rock N Blues Fest with Johnny Winter Band, Edgar Winter Band, Cannery, Aug. 23, John Legend, The Cosmopolitan, Aug. 24, The Summer Nationals Tour, featuring The Offspring, with Special Guests, Bad Religion, Pennywise, Stiff Little Fingers, Hard Rock, Aug. 27, The Adam Carolla Show, Treasure Island, Aug. 29, Bill Medley with McKenna Medley, South Point, Aug. 29-31, Joe Rogan, The Mirage, Aug. 29, Bachman & Turner, Cannery, Aug. 30, Keith Urban, The Cosmopolitan, Aug. 31.

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Nick Turturro, Vic Dibitetto

June 12, 2014- 6-7pm PST 1230AM in LV & The Web

Nick Turturo & Vic Dipetetto(Nick Turturro, Left)







Actor Nick Turturro partners up with Comedian Vic Dibitetto in Mall Cop 2.  They both guest on Las Vegas Backstage Talk with Comedian Michele LaFong together, and separately.

Nicholas Turturro, Jr. was the youngest of three children born to carpenter Nicholas Turturro, Sr. and his wife, Katherine. Following in his brother John’s footsteps, Turturro majored in theater at Adelphi University but dropped out after two years to marry the mother of his child. While working as a hotel doorman in the late 1980s, Turturro was introduced by his brother John to Spike Lee, while the soon-to-be-famous director was shooting “Do the Right Thing.” Taking a liking to the young actor, Lee wrote the younger Turturro a part alongside his brother John in his next project, “Mo’ Better Blues” (1990). Lee would subsequently hire both the Turturro brothers for his next two follow-up projects, the controversial “Jungle Fever” (1991) and the well-received biopic “Malcolm X” (1992).

The actor’s greatest success, however, would come on television. In 1993, Turturro won the role of the good-natured Detective James Martinez on “NYPD Blue.” Though originally written for a Latino actor, the Italian-American Turturro made the character his own; immersing himself deeply in the “Nuyorican” (slang for New Yorkers of Puerto Rican descent) culture and adopting mannerisms appropriate for the character. Paired alongside Gordon Clapp’s bumbling Detective Greg Medavoy, Turturro and Clapp brought the usually somber “NYPD Blue” a welcome lightness and spark of humor. A tough cop with a true heart of gold, Turturro’s quiet and dependable performance earned the actor two Emmy nods – first in 1994; then again in 1997 – for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. In 2000, however, Turturro decided that the Martinez character had run its course. Written out of the show with an off-screen promotion, Turturro left “NYPD Blue” after its seventh season; while, leaving the door open for a possible return.

Post-“Blue,” Turturro remained quite busy with steady, if unremarkable work as a guest star on such shows as “The Twilight Zone” (UPN, 2002-03), “Tremors: the Series” (Sci-Fi Channel, 2003-04) and “Third Watch” (NBC, 1999-2005). In 2006, Turturro revealed his ruthlessly competitive side when he appeared as a contestant on “Celebrity Fit Club 2” (VH1, 2005- ). Later that year, Turturro returned to the big screen with a feature role in director Oliver Stone’s “World Trade Center” (2006). Turturro popped up the following year with a turn in the fireman-posing-as-gay-couple comedy “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007). After a small appearance in the Ice Cube-Tracy Morgan comedy “First Sunday” (2008), the actor played the trainer of controversial boxing legend Sonny Liston (Ving Rhames) in the sports biopic “Phantom Punch” (2008). For a more personal project, Turturro co-wrote and starred in the immigration comedy-drama “The Deported” (2009) alongside his young son, Nicholas Turturro III. There was another supporting role in the heist movie “Takers” (2010), in addition to portraying Sgt. Anthony Renzulli, the partner of rookie cop Jamie Reagan (Will Estes) in the police-drama series “Blue Bloods” (CBS, 2010- ). Turturro turned in a pair of quick cameos for his pal in the Sandler produced comedies “Zookeeper” (2011) and “Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star” (2011), then joined the cast of the slasher flick “Nurse 3D” (2012), starring Paz de la Huerta as a dedicated by deadly caregiver.
Comedian Vic Dibitetto

Comedian Vic Dibitetto has been headlining comedy clubs around the country for over 30 years.  He became an internet sensation when he posted a comedic video on YouTube that went viral and caught the attention on Comedian Kevin James.  He called Vic personally to ask him to be in Mall Cop Blart 2 teamed-up with Actor Nick Turturro.  He is currently filming at Wynn through next week.

Featured in Kevin James’ new movie Mall Cop: Blart 2 coming out in April 2015

Writing and Producing his Ticked Off Vic segment for WPLJ in New York City (reaches 3 million people)

an Internet Sensation with over 20 million YouTube views and his now famous Bread and Milk rant

Featured in a video roll-in segment in the play Italian Bred currently in LA and coming to Broadway (Fall 2014)

Starring in an untitled prime time Hulu Original scripted sit-com Fall 2014

Featured performer on the online Funny For Money site (Comedy Central and YouTube venture)

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