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.

ayout 1Aug. CPG.T. 7-29-14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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 Lasvegasbackstagetalk.com.
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 casinocenter.com
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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Show-biz Legend Steve Rossi

June 26, 2013- 6-7pm PST 1230AM in LV & The Web

 Audio of interviews posted below (Scroll down)

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 with Comedian Michele LaFong on 1230am in Las Vegas and The Web.

In one of his first interviews Steve shared his many amazing experiences, lessons, and stories in his fifty-five year career in show business covering everything from what it was like what to room with Howard Stern many years ago when he was managing the frequently fired “Shock Jock,” to the real reason he and Marty Allen couldn’t get back together for even one TV Special last year that offered over a million plus dollars.

Steve Rossi was half of the world famous comedy team of Allen and Rossi. At the age of six he appeared in ‘Going My Way’ with Bing Crosby, ‘The Johnson Story’ and over thirty movies. At the age of 16, Steve received a scholarship to The University of Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles and received a BA in communication, arts and theatre and in Latin and Greek. In 1954 Steve co-starred with Mae West in her sold out concerts all over America.

Steve teamed up with Marty Allen in 1957 and soon became America’s #1 comedy team. They Appeared in over 7000 television shows including frequent appearances on the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’, and hold dubious honor of having to go on stage right after the Beatles created pandemonium on the show. They also guest starred on Perry Como, Dean Martin, Dinah Shore, Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas and the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Allen and Rossi were also regular guest stars on ‘What’s My Line, Hollywood Squares, Password and numerous other game shows.

Allen and Rossi starred in several Paramount films, most notably ‘The Last of the Secret Agents’ with the guest stars Nancy Sinatra and Ed Sullivan.

Steve also produced and starred in ‘The 25th Anniversary Allen and Rossi Special’ with guest stars Engelbert Humperdinck, Jerry Lewis, Sammy Davis Jr., Don Rickles, Phyllis Diller, Redd Foxx, Martin Sheen, Ernie Borgnine, Rich Little, Jack Jones and Tony Orlando. Steve has produced 11 comedy albums and eight singing albums on such labels as RCA and Columbia. He sold 2 million copies of his hit record “More”, which was nominated for an Academy Award.

Steve Rossi also wrote and produced “Jimmy Stewart & Friends” starring Rich Little that was appearing at The Las Vegas Hotel.

On May 20th 2009, Steve Rossi was inducted into Show Business Legends hall of fame at the Tropicana hotel in Las Vegas.

At the end of his life Steve was diagnosed with cancer which had spread to several areas of his body. Due to his age and weakened condition there were no treatment options available. Steve reached the brave decision with the support of his wife, family, and friends to enter hospice care. He lived only 10 days after his diagnosis.

From: Mr. Rossi’s Personal Assistant, Christine Kramar:

Please join us as for a memorial service for Mr. Steve Rossi. This event will be open to the public. Steve’s life will be celebrated with his personal Priest Father Ron at St. Joseph Husband of Mary Catholic Church. Signing up for a ticket does help the organizers of this event prepare for how many people will be attending, however we will not shut out…Share this event on Facebook
> and Twitter
> Event Details:
> ——————————
>
> Celebration of the Life of Steve Rossi Please join us as for a
> memorial service for Mr. Steve Rossi. This event will be open to the public.
> Steve’s life will be celebrated with his personal Priest Father Ron at
> St. Joseph Husband of Mary Catholic Church. Signing up for a ticket does help the organizers of this event prepare for how many people will be attending, however we will not shut out friends or fans who do not have a ticket. The tickets are a way for us to communicate to the church and the cemetery how many people to expect. It also gives us your email address to update you immediately should anything change regarding his services.
> Event: Memorial Celebration for Steve Rossi
> Date: Friday, June 27, 2014 from 1:00 PM to 5:30 PM (PDT)
> Location: St. Joseph Husband of Mary Catholic
> Church 7260 W Sahara Ave. Las Vegas,
> NV 89117

> Schedule of Events
> 1:00 – 1:45 Visitation Presentation of memories from
> dear friends of Steve Rossi
> 1:45 – 2:00 Reflection and Prayer
> 2:00 – 3:30 Celebration of Life with Father Ron
> Steve had spoken with his Priest Father Ron about his final wishes for his service and sought a traditional Catholic service.
> 3:30 – 4:00 Travel to Graveside Service Steve’s
> final resting place is at Palm Eastern Cemetery
> 7600 S Eastern Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89123 (702)
> 464-8500
> 4:00 Graveside Service
>
> Due to limited financial resources the family will be unable to host a
> reception after the graveside service. In the near future there will
> be a benefit to help support Mr. Rossi’s widow and offset his final expenses. Donations in lieu of flowers toward his final expenses may be made through the funeral home Kraft Sussman at (702) 485-6500 Donations are accepted through this website as well.
> Please direct further questions about this event to:
> LegendarySteveRossi@gmail.com or call (702) 606-2618. Due to the volume of calls your message will be answered most quickly via email or text.

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Lisa Lampanelli, The Queen of Mean…is Newly Lean!

By Michele LaFong- “Getting Personal with the Stars” in Gaming Today-  Feb. 12, 2013

Lisa Lamanelli, the self proclaimed “Queen of Mean” is returning to The Pearl Concert Theatre on Feb. 16, at 8pm at The Palms Hotel & Casino. “Expect to see a whole new hour of material,”promised Lisa.   “Much of it will be about the craziest experience of my life…  spending sixteen weeks competing on “Celebrity Apprentice,” Donald Trump’s Reality Show on NBC,  “I LOVED it!”   Lisa screamed.  “I watched myself on TV afterward.  I was such a Mental Patient on that show!  I got SO much material though, and it’s such great exposure.  It raises your profile.

Here’s the only problem.  The minute I finished doing The Apprentice, I was getting recognized every single day, in the city of NY, and I was loving it…Then I go and lose 105 +lbs, and no one recognizes me!  I’m not getting free coffee anymore… I’m not getting FREE anything!  So it’s a double edged sword, this weight loss. I’m less famous, cause I don’t look like me anymore… but maybe now I’ll  live till I’m 70, instead of dropping dead.”

Perhaps it was that philosphy that led to Lisa’s decision to get Gastric By-Pass Surgery.

“I just got tied of hating the way my body looked in the mirror!”  There were a couple of incidents that happened on The Apprentice that triggered me to want to do something about it.  It wasn’t that alone, of course.  It was many things over the years, from my past.  In fact, we’re working on A One-Woman Broadway, show about my life, and we get into this, and explain how it came about…”

At age 51, Lampanelli, is making the effort to live a life of balance.  She takes time off to enjoy her home, on the water in Connecticut, and has three assistants, and has a few dollars!
I really think that comics are afraid to improve themselves, because they’re like: I won’t be funny if I get thinner, or I won’t be funny if I go to the shrink and get more healthy mentally, and emotionally.  But there’s always gonna be so much twisted stuff about us, that I don’t think we ever have to worry about being too healthy for comedy.

I’ve been in-therapy for many years. I think I took a cue from Howard Stern.  He has become a better human being, and performer by going to therapy three or four times a week.  I don’t do that, but I  take a lot of workshops, I also have a house at Kenya Ranch Health Spa, in Tuscon, where I work on myself from a spiritual, and psychological point of view. I’m also going to a six day retreat for emotional eating because I don’t want to gain the weight back.   Weight is about emotion and not about food.”

Lisa Lampanelli…she’s still a heavy-weight in comedy, and would never be one to be  accused of doing a “half-assed” job!
Her full interview can be heard on Las Vegas Backstage Talk Radio & Web Show, Thursday, Feb. 14 from 6pm-7pm PST on 1230AM in Las Vegas, or stream live on-line.

Lampanelli is also featured in Michele LaFong’s Monthly Syndicated Column, “Las Vegas Backstage Talk,” in June’s issue of Casino Player Magazine.  (CP Magazine.)

 

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Lisa Lampanelli, Crystal Gayle-LVBST w/Comedian Michele LaFong

Feb. 14 2013- 6pm-7pm PST 1230AM KLAV in LV & The Web

Audio of interviews posted below (Scroll down)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lisa Lampanelli guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk with Comic Michele LaFong, on 1230AM in Las Vegas and The Web.

In a pre-recorded interview, Lisa tells us what we can expect her to talk about on her new hour of material this Saturday night at The Palms Hotel & Casino.

Lisa Lampanelli is Comedy’s Lovable Queen of Mean. Heralded as “more than a standup — a standout,” by comedy legend Jim Carrey, Lampanelli is a cross between Don Rickles, Archie Bunker, and a vial of estrogen. She has won accolades from The King of All Media Howard Stern, who called her “a true original and a brilliant comedy mind who’ll steal the show every time.”

This equal opportunity offender is a regular on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and Howard Stern’s Sirius satellite radio shows. And she has appeared on “Late Show with David Letterman,” “Lopez Tonight”, “Chelsea Lately”, and “Jimmy Kimmel Live”. And, she made a “big splash” when she joined the cast of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice,” Season 5.

Lisa will be featured in Michele LaFong’s Syndicated Columns, “Getting Personal with the Stars” in Gaming Today, and “Las Vegas Backstage Talk” in Casino Player Magazine.

Lisa is appearing at The Pearl Concert Theatre at The Palms Hotel & Casino on Feb. 16, at 8pm.

For more about Lisa Lampanelli: lisalampanelli.com

Crystal Gayle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grammy Award Winner, Crystal Gayle talks to Comedian Michele LaFong about what it was like to start out in the shadows of her sister Loretta Lynn, and many other things that are not the normal struggles of every singer.

In the wake…her hit list of platinum and gold record sales was to be matched only by her awards and accolades.  CMA’s “Female Vocalist Of The Year,” for two consecutive years, she became a Grammy Award Winner for “Best Female Vocal Performance,” thanks to her beloved “Brown Eyes” – a song that she today admits she has never grown tired of singing.  Crystal swept the Academy Of Country Music Awards for three of their “Top Female Vocalist” statuettes.  As her music and her career path widened to mainstream audiences—so did her accolades.  She is the recipient of three “American Music Awards” –voted by the nation as America’s “Favorite Female Artist.”

The glamour and the mystique of the Crystal Gayle phenomena made her an instantly “ in demand”  artist.  From symphony halls to Carnegie Hall…from the best kept stages in Las Vegas to the prestige of the London Palladium… one word—“Crystal”—crossed musical genres and oceans.

Crystal Gayle will be appearing at The South Point Hotel & Casino Feb. 15 & 16 at 7:30pm.

For more about Crystal Gayle: crystalgayle.com

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Nov. 29, 2012 Steve Rossi

The Legendary Steve Rossi

 Audio of interviews posted below (Scroll down)

Steve Rossi visits in-studio on Las Vegas Backstage Talk Radio Show on 1230am and The Web, with Comedian Michele LaFong and shares his many amazing experiences, lessons, and stories in his fifty-five year career in show business.

In this very interesting interview, Steve talks about everything from what it was like what to room with Howard Stern many years ago, when he was managing the frequently fired “Shock Jock,” to the real reason he and Marty Allen couldn’t get back together for even one TV Special last year that offered over a million plus dollars.

Steve Rossi is half of the world famous comedy team of Allen and Rossi. At the age of six he appeared in ‘Going My Way’ with Bing Crosby, ‘The Johnson Story’ and over thirty movies. At the age of 16, Steve received a scholarship to The University of Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles and received a BA in communication, arts and theatre and in Latin and Greek. In 1954 Steve co-starred with Mae West in her sold out concerts all over America.

Steve teamed up with Marty Allen in 1957 and soon became America’s #1 comedy team. They Appeared in over 7000 television shows including frequent apperances on the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’, and hold dubious honor of having to go on stage right after the Beatles created pandemonium on the show. They also guest starred on Perry Cumo, Dean Martin, Dinah Shore, Merv Griffin, Mike Dougas and the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Allen and Rossi were also regular guest stars on ‘What’s My Line, Hollywood Squares, Password and numerous other game shows.

Allen and Rossi starred in several Paramount films, most notably ‘The Last of the Secret Agents’ with the guest stars Nancy Sinatra and ed Sullivan.

Steve also produced and starred in ‘The 25th Anniversary Allen and Rossi Special’ with guest stars Engelbert Humperdinck, Jerry Lewis, Sammy Davis Jr., Don Rickles, Phyllis Diller, Redd Foxx, Martin Sheen, Ernie Borgnine, Rich Little, Jack Jones and Tony Orlando. Steve has produced 11 comedy albums and eight singing albums on such lables as RCA and Coumbia. He sold 2 million copies of his hit record “More”, which was nominated for an Academy Award.

Steve Rossi also wrote and produced “Jimmy Stewart & Friends” starring Rich Little currently appearing at The Las Vegas Hotel.

On May 20th 2009, steve Rossi was inducted into Show Business Legends hall of fame at the Tropicana hotel in Las Vegas. Steve in celebrating his 55th year in show business and Is young enough to look forward to the next 55 years.

More about Steve Rossi here–>

You can listen to a recording of our show below!

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BJ Thomas, Jackie ‘The Joke Man’ Martling-LV Backstage Talk w/Comedian Michele LaFong

Listen to show below.

Nov. 15, 2012 6pm-7pm PST 1230AM in LV & The Web

Singer BJ Thomas guests on “Las Vegas Backstage Talk” Radio Show with Comedian Michele LaFong.  LVBST radio show is the only show that “Gets Personal with the Stars.”

Five-time Grammy® Award winning hitmaker BJ Thomas will perform at the Suncoast Showroom.

In 1966, Thomas released his first hit record, a cover of Hank Williams classic, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” From 1967 to 1975, Thomas charted numerous hits, including: “The Eyes of a New York Woman,” “Hooked on a Feeling,” “It’s Only Love,” and “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song.”

Thomas is perhaps best-known for “Rain Drops Keep Fallin’ On My Head,” featured in the 1969 movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and winner of an Academy Award® for “Best Original Song.” Since then, the song has been featured in numerous movies, including “Forrest Gump,” “Clerks II,” “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” and “Spider-Man 2.”

During the ‘80s, Thomas’ music crossed over to the country charts with “Whatever Happened to Old-Fashioned Love,” “New Looks from an Old Lover” and “Two Car Garage.” He became the 60th member of the Grand Old Opry in 1981.

In 1985, Thomas recorded “As Long As We’ve Got Each Other” which was later used as the theme song for the hit ABC sitcom, “Growing Pains.”

In 2007, he released his fourth holiday album, “Home for Christmas.”

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

More about BJ Thomas here–>

You can catch BJ Thomas headlining at Suncoast Hotel & Casino

Suncoast Showroom, Sat & Sun, Nov. 17th & 18th 7:30pm

Reservations

Comedian – Jackie ‘The Joke Man’ Martling

Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling, will talk about his experiences on “The Howard Stern Show,” and his life on stage, and off, since leaving.

While touring as a national headliner, Martling released three comedy lp’s, 1979’s “What Did You Expect?,” 1980’s “Goin’ Ape!,” and 1981’s “Normal People Are People You Don’t Know That Well.” He blindly sent the three LP’s to Howard Stern upon Howard’s arrival at WNBC-AM in New York City in 1982, and Howard called him to make a guest appearance on his radio show. in 1986, Jackie became  a full-time cast member and the head writer of Stern’s show.

Jackie left the show in 2001 after fifteen-year run as head writer of the radio show, four television series, and three Pay-Per-Views.

He still works all around the country, performing his solo act of rapid-fire filthy jokes and the classic finale, “Stump The Joke Man,” is about to release a CD of his original music entitled “Happy Endings,” and is currently doing his own radio show on Sirius Satellite Radio 101, “Jackie’s Joke Hunt.

Jackie Martling’s videotaped interview on LVBST with Comedian Michele LaFong is posted on lasvegasbackstagetalk.com

More about Jackie Martling here–>

You can catch Jackie Martling headlining at MGM

Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club, Wed – Sat, Nov. 14th – 17th 8:00pm

You can listen to a recording of our show below!

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