Las Vegas Backstage Talk

Kathy Griffin, Little Anthony

April 16, 2015

Audio of interviews posted below

Kathy Griffin, LaFong Margaret Cho

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kathy Griffin guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk with Comedian Michele LaFong on 1230AM KLAV in Las Vegas, and The Web.

Kathy first made a name for herself on Bravo’s two-time Emmy Award Winning Reality Series, “My Life on the D List,” and recently had her own talk show “Kathy” on Bravo, has broken the record for having the “Most Comedy Specials, Male or Female,” with her latest Special called “Calm down Gurrl,”. She is appearing at The Mirage, April 18, at 10pm

Little Anthony & The Imperials

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Little Anthony guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk with Comedian Michele LaFong on 1230AM in Las Vegas and The Web.

Little Anthony and the Imperials were one of the finest vocal groups to emerge from the talent-rich New York scene. Moreover, they enjoyed unusual longevity for an act of that type, having hits in both the doo-wop Fifties and the soul-music Sixties. They outlasted their peers by virtue of “Little Anthony” Gourdine’s powerful, beseeching vocals and the consummate professionalism of the Imperials, who mastered a broad range of material and knew how to work a stage.

“Tears on My Pillow,” their first single as the Imperials, was released on End Records. This classic vocal-group ballad was one of the biggest hits of 1958, reaching #2 on the R&B chart and #4 on the pop chart. Little Anthony and the Imperials were suddenly stars. The story might have ended there, with “Tears On My Pillow” fondly recalled as a vocal-group classic from one of the many one-hit wonders from that era. In fact, some of their followup singles did flop, strong as they were. But the group rebounded with an uptempo number, “Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko-Ko Bop,” that capitalized on a dance craze.

Other hits include “Hurt So Bad,” and “Going Out of my Head.”

They received the Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation and have been inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. In 2008, Little Anthony and the Imperials released You’ll Never Know, an album of new songs and rerecorded oldies to celebrate their 50th anniversary as a group.

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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 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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Las Vegas Backstage Talk column in Casino Player Magazine-Oct.

Oct. edition-by Michele LaFong

Las Vegas Backstage Talk column

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Oct. “Las Vegas backstage Talk” column in Casino Player Magazine-Please click here to view it.

The “entertainment pool” in LV this summer has been incredibly rich.

LVBST has enjoyed amazing line-ups all the way through September, and October looks pretty exciting as well!

Kathy Griffin, LaFong Margaret Cho  Margaret Cho was guesting on my radio show recently explaining what we could expect from her “Mother” Tour, at The Mirage. I wrote a little about it in last month’s issue, but wasn’t prepared for what was in store!

Jim Short an Australian comic that tours with Cho led off the evening.  He had the audience right out of the gate and just kept the laughs coming throughout his set.  The packed house, many in town for “Gay Day,” were now properly warmed-up and ready for “everyone’s Mother,” Margaret Cho.

When Cho hit the stage, the stereo-type of what a “mother” typically would look like disappeared from my mind faster than Miley Cyrus’ past “Disney” image at The VMA Awards!  Covered in tattoos almost from head to toe, Cho soon dug deep in her gut,   “throwing up” her hilarious impression of her Korean mom, spoke candidly and bluntly about her bi-sexuality, and just “put it all out there” onstage.  Her uninhibited honesty throughout coupled with her wild animations was uniquely shocking, as well as visually hilarious, and is what truly sets her apart.  I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time!

Kathy Griffin made a surprise cameo appearance during Cho’s show.  What a treat!  Together, they shared a story that I had read in the Review Journal that morning about Kathy wanting Margaret to go halves with her for a private plane. It costs $50,000 to go from LA to Vegas.  Margaret’s response was “but… its $50 on Southwest!”  In the article, Kathy said she would try to go halves with Bill Maher on it.  It was really funny when Kathy announced on-stage that she ended up renting it alone, then later heard that Margaret’s flight had been delayed and in the end she had to call for a car to drive her to Vegas!

Immediately following the show, and falling in step with the theme of Margaret’s tour, “Mother,” I surprised myself when I spontaneously shared something with her, and asked for some personal advice to which she in-turn did answer…but ironically, like all mothers, they rarely get proper credit at the time.  I soon came to realize however that “mother” was right!

Both Margaret and Kathy were nice and gracious backstage, and true to character off-stage as well.  It was cool to see some of Margaret’s very detailed tattoos up-close, and I couldn’t get over how petite Kathy was.

Little did I realize that my experience backstage that night with both Margaret and Kathy, would prove to be “life-changing” for me, shifting my paradigm, leading me to choose a path that I didn’t have the “inner-fire” in the past to choose.  That’s all I am willing to reveal for now.  I am very thankful to Margaret’s publicist, Ken Phillips for not only providing me with great seats to Margaret’s sold-out show, but for being really straight forward…  A trait that is way too rare these days, especially in this business.

2013-08-24 18.39.26 - CopyI had a blast interviewing World Renowned Comedian Russell Peters in his suite prior to his sold out performance at his “Notorious World Tour” show at The Palms H & C.  Ironically, he is a name that still too many people are not yet familiar with in spite of the fact that his tour has become the highest attended comedy show in the history of the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Lebanon, South Africa, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and his home country of Canada, selling out arenas of up to 16,000 fans. In Dubai, Peters was the fastest selling concert in the history of the Emirate outselling Madonna! With over 60 million views on YouTube, His credits also include selling-out:  Radio City Music Hall (twice), Madison Square Garden, and the astounding list goes on and on, both nationally and internationally. It is no surprise that Russell, whose heritage is Anglo-Indian, was ranked by Forbes as one of the top ten highest grossing comics in the U.S., in 2009 and 2010!

Peters is always on-the go, and is constantly late, but always worth waiting for as he was a really fun interview, and one of the quickest “off the cuff” personable comics I’ve come across.  The audience was howling throughout his show.  Somehow he seems to be able to get away with political correctness being thrown out the window, as exampled in his latest DVD, Red, White and Brown recorded live at Madison Square Garden. His crowd ad-libs that night at The Palms were as on target as his material.  He is currently working on a project, writing with Billy Crystal.  Edited portions of Russell’s videotaped interview can be seen on casinocenter.com

After his show he invited my husband and me along and about 15 other guests to accompany him to The Ghost Bar, in The Palms where we partied till all hours! “Table service” was on him.

I’m still recovering…

wilson jardineLegendary music icons and Grammy Award winners, Brian Wilson (co-founder The Beach Boys) and Jeff Beck (Yardbirds) will perform live in Las Vegas as part of a co-headlining North American Tour. Wilson’s former band mates Al Jardine, (“Help help Me Rhonda”,) and David Marks will join Wilson and Beck.   The show will make a stop at The Pearl inside The Palms H & C on Oct. 18.  Al jardine, a return guest on our program gave a great interview which will air on LVBST on Oct. 17, with Ray Romano. (Al Jardine is on far left.)

Comedian Bill Engvall, mostly known for “The Blue Collar Tour” with Jeff Foxworthy, Larry the Cable Guy, and Ron White who has guested on LVBST many times, will be on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” for their new season beginning Sept. 16. He is teamed with Emma Slater, and will be competing against Leah Remeni, Snooki, Elizabeth Berkely, Jack Osbourne, and Valerie Harper. The audience vote counts for 50% of their score.  We, at LVBST support him, and encourage all to vote, and keep voting for Bill!    Engvall will be in town on Oct.25, appearing at The TI.  Video of his Backstage Interview can be seen on casinocenter.com.

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Kathy Griffin-Gaming Today Column by Michele LaFong

Gaming Today K.G.Getting Personal with The Stars” column in Gaming Today by Michele LaFong

Kathy is also featured in Michele LaFong’s “Las Vegas Backstage Talk” monthly Syndicated Column, in Casino Player Magazine- Sept. edition, as well as Comedian Margaret Cho, Tony Orlando, Comedian Pablo Francisco, Heather Marianna, Little Anthony & The Imperials, Mickey Thomas, lead singer from Starship, “Raiding the Rock Vault,” at The LVH, and more…

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Kathy Griffin at The Mirage Aug.1, & Sept. 7

Special’ K from reality series, ‘My Life on the D List’ posted on July 30, 2013 by Michele LaFong

Kathy Griffin, who first made a name for herself on Bravo’s two-time Emmy Award- winning reality series, “My Life on the D List,” and recently had her own talk show, “Kathy,” on Bravo, has broken the record for having the most comedy specials, male or female, with her latest called “Calm Down Gurrl.”

“I just love Las Vegas,” Griffin proudly admitted. “I love everything about it…slots and all! If you come see me at The Mirage, you will hear different material than you’ve heard before. If you come see me a month later, you’re going to see different material than I did last time! I just can’t keep up with all the crazy celebrities. Amanda Bynes with the blue wig…Lindsay Lohan doing a show with Oprah…I mean, we have a lot to talk about.”

This prompted the question, “How do you remember everything?”

“It’s a very free-flowing form,” she said without skipping a beat.

“It’s been so improvisational for so long, I couldn’t do it any other way. Most comedians write an act and memorize it, and it’s all perfect. My show is very imperfect. I’m in the middle of one story, and I get distracted, and then I start another story, but go back to the first story, and somehow I try to tie it up in a filthy, dirty, offensive row.

“And these stories are real things that have happened to me,” she continued. “I actually saw Kris Jenner on the night of the birth of little baby North West.

“And so I really try to focus my act on things that I personally have witnessed or that have happened to me. So you get something a little bit different than a joke about something…like my very own run-in with Amanda Bynes.”

But how do you have such reckless abandon of the consequences when talking so publicly about everyone?

“I just don’t care! I have a 93-year-old alcoholic mother. She loves her box of wine, and you get a little Franzia in Maggie, and she’ll just say anything,” Griffin said. “So I blame her. It’s all her fault!”

Kathy admits that when suffering humiliation of any kind, it feels like the end of the world at the moment.

“Like yesterday was the first time in seven years where my stand-up special wasn’t nominated for an Emmy and I cried like a baby,” she said. “I mean, you would have thought that I was in the middle of a genuine tragedy, as opposed to a ‘Hollywood Tragedy.’

“And then I just started thinking about how to make it funny. You lick your wounds, and then boom! Your mind starts to think about how do I put this in the act; how do I make it funny, relatable, and enjoy a good tragedy?”

So how does one deal with the Gate-Keepers who won’t let you in?

“I have a ‘kill list!’ It’s very long, and has the names of the people I want to push off my balcony,” Griffin said.

Kathy’s favorite comedians are Joan Rivers, Don Rickles, Bill Maher, and Howard Stern.

“All the people who are fearless,” she said. “I love that experience, especially in Vegas where anything goes…and I can go see comedians that just don’t give a (bleep) and will say anything and genuinely feel that way.”

What of the rumors about Kathy and Anderson Cooper doing a show together on CNN?

“I love doing New Year’s Eve with him on CNN…It’s how the straight guys know me,” she said. “Straight guys only know me from being on Seinfeld twice, and New Year’s Eve with Anderson Cooper.

“But I wish CNN would just one time film the commercial break. They are just filled with Anderson sometimes begging me not to say certain things.

“He actually has a Mental Ninja mind-game he does on himself where he just goes to a ‘safe-place,’ and then knows it will be over in a couple of hours and then he’ll have to clean up my mess,” Griffin added.

“It’s a whole system and he’s confided that he gets more nervous with me on New Years than he does when he’s in a war zone…So what do you think that says about me?”

Griffin is appearing at The Mirage on Aug. 2 and Sept. 7 at 10 p.m. Her full interview can be heard Thursday on “Las Vegas Backstage Talk,” with Comedian Michele LaFong on 1230AM in Las Vegas, and The Web.

Visit Michele’s webiste at LasVegasBackStageTalk.comContact Michele at MicheleLaFong@GamingToday.com.

 

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