Las Vegas Backstage Talk

Lisa Lampanelli, Crystal Gayle

June 11 2015

Audio of interviews posted below (Except on Internet Explorer)








Comedian Lisa Lampanelli, and Grammy Award-winner Crystal Gayle,  guest on Las Vegas Backstage Talk radio show with Comedian Michele LaFong.

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 is starring in Lipshtick at The Venetian Hotel & Casino on June 13.

For more about Lisa Lampanelli:

Crystal Gayle

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 glamor 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.  When in Vegas, Crystal plays at The South Point H & C.

For more about Crystal Gayle:

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Dec. Las Vegas Backstage Talk column

by Michele LaFong

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

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Dec. LVBST column 2014

It was obvious from the over 1400 people that turned out for The Next Generation show at The M Casino last month that this multi-media production show concept starring sons and daughters of show-biz legends backed by a big band shows promise of being a winner if built upon correctly, the casting played with and is executed a little more creatively. Since this was a first-time effort by Producer Patty Asher, I’m sure many lessons were learned, and adjustments will be made as with any new first time production. The order for the line-up of the evening went as follows: Lena Prima, daughter of Louis Prima, Steve March Torme, son of Mel Torme, Ricci Martin, son of Dean Martin, and Lorna Luft, daughter of Judy Garland. Anthony Lewis, son of Jerry Lewis was cast as the Master of Ceremonies, and this could not have surprised me more because several months ago when Anthony Lewis guested live in-studio on Las Vegas Backstage Talk, he had made it quite clear then that he was strictly a “behind the scenes production guy,” and had zero aspirations of being a performer or being in front of the camera, or crowd…and that’s still the impression that he left even after watching him host this show.

A very crucial yet common mistake that many producers make is in thinking that anyone can emcee an event if the line-up is good… “All they have to do is introduce the acts.” This cannot be less true. The Last Comic Standing show at The Aliante Casino made this same mistake in having the road manager for Last Comic Standing’s road shows emcee their show of headliners last September.
The master of ceremonies makes the first impression of the evening’s presentation and is responsible for setting the tone, warming-up the crowd, establishing a rapport with the audience, and taking charge of the pacing of the show. This means that they need to have the skill and ability to ad-lib comfortably and tune-in to what the audience needs and is experiencing…all of which requires a certain amount of comfort and confidence on-stage, good timing, experience, artfulness, preparation, and a sense of humor. And that’s just for starters. Hence the “master” in the title- Master of Ceremonies which was obviously extremely overlooked or misunderstood in Patty’s casting of her husband, Anthony Lewis in the MC role in which he appeared uncomfortable and unprepared for when he hit the stage and immediately started reading the show introduction off a card. This not only set the wrong tone to the packed pavilion right off the bat, but also made it difficult for his fellow co-stars to build any kind of momentum when one by one they were thrown to an un-warmed up, now skeptical crowd. A much better and obvious choice for the emcee position would have been veteran performer Steve March-Torme, who comes off warm and inviting and connects well with audiences with humor and ease. Comedian Sandy Hackett, son of Buddy Hackett, would have also been another good choice as he specializes and has a passion for emceeing, and should be considered for future shows. Adding a comedian to this line-up would also add a little more variety to the mix. Desi Arnaz Jr., and sister, Lucy Arnez are also other stars worth pursuing for future shows, and I can only imagine the footage and creativity that they could bring to this type of production.

The beauty of this show concept is that the cast can be interchangeable, and with the help of the stars’ respective rare personal footage integrated on the large video screens, I believe this show can have broad national and international appeal. In future productions, I would hope to see more moving personal stories integrated into the artists’ sets, father/son/ daughter duets, (like the “Unforgettable” duet with Nat King Cole and daughter Natalie,) some running gags, and for the finale… all the artists on-stage singing and interacting together with a close that allows them to shine individually as well as together to a carefully picked song with lyrics that are relevant and capture the spirit of The Next Generation. In the meantime unless Anthony Lewis makes the decision that he would like to be in front of an audience and is willing to commit to putting the time into working out material and to getting experience on different stages, I’m sure with his extensive background in production he can contribute much more behind the scenes than in front of the audience while still utilizing his name in the credits.

Television talk show Host Wendy Williams is another one that decided to step out of her comfort zone and try stand-up comedy as she announced on her Talk show several months ago. At that time, her intent was to go to small clubs and try out material but before she could even do that she was invited by The Venetian to make her comedy debut on their weekend female comedy series Lipshtick. I finally went to see Wendy’s show which was sold-out for the second time. I loved that she had her comedy coach Luenell open for her as she is simply a laugh-riot. I think Wendy is on the right track with her story-telling style and I’m sure will develop many more needed punchlines and running-gags as she matures in her comedy, and very strongly prefer her to stay away from raw low-level comedy or bathroom humor, as it just doesn’t seem to fit with her already established persona. She is passed that and doesn’t need to go there. I would leave that very blue humor to Luenell, as she pulls it off quite masterfully.

One never knows what to expect on a live show. Last month we aired Singer Jack Jones’ interview and have a short video clip posted on of Jack in-studio taking a cell phone call while in the middle of a live radio interview!
Singer Jack Jones takes personal cell phone call on live radio

My picks: Hank Williams Junior, Golden Nugget, December 4- 6, Heart, Mandalay Bay, December 5-7, Train, Better Than Ezra, Matt Nathanson, Hard Rock Hotel, December 5, Amy Schumer, Cosmopolitan, December 6, Merle Haggard, Golden Nugget, December 7 & 8, Olivia Newton John, Flamingo, December 9-13, December 30-January 3, Alabama, Golden Nugget, December 11 & 12th, The Shirelles, M casino, December 13, Tears For Fears, Palms, December 13, Three Dog Night, Eastside cannery, December 13, Tony Orlando Christmas show, South point, December 19- 21, Michael McDonald, Eastside Cannery, December 20, Jerry Seinfeld, Caesar’s Palace, December 26 & 27, Chris D’Elia, Mirage, December 27, Joe McHale, Mirage, December 29 & 30, Maroon 5, Mandalay Bay, December 30 and 31, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, The Cosmopolitan, Dec. 31

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Susie Essman, Lachlan Patterson

Sept. 4, 2014- 6-7pm PST 1230AM KLAV in LV & The Web

 Audio of interviews posted below (Scroll down)

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Susie Essman guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk radio show with Comedian Michele LaFong.

Susie Essman has played the sassy Susie Greene for all eight seasons of the critically-acclaimed HBO comedy series, Curb Your Enthusiasm. The Los Angeles Times calls Susie, “The most lyrical purveyor of profanity on television.” She has appeared in her own half-hour HBO comedy special, made numerous appearances on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The View, and Crank Yankers.
Susie Essman is appearing at the Sands Showroom at The Venetian as part of the Lipshtick series: Saturday, Sept. 6: 7:30pm

For more about Susie go to
Lachlan Patterson

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Recently Lachlan was on NBC’s hit competition show “Last Comic Standing”. Patterson’s signature style moved him through to the finals and was announced the runner up. While on the show he received high praises from this season’s celebrity judges Keenan Wayans, Russell Peters, and Roseanne Barr.  “So funny. So great. Your writing is fantastic and your delivery is one of a kind. I think you could take this whole show” says LCS judge Rosanne Barr. Even Russell Peters mentioned he’d love to go on tour with Lachlan.
This hilarious stand out comedian other television appearances include “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham,” “Tosh.O.,” the FX comedy “Legit” and VH1’s “Sexiest Artists.”

Lachlan will be appearing at The Aliante Casino on Sept. 13, at 8pm, & 10:30pm in Last Comic Standing with winner Rodman.

For more go to



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