Las Vegas Backstage Talk

Jon Taffer, Dave Attell

May 14, 2015

Audio of interviews are posted below… except on Internet Explorer

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Jon Taffer, star and executive producer,  of “Bar Rescue,” on Spike TV returns, and Comic Dave Attell guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk radio show with Comedian Michele LaFong.

In the summer of 2011, Spike TV debuted “Bar Rescue,” a documentary-style series spotlighting Jon Taffer as he gives struggling restaurants and bars a last chance to succeed.  Focusing on one establishment each week, the series puts Taffer at the heart of the storm: helping to improve every facet of an American restaurant or bar: from its theming to staffing, pricing to promotions, menus to music.  If there’s anyone who can save it from going belly-up, it’s Jon Taffer.  If not, it’s toast.

Within the greater nightclub, bar and restaurant industry, there is no greater authority than Jon Taffer.  With close to three decades of hands-on experience, Taffer is two-time winner of the Bar Operator of the Year award, among a myriad of other honors, and his renowned method of management, “Taffer Dynamics,” has become the gold standard of the industry.  As chairman of Taffer Dynamics and President of the Nightclub & Bar Media Group, Taffer is a highly respected industry expert, management guru and television star as well.  Taffer is a coveted keynote speaker at major industry conventions and events.

For more about Jon Taffer: tafferdynamics.com

Comic/Writer Dave Attell

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Dave Attell is currently the creator and host of “Dave’s Old Porn” on Showtime. “Dave’s Old Porn” has featured such talent as Whitney Cummings, Chelsea Handler, Adam Carolla and Daniel Tosh. Season two will be airing this fall.

After four seasons of “Insomniac,” Attell taped several hour-long “Insomniac” specials overseas in Japan, Germany, England and Brazil. Once back in the states, he headed out on a thirty-five city theatre tour ending in Vegas, where he hosted a two-hour special for Comedy Central featuring Sean Rouse, Greg Geraldo and Dane Cook, some of the biggest comics in the country.

Dave Attell has made numerous appearances on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “The Howard Stern Show,” “Last Call with Carson Daly” and “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”. He also appeared in Chris Rock’s cult film “Pootie Tang”. Other television credits include FOX’s “Arrested Development,” NBC’s “Ed,” HBO, Comedy Central’s “Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn” and his own half-hour stand-up special “Comedy Central Presents Dave Attell.”  For more info: daveattell.com

Dave Attell & Jeffrey Ross at Mandalay Bay May 15

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Oct. LV Backstage Talk Column

by Michele LaFong

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Las Vegas Backstage Talk’s syndicated monthly column in Casino Player Magazine, and Gaming Today-Oct.

Finalist on Last Comic Standing Lachlan Patterson on Las Vegas Backstage Talk with Comedian Michele LaFong (10 min. edited)

Oct. LVBST column
When Randy Bachman, founding member of The Guess Who, the Canadian band responsible for such hits as “No Time” and “American Woman” left to explore his personal musical horizons, he joined forces with Fred Turner to create Bachman-Turner Overdrive and rock & roll history was made. I, along with millions of other fans worldwide, grew up and sang along to radio hits such as “Taking Care Of Business,” “Let It Ride,” and “Roll On Down The Line.” So when I heard that after 20 years of fan demand these two giants of hard driving tunes were reuniting, touring, and appearing at The Cannery August 30, billed as Bachman & Turner, I knew I had to get an interview, which I finally landed with Fred Turner. You can imagine my shock when backstage, before their concert Fred casually dropped the bombshell scoop to yours truly that this was his very last show with Bachman. “I am retiring and have lots of other unfinished business to take care of…I’m just taking care of unfinished business, you might say…loose ends to tie up. I’ve got a bucket list with lots of things I need to do.” When asked how Randy Bachman took the news, he responded “Randy’s got so many things going on all the time with so many artists, and new projects, he’s just fine! …Maybe I’ll be back in a few years…you never know.” While watching the concert I was kind of sad but felt blessed to be witnessing the last historic show of Bachman & Turner. They never announced the news to the crowd and I haven’t heard a peep about it since.
Another thing that has come to an abrupt end is the celebrity impersonating “dealertainers” that the Imperial Palace, now The Quad soon to be the Linq was so famous for. It seems this was not a popular decision with many of their loyal customers. Also, the Clarion Resort on Convention Center Drive formally Royal Americana, Debbie Reynolds Hotel & Casino, Paddlewheel, and Greek Isles has closed for good. It’s been an interesting quaint little property that opened as the Royal Inn in 1970. Debbie Reynolds gave me my first running show there, “Vegas Live” starring Michele LaFong.
It is with a heavy heart that I am addressing the untimely passing of Comedy Icon Joan Rivers who at age 81 seemed ageless, and invincible. I was asked to join WTTG-TV (FOX 5) Washington via Skype to share some of my personal interactions with Joan when guesting on her afternoon talk show back in the 80’s and speak on the impact that she had on comedy in general. Like so many other stories being shared by industry over the weeks about Joan’s generosity, graciousness, and wonderful sense of humor, I experienced much of the same. Joan’s approach to comedy was fearless and unapologetic- breaking ground and paving the way for other female comics. Ironically she hated being referred to as a pioneer or a trail blazer because her work was not even close to being done. In fact, in a recent interview before her passing she was quoted as saying “I hate when female comics come up to me and say “Oh you broke barriers for women… I’m still breaking barriers….” Sadly her work was unfinished but her legend lives on and she is sorely missed.
Another feminine comedy ground-breaker of sorts is New Jersey native “Queen of Comedy” Sommore, who began her career as the first woman to host BET’s ”Comic View,” and then later hosting Russell Simmons’ “Def Comedy Jam” and “Showtime at the Apollo.” She was the 1995 recipient of the Richard Pryor Award for Comic of the Year, and in 2000 she entered “The Guinness Book of World Records,” performing for an audience of more than 50,000 people in Atlanta as part of the “Queens of Comedy” tour. A recording of the show became the longest-running and highest-rated special in the history of Showtime Networks.
I recently interviewed Sommore, who was promoting her upcoming weekend at Suncoast Hotel & Casino on Labor Day Weekend. With credits which include her status as being among the top-grossing stand-up comediennes in the United States and abroad, as well as Oprah Winfrey proclaiming her “a force to be reckoned with in the new millennium,” it’s of no wonder that Sommore sold out both nights at the 500 seat theatre before the weekend even began with Suncoast having to turn away hundreds of fans. Her show equally as impressive had substance and she drew a drinking, spending well-dressed crowd. I think it was obvious just from her credits that Queen of Comedy Sommore deserved to be performing in a much bigger theatre on The Strip. I’m sure Las Vegas won’t make that mistake again as word gets out fast!
Another impressive comedienne making a difference in comedy is Wanda Sykes. Wanda is Executive Producer of NBC’s Last Comic Standing which got renewed for a second season. I recently interviewed runner-up Lachlan Patterson, and Winner Rod Man who were promoting their upcoming Last Comic Standing Tour with all 5 finalists in the show. The audio of their interviews are archived on our site. I will be doing a backstage videotaped interview with both Lachlan, and Rod Man in between their sold out shows at Aliante Casino. An edited portion will be posted on gamingtoday.com, casinocenter.com.
Bill Maher returns to the Palms on Oct. 10 & 11. He always puts on a solid, funny, relevant show, and is one of my favorite return guests on LVBST. Bill’s interview will air on Oct. 9.
My Picks:
Wanda Sykes, Treasure Island, Oct 3, The Beach Boys, The Cannery, Oct. 4, Lewis Black, The Mirage, Oct. 4, Daniel Tosh, Mirage, Oct. 10 & 11, Legends of Motown: the Four Tops, Temptations, Spinners, Cannery, Oct. 10 & 11, Loni Love, Venetian, Oct. 10 & 11,
The Eagles, MGM Grand, Oct. 11, Queensryche, Eastside Cannery, Oct. 11, Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull, Mandalay Bay, Asia, Red Rock Resort, Oct. 17, John Fogerty, Palms, Oct. 17, Ray Romano and David Spade, Mirage, Oct. 17 & 18, Zac Brown Band, MGM Grand, Oct. 17, Carlos Mencia, Treasure Island, Oct. 17, Smokey Robinson, Eastside Cannery, Oct. 18, Ron White, Mirage, Oct. 24 & 25, Bill Engvall, Treasure Island, Oct. 24, Wendy Williams, Venetian, Oct. 31.

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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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“Gaming Today” Column/Adam Carolla and Rita Rudner by Michele LaFong

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by Michele LaFong

Adam Carolla and Rita Rudner are featured in this month’s edition of “Getting Personal with the Stars” Column in Gaming Today.  Radio Personality / Comedian, Adam was promoting his Reunion Tour with Dr. Drew on March 29, at “House of Blues,” at Mandalay Bay.  Carolla, was first most known for “The Man Show,” on Comedy Central, and “Loveline,” with Dr. Drew Pinsky.   He now hosts The Adam Carolla Show,  which set the record as the “most downloaded podcast” as judged be Guinness World Records, and after interviewing him…I can see why.

We covered everything from his humble beginnings.. working as a carpenter, carpet cleaner, and construction worker, to bombing in comedy clubs.

Many questions were answered like how he got to be on the Board for “The Marijuana Policy Project,” when it turned out he doesn’t even smoke marijuana!

Adam Carolla was honest, funny, unpredictable, and did not disappoint.  His persona was exactly the same off camera, as on.  I’m really looking forward to seeing his show on Friday.

Next up was Comedian Rita Rudner.  She too was very similar to her persona on television. Rita was promoting her upcoming show at The Venetian on April 2, where she performs dates intermittently, throughout the year.

She has written four books, Her play “Tickled Pink,” based on her novel that will be debuting sometime in 2013.  It is based on her own experiences as a female comedian coming of age in the 80’s. There are three jokes a minute.

“The 80’s were a very important time for comedy.  Johnny Carson was my favorite host.  He was always very friendly to me and would come into the make-up room and say “hi.”  He was always a very sweet guy. Jay Leno, and Letterman are really terrific at what they do, but they are more of a comedian first, and an interviewer second.

These days, working for herself is very important to Rita.  “Creative Freedom is the most important thing when you are a creative person. I love doing stand-up and writing because no one tells you what to wear, or what to say, what order to do things…no one is telling me what to do.  That’s what I love so much about this profession.

When asked if she has trouble remembering lines she responded:  “Not only do I remember the jokes, but I remember where I was when I thought of the joke…as I’m telling it…but even if I make everyone laugh for the hour and a half, and everyone has a good time, I try to at least try 2-3 new avenues of material at each show, or I’ll have felt that I let myself down.

I always do questions and answers at the end of my show.  I answer the questions honestly, but I also bring in the jokes because I want to be entertaining.  I sometimes bring out my joke notebook, and ask the audience if I can try these new jokes out on them.  They like it and it helps me because they feel like they are in on something, and they are in on something.”

Do you think women in comedy, have it harder?  “Of course!” She responded.

Women have to be twice as good at everything, because the positions of power are usually in the hands of men, and being a stand-up comedian..is certainly a position of power.

I love female comics because they all so unique, and there are so many male comics, that sometimes you can get them confused, but I think every female comic has a very individual voice.  However, I don”t watch any comics really because I’m so busy with my daughter’s piano, tennis, and guitar, etc. and I work.  I do watch sports because it gets me away from things… and I love to watch other people exercise!  I’m hoping it will get on me.

I love living in Vegas because my audience has jet-lag…and I’m fully awake.  I really like doing my own show at The Venetian.  It’s relaxing. I don’t really like when you’re on television, and you’re under a microscope, and you have to rush it in five minutes and be as funny as you’ve ever been.

Even when I’m traveling…the lights are different, the sound is different. The Venetian is like my living room. I know what to expect. And that’s my favorite when I’m in my room in LV, and the audience has come to see me.”

Rita does a Meet & Greet before and after with her VIP audience. “I love to meet the people that I’m going to make laugh in a few minutes, and it makes me less nervous to talk to the people before the show.  It makes it a better experience.  Las Vegas is a Special Place, and I want to give the audience a Special Time.”

Adam Carolla, and Rita Rudner’s full interviews will be aired on Las Vegas Backstage Talk Radio Show on March 28, from 6pm-7:00pm PST on 1230AM in Las Vegas, and The Web. lasvegasbackstagetalk.com.

Both Adam and Rita will be featured in Michele LaFong’s Monthly Syndicated Column, “Las Vegas Backstage Talk,” in Casino Player Magazine. (CP Magazine.)

 

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Michael “Wheels” Parise, Robin Leach, Jack Walker, Jacob Lusk-LVBST w/Comedian Michele LaFong

Feb. 23, 2012  6pm-7pm PST 1230AM in LV & The Web

Michael “Wheels” Parise, Columnist Robin Leach, Singer Jack Walker, Singer Jacob Lusk, all guest on Las Vegas Backstage Talk radio show with Comedian Michele LaFong.

23-year veteran comedian Michael Wheels Parise has been the national touring act for Andrew Dice Clay for over 23 years. Wheels has costarred with movies with Rodney Dangerfield, Keenan Ivory Wayans and Jada Pinckett Smith.
With over 70 TV appearances including Conan O Brien, Letterman as well as co-starring with Dice Clay in the 2008 Reality Show on VH-1 called “Dice Undisputed” Wheels Paris is making King’s Comedy Club his new home. When Wheels is not Headlining Las Vegas you can see him in all the major cities throughout out the country.

Wheels  was featured in LaFong’s Syndicated “Las Vegas Backstage Talk” Column in Gaming Today, and will soon be featured in Michele LaFong’s Syndicated “Las Vegas Backstage Talk” column in Casino Player Magazine, as well as “Getting Personal with the Stars” Syndicated Column in Gaming Today.  He is a popular guest on LVBST.

More on Michael Wheels Parise below:

http://wheelsparise.com
http://facebook.com/wheelslive
http://twitter.com/wheelslive
http://kingsroomlv.com
Wheels and Dice on VH-1 Reality Show called Dice Undisputed
Dear Chef Reality Sizzle.

Wheels Parise will be playing at King’s Comedy Club at the Rio features three of America`s brightest up and coming comedians whose roots span a variety of cultures. This show will create a virtual United Nations of Comedy

You can catch Wheels Parise at The Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino Las Vegas
King’s Room, indefinitly, 8:30pm nightly
For reservations

 

Celebrity – Robin Leach

Robin Leach guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk with Comedian Michele LaFong on 1230AM in Las Vegas and the web.

Television genius and icon Robin Leach brought the lives of celebrities into our homes with the hit show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, and made a few billion of his own along the way.

Robin will be discussing about the Celebrity Bingo Bow Wow benefit.

Play bingo with local celebrities and support the Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals! On Saturday, February 25th, at noon, the Silverton Casino is hosting the Bingo Bow Wow bingo tournament to support the lifesaving, no-kill work of Nevada SPCA. All animal lovers are welcome! Players must be 21 years of age to play bingo though. The event will be held inside the Veil Pavilion, with a celebrity Red Carpet beginning at noon and The Nevada SPCA Celebrity Bow Wow Bingo tournament beginning at 1pm. Win money and prizes! There will be performances by the women of Fantasy and the men of Thunder from Down Under! There will also be guest appearances by Racardo Laguna, “The Old Man” from Pawn Stars, Angel Porrino, Robin Leach, and many more! The first 100 guests to arrive will receive a free gift bag worth over $300! The tournament’s entry fee is $30 which includes one Blue Promo Paper Pack and a free dauber. Come out and have fun while helping the homeless pet population in Southern Nevada!

For more about Celebrity Bingo Bow Wow, click here.

You can catch Robin Leach and many other celebrities at Silverton Casino Hotel
Veil Pavilion
Saturday Feb. 25th at 1.p.m. with a red carpet at noon

 

Vocalist – Jack Walker

Jack Walker has appeared on BBC and Scottish TV and after making his home in Las Vegas He has graced some of Las Vegas’ biggest stages including Mandalay Bay, Venetian, Mystere Theater at T.I, & Mirage.

2012 is looking to be an exciting year for Jack. In partnership with Station Casinos Jack will perform his ‘Jack Walker & Friends’ Show each month at two of Station’s premier properties, Aliante Station Casino & Green Valley Ranch. Jack will perform in his own power packed style and will incorporate two Guest Artists each month to provide 5 star variety entertainment.

For more about Jack Walker, click here.

You can catch Jack Walker at Green Valley Ranch
Ovation Lounge
Sunday, Feb. 19 & Sunday, Mar. 4, 7:00 p.m.
For reservations

 

Singer – Jacob Lusk

Jacob Lusk has found much success after his run on the hit television series NBC’s “American Idol.” He has been working diligently with R. Kelly’s songwriters and is managed by Gladys Knight’s team. With such a talented backing, it is no wonder Lusk has found himself living the dream he set out on even before making his name known to the world on “American Idol.”

Recording artist and “American Idol” Season 10 finalist Jacob Lusk performs as a special guest at the House of Blues Gospel Brunch. Lusk is joining St. Paul’s Concert Choir with David Blakely on the Hammond B3 Organ, 15 vocalists and three musicians.

You can catch Jacob Lusk at The House of Blues Gospel Brunch Sunday,Feb. 26th
Music Hall at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

For information
You can listen to a recording of our show below!

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