Las Vegas Backstage Talk

Comedian Cocoa Brown, Gerry McCambridge “The Mentalist”

May 4, 2017 

Audio of interviews are posted below

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comedian Cocoa Brown guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk radio show with Comedian Michele LaFong.

 Coco is best known for his starring role as “Jennifer” on , on the Oprah network, Juror “queen bee” on FX, American crime story, people versus OJ Simpson and the films ted two and single moms club cocoa brown recently released her comedy CD one funny mama, which is currently available on iTunes.

Gerry McCambridge “The Mentalist”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gerry McCambridge aka The Mentalist guests on LVBST radio show with Comedian Michele LaFong.

Starting in October 2007 he appeared on Phenomenon with Criss Angel and Uri Geller.

On June 25, 2008, Gerry McCambridge celebrated his 500th Las Vegas performance having been in that city for three years. McCambridge is the longest running mentalist show in Las Vegas history.

On May 12, 2004 Gerry had his first prime-time network TV special titled “The Mentalist.” Over 6.2 million viewers tuned in to watch the one hour special.

In 1999, the International Magicians Society presented Gerry with the “Merlin Award” for “Mentalist of the Decade”. Gerry was the first mentalist in history to receive the Merlin award for mentalism since the organizations inception in 1968.

In 2002 Gerry wrote his first TV script titled “The Mentalist” and took it out to Los Angeles to pitch it to the networks. Jeff Zucker, the president of NBC witnessed Gerry’s live performances many times, and instantly bought the show for his network. Gerry became the creator, executive producer and star of the hit prime-time network television show “The Mentalist” which started airing to millions around the world in May 2004.

In 2005 the Psychic Entertainers Association again awarded Gerry. This time he received the “Mentalist of the Year” award.

In June 2005 Gerry moved his one man show “The Mentalist” from New York City to Las Vegas. The show was an instant success in Sin City. The Las Vegas Review Journal readers poll nominated him “Best Magician” in all Las Vegas.

In October 2007 Gerry starred in the reality television series “Phenomenon” with Criss Angel and Uri Geller.

In 2008 CBS thought the concept of merging the skills of a mentalist with a detective was so interesting, they contacted Gerry and asked him to help with a weekly TV series based on that concept.

In August 2008, the International Magicians Society presented Gerry with the “Merlin Award” for “Mentalist of the Year.”

In 2009 he was voted one of the “Top 10 Absolutely Have To See” shows in Las Vegas by the Las Vegas Weekly Magazine.

In 2010 the Las Vegas Review Journal readers poll placed Gerry’s show as the “Best Bargain Show in all of Las Vegas.”

Gerry is performing at the V Theatre, Planet Hollywood H&C , nightly 7:30pm-dark Wed.

 

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John Mulaney, Weird Al Yankovic

March 5, 2015 6pm-7pm PST 1230AM in LV & Web

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Comedian John Mulaney guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk with Comedian Michele LaFong to promote his upcoming debut at The Mirage on March 6 at 10pm.

John Mulaney is also an actor, writer, and producer. He is best known for his work as a writer on Saturday Night Live (SNL) and as a standup comedian. He is the creator and star of the Fox sitcom Mulaney. The series is a semi-autobiographical series about his life as a standup comedian and premiered on October 5, 2014.
In addition to writing for SNL, Mulaney has appeared on the show’s “Weekend Update” segment. He and SNL actor Bill Hader co-created the recurring SNL character Stefon. Mulaney was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series with the SNL writing staff from 2009-2012.  Mulaney won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics at the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards with Justin Timberlake, Seth Meyers and Katreese Barnes.
In addition to his work on SNL, Mulaney is a prolific stand-up comedian. He has performed once on Live at Gotham, once on Conan, once on Jimmy Kimmel Live, twice on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, twice on Late Night With Conan O’Brien, and once on Comedy Central Presents. Mulaney also released a stand-up comedy album entitled Primetime Emmy Award in 2009, and a stand-up comedy special called New In Town in 2012. Both were produced with Comedy Central.

Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weird Al Yankovic guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk Radio Show with Comedian Michele LaFong on 1230AM KLAV in Las Vegas, and The Web.  In a backstage interview at The Cannery H & C,  Al was very playful and candid about his family life, and very successful, long career.   Weird Al, known for his costumed comedic song parodies, made it clear that he always asks for the green light from the artist before recording a parody of their song for a music video. When asked if he was ever refused permission by anyone, he said “Only Prince has consistantly said “no,” with no explanation given. Whenever possible I try to go to the artists directly because managers often get in the way, as with Lady GaGa.”

It’s because a lot of fans that were into me in the 80’s are still into me, and now they are bringing their kids. It’s become a family bonding experience. Another reason for my popularity with families is my New York Times Best Selling childrens book “When I Grow Up” Some of my fans are hard core! They’ll follow me from one city to the next. Sometimes it’s the same people in the front row city to city even though the shows are hundreds of miles apart.”

Weird Al was featured in Comedian Michele LaFong’s Syndicated Monthly Column “Las Vegas Backstage Talk” in Casino Player Magazine.  He will be performing at Planet Hollywood May 12-16.

More about Weird Al here–>

Get the “Alpocalypse” album here–>

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Sept. LV Backstage Talk column

By Michele LaFong

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Las Vegas Backstage Talk radio show with Comedian Michele LaFong-

monthly syndicated column in Casino Player Magazine, and Gaming Today.

Coming off the heels of guesting on LVBST just two weeks earlier to discuss the exciting details of his new recording deal, Emmy Award winner Clint Holmes returned to LVBST to announce that Aug 1-3, would be his last weekend performing at his monthly resident weekend engagement at The Cabaret Room in The Smith Center before taking a hiatus in order to make time for his new gig… to star in GEORGIA ON MY MIND: Celebrating the Music of Ray Charles – at The Venetian Theatre this fall. Clint explained; “When the producer, Larry Rosen first asked me to do the show I said “you know…I don’t sound like Ray Charles, I don’t even sing like Ray Charles…Larry said “that’s not what we’re looking for. We want artists that do their interpretations of his songs. Co-Stars 10-time Grammy award-winning vocal group TAKE 6, six-time Grammy nominee and Downbeat Vocalist of the Year Nnenna Freelon, and Stella Gospel Award and Grammy award-winning saxophone star Kirk Whalum also do not sound like Ray Charles.” The show introduces the Las Vegas Mass Choir, under the direction of James R. Smith and Edie Aikels, and features the Las Vegas All-Star Big Band, under the direction of pianist and conductor, David Loeb. GEORGIA ON MY MIND, will be in the Venetian Theatre September 18 through October 29, 2014. Clint will return to The Smith Center in time to present his Christmas show.

Joy Behar may have retired as Co-Host from ABC’s The View…but that’s about all she’s retired from. In my latest interview with Joy she had this to say; “I lost about 18 pounds altogether after getting off The View…That show made me fat! Now that I’m off… it’s so much less stressful. It’s a whole new group over there. Let’s see how fat they all get!” That’s what I always loved about Joy…You never knew what was going to come out of her mouth next! “I’m doing more stand-up again, as well as working on a One Woman Show, which has more of a storyline than stand-up called “Me, My Mouth, and I.”  We’re currently looking for an Off-Broadway Theatre in New York.” When asked about other future goals in the works, she replied, “I’d be open to doing TV again…but it would have to be the right project.” Joy’s interview aired on August 14. A video clip of her and Colin Quinn on HLN, laughing about doing gigs for me back in the ‘80’s is posted on casinoplayer.com, gamingtoday.com, and is posted below.

Another popular, funny and exciting guest returning to LVBST is “the Voice of Boxing” himself, my next door neighbor and friend Al Bernstein. On Sept. 11, Al will be guesting in-studio giving us more backstage stories, celebrity updates and of course his take on the big upcoming Mayweather/Maidana fight at The MGM Grand that he is covering on Sept. 13 on Showtime.

Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Globe Winner Paul Williams returned on LVBST calling in from Dublin! Between being President of ASCAP, speaking to congress about songwriters getting paid in the digital age, and preparing for his new book release on Sept. 17th on Penguin called “Gratitude and Trust”, and winning another Grammy Award this year…we ran out of time before could hear the rest of what might be next for Paul Williams!

Rudy Ruettiger, whose life-story was the inspiration for the movie “Rudy,” one of the most inspiring movies of our time, guested in-studio together with his producer, Tony Sacca to promote the premiere of his new multi-media one-man show, “Rudy,” starring Rudy Ruettiger at the Troesh Studio Theater in The Smith Center Aug. 9. The show, like the movie is about his life story of how he accomplished his dream of going to Notre Dame and convinced Hollywood to make a movie of his life, which earned him an invitation to the White House. “After seeing Mike Tyson’s one-man show, I knew that I too could do this. The ultimate goal is Broadway.” Why Not?!
Here’s a treat: “End of Summer Bash,” a FREE concert featuring Gary Lewis & The Playboys, Brooklyn Bridge, The Rip Chords, 1910 Fruitgum Company on Saturday, Sept. 6, at 4pm at The Cannery.

Nevada’s 150th birthday is being planned for Monday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. in Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center. Proceeds will benefit The Smith Center’s education outreach programs. This variety show is a not-to-be missed event that will feature some of the best entertainers of the Las Vegas Strip as they come together for one night only to celebrate Nevada’s cultural heritage. Proceeds will benefit The Smith Center’s education outreach programs. Tickets are $25 to $100. Some of the names already scheduled to appear include: Bob Anderson, Susan Anton, Cirque du Soleil, Véronic DiCaire, Clint Holmes, Human Nature, Jersey Boys, Robin Leach, Jerry Lewis, Frankie Moreno, Penn& Teller and many more backed by The Lon Bronson All-Star Band and boosted by the Las Vegas Mass Choir.

The Best of Jethro Tull will be played by Legendary prog pioneer Ian Anderson at The Pearl inside The Palms Resort on Sept. 19. My two segment interview with Ian will air on Sept. 18.

Sept. headline entertainment really heats up in September as evidenced by the length and quality of the names in “My Picks” this month. LVBST should have great choices for interviews!

My Picks: Rock of The 80’s-The Romantics, The Smithereens, Marshall Crenshaw, Tommy Tutone, Eastside Cannery, Sept. 5,
Jerry Seinfeld, Caesars Palace, Sept. 5 & 6, Jim Breuer, South Point, Sept. 5 & 6,Kevin Hart & Friends Comedy All-Stars, The Cosmopolitan, Sept. 5, Susie Essman, The Venetian, Sept. 5 & 6, Deana Carter, Sunset Station, Sept. 6, Neil Sedaka, The Orleans, Sept. 6 & 7, Gabriel Iglesias, The Mirage, Sept. 12-14, Arturo Sandaval, The Smith Center, Sept. 13, Deana Martin, South Point, Sept. 13 & 14, Marc Anthony, Planet Hollywood, Sept. 13, The Guess Who, Eastside Cannery, Aug. 16, Diana Ross, Caesars Palace, Sept. 19, Ray Romano, The Mirage, Sept. 19 & 20, REO Speedwagon, The Orleans, Sept. 19 & 20, Tony Orlando, South Point, Sept. 19-21, Tesla Eastside Cannery, Sept. 20, Joan Osborne, M Resort, Sept. 20, Rod Stewart, Caesars Palace, Sept. 19- Oct. 5,
Gordon Lightfoot, The Smith Center, Sept. 24, Bill Cosby, Treasure Island, Sept. 26, Daniel Tosh, The Mirage, Sept. 26 & 27,
Katy Perry, MGM Grand, Sept. 26, Paula Poundstone, The Orleans, Sept. 26 & 27, Ralphie May, South Point, Sept. 26-28, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Palms, Sept. 27, Jerry Lewis, Smith Center, Sept. 30, Lorde, Hard Rock, Sept. 30.

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Gregory Popovich-Movie Premiere

Our friend: “America’s Got Talent” Finalist Gregory Popovich

PopovichLocals premier feature-length film at Las Vegas Film Festival
‘Popovich and the Voice of the Fabled American West’ debuts Aug. 3 at the Palms

 

 

 

 

 

“Popovich and the Voice of the Fabled American West” – the first film for performer Gregory Popovich and second feature film for local brothers Jerry and Mike Thompson – will premiere at the Las Vegas Film Festival this weekend and to the public during a screening at the end of the month.

The family friendly film tells the story of Popovich, a former circus legend struggling as a street performer on the wild streets of Las Vegas. When his junkyard home full of stray animals is put in danger, he and his animal pals use all their circus tricks to save it. See the trailer for the film here.

This summer, the film competed in the 17th Annual Dances with Films festival in Los Angeles and won the Audience Choice Award.

The Lied Animal Foundation will receive $1 from every ticket sold to the public screening.

WHO: Gregory Popovich, star of the film as well as of the Strip favorite the “World Famous Popovich Comedy Pet Theater” at Planet Hollywood, along with the film’s directors and Las Vegas natives, Jerry and Mike Thompson (Rancho High School and UNLV graduates), will be available for interviews before and after the screening. The film features more than 45 animals, most were rescued from the local Lied Animal Foundation.
WHEN: Las Vegas Film Festival – 1:20 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 3
Public Screening – 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 30-31

WHERE: Las Vegas Film Festival: Public Screening:
Inspire Theater Brendan Theaters, inside the Palms
Corner of Fremont Street and Las Vegas 4321 W. Flamingo Road
Boulevard in Downtown Las Vegas Las Vegas, NV 89103

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July Las Vegas Backstage Talk Column

July  2014- Casino Player Magazine, Gaming Today

by Michele LaFong

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After three years of trying, I finally scored an interview with Jay Leno. Although I had watched Jay countless times over the years on the Tonight Show, I never actually saw him perform his stand-up show live for a full 90 minutes till last month when I checked out his show at the Mirage, and I must say his set was even more impressive than I expected it to be. From the moment Jay hit the stage it was a laugh-a-thon. He opened with strong topical set-up/punchline type jokes that he would typically do in his opening monologue on television. He was like a joke machine for the entire first half of the show. I didn’t notice any notes on stage, nor did I see him using any cue cards, and it made me wonder how he can remember every joke and segue so effortlessly. He never stumbled or once had a “senior moment!” As much as I enjoyed the first half of the show, I loved the second half even more. Jay delved into the audience some, working the sold-out crowd masterfully. My favorite part of Leno’s show was when he told stories about his background, family, personal experiences with meeting celebrities for the first time, and referencing things and guests from events that happened on the Tonight Show. It was all meat and potatoes, without filler for the entire 90 minute performance. There aren’t too many comedians that can sustain that rhythm and flow of laughs so consistently with clean, smart thought provoking comedy…especially for an hour and a half. Jay returns to the Mirage on July 11 & August 8, and November 1, 21, 22. Our interview will air on Las Vegas Backstage Talk on July 3 & 5.
Wilson Phillips returned to the Eastside Cannery on June 7, and surprisingly put on a very different but equally entertaining show than when I saw back in October. Mixing in some of their famous parents’ hits from the Mamas and Papas and the Beach Boys from an album that they finally recorded at the request of their fans, I especially loved that part of the show and the stories they told of how those hits were born and came about. As usual, the show had lots of personality, and spontaneity.
Both Ventriloquist Willie Tyler & Lester recently guested on LVBST live in-studio. Willie Tyler is an icon in show business getting his first big break on Rowen & Martin Laugh-in. He also was then featured on The Jefferson’s, and many other TV shows as well as being the first ventriloquist to be booked on Late Night with David Letterman. It was a trip having a ventriloquist with his comedy partner in-studio live on radio! It was a throwback to the Edgar Bergan days. I hadn’t seen Willie in many years, not since we were booked together on a national TV commercial for Mercedes Benz. Willie hasn’t aged a bit…and neither did Lester! We used to share the same manager, Marty Fischer who also handled Senor Wences. An edited portion of Willie & Lester on LVBST can be seen on casinocenter.com
For the very first time and for one night only Talk Show Host Wendy Williams will be performing her comedic one-woman show which will debut at The Venetian. Last month, Williams revealed to her guest Comedian Joy Behar on her popular television talk show that she’s always wanted to be a stand-up comic and will finally take her shot at it on Saturday, July 11 at 10pm. That night will also mark the launch of the Venetian’s new Lipshtick Comedy series, which will feature an impressive weekend line-up of female comedy talent including Heather McDonald & Iliza Shlesinger, Rita Rudner, Caroline Rhea & Wendy Liebman, Lisa Lampanelli, Whitney Cummings, Joy Behar, Susie Essman, Jen Kirkman & Natasha Leggero, Jennifer Coolidge, and Loni Love. I’m sure this new venue will do well. There has always been a market for strong female comedians even back in 1998 which is why I produced and starred in “Funniest Females” back in the Comedy Theatre upstairs at O’Sheas, and currently co-star and co-produce Leading Ladies of Comedy with Judy Tenuta, and singing impressionist Bethany Owen in the Indian Casino market.
On June 7, 2014 Comic/Magician the Amazing Johnathan and fiancée Anastasia Synn tied the knot in one of the most off the wall weddings Vegas has ever hosted. Longtime friend and entertainer Gallagher became an ordained minister specifically to marry the couple for the star-studded event. The ceremony took place at “A Special Memory Chapel,” and had a circus atmosphere. David Copperfield, Carrot Top, Louie Anderson, and many other performers attended. Comedian Gallagher is developing a reality show where he marries couples by day and turns the chapel into a comedy club at night. “I have many clubs around the country that would like me to bring this reality show to their venue for an episode.” Gallagher said. On July 12, Gallagher starts a two-week run at the Golden Nugget in the main theater. He has proven from his last successful run in Las Vegas at the Laugh Factory at the Tropicana that he is a very funny and relevant comic and a consistent entertainer. Due to health issues, June 30th – July 1st, the Amazing Johnathan will give his final performances at the Magic Castle in Los Angeles, CA. After 35 years of bringing his unique style of comedy and magic to the world, the Amazing Johnathan is retiring from performing and these final four shows will be video tapped for a future documentary.
My Picks for July: Carlos Mencia, TI July 4, Bob Weir & Ratdog, Palms, July 5, Queen & Adam Lambert, Hard Rock, July 5 & 6, America, Cannery, July 6, Gallagher, Golden Nugget, July 10-19, New Kids on the Block, Planet Hollywood Resort, July 10-13, Wendy Williams, Venetian, July 11, Jay Leno, Mirage, July 11, The Bangles, Eastside Cannery, July 12, Bill Cosby, TI, July 18, Heather McDonald and Iliza Schelesinger, Venetian, July 18 & 19, Lady Gaga MGM Grand, July 19, Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden, Planet Hollywood, July 19, Paul Revere & the Raiders, the Cowsills, Eastside Cannery, July 19, Nick Swardson, Mirage, July 25 & 26, Rita Rudner, Venetian, July 25 & 26, The Voice Tour, Hard Rock, July 25, Boston, Cheap Trick, Hard Rock, July 26, Spinners, Cannery, July 26, Olivia Newton-John, Flamingo July 29- Aug. 30.

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