Las Vegas Backstage Talk

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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Bill Maher, Finis Henderson-Las Vegas Backstage Talk w/Comedian Michele LaFong

Oct. 31, 2013- 6-7pm PST 1230AM in LV & The Web

Audio of interviews posted below (Scroll down)

Comedian Bill Maher, a favorite guest on “Las Vegas Backstage Talk” radio show, with Comedian Michele Lafong  which now airs on KLAV, 1230 am in Las Vegas, and The Web, answers questions about his personal experiences on other talk shows, his feelings on Elizabeth Hasselbeck’s treatment of him when he guested on “The View,” and Barbara Walter’s response behind the scenes. He also speaks about the republican party, President Obama, and the upcoming presidential election.

For the last 18 years, Maher has pushed the boundaries of how far political humor and satire can go on American television. First on “Politically Incorrect” (which first aired on Comedy Central before moving to ABC), and for the last seven years on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Maher’s combination of unflinching honesty and scathing humor have garnered him 21 EmmyR nominations. In October 2008, this same combination was on display in Maher’s swipe at organized religion, “Religulous,” which went on to become the seventh-highest grossing documentary ever.

In addition to his television program-which has featured such regular visitors as Ben Affleck, Robin Williams, Arianna Huffington, Alec Baldwin and Michael Moore-Maher has written four bestsellers: “True Story,” “Does Anybody Have a Problem with That? Politically Incorrect’s Greatest Hits,” “When You Ride Alone, You Ride with Bin Laden” and most recently, “New Rules: Polite Musings from a Timid Observer.”

Bill Maher is featured in Comedian Michele LaFong’s Syndicated “Las Vegas Backstage Talk” column, in Nov. issue of Casino Player Magazine.  He will also be LaFong’s Cover/Feature Interview in “Getting Personal with the Stars” in November’s 2013 edition of CP Magazine.

For more about Bill Maher click here. For more about “Real Time with Bill Maher” click here.

Bill Maher is appearing at The Pearl at The Palms H&C Nov. 2 & 3

Finis Henderson

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Singing Impressionist Finis Henderson guests on LV Backstage Talk with Comedian Michele LaFong.  In a backstage interview at The Laugh Factory, Finis tells us in detail how he does those amazing impressions.

Being part of Finis Henderson’s audience is equivalent to being invited to a reunion of some of the entertainment industry’s greatest legends and contemporary favorites, Sinatra, Boyz II Men, Elvis Presley, Alan Jackson, Nat King Cole (and daughter Natalie!), Sammy Davis Jr., and many others gather on stage for an evening of music, dancing, and comedy. Weaving the comic personas of the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Rodney Dangerfield and Mike Tyson through the crowd, one is apt to forget they’re not watching a crazed chorus, but the versatile talent of one dynamic performer.

The sound is theirs… The voice is pure Finis Henderson. And as the evening draws to a close, it isn’t a legend that brings the audience to its feet, but the intensely melodic strain of Mr. Henderson’s own rendition of “Music of the Night.”

It was only natural that Finis would go into show business. His father was a successful song and dance man, and one time Vice-President of Sammy Davis Jr. Enterprises. Afterwards, he took his act to Los Angeles and polished it at the famed Comedy Store.  He has also opened for such superstars as Jackie Mason, Smokey Robinson, Barbara Mandrell, and Alan King, to name a few.

In addition to live club, casino, and coporate appearances, his television credits include Make Me Laugh, The Jackson (mini-series), Nashville Now, Comic Strip Live, Crazy Horse Saloon, and A Little Bit Strange. Films encompass Wired and I’m Gonna Get You Sucka! – See more at: http://www2.eaglestalent.com/Finis-Henderson/?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=example&utm_term=finis%20henderson#sthash.4uRCf6PD.dpuf

Finis Henderson is headlining at The Laugh Factory through Nov. 3, 8:30 & 10:30 nightly

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Otis Williams, Olate Dogs-Las Vegas Backstage talk w/Comedian Michele LaFong

Oct. 25, 2012  6pm-7pm PST 1230AM in LV & The Web

Otis Williams, original founding member of The Temptations, guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk Radio Show with Comic Michele LaFong on 1230 am KLAV in Las Vegas, and The Web.  Hear the stories behind the hits in this very candid interview.

For more than 40 years, The Temptations have shined as pioneers of popular music, with decades of smash hits and sold-out performances. An essential component of the original Motown machine invented by Berry Gordy, The Temptations began their musical career in Detroit in the early ‘60s. In 1964, Smokey Robinson wrote and produced “The Way You Do the Things You Do,” the first major hit for The Temptations. An avalanche of hits followed, including “My Girl,” “It’s Growing,” “Since I Lost My Baby,” “Get Ready,” “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” “Beauty Is Only Skin Deep” and “I Wish It Would Rain.”

For more about Otis Williams, click here.

For more about The Temptations, click here.

You can catch Otis Williams w/ The Temptations at The Orleans
Orleans Showroom, Oct 27th & 28th 8:00pm
For reservations

NBC’s America’s Got Talent Winner 2012 – “Olate Dogs”

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For more about Olate Dogs, click here.

Live in-studio, on Las Vegas Backstage Talk Radio Show with Comic Michele LaFong are Richard and son, Nick Olate, and four of the Star Olate Dogs that won the million dollar prize this year on NBC’s America’s Got Talent.

Richard Olate is from Chile South America. He is the second youngest in a family of 22 children. His family was very poor. There were many times when they would not have enough to eat for days at a time. His story is not a sad one though. At age 12 he got a dog from the street. He loved the dog and found that he might have a feel for training. There are many dogs roaming the streets in Chile, so guess what……?  When he had put together a routine, he, with his mother’s help, booked his amateur act at schools and small circuses. He quickly got a regular performance schedule but needed more help. His older brother soon joined him and together they decided they could do something special. They were right! They worked hard creating a very unique dog act. They spent the next few years traveling with different circuses throughout South America and in 1989 they premiered in the United States of America. They have been here ever since. Richard has appeared with his dogs in many television shows, made commercials, been in a movie, and worked in stage, night club and circus performances. A true testament that, no matter where you come from, hard work and determination makes dreams come true.

Hear what Richard, and Nick have to say about their experience on NBC’s America’s Got Talent Reality Show, and what they have to say about the other acts on the show with them, runner-up, Comic Tom Cotter, and judges Howard Stern, Sharon Osbourne, and Howie Mandel.

See breathtaking performances of NBC’s #1 hit television show in America’s Got Talent LIVE!

Olate Dogs preforms in this exclusive live show at The Palazzo Theatre NOW though Nov. 17th, and features the season seven winner and top fan-voted performers. Bringing the variety show format back to the forefront of American culture each week, the show features a colorful array of hopeful future stars — singers, dancers, comedic performers and unique acts of all ages.

You can catch Olate Dogs in America’s Got Talent LIVE! at The Palazzo,
The Palazzo Theatre, NOW though Nov. 17th 7:30pm, Dark Fridays
Reservations

You can listen to a recording of our show below!

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Bill Engvall, Otis Williams-LV Backstage Talk w/Comedian Michele LaFong

June 21, 2012  6pm-7pm PST 1230AM in LV & The Web

Actor/Comedian Bill Engvall, and Otis Williams, Original Founding Member of “The Temptations,” guest on Las Vegas Backstage Talk (LVBST) with Comedian Michele LaFong.

You know Bill from his TBS sitcom “The Bill Engvall Show”, as host of “Country Fried Home Videos”, and one of the four on the original Blue Collar Comedy Tour along with Jeff Foxworthy, Ron White, and Larry the Cable Guy.

Engvall is also featured in “Getting Personal with the Stars” Michele LaFong’s Monthly Syndicated column in Gaming Today, and will be featured in LaFong’s “Las Vegas Backstage Talk” column in Casino Player Magazine.  LaFong interviewed Bill Engvall backstage at Treasure Island H & C. (TI)  The video is posted on Engvall is also featured in “Getting Personal with the Stars” Michele LaFong’s Monthly Syndicated column in Gaming Today, and will be featured in LaFong’s “Las Vegas Backstage Talk” column in Casino Player Magazine.

For more about Bill Engvall, click HERE.

You can catch Bill Engvall at Treasure Island

Treasure Island Theatre, Friday June 22nd 8:00pm

For reservations

Singer / Original founding member of The Temptations – Otis Williams

For more than 40 years, The Temptations have shined as pioneers of popular music, with decades of smash hits and sold-out performances. An essential component of the original Motown machine invented by Berry Gordy, The Temptations began their musical career in Detroit in the early ‘60s. In 1964, Smokey Robinson wrote and produced “The Way You Do the Things You Do,” the first major hit for The Temptations. An avalanche of hits followed, including “My Girl,” “It’s Growing,” “Since I Lost My Baby,” “Get Ready,” “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” “Beauty Is Only Skin Deep” and “I Wish It Would Rain.”

For more about Otis Williams, click here.

For more about The Temptations, click here.

You can catch Otis Williams w/ The Temptations at The Orleans Showroom.
Orleans Showroom, July 7th & 8th 8:00pm
For reservations

You can listen to a recording of our show below!

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