Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I ran into a very funny man today. We were both waiting for our cars at a local dealership on West Sahara here in Las Vegas.
This guy opened for the biggest names at all of the major resorts on the strip before becoming a sensational headliner himself.

When you hear the name DAVID BRENNER, you immediately think of a 'real' guy, a performer whose comedy is authentic and hilarious.

Watching DAVID BRENNER is seeing a guy from the neighborhood who made good. He's one of the last of the up front comics, an honest-to-goodness comedy star and a helluva nice guy.

Talking with David made me remember what I love(d) about Las Vegas.

Let me be clear: DAVID BRENNER is doing great. He looks fantastic and is as funny and topical as ever. Just great. But, visiting with him about the good ol' days, made me wonder what the hell is going to happen to Las Vegas entertainment.

When I was a kid, I'd go over to NBC and watch network televison shows being taped. The Tonight Show was my favorite because they always booked great guests. I remember my first Johnny Carson taping. My Uncle Hank knew several members of the great Tonight Show Orchestra and my aunt Irene just loved DAVID BRENNER, who was a guest that night. I remember watching Carson crack-up during David's routine. Even though I was a kid, I understood that it was something special, something real indeed, for the host-who was not on camera-to laugh his ass off during a young comic's set. I reminded David that our mutual friend SAMMY DAVIS was on the show, leading the audience in laughter.

In the 20 years I've lived in Las Vegas, I've booked plenty of acts, represented some top talent and even produced a few shows on the Strip; it has been a pleasure to hire some of my favorites along the way. As Cirque has invaded my town, I've turned more and more to writing. It isn't easy making a living by writing, but, I hope to hustle my Las Vegas-themed novel "The King of Diamonds" in the new year as I complete a new book.

In 2010 and beyond, I want to be a part of whatever is next for the Las Vegas Strip. I mean, enough with the Cirque already. Let's come-up with some new ideas. I say we put acts and shows and stars in the main rooms early and late and on the dark nights of those huge shows. Above all, let's ENTERTAIN people. I mean, right?

What will it take to bring entertainers back to Las Vegas? Well, there are performers in permanent spots here and there, but why not bring in stars and let them shine up and down the Las Vegas Strip? It wouldn't be hard to do. You see, I learned long ago: "Imitation is the sincerest form of show business." It can catch on quickly.

Young geniuses like NICK THUNE, fresh from doing Jay Leno would kill as a regular main room star, quickly establishing himself as THE act to see.

Is it easy to make this change? Well, yes, it is. It's simple, and there are several people here in town (me included) who know how to structure the deals to make it work.

George Wallace, Louie Anderson, Frank Marino and a few others are doing okay, slugging-it out and sometimes competing with their own properties. That's gross. There is not one single reason that authentically entertaining stars shoudn't be SOLD OUT every show. If that makes the Blue Men blue, well, that's tough. And nobody's going to drown in their tears if that mind- numbing and stupid Le Reve has to do less shows. And what's this shit about 'Smokey Robinson presents?' I mean, we want Smokey, and not some former Aussie boy band, mate.

There was a time when headliners ruled the Las Vegas Strip, and opening acts were presented in huge letters on marquees that still glow in the memories of those who love Las Vegas.

Now I know, you can never go back, but I say as we move forward, let's celebrate our great entertainment traditions.

Friday, December 25, 2009


Seems like everyone's talking about their passion. All kinds of people, from all walks of life are proclaiming that this or that is their passion. A passion for decorating, a passion for cooking, a passion for making money.

That's fine, I guess, but all this impassioned talk about passion makes me wonder when-and why-we all started bragging about our emotions. Is that really such a great thing? Really? It seems like that cook Paula Deen is passionate about butter and I'm sure Bernie Madoff was passionate about profit and it sounds like Tiger Woods was being led around by his passion as well.

I have been around my fair share of passionate people- it is a wonderfully assuring way to feel alive, but I've been thinking that we ought to focus more on the destination. You see, emotions, while providing fuel to take you there, can also blow you way off track. Heartfelt thinking may well get you revved-up but vehement action can really mess you up, man.

As the year draws to a close, I've been been thinking passionately about bliss, about so many artists and performers who have followed their bliss and, in so doing, have raised us all up. Today I salute the beautiful and talented people who share their bliss with the world. From magicians excitedly pursuing their careers to musicians performing spirited compositons and concerts, dolce to forte, they have all found a way to share their bliss and we are the better for it, them.

BLISS (noun): perfect happiness; great joy

I'll always remember hearing the beautiful 'Bella Luna' for the first time. I was driving just outside of Branson, Missouri, playing the- then new JASON MRAZ CD. I'd been listening to "Mr. A-Z" for several days but hadn't yet gotten to 'Bella Luna,' -the seventh tune on the CD- because every one of the first songs are great, and, 'Clockwatching,' the sixth track, is so fucking clever, so well written and slickly produced that I felt pissed that I hadn't co-written it. (Mraz composed 'Clockwatching' with the astute Dennis Morris and also Ainslie Henderson). I would play "Clockwatching' over-and-over. Brilliant. Then, one night, I held my passion to hit 'Replay' in check and on came 'Bella Luna.' I pulled over and played it again and-I swear this is true-I stayed parked on the hilly roadside for over an hour listening and then getting blissfully lost inside of this beautiful song, again and again. Some time later, a girl I know who is just crazy about Mraz (I mean, who isn't?) sent me a video she shot of a Lake Tahoe concert I was supposed to attend with her. It's Mr. A-Z himself performing 'Bella Luna' even more beautifully than the record. I sat at the computer mesmerized, seeing this beautiful soul get lost inside his song, man enough to close his eyes and gently sway in the night. I mean, I felt it. I felt it all over again.

I think of performing jazz artists, friends like the great VINNIE FALCONE and young JAMIE CULLUM, losing themselves in a melody, unrestrained by the baseline, flying freely in the night. THE MAKEPEACE BROTHERS are indubitably brotherly bliss personified.

When I think of bliss, I go to that sunny place that lives on in my mind, where childhood dreams float on the breeze like a fairy tale waiting to be told. That first summer, girl, kiss. Man! And that's what I love about magicians, especially the close-up kind. They approach a stranger, ask him to pick a card and, for an instant, the guy is transformed, transported back to that blissful place where magic can happen.

My great friend VALENTINO always understood the roaring power of silence. Newer guys like R.J. CANTU get it, too. And the clever JUSTIN KREDIBLE is a bliss giver for sure. Watch the beautiful faces of his largely female fans. Delight for real.
We owe a great debt to the performing magicians who keep the spark of magic alive in us all.

I've recently reconnected with an old friend. He was the cool kid who transferred in at senior year, the handsome jock who found a way to fit in with everybody in our high school. Today he lives the life I admire, raising the family out on a ranch, in touch with nature. Now I know that when you allow yourself to connect with animals, you'll surrender to that stillness inside, the taciturn place where man and animal are friends. When I first started working with exotic animals, a very sharp lady told me not to respect the lions, but to revere them. And she was so right. Because of her advice, I've been rolling around with wolves, an accepted member of the pack, and have become the honored brother of the lion. I have communicated with dogs in ways Disney or that whisperer guy could only dream of. And to get there, I had to locate those still waters inside of me, and then, dive in.

I don't know nearly as much about art as I'd like, but I do have a sense of what's good. I look at the work of JON MARRO and know that he, like all fine artists, creates from that place, inside, a place we all know. We FEEL the artist's bliss, from Marro to Monet.

I'm a desert guy, and the hotter the better. Poolside, time doesn't exist and some of my most creative thoughts come to me underwater. The feel of the warm marble, smooth on my chest as I fly along the bottom of the pool, now that gets me there. Oh, I do my share of laps on the surface but, down deep is where the dreams are. If you find yourself losing time, don't worry, you haven't lost anything. Besides, that loss is your gain.

The great JOSEPH CAMPBELL taught us so much about the power of myths, and he had the best advice for us, too. He said, "Follow your bliss."

This is the time of year when we find ouselves wishing. Tonight I was staring at flaming candles on a cake. I closed my eyes and felt overcome by this dreamy whim:

I wish you bliss.

And I encourage you: follow your bliss to wherever it takes you.

We'll all be there, waiting.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

GETTING BLOWN-OUT on Christmas Spirits: December 24, 2009

I'm opening a gift bottle of Yukon Jack.

There's a difference between Jack Daniel and Yukon Jack. I drink Jack Daniel. I have ever since I spied FRANK SINATRA drinking it. That's exactly how it happened. It was just after Christmas and he was performing downtown at the Golden Nugget. I was in his dressing room and, having been around him plenty, I knew better than to stare. But, that's what I was doing- I was clocking him. When Sinatra caught me staring, rather than complain, he told me a story, one I'll always remember. It's the moment I knew that Frank Sinatra- the great man-was also a helluva guy.

He told me of moving out to California, early in his career, and being thrown-into the Hollywood scene. Now he was already a major singing star but his movie career had yet to really take off. "I was crazy about Bogart," he told me. "I used to follow him around and do what he did." You see, Bogie & Bacall threw wonderful parties in their Hombly Hills home, parties young Blue Eyes attended regularly. "I'd watch how he'd light his cigarette, what he drank," Sinatra told me. Listening to him helped me understand that it was cool to have idols and it turned out my idol idolized Bogie.

And what Bogart drank was Jack Daniel. I became a Tennessee Squire the next week, a surprise initiation to the world of good booze and responsible drinking. Millions remember him fondly when a song of his is played; I don't think there's ever a night that includes Jack Daniel's where I don't think of Mr. Sinatra. God I loved him.

Frank Sinatra was the first person who thought of me as a writer. I was a lawyer but he saw my writing talents early on. After giving him a thesis I had written, he asked me to write him some things, which I happily did. Because of him, I now think of myself as a writer.

Okay, here's an interesting Christmas Eve experiment in drinking- I've been drinking Jack but am now going to crack open the Yukon Jack, a 100-proof gift that, combined with the J.D. is sure to screw with my typing abilities. So, why not keep drinking and see what ends up on tonight's blog? As I have no plans to drive (just be picked up) or to be in any way responsible, I'm drinking up. And I think it's best to read my stuff after you've had some stuff yourself.

Yukon Jack says it's a liqueur (pronounced 'lick here') not a mere liquor ('lick her') so here goes, mate.

[WW drinks]

Wow. Yukon Jack is pretty smooth- like me, and, surprisingly sweet- like me. [Another drink] It goes down nice (ha- like me?) and feels good in your mouth (stop thinking that, you perv).

Okay, that was fun or whatever but look, I'm a Jack Danie's guy soooo, I'm making myself another Jack & soda (have one- you know you want to).

[drink-drink- drink]

I'm heading up to the Las Vegas Strip in a bit, meeting an old friend for a drink. Believe me, I'm getting Jack and I mean Daniel and not Yukon.

"May your days be merry, sans funk
"And may all your Christmas spirits be drunk.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Okay, fill-in the missing lyric:

Through the years, we all will be together,

If the fates allow;


And Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas Now.

Did you sing a line about a star and a bough? You did, didn't you! That's cool. It's Sinatra's line, you know that, right?

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas was written for the 1944 film Meet Me In St. Louis. None other than the great Judy Garland sang it, but the tune was really a bummer. So, in 1957, when Frank Sinatra set out to record his Christmas album over at Capitol Records, he called the composer Hugh Martin and requested a re-write, and so, "Hang a shining star upon the highest bough" replaced the glum "From now on, we'll have to muddle through somehow."

I was the guest on an interesting internet radio show a few nights ago. I told the Sinatra/Garland/Martin song story and a caller-fresh from doing online research- called to correct me. It was kinda funny because I had actually written the article the caller used to try to discredit me, only he had misread it; I had listed the original Judy Garland lyrics that were too gloomy for the movie and then pointed out the changes.(I also contributed to the wiki-wiki-wikipedia article.) In the film, Judy Garland was to sing "Have yourself a merry little Christmas, it may be your last." I mean- wow, that's a downer. I also mentioned that the film's director was none other that the great Vincente Minnelli, the dad of Liza. (Garland and Minnelli married in 1945).

The radio interview went okay, I guess. I wasn't in studio but rather phoned it in and when you do it that way, you never know what's what. But, after the smartypants apologized, a nice lady chimed-in to tell a story about working with Judy Garland at MGM. And then, a longtime Las Vegas woman called to say that she had been interested in my "career" since watching me "several times" on Name That Tune. (I suspect that instead of 'career,' she prolly meant to say 'keester' but I was flattered by my heavily medicated fan anyway).

I then told of being at Liza Minnelli's home at Christmastime and her telling me that 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas' was almost CUT from the movie and reminded me that 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow' damn near didn't make it into her mom's iconic musical The Wizard of Oz. Wow!

If you were wondering, Liza told me she, too, just loved Uncle Frank's 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,' especially the one he recorded in the 60's.

HOUSE OF H2O is a place I can come to and write in the first person. I am grateful to you for allowing me to do that, and here's my promise for 2010 and beyond: I'm going to keep on keeping it real.

Happy Holy Days.

Willie Watters

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Mary Hart makes me feel weird. She does. There is no way in hell that Mary Hart is really that enthusiastic to interview , say, Marie Osmond about her stupid brother. But yet, there she is, night after teeth-grinding-night sitting next to Mark Steines prattling on about...well, about nothing. I've worked hard over the years to help get my famous clients' stories out there and Entertainment Tonight, and other such 'news' shows have been pretty generous and always fair, but lately? I just can't watch.

Let me be up-front about the topic of entertainment, okay? I have watched ET forever. Many can tell you where they were on 9-11, but me? I will never forget the day John Tesh retired. Okay, maybe that's a little strong, but I did used to admire Jann CarI and company and didn't join George Clooney's ET boycott. And, I used to tune-into E! in the pre-hottie old days, back when the cable channel had little more than that gossipy guy and his lame talk show. Today-Seacrest aside- I think Jason Kennedy is the nuts, making E! News fresh and interesting to watch, when they aren't all revved-up about those weirdos with the eight kids or the latest Tiger whore who won't keep her mouth shut.

Mario Lopez is pretty cool and Jerry Penacoli is a class act, a real pro over on Extra, but too much of the show is fluffed-up. Now Access Hollywood is total bush-league and totally unwatchable.

Let's face it: all of the entertainment shows, from CNN on down are fake, phonier than a showgirl's bazooms. These shows are totally scripted and devoid of any real news, nothing more than a LA publicist's wet dream. So, I guess, in the end, the wired-up robot Mary Hart is the right person to go through the motions, but please, guys, stop pretending to be reporters, okay? You are not journalists but pimps and we all know it.

Now there is ONE show that is keeping it real, and I mean "maybe they'll sue our ass but here goes" real.


God bless Harvey Levin and TMZ. Seriously. Thirty Mile Zone has broken some huge stories. From Mel Gibson's DUI and Chris Brown's violence to the entire Michael Jackson saga, TMZ keeps on keeping it real.

Now as much as I like the smart guy in the dreads, the sarcastic dude in the cap and the hot girl in the glasses, it is MAX HODGES who steals the TMZ show, night-after-night. Dax has his shit together, selling the snaps he's snapped-up, but the real drama comes from Max.

You see, too many "reporters" seem to take Hollywood stories too seriously. Not Max. Not ever. In fact, I often get the impression that Max is more interested in the hottie than than the Hollywood heavyweight. Tune-in and see for yourself. About half-way through the broadcast, the diminuative Mr. Levin will be grinning that goofy grin watching a dog with sunglasses on his hairy butt (the dog's butt, not Harvey's) and Max will have his arm over his leg, leaning back, smiling, clearly enjoying just being on the show. High on life, you might say. It just makes me feel good.

I think I heard Max say this: "I have some video of Jack Nicholson or Jack Nicklaus or maybe some dude from Nickleback. ANYWAY, somebody famous coming out of Dan Tanna's with a HOT BABE!"

MAX HODGES cares enough not to care too much.

Maybe the adrenalized Mary Hart should try some tree?

Thanks, man.

Monday, December 14, 2009


"Hello, operator? Yes, I'm looking for the number of John Smith, in Las Vegas."

"Um, sir-there are several John Smiths listed. Do you have a street name?"

I thought for a second and then answered honestly. "Well, some of my friends call me 'Big Will'."

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Sirius Satellite Radio's great station, Siriusly Sinatra, celebrated Ol Blue Eyes' birthday on December 12th. And they did a great job.
The 'guest DJ' was none other than the reigning King of LV, STEVE WYNN.

Now you may think of Mr. Wynn as the ultra businessman and super self-promoter and of course he is, but get him talking about show business and he's quite intriguing and especially interesting.

We here in Las Vegas owe STEVE WYNN so much and now-and wow-we owe some more. He hosted a helluva good radio show helping remember the birthday of the greatest Las Vegas star ever, Frank Sinatra . Wynn was even cool enough to run a rare recording of Sinatra, from the Golden Nugget stage, referring to Wynn's pride and joy as "a dump" and then kvetching about the showroom, designed by, according to FS, "Steve's kid brother, Frank Lloyd Wrong." More than that, however, Mr. Las Vegas shared never-before heard Sinatra stories, warm and loving memories from a helluva guy who not only has been front and center but who also always puts his money where his mouth is.

I spent some time at Wynn's Encore late last night where Garth Brooks is holding court. Encore, indeed.

Thanks Steve and Happy Birthday Ol Blue Eyes.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

DEAR ABBY: Are You Dead?

Dec 8, 2009

Dear Abby:

Are you dead? My friend Ashton said that he's pretty sure you've gone to the Big Casino but I said, "No way, her columns still run in the newspaper."

He said, "So what? They are obviously re-running old columns, written before she, ya know, croaked."

Now I'll admit, some of your stuff seems a little, um, dated. Like the lady who wrote about her hippie son and your "Dear Draft Dodger" reply. That was odd. And the advice you gave to the woman who wrote, saying she was obsessed with Barnaby Jones. I told my friend that Nick at Night runs old stuff, like at ass o'clock in the AM but he's still skeptical. By the way, what was that letter about the teenage girl and Bobby Sherman? You better not be dead, Abby, cause if you are, I'll look bad. And- I've got money on you still having a pulse.

ANYWAYS, Abby: (if that's even your real name. I know it's what you answer to- or answered to- when you were drawing breath. Not that I think you're ace-duce, but if you did die, I'll understand, just tell me, okay? Maybe I can call-off the bet with Ashton. I know he's a bookie and stuff, and a bet's a bet, but I do consider him a friend, even though the feeling is unrequited.)*

*A word I learned from my other friend, who is also my shrink.

Here's my problem, and I'm sure you've heard this eleventy billion times already, but here goes anyways:

It's my girlfriend. She gets all weird towards the end of a date, like I'm not gonna pay her. I mean, I think maybe a comp here and there would be cool and shit, but, after I got my ass kicked, I'm not going to broach that subject again. And NO, it WASN'T her pimp who slapped me around, either. Actually, he's pretty cool. In fact, when he knows I'm broke he likes to come over and play Wii and stuff. Which reminds me, Abby- WTF was that letter last week where you suggested a family "game night" and recommended "View-Master" and "Twister?" And, so you'll know, the only thing an Etch-A-Sketch is good for is laying out lines. ANYWAYS, my GF's pimp- his name is Skeeter and he's really nice to me. Really, really nice. Like a little too cuddly even if it isn't a "chilly night" kind of nice. The other morning, after he crashed at my place, I woke up and found Skeeter passed-out on the couch, spooning with me and he was wearing socks. And I mean just socks. And, they were MY socks. And the bong smelled weird, like... well, that's another letter, Abby. My point is my friend Ashton- the bookie- says my girlfriend is a whore and that's messed-up. Maybe you could publish a well written letter explaining the difference between a prostitute and a call girl because my girl is the call kind. And she doesn't always charge me. Okay, she does, she does always charge me but not full price, not anywhere near the price she gets when National Finals Rodeo is in town.

Thanks, Abby, in advance, for not being six feet under and for helping me with my (call)girlfriend.

-Your Friend, CONFUSED

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Living in Las Vegas, and being in the business, I've had a unique look at the serious occupation of being funny. If I were to make a list of the best of the best comedians I ever saw, well, um, wait, who am I kidding? I am making a list. That is my raison d'etat (rough translation: raisin tattoo. I think. Not sure. Maybe look it up.)


(In no particular order, except alphabetical).

He's made films with Steve Martin and Tom Hanks, opened for the biggest names in show business, stolen the show at several MDA telethons and won the admiration of everyone in the business but the one thing Max has taught us all is a most important lesson. BE HELPFUL. MAX ALEXANDER continues to do good deeds, helpful things, especially for younger talent. What the hell good is it to be a great entertainer if you can't help others? Max taught us that.

Known as the world's greatest singing impressionist, Bob is truly the best there is. His impersonations are more than parody; Bob presents sincere tributes to the best loved voices in the world. I've written special material for Bob's televison appearences and we've co-written some songs and it isn't easy going because Bob always insists on being true to the personality he's presenting. "How would Frank Sinatra say it?" or "What would Dean Martin do?" BOB ANDERSON teaches us that you have to seek perfection in everything you do. No detail is too small when you want to get it just right. And he always does.

Everyone on the planet tried to get on The Tonight Show, but on the final week, Johnny Carson himself insisted that his favorite comic- musician PETE BARBUTTI come on one final time. And he did. And he killed. My oldest brother worships this performer and when I produced my first Las Vegas show, we needed a great comic so I called Pete. I'd watch him, closely. No night was the same. A jazz comic riffing for laughs, mixing it up, improving the improv, playing with the familar. When George Carlin told me that whenever he guest hosted The Tonight Show, he'd ask for Pete to be booked I knew that said it all. PETE BARBUTTI has never been afraid to be 'too hip for the room.' He never plays down to the audience. No sir. He brings us up. Pete teaches us originality every time he takes the stage.

Frank Sinatra hand-picked him as his opening act and from the early 80's until Ol' Blue Eyes retired, TOM DREESEN was on the bill, playing to sold out audiences all over the world. David Letterman asked him to guest host and he was great. His new book provides us an American comedy history lesson. This funnyman happens to be a decent human being who always works clean. His humor is warm and wonderful and audiences just adore him. When we first met, I asked him about a rumor that he had secretly written jokes for a fellow comic whose act had grown stale. "Oh, we all tried to help," Tom said modestly. I later found out that Tom had single handedly written loads of material to help the comedian in need. He's done more private acts of kindness for artists who needed help. I have learned by example and now, I write-without credit-whenever I'm asked. TOM DREESEN teaches us to be generous with our talents.

The Number-One specialty act on college campuses year-after-year, this comic-magician is always working, often playing six nights (in six different states) per week, JUSTIN KREDIBLE hit the road running and never looked back. Jason Mraz took him on his world tour, Rachael Ray brings him on "on the regular," and others are encouraging him to star in a sitcom. Along the way, the magically funny JUSTIN KREDIBLE keeps working, night-after-night. I've been working on something with this likeable young star, whenever he can find a spare hour, which is rare indeed. This comic conjuror teaches us that there is no such thing as 'having it made,' that you have to go out and make it every day.

A friend leaned over to me just prior to a show at the Beauty Bar in downtown Las Vegas. "Will? This guy coming on is as weird as Steven Wright, clever as Steve Martin and smart as George Carlin. His name is NICK THUNE." My friend books comics and knows a thing or two about funny. So I watched the young comedian's set. With a musician's perfect timing, Nick ventured 'out there' and seemed happy to be there. Some jokes didn't get laughs. Many did. Nick was brave and brilliant. Two years later, NICK THUNE becomes a regular on the mainstream Jay Leno Show. I tune-in to see how much he's sold-out his art to commerce. The answer was: zero! Nick is original and authentic and performs his stuff as weirdly written. It is beautiful. NICK THUNE teaches us what Shakespeare wrote about in Act I of Hamlet: To thine own self be true.

Friday, December 4, 2009


I am crazy about specialty acts. You know, those uniquely talented performers often featured in large production shows? Some are classy, many are off-beat, but every successful specialty act is intertesting.

In pre-Cirque Las Vegas, uncommon specialty acts were commonplace. You see, for a huge show to be staged without long blackouts, 'front-of-the-curtain' entertainers are needed to allow the cast to change and the crew to reset. Jubillee at Bally's always had (and continues to have) great individual performers, including a variety of magicians, jugglers, comics, gauchos, and, for many years, a great crossbow act.

When we put together 'SPLASH' at the Riviera (an unauthorized adaption of the talented Peter Jackson's 'Playboy Fantasy'), three specialty acts allowed for the watery production to flow smoothy. The great stuntman SONNY TIPTON was a highdiving 'SPLASH' standout, as were the motorcycle stunt drivers now known as RIDERS OF THE THUNDERDOME.

One of the Aladdin's best shows ever was PETER & PATRICK JACKSON'S ABRACADABRA, a magic-filled extravaganza featuring a then-likeable KIRBY VAN BURCH, a great talking dog act, the always funny comic-actor FIELDING WEST and a sensational singer, TIM SEARCY. Little wonder my friend Patrick enjoys long lasting Las Vegas success; King Arthur's Tournament continues to shine at the Excaliber.

When the sexy revue CRAZY GIRLS first opened, MAX ALEXANDER was the funny-as-hell host, killing every single set, three -times-a-night.

I will never forget standing with FRANK SINATRA, watching him watch his longtime opening act TOM DREESEN from stage left. Sinatra would laugh- and I mean really laugh-at the wonderfully warm and always funny comic. One night, during a tour with the Buddy Rich Band, Mr. Sinatra told me how much he admired the hard-drumming drummer. "See? This is what comes from sticking with it," he said, pointing out from the wings during one of Buddy's well-earned standing ovations.

I've been thinking about specialty acts recently. I have had the good fortune to book some very talented people. ANDREI SOUMIATIN is by far the best specialty performer working in Branson Missouri, winning cheers and ovations for the clever solo juggling and beautiful adagio he performs with his wife. Classy and athletic, he's a real pro. Andrei's son Anthony is also a world-class performer. MIKE CHIRRICK comes from show business royalty and circus pageantry. Mike's mom and uncle were the best of the very best. Mike's juggling and balancing act wins ovations thanks to his prowess and verve; expert skills that seem second-nature actually come from years of practice.

I've booked my share of not-so-good acts, too, like the guy who ate lightbulbs. Seriously- that was his act: he ate glass. Some people liked his talent, but I still remember waking from a dream that used to slice into my sleep, positive my drool was blood. And I had a quick-change performer, a young lady who came on stage looking like a Michelin spokesman and by the end of her act had dwindled down to a size 3. Oh, I've booked my share of bad magicians along the way, too, but I'm proud that I've always tried to take the time to help them understand why they aren't nearly as good as they think they are, and then suggest, and encourage improvements.

Recently, I've found work for a few specialty acts in Downtown Las Vegas. I like to watch the audience while performers do their thing. I don't care how many stupid Cirque shows come to town- one thing will never change: audiences will always be in awe of peformers with real talent. Me too.

Thursday, December 3, 2009



What happened to the fantasy future? You know, the promise of jet packs, picture phones and loads of edible and/or inflatable and/or fornicatable shit?

Well, the jet pack became the Segway, which is a great invention if you're a cop at a county fair. The technology that would fly your ass around town was misappropriated to create the leaf blower, and that really blows.

Now I'll agree that the internet is the nuts. And, to access the www via the ChuckBerry is something. I've done my share of under-the-table Googling on the handheld to help me sound up-to-date during meetings, but, sadly, I usually have to read online shit I wrote just to remember what I'm supposed to believe.

Of all the new ish, I do think that Skype is pretty much the video phone of our dreams, although, in my younger punkass mind, I'd ring up a hottie who'd answer naked in bed and I'd be automotically able to see their situation. Today, I get my Skype on (and off!) regularly, via the Mac and the HalleBerry. Recently, I've been tricking-out the home Skypexperience by using mirrors. (I have wall-to-wall mirrored walls and, with a little setup, my Skyping can be down right pyschedelic providing I remember to pre-Windex the situation).

Hey- you know that kid who was supposed to be flying high above Colorado in that metallic balloon? That looked like some mental patient's idea of the future- a wacky, tacky, jet packy flight of fancy. It made me wonder: who was more lame- the dumbass dad or the cable news jerkoffs?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Today, the LA TIMES took another shot at NBC's decision to air budget-friendly JAY LENO five nights a week in lieu of dramas, noting (and praising) the successful new shows on the other networks. But wait, isn't there something to be said for entertainment executives trying something different? Now I know, JAY LENO is hardly avant-garde and his "new" show doesn't seem too terribly different from the old one, but hey, it's early. I'm hoping Jay & Co. will shake things up.

I heard that Leno regular NICK THUNE will be on again this week- I think Wednesday or Thursday. Bringing Thune to primetime helps me believe in network television. Seriously, that guy is funny.

My writing partner, Richard Thornell and I just finished a script for a new sitcom, based on weird characters I created, characters who, while not quite right, are quite likeable. In doing research for this project, I watched TV. Loads of it. Network shows during primetime* and well into the late late "what in the hell am I still doing up" night.** New, old, good and bad, I've been watching. If it sounds like fun, well, it really wasn't. I take comedy seriously. After a few weeks, I was amazed at every Leave it to Beaver, at how well the show held up. And Dick Van Dyke? I can tell four bars into the theme if he'll trip-or scoot around- the ottoman. And Lucy? Well, I Love Lucy.

When I see JAY LENO bringing on people like NICK THUNE*** it gives me hope that televison is going to be just fine.

* Modern Family: funny. Community: clever. It's Always Sunny: GREAT
** Insert crack pipe/cocaine/Red Bull joke
*** There's nobody like NICK THUNE.

About Me

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My profile is considered: "HIGH" 40-ish, 6 foot-ish, slim-ish, trim-ish straight-ish, late-ish, creative-ish... I am an unashamed HETRO* *Heterochromatic(one green eye, one hazel-ish).