Las Vegas | Entertainment | David Lee Roth’s Michael Jackson joke led to Bally’s dismissal
The Kats! Bureau at this writing is a high-top inside Essentials at Bellagio, which is just across from Bellagio Patisserie and the resort’s famous conservatory. The holiday display has been eradicated like a shopping-mall Santa on Jan.26. A spring scene replete with golden trees and matching rodents — themed for the Year of the Rat — is going up now.
Also, earlier, I spotted three ladies pruning and replacing the roses at the entrance of Mayfair Supper Club. Those flowers are real, yes, even though a CES conventioneer approached as I was there and said, “I could have sworn those were fake!”
No. The golden rats are fake. Roses are real. Dig it.
More from this scene, and elsewhere:
David Lee Roth is opening his residency at House of Blues at Mandalay Bay on Wednesday night, matching Elvis Presley’s 85th birthday. But this is not Roth’s first run on the Strip. In October 1995, he famously fronted a 15-piece show band (with Edgar Winter on sax) for a weeklong run at Bally’s Celebrity Room.
As Roth himself recalls, his mouth got him bounced from the gig.
“Vegas was nowhere near as colorful-modern-sexy-young as it is now,” Roth said during an episode of “PodKats!” that aired in November. “I think I was ahead of myself a little bit at the time … In fact, I got fired for making a joke about my girls’ dancing — I had a couple of Mambo girls. I said, ‘Look at them, ladies and gentlemen! So hot, Michael Jackson would quit the Boy Scouts!’”
For clarity, Jackson was never a member of the Boy Scouts. Nonetheless, Roth was done at Bally’s.
“They literally fired me for that one,” said the ever-rocking showman. “I was out front, with a guitar case in one hand, a shopping cart with my costumes and a top hat in the other.”
Hyperbole? Maybe. But we believe Diamond Dave, always.
All of the shows formerly staged at the Showroom at the D Las Vegas have ended their residencies at the upstairs venue. These long-running titles include “Marriage Can Be Murder,” “Defending the Caveman,” Adam London’s “Laughternoon,” “Friends The Musical Parody,” and the Jokesters comedy club.
John and Shannon Bentham of Ivory Star Productions has subleased the showroom from the hotel and operated its box office. The couple have been trying to find a new home for the shows ever since they were notified of their imminent closing in November.
First up, look for London, “Friends” and “Marriage” to wind up in the Caesars Entertainment stable. As an interactive dinner show, “Marriage” needs restaurant facilities, and the place that makes the most sense is Buca di Beppo at Bally’s (where “Tony ‘N Tina’s Wedding” was revived for several months until closing in March).
“Friends” and London remain unsigned but should be announced by the end of the month. The future of “Caveman” and Jokesters are likely to be sorted out after those three productions.
The Showroom at the D space has been targeted for a sportsbook makeover, finished in time for the NCAA Tournament in March, though co-owner Derek Stevens has not formally confirmed those plans (the hotel has generally been quiet about specifics about the second-floor annex).
The dean of the outgoing productions, “Marriage” marked its 20th anniversary this past year. “Caveman” has performed at the showroom for a decade. Both have been at the hotel since it was Fitzgeralds Las Vegas, prior to when the property was turned into the D in 2012.
Australian relief show set
Steve Judkins of the Mayfair entertainment cast is organizing the “Aussie Bush Fire Relief Concert” set for Jan. 28 at The Space. Judkins, who has also co-starred in “Mamma Mia!” at the Tropicana, is a native of Melbourne. More details will arrive from a planning meeting Thursday. Judkins and his wife, Sahsa (who has portrayed Donna and Tanya in “Mamma Mia!”) and former “Jubilee” dancer Jessica Lane, another Aussie, are on the creative team.
For Judkins, among many Vegas entertainers from Down Under, the tragedy hits close to home, in fact.
“People in my hometown are wearing masks, the smoke is so bad,” Judkins said Tuesday in a text message. “My brother-in law’s family farm is surrounded by fire.”
Since the start of the 2019 fire season, a total of 10 million hectares have been burned by the sweeping fires (a hectares is about the size of a rugby field). The total area burned to date is nearly the size of England.
Cool Hang Alert
Sensational Vegas vocalist Janien Valentine headlines “Decades of Divas” at 7 p.m. Friday at Freedom Hall Theater in Sun City Anthem (2460 Hampton Road). Valentine has co-starred in “The Scintas” and Frankie Scinta’s “Showman” productions since spring 2012, and was also vocalist in Clint Holmes’ six-year residency at Harrah’s through 2006. She can sing it all, as they say, from Streisand to Celine to Aretha to Pavarotti. Tickets are $20 for Anthem residence, $25 for everyone else. Get there.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.