Photo Diva: What’s So Funny?

The legendary comedian Norm Crosby performing at the new Las Vegas Rocks Cafe
The legendary comedian Norm Crosby performing at the new Las Vegas Rocks Cafe

I’m not one to go to comedy clubs, mostly because I just don’t find very many comedians working today particularly funny as they seem to rely too much on vulgarity for laughs instead of tickling the intellect. Since the passing of my all-time favorite comedian, George Carlin, I haven’t really had any desire to go see a comedy show. So how did I end up covering two comedy shows in one weekend?

First up was the legendary Norm Crosby inside the now open Las Vegas Rocks Cafe’s showroom. Located in the spot Jillian’s used to occupy at the Neonopolis complex at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas Rocks Cafe consists of a nice size showroom that holds around 200 and a smaller, more intimate lounge and souvenir area and a nice size bar and dining area.

The venue had a soft opening a few weeks back but Owner Tony Sacca brought in one of my favorite comedians from my childhood, Norm Crosby, for the official debut of the showroom with proceeds benefitting the Las Vegas Walk of Stars. The room itself is tucked in the back of the Cafe and is a really nice space to see a comedian but the sound system and lighting that night wasn’t really conducive for live music which was evident during the opening act, tenor John Garafalo, as both his backing tracks and vocals sounded strained through the system and the overall sound wasn’t much better than karaoke. This was quite unfortunate as I could tell Garafalo is quite a talented vocalist and his tribute to the best operatic tenors ever was heartfelt and moving…I just wished it sounded better than it did.

The system and the room is suitable for a comedy show however and Crosby, 82 years young, had the audience laughing hysterically from the opening joke to his heartfelt thanks for attending the fundraiser. His jokes and funny stories were timeless treasures without the vulgarity that current comedians seem to feel the need to delve into in order to be considered funny. I like my comedy old school and Crosby delivered it with great style. I laughed until my jaw hurt.

Vegas headliner Louie Anderson entertains the large crowd at Funny Bones charity event
Vegas headliner Louie Anderson entertains the large crowd
at the Funny Bones charity event

After the show my hubby and I decided to try the cafe. It took way too long to get a table because the women at the front was having some sort of meltdown because people leaving the show were asking to be validated but I digress. The menu is filled with fun facts and standard bar food choices like buffalo wings and burgers but there are some other interesting fare, like the Elvis fried peanut butter and banana sandwich, which is what my other half ordered. I got the tuna melt and we both enjoyed the food and it was a nice way to end an entertaining evening.

Flashy comedian Jeff Hobson was a hit at Funny Bones charity event
Flashy comedian Jeff Hobson was a hit
at the Funny Bones charity event

Next up in my weekend of comedy was the canine charity event “Funny Bones” at The Palms Casino Resort on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. I was the official photographer for this event, thanks to the show’s producer, James D’Arrigo, so I had my hands full taking pictures of George Wallace, Bobby Slayton and Vinnie Favorito just to name a few. The real challenge for me was the fact that I found out too late that I would have to shoot from the back of the ballroom holding the event and I didn’t have time to run over to my friend’s house to borrow her 70mm-200mm f2.8 lens so I pushed the button and crossed my fingers.

The photos are okay but I wish they did the event justice. In a town where a headlining comedian commands a good fifty bucks for a 45 minute show, this event went almost three hours and featured a who’s who of Vegas comedy, In addition to the comics listed above, did I mention Sammy Shore, Rich Little and Louis Anderson? Oh and Lance Burton? And as wonderful as all that was, the final two comedians–Manny Oliveira and Jeff Hobson–had me laughing so hard I almost forgot to snap pictures. A fabulous show that ended up being the best comedy deal out there and all the money went to three animal rescue organizations. Nearly $16,000 was raised. A great way to close out a very fun(ny) weekend.