Last Thursday, I helped a friend (truthfully, a friend of a friend) celebrate his birthday at Hooters Casino Hotel. The friend had a membership to House Seats Las Vegas, and we were able to secure complementary tickets to the Gordie Brown show there.
I hadn’t been to Hooters Casino Hotel for years, so the birthday visit was sort of an adventure. Upon arriving, I was surprised to find a crowded parking lot, so had to park (free) in a parking area that required somewhat of a hike.
The Hooters casino is rather roomy, but after crossing an open area, one sees a nice supply of tables and slot machines. I signed up for a player’s card, swiped my card for a prize (a free drink) and set about waiting for my companions.
A Hooters car is on the casino floor, and the place has the vintage Vegas look, though the patrons looked very much under 40. The slot machines at Hooters were unlike those I typically see in local casinos. Nonetheless, I managed a small profit before dinner.
We chose to eat at the on-premises Hooters Restaurant (“Delightfully Tacky, but Unrefined”) and frankly, I loved my “Hooters original” chicken wings, each of which, I’m sure, comes with a bucket of calories. The birthday boy had a wonderful time, ignoring us and looking at all the Hooters Girls in their short shorts and t-shirts.
As dinner ended, five of the Hooters girls arrived with a piece of candle-lit chocolate cake and some sort of chant that wished our friend a very Happy Birthday. His eyes sparkled.
Following dinner, we wasted a bit more time in the casino, then headed to the Night Owl Showroom and the 7:30 p.m. Gordie Brown show. The showroom was dark and seemed to be part showroom and part bar. The lower level had chairs and couches and could be called “intimate”; the upper level had a bar and tables and chairs.
The audience for Gordie Brown was small (100 people or so) and very few were from out of town; most said they were locals.
In the past, Brown had a large band behind him, but at Hooters, his “entourage” was one young man who worked the sound and the lights. Brown’s informal dress on Thursday was not quite like the tuxedo seen on the posters.
Brown seemed somewhat shy on stage at first. His “Welcome to Hooters” almost was uncomfortable, and he made jokes about a few empty couches and the fact that he no longer had a 10-piece band backing him up. But other than the fact that Brown was in a more modest setting than in the past, his show then revved up and was lightening fast — using sound tracks where needed — and full of voices (I can’t imagine any impressionist having more voices in a show than does Gordie Brown).
Brown also dances, plays the guitar and dons hats and sideburns. His show is not political, though a number of political figures make an appearance. Younger audience members who may not be familiar with the heyday of Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Bush, Jack Nicholson and Ozzy Osbourne get a chance with segments devoted to contemporary musical groups. When Brown’s voices don’t exactly duplicate the real thing, the comments or parodies he writes for these voices save the day. This is a funny show. Megan Edwards once labeled him the “Jazzman of Impressions.”
Need I say (with tongue in cheek) that our celebrating friend loved Gordie Brown and had a great impression of the evening all around. He did.
A note: I’m not sure the Nightowl Showroom is where Gordie Brown belongs for the long run. He’s simply too good for the room. In the meantime, though, Hooters is where audience members can see the city’s “Master Impressionist”.