This is how actor-comedian Brad Garrett tried to talk me into playing in his charity poker tournament Saturday.
“You must be a poker player,” Garrett said.
“I’m too honest to be a poker player,” I said.
“You’re a reporter, how can you be honest?”
“I’m a Buddhist,” I said.
“Oh Jesus, you’ve tried everything, haven’t you?”
“Wait,” I said and I gave him my usual line. “I’m a nonpracticing Jewish Unitarian Buddhist atheist.”
“That’s pretty much where I’m at,” Garrett said. “I’m, like, right there.”
So at 1 p.m. Saturday, you can see Garrett and his “Everybody Loves Raymond” buddy Ray Romano in an MGM Grand poker tourney, raising money for the Maximum Hope Foundation. You can play for a $250 buy-in (www.MaximumHopeFoundation.org).
Garrett started the foundation 12 years ago to help children with life-limiting illnesses and to their families.
“Literally, 98 cents of every dollar goes to these families. We help about 200 families a year now,” Garrett said.
“If you have a 20 percent deductible, and you’re taking care of a terminal child, one parent has to stop working and care for the kid around the clock.
“So we help families with daily necessities. Some of these families need groceries, or a car payment, or rent is due. Or they need a transmission for a car so they can make their 90-mile drive to the children’s hospital every day.”
Tonight through Wednesday, Garrett will also do his hosting duties at Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club in the MGM.
And Romano will perform with Kevin James on Friday and Saturday at The Mirage.
Garrett gave Romano this testament:
“Comedians are incredibly insecure by nature, and envious,” but “then you have the ones who are incredibly helpful and wonderful. Ray is incredibly generous and helps people all the time.”
Funny, I was talking with Romano recently, and he was also telling me the common denominator among comedians is insecurity.
“You think you’re the best, and you also think you’re worthless at the same time. It’s a weird mix,” Romano said.
“When I used to get nominated for the Emmys, I lost the first four years. So I got exactly what I needed — I got the recognition and the praise and the ‘look at me,’ but then I also got the losing, which is a good balance of saying: ‘Well, you’re not THAT good.’ ”
During our conversation about humility, I told Romano I interviewed Robert De Niro this year, and Romano busted on me perfectly.
“Where’d you meet him? At the name-dropping festival? Uh huh. Go ahead.”
COME SAY HI
Over the weekend, Quad headliner (and frequent charity performer) Jeff Civillico rappelled down Planet Hollywood on his unicycle (that’s nuts) to help Special Olympics Nevada. See the video is at www.JeffCivillico.com/blog.
And from 6 to 9 tonight, please stop by Rain nightclub in the Palms, where Dayna Roselli and I emcee “Taste of the Nation.” For $100 to $150, you can eat food by more than 30 top Vegas chefs, drink booze and bid on excellent auction items. The event raises money to fight childhood hunger via the University of Nevada, Reno Foundation/UNCE Chefs for Kids, Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada, Three Square Food Bank and Project MANA.
Doug Elfman’s column appears on Page 3A in the main section on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He also writes for Neon on Fridays. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.