George Wallace called me from a fast-food joint.
“I’m at Five Guys hamburger. I’ve thought about it. That’s just too many people touching my meat.”
Wallace is in his 10th year of never bombing at the Flamingo hotel. He put out a new book Tuesday. It’s called “Laff It Off!” It’s funny. Surprisingly, it’s also inspirational.
One comedy chapter is called, “We don’t need two Virginias.” One inspirational subchapter is called, “Be Ready for the Good Things to Come.”
Wallace, 61, told me he wants us to laugh more for our health and well-being.
“Kids laugh 400 times a day, and old people start wars, you know?” he said.
“You gotta laugh at everything. Even if you lose a loved one, you’ve got to think of the good times you had with them and laugh it off.
“My mom passed when I was 16. My sister passed this year. That was kind of like my mom, but we made the thing just funny and happy, because she wanted a party, so that’s what we gave her, a party.
“Sometimes, I’m with an audience. I just tell them, ‘Let’s just start laughing.’ … And it’ll get contagious. There’s always that one person with that crazy laughter. Then you laugh at them. Then they’re laughing at you. And you’re going back and forth. Laughter is so good and so important.”
Wallace is this year’s spokesman for Coats For Kids. Drop off your old coats at Albertsons, and they’ll be picked up by Aramark Uniform Services, cleaned by Al Phillip’s The Cleaner and distributed to kids by the Salvation Army.
Wallace donates much of his time and money in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. In “Laff It Off,” he jokes about pledging a million dollars to his Los Angeles church, the same church Stevie Wonder goes to, even though “it’s going to be $30 a week any way you slice it.”
“We’ve got some high rollers at this place,” Wallace writes. “We built a beautiful new church there. Magic Johnson donated five million dollars. Denzel (Washington) gave seven-point-five.”
Wallace told me the church is a blessing.
“I tell you, every time I give to the church, it comes right back to me,” he said. “If you have your hands open to give, you can always receive. If your hands are closed, you can’t receive anything.
“It’s not how much money you make. It’s how you enjoy your life while you’re living.
“You know, (Jerry) Seinfeld and Anderson Cooper were talking, and they were saying, ‘Is it better to be famous, or is it better to be rich?’
“I said, ‘Let me tell you guys something. I’m right in the middle of you two guys. It’s better to be like me. I’ve got enough money to do what I want to do. I could retire. I don’t need anything. Enough people know me to satisfy my little ego. … But you guys can’t go pee. Everywhere you go, there’s a camera. I can go pee.’ ”
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.