Comedian George Wallace testified Friday that he had been performing about 10 minutes at the Bellagio on Dec. 8, 2007, when something went wrong.
“As I’m walking across the stage, all of a sudden I thought I was electrocuted,” Wallace said.
The Las Vegas comedian has been testifying since Thursday in his personal injury case against the Bellagio. Wallace, 61, filed a lawsuit in November 2009 that accuses the resort of negligence.
Wallace, a headliner at the Flamingo for the past 10 years, was performing at a private event at the Bellagio when his Achilles tendon ruptured. According to his lawsuit, his foot became entangled in loose electrical wires on the stage.
“Something went through me from the bottom of my feet to the top of my head, but I didn’t know what it was,” he told jurors on Friday.
Wallace said he could walk no farther that night, but he continued telling jokes as he leaned on a table for support. He told himself he could worry about the pain later.
“The show must go on, and it’s mind over matter,” he testified.
The show did go on. Wallace finished his performance at the Bellagio before heading over to the Flamingo, where he performed sitting down.
On Thursday, jurors watched a video of Wallace’s performance at the Flamingo the night before his injury. On Friday, they watched a video of his Flamingo show the following night, after his injury.
Jurors occasionally smiled or chuckled while watching the recordings.
In the second video, Wallace immediately explains why he is sitting in a chair.
“I just did another show, and my foot got caught in a cable on stage,” he says.
He tells his audience he had taken pain medication and adds, “As bad as I’m hurting, laughter is the best medicine.”
At one point, he asks if there are any doctors in the audience. When a man identifies himself as an orthopedic surgeon, Wallace tells him, “You need to get your ass up here.”
The man comes on stage and checks out Wallace’s leg before helping him stand up. The comedian soon sits back down.
After making a routine joke about lawsuits, Wallace adds, “I’m gonna own part of the Bellagio.”
Wallace is seeking millions of dollars in damages from the Bellagio for lost earnings, pain and suffering, and medical expenses.
According to his lawsuit, the injury required surgery and physical therapy, and forced Wallace to cancel many of his nightly performances at the Flamingo.
During his opening statement last week, Bellagio attorney Paul Haire said evidence will show that Wallace had a pre-existing injury that led to a “spontaneous” rupture of his Achilles tendon during his performance at the resort.
Wallace’s testimony is scheduled to resume Monday morning in District Judge Ronald Israel’s courtroom. The comedian is known for wearing a black beret and using the catch phrase “I be thinkin’.”
Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-384-8710. Follow @CarriGeer on Twitter.