weather icon Mostly Cloudy

‘Sinnerama’ adds comedians to ‘Showgirls’ at Las Vegas screening

The Wright brothers dreamed of flying.

Edmund Hillary longed to summit Everest.

Las Vegas comedians Brian Mollica and Tyler Jolley have their own seemingly impossible mission: trying to wring more laughs out of “Showgirls” than writer Joe Eszterhas and director Paul Verhoeven did, unintentionally, back in 1995.

The cult classic tale of Nomi (Elizabeth Berkley) — the switchblade-toting, stripper pole-licking drifter and her rise from dancing at Cheetah’s to headlining “Goddess,” the volcano-centric topless production at the Stardust — is the first offering in the monthly “Sinnerama” series at Brenden Theatres at the Palms.

The brainchild of Brenden general manager Jay Jay Coulter and Silent Savasana co-founder Kyle Markman, “Sinnerama” combines local comedians, awful movies and wireless headphones. Think “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” minus the spaceship and the robots, but with the sweet relief of alcohol. (Tickets for the 8 p.m. Saturday show are $20 in advance, $25 at the door, and include a drink. Attendees must be at least 21.)

“We did a practice run a couple of weeks ago,” Markman says, “and I was crying, full-on tears.”

Those were tears of laughter. Any shed by Mollica and Jolley, though, probably were the result of the numerous times they’ve had to watch “Showgirls” for research. “It’s starting to wear on me,” Mollica admits. “Like, from a sanity standpoint, it’s really starting to be a grind.”

A unique night out

It was important for Coulter and Markman that “Sinnerama’s” first film be set in Las Vegas, and “Showgirls” certainly has more cultural cachet than, say, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2.” The movie, in which Berkley writhes around like that time her “Saved by the Bell” character got hopped up on “caffeine pills,” had quite the impact on the comedians.

“I had two older brothers that were, like, ‘You have to see this movie,’ ” says Jolley, who grew up in Pahrump. They ensured he did by somehow getting him into a screening of one of the only mainstream releases to earn an NC-17 rating. Jolley was 11.

Mollica had just turned 17 in the fall of 1995 and saw “Showgirls” in his hometown of Tucson with a group of 17-year-old friends. “Of course, in our minds,” he recalls, “this was going to be a huge pivotal moment in our young lives.”

Neither had watched it since, until they landed the “Sinnerama” gig and started writing jokes about it. “Seeing it as an adult … it is really a terrible movie,” Mollica says. “When you watch it as an adult, you don’t even know who that movie is supposed to be for, other than 17-year-olds in the ’90s.”

That and anyone searching for a unique night out in Las Vegas.

‘The movie is so bad’

Coulter is always on the lookout for new programming ideas and, she says, ways to make seeing a movie at Brenden “an experience to be remembered.” With “Sinnerama,” that means donning wireless headphones, which Markman uses with his Silent Savasana yoga classes, that will pump the jokes straight to audience members. The headphones allow attendees to control the volume, and they can be worn DJ-style — one on, one off — so friends can talk to each other without disrupting others. If you’ve ever been to a screening of Tommy Wiseau’s “The Room,” that’s a very big deal.

When it comes to those jokes, Mollica says, goofing on “Showgirls” is more difficult than it sounds. “Anyone can watch this movie and make fun of it and laugh. Literally anybody can. But the idea of bringing Tyler and I on is, let’s talk about more than just how bad the acting is.” The challenge is, “Can you get in there and find the laughs that maybe someone watching at home wouldn’t have come up with on their own?” he explains.

Some laughs, though, are inherent. “The movie is so bad on its own, you also want to know where to hang back and just let the movie bury itself,” Mollica says.

‘Something Vegas comedy needs’

The “Sinnerama” founders set out to create a new experience for local moviegoers. Perhaps inadvertently, they’ve also launched a platform for local comedians, who can find themselves shut out of the clubs that cater to tourists. “I think it’s something Vegas comedy needs,” Jolley says. “We don’t have anything really like this.”

Markman insists the first “Sinnerama” screening isn’t just for “Showgirls” die-hards. He’d never seen the entire movie before the test show. “By the end of it, especially with their jokes, you’ve kind of been sucked into the movie more than you thought,” he says. “And you’re like, ‘Oh, boy, how is this going to end? And how are these guys going to talk about that?’ ”

The second question will be answered Saturday.

As for the first — spoiler alert! — it’s horribly. Like the two hours that precede it, it’s legendarily, mystifyingly, brain-shruggingly dreadful.

Mollica and Jolley definitely have their work cut out for them.

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
Heavier traffic expected from EDC festival attendees
Electric Daisy Carnival attendees began to vacate the Las Vegas Motor Speedway starting before 5 a.m., the majority heading south on Interstate 15.
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DJ Steve Aoki visits Las Vegas comic book store
DJ Steve Aoki visits Torpedo Comics in Las Vegas Friday, May 17, 2019, for a signing for his new comic book series "Neon Future." (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas Smith & Wollensky opens at The Venetian
After 18 years, the Smith & Wollensky location on Las Vegas’ south Strip closed in 2017, to be re-born two years later with a rib-cutting — instead of a ribbon-cutting — in The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Colin Cantwell, Creator Of Iconic Star Wars Ships Visits Vegas
Colin Cantwell, who created and designed such "Star Wars" ships as the X-Wing fighter, and Death Star, met fans at Rogue Toys in Las Vegas today. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Beauty & Essex in Las Vegas makes an EDC Wonder Wheel
In honor of the Electric Daisy Carnival, Beauty & Essex at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas makes its Wonder Wheel party-worthy. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Giada talks Vegas Uncork’d
Giada De Laurentiis talks during Aperitivo Hour, a Vegas Uncork'd event, at her Caesars Palace restaurant, Pronto, May 10, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Scenes from Vegas Uncork’d 2019 on the Las Vegas Strip
The 13th edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit brought four days of food, wine, celebrity chefs and parties to town, May 9-12. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three ingredients Gordon Ramsay can’t live without
Bon Appetit's Andy Baraghani interviews the "Hell's Kitchen" chef during a Vegas Uncork'd event at Caesars Palace, May 11, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Uncork’d launches wiith bubbles and a blade
Dozens of chefs representing some of the Strip’s top restaurants gathered Thursday at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas to launch the 2019 edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bunky the Clown at the clown convention
Bob "Bunky the Clown" Gretton talks about his life as a clown and the Clown Convention which was in Las Vegas at Texas Station this week. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Frying soft-shell crab at Lola’s in Las Vegas
At Lola’s: A Louisiana Kitchen in Las Vegas, soft-shell crab is breaded and fried and served either as an appetizer, po’boy or platter. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
The Stove in Henderson makes Pecan Pie Pancakes
At The Stove in Henderson, chef/partner Antonio Nunez stacks buttermilk pancakes with pecans and dulce de leche and tops them pie crust crumbs. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vinnie Paul remembered at Count's Vamp'd
The late rocker's favorite table at one of his favorite clubs in Las Vegas. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
4DX movie experience at Red Rock
4DX movie experience during a demo reel at Red Rock. (Christopher Lawrence/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What To Do On May The 4th
There are plenty of events going on May the 4th this year around Las Vegas. Celebrate Star Wars and Comic Book Day all at once. The Rogue Toys, the 501st, Rebel Legion and Millennium Fandom Bar are all hosting fun events to help celebrate your geek-dom. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Water Sports Introduces New Attraction At Lake Las Vegas
Las Vegas Water Sports will debut its new aqua park attraction at Lake Las Vegas Days this weekend. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Making the Space Invader at Greene St. Kitchen in Las Vegas
Lysa Huerta, pastry cook at Greene St. Kitchen at the Palms in Las Vegas, starts with angel food cake, Fruity Pebbles ice cream and strawberry sorbet to create a space creature engulfed in flashing lights and swirling mists. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Pools
The M, Park MGM and NoMad are just a few great pools in Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jose Andres explains Iberico pork
(Al Mancini/Las Vega Review-Journal)
Inside Life is Beautiful
Craig Asher Nyman explains how Life is Beautiful festival is booked and talks about this year's line-up. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America Pops Up In Vegas
Tattoo'd America, a new pop-up attraction on the Linq Promenade, had their grand opening Friday. The attraction is dedicate to the culture of tattoos. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Jose Andres gets key to the Strip
Chef Jose Andres was presented with a Key to the Las Vegas Strip and a proclamation declaring April 26 Jose Andres Day in Clark County by County Commissioner Tick Segerblom on Friday. The ceremony took place at his restaurant Bazaar Meat in the SLS Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sadelle’s in Las Vegas makes a grilled cheese with an inverted bagel
Michael Vargas, executive sous chef at Sadelle’s at Bellagio in Las Vegas, inverts an everything bagel and grills it with Swiss, cheddar and Muenster cheeses to make the Inverted Bagel Grilled Cheese. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures
Kassandra Lopez at Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Prime rib is carved tableside at Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Las Vegas
Dave Simmons, executive chef of Lawry’s The Prime in Las Vegas, which plans special cuts for National Prime Rib Day, demonstrates the restaurant’s service from rolling tableside carving carts. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making gluten-free pizza at Good Pie in Las Vegas
Good Pie owner/pizzaiola Vincent Rotolo makes his gluten-free pizza.
Rockabilly fans enjoy Las Vegas weather poolside
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender runs Thursday, April 18th through Sunday, April 21st with a huge car show on Saturday featuring The Reverend Horton Heat, The Delta Bombers and The Coasters. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Brownie sundae at VegeNation in Las Vegas is completely vegan
Donald Lemperle, chef/owner of VegeNation in Las Vegas and nearby Henderson, NV, makes his sundae with ice cream made with coconut and almond milks, a brownie made with coconut flour and oil and organic sugar and cacao, and fresh fruit. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)