Carrot Top has hair of orange, but the prop comic who seems to defy age is becoming a graybeard on the Las Vegas Strip.
The headliner whose legal name is Scott Thompson marked his 16th anniversary at Luxor’s Atrium Showroom on Monday night. The cool kids turned out, either for the show or after-party, among them Brad Garrett, Tape Face with sidekick Christina Balonek, Piff the Magic Dragon and showgirl Jade Simone (with the just-turned-14-year-old Mr. Piffles), current Laugh Factory headliner Jon Lovitz with venue GM Harry Basil; rocking couple Paul and Carmen Shortino; and many Thompson family members, led by his mom, Dona, and brother, Garrett.
We hung with that crew and remembered the 2005 opening night, when then-Luxor President Felix Rappaport welcomed Thompson to the property. Rappaport died in June 2018. He surely would have been proud that he engineered this partnership, as Carrot Top’s show has become a Vegas institution.
We’ve been along for the entire ride. We arrived at this, after the fete:
Sixteen Odd But Accurate Facts about Carrot Top
16. He has a marketing degree from Florida Atlantic University. His late father, Larry, was skeptical about his son parlaying that education into a stand-up career. ““The only marketing major from FAU that I knew was selling cars.”
15. While in college, he designed the first version of his Carrot Top logo before he even had an act.
14. His first non-professional prop was a bell that a nun gave him in first grade to signal the end of recess.
13. He calls his pilot brother, Garrett, “Garrett Top.”
12. There are more than 300 sound cues in his show (including the twinkling from the 1960s sitcom “Bewitched” and a segment from Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me”).
11. He can use upwards of 70 props in a single show.
10. He routinely rotates his NFL helmets, which are also Kleenex dispensers, for whichever team has suffered an especially tough loss. The Dallas Cowboys were Monday’s representative (he also attached a mask to Aaron Rodgers’ Green Bay Packers helmet).
9: He’s been performing his Michael Jackson routine since dressing as Jackson for Halloween as a junior in high school in 1982.
8. He wrote one of his first jokes, “La Quinta is Spanish for ‘Behind Denny’s’” after one of his first professional gigs, at La Quinta in Tampa, Fla.
7. The late, legendary heavy metal drummer Vinnie Paul of Pantera and Hellyeah saw his show more than 100 times (by his own count) at Luxor.
6. During a 2011 appearance on “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno, he premiered a copy of Dick Cheney’s then-new book, which opened to an attached defibrillator; a Cheney necktie that doubled as a stethoscope; and “The Dick Cheney Shotgun,” with the barrel bent off-target to the right. All of this while Cheney was seated as a a guest, less than 10 feet away.
5. In his kitchen is a sign from his mother, Dona: “Always keep your beautiful imagination & exquisite humor.”
4. He was once a guest on “Regis & Kathie Lee” alongside pre-presidential Donald Trump. The comic walked out and said, “It’s good to finally be on a show where I don’t have the stupidest hair.”
3. The area beneath the stage where he stores his hundreds of props is known as The Pit of Despair.
2. He read for a co-starring role in the original, 1994 comedy blockbuster “Dumb & Dumber.” As he says of the experience, “If you read the script, the first line is, the cops saying, ‘Pull over!’ Pull over!’ and the cop pulls him over and he says, ‘No, it’s a cardigan!’ and I said, ‘This is the dumbest (expletive) thing — I hope I don’t get the part.” He didn’t. It went to Jim Carrey.
1. He has been maligned by non-prop comics over the years. But George Carlin, Sam Kinison, David Brenner, George Wallace, Andrew Dice Clay, Garrett, Bill Maher and Jay Leno have been among his more influential fans. “When people made fun of me,” he says, “I always had that in the back of my head.”
‘MJ Live’ Trops out
The popular Michael Jackson tribute “MJ Live” has its new property lined up, Tropicana, where reportedly it opens on New Year’s Day. The show’s final performance at The Strat Theater is Dec. 30. The Dick Feeney-Red Mercury production was certain to be leaving by year’s end when Adam Steck’s SPI Entertainment took over The Strat Theater operations in July.
Now we get to sift through what show will fill The Strat Theater’s schedule (“MJ Live” was in the choice 8 p.m. slot). And, how will “MJ Live” co-exist with two other tribute shows at Tropicana, “Legends in Concert” and the Jason Tenner’s Purple Reign homage to Prince. As we say, more will be revealed.
Swap these dates
We need to flip the dates in the IAC’s upcoming weekend schedule. Use this: Friday it’s Tyriq Johnson’s Serpentine Fire band (doors 6 p.m., dinner 6:30, show 8 p.m.) Saturday it’s Frankie Scinta (dinner 6:30 p.m., show 8 p.m.). Sunday it’s Zowie Bowie’s ”Vegas Holiday Party” (doors 6 p.m., dinner 6:30, show 8 p.m.) Rock it, thrice over.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.