Updated August 2, 2021 - 6:33 pm
Kathleen Madigan’s Vegas comedy career hearkens to a club that no longer exists, a hotel that has been renamed, and a weather pattern rarely experienced.
Madigan, appearing at 10 p.m. Friday in the “Aces of Comedy” series at Mirage Theater, once co-headlined with Lewis Black at Catch a Rising Star at Bally’s. Madigan recalls this booking took place the early 1990s. Catch was a club in the hotel’s underground walkway, opening in 1988 and running for about a decade before relocating to MGM Grand.
After one of their performances, Madigan and Black (whom she dated for a time) walked across Flamingo Road to Barbary Coast, now the Cromwell.
“We were having a blast, drinking and playing blackjack all night,” Madigan says. “We were pretty drunk and walked out of Barbary Coast, and it had snowed. We were like, ‘Whoa, whoa! This doesn’t happen here.’
“By the time we made it back across the street, all the snow had melted. All of it was gone.”
More than 25 years later, Madigan is headlining The Mirage, happy to be able to play an actual theater. She has resisted performing outdoor shows in temporary settings over the past year and a half.
“I did not work at this for 33 years to be honked at in a parking lot,” she says.
Madigan has developed a popular podcast in the pandemic, “Madigan’s Pubcast.” She has embarked on a distinctive campaign to find the best ranch dressing in the country.
Las Vegas is a long shot in this field.
“You’re against Iowa, Wisconsin,” Madigan says. “There are too many dairy-based states ahead of a place like Las Vegas. But for alcohol and great sushi, I’d start in Vegas.”
Madigan came up with the idea by watching two teenage girls eating assorted snacks, all slathered with ranch.
“At some point, you need to say, ‘You can’t have ranch on that,’” Madigan says. “‘Pancakes? No! No ranch on that.’ The idea just came from there.”
Madigan says if she were not a touring comic, she knows how she would spend her time. “I’d own an Irish pub. I’d call it Madigan’s, and you would drink and laugh.” We see plenty of ale, ranch snacks and blackjack in the corner.
Reba, Brooks & Dunn are done
We’d mentioned previously that Reba McEntire and Brooks & Dunn would be back at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, and boy-howdy it has been announced. The rollicking residency plays its final nine Colosseum dates from Dec. 1-15. These shows run side-saddle (as it were) with the National Finals Rodeo. Tickets are onsale 10 a.m. Friday at ticketmaster.com/RebaBrooksDunn.
This has been an especially rewarding series, billed as the longest-running country residency ever in Las Vegas. By its closing, the show will have covered more than six consecutive years at Caesars Palace.
Legend in the fall
John Legend’s postponed date at the Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has been returned to the books. He’s set to play Sept. 21, as part of his “Bigger Love” tour. And if you catch the stirring Paul McCartney-Rick Rubin doc streaming on Hulu, McCartney has some nice things to say about Legend’s musicianship.
‘Friends’ hang in A.C.
The cast of “Friends! The Musical Parody” reunited for three shows at Circus Maximus at Caesars Palace in Atlantic City on Sunday and Monday. The shows premiered the hotel’s “Vegas Boardwalk Live” series. Yes, head to A.C. to catch some authentic, Las Vegas-quality entertainment.
“Friends,” cast aside by Caesars Entertainment when it closed Anthony Cools Experience, had not performed for 505 days until taking the stage Sunday. The cast was zealous to get back in front of an audience, to put it mildly. Stage manager Kyle Parsick drove the show’s costumes and set across country. It took him five days.
The full company, starting with producer John Bentham, made the trip. Music director Anthony Brisdini, technical director Tory Geigis and cast members Jerod Perez (Chandler), Jackson Tobiska (Gunther), Noah Rivera (Joey), Nicole Unger (Rachel), Luke Strifler (Ross), Erin Baltsar (Monica), Jennica Joseph (Monica), Ryan Flanigan (swing), and Val Witherspoon (swing and associate director) trekked to the Boardwalk. The show is still optimistic it will return to the stage in Vegas.
Bronx Wanderers (who have signed to a residency deal at Westgate Cabaret) are the next Vegas act in the Boardwalk series, appearing Sunday and Monday. Hypnotist Anthony Cools is Aug. 22-23 and Tenors of Rock are Aug. 29-30. And at this point, there is no mask mandate for audience members in Atlantic City showrooms. This is one area the Boardwalk series deviates from Vegas shows.
Cool Hang Alert
Sly Johnson on Ladies Night in VegasVille? Yep. Johnson puts on an amazing show from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Salud Mexican Bistro and Tequileria, 8125 W. Sahara Ave. And, from 7 to 10 p.m. every Monday, it’s column fave Mark Giovi and friends.
This is the spot whence the iconic Vegas restaurant Rosemary’s operated from 1999-2011. Operated by the father-daughter tandem of Mark and Summer Rich, the place has a great vibe and food, and healthy complement of live entertainment.
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.