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Oscar Goodman grabs a tail to tell a Las Vegas tale

In a moment that brought to mind Carrot Top’s stage act, would-be prop comic Oscar Goodman cut himself off mid-sentence Thursday night and asked, “Where’s my rat?”

A member of the staff at Oscar’s Beef Booze &Broads then hustled off, returning moments later with a large, rubber rat. Goodman grabbed the rodent by the tale as the former Las Vegas mayor spoke to a group of 90 guests during his most recent dinner series talk, titled “The Hidden Owners of Las Vegas,” at his eponymous restaurant at the Plaza.

“My clients knew that I had an aversion to informants and cooperating witnesses, people who made deals with the devil so they could live comfortably in the witness protection program,” Goodman said.” “They were rats. So I used it in front of juries to demonstrate how law enforcement used these very bad people who were being used as informants.”

The rat originally was painted red, as if bloodied, and was a keepsake in Goodman’s City Hall office while he was mayor. The fake blood scared some of his younger visitors, so one day after work Goodman brought the rat home and asked his wife, Carolyn, “What’s the best way to remove paint from a fake rat?”

“Try my nail-polish remover,” said the woman who currently is the mayor of Las Vegas.

“It took three bottles,” Goodman said, “but that did work.”

Asked for the rat’s name, Goodman retorted: “He has no name. Rats don’t get names.”

Aside from hosting these bimonthly (or so) dinner talks, which always center on some fascinating facet of city history, Goodman will be on hand next month when the plaza entrance of City Hall is renamed in his honor. Approved by a City Council vote in June, the formal ceremony at Mayor Oscar B. Goodman Plaza is Oct. 5.

LEWIS AND MARTIN

Jerry Lewis flew to New York this week to attend a ceremony at the Friar’s Club honoring Martin Scorsese, who directed Lewis in the 1983 film, “The King of Comedy.” Scorsese was honored Wednesday with the Icon Award at the 112-year old comedy haven in midtown Manhattan. The Icon Award marks the pinnacle of achievement for members the club, which has recognized only seven individuals.

“Marty may have directed me in ‘The King of Comedy,’ but to me, he’s the real king,” says Lewis, who portrayed talk show host Jerry Langford in Scorsese’s dark-comedy classic. Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill and Sacha Baron Cohen also attended.

Lewis, 90, is back in town in time for the Las Vegas premiere of his first film since 1995, “Max Rose,” hosting a VIP screening at 1 p.m. Saturday at Regal Stadium Village Square. Lewis hosts an audience Q&A session after the movie. The entertainment legend returns to live performance Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 at South Point Showroom, unearthing video and film clips from his career, telling stories and fielding questions.

In reconnecting with Lewis during the release of the film and announcement of his stage show, I learned something about my old friend: He stashes tins full of black licorice nuggets, frequently offering them to guests at his Las Vegas home.

“My mother used to feed it to me if she suspected I was getting a cold,” Lewis said during an interview this month. “It worked.”

SPACE MAN MARK

Mark Shunock has established a GoFundMe page to finance The Space, the 9,000-square-foot events center off Polaris and Harmon avenues at 3460 Cavaretta Ct. Shunock hopes to raise $300,000 for the project and plans to use the center as the next home for Mondays Dark, his monthly charity show currently staged at Vinyl. At this writing, donations are approaching $12,500.

The plan is to move Mondays Dark to the Space in January, and Shunock says he plans to hold the charity show twice a month. He’s locking in 22 local charities for 2017.

John Katsilometes’ column runs Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday in the A section, and Fridays in Neon. He also hosts “Kats! On The Radio” Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on KUNV 91.5-FM and appears Wednesdays at 11 a.m. with Dayna Roselli on KTNV Channel 13. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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