Updated January 12, 2021 - 11:25 am
A few weeks ago Austin “Chumlee” Russell was getting out of his car at a grocery store, and a fan approached. This is not uncommon for the co-star of the hit series “Pawn Stars” on History.
But the couple that spotted Chumlee were not star-struck by the pawn employee-turned celebrity. They were interested in his pooch, inside the car.
“See, I told you it that was Pinky!” one of the fans called out. “It’s Chumlee and Pinky!”
Pinky is Chumlee’s version of Mr. Piffles, his canine sidekick on the show and in life. The cuddly 4-year-old, pet Pomeranian is the central character in Chumlee’s new retro-fashioned video game “Chumlee’s Adventure: The Quest for Pinky.”
This is the quintessential pet project. For veteran players, the game is a happy and welcome traipse into video-game history. For younger players, it might feel like a field trip to Petroglyph Canyon.
“I just wanted to do an old runoff of the ‘Kung Fu’ game for Nintendo, and kind of go with the trend that vintage games are getting really big,” Chumlee said in a phone chat last week. “It crosses over into the world of ‘Pawn Stars,’ it’s cool and fun and nostalgic.”
“Pinky” is designed for the Nintendo Entertainment system. These old-school devices are still available at between $50-$200, as Chumlee reports. He’s still finalizing the project and has opened a Kickstarter account on his Instagram profile so fans can lock down the game in its first (and maybe only) run of orders. The money raised goes to development of cartridge, box and instruction-manual production.
The game hearkens to the NES games of generations ago, with the ragged graphics and “wooka-wooka!” sound effects. It does conjure memories of the Chumlee-referenced “Kung Fu,” and also such personal faves as the “Super Mario Brothers” series.
“Pinky” debuted on “Pawn Stars” this month, and the game is formally endorsed by History. In its quirky format, players operating the little canine square off against such “Pawn Stars” and Gold & Silver Pawn figures Rick and Corey Harrison, and security guard Antwaun Austin.
“The only place you can get the game right now is to pre-order on Kickstarter,” said Chumlee, assuming his salesman persona. He says he might put it on the shelves at Chumlee’s On The Blvd. candy store at Pawn Plaza, and (naturally) at Gold & Silver Pawn.
“We need to make sure people want it,” Chumlee said. “I think they will like it, because it has an authentic feel to it.”
In light of the message
Gov. Steve Sisolak’s announcement the state will be extending the public-gathering restrictions to no higher than 50 people, or 25 percent capacity, seems to have little affect on live entertainment in Las Vegas. But “Thunder From Down Under,” the adult revue at Thunderland Showroom” at Excalibur, is prepped to be back.
Details are to be sorted out, but the guys can perform safely for a 50-person audience. As always, more will be revealed.
Di Domenico/Stern summit
Column fave John Di Domenico made what might be his final appearance Monday as Donald Trump on Howard Stern’s Sirius XM show. Di Domenico appeared 11 times on the show, dating to last March. In a rare move, Stern asked Di Domenico to shed the character as the bit closed. Will there still be an audience, or appetite, for Trump? Di Domenico thinks so, saying, “There are 74 million people who voted for him.”
The comic impressionist is sending the Stern team a demo of his other celeb impressions (Dr. Phil McGraw and Bernie Sanders are among his growing list of subjects). We’ll see. But Di Domenico without question expanded his audience on the Stern show, and forged an on-air relationship with the host as he was asked to chat after his bit.
“Some of my comedy friends have a messaging me and saying, ‘He called you over to the couch,’” it’s a classic reference, and fits Johnny D. perfectly.
Your ‘Sexxy’ moment
Rap star, TV personality and sex-tape co-star Ray J attended “Sexxy After Dark” at Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club on Saturday night. Ray J is tangentially linked to speculation about the recently rickety Kim Kardashian-Kanye West marriage.
You might recall that Ray J dated Kardashian lo so many years ago, in 2002, when he made a pornographic home video later titled “Kim Kardashian, Superstar.” That leaked video is often held up as a reason Kardashian became a national sensation, and the baseline for “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” launched a year later.
These days, the Kardashian’s marriage to West marriage is on unsteady spindles. And Ray J filed for divorce from his wife of four years, Princess Love, in September. Is this a coincidence? And why was he in Vegas? Ray J reportedly had nothing to say about his ex (Kardashian) or other ex (Love) as his entourage spent about three hours in the club.
They just took in Jen Romas’ show, imbibing on Don Julio 1942 tequila and keeping up with the scene.
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.