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Stand-up great Jim Gaffigan takes ‘Quality Time’ on Las Vegas Strip

Updated May 16, 2019 - 1:02 pm

Jim Gaffigan might come off as casual and composed in his stand-up act. But he says, “I live in this pool of overwhelmed.”

Gaffigan’s — headlining his “Quality Time” tour stop at 7:30 and 10 p.m. Saturday at Encore Theater — work schedule reads like that of an entire entertainment company. He has seven films being released this year, playing the lead in two. One is “Being Frank,” a comedy opening Father’s Day weekend; and “American Dreamer,” a thriller opening Sept. 20, in which Gaffigan is a ride-share driver who doubles as a private driver for a drug dealer.

And he is planning a seventh comedy special, also called “Quality Time,” which is the first stand-up concert show on Amazon Prime. The performance was captured March 9 at State Theatre in Minneapolis and is directed by his wife and collaborator, Jeannie Gaffigan. The Gaffigans, dubbed “The Comedy’s Quietest Power Couple” by Vanity Fair, were shaken when Jeannie was diagnosed with a brain tumor in spring 2017.

“There was this sudden reality that we might not be able to go and do what we’d been doing,” Gaffigan says. “Now we are relishing the opportunities.”

Jeannie Gaffigan survived the scare and is recovering. “She’s doing very well, doing great,” Jim Gaffigan says. “She’s not 100 percent. You know, you can’t really have something the size of a pear removed from your head and be the exact same person, but she still has a lot more energy than I do.”

Performing stand-up remains Gaffigan’s passion.

“Having done stand up as long as I have, it’s just way beyond even a coping mechanism,” the 52-year-old comic said. “It’s part of my daily ritual, you know what I mean? It’s something that keeps me grounded. I think that coming up with jokes and doing shows keeps me kind of sane.”

Kimmel extends

Jimmy Kimmel can back-burner plans to work as a cook at his new comedy venue on the Strip. Kimmel joked during the opening weekend of Jimmy Kimmel’s Comedy Club at Linq Promenade that if he didn’t extend his contract at ABC, “I’lll be making chicken fingers, right here at the club.”

Cancel the order. Kimmel and the network agreed to a new contract that would keep him as host of “Jimmy Kimmel Live” for the next three years. His contract with the company was due to expire at the end of the year. In his 17th season, Kimmel is one of the longest-tenured hosts on late-night TV.

Kimmel’s agreement will be felt, positively, at JKCC, where he plans to present stand-up performances from the club on the late-night show. Kimmel appeared at the annual network “upfronts” in New York on Tuesday. Kimmel told the assembled advertisers, “We know exactly what Gen Z wants. Unfortunately, it’s Netflix.”

Conway’s donation

The announcement of comic legend Tim Conway’s death on Tuesday carried an unexpected request: That donations in his name be sent to the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. Conway reportedly had suffered from Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, which causes swelling in the ventricles in the brain. Conway had been treated at the facility, and his family were avid supporters. Conway and his legendary sidekick, Harvey Korman, last appeared in Las Vegas at the Stardust from May 17-20, 2006, just a few months before the hotel closed the following November.

Ruvo anniversary marked

On the topic of the Ruvo family, Cleveland Clinic founder Larry Ruvo was unexpectedly honored at the Palms on Tuesday night for his 50th anniversary at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits. Ruvo signed onto the liquor distributor on April 20, 1969. His daughter, Nicole, a communications exec with Dom Perignon, announced the anniversary at her company’s Elevations release party for the company’s Plentitude 2 Vintage 2002 and Rose 2006 wines.

The event started at Mr. Coco, ascended to the Damien Hirst-designed Empathy Suite, and closed out the Kingpin Suite near the top of the Fantasy Tower. The night also fell on Nicole Ruvo’s birthday, and she was served a befitting confection: a cake made into the Dom Perignon crest, created by Cipriani of Wynn Las Vegas.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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