Anderson diving into new opportunities

Louie Anderson fields a lot of audience questions about the TV diving contest “Splash,” and one of them is almost always whether he is still diving.

“There are very few places you can dive,” he points out.

Certainly not on the Strip, where the comedian lives in a condominium.

Elsewhere in town, the boards tend to be one-meter, or at the most three-meter, not the 10-meter (33-foot) height Anderson jumped from during his final TV challenge.

So the comedian swims at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, but leaves the diving to others.

He has lost more than 27 pounds — a milestone to him because it put him under the 400 mark — and continues to work with a trainer to build his core.

“The more muscle you have, the more fat you burn. I had no idea, did you?”

Anderson’s new challenge is connecting his new popularity from the spring competition on ABC to his new residency at the Plaza.

“I think people bonded with me and rooted for me on the show,” he says. “Let’s hope so. I have a lot of seats to fill in that room,” he says of the Plaza’s vintage showroom, where he was scheduled to open Wednesday .

“Splash” also appears to have paved the way to another reality-TV opportunity he can’t discuss yet.

Just when the diving competition came up in March, Palace Station unceremoniously pulled the plug on the comedian’s run of more than two years and closed the venue to add a new bar and more open casino floor space.

“I didn’t take it personal for one reason. I just didn’t feel like it was personal,” he says. “Our relationship was good all the way to the end. I think it was just a changing of the guard, to be honest with you.”

Anderson says he has about 15 minutes of new material, working toward a new hour. And if someone yells out for one of his “greatest hits,” he challenges himself to remember it.

“This is my 35th year, so I’m really amazed that I’m writing a brand new hour,” the 60-year-old comedian says. …

It has been a rough week for Base Entertainment. On Wednesday, the producing company announced “Peepshow” will close Sept. 1 in the theater Base operates at Planet Hollywood.

That news came on top of the announcement that the musical “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” will close at The Venetian on July 21 instead of sticking around until Aug. 18 (that date already having trimmed two weeks from the original schedule).

A press statement says the “Priscilla” run was shortened to 30 dates because “an analysis of ticket sale trends has led producers to adjust the schedule to a more compact five-week run.” Ouch.

The circumstances surrounding “Peepshow” are more mysterious. The upscale topless review is said to be doing respectable business, at least in a marketplace where show counts seem to be down overall.

“Peepshow” had become a bit dependent upon E! network reality shows; first Holly Madison’s “Holly’s World” then Coco Austin’s “Ice Loves Coco.” But even if the producers chose not to keep Austin unless another season of “Ice” was guaranteed (it isn’t), you’d think “Peepshow” could still compete with other star-free topless productions such as “Fantasy.”

So the answer seems to lie more in Base’s theater lease at Planet Hollywood and the expenses involved, including Actors Equity union contracts for cast members. There’s a chance of Austin moving to another Caesars Entertainment property in a new topless show or even a revamped “Peepshow.”

“Coco absolutely loves Las Vegas and working with Caesars Entertainment,” says Austin’s agent, Raphael Berko of Media Artists Group. …

Another veteran comedian has crept into an open-ended gig on the Strip, perhaps unnoticed without his giant mallet.

Gallagher — best known for his ability to smash watermelons — has taken over the 7 p.m. berth established by Roseanne Barr at the Tropicana’s Laugh Factory club.

As it was with Barr, this one comes before the nightly lineup of stand-ups and is separately promoted by Bill Caron. Because of the roommate situation, Gallagher is not using his famed Sledge-O-Matic.

“It takes too long to clean up,” Caron says. “It’s time for him to stand on his comedy alone. And guess what? He’s doing it.” …

More comedy, you say? Starting Friday, Sapphire Gentlemen’s Club hosts “Sapphire Comedy Hour” on Fridays and Saturdays, co-produced by Brett Feinstein of the family that owns the club, and magician Douglas “Lefty” Leferovich.

The first show (in a separate room from the topless attractions) is headlined by veteran comedian Michael “Wheels” Parise. …

Things are in flux over at the free-standing Boulevard Theater, which may ultimately be a good thing for the hidden venue, better remembered by locals as the Empire Ballroom or Club Utopia.

Magician Tommy Wind has been the sole performer to stick it out at the handsomely remodeled space, which otherwise has been a non starter since it reopened in November.

But Wind says he is taking a two-week vacation during a management transition, which has Richard Weisman likely stepping down as president of operations. New management should soon clarify the future of the theater and Wind’s status there.

Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.

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