Danny Gans

If you were holding off on seeing Danny Gans until he moved across the street to Encore, good call.

If you were expecting him to entirely reinvent his act in the process, try not to be disappointed.

Compare the singing impressionist’s relaunch to getting a new car. Everything’s clean and shiny. That first greasy fast-food bag has yet to hit the carpet. There’s a new spirit that makes you want to go racing down the highway like James Bond. But when you see someone else pulled over and realize you can’t afford a ticket, you remember it’s still the same ol’ you behind the wheel.

Gans has a great new showcase on the former "Monty Python’s Spamalot" stage, with sound and lighting eclipsing his old room at The Mirage. And he has a new backdrop of video panels, constantly animated with vibrant graphics and film footage.

But it’s still the same show with Gans in front of a bandstand, doing the impressions that have won him standing ovations since his Las Vegas breakthrough in 1996.

Whether that is good or bad is in the eye of the beholder. Some of you will read this and want to re-experience his "greatest hits" the way you do a favorite band. Others will say, "Thanks for the heads up. The Forrest Gump and Michael Jackson were fine the first time around, but I can wait a little longer."

There is one improvement everyone can agree on. Gans gave the show a good housecleaning, tossing out the old Ross Perot jokes and putting in references to Bernie Madoff, the octuplets and Michael Phelps’ bong hit.

That these casual gags — mostly within his Johnny Carson "Carnac" bit — are even worth mentioning, let alone praising, are a sign of just how stale things got during Gans’ eight-year run at The Mirage.

Gans may be watching CNN again, but his movie tastes run more to Turner Classic Movies than HBO. He’s still doing "Scent of a Woman" and "On Golden Pond," and ignoring, say, the Heath Ledger Joker that’s the biggest "gimme" to impressionists since Ray Romano or Mike Myers’ Austin Powers (both of whom are covered).

I would guess that’s because Gans knows he is much better at singing than satire. Much of his comedy, from George Burns to Jeff Foxworthy, is a direct lift from the source. He knows his real strengths lie in the musical impressions with the crisp seven-piece band.

Here, he is attentive to all ages, from Sinatra to the contemporary pop of Jason Mraz and John Mayer. Some of it sounds like glorified karaoke, but it sounds good just the same.

For the bulk of the act — the familiar part — I would say people get the Gans they deserve. Some of his impressions are astonishingly good, from the seldom-imitated Paul Anka to a Sammy Davis Jr. that skips the usual shtick and finds the real singer’s soul.

But people also go wild for the cheap stuff, and Gans is happy to pander. He’s going to keep doing Kermit the Frog or Louis Armstrong until enough of you stand up and say, "That’s so easy. A guy on my dorm floor could do Kermit."

But this was a crowd that, on this Friday night, was so ready to have a good time that it entertained itself by spelling out the letters to "YMCA" before the show even started. You think they’re going to complain about a frog puppet?

For them, Gans delivers an old-Vegas showcase people rarely get to see on the Strip anymore; one with every segment scientifically tweaked to punch the right nostalgia button, with nothing left to chance in the careful balance of laughs and sentiment.

When I think of it in these retro-Vegas terms, it’s a classic act. When I think of it more as a magic show, the illusions are never as impressive the second or third time.

"Don’t you miss me?" Gans asks as he slips into the Bill Clinton voice. If the answer is "yes," then Gans, like his Cheshire-grinning ex-president, is back in good graces.

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

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
5 albums to soundtrack your holiday gatherings in style
1. Various Artists, “Holidays Rule," with Rufus Wainwright, The Shins, Calexico and more. 2. Various Artists, “We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year," with Lemmy Kilmister, Alice Cooper, Chuck Billy and others. 3. Various Artists, “Christmas on Death Row," featuring Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg to name but a few. 4. Bright Eyes, “A Christmas Album.” 5. Various Artists, "The Motown Christmas Album." (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
WinterFest
WinterFest in Henderson.
Miss Rodeo America Fashion Show
The 28 women contestants of Miss Rodeo America compete in a fashion show at the Tropicana on Dec. 7, 2018.
Tournament Of Kings Holiday Show
Wizards and warriors are ready for the holidays at Excalibur's Tournament of Kings Holiday Dinner Show.
Take a dive with the Silverton mermaids
A visit to the Silverton Casino Hotel is not complete without taking in the popular, and very unique, mermaid show.
Cowboys and western aficionados can buy virtually anything at Cowboy Christmas
Vegas Golden Knights Christmas Display
In the Las Vegas Valley, the chances of getting a white Christmas are slim. But this year, you can have a “Knight” Christmas. A Henderson resident has a Christmas lights display that is synchronized to the entrance music for the Golden Knights. GG Misa’s Knights light show is played every 30 minutes from 5 to 10 nightly. His light show consists of two songs: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and the entrance music, “Le Castle Vania,” from the movie “John Wick.” The display is located at 730 Bollons Island St. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Reivew-Journal)
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez is Just in Time For Repeal Day And Christmas
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez Is Just In Time For Repeal Day And Christmas. Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TV's LGBT superheroes
Green Valley Ranch's Winter's Village
The Mob Museum
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Quick Chat With Criss Angel
James D. Gish and Susan Anton rehearse
Susan Anton will be special guest at James D. Gish’s holiday concerts Dec. 7 at Summerlin Library and Dec. 9 at Clark County Library. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Winter Wonderland
"Majestic Holiday Magic" at the Bellagio Conservatory.
Underwater Santa At The Silverton
Santa takes a dive Sunday, December 2, at the Silverton Casino Hotel. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Cowabunga Bay Christmas Town
Las Vegas Natural History Museum
Las Vegas Natural History Museum, which opened in 1991, has exhibits of mechanical dinosaurs and taxidermied animals, along with live snakes, fish and sharks. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Magical Forest Lights
Cirque Du Soleil Performers Team Up For New Show "Kinekt"
Through dance, acrobatics and aerial arts, “Kinekt” tells a story all too familiar to modern families: how to maintain a human connection in the digital age. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ethel M Holiday Cactus Garden
The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas
The Pinball Hall of Fame was created by Tim Arnold and opened in 2006. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jump! The Ultimate Dog Show at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas
Trainer Lou “Mack” McCammon guides several rescue dogs through a series of tricks and jumps two shows a day weekends through December at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Buddy V - Sep 21 Confidante
Famous Infinity Mirror Room is open in Las Vegas
Yayoi Kusama's "Aftermath of Obliteration of Infinity" mirror room is open at the Bellagio in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Glittering Lights dazzles Las Vegas
The Glittering Lights holiday display is shining at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Mat Luschek/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Skybar at Waldorf Astoria lets you sip your way through Las Vegas history
Skybar At Waldorf Astoria Lets You Sip Your Way Through Las Vegas History (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Stan Lee in Las Vegas for Madame Tussauds unveiling
Stan Lee Las Vegas speaks with the Review-Journal's Chris Lawrence about his love for his fans and shared universes. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ultimate Belgium Waffle Sundae at Lavo
Lavo at the Palazzo serves a 16-scoop ice cream sundae that costs $800. (Rochelle Ricahrds, Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel lLas Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like