Producer mixing up ‘Icons of Comedy’

Mike Tricarichi did the impossible once. He found a comedian in high customer demand who hasn’t already worn out his welcome in Las Vegas.

“Now what do I do for an encore?” he says with a laugh, addressing the challenge of finding more “Icons of Comedy” to follow Gilbert Gottfried in the Shimmer Cabaret at the Las Vegas Hilton.

It’s a good problem to have for a producer whose limited experience comes mostly from presenting raunch comic Andrew Dice Clay.

Tricarichi’s background was in real estate and telecommunications before he moved from Ohio to Las Vegas in 2003, “bored and looking for something to do.”

That something became signing on as an executive producer of “Hairspray” at Luxor in 2005. The show didn’t work out, but booking Clay there for a limited run led to backing the comedian at the Riviera and then the Hilton.

But for various reasons — partly because of Clay getting some work on HBO’s “Entourage” — the comedian has been performing a few days each month instead of every week. “Suffice it to say the hotel wasn’t happy with doing one week a month and neither was I,” Tricarichi says.

And so a Dice-man residency has morphed into the “Icons of Comedy,” with Gottfried drawing enough interest out of the gate to consider extending his current run for a third week in the 365-seat venue.

Robert Klein is in the mix to join Clay and Mark Curry in the rotation. Tricarichi is in talks with other veteran stand-ups he says he can’t name until the contracts are signed. …

Bankruptcy court is becoming a hot new venue for Vegas show people, even if the cocktail service is terrible and the guaranteed entertainment value isn’t as consistent as a Cirque show.

First, magician Steve Wyrick may soon be back in business after losing his theater in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood in late 2009.

Props and illusions used in Wyrick’s magic show were up for auction recently. Apparent buyer Carl Ross (the sale pending an official court order of authorization) told the court he plans to lease back to Wyrick the magic props he purchased in the ballpark of $250,000, says attorney Brian Shapiro, who represented another bid from a theater owner in Branson, Mo.

Real estate developer Ross and his Safari Properties are landlords of the stored equipment. The self-made millionaire said in a 2004 Review-Journal profile that he accepted the label “eccentric,” so maybe he just wants his own death saw.

Shapiro also serves as the trustee in another bankruptcy case involving veteran show producer John Stuart. On Tuesday, Shapiro sought a summary judgment that would have put Stuart back at the mercy of his creditors.

Stuart has not produced adequate documentation to support his bankruptcy filing. “Here we have a debtor who didn’t turn over anything and quite frankly, I’m skeptical of the justification,” Judge Linda Riegle said before setting another hearing, tentatively for Feb. 11, which gives Stuart a chance to prove the failure to provide the documents was justified.

Stuart’s attorney, Timothy Thomas, told the judge Stuart had issues with his previous attorney and argued the issue was “curable,” and the lack of documentation an issue of confusion, not concealment. …

Gregory Popovich has taken his trained dogs and cats — a perennial afternoon favorite on the Strip — on tour for at least six months. The V Theater at Miracle Mile Mall has two new matinee attractions ready to open Jan. 31.

“Piano! Las Vegas” showcases the solo skills of Ryan Ahem at 2:30 p.m. “Aussie Improv Comedy Explosion” is the improv-comedy answer to “Thunder From Down Under,” but presumably performed with shirts on. It will run at 4 p.m.

Ahem will not have an intra-mall challenge from pianist Wayland Pickard, who opted not to return from a winter break for more “Liberace — Music & Memories,” which opened at sister property Saxe Theater in November. …

“I guess I’m the No. 1 fire breather in the world right now,” says Antonio Restivo, the “Tournament of Kings” bad guy and “America’s Got Talent” good-guy contestant last fall.

Last week, Restivo brought a Guinness Book of World’s Record official to a local warehouse and blew 3 feet of flames past the previous record-holder (who was not a member of Kiss) to set a new scorched benchmark: 26 feet, 5 inches.

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

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