Going to the Dogs

Sammy Shore has been in the entertainment business for a long time, and if he hasn’t seen it all, he’s certainly seen most of it.

That’s why Shore was surprised when he put out a call for entertainers who would be willing to donate their talents to “Funny Bones,” a benefit show this weekend for three Southern Nevada animal rescue organizations.

“Not even one rejection, (or) ‘Well, I don’t know …’ ” Shore says. “It’s really weird, but no one said no. Everyone said, ‘Hey, yes. When?’

“Usually, it’s, ‘I don’t know if we can do it’ or, ‘When is it?’ But this was positive right from the get-go.”

Maybe, Shore figures, it’s because of the show’s beneficiaries.

“Everyone has an animal,” he says. “That’s probably what it is.”

Or, Shore adds — maybe joking, but maybe not — it has something to do with the nature of show business.

“You can’t count on anybody,” he says. “But you can always count on animals.”

“Funny Bones” will begin at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Palms. Shore will host the show with fellow comedians George Wallace and Bobby Slayton.

According to Shore, the roster of entertainers who are scheduled to perform includes Rich Little, Louie Anderson, Lance Burton, Vinnie Favorito, Frankie Scinta, Jeff Hobson, Dean Napolitano, Manny Olivera, Pam Matteson, Kathleen Dunbar and Pete Barbutti. The Tommy Deering Duo will serve as backing band.

Shore says proceeds from the show will benefit Golden Retriever Rescue Southern Nevada, Las Vegas Basset Rescue and the Las Vegas Weimaraner Club & Rescue for use in their rescue efforts.

“No one makes money from it,” Shore adds. “It all goes to the shelters.”

In addition to being the name of Sunday’s event, Funny Bones is the name of the organization founded by Shore and Dr. Matthew Brooks of Town Center Animal Hospital in Las Vegas to assist valley dog rescue organizations.

Shore, founder of the Los Angeles Comedy Store and a veteran comedian who for several years was Elvis Presley’s opening act, is a longtime animal lover. In fact, it may or may not be hyperbole when the northwest Las Vegas resident maintains that “I like animals better than people.”

But there’s no doubt at all that he’s a sincere dog lover, who still remembers vividly his first dog, a black and white mutt — Shore’s word — named Brudder.

While Shore loved Brudder, his dad didn’t share the affection.

“My dad had a furniture store and (Brudder) used to run all over the place,” Shore says. “He used to chew mattresses. And he was a little dog, and it used to bother (Shore’s father) because he was always barking. People would come in and he’d say, ‘Get that dog out of here.’ “

Since then, Shore has adopted about nine dogs — the fact that he has to do a quick mental count shows just how avid a dog lover he is — although a particular favorite was a dachshund named Peanuts.

“I used to do my show and he waited for me at the door,” Shore says. “I’d come home and play with him until 11:30 or 12 or 1 in the morning.”

In fact, one of the most moving chapters in Shore’s recent memoir, “The Man Who Made Elvis Laugh: A Life in American Comedy” was the one devoted to Peanuts and his fatal encounter with a car.

Dogs “were like my life,” Shore says. “They gave me strength. They gave me courage. They made me funny, because I was always playing games with them.”

For Shore, this weekend’s show is a way to return the favor by helping out a few of the nonprofit, volunteer groups that devote themselves to helping animals.

“These animals, they help and there’s no one to help them,” he says. “I wanted to see what I could do, and I came up with the idea of ‘Funny Bones.’ “

Shore hopes that this inaugural benefit will be the first in a series of annual shows. And, he says, the hope also is that the roster of beneficiary groups can be expanded in the future.

Contact reporter John Przybys at jprzybys@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0280.

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