Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008 | 8 a.m.
Hey, it’s your old buddy, Carrot Top, the Understudy, filling in for my good friend Robin Leach for his Luxe Life column. I wish I could get someone to do my job so I could go away for a week or two.
You caught me on a very hectic day. I was in Los Angeles to do “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno. I’ve been on the show a lot but this is the first time I’ve tried to do “The Tonight Show” on the same day that I have a show at Luxor in Las Vegas. I usually do the show with Jay on my day off because the timing of it is always just cutting it a bit close. My show at Luxor is at 8 p.m. on weeknights and “The Tonight Show” tapes from 4 to 5 p.m. I would have to be on a plane at 6 p.m., land at 7 p.m. and be on stage at 8 p.m. It’s not easy but such is the life of a megastar like yours truly.
I love doing the show with Jay. He’s always been so kind to me and he really appreciates comics and takes great care of them. Today, the other guests on the show were Nick Nolte and musician/singer Solomon Burke. Never met either one of them but I’ve been fans of both for a while now.
The normal routine is to get to the NBC studios at noon and go through a rehearsal with the producers of the show. I have to go through all my props and jokes so that they can tell me what I can and can’t use. I don’t really do a ton of adult humor but some things are better for my live show at Luxor than for network television. After that, it’s time to pack the trunks back up with what I can do on NBC, go to hair and makeup and get ready for the show.
I don’t really ever get nervous doing talk shows. I guess it’s mainly because I’ve done so many that I’m used to it. After doing comedy for just over 20 years you either get used to performing in front of people or you really shouldn’t be doing it. I don’t think about how many people are watching at home. I just worry about the people in the studio. I figure if they like it then I should be OK.
They always tell me how much time I have right before I go on and tonight they told me four-and-a-half minutes. That seems like a lot of time but it always flies by. As soon as you start doing it, the next thing you know they are giving you the “wrap it up” motion. I always try to keep my act as current as the day’s headlines, especially when it comes to politics. I have some Obama jokes and some McCain jokes and all of those do really well. It always feels great when people react to one of my jokes or props. I take a lot of pride in what I do and it’s cool to get that instant feedback.
When I finally get over to Jay, I get to meet Nick Nolte for the first time. He was very cool and said he really dug my stuff. Here is a good tip for anyone who does a talk show with him. When you finish your act and you are really thirsty, make sure you drink from YOUR cup when you sit down. Do not drink from Nick Nolte’s mug, unless you like what I think was straight Vodka. Painful and a little surprising if you’re not ready for it. Solomon Burke was amazing. I have to remember to buy some of his CDs.
There’s not a lot of time to waste after the show. We have to repack the trunks and make sure that nothing will break on the flight home. Some of these props took a really long time to build so I don’t want to have anything happen to them during travel. We hop in the car and get to the Burbank airport with about 30 minutes to spare. Normally I say that it’s not so much fun being Carrot Top but when you have to move quickly through the airport, it’s not bad to have a recognizable face. We get through bag check and security pretty quickly. Unfortunately, as soon as we get to the gate they announce that flights going into Las Vegas have all had to be rerouted because of weather. Then, they decided to charge extra for my hair. It’s considered a carry on.
There is nothing more frustrating than just sitting in an airport. I know I have about 90 minutes to get on stage at Luxor in Las Vegas or there will be 400 or so people that will want to know why I’m late. Telling them you went to Los Angeles for the day probably won’t be a good enough excuse. We finally board the plane and take off almost as soon as we sit down. We landed in Las Vegas at 7:35. Plenty of time ... right?
he car is waiting, the trunks are loaded and we are off to Luxor. I don’t remember a lot of that drive because we were moving pretty fast, plus admitting to some of the driving actions could potentially incriminate me. I get into my dressing room at 7:55, get my mic on, check the hair (always perfect), and it’s off to the stage. I’m out of breath and a little rattled but these people paid their hard-earned money to see me for reasons I will never understand. Either way, I will never take that for granted.
So there you go, from Leno to Luxor all in one day. It was a crazy pace and I probably shouldn’t try to do it very often but it all worked out OK in the end.
I want to thank Robin for the chance to be a journalist for a day. Come see me at the Luxor when you have a chance. I’m actually quite funny. And if you haven’t been to Luxor in a while, you must. LAX, Cathouse, the beautiful ladies of Fantasy and Criss Angel’s Believe? Throw in a little Carrot Top and you’ve got yourself a party.