Tuesday, April 2, 2013 | 2:06 p.m.
There will be heart-stopping moments on ABC’s hit “Splash” tonight as Las Vegas headliner comedian Louie Anderson faces danger on high-dive boards. Louie will be paired with NBA legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar; as part of the injury-defying challenges, they launch into the air simultaneously. The judges will score them on the identical dives.
It was while rehearsing for tonight’s show that Louie cannonballed into the water so badly on a back flip from a 15-foot board that he sustained a rib injury and hobbled off the set in agony. It took him 15 minutes to compose himself just to get out of the water.
Kareem said: “It was a dive gone wrong. I even felt his pain. I knew he just hit the water horribly. He was hurt bad. He went in flat on his torso.”
At the time, Louie said: “It would crush me if I dropped out. I’ve worked so hard; it would really be devastating. The doctors didn’t know if my diving days were over. I’m in it to win it. I’m not a quitter. I didn’t move enough on the dive. My body was out of position. Instead of going in backward, I went in on my tummy -- and I have a big tummy. Nobody realized how hard I hit. It wasn’t a belly flop -- it was a Lou-nami.”
Medics eventually gave him the all clear to resume in time for tonight’s risky dives. All remaining eight contestants are partnered on the show now, which means all eyes will be on “The Girls Next Door” and “Kendra” starlet Kendra Wilkinson-Baskett and former “Baywatch” beauty Nicole Eggert. They had nervous moments on camera last week, particularly Nicole after she slipped and fell from the board during rehearsal.
Louie is a major reason for “Splash’s” good ratings. He also has a newfound attitude about losing weight, eating healthy, getting into shape and staying fit. He says it’s changed his life and body, and he’s exercising for the first time in more than 10 years.
“This is no easy task,” admitted the 60-year-old comic who has his own Palace Station comedy club here. “I don’t want to die doing this.” His exercise program includes squats and core-strengthening workouts that he’d never been able to do.
Louie began preparing for the show in January when he weighed 417 pounds. He won’t reveal how much weight he’s shed; he’ll go public with the loss on an upcoming show. Today, he drinks kale smoothies instead of devouring pizzas.
He told People Magazine: “The trainers taught me how to work out. At first, I had to hold on to something and could only go so far down, but now I can get out of the squatting position and back down without holding on to anything.”
“I walk better, and my feet don’t hurt. They used to hurt all the time. I’m able to do some things like getting out of a chair myself. Losing lots of inches off my waist means a new body and a new wardrobe. I’m going to have to get pants a little smaller, which is really nice.
“I’m trying to make it a big part of my life now because if I don’t, I'll just go back to the place I was before. I don’t want to go back to that place. I hop to continue living a healthier lifestyle. I want to move forward.
“I had been asking the universe and God to send me a way for me to help me. Show business has been so wonderful to me, and it came in the form of that. It’s just so funny how things come into your life, and if you take a chance on them, it might give you a brand new life.”
The eight remaining celebrities partner up to take the plunge tonight. After training together for a week, the bottom-scoring duo will go head-to-head in a dive-off to determine who will be the third contestant sent home. Host Joey Lawrence, a guest host in Chippendales at The Rio last summer, said: “They have learned how to dive alone, but can they dive together?”
We’re rooting for Louie, who has won over America with his determination and dedication in a tribute to his father and the military. Vegas DeLuxe will have the results and new photos here on Wednesday.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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Palace Station, located just off Interstate 15 on West Sahara, offers comfort, luxury and affordability.
Originally called the Bingo Palace, the casino changed its name to Palace Station in 1984. Palace Station has more than 100,000 square feet of gaming space, including one of the biggest varieties of Baccarat and Pai Gow tile games off the Strip. The casino also offers more than 1,600 slot/video poker machines, 45 table games including blackjack, Pai Gow poker, Pai Gow tiles, Ultimate Texas Hold'Em, craps, roulette and baccarat.
Asian Table Games Area includes Pai-Gow Tiles and Mini and Midi Baccarat with no-commission EZ baccarat, along with Dragon 7 and Panda 8 side bets, plus Dragon Bonus for Midi Baccarat games.
The casino also features a 24-hour, nine-table, non-smoking poker room, a 307-seat bingo hall open 7 days a week with sessions running every other hour from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., a 230-seat race & sports book featuring 44 screens, and a 20-seat keno lounge.
Dining options include Cabo, which specializes in Mexican food, steaks and seafood at The Broiler and Italian from Pasta Cucina.
Entertainment includes Louie Anderson and other stand-up comedians.
(If you're interested in history, the Palace Station was also the site of some international news in 2007 and 2008 — it was where NFL Hall of Famer O.J. Simpson led a raid on a hotel room to try recover some of his sports memorabilia and was later convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping after a highly publicized trial.)