Las Vegas Sun

September 24, 2017

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Mayor persuading Stephen Colbert to bring The Colbert Report to town


Brian Jones/Las Vegas News Bureau

Mayor Oscar Goodman greets past Miss Exotic World girls before the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Burlesque Hall of Fame Museum Grand Opening at Emergency Arts on East Fremont Street on June 4, 2010.

Last Thursday when Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman opened his interview with Stephen Colbert with the familiar braggadocio that Las Vegas is, "the greatest city in the universe," Colbert cut him off with, "It's the greatest city in the universe, and if it isn't the greatest city in the universe, they can import part of the greatest city there and charge you to see it!"

As it turns out, Colbert himself might be imported.

After his quickly paced, six-minute appearance on "The Colbert Report," Goodman left behind an offer to Colbert and his staff to bring the show to Las Vegas.

"Before we went on, I told him he should do the show in Las Vegas, it would be great for him and great for the city," Goodman said this morning in a phone interview from his City Hall office. "His staff shrieked for joy, and he certainly thought it was a great idea."

After Goodman returned from last week's East Coast trip, during which he also met with the executive board of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Conference in Washington D.C., he sent a formal letter to producers of "The Colbert Report" inviting them to Las Vegas to record a set of shows here.

No resort was specified. Given Colbert's view of themed resorts, we can probably count out Rio, Paris Las Vegas, Venetian and most of the Strip. Maybe Santa Fe Station, too.

Upon leaving the show's New York studio, Goodman also presented Colbert with one of his "good luck" gaming chips, which bear his cartooned likeness and serve as his business cards. An advocate for the rights of immigrant farm workers, Colbert on Friday testified at the "Protecting America's Harvest" congressional hearing.

"I gave him the chip for good luck, and to call me if he got thrown into the clink," Goodman said. "I could get him out."

Goodman almost didn't make it to the taping, actually. The limousine dispatched to pick him up from the hotel was supposed to wheel up at 6:45 p.m., but never arrived.

Who was at fault? President Obama.

"I called the limo company and they told me that because President Obama was in town, speaking at the United Nations, all limo service was running way behind," Goodman said.

When I noted the irony of Obama throwing an obstacle in front of Goodman's national TV appearance, the mayor said, "Yes, he's been my bad-luck charm."

Click to enlarge photo

Shannon Elizabeth at LAX in the Luxor.

Mayor meets Giancana

More from the mayor's hovel: An organized-crime summit of sorts was held Tuesday morning. "Mafia Princess" Antoinette Giancana fulfilled a long-held wish to meet Goodman.

Giancana, of course, is the daughter of famed mob overlord Sam Giancana. Goodman, of course, was legal counsel for such reputed mafia figures as Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, Meyer Lansky, Nicky Scarfo, "Fat Herbie" Blitzstein, Phil Leonetti, Lefty Rosenthal and Jimmy Chagra.

"She was lovely," Goodman said. "She brought me some gifts. A book about her father and the Kennedy assassination ("JFK & Sam: The Connection Between the Giancana and Kennedy Assassinations," co-written by Antoinette) and a bottle of Bombay Sapphire."

The two talked of mutual acquaintances from Chicago and around the country. "Her husband was an attorney in Chicago, and through him I might have bumped into her dad at some point," Goodman said.

During a phone conversation today, Giancana said, "It was a very nice meeting. Oh, do I like that man," she said. "There's something so real about him. He was very charming, soft-spoken. I really enjoyed it."

Goodman offered to give Giancana a tour of the Mob Museum in downtown Las Vegas when it opens next year. Giancana is a consultant for the rival Mob Experience at Tropicana expected to open in December (the Sun has a cross-promotional agreement with that attraction, trading videos, photos and documents for brand placement at the attraction and on its website).

Giancana might take that tour. She might not, too. As she said, "I'm not sure what I'm going to do. Maybe. I'm 75 years old. We'll just see what God has in store for me."

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Matt Goss and Taylor Dane perform in Matt Goss Live From Las Vegas at the Gossy Lounge in the Palms on Oct. 30, 2009.

New date for old stuff

The premiere date has been shifted for "Rusty Nuts," the first spinoff spawned by "Pawn Stars" on History Channel. Originally it was to be Oct. 18. Now it is Oct. 25.

Two episodes air that date, at 6 p.m. and 6:30.

The show features frequent "Pawn Stars" expert Rick Dale, who owns Rick's Restorations and has been summoned by the Harrison boys to restore all sorts of items, most famously old gas pumps and rusted-out Coke machines.

Pray tell

In one fleeting evening of event hopping on Monday night, I caught the silliest production I have ever seen in Las Vegas.

Yes, "Nunsense," that is you.

The show stars the quite talented Michelle Johnson, Janien Valentine, Diane Ellis Robin Berry Vincent, Natalie Carson and Kathryn Arianoff as nuns who pun-and-gun there way through 90 minutes of shtickery at Shimmer Cabaret (Kelly Clinton-Holmes is among the cast, too, but is on the DL at the moment because of a broken toe).

The singing is great. No problem there. As vocalists, the stars are second to nun. But even for someone always eager to scratch the kitsch, this show is a real moaner. It's like, "Happiness is a warm pun." I'm not sure that line is in the show, actually, but it should be. This production is a ceaseless drumbeat of punnery where — speaking for myself and my Demographic of One — groans swiftly supplant laughs.

There is one surreal scene where Ellis breathes deeply from a small bottle of "rush" inhalant and goes positively goofy. I laughed at this segment, but it ran too long. It ended nun-too-soon with Johnson's return to the stage, and I'm reminded that such ill-advised behavior is habit-forming.

Oy. Maybe the script is shticking to my brain ...

Food network

Note this: DISH Las Vegas is set for Thursday from 6:30-10 p.m. at Palms Pool and Bungalow. Smash Mouth is the entertainment. Food served by more than 20 of the city's best restaurants is offered. So is a dizzying array of cocktails. Famous chefs will meet and greet guests, and live and silent auctions are scheduled.

Tickets are $250 and $100, and all proceeds go to Three Square food bank, an organization about which, as Smash Mouth (and The Monkees) would say, I'm a believer.

Sorry. Blame the nuns.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at

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