Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014 | 11:01 p.m.
It’s frightening to think that 40 years ago, iPhones didn’t exist, and instead we held up a Get Smart shoebox-sized phone with a 6-foot antenna to our ears. Worse is that online dating sites didn’t exist back then, and instead one told tall tales to attract someone in a bar — in person.
Life has completely changed since 1974, and crazed comic Matt Kazam proves it in his very funny one-man show “40 Is Not the New 20” at the Riviera.
He takes on the differences of two decades contrasting politics, technology, media and relationships, which means jokes about how sex has changed. The comparisons of what went on 20 years ago to what happens today had me laughing — and I can go back to the 1960s before there was anything like a computer-controlled world.
I remember how excited we were at “Entertainment Tonight” to test the first fax machines in 1981 that took 6 minutes to send one page between our New York and Los Angeles studios. I remember punching out holes as copy on a telex reel from the Cannes Film Festival each year and it miraculously spitting out text on the other end in New York.
Our pockets were laden down with dimes to make calls from phone booths. (Try finding a public phone today anywhere else other than our Las Vegas casinos.) Those were no laughing matters because we believed that we were on the cutting edge of communication, but look back with Matt and you realize that what we had then was laughable by today’s innovations.
And that’s the “remember when” premise of his times have changed show. As a comedic celebration of the knowledge and experience that can only be gained from age, the show plays well to 40-year-olds scoffing at our then-challenging accomplishments and 20-year-olds wondering how we ever coped.
Matt takes on marriage, parenting, work, commuting, exercise and even how bills are paid differently today vs. yesteryear. Matt has been a comedy veteran for 25 years, so he knows the subject matter really well.
“The world has really changed in the past 40 years,” he told me. “You remember, Robin, when there were only three TV stations? We had giant boom-box speakers instead of a portable Bluetooth. Pac-Man and Rubik’s Cubes were the brainteasers then. Our priorities and even our bodies have really changed over the years.”
Matt, who has performed more than 6,000 solo standup gigs in 45 states, appeared on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” and has opened for the late Robin Williams, Drew Carey, Chris Rock and more.
He said: “I am so excited for my show at the Riviera. To think of the entertainment legends who have performed at the Riv is amazing. When I was 10 years old, my parents brought me here to see Joan Rivers and Shecky Greene perform. I knew then that I wanted to be a comedian, and now I’m here six nights a week.”
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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With its glass, star-lit exterior, visitors can't miss the Riviera when driving down the Strip. As the first high-rise to open on the Las Vegas Strip, featuring a nine-story hotel, the Riviera has seen more than 50 years as an entertainment destination in Las Vegas. Top bill acts like Liberace, Dean Martin and the long-running Splash revue (closed in 2006) have graced its showrooms over time.
The Riviera still offers its share of entertainment options with topless revue "Crazy Girls," a comedy club and "Illusions," starring Jan Rouven.
The 100,000-square foot casino has been featured in many films like "Casino," "Austin Powers" and "21." Although the hotel has passed through a long list of owners over the years it has always held on to it's unique theme (for Las Vegas) in that it lacks any particular theme. It also features a William Hill Race & Sports Book walk-up betting window right off the sidewalk on the Strip.
The Riviera has dining options well covered, from seafood and steaks at R Steak and Seafood, a variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner fare at Banana Leaf Café to an international cuisine at the R Buffet.