Michael James shares his experience of Louie Anderson Presents: After The Show
As Mr. Vegas Bright graciously mentioned on his trip report Podcast, we recently met for breakfast on the last day of his recent Las Vegas trip which was the first day of my more recenter trip. For anyone interested, I’ll include a link to the full trip report near the end of this article. Today’s article features my review of Louie Anderson Presents: The After Show.
I had seen Louie Anderson once before, on my virgin trip to Las Vegas in 1989.
Though never a huge Louie Anderson fan, it was not hard to follow his career first with his cartoon, then his stint as Family Feud host, and most recently his stunning, Emmy Award-winning work as the matriarch on the FX comedy Baskets.
So as I like to do while planning any Vegas trip, I was keeping my eye out for things to do while in town, hopefully, to keep my money out of the casinos. In March, I came across this article in the Las Vegas Sun, my eyes bugged out of my head, and I immediately started contacting others in the group to see who else might be interested in attending the show.
“There’s always a bunch of comics in town every week and wouldn’t it be cool if there was a place on Saturday night, after all the shows, for them to come and hang out? And if they want to perform a little, great,” Anderson is quoted as saying in the article.
The Los Angeles Times also ran an article about The After Show, and in that article Anderson is quoted as saying “In the old days, Liberace and all those guys used to have an after-show, kind of a party and get-together. After your show, you don’t feel like going home.” The article states that Liberace used to host late-night gatherings where he would cook spaghetti for his fellow entertainers. Anderson continued, “This was set up so that people who still wanted to hang out [and] maybe do a performance would be able to do it on Saturday nights once a month.”
So although I didn’t know exactly what the show was going to be, necessarily, it sounded like fun and for $23, how bad could it be. Right?
Louie Anderson Presents: The After Show is held at The Space, which is located on Cavaretta Court just west of the Strip (behind the Bellagio) and across the street from an indoor go-kart track. The tickets said that the doors open at 10:00 PM, and though we arrived at The Space about a half hour early, they allowed us in, so I looked around the small lobby. There isn’t much to look at, but it was still enough for a few pics.
Once they allowed us in, we noted two separate theaters in the venue; the “main” theater to the left, but the Back Space (where we were led) was to the right. Ken and I were seated in the front row, but with only about 100 seats, there weren’t too many bad seats.
With a couple of $7 cans of Miller Lite down the hatch, we waited in anticipation of Louie Anderson taking the stage. At around 10:30, a voice boomed on the PA to watch the monitor, which was to the right of the stage. We all watched as “technical difficulties” ensued, which included a disrupted HDMI cable and then a laptop reboot. While the computer was shut down, the same voice apologized for the problems and introduced the host…
(If you are wondering why Gordie Brown took the stage instead of Louie Anderson, well, join the club.) Brown mentioned that Anderson “couldn’t make it tonight” and was honored to fill in. Brown then did about 10 minutes of straight stand-up; he was pretty good with a number of impressions. It was a bummer, though, as I kept imagining that could have been Louie Anderson that I was five feet away from.
After Brown had ended his set, he introduced the next comic, Daniel Storrow… who was godawful. It wasn’t just that Storrow wasn’t funny, but he was constantly distracted by a group of fun boys just to his right. It wasn’t that these guys were hecklers, but they (quite annoyingly) tried to interject themselves into his act. All of the other comedians dealt with it, and as I’ll get to later, one comic invited one of the guys on stage and gave it back to him. But Storrow was all over the place and never got into a rhythm. His set ended in mid-joke when he looked up, saw a red light (the 21st century gong?) and immediately wrapped it up.
All comedians after that were varying degrees of pretty good. The next one in line, Biniam Bizuneh, was of Ethiopian (I believe) descent though born in the USA. His best bit was how he couldn’t fit in culturally with Africans because he doesn’t know the language or customs. He couldn’t fit in with American blacks because he doesn’t know the language or customs. But he did fit in with the white Americans because although he doesn’t know the language or customs, the whites could show their diversity by parading around a black man.
Following Bizuneh was, in my opinion, the best act of the evening in Derek Hughes. Hughes was a recent top ten finalist on America’s Got Talent, and spent most of his set on one long-running card trick. But his timing was impeccable and kept the audience engaged the entire time. The third volunteer he grabbed from the crowd was one of the guys who disrupted Storrow (and just kept talking to the performers – including Hughes – while they were doing their acts). Hughes did (in the opinion of one of the crowd members who was tired of these guys schtick) a great job of giving it back to him – just short of embarrassing him – and making it part of his act. I can’t say that the guys stopped being annoying, but it was nice to see one of them get a little comeuppance.
During Hughes set, he also mentioned that he fills in for Mac King at Harrah’s when King is on vacation, and “Oh, by the way, he’s here in the front row.” It turns out I was sitting right next to him. Since I had never seen King’s show, I didn’t bother with more than a handshake, but it was cool to be sitting next to a Vegas performer.
After Hughes was an Indian comic whose name I didn’t catch and can’t figure out on-line (something like Neil Junda or Jumdar) and he was followed by Danny Jolles. Both of them were funny but had the disadvantage of following a better comedian. At some time during Jolles set, Gordie Brown just left. With no host, the last comedian jumped on stage without an introduction… and he didn’t bother introducing himself either. Without a name, I can’t list him here. But he did state that he was from Wisconsin, and Ken and I appreciated the jokes that poked fun at our home.
After this mystery comic’s set, the owner of The Space, Mark Shunock (who starred in Rock of Ages after it moved from the Venetian to the Rio), came out and apologized for the screwed up video that was to explain Louie Anderson’s absence. I would have liked to have seen it, as I later figured out that Anderson was appearing in Nashville that night, and was never going to be in Las Vegas on April 22. Shunock also mentioned that The Space is a charity endeavor and that all proceeds of After the Show (and many other events at The Space) will be given to charity.
I am not sure that a straight-up comedy club show compares to Liberace making spaghetti for his friends, but for $23 (going to charity) I whole-heartedly endorse this show… as long as you don’t think that Louie Anderson will be there to host “Louie Anderson Presents: The After Show.” The show is presented once per month at The Space at 3460 Cavaretta Court in Las Vegas.
If you’d like to read my full trip report feel free to click here to read all about it. For anyone interested, I am using the Vegas Message Board as my long-form trip report; I will expand on various items from the trip report here on Vegas Bright.
[Photos: Michael James]