The idea, originally, was to make the Statue of Liberty disappear. But that’s been done.
So Flamingo headliner Piff The Magic Dragon settled on the Eiffel Tower, or it’s half-size counterpart on the Strip. He also persuaded David Copperfield to join him in some classic-Vegas shtick.
This act is coming up on Sunday’s episode of “Tournament of Laughs,” the March Madness-like virtual competition series on TBS. Jason Sudeikis, along with his beard, hosts the “gantlet of giggles” from behind a desk that looks like it was discarded by “SportsCenter.”
Sudeikis mispronounces his own name, and says hosting “is a great honor and also a contractual obligation.”
The competitors have submitted home-video clips. Fans vote after each week’s episode. And a champion is crowned.
Piff has knocked off comic actor Judah Friedlander (“30 Rock”) after last week’s matchup to advance in the “West” regionals. This Sunday, Piff is relying on a pair of Strip icons to woo voters.
All we’ll say is Piff appears to make the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas disappear. The dragon-costumed magician says he originally wanted to make the Statue of Liberty at New York-New York disappear (the reason he doesn’t is best left under wraps until Sunday’s show).
Copperfield then appears, and we revisit the topic of Copperfield making the real Statue of Liberty disappear in 1983. Copperfield comes off as unimpressed and unamused at Piff’s trick. In reality, they have a mutual fandom.
“He berated me,” Piff said. “I am honored.”
Piff also made a return visit to the hit series “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” on the CW on Monday night. He continues to host his “Piff Time” show on Twitch.tv, and is performing in a series of virtual concerts in lieu of his live road performances.
“We are tailoring these shows for a specific audience, like the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee,” Piff says. “We’d been doing about 150 dates a year on the road, along with the shows at the Flamingo, and I really miss it.”
It’s reached the point where we need a clinical study of Las Vegas producers’ pre-birth entertainment experiences. SPI Entertainment CEO Adam Steck related in this week’s episode of “PodKats!” that his mother, Fay, was pregnant with him at Woodstock.
“That explains a lot,” Steck says. “I grew up in that whole sort of hippie era, Carlos Santana; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; all of them.”
The first show Steck ever produced, at age 21, was Richie Havens at the Fairfield (Iowa) High School auditorium. Havens, as avid rock fans know, opened Woodstock.
Steck has a “vague memory” of his first post-birth show, Bob Dylan at Central Park in 1976. He was 6 years old.
Earlier this month, Vegas producer David Saxe recited the story of his mother, Bonnie, dancing while pregnant with him in “Folies Beregere” at the Tropicana.
Anyone else out there in this category? The Gazillionaire? We’re on the case.
Crack the Whips
The Whip Its rock parody band was given a message in masking at the outdoor Carnaval Court at Harrah’s on Friday afternoon. The band opened their 2 p.m. set without masks. After about 40 minutes, hotel entertainment director Steve Stevenson arrived to cut the set early to talk to the band and tell them to slip on face masks, erring on the side of caution in updated Phase Two directives requiring anyone in public to wear face covers.
After their final set, the Whip Its were informed of the directive that singers could perform with the masks under their chins, pulling them up when they weren’t singing and encountering someone onstage. That is the way they are performing now, having survived yet another COVID oddity.
Those who follow me on the Instagram know of my random IG Live appearances. Sometimes it’s just me. Sometimes it’s time well spent with Las Vegas’ First Lady of Jazz Michelle Johnson, or Italian songstress Giada Valenti. Sometimes it’s an hour and nine minutes with Frankie Moreno. I’m really all over the place.
That said, I’m going live with Brad Garrett on the Review-Journal IG page at 9 p.m. Tuesday. I don’t know how long we’ll go, but it will be animated. Garrett is launching a podcast in late-July, so we’ll talk about that, some reopening updates and maybe the weather. Join us from the deck of my downtown Las Vegas bachelor pad, and bring some questions.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats! podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.