Luxe Life Blog
Tim Allen begins Venetian run, and it’s not Home Improvement humor
Television’s nice guy Tim Allen will shed some of that clean-cut image when he starts the first show of a new yearlong series at The Venetian this weekend. Tim tested possible Las Vegas venues when he performed at The Mirage last August and admitted that he didn’t know if he liked the idea of a residency or whether he’d find a hotel on his terms.
It worked so well, he decided on both. “Call it a self-audition where I wound up testing on one side of The Strip but winding up on the other side of it. Maybe I just like facing south. I think it comes down to which way the sun sets in my room. Maybe it’s that simple. I don’t like the sun right in my eyes when I’m getting out of the shower!
“But everything went as I planned. I was unaware of all the different contingencies, the different wall-to-wall deals, and who’s paying what for what. It literally came down to which room I was more comfortable in. The theater at The Mirage was fabulous, but it got down to The Venetian’s room feeling really comfortable for size. On top of that, everybody was really nice and agreeable to the terms, but it was about the room and the schedule. I have a baby and an older daughter and my wife, and they want to come in when I work, so it was also about the schedule and where they could stay.
“It wasn’t that big of a decision, but I was afraid I was going to hurt someone’s feelings. I didn’t want to do that. I really like Terry Fator’s theater. I met him backstage. Everything about it I liked, even wherever I looked I found his dolls! But the object of the exercise was to see if I liked the experience enough to come on a more regular basis. It did convince me. There were so many different things to consider, but when it got down to the final choice, it was The Venetian Showroom -- just wonderful, intimate but big.”
Tim has a yearlong contract that calls for 10 weekends of appearances over 9 months, and he joins the comedy lineup of new resident star Rita Rudner and regular Las Vegas visitor David Spade.
He told me: “I always have liked Vegas. I’m gonna go back to The Rat Pack, that’s what I like. I don’t smoke or drink or really gamble that much, but I really like the lineage where Vegas started. I got my own gigs years ago at Caesars and Trop, so this is now coming full circle, but as a more mature guy. I love that feel of Las Vegas. I always had a thing for Las Vegas. It’s just so huge and dazzling now, it’s a little intimidating. Once I figure out how to get to the kitchen like I did at the Trop, it becomes your home. It just takes a while, but I’m looking forward to it.
“Some months it’s three weekends, some months it’s two, but it’s consistent. The Venetian wants it consistent. So did I. And it’s a quick in and out from home if I need to stay the weekend. I have a lot of friends there, so I have plenty to do, a lot of people to see. I love the food, like the shopping, like my friends and like the shows, so what’s not to like about Las Vegas.”
I asked Tim what he’d learned from his self-test.
“Las Vegas isn’t like Los Angeles in the sense that you’ve really got to work it here because it’s a small community that goes to comedy clubs,” he said. “Las Vegas is like touring. It’s concerts. People pay to come see that show, and you’re the leader of that show, so there’s a very different anticipation in live shows. Las Vegas is like being in New York, where people come from everywhere. It isn’t just localized like L.A. In Los Angeles, you’ve really got to work hard to get people out. They’re tainted, they’ve seen other great performers in small clubs, they’re used to that. In Las Vegas, it’s a bigger deal. People are out there to have a good time.
“Last night in Los Angeles in the club I worked, the mic stand was broken. This is Los Angeles! The only thing I touch in the club is the mic stand, and it had been broken for two weeks! That never happens in Vegas -- Vegas just doesn’t do that. The lights are great, the air conditioning is working, the sound is wonderful. You just do that stuff so well. It shows respect for the audience. I’m going to respect them, too. I’m going to dress well, and the show will be well produced.”
Tim says that audiences are returning to comedy with a need to laugh at live performances. He said that movies, TV shows and reality TV shows have no sense of live. He’s hoping sitcoms will make a resurgence on TV but blames TV ratings being a barometer solely for people to misbehave.
“I like the hard work of live. Rehearsals and hard work,” he said. “Nothing but a man or a woman up there doing their best to make you laugh live. I think it’s a gift. I think comedy is creeping back again, even though it never goes away.”
I asked how he felt joining Rita and David. He told me: “I want to do my part. Right away I’ve got to earn a position. They’ve already been doing this. I’m a newcomer, although I’ve been doing this as a 30-year newcomer. As I told my wife, I want to get this first one out of the way, and then I’ll get into a sweet spot.
“Find that it’s a home. Figure out where I do my pacing. Get my little area set up. Find where I am and what kind of a comedian, because I’m all over the map. I’m a freighter captain. Boy I talk like a sailor sometimes, and I don’t want to do that. I’m not there to offend people, but I’m also there to be authentic.”
Tim starts his run Saturday night at The Venetian. His other dates are March 4-5 and 11-12, April 1-2 and 8-9, May 20-21, Aug. 4-6 and 12-13, Oct. 14-15 and Nov. 4-5.
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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