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July 31, 2014

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Does Depp’s Mad Hatter character look familiar? At Luxor, he does

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Johnny Depp as Mad Hatter in “Alice In Wonderland.”

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In his show at Atrium Showroom, Scott Thompson (known as Carrot Top onstage) refers to himself as a "mean clown." For his Las Vegas Weekly cover story, he sat for a photo session in which half his face was painted as a clown.

Carrot Top has been using the joke for months, ever since promotional photos for Tim Burton's film treatment of "Alice In Wonderland" were made public.

"I've always wanted to look like Johnny Depp," says Scott Thompson, who is, in fact, Carrot Top.

At that, a big visage of Depp-as-Mad Hatter is shown behind the stage. And everyone laughs, because, by golly, Depp in disguise does look like Carrot Top.

But the joke is not exactly that. Depp has referred to Carrot Top, who headlines at Luxor's Atrium Showroom, as an inspiration for the wildly maned Mad Hatter's mad, hatted look.

In describing his approach to the role, Depp told Entertainment Weekly, "When we first went in to do the camera tests, I was thinking, 'They're going to lose their minds. But Tim fully supported it. It was a couple of solid hours in the makeup chair everyday but it really helped. You start to understand who the guy is through all that weird kind of Carrot Top kabuki."

Carrot Top kabuki? Thomson said he hadn't been formally consulted — or even called — about the character.

"Not at all," he said in a phone conversation earlier this week. "In fact, I just remember somebody reading about it online when I was at Comic-Con (the annual summertime comic-book convention in San Diego). The producers or Tim Burton, someone, had said I'd inspired the look. So I started using the joke in the show, 'I've always wanted to look like Johnny Depp,' but when I saw the actual posters of him, I went, 'S***, that is really close!"

The film opens in wide release this weekend. Carrot Top, of course, is eternal ...

The Lion King Wax Figure at Madame Tussauds

A wax figure of Rafiki from Disney's The Lion King at Mandalay Bay is unveiled at Madame Tussauds in The Venetian on March 4, 2010. Launch slideshow »

King of the Wax

Speaking of kabuki ...

Thursday morning, Madame Tussauds at The Venetian unveiled a wax-ified Rafiki character to join such lion-like figures as Jamie Foxx, Abe Lincoln and astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Rafiki is the baboon shaman in "Disney's the Lion King" at Mandalay Bay. In an interesting bit of cross-promotion between non-partner resorts, a package called "Best of Vegas" is being offered: For a $90 apiece, ticket holders can attend both the Mandalay Bay production and tour Madame Tussauds. Tickets to the wax museum are $25 for adults, and tickets to "Lion King" run between $64 and $113 before taxes and fees. For show reservations call 877-632-7400 or 702-632-7580 and mention the following code: CL18898. Drop my name, too. See what happens.

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X Burlesque at the Flamingo.

The "X" factor

The "X" empire of Matt and Angela Stabile celebrated its third anniversary Thursday night at Flamingo Las Vegas. The biggest change I noted in the upgrade to the show was a wise lopping of the jingoistic salute-to-military scene from a year ago. Otherwise ... it's a sexy romp! Well-staged. Loud music. Strangely effective video clip from Jerry Lewis at the top. Really good 20-minute standup set from Jason Bean, who read from what he claimed was Tiger Woods' actual staged confession, which he wrote and which started with, "It's none of your business who (I have sex with)." Cast members even hand out condoms, but to only the lucky few. Among those seen around the scene were Flamingo afternoon magician Nathan Burton (who is doing cross-country duty as a headliner in Atlantic City, too), BMX star Ricardo Laguna, longtime Vegas bandleader Lon Bronson and adult-film icon Sunset Thomas, who seemed the most "in her element" of anyone.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at twitter.com/JohnnyKats.

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