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April 24, 2014

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From the Riviera: Comedy Club closing as ‘Greg London’s Icons’ moves in

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Jacob Andrzejczak/Wire Image

Greg London appears on the red carpet during media night of his show “Greg London’s Icons” at the Riviera on Thursday.

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South Point owner Michael Gaughan speaks at his American Gaming Association Hall of Fame induction at the Global Gaming Expo in November.

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Bettors take in basketball games at the LVH Superbook.

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Jerry Lewis and 2010 MDA ambassador Abbey Umali celebrate the final tally of $58,919,838 as it appears on the tote board Monday afternoon during the final hour of the 45th Annual Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon at the South Point.

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The Siegel Group owner Stephen Siegel (L), Director of Business Affairs Michael Crandall and Rumor Las Vegas General Manager Rob Cornelius are seen at Rumor Las Vegas on Harmon Avenue at Paradise Road.

Notes cobbled from the mean streets of VegasVille:

• Word out of the Riviera is that the Riviera Comedy Club is closing. That's the word inside the Riviera, too.

One comic booked in November has said his scheduled appearance has been cancelled because the club is shuttering, and the box office is not taking ticket orders from Nov. 1-on. The last scheduled performances are Mitchell Walters, Bruce Clark and Bob Gautreau from Oct. 25-31.

The club has been struggling for months, especially when Dice Clay was performing at the hotel from August 2009 through January. Clay's show was staged at the old "Le Cage" theater, drawing comedy fans to that room instead of the Riviera Comedy Club.

When Clay, who is now headlining at Shimmer Cabaret at the LV Hilton, departed the Riv, the comedy club seemed to earn a last-minute reprieve. But business is sagging to the point where paid attendance recently has been in the 20-30 attendance range. Not a funny outcome for a club that has for decades been one of the city's best-known comedy venues.

• Speaking of our favorite hotel named for a Mediterranean coastline ...

Better news at the Riv is the polished production "Greg London's Icons." This stars Greg London, of course, and he performs impressions of ... icons. London was big in Reno before latching onto his dream of performing on the Strip. London's show is pretty middle-of-the-fairway fare, covering all the bases and moving the chains in a ball-control performance (how's that for a three-sport metaphor?). He's got a fine backing band, too.

Probably the best comparison of London is of Gordie Brown; if you like Brown, still churning out the impressions at Golden Nugget, you'll probably appreciate London. I like that he plays the trumpet — a gift from his musician grandfather. London also capably plays guitar and harmonica. As stated, the show is mostly slick and inoffensive, but London does swat Barry Manilow (even as he resembles Manilow more than any of his subjects), changing the lyrics to "I Write The Songs" and slipping in the line, "I write the songs that ev'ry booody haaaates!"

Sammy Davis Jr., Elvis, Neil Diamond, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Michael Jackson, Macy Gray and Tony Bennett are among those sampled. So is Ozzy Osbourne, who is becoming as prevalent in impressionist shows as Elvis. Tickets to London's show run $40-$70, absent fees, as the Riv just keeps battling on the entertainment front.

• Those of us who feel Las Vegas Hilton's Superbook is a fair representation of the betting climate in Las Vegas are joined by network TV producers. A crew from "60 Minutes" is shooting B-roll during Sunday's NFL opening-weekend action at the Superbook and Hilton Theater for an upcoming story about football fandom. Or it might be betting fandom. We're still awaiting word on what the story is, actually, but a "60 Minutes" crew will be there Sunday and fandom will be shot.

Offered at the hotel's Football Central party are $1 hot dogs, $2 Budweisers and breakfast sandwiches that are said to be the most effective cure for a hangover, ever.

If memory serves, a $1 hot dog and $2 Bud would usually do the trick, but no matter.

Doors open at 9 a.m. Sunday, and I'm taking the "over" on sightings of fat guys wearing Troy Polamalu jerseys.

• Speaking of the gridiron warfare ...

South Point's Monday night football party is the only such casino event where actual cash is awarded for no entry fee. Organizers are giving away $250 in cash — that's 250 hot dogs! — after each quarter. Lots of other prizes, including monthly iPad and "Jagerator" giveaways. What's a Jagerator? It is a refrigerator designed specifically to chill bottles of Jagermeister.

Doors open at 4 p.m. each Monday at the Showroom at South Point, where the iPad meets the Jagerator.

• Speaking of the SP, I'd noted the confusion of many TV viewers tuning in to the "Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon" who were thrown by ads for The Orleans at the bottom of the KTVU Channel 13 telecast. The Orleans was a sponsor for the Las Vegas broadcast, and its news team held court during cutaways from the national show, which was held at South Point. This is all intriguing because The Orleans is a Boyd Gaming hotel, and South Point is owned by Michael Gaughan, who split from Boyd in a business deal to take over the old South Coast — now South Point — hotel.

Thus, there is something of a spirited rivalry today between Gaughan and Boyd officials, and when "Orleans" flashed repeatedly on TV screens during the MDA telecast, some South Point folks went, "Ooooh." But a South Point spokesman said there was no ill will from that property, that Gaughan was fine with the 40 million or so viewers who tuned in to see the show from his hotel. And really, how can anyone be angry when the Spazmatics are playing every Saturday at his nightclub?

• From our video poker bureau:

Enacted on Sept. 1 and announced Wednesday was The Siegel Group's partnership with Golden Gaming Inc. to manage Siegel's gaming operations in Las Vegas. Golden Route Operations, Golden Gaming's slot-machine subsidiary, has taken over all the machine operations at Rumor, Gold Spike, Siegel Slots and Suites, and The Resort at Mount Charleston.

Siegel had previously been under contract with United Coin, but that contract ended Sept. 1, Golden Route took over that day.

What's it all mean? I asked Stephen Siegel, founder of The Siegel Group, about this partnership with the company that owns all the Sierra Gold and PT's taverns in and around Las Vegas. Following is a Q&A, which transpired via e-mail:

J.K.: Why did Siegel Group make the change to Golden Gaming?

S.S.: Golden Gaming has a very aggressive approach to success that mirrors ours. They have proven themselves and their ability to operate like-sized casinos across the country and we feel they will bring this success to our venues. They will also be implementing a one-card player tracking and player rewards club that will allow our patrons at our various facilities to accumulate rewards points at all of our facilities on one single card. We feel that this added rewards club is an essential component to our mutual success.

J.K.: How is this going to improve the company's overall profitability?

S.S.: Gaming is an important component to both the overall success and profitability of any casino. With Golden's involvement, we look to improve gaming numbers, which in turn brings more people through the door on a daily basis resulting in increases revenues throughout the facility.

J.K.: How is this going to benefit customers?

S.S.: The single biggest benefit to our customers will be our new one-card player rewards club that will hugely incentivize and reward patrons playing in our casinos.

I love the word "incentivize," by the way. Sounds vaguely violent. "The incoming troops were incentivized by a blast of napalm."

And with that, like the Rivera Comedy Club, we close.

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

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