Thursday, March 22, 2012 | 7:32 p.m.
Brad Garrett jokes, “The MGM executives love me so much, they put me in the (bleeping) basement!”
The Starlane Mall at MGM Grand is the basement in reference here. It’s not so much a basement as it is the long, beneath-the-surface retail corridor that connects the hotel lobby with self-parking (and if you ever find yourself winding rudderless through the MGM Grand self-parking garage, you have my sympathy).
But the Starlane Mall is being given a new name in an image makeover spearheaded by Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club, which opens March 30. The new corridor is going to be called MGM Underground.
“With the club, we’re going with a whole backstreet-New York vibe, like a warehouse that was kind of turned into a speakeasy,” Garrett said during a recent phone conversation. “What they’re planning with the Underground fits in with that feel, and the club will be the focal point to that whole area.”
Garrett’s club opens with appearances by Ralph Harris, Michael Somerville and Geechy Guy. It will likely take several months for the new branding to be formally rolled out, MGM Grand President Scott Sibella said this afternoon.
Sibella noted that space is one of MGM Grand’s underground secrets, as about 5,000 people (including employees) walk up and down that long hallway each day. Garrett’s club was once an El Portal outpost, and verifying just what business occupied the space before the comedy venue took a bit of digging.
Garrett’s first Las Vegas engagements were booked by MGM Resorts President Richard Sturm just after MGM Grand opened in 1992.
“Without sounding corny, it’s sort of like a homecoming for me,” Garrett said. Then he paused, as if mentally assembling a joke. “I mean, they liked me so much, it only took them 20 years to invite me back.”
Garrett will have a tough time keeping those corporate jabs underground, but they’ll fit in well at the Underground.