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August 20, 2014

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Standup meets makeup as Venetian launches all-female ‘Lipshtick’ comedy series

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Glenn Pinkerton / Las Vegas News Bureau

Comedienne, actress and co-creator of “2 Broke Girls” Whitney Cummings announces “Lipshtick: The Perfect Shade of Stand Up” at the Venetian on Thursday, May 15, 2014. The comedienne lineup includes Rita Rudner, Caroline Rhea, Jennifer Coolidge, Joy Behar, Susie Essman, Lisa Lampanelli, Heather McDonald, Wendy Williams, Loni Love, Natasha Leggero, Jen Kirkman, Jennifer Coolidge, Iliza Schlesinger and Cummings.

Media Night With Rita Rudner

Media night with Rita Rudner at I Heart Burgers at the Palazzo and her show at The Venetian on Jan. 24, 2011. Launch slideshow »

The Venetian is doubling down on the guffaws.

Announced today is the new comedy series “Lipshtick: The Perfect Shade of Stand Up” at Sands Showroom. The open-ended, resident production spotlights a rotation of some of the top female comics in the country for two or three shows on Friday and Saturday nights (tickets are $37.50 to $96.25; hit the Venetian website for info).

The series was formally unveiled today by Whitney Cummings, co-creator of the CBS sitcom “2 Broke Girls” and a busy standup. She debuts in “Lipshtick” on Aug. 15-16 and returns Nov. 28-29. The series will be unveiled with a single performance by daytime talk-show host Wendy Williams on July 11.

“This will be a chance to see women perform in Las Vegas without taking their tops off,” Cummings told today’s gathering at Sands Showroom for the series’ formal announcement. “Although I do that in my show if you wait around long enough.”

The lineup was assembled and organized swiftly from its original concept three months ago to today’s announcement. In the mix is the Venetian’s regular comic headliner over the past five years, Rita Rudner, who takes the stage July 25-26 and who will perform exclusively in “Lipshtick,” and not outside of that title, when at Sands Showroom. Before the formal launch of the series, Rudner is set for shows at the Venetian on May 25, June 22 and June 29.

“I just know that when they tell me to show up and be funny, I’ll show up and be funny,” Rudner said in a phone conversation today. “Otherwise, it seems like a great idea.”

Other female comedians in the lineup are Heather McDonald (a frequent panelist on “Chelsea Lately”) with Iliza Schlesinger (Season 6 champion of “Last Comic Standing”) on July 18-19; Caroline Rhea (“Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” and “The Caroline Rhea Show”) with Wendy Liebman (long a favorite on late-night talk shows and a veteran club comic) on Aug. 1-2; Lisa Lampanelli (a longtime Vegas headliner and a favorite on Comedy Central’s celeb roasts) on Aug. 8-9 and again Oct. 3-4 and Dec. 25-26; Joy Behar of “The View” and “The Joy Behar Show” on Aug. 22-23; Susie Essman (of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and a standup career that pre-dates that show) on Sept 5-6; Natasha Leggero (judge on “Last Comic Standing”) with Jen Kirkman (another “Chelsea Lately” regular, as is Leggero) on Sept. 12-13; Jennifer Coolidge (from “American Pie,” “Best in Show” and “2 Broke Girls”) on Sept. 19-20; and Loni Love “from the talk show “The Real”) on Oct. 10-11.

There is already ample comedy being staged in Las Vegas today with 10 clubs in continual operation on and off the Strip and about that many open-mic nights in town. The Mirage has its highly popular “Aces of Comedy” series featuring such comic figures as Jay Leno, Wayne Brady, Lewis Black, Seth Meyers, Ray Romano and Kevin James. Pearl Theater at the Palms keeps comedy in play primarily with appearances by Bill Maher, the Colosseum at Caesars brings Jerry Seinfeld in for select weekends, and Vinyl at the Hard Rock Hotel is powered by Andrew “Dice” Clay and Tom Green.

But the Venetian saw a niche not fully developed: a show built specifically for women comics in a single venue.

“We’ve seen a lot of these comediennes in Las Vegas before, but they were performing here and there, and it was sometimes hard to find them,” Venetian President John Caparella said after today’s announcement. “This gives the best female comics a place to appear under one brand.”

The series is not in partnership with any cable network or outside interest, although talks continue between the property and Comedy Central. “Lipshtick” is to be the only comedy performed in Sands Showroom for the foreseeable future, as such popular comics as Tim Allen will be moved into Venetian Theater in much the same manner as Seinfeld is booked at the Colosseum.

“We think it’s a brilliant concept and a brilliant title,” said Caparella, whose company is betting that in Las Vegas, there is enough funny to go around.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow Kats With The Dish at twitter.com/KatsWithTheDish.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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