Friday, Feb. 20, 2004 | 8:46 a.m.
If You Go
Who: George Wallace.
When: 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; dark Sundays and Mondays.
Where: Flamingo Las Vegas Showroom.
Tickets: $35.50, $46.50.
Information: (702) 733-3111.
Rating (out of five stars: ****
George Wallace was a salesman before he became a stand-up comic.
Today the native of Atlanta works hard selling his jokes to his audiences.
Some are easier to sell than others, but if you don't care for one, don't worry. He'll have another for you almost as quickly as he can draw a breath.
Wallace is a personable, easily likeable comedian who rapid-fires his jokes, relentlessly spraying the audience with material he has stored in his arsenal of humor amassed over the past 30 years or so.
Similar to his close friend, comedian Jerry Seinfeld, the basis for most of Wallace's jokes is observing people.
"I don't know what they're teaching young people in school these days," Wallace said. "I was at a McDonald's last week and my total was $2.78 so I gave the clerk $3 and three pennies, and all hell broke loose. 'Sir, what's the three pennies for?' "
Wallace's jokes generally are brief and to the point, longer than a Henny Youngman one-liner, but shorter than a Bill Cosby tale. Wallace apparently doesn't believe in long, drawn-out stories with a punch line.
Young people are a favorite topic for the 54-year-old comedian.
His take on teens who talk back to their parents: "My mom used to drive us down to the cemetery. She said, 'Children, this is your plot right here. You can use it now or you can use it later -- but you're not gonna be talking back to me.' "
He noted that parents can't spank their children anymore.
"Now there's something called 'Dial 1-800-CHILD ABUSE,' " Wallace said. "If we'd ever dialed that number, Mamma would have been out of prison a long time before we were out of the hospital."
"They have something now called 'timeout,' " Wallace said. "We had that. Mamma would whip your (expletive deleted), take time out and then whip it some more."
"There were no ATMs when I was a kid. If you didn't make it to the bank by 3 o'clock Friday, you were broke all weekend. That's when you had to go to the D-A-D and find out you were S-O-L."
"And no VCRs. If we missed a program on TV in the fall, we had to wait till summer for the reruns."
When he isn't talking about young people, Wallace talks about different regions of the country.
"Los Angeles is the land of earthquakes, mudslides and divorces -- three disasters in which a man can lose his house," Wallace said.
"People drive too fast here in Las Vegas. If you're traveling at less than 65, you're considered a house."
He frequently interacts with the audience throughout his show.
"Anything in the news you want to talk about?" Wallace asked. "Dow Jones went crazy again today. You know what that means to people like me and you? Not a damn thing."
He focused on an audience member.
"What's your name?" Wallace asked the fan. "Red? Is that because you have red hair? White people do things like that. A guy 6 feet 8 inches tall, and they call him Tiny. Why is that?"
Wallace puts jokes in categories. One of the categories is "Put Me In Charge."
"Put me in charge of the country," Wallace said. "People who get up there on a bridge and try to commit suicide, causing fire, ambulance and the police to come out? My policy is, 'You go up there, you're jumping. If you don't, somebody will come up and push you off.' "
Wallace says he needs to be in the White House.
"I won't waste your money," Wallace said. "We spent $87 billion in Iraq and we couldn't find weapons of mass destruction, we couldn't find bin Laden, we couldn't even find Lionel Richie. It would have been wiser to offer a $1 billion reward for Saddam Hussein.
"Some of you would have gone over there for $1 billion. I would bust a cap in my mom's (expletive deleted) for $1 billion."
He took on the government for wasting taxpayers' dollars.
"We blow up a country, then we build it up," Wallace said. "When I'm in charge, we blow you up, you stay blowed up. Right now we blow up and then build up. Hell, let's blow up Cincinnati."
"Bush brought this country closer together," he said. "My whole family moved in with me. Bush has this country so messed up he's got people sneaking back into Mexico."
And dumb things people say.
"It's raining outside. Where else would it be raining?"
"My flight leaves at noon," Wallace says he told the airline clerk.
"Is that 12 noon?" the clerk asks.
"No, it's 2 noon," Wallace says sarcastically.
"Never kick a man when he's down. Is there a better time?"
"I ordered a 24-piece bucket of chicken. The clerk said, 'Is that for here or to go?' 'It's for here and you're going to stay till I've eaten every piece.' "
Comedienne Carol Siskind opens for Wallace.
She is a good comic with excellent delivery, but some of her material needs updating. She's using jokes she used two years ago when she appeared at Palace Station's comedy club, Sound Trax.
The jokes are funny the first time around, but when you hear them again they lose some of their zing.
"Today everybody's armed," Siskind said, using one of the jokes at the Flamingo that she used at Palace Station. "More and more women are getting guns, so you know the designers are going to be right on top of this. A Calvin Klein sports bra and holster? It's hard enough to get the right size. What do you say to the sales girl, 'I need a 36 and a .38?' "
"Guns are not for everyone," she said, again using a dated joke. "If I ever got a gun, I would never stop shooting."