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July 27, 2014

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Madhouse’ a needlessly profane show

This isn't "The Lawrence Welk Show."

"Jeff Beacher's Comedy Madhouse" is a loud, vulgar, crass production that purports to revolutionize stand-up comedy, billing itself as "The World's Greatest Comedy XXXperience!"

Trouble is, it doesn't live up to its billing.

At Saturday's performance at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel, there were only two comedians, neither of whom would make any comedy aficionado's "A" list.

Sherrod Small and Robert Kelly had their funny moments, but they were too few and far between.

One of the funniest bits by Small, who is black, began with "These days I get out-blacked by young white males ..."

But it was difficult to pick up on all of his lines because of the ongoing pandemonium in the audience.

Most of their routines consisted of screaming, uttering obscenities and exhorting the perky young women who packed the audience to expose their breasts. A table of six complied, as did a few single females scattered around the room.

It's as if Small and Kelly graduated from the Andrew Dice Clay School of Comedy, a school geared to turning out comedians for audiences frozen at an adolescent age. There were more dirty jokes than at a summer camp for Boy Scouts.

Most of their jokes won't be repeated here, not because they were vulgar (although most of them were), but mainly because they weren't that funny.

Beacher, who has been described as an outstanding comedian in his own right, hosts the show. But his presence was hardly felt. His stage time lasted less than one minute, just time enough to yell a few "F" words and to introduce the two stars of the show.

He did nothing comedic except dash down the aisle as fans on either side yelled and screamed and treated him like celebrity royalty.

I must admit, watching him bound onto the stage wearing a tuxedo and sneakers was a little humorous as the pudgy comedian's stomach spilled over his pants.

"Madhouse" is a layered production. The 90-minute show supposedly begins at 10 p.m., but in reality there is a pre-show and a pre-pre show, both of which are more entertaining than the show itself.

The pre-pre show begins at 9 p.m., when the doors opened to let in a line of more than 1,500 young adults that circled the casino. The theater's seating capacity is 1,200, which meant about 300 were turned away.

The hourlong pre-pre show was chaotic, as it was meant to create the right atmosphere.

As fans found their seats they were greeted by stilt walkers, acrobats, contortionists, midgets, transvestites, performers dressed as pimps and bare-breasted winged angels.

A camera crew roamed the room, taking close-ups of the assorted acts and putting the images on a large screen onstage -- images that included more naked breasts.

Meanwhile, DJ Kevin Shand played hip-hop and rap music at a volume so high it was teeth rattling. Sitting close to the stage, one's scalp actually tingled.

As the room filled with fans the noise level increased to a fever pitch, reaching its apex at the start of the pre-show.

The so-called pre-show consisted of a karaoke contest, a couple of break dancers and a Russian who stripped down to his shorts and a diamond-like choker.

The prancing Russian balanced a knife and sword on their points and did a couple of tricks with some Hula Hoops.

When the comedians finally arrived for the real show, it was anti-climactic. Most of the energy of the room already had been expended.

What began with a bang ended with a whimper.

It would have been difficult for any comedian in the world to try to capture an audience after almost 90 minutes of bedlam.

The evening is geared toward the under-30 crowd, the humor for those under 15.

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