Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014 | 3:57 p.m.
Robin Leach has finished his annual summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy, and many of our Strip personalities again stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. As Robin enjoys the final birthday week of his working vacation with his family, we continue today with our popular guest columns. Here is Charlyne Corvino, entertainment manager of the Riviera.
I started my career in the entertainment business in February 2006. In addition to running the other great showrooms at the legendary Riviera and working with so many talented and wonderful entertainers, I was given the fortune in 2008 of taking over the booking duties for Riviera Comedy Club from Steve Schirripa, who you might know as Bobby “Bacala” Baccalieri from “The Sopranos.”
I learned so much by listening and observing Steve. I found out what it takes to not only successfully book and run a comedy club, but also to build relationships with comedians across the country.
The style of comedy shows has changed a bit over the years. While he was booking at the Riv, Steve preferred a three-comic set: an MC, an opening act and the headliner. When I took over as entertainment manager and began booking the shows, I wanted to try something different.
I became very familiar with the room and which comics paired well together. Instead of three acts, I decided a two-comic show consisting of two strong comics, both of whom were worthy of headlining, was the way to go, and it has worked out wonderfully so far.
I have a passion for standup comedy and have made it a point to see the set of every single comedian who walks through Riviera Comedy Club doors — even to the point where I could recite portions of their acts myself!
There are quite a few comics who have become favorites of mine, and, to this day, I will watch every one of their performances while they’re in town. Billy Gardell, Tom Cotter, Dom Irrera, Bob Zany, Bobby Slayton, Rocky LaPorte, John Caponera, Gerry Bednob and Jimmie “J.J.” Walker are just a few of the talented comedians who have performed at Riviera Comedy Club.
I’ve had the chance to meet so many great comedians over the years, many of whom have unfortunately passed away. The legendary Ray Garvey and Rahn Ramey are just two of the artists who come to mind. It’s very difficult, as we all become very close. Many times, after the room had cleared, I’d find myself sitting in the club with that night’s performer and would just talk for hours.
Comics are fighters — they get up on that stage, even if they aren’t feeling well or know that their days were limited, and will be funnier than ever. RIP to all of the funny guys who brought great laughter to the world.
Be sure to check out our other guest columnist today, John Saccenti of the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl. On Wednesday, meet Mark Brandenburg of downtown’s Golden Gate, and we’ll kiss the Blarney Stone with Ri Ra Irish Pub ambassador Cyril Kenny on his Craic tour of Ireland.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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With its glass, star-lit exterior, visitors can't miss the Riviera when driving down the Strip. As the first high-rise to open on the Las Vegas Strip, featuring a nine-story hotel, the Riviera has seen more than 50 years as an entertainment destination in Las Vegas. Top bill acts like Liberace, Dean Martin and the long-running Splash revue (closed in 2006) have graced its showrooms over time.
The Riviera still offers its share of entertainment options with topless revue "Crazy Girls," a comedy club and "Illusions," starring Jan Rouven.
The 100,000-square foot casino has been featured in many films like "Casino," "Austin Powers" and "21." Although the hotel has passed through a long list of owners over the years it has always held on to it's unique theme (for Las Vegas) in that it lacks any particular theme. It also features a William Hill Race & Sports Book walk-up betting window right off the sidewalk on the Strip.
The Riviera has dining options well covered, from seafood and steaks at R Steak and Seafood, a variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner fare at Banana Leaf Café to an international cuisine at the R Buffet.