Currently I am traveling our fairly great nation as part of the Unlimited Sunshine Tour, with Cake, Tegan and Sara, and Gogol Bordello. A few days ago we did a show in Las Vegas. I’d only been to Vegas once before. Quick fact—Vegas is short for Las Vegas (just a little FYI. I wouldn’t want to be caught droppin’ slang like boom-boom. WHAT?!)
Like three or four years ago I was briefly almost working with an awful agency. (They were sort of sleazy in a 1930s bar room hoodlum way. When I first met them, one of them pointed at a waitress at a comedy club and said something like, “Check out the skirt.”) I was going to L.A. for a showcase for them and also to maybe meet with random industry people about something crappy. The showcase was on a Wednesday and the meetings were the following week. So to kill some time, my maybe-to-be agents booked me eight shows in a room they ran in Vegas.
The room, which was off the main strip in a sad hotel, was filled with mostly old people and sprinkled with tough-looking families. It was an incredible mismatching of audience to performer. I was supposed to do two twenty minute sets a night for four days. Things went poorly and I only did the first two shows. After my first set, the host, trying to be helpful, asked me if I had any Jewish jokes or fart jokes—he was in luck—I have a joke about a farting Jew! It’s about a lawyer-accountant who goes to Mexico in 1860 and finds himself locked inside a bean!!! Guess how he gets out?!?!?! Sadly, I actually don’t have a joke about a farting Jew. (I do have a few jokes about being Jewish, but they aren’t about over-feeding grandmothers, but cynical attacks on the status-quo. That’s also not true, but that sounded very “Smart-Gressive,” which is a new brand of comedy that Dennis Miller would like to have made up for himself, but couldn’t—because he is limited by his obsession to compare things inaccurately.)
That was my last experience in Vegas. Now, a few years later, I would be staying at THE MANDALAY BAY! Do you know what they have there? An aquarium filled with only PREDATORY FISH! That’s right! 2,000 aggressive fish. I didn’t go, but I am told they have SEVERAL SMALL SHARKS—with teeth outside their mouths!!! (If you have time, re-read some of the last paragraph, yelling some of the sentences.)
We had one day off on the tour (Gogol Bordello stayed in Phoenix, Cake, who I’m traveling with, flew to Salt Lake City for a show—I drove alone in their tour bus to Vegas, and Tegan and Sara and their crew also went to Vegas.)
You’re probably wondering, “What do you do in Vegas with one day off?” (Please wonder that, if you weren’t yet.) I’ll tell you—you party with local home-town heroes THE KILLERS—by accident.
I didn’t know anyone in Las Vegas, and spent most of my day relaxing and losing small amounts of money at roulette. At night, Tegan and Sara’s tour manager kindly invited me to the INXS private afterparty at Hard Rock Live (sans members of INXS, as most after-show parties not organized by the band, are often missing that band.) At this party I met various people—managers, bands, Stanford grads, someone going to Harvard Business School who likes the show Laguna Beach (a fact that could have stayed in Vegas—but didn’t!) One interesting note about the Hard Rock Hotel is I believe one of The Killers lives there. He has no other home—outside living inside rock and roll. After the open bar at the INXS afterparty was closed, it was time to step into another world.
Just a few doors down—still inside the Hard Rock Hotel—is an awful dance club called Body Bar (named after something in The DaVinci Code—nope. Not true. Now you understand why some people think reality is subjective, but others insist it is objective. This includes Ayn Rand, the band Bread, and Cheney. BTW, what the fuck is The DaVinci Code? I’ll probably find out soon, never mind.)
Everybody from the Hard Rock Live bar had gone to the Body Bar, and I actually left a few minutes later. I believe they were all ushered through some secret tunnels into the club (I think someone said that) and then given a private booth—that was not very private. I arrived ten minutes later and found everyone sitting at the very large booth (which sat twenty people on two levels.) And by everyone I mean some of The Killers, some of the Tegan and Sara band and crew, some of their friends, but now, all surrounded by random smiling girls, a body guard, who I at first thought was a particularly attentive tall black friend, and some photographers.
On the table in front of the giant booth was an ice bucket with two bottles of vodka, and carafes with various juices and sodas. Later, I found out it was all free. The club brought it over to help The Killers and pals party. It turns out when you are a rock star, people fucking give you all the cranberry-mother-fucking-juice you want. And we wanted about three carafes worth of juice—and I’m including the orange juice!
One awesome thing about Body Bar—every ten minutes jets of cold, thick fog would shoot from the ceiling onto sweaty, freakishly similar looking, dancing assholes (I’m sure they actually weren’t assholes, and in fact I am the asshole for judging people who I don’t know, who just want to unwind and have fun. So, sorry. It won’t happen again. Just kidding! Of course it will! That’s what people do—we go to places and stare at people in disdainful judgment, until we go home alone and think about what we’re doing with our lives! That’s what fun is!)
What could make Body Bar better? About a half hour after we got there a mostly-living legend arrived. A man whose fame is the result of America’s love of the modern freak show mixed with the question, “Why would a man wear a clock?” That’s right—bam!—Flavor Flav was in the house. He even got a shout out from the DJ (something I now want—so spread the word—if I’m at your party, you’re at my party. Does that make sense? I guess I mean that by my arrival at a party, my level of importance changes whose party it is. No? Oh well.)
Anyway, that was mostly it. Everyone was very nice and the place was loud and terrible and I enjoyed my disdain. I can’t wait to go back to New York and hit the club scene in the meatpacking district and try to get a shout out—something you can’t do. Similar to the Force, or Buddhism, a Shout Out is something that must find you.