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Live Comedy - The Improv Comedy Club - Harrah's Las Vegas 2006

Improv Comedy Club website
Harrah?s Hotel And Casino Las Vegas
Andrew Solmssen, Kristian Vallee, Don McMillan
8:30 Show January 4, 2006
Shows Tuesday to Sunday
8:30 and 10:30 pm.
$24.95

The Improv Comedy Club at Harrah's Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas is a good place to go if you like stand-up comedy and stand-up comics. The Improv is a smallish club with pics of the major stand-ups who have worked The Improv such as Drew Carey, Seinfeld, and so on. A twenty-five dollar or so ticket gets you three comics and a non-smoking show that lasts a little under an hour an a half.

My experience at The Improv Comedy Club at Harrah's Hotel and Casino tells me this is a good ticket. The show I saw was very good and the couple of people I spoke to after the show had as great a time as I had. The MC and opening act was Andrew Solmssen, a thirty something fat stand-up comedian. He was decent and did a good job as MC. I was a bit perplexed at his obvious use of a Palm Pilot as a crib sheet during his performance as I felt it was similar to a magician letting you see the card go up his sleeve. Solmssen did a lot of fat jokes and most of them were pretty good. A good bit, that should definitely be extended, was his adventures making out and being chief stud material at a fat camp. Of course, Jack In The Box was fodder for a few jokes and his geek jokes were pretty good.

The feature that week was Kristian Vallee from Orange County. Vallee looks like a redneck in his dirty jeans and plaid shirt over a t-shirt and it works but yet this is not his character. Kristian Vallee has a fairly laid back style that the crowd and I definitely enjoyed. This stand-up comic immediately clicked with the audience with jokes about The O.C. His take on video games and how women do not understand their boyfriends' fascination with them is also quite funny. Vallee continued with a few very good relationship jokes before moving on to some biographical material about being an eighth grade teacher and kids today. This was a solid set showing stand-up comedian Kristian Vallee is going to be a headliner very soon if he is not already.

The headliner that week at The Improv Comedy Club at Harrah's Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas was Don McMillan. If you've seen him before or on TV he is the stand-up comedian who looks like the original Duke Nukem in the 2D version of the game. This former engineer had the advantage of a very warm and ready crowd and he most certainly kept the ball rolling. Starting off with jokes about gambling (a standard approach in Las Vegas it seems), he killed with a joke about how his mother always manages to win at any slot Mchine she plays. Airline jokes are plentiful in stand-up comedy but Don McMillan has some very original material about low fare airlines that segues smoothly into rental cars and being unable to speak French (a personal favorite was his s'il vous plait joke). McMillan is excellent at interacting with the audience (something that usually makes an audience feel good about the show) and he does it just long enough to keep it interesting, I must admit I set him up when he asked who had come from far away (I had) and he then asked me what I did for a living, His reaction to learning I reviewed stand-up comics was priceless and I was pleased to finally get a good one in. McMillan managed to get out of this trap very smoothly indeed.

There were a couple of conventions in town, including CES, and McMillan made the most out of his material about technological wonders and his problems with them. It is nice when a comic acknowledges where the crowd comes from, especially in a transient town like Las Vegas. McMillan was also very good at ADD jokes and his material about the self-checkout counter at Wal-Mart, and ADD was solid. Solid also were his relationship jokes, the standard being married so always being wrong material, stuff about decorative pillows and his closer on theoretical questions definitely is well chosen to end a solid set and a great evening.

The only flaws at The Improv Comedy Club at Harrah's Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas were the generic taped intro that ends here's your MC fill in the blank. I was also a bit perplexed at how anal the ushers are about customers sitting exactly where they are told to and not moving their chairs an inch. This would be understandable had the club been packed but there were a few seats here and there. I bring this up because a very tall gentleman had definitely problems with the minimal legroom at the tables and was in a constant battle with the usher / elderly bouncer about this. The solution would have been to offer the gentleman a seat at an empty booth right behind him.

Harrah's Hotel And Casino has some very good house shows, of which The Improv Comedy Club is one. You can also catch the great magic comedy of Mac King as an afternoon show and Clint Holmes. If the idea of house shows is to keep guests and keep them entertained, Harrah's Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas can say mission accomplished.



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