Things have been going pretty well for comedian Billy Gardell, these last few years.
You know him as Mike, from “Mike & Molly“, his hit sitcom with Melissa McCarthy which just celebrated its 100th episode and is picked up for a sixth season.
And you may have seen him recently as the host of the syndicated “Monopoly Millionaire’s Club“, a new game show that premiered in March.
Yep, that’s not bad for a Pittsburgh boy who started out as a simple stand-up comic. He’s an overnight sensation.
Well, if you consider “overnight” to mean better than 20 years playing at, as he puts it, “every small town lounge, military base and comedy club along the way.”
Though Gardell coming to Borgata’s Music Box on May 23 for a one-night stand-up show as a big star riding high, you can be pretty sure he won’t land far from the working class routes that kept him in the biz all those years waiting for that “overnight” success.
“You always think that you’re going to make it big,” Gardell recently told the Allentown Morning Call. “At some point, you’re in too far to quit.”
It’s in the trenches of all those comedy rooms and small theaters where Gardell learned how to be a very important thing—funny.
Memorial Day Weekend marks the unofficial start of the summer season.
But then you knew that.
For us here in Atlantic City, however, it’s so much more. Summer is everything in these parts—the start of a three-month party of sun, surf, great music, great food and just constant entertainment.
Of course, we do party 365 days a year at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, but when summer comes, well, we really party. And forget about June 21, summer starts this weekend at Borgata and we’ve got the line-up to welcome the season like it’s never been welcomed before.
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You know how everyone is always waiting for a bona-fide star to emerge from shows like “American Idol” and “The Voice”? Mostly they watch because every once in a while it actually happens — a Carrie Underwood or Katharine McPhee emerges.
Well back in the day—way back in the 80s—there was another kind of show like that, but this one covered all the bases and all the different types of showbiz acts. It was called “Star Search” and it pumped out a bunch of big stars like, uhm, teen star Tiffany and country group Sawyer Brown.
Ok, that’s about it, but the show did much better for comedians, with the likes of Ray Romano and Rosie O’Donnell launching their careers from the “Star Search” stage.
Of course the show eventually flamed out in the 90s, but did make a brief return in 2003 hosted by Arsenio Hall.
So why the long “Star Search” history lesson?
Simple. The 2003 “Star Search” comedy champ, Loni Love, is playing Borgata’s Music Box May 29.
Yes, Love had one shot in the revamped “Star Search” in 2003 to grab a title and she did, parlaying that into a career as a stand-up comic and TV personality. Not bad for a women who has worked on an auto-plant assembly line and also had a career as an electrical engineer.
And while that’s fine, honest work, let’s face it, you know Loni Love from her co-hosting duties on “The Real” talk show or her about fifty million appearances as a panelist on “The Chelsea Handler Show.” Or maybe you saw her in Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 or her Comedy Central Special “American Sister.”
Then again, maybe you’ve read her best-selling advice book “Love Him or Leave Him, But Don’t Get Stuck with the Tab.” Or as the host of Café Mocha Radio, where she’s interviewed President Obama.
There are times when you are watching television that it can feel like you’re being invaded by comedian and improv-master Wayne Brady.
There he is in his Emmy-winning stint as host of “Let’s Make a Deal” every day. There he is again on the syndicated improv show “Whose Line is it Anyway?” which seems to have been a staple on TV for about 50 years. Or maybe he’ll show up in his recurring role on “Real Husbands of Hollywood,” or any of the other about 1,000 TV shows he’s made a guest appearance on.
Why even the character of Clover on Disney’s “Sofia the First” sounds just like him.
Yes, sometimes, Wayne Brady seems to be everywhere.
One place you’ll be sure to find him is at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa’s Music Box on May 22 at 9pm.
There, you can expect Brady to do what he does best—improvisation. In fact, Brady calls his show an “improv rock concert.”
“I take suggestions from the audience and nothing is off limits,” he tells the Providence Journal. “That said, there’s no accounting for taste sometimes,” he says laughing. “I like building themes, having conversations with the audience, getting more one-on-one contact with them. It’s the purest form of improv.”
For Brady, there is only one way to describe a pure improve approach to stand-up—be fearless.
“If I really let myself sit there and think about how I don’t know what’s going to happen during the show, I could really get sick to my stomach,” he says. “But I move beyond that. It’s not that I don’t care because I do. If you stop caring, the audience will know.
Chances are, you think you already know a lot about Wendy Williams, one of the most versatile TV and radio personalities to come along in quite a while.
You know her as the host of the nationally syndicated talk show “The Wendy Williams Show.” But that’s an easy one.
You also probably know she was a major radio star for better than 23 years. Again, easy.
You may even know she’s a proud Jersey Girl—make that Jersey Shore girl—from Ocean Township, New Jersey up around Asbury Park (which named a street after her).
And, of course, she’s a television producer, has her own line of wigs, is a romance novelist and author of seven books, has appeared on Broadway, movies and TV shows, was a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars” and is a stand-up comedian.
Hey, we said she was versatile.
Now if you knew all that, congrats, you are a bonafide Wendy Williams fan. But we’re betting that for many of you, that last one—stand-up comedian—caught you off guard.
Well, come to Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa’s Music Box Saturday, May 9 and you’ll see what we’re talking about as Williams brings her stage show to Atlantic City.
Williams debuted as a stand-up last year in Las Vegas fulfilling a life-long dream and completing some of the challenge to do something special for her 50th birthday by her show’s producers (Another challenge, driving a monster truck).
Through the years, Canada has exported some pretty great stuff across the border to America. Stuff like round bacon, hockey fights, Pamela Anderson.
This May 23 & 24, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa presents one of the funniest Canadian exports when stand-up comedian Russell Peters appears for both nights at Borgata’s Event Center.
If you’re not familiar with Peters, he’s a Canadian comic born of Indian immigrant parents (a fact that comes up a lot in his stand-up act). He’s appeared in a number of Canadian TV shows, but also “Last Comic Standing” here in the states, Comedy Central specials and the movie “Chef” with John Favreau and Scarlett Johansen.
At the moment he’s on a world tour—dubbed the Almost Famous Tour—that’s taking him through the Far East and Europe before launching a North American leg which hits Borgata in May.
As Peters’ world tour shows, while he may be “almost famous” here in the U.S., his 25-year career has gained him a wide following around the world.
“People recognize me; some people recognize my face, some people know my name but don’t know what I look like, and some people just don’t know who I am,” Peters says in a recent interview with thehundu.com as his tour went through India. “So it’s not almost successful, because I’m definitely successful. So I’m just almost famous.”
When it comes to stand-up comedians, you always kind of wonder what they’re going to talk about onstage.
You know, will it be that observational humor—What’s up with kitchen magnets?—or are they the storyteller kind of comic—One time I went to a Red Lobster with my friends and ordered chicken, well let me tell you.
With Kathy Griffin, who appears at Borgata’s Event Center March 14, you know exactly what she’s going to talk about – celebrity dirt.
It is storytelling, but storytelling with backstage celebrity buzz and gossip … you know, the good stuff.
Fans of Griffin and her gazillion Bravo comedy specials—including her 2011 special “Tired Hooker“ filmed on location at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa—get the inside dirt on everything Griffin sees, hears and experiences as she works her way around Hollywood on the D-list.
Which makes it all the more interesting that she’s been mysteriously quiet on the recent controversy at–and now her decision to leave–E’s “Fashion Police.”
We don’t want to hit this too hard on our friendly little blog—you can Google it—but we just have to wonder, how long can Griffin ever stay quiet about anything?
February was always a big month for George and Martha Washington as well as Abe and Mary Todd Lincoln, what with Valentine’s Day and George and Abe’s birthday both being in February.
And so, the Washingtons and Lincolns partied down in February. George and Martha would give each other colonial-era-appropriate gifts like molasses candies (in heart-shape boxes) and some nice wood varnish for George’s oral hygiene (you know, wooden teeth.) Then they’d have cherry pie.
Abe would give Mary agita and she famously gave him little wood log pieces he could make toy log cabins out of, hence the birth of Lincoln logs. Then they’d pitch pennies, which was like throwing little Lincoln commemorative medallions around.
Now, of course, it’s entirely possible that none of this really happened—because we totally just made it up—but the point is when February lines-up Valentine’s Day and Presidents’ Day together on the calendar, it’s time to party.
And nobody does holiday weekend parties like Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, where this year we get to combine both our romantic Valentine’s offerings with the star-packed entertainment and promotions of another Presidents’ Day Weekend in Atlantic City.
From Friday, February 13 to Monday, February 16, Borgata has something for everyone.
When comic Lisa Lampanelli takes the stage—as she will February 15 at Borgata’s Event Center—she’s not exactly subtle about what you can expect.
Things are going to get rough.
Lampenelli dubs herself comedy’s Queen of Mean—though a lovable Queen of Mean—and even uses the web address insultcomic.com for her website. That’s pretty much telling it like it is.
Brash, dirty, politically incorrect, really dirty, unsettling, really, really dirty, savage – look, the chick is dirty … they’re all pretty accurate descriptions of Lampanelli’s act.
And in recent years, thanks to appearances on Howard Stern’s Sirius radio show (where he can go off uncensored) as well as a host of Comedy Central roasts and her own HBO comedy special “Long Live the Queen,” Lampanelli’s stock keeps rising. It also didn’t hurt that she was on season five of “Celebrity Apprentice.”
Lampanelli comes to Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa this time out as a changed woman. Oh, she’ll still skewer anyone—including herself—but coming off a failed marriage, she’s lost about 100 pounds and has given herself a new look.
“It’s so dramatic, I don’t recognize myself. I want to get out and date properly now that my divorce is final. Those experiences will make for great stories in the future shows,” Lampanelli recently told the Las Vegas Sun.
For couples looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day date, a lot of petty well-worn, almost clichéd scenarios come to mind. There’s the flowers, the candy, candlelight dinner, slow dancing at a romantic lounge … you know the drill.
Nothing wrong with going with the classics.
But for some it might be time to shake things up a little. And Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa may have the perfect Valentine’s Day show to do just that—Comedian Artie Lange appearing at The Music Box.
Loud, obnoxious, offensive, dirty, funny as hell … Lange just screams Valentine’s Day.
Truthfully, the former Howard Stern sidekick brings an unbelievable honesty to his stand-up act, unapologetically discussing the dark side of a life marred by heroin addiction, depression and a suicide attempt, all outlined in his book Crash and Burn.
Lange is a survivor, though anyone who follows his Twitter account (or his new podcast) knows controversy is never far away.
But there’s one thing you can’t deny about Lange … he’s funny.
Here’s a sample.
“I’ve never been swimming, and that’s because it’s never been more than half an hour since I last ate.”