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.
The boxing world is all abuzz these days as we count down to the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao fight May 2 from Las Vegas.
And rightly so. A fight this big hasn’t come around in years.
Call it the “Fight of the Century” (Hey, we’re 15 years into the century now), as this welterweight championship fight between eight-division world champion Pacquiao and undefeated, five-division world champion Mayweather is a boxing fan’s dream—one that’s been stewing for more than five years as details of the fight were worked out.
And while the super fight may have been banished to the dusty confines of Nevada, Borgata and Atlantic City are right on top of the action. In fact, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa offers up the best viewing package you’ll see on the East Coast.
Tickets to our private big screen viewing at The Music Box on fight night went fast, but that hardly leaves fight fans out in the cold.
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa is transforming itself into Mayweather vs. Pacquiao land as the fight will be on our screens all over Borgata.
When push came to shove, even Geraldo Rivera knew who to turn to when he needed to pack in an audience during the final challenge of “Celebrity Apprentice.”
He went with Tony Orlando.
Because really, who doesn’t love Tony Orlando?
If you were around at all in the 1970s, the mere mention of Orlando’s name starts the tune “Knock Three Times” playing in your head.
Of course, that’s just one of the hits Orlando, now 71, will bring with him to Borgata’s Music Box for a May 15 concert (not to mention one of the great mustaches in entertainment history).
Orlando’s run with two different incarnations of Tony Orlando and Dawn (most famously with Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson) produced a number of hits that have a way of sticking in your head such as “Candida,” “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree” and “He Don’t Love You (Like I Love You).”
From there it was a successful TV run with “The Tony Orlando and Dawn Show” and 70s super-stardom.
Not bad for a former singer who had found a career in the business and producing side of music before being lured back to performing.
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).
In 1973, when a teenage Marie Osmond released her No. 1 country hit “Paper Roses”—her first released single—some may have written her off as just another Osmond—albeit the prettiest—on the scene.
And really, how long could this Osmond thing go on?
Turns out for a pretty long time. Going on 42 years now.
Marie Osmond has been a lot of things in her career—singer, actress, author, doll maker, TV host (including the Miss America Pageant), Broadway star and a screenwriter. Whether singing with her family, her brother Donny or as a solo act, Osmond has endured a lot longer than any paper rose.
On March 13 Marie Osmond brings her solo show to Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa performing at The Music Box.
It’s important to note that this is a solo show at Borgata as Marie is so closely associated with her brother Donny. The two have performed together as an in-house staple at Las Vegas’ Flamingo Hotel since 2008 with one of the most popular shows there.
But in Atlantic City, Marie will take The Music Box stage offering up an intimate evening dubbed “My Life Through Music,” exploring a career that started with an appearance on The Andy Williams Show when she was only three years old as part of the Osmond Brothers (though she rarely performed with the group through her career).
Since then, it’s easier to list what Marie hasn’t done in showbiz than what she has.
There are certain things you always have to admire about a rock star who has been making hits since the 1970s and still keeps going.
Endurance, sure … adaptability, OK … talent, of course.
Versatility—now that’s the key.
Take a guy like Mike Rutherford, one of the founding members of the rock group Genesis.
Right off the bat that’s enough for a career—to be one of the founding members and bassist for 70s (and 80s) rock giants Genesis, a group inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.
But in Rutherod’s case, it’s much more than that. After all, he’s been bassist, rhythm guitar and lead guitar for the band as well as one of the group’s principal song writers through all of Genesis’ incarnations.
That’s the Peter Gabriel Genesis and the Phil Collins Genesis.
Rutherford wrote the lyrics for some of the band’s biggest international hits, such as “Follow You Follow Me”, “Turn It On Again”, “Land of Confusion” and “Throwing It All Away”.
So that’s pretty versatile right? Enough to make you want to see Rutherford and Genesis at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa right?
Wrong. Genesis isn’t coming. Rutherford is coming with his other band Mike & the Mechanics on March 6 at the Music Box.
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.”