From: Norm Johnson

For: Column for 02-19-2022


We (there was four of us) were part of a herd of media types who were ushered inside a new clubhouse, after spending a couple of minutes (actually nearly an hour of imbibing in our favorite beverage) as we waited to see what was new at the Strat. First off the bat there was one notable absence at the grand opening of the L.A. Comedy Club’s new Dragon Room at The STRAT Hotel, Casino & SkyPod the other night - facemasks. “We’re so happy to be able to finally see the smiles we are putting on faces,” said co-owner, Joaquin Trujillo.


The award-winning comedy club, known as the spot “where comedy comes to party,” celebrated the grand opening of its brand new, custom-built Dragon Room with a party and show. The new space, located on the main casino floor, is nearly double the size of the L.A. Comedy Club’s previous Dragon Room on the retail level with more than 270 seats, plus a cocktail bar and lounge.  


“No more mask jokes,” said L.A. Comedy Club regular comic Butch Bradley when asked what he was most looking forward to. It was a popular topic for the comics tonight, which included the evening’s headliner, the very funny JC Currais who has made appearances on ”Conan” and Comedy Central as well as recurring roles on Disney Channel’s “Just Roll With It” and Fox’s “Lethal Weapon.”


L.A. Comedy Club’s other resident comedians, James Michael of Redneck Comedy Magic, and Bret Ernst, who can be seen nightly at either the 6 p.m. or 10 p.m. shows, were part of the packed lineup this particular evening. Other comics on hand to lend support to the new club,  included Stoner Rob, Jason Outlaw, Carlos “Anthony” Simmons, Gabe Nolasco, Amir “Amiracle” Kalil, Bobby Wayne Stauts, Adam “Spiro” Siavelis, Liz Stone, Carlos Rodriguez, Bruce Purcell, George “GeBo” Bonilla, Joe Caliz, William Strange and Edwin San Juan. In addition, The STRAT’s very own Banachek, headliner of “Banachek’s Mind Games Live,” and the stunning cast of FANTASY from the Luxor Hotel & Casino,, one of the most awarded and successful shows in Las Vegas, were present to commemorate the occasion.


Prior and during the show, the more than 300 guests were buzzing with excitement not just over the new Dragon Room opening, but in the removal of the mask mandate. “I forgot how ugly the bottom half of faces can be,” joked Ernst as he put his arm about fellow comic, Bradley. All four of us were in total agreement.  I have to mention it’s a wee bit of a walk to find the new club, but it’s definitely worth it


The L.A. Comedy Club, dubbed “The younger rebel brother of Improv” by Casino Player Magazine, has been entertaining Las Vegas locals and visitors since 2007 in a much smaller venue inside the Strat. Known as the spot “where comedy comes to party,” the repeat “Best of Las Vegas” gold award winner was moved to its custom-built 270-seat showroom on the main casino floor at The STRAT Hotel, Casino & SkyPod as a thank you by the new hotel management. 


The club’s nightly, three-show lineup includes James Michael’s Redneck Comedy Show at 6 p.m.; a rotating selection of top national touring headliners nightly at 8 p.m.; comedian Butch Bradley at 10 p.m. Thursday through Monday; and comedian Bret Ernst at 10 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday. Guests must be 18 years or older to attend. Ticket prices start at $39.95 plus taxes and fees, with the option to purchase L.A. Comedy’s famous “$25 All You Can Drink Special.” Nevada locals with valid ID receive 50 percent off. More information is available at


The STRAT Hotel, Casino & SkyPod, formerly the Stratosphere, Casino, Hotel & Tower, has introduced a full reinvention of the iconic property since Golden Entertainment, Inc. took ownership in late 2017. Located on the north Strip at the gateway to the Arts District at 2000 S. Las Vegas Blvd., the hotel offers 2,427 guest rooms, including the newly remodeled “Elevate” series rooms and suites, and an 80,000-square-foot casino. The SkyPod, located at the top of the iconic tower at 1,149 feet high, is comprised of Top of the World, serving award-winning cuisine in a 360-degree rotating dining room on the 106th floor; the Observation Deck, which offers Sky-Jump Powered by MTN DEW, 108 Eats and 108 Drinks, located on the 108th floor; and thrill rides, located at the top of the tower, including: Big Shot, Insanity and X-Scream. The STRAT’s main floor has introduced PT’s Wings & Sports, View Lounge and STRAT Café, each offering chef-driven cuisine; the William Hill Sports Book; and REMIX Lounge. The STRAT offers two resort-style pools, WET24, located on the rooftop of the 24th floor, open seasonally: and the Elation Pool, with three oversized spas and poolside café. A variety of shows and entertainment include “Banachek’s Mind Games Live,” a mentalist act; Xavier Mortimer: The Dream Maker, an illusionist show; iLuminate, a multi-sensory blend of dance and technology; and L.A. Comedy Club, which showcases up-and-coming stand-up comics. Free valet and self-parking are available anytime for all guests.

So, gang, if you haven’t been in the area of the Strat, make it a point to visit.  The entrance is great and easy to get to. I think you will enjoy all the changes.



Chart-topping country music group Midland will bring its talent to the pre-race stage to headline festivities for the Pennzoil 400 Presented by Jiffy Lube on Sunday, March 6 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Known for such hits as “Drinkin’ Problem” and “Burn Out”, Midland will make its first appearance ever at the Speedway prior to the annual NASCAR Cup Series race.

“We’re thrilled to have one of country’s hottest acts kick off the Pennzoil 400,” said LVMS President Chris Powell. “Midland is incredibly popular with our race fans, and we know the guys will put on a great show to get everyone’s motor running for the green flag.”

It will be the second of back-to-back performances in Las Vegas for the trio. Midland will headline at The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, part of Curio Collection by Hilton, on Saturday, March 5 as a segment of its Last Resorts Tour. The band is expected to take the stage at the speedway at approximately 11 a.m.


Tickets for the Pennzoil 400 still remain by visiting or calling 1-800-644-4444 and stage-front passes for Midland can be found here. For tickets to see Midland at The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, please click here.

The race weekend kicks off with the annual Hauler Parade on Las Vegas Blvd. on Thursday night, March 3. Racing starts Friday, March 4 with truck and Xfinity practice and qualifying followed by the Victoria’s Voice 200 Presented by Westgate Resorts NASCAR Camping WorldTruck Series race. Saturday begins with Cup Series practice and qualifying followed by the Alsco 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race, and of course the big event on Sunday with the NASCAR Cup Race.

LIGHT Nightclub, located at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, reopened last Saturday night following a two-year closure with an energetic performance by hip-hop legend, Wyclef Jean. The prolific artist arrived at LIGHT around 12:30 a.m., enjoying a lavish VIP table with friends before hitting the stage. During his performance, he walked into the crowd and around the room, dancing and singing with fans.  

As the night continued, the party got even hotter in Las Vegas, with the addition of Green Bay Packers’ players, Amari Rodgers, Eric Stokes Jr., Kylin Hill and Shemar Jean-Charles. Jean greeted the table with a freestyle rap.  

Reopening after nearly a two-year closure, LIGHT Nightclub has been a Las Vegas hot spot since 2013, offering a world-class sound system and the most prominent LED screens in town. LIGHT has reopened its doors, hosting DJs and live performances from some of the music industry’s top entertainers providing the ultimate party. 

 LIGHT’s DJs play a wide range of popular hits. Performers and dancers immerse the crowd in a pulsating party vibe set to state-of-the-art sound and lighting. LIGHT’s massive LED screens captivate the senses, and a world-class sound system keeps energy high. LIGHT is open Friday and Saturday nights from 10:30 p.m. – 4 am. More information is available on the website and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter


Come one, come all to Cheapshot, a palace of varieties at 517 E. Fremont St. Suite 100 opening in early April. Presented by the notorious “Miss Behave” Amy Saunders, and Corner Bar Management, the creators behind some of Vegas’ most imaginative destinations, Cheapshot will showcase loose, live, and down ‘n’ dirty entertainment.

“Showbiz runs through our blood at Cheapshot,” said Saunders, maestro of entertainment for Cheapshot. “Wwithout the need to play it safe, we’re taking it back to the wild times of the old school Vegas showrooms and lounges.”

Draped in rich reds with touches of gold accentuated by soft lighting, Cheapshot will reign as the most intimate showroom and discotheque in Las Vegas at 3,000 square feet with seating for 99. Elegant booths and plush seating will surround the stage, which will present an ever-changing lineup of bawdy performances. Bartenders will serve cheap, stiff drinks with a wink and a grin, priming the audience for a night of irreverent entertainment. 

The entertainment lineup will be unpredictable and wide-ranging. “It will be weirdly sexy,” said Doherty, founder of Corner Bar Management. “Downtown Vegas is the Strip’s naughty little sister and Cheapshot captures that live and loose feeling. Like anything could happen.”

Saunders, a fabulously outlandish performer, and curator who has spent the last 20+ years entertaining audiences as her alter ego, Miss Behave, will orchestrate entertainment for Cheapshot. One of the original stars of Absinthe and the award-winning global phenomenon, La Soiree, she is a trailblazer in the modern variety scene. She has produced multiple critically acclaimed variety shows, acquired Guinness World Records for sword-swallowing, and ran an anarchic festival favorite venue, Mavericks, at the Glastonbury Festival. She brought her cult smash, "The Miss Behave Gameshow,” to Las Vegas; where it became a local favorite, awarded “Best Strip Secret” and “Most Outrageous Show” during its three-year run on the Strip.

With a long-time obsession for Downtown Las Vegas, Saunders has sought to bring her brand of irreverence and showbiz to the original home of entertainment, Fremont East. A sneak peek at the early programing will be available soon on Cheapshot’s