Norm Johnson

With the streets of Nevada filling up with visitors wearing cowboy boots and hats, it’s only natural that the Laugh Factory, located on the mezzanine level of the New Tropicana Las Vegas, would have one of the top cowboy comedians booked for the week of Monday, Dec. 5 through Sunday, Dec. 11, John Wesley Austin.  Sharing the stage will be Marc Yaffee and host Cisco.

Austin’s ability to make humor comes from 20 plus years of working the rodeo circuit, and it shows in his lightning fast, side splitting, and sometimes-outrageous stand-up comedy. His observational humor continues to captivate audiences, throughout the country! JWA shoots off one-liners about real-life topics like married life, sex, NASCAR, fishing, bein’ poor, school zones, and many more. His analytical, down-home approach, exhilarates fans everywhere.

When he picks up the guitar, the crowd is treated to parodies of familiar country songs, and some of his hysterical original numbers, like, "One Legged Country Girl" which has been heard on the syndicated radio programs, John Boy & Billy's Big Show, The Bob & Tom Show, Clear Channel's Big D & Bubba, Bob & Sheri, & The Dr. Demento Show!!!  JWA has appeared in concert with Aaron Tippin, Rascal Flatts, Radney Foster, Ricky Van Shelton, Tammy Wynette, and The Oak Ridge Boys.  You can hear John Wesley being broadcast nationwide on XM/Sirius Satellite Radio's Comedy Channels.

Yaffee is an award-winning comedian featured on the Showtime special, “Goin’ Native: The American Indian Comedy Slam.” Marc has also been seen on the PBS special, Crossing the Line, SiTV’s, The Latino Laugh Festival and Comics Unleashed with Byron Allen. He has been heard on Sirius XM Radio, Bob & Tom, and NPR, and is a founding member of the Pow Wow Comedy Jam, who were honored as North American Indigenous Image Awards’ Comedians of the Year, and the National Indian Gaming Association’s Entertainers of the Year. Yaffee has performed overseas for the troops in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. He won the Ventura Comedy Festival’s Funniest Person Contest in 2012, and is a guest columnist for Indian Country Today Media Network.

Cisco is an American comedian, made with Mexican parts. His name is not of the household variety… yet! But, Cisco has been taking the necessary steps to arrive at that exclusive destination. His bilingual talents have made him a stand-up success in London, Mexico City, and Los Angeles, as well as other metropolitan cities, always leaving a great and impression behind. Cisco has co-produced, written, and starred on "Locos y Contentos" a stand-up comedy/sketch variety show and is also a co-producer of the Cabo Comedy Festival where he performs as well (English and Spanish).  Currently, Cisco is involved in an untitled project for ABC, with creator/writer/producer Lee Aronsohn (Two and a Half Men, Big Bang Theory).

Show times are 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Tickets range from $34.95 to $54.95. Call 702-739-2411.



Frank LaSpina will once again emcees the Eighth Annual "LaSpina Family & Friends Christmas Concert," this Sunday, December 4th, with the show kicking off at 4:00 p.m., at the Italian American Club, 2333 E. Sahara Ave. Special guest and veteran Las Vegas entertainer Glenn Williams joins Frank to present an all-star cast of student performers from the Musical Arts Scholarship Program with proceeds from the 90-minute show benefiting the non-profit organization.


The talented young cast will perform such Yuletide favorites as "Sleigh Ride", "Winter Wonderland", "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree", "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas".

The festivities are capped off with an audience sing-a-long. Join in the fun, while helping a great cause!  Tickets are only $20 and can be obtained online at or by calling (702) 469-3902.

In view of the recent passing of Fidel Castro, here's a little story passed on to me by my friend:


Many years ago, when my friend, casino/hotel general manager Ron Erickson was just getting started at the Sands Hotel, he had a mentor named Charles "Babe" Baron.  Baron was an owner at the world-famous Sands Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip and had a colorful past including once owning a casino in Cuba.

In the evening, Baron would sit at the first table inside the Sands Lounge and entertain an absolute list of who's who, ranging from politics, sports, and entertainment. And frequently he would ask Erickson to sit at the table. One night Ron accepted the invitation to have a cup of coffee (he was working) and a few minutes later, Baron excused himself--someone was signaling him from the pit.  A few seconds later the phone rang and Erickson, knowing it wasn't for him, let it ring a few times before answering and saying "Charles Baron's table..." But he never finished the sentence. The voice on the other end said "Charlie, this is Fidel."

Erickson quickly explained he wasn't Baron but would get him which he did. A few hours later Baron saw Erickson and said "you know who that was, don't you?" Erickson said he thought he did. Baron just put his finger to his lips in a "quiet" gesture and it was never mentioned again.

So, if Erickson ever tells you he had a few words with Fidel Castro, he isn't lying. Aw, the good old days.


Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall is spreading holiday cheer again, with an all-new laser light show at Mystic Falls Park. The Winter Wonderland show opened the free show last Tuesday, during a tree lighting ceremony hosted by Boyd Gaming Executive Chairman Bill Boyd.  The Mystic Falls Park’s laser light show equipment was upgraded throughout 2016, and will offer several new shows, with the premiere of the new holiday-inspired show being the first to debut. Comprehensive upgrades include updates to the show’s control equipment, sound system, lighting effects and fountain effects. The multi-colored lasers, imagery, new water features and a new soundtrack enhance the show for a mesmerizing experience.

The nine-minute holiday show features a variety of classic holiday songs, including “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “Let It Snow,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Frosty the Snowman,” and many more. The musical selections as well as the coordinated effects have been completely re-choreographed for a brand-new show experience. Performances run daily and occur every hour, beginning at 5:00 p.m.

In addition to the new laser light show, Sam’s Town is also debuting a new look for its holiday decorations. The theme to the décor gives guests a glimpse inside Santa’s workshop, from elves making toys to loading up Santa’s sleigh with goodies for children. Guests can even see the man himself when Cowboy Santa visits the park. Cowboy Santa will be in the Mystic Falls Park gazebo beginning this Friday, Nov. 25, on Thursdays and Fridays from 4 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 8:30 p.m. Cowboy Santa will visit Sam’s Town through Friday, Dec. 23.

While the decorations and laser light show may be new, Sam’s Town is bringing back its annual tradition of hosting a cell phone drive for Cell Phones for Soldiers. Guests are encouraged to bring cell phones and chargers to the B Connected desk or hotel front desk through Wednesday, Nov. 30. Each donated device provides a service member with nearly two and a half hours of free talk time. Guests who donate cell phones will receive one free dining coupon to Firelight Buffet with the purchase of another buffet.


In 2008, Producer Greg Thompson had three shows running in Las Vegas.  The recession hit and Thompson packed his bags and gave up his career as a "producer of casino shows" and began a new career producing theatrical shows and special events. His one woman play, “Marilyn Forever Blonde,” starring his wife Sunny Thompson, has for the past eight years toured the world, thrilling audiences and receiving critical acclaim.

Thompson says it's so much nicer today to be called an "Award-Winning American Playwright" instead of "... that Vegas guy with the showgirls!"


This week Thompson will open his "2nd Annual Summerlin Holiday Parade" at the Downtown Summerlin Mall running every Friday and Saturday at 6pm beginning this week, through December 16th, and then every night through Christmas Eve. The Summerlin Holiday Parade features spectacular lighted floats, dancers, costumed characters, and Santa Claus all choreographed by Mistinguett.


When asked why Thompson had moved from "Showgirls to Santa" Thompson replied........"I'm now a Grandpa...I can't take the 4-year-old and the 6-year-old to see "Skintight!".


Well, gang, that’s it for another week. I’m outa here!