Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A birthday celebration for a Las Vegas comedy icon

Who knew a birthday party for an 80-year-old could be so much fun?  When it's a comedy roast/book release party/fundraiser and the man of the hour is Las Vegas stand-up comedy icon Cork Proctor, well... how could it be anything but fun? 

The showroom at the Southpoint Casino was place to be on Sunday afternoon, with every "Vegas Who's Who" in attendance.

"Cork roast"

Comedy roasts are always so much fun, and in this case the average age of the roasters was, well, let's just say their AARP cards weren't exactly newly minted.  One thing I realize--the older you get, the stronger your comedy muscle gets.  That was proven by the quality of the material--and ad libbing--we were treated to.  Hilarious.

After the show I got a chance to talk with roaster Sammy Shore, who co-founded the legendary Comedy Store in Hollywood back in the 70s. 

Me and Sammy Shore

Sammy was pleased to hear that I'm primarily a writer--comics need to write well--and offered me some words of wisdom about aging.  "It's all about attitude," he told me.  "It doesn't matter how old you are or [motioning to his body] what's going on down here.  It's all about what you've got from the neck up."

That may be true when it comes to comedy, but for some gals, their ability to make a living depends primarily on what they offer from the neck down.  Wow, you wouldn't believe the bodies on these broads!  (I say "broads" cuz I talk Old Vegas-y now.)  Seriously!  My BFF and fellow blogger Lisa Gioia Acres saved me the best seat in the house right in front of the podium and I can tell you, these dames (dames!) are walking perfection.

"One of these things is not like the other..."

God-damn, I would love to be a showgirl!  I wouldn't have to worry about my crappy hair and it would be much more fun than becoming a nun or turning Muslim just to wear the scarf.

Speaking of hair, I have to go on a tangent for a second.  [Begin tangent] The other night I was worrying about what I would do with my hair if I were a black woman.  I know I should probably worry about other things since the chances of my waking up some morning as a black woman are probably not that good (though I would LOVE to see the expression on Mike's face), but anyway I was thinking I would forget the weaves and wigs and just go with a cut closer to my head.   Then who sits across from me at the roast but this striking woman with MY haircut!

She's a hundred times more beautiful in real life!

Well, that just sealed the deal.  See?  Everything has a way of working itself out.  Now I have one less thing to worry about. [End tangent]

Anyway, if my new career as a showgirl falls through, I have a plan B.  At the bar after the show, Lisa introduced me to a new friend who with a totally straight face said I should be a foot model.  I am blessed with a Cinderella size 6, you know, and it does sound more interesting than that blah-blah technical writing I do.

Oh, I can't tell you how much fun I had!  The event, which benefited Opportunity Village, was produced by my friend Carolyn Hamilton, who was Carolyn Proctor back when I met her years ago through the Henderson Writers Group.  That's right; she's Cork's (much younger) ex-wife.  Not every woman gets to roast her ex in public (though some write books about them.)  Several months ago Carolyn moved to Ecuador (!?), and interestingly, it looks like Cork will be joining her soon.  So this was also a sort of going away party as well.

I love to hear about exes who get along post-divorce!  Hell, I'll be sharing a stage next month with my first ex.  I love both of my ex-husbands, and yes, my book about ex #2 really is a love story.  I love all my ex-boyfriends, too.  How can I not?  They're wonderful men! 

One last thing--I have to mention Cork's book, My Mind Is an Open Mouth: A Life Behind the Mic.  I just started it last night and I am digging it.  If you're interested in a first-person account of old Las Vegas--Cork worked as a lifeguard at the Sahara as a teenager--then you'll love this book, too.

Oh, I just thought of one more thing.  Looking at Cork Proctor, you'd NEVER believe he's 80.  I swear, he could easily pass for 15 years younger.   Years of laughing, people.  That's the conclusion I'm drawing.

Look at that freakin' hair!

Aaaah, Las Vegas.  There's no place like it!

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