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CARROT TOP - EIGHT YEARS ON TOP AT THE LUXOR!

CARROT TOP
EIGHT YEARS ON TOP AT THE LUXOR!

INTERVIEW - MARLA SANTOS
PHOTOGRAPHY - DENISE TRUSCELLO

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The big, flaming red curls crowning his head are the signature trademark of this hilarious comedian, making him instantaneously recognizable. Who else could wear such a hairstyle and pull it off? Men and women alike flock to his show in Las Vegas because the laughter he creates in them is so therapeutic, that they return time and time again. Celebrating eight years of sold-out crowds at the Luxor Hotel and Casino, Carrot Top has become a Vegas icon.

Born Scott Thompson in Cocoa Beach, Florida – his father, Larry Thompson, was a rocket scientist for NASA, who worked on the Gemini and Apollo missions. Scott’s journey in life after college veered so far off the mainstream path, that most parents would be holding their head in their hands, saying: “Really? Really?!” But being true to himself, Scott decided to stick to small comedy gigs, toting around trunks of silly props and inventions. After appearing on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 1992, his stage act became bigger and more outrageous, using strobe lights, laser beams, fog machines and rock ‘n roll music. He became an opening act at rock concerts, and went from working small clubs in the late ‘80s to becoming the highest grossing touring comedian in America by the late ‘90s. Scott claims: “I went from two trunks and a strobe light to an 18-wheeler and 35 trunks full of props—from a Yugo to a tour bus for the crew and myself. I actually had to hire people to carry my props. It got pretty crazy, pretty fast.”

Carrot Top’s show at the Luxor is part stand-up and part rock concert. It is brilliant, full of energy, and will make you laugh until you think you’ll burst. Inside this highly-wired comedian is an artist who is a much more mellow and down-to-earth person than the one we see on stage, and one who is deeply passionate about giving back to the community of Las Vegas. On this celebratory occasion of continued success on the Vegas Strip, we find a man who is truly grateful for his upbringing, his career, his friends, and the path that he veered onto, to become known as Carrot Top.

STRIPLV: Congratulations! Eight years of packing them in at the Luxor!
CARROT TOP: Holy-Moly! Isn’t that crazy?! For some reason, I feel like it just started, and it’s gone by so fast.
STRIPLV: You have said: “Comics don’t like to see other comics do well.” Why do you think that is?
CARROT TOP: I don’t think it’s just comics, I think that can be true across the board in any profession. The old saying is that “People love success, they just don’t like successful people.” With comics, it’s them poking fun, and loving to dig on other comics. With any success, you get a lot of feedback. When I first started, no one would make fun of me, because no one knew who I was. But when I got a little bit of success, people started making jokes about me. Justin Bieber deserves to get ridiculed when he does the stuff he does. Did you see the picture of him being carried up the steps of the Great Wall of China on his bodyguard’s back? It’s just silly. Now, he should get back to reality.
STRIPLV: Is there another comic that you call your true friend?
CARROT TOP: I have a lot of comics that are true friends. I love hanging out with comics. We’re such a fraternity, and I can’t think of one comic that doesn’t love sitting around having a cup of coffee with another comic. Seinfeld has a show that’s called “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee”. Every week, it’s a different comic and a different car that represents the comic’s personality. They go get coffee and chat for half an hour. It’s really funny.
STRIPLV: You and Criss Angel seem to have a good friendship. Is it real or just for publicity?
CARROT TOP: No, no, it’s for real! I see him every night when we pull in to work. He’s a very nice man, and he put me in his TV shows and we’ve done collaborative stuff together.
STRIPLV: There’s a saying that goes: “If you can count on one hand, five really good friends in a lifetime, then you are very lucky.” Are your five mostly entertainers or just regular people?
CARROT TOP: I think that it’s probably not all five in show business. They’d be people that I’ve grown up with that are good friends. My assistant and crew have been with me for almost 25 years.
STRIPLV: The same people?
CARROT TOP: Yes. They are probably the closest people around me.
STRIPLV: Wow, that really says a lot about you!
CARROT TOP: Yes, it’s really rare to have that, I know. We have such a close family and when we go into work every night, it’s like my family, and it’s great!
STRIPLV: Your father was a rocket scientist for NASA. What do you remember about your childhood, family dinners, and your parents’ expectations of you?
CARROT TOP: I remember growing up in a family that was far from a showbiz family. My dad worked at NASA and he would take us to the rocket launches out at the Cape. I would be dragging my feet, not wanting to go to the launch and watch these stupid rockets go off. I had absolutely no appreciation for what he did until I got older. When I was in college, people would say: “Your dad works at NASA? Holy crap! What’s that like?” I’d tell them that he works with the astronauts and stuff. It never really dawned on me until later in life, when I could really appreciate the fact that my dad had a pretty cool job and was like a rock star, himself. The expectations are high growing up with a father who was a brainiac kind of guy. My brother took his path and went into the Air Force Academy, got a degree in aeronautics, and also had a scholarship for swimming. He was like the perfect pupil. He had the smarts, good looks, scholarship, Air Force Academy… and here I am, wanting to go be a comic. My parents didn’t really understand what that meant. I did want to go to college, and I didn’t want to be a comic until my first year in school. Even then, I was just doing it for fun and to make some money, which wasn’t much for the level I was at. I finished up with a degree in marketing and then I had a couple of gigs come my way, so I took them. I thought that when the gigs ran out, I’d get a job, but they were just enough to pay my bills. I remember a discussion with my father who said: “What are you doing for work?” I told him I was doing comedy shows on the weekends. He asked if that was paying the bills and I told him it was, because I didn’t have that many bills. He didn’t understand, and neither did I, that it was going to evolve into this. I finally ran out of gigs and I got odd jobs, like working in a bread store, and shucking oysters for maybe about a year when I didn’t know what I was going to do. One night, this couple came in for dinner at this oyster bar and told me: “You look so familiar. You look like this comedian we saw in Tampa. It’s so funny you look just like him.” I told them it was me and they asked me what I was doing shucking oysters. They said: “You should be a comedian, you’re so great!” A buddy called and asked if I wanted to do a New Year’s Eve gig at his club in Fort Myers, Florida. I took the job and never turned back.
STRIPLV: What was your plan B? Did you think you’d work for an ad agency?
CARROT TOP: I honestly don’t know, but things just fell into place.
STRIPLV: You obviously have inherited the intelligence from your father, but put it to different use. Do you have a hard time shutting off or calming your brain so you can sleep?
CARROT TOP: Absolutely! That’s the hardest part, because my brain’s going all day while gearing up to do the show. Then after the show, it’s gearing down. When people meet me in person, they tell me that I’m so quiet and not manic and running around. Not really! I watch sports and Letterman and Leno on TV and see if I’m talking about the same topics that they are, and keeping up with the news.
STRIPLV: Where did the humor come from—was it always in the way you looked at things from when you were very young?
CARROT TOP: I guess so. I remember my father was kind of funny with a dry sense of humor. My mother always told me I was the class clown. I never got in trouble, but she said that I was always the one entertaining everybody. I think I was always trying to make people feel good.
STRIPLV: At what age did you let your hair grow and become naturally wild?
CARROT TOP: During college I was dating this girl and she told me that my hair would be cute if it was longer. I grew it long, cut it, and then let it grow again.
STRIPLV: Was there a moment that you knew that your hair would become a trademark?
CARROT TOP: I knew when I made it my logo. I drew a stick figure of me with my hair all curly. I used the name Carrot Top even when my hair was short, because it was red. When I grew it long, I put it in pigtails and said: “Look, I’m the Wendy’s hamburger girl!” It was such a funny joke and it was such a staple that it just kind of became my look and part of my logo. I talk about it in my act and say: “I’m screwed, because I made this image and now I’m stuck, so I have to stay like this for you.” It’s cool.
STRIPLV: It’s so recognizable and a great trademark. Your bio says you were skinny as a child. Was that a big reason you wanted to buff up like you did—just to prove to yourself that you could?
CARROT TOP: I don’t know, just a typical male thing maybe. Every guy 

wants to have big arms. If you ask any guy living, walking and breathing, they would say: “Yeah! I’d love to have a nice body.” Every guy wonders: “How far can I go and how big can I get?” I don’t know if it was a psychological thing because I was so skinny, because that’s who I was and how I fit in with everybody. My brother was tall and muscular and I was always “Garrett’s little brother.” I was always the little brother and they would pick me up and I didn’t have a problem with it. I thought it was part of my charm that I was a little skinny guy. I was always athletic, a swimmer, wrestler, and played the necessary sports in school. I’ve been lifting weights since I was sixteen, when I went to the gym every night while I was in high school. If you look at old pictures, I always had a muscular build until about five years ago, when I really just went crazy and said I was going to get big and more muscular. Now I’m back to my normal self. It was just too much to lift that much weight and eat that much food. You become this big guy and it just didn’t fit my personality. I was at an event last night and I must have had 100 people say: “Oh my God, you look so good. You look like you’re back to little Carrot Top.”
STRIPLV: Did you find that you attracted more sexual partners when you were big?
CARROT TOP: I don’t really think it attracted anything. I think it detracted, to tell you the truth. I think it took away from everything, because it was too much. They would see me and then go: “Have you seen Carrot Top? He’s huge!! He’s like a bodybuilder huge!” Personally, for my image, it didn’t fit me. I now run about 5 miles a day and do the lean stuff.
STRIPLV: What would you say to young men who want to do the same thing and pump up that much?
CARROT TOP: It really depends. I have a lot of friends, that if it works for their image, it’s fine.
STRIPLV: It must take a lot of time in the gym.
CARROT TOP: Literally, I would work out 3 hours a day at the gym. It was so time consuming and it was a lifestyle. I would eat four steaks, potatoes and rice and it started consuming my job and my life. It was a phase that lasted two years, but I still like to do some light weights to stay toned.

"I don't want to be big Carrot Top anymore."

STRIPLV: When you moved to Las Vegas, did you question whether you would become addicted to gambling?
CARROT TOP: It never entered my mind. I’ve never been into gambling and I’m very, very lucky, in that regard. On our night off, my girlfriend and I might go to a restaurant and then play a little bit for a while. Literally, about once every two months. I can honestly say, that I’ve never sat down and just gambled.
STRIPLV: So you obviously don’t have an addictive personality?
CARROT TOP: No, not at all. I’ve never had a drug problem or alcohol problem or smoked. I’m pretty boring, actually. I don’t really do anything. I do my show and go home, watch TV and play with my dog.
STRIPLV: But, you are constantly thinking of things.
CARROT TOP: Yeah, constantly creating things. I’m lucky I don’t have an addictive personality, living in this town. In this town, you have to be strong to live in it, for sure.
STRIPLV: Vegas is blessed with people with big hearts, giving to charities. You give a lot of time to charity. Do you just follow your heart?
CARROT TOP: I get requests everyday from people, and you can’t do them all, but there’s not that many that I’ve said no to. I get a lot of letters written to me that are just so heavy you just can’t say no, and you realize how good you’ve got it. It’s not hard at all to help and it takes such little time. It really makes me feel so good! That’s part of what’s so nice about being in this field and this entertainment thing, that you can make a difference. At the end of the day you feel really good. We have these guitars that we started signing. In Vegas, we always get eclectic people coming in to see the show. So I end up with stars and entertainers like the drummer from Queen in my dressing room, and other famous people that stop in and they sign the guitars. At the end of the year, we auction them off for different charities. We just did a pink one for Breast Cancer. I had this whole wall in my dressing room and we got the guitar companies to donate the guitars. Then when these famous people come in, I have them sign them. I’ve never had anyone say “no.” Of course they’re going to sign the guitar for charity. Sometimes people walk in and ask if I play guitar, but I tell them I don’t even know how to strum it. It’s strictly for charity. We get some really neat names on them, without having to do much.
STRIPLV: With all the publicity you get, you seem to keep your private life private. Is that hard to do?
CARROT TOP: My mom always gives me credit that I’ve never had anything bad show up about me. I told her: “Well, I don’t do anything bad!” I’m not in the tabloids or doing anything rotten. I live kind of a private life. I have my close friends and we usually go out and have dinner, and I don’t put myself in situations where there might be trouble.
STRIPLV: Do you do the social media thing?
CARROT TOP: I try to. I’m at that age where I have to force myself to do it.
STRIPLV: What kind of vacations do you find appealing – the ocean, the wilderness, or the big cities?
CARROT TOP: I like it all. It depends on the season. I love going snowboarding and that’s one of my favorite things to do. So in the winter, I hit the mountains. In the summer, I like to go to Frisco and Big Sur. Being a redhead, and living in Florida for a lot of my life, I don’t do the beaches anymore, but I like to surf. I do have a house in Orlando that I go back and forth to. My ideal vacation is just going home and sitting in my house in Orlando.
STRIPLV: What turns you on?
CARROT TOP: Everything turns me on! I love music and that’s my number one thing. I could just live on music and it puts me in such a good mood. I like watching movies, but I don’t have the patience to sit in a theater.
STRIPLV: What turns you off?
CARROT TOP: I don’t like ugly, mean people. It sounds very cliché, but any kind of negativity or rottenness – I just hate that! When I go to a concert and everyone’s having a good time, and then a fight breaks out, I don’t like that. What really turns me off is the news, to tell you the truth! The news is almost unwatchable, because it’s so bad and so depressing. It’s all bad! So I watch my sports and my entertainment shows.
STRIPLV: What’s your favorite curse word?
CARROT TOP: Oh it’s got to be “fuck!” There’s a scene in the new Robert De Niro movie called The Family. It’s really funny. There is a whole scene about that word that is pretty hilarious. I think it’s everyone’s favorite word!
STRIPLV: Is the Carrot Top we see on stage the real you or just a persona that you’re presenting?
CARROT TOP: It’s a little bit of me and a little bit character. It’s me, but a little more energetic and manic on stage than the me that’s mellow.
STRIPLV: What is something that would surprise people to know about you?
CARROT TOP: That I’m a big NASCAR fan.
STRIPLV: Have you ever done those high-speed racing cars out at the Speedway?
CARROT TOP: Yes, I have. It’s really cool! It’s scary, but it’s great. You’re out there going 150 miles per hour, and you’re by yourself, and you can’t do that anywhere else. You can’t do that going down the 15 without getting in trouble or killing someone. Out there, you can just go and be a madman!
STRIPLV: Tell me a crazy story about your fans.
CARROT TOP: I’ve had some crazies, but I’m not a rock star, so I don’t get that kind of crazy stuff. I get a lot of people that get tattoos of me, and I find that kind of interesting. I never thought I’d have one person have a Carrot Top tattoo, let alone like more than 30. I literally have fans that get Carrot Top tattoos on them. I like myself, but I don’t know whether I’d have a tattoo of Carrot Top on me. This one lady comes to my show all the time and I think she has about 6 different ones on her. She has one that’s of my face, and it’s about the size of a hand on the tramp stamp part of her back above her butt. I’ve never slept with this woman, and it’s the most bizarre thing ever! She couldn’t have been sweeter, and she said she loved it. It’s pretty cool and it’s BIG! Not a little tiny tattoo of a little carrot, but it’s like her whole back. That’s pretty crazy!!!

Carrot Top performs at the Luxor 8:30pm Wednesday through Monday.

10-in-10 with JANIEN VALENTINE

10-in-10 with
JANIEN VALENTINE

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Janien stepped on stage to sing with the Scinta family when it became obvious that Chrissi Scinta wouldn’t be able to open at The D with her brothers, Frankie and Joey, as planned. Janien shares the same heritage and same hometown as the Scintas, as a Sicilian from Buffalo, NY. Starting dance and music lessons at the young age of five, Janien landed her first recording contract at 16, but decided to continue her education at Niagara University, where she graduated cum laude. She moved to Vegas when she landed a starring role in Starlight Express. She has also starred in other musicals, such as Carmen, under the direction of Cirque founder, Franco Dragone. Janien appeared in the hit revue, Peepshow, for over three years, and sings with an opera trio named Poperazzi. This comedienne, actress and singer tries to live by the Helen Keller saying: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” Catch Janien at The D, singing with the Scintas, Wed-Sun evenings at 9:00pm.

STRIPLV: If not an entertainer, then what?
JANIEN: My guess is a teacher – I love kids.
STRIPLV: Favorite free time activity?
JANIEN: I love being with my family, but if I get any “me” time, you can catch me reading the latest thriller.
STRIPLV: What makes you happy?
JANIEN: I love cooking and sharing meals with friends, but I’d have to say, next to the obvious (my kids), I love singing and performing.
STRIPLV: What turns you on?
JANIEN: I love a strong man with a sense of humor.
STRIPLV: What turns you off?
JANIEN: I am turned off by anyone who is too clingy or needy.
STRIPLV: What excites you?
JANIEN: Traveling! I love experiencing new cultures and foods.
STRIPLV: If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would you choose?
JANIEN: I would definitely have dinner with Jesus. It would be amazing to gain firsthand knowledge of his journey both on this earth and after. If he could also share the meaning of life, I would be grateful!
STRIPLV: If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you would do?
JANIEN: Well, I know this is typical, but pay off my mortgage, and buy a new BMW, of course!
STRIPLV: One thing that’d surprise people?
JANIEN: I’m kind of a nerd. I love learning and I’m always trying to feed my brain. For instance, I’m currently taking a course on nutrition online.
STRIPLV: What’s something on your “bucket list” that you must do?
JANIEN: I must get to Sicily!!!

THE BEST $10 CIGAR IN AMERICA

THE BEST $10 CIGAR IN AMERICA
By Eddie Rivkin

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BEING THE BEST at anything is more often than not, arbitrary and an opinion. Even elections for leader of the free world are really nothing more than linguistic mating dances intended to win the opinion of the masses. Without a competition between individuals or teams, where they themselves conclusively determine the victor, “THE BEST” is at-best: an opinion by people that are hopefully educated in the field, in which they decry what’s “best.” I have been a happily degenerate cigar smoker since the late 1980’s. I have owned my own cigar company and operated stores both in the Las Vegas and abroad. I have also traveled to all major tobacco growing regions in Central and South America indulging in my passion, including multiple trips, as a guest, to ISOM. (If you are truly a cigar aficionado, a trip to ISOM is a trip to the Mecca and Paradise that you MUST experience!) Recently, I was asked to guess how many sticks (good, bad and indifferent) that I have smoked over the years. I fear (not really) the number could be in excess 15,000! Are those credentials enough to qualify me as an expert? That’s up to you, the readers, to decide. But when a good friend of mine, who wanted to start smoking, asked me what I thought was the best $10 cigar available in Las Vegas, I decided to find out. I took 6 solid months of smoking anything and everything I could get my hands on, foregoing my own personal favorites, to try to give my dear friend an absolutely perfect introduction into my favorite hobby.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE WINNER IS:
THE GRAN HABANO COROJO #5 TRIUMPH!

I had the opportunity to sit down with George Rico, a fourth generation cigar maker from Gran Habano Cigars now living in South Florida, to learn about the cigar, his company, and the great things they are bringing to market in the near future for cigar lovers.

ER: How long have you and your family been making cigars?
RICO: I’m fourth generation, as both a tobacco grower and a cigar maker. My family started growing cigars in Columbia, basically for domestic distribution and for sale here in the States.
ER: Tell me about the three core lines that started Gran Habano: The Connecticut (green packaging), Habano #3 (black), and the Corojo #5 (red).
RICO: The Connecticut is a very mild cigar and still very complex. It doesn’t have any spice or pepper bite at all. It has a very rich taste, yet is still truly a mild cigar. The Habano #3 is a medium-bodied cigar, maybe medium to full-bodied cigar, with a very complex taste, with just a hint of pepper. It has tobacco from Mexico, Columbia and Nicaragua, and the Habano wrapper is unique and grown at our farm in Jalapa Nicaragua. And the Corojo #5 is a pretty full-bodied cigar, with tobacco from Nicaragua, Panama, and a sun-grown wrapper also from our farm in Jalapa.
ER: How many cigars a year do you produce?
RICO: I expect this year the final number will be a little more than 5 million, maybe as much as 5.5 million.
ER: What kind of growth do you anticipate in the next couple years?
RICO: We are hoping to continue the steady growth we have had since we started Gran Habano in late 2002. It’s really hard to predict or forecast actual numbers. We hope that the success of our core lines will allow us to continue to expand our boutique lines, such as the American Puro and Barracuda that I debuted this year.
ER: Tell me about the Personalized Line you offer.
RICO: The program is through our factory in Miami. A person can either come down to Miami or attend one of the seminars I have all around the country. The event is usually 20 people maximum and you get to smoke some of all of the available tobacco we have at the time. We go over all the different qualities, as well as teach the people about the binder wrapper and the filler qualities, how tobacco is blended, and how a great cigar is constructed. The customer decides exactly how they want their own personal cigar to taste. The boxes are about $250 for $25 cigars.
ER: You have even gone as far as personalizing the bands and boxes?
RICO: Right now the boxes will have the customer’s name or whatever they want on them. At some point, hopefully soon, we will have a program where we offer custom bands and boxes in addition to the cigars. Right now the cigars are limited to three sizes, of which I highly recommend the 6 ½ x 54. That way the customer can get the best mix of the most tobacco, potentially up to eight different leaves, and get the most unique personal blend. At the end of the day, the seminar is all about knowledge. Whatever a customer takes (learns) from our seminar, they can use in all of the cigar experiences. They will have a lot better understanding of what goes into making cigars – I guarantee you that!
ER: What makes a boutique brand and the cigars they produce better than the stereotypical established brands being produced by the big boys, like Altadis and General Cigar?
RICO: I think mostly it is the attention to quality and craftsmanship. The other big difference is the ability to create the different products outside of what is the industry norm. A company like mine can produce a cigar like American Puro, made with entirely American grown tobacco. I don’t think the big companies could ever do something that kind of unique. Flexibility and ingenuity are the things that really set my company and other boutique cigar companies apart from the long established brands.
ER: In your opinion, what’s the best $10 cigar in America and why?
RICO: I believe my Corojo #5 Imperial is considered by far, one of, if not the best $10 cigars, based on the quality, craftsmanship and the attention to detail we put into making it. It’s been on the market for 10 years and just keeps getting better. When you add in a retail price point in the $7-$10 range, I think it’s the cigar with the best overall smoking experience and bang for the buck.
ER: For the readers who may be just getting started, or have been smoking a short time and whose palate isn’t yet ready for full-bodied cigars, like the Corojo #5, which Gran Habano cigars would you suggest?
RICO: For a new smoker, I would recommend the Gran Robusto Connecticut. Basically, it’s a milder cigar, still very flavorful, but also mild – and the size is perfect. You get a good amount of the flavor, a good amount of smoke, with a very smooth draw and burn.

Gran Habano is available at fine cigar stores throughout Las Vegas and around the country. You can also find more information at: www.ghcigars.com

MURRAY SAWCHUCK A COMEDY AND MAGIC JOY RIDE

striplvinterviews

MURRAY SAWCHUCK
A COMEDY AND MAGIC JOY RIDE
Interviewed by Marla Santos
Photography Santodonato

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The Laugh Factory at Tropicana has a new fun-filled show starring Murray SawChuck, who describes himself as the Dennis The Menace of comedy and magic. With his platinum blond hair spiked up in all directions, and his black-framed Armani glasses, he is not your typical magician, but the audience just loves him!

His show is filled with laughter, as he experiments with magic in the midst of comedic routines, but then all of a sudden, he’ll perform an incredible trick. His close friend, Douglas Leferovich, known in the show as “Lefty”, portrays a bumbling stagehand that does card tricks when he thinks Murray isn’t watching. It brings a warm and fuzzy feel to the show as “Lefty” imagines himself as the headlining star. Chloe Louise is Murray’s assistant, who’s beautiful and sexy, and when she squeezes into a box for a vanishing act, it leaves you amazed.

As a 5-year old living in Burnaby, British Columbia, Murray started taking lessons on the accordion, piano and saxophone, and then learned many dances, including Ukrainian, ballet, break dancing and ballroom. Combining all this with soccer, baseball, skiing and horseback riding, his childhood was extremely full. At age seven, he received a Siegfried and Roy Magic Kit, and the rest is history.

His parents showered him with lessons, but encouraged him to work, to earn 

his own money. He had the typical paper route, delivering 260 papers. As he was stuffing his papers with local ads, he had the bright idea to include a flyer of his own, promoting the jobs he was willing to do. Besides raking leaves and shoveling snow, he promoted his magic shows for birthday parties, etc. At 16, the young entrepreneur had an ad in the yellow pages, and a business line, answering machine, and fax in his bedroom.

His list of jobs and work accomplishments are pages long. Murray has performed all over the world, from cruise ships to clubs and casinos. His latest was a stint on “America’s Got Talent”, where he received standing ovations from Sharron Osbourne, Piers Morgan, and Howie Mandel, for producing a Ferrari from thin air, turning a showgirl into a 450-pound tiger, and making a steam train vanish, all in front of a live audience. Murray now guest stars as the Historical Magic Consultant for History Channel’s hit reality series, “Pawn Stars”. His job is to determine if the magic-related item is authentic and its value.

This summer, Murray and Chloe were married by their friend, Monti Rock III. Douglas “Lefty” Leferovich was Murray’s best man and Chloe had her friend Ashton Nicole (star of “Bite” – Stratosphere) as her bridesmaid. Chloe has also started dancing in the Luxor show, “Fantasy”. 2012 seems to have all the stars in alignment for this happy couple. During his recent interview with StripLV, Murray shared with us his journey to get to where he is today: as a headliner at the Tropicana, a man who loves the laughter from the audience, and his fantastic life right here in Las Vegas with his new bride, Chloe.

SLV: How old were you when you recognized that you craved the limelight?
MURRAY: I think I realized it as young as four or five years old. My heritage is Ukrainian/Scottish, so I started dancing Ukrainian dancing when I was five years old. I started doing talent shows and I would play the accordion, of all things, and it was fun getting the attention. I was an only child as well, so attention was obviously enjoyable to get. I loved the limelight and the reaction of people having a good time. It was exciting for me to be the vehicle of that, because I’m not a very serious person, so I love meeting people and giving them a good time and having them enjoy themselves – and thus, taking them away from the problems of life and death, and relationships, and everything we all have in our lives. I didn’t realize all that at five years old, of course, but now that I’m older, I look back and see that it was the roots behind all of that.
SLV: Did you push to take all those lessons or did your parents push you?
MURRAY: I think I pushed, but I didn’t have to push that hard. My parents were wonderful in the sense that my mother had eight miscarriages, and then I was the ninth pregnancy. We had a twin, but she lost my twin in the first trimester. When I was raised, I wasn’t spoiled with the things you have to get. I bought my first car. Any fun things, like toys, I would have to earn. Education-wise, they took care of music lessons, accordion lessons, or dance lessons. The minute I would say it, I’d open my eyes and I’d be there dancing or playing the accordion. If I showed an interest at all, they’d give me lessons.
SLV: Were there any lessons that you didn’t enjoy?
MURRAY: Not too much. I tried some things like soccer, and after a couple of years, I was tired of it, because I didn’t want to kick a soccer ball around at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday mornings in the rain.
SLV: What are the favorite things you learned as a child that you continue with today?
MURRAY: I don’t pick up the accordion. It’s funny, I Ukrainian danced and played the accordion and I wanted a girlfriend, so I quit playing the accordion. (laughter) I mean come on, really! I was destined to be a complete nerd, come on now, really! I loved fishing as a young kid, and I didn’t realize how much I loved it until I went and did it a while ago when we were camping. It’s something I stopped doing for years, because I had to work and pay the bills. As a child I wanted to be one of those fisherman guys on TV. After the Ukrainian dancing and accordion, becoming one of those professional fisherman… are you kidding me? But fishing is fun, and I also enjoy landscaping and working in my yard. I used to work with my dad, cutting trees, and I hated it, but now that I have my own house, I love doing it. That’s my kind of yoga.
SLV: When you look in the mirror, who looks back at you?
MURRAY: A guy hiding behind messy hair, glasses and a blue suit.
SLV: So you see your persona. Do you see yourself inside that persona?
MURRAY: Sure I do. It’s the guy who, on the weekends at home, wears a baseball cap, ripped jeans and a t-shirt. I’m well aware of that when I walk on stage, I look like I do, and what I do, and that look like a clown. Ha! (laughter) I think indirectly I’m a very shy person. You’d never notice that or see that, but if you knew me well enough and spent 4 or 5 days a week with me, you’d see that I have my moments where I’m extremely shy. I think having the hair, the glasses, the persona, the look, and the brand… I can hide behind that. It works. Look at Liberace, Howard Stern, Lucille Ball... any “great” has some sort of a look. Maybe they’re born with it, or it may be unnatural.
SLV: I loved the story about you putting your fliers in the newspapers you delivered. Where does that ambition come from?
MURRAY: I think I was born with it, to be honest. I saw people at garage sales and swap meets, and they were selling and people were buying. I realized it went back to the old system of bartering. I thought that some people needed their leaves raked or snow shoveled or whatever it might be, so I printed the fliers at a print shop. It started off with the snow shoveling, because it was winter, and then progressed to my magic shows in my teens. I put up advertisements for $50 for my magic show at the local recreation center where I took swimming lessons.
SLV: When was your first visit to Las Vegas?
MURRAY: I came when I was in my early 20’s with some friends and we were headed to Idaho. I believe we pulled off right here at the 15 and Tropicana and saw all the different acts in lights down the Strip. I said: ‘How do you get from this person driving this truck, (which we know this town sees thousands and thousands of every day)… how do you turn that into getting your name up in lights?’
SLV: And that’s when you knew what you wanted?
MURRAY: Yeah, I knew as soon as I made that left turn at Tropicana onto the Las Vegas Boulevard. That’s when it happened.
SLV: You opened for Amazing Johnathan as one of your first jobs here. How was that?
MURRAY: I got to know Amazing Johnathan and we became friends in the business. He was a big star before I was even around. We met at Magic Castle, when I was performing, and we had Thai food together. He needed opening acts and I thought it would be a great stepping-stone to be associated with him in that capacity.
SLV: You also performed in “La Femme”. Any funny stories about that?
MURRAY: There’s a very funny story between “Lefty” and me that we laugh at now. “Lefty” is one of my best friends and also an act in my show. In “La Femme”, I did a solo act with CD’s and compact discs. It was an act I invented years ago, when I was 17 or 18, to become a name in the business. Nobody had ever done it and that’s the act “La Femme” wanted. It was a live audition in the evening. Lefty had a job performing at the Hooters Casino, but he needed to help me take my stuff off the stage. The girls that work there had no idea I was there auditioning. They’re used to the same music and acts every day, and all of a sudden there was new music and a new guy. I’m on stage and performing to all the executives along with a live audience. Now I’d done the act for years, but as I’m performing, all of a sudden I see “Lefty” on the ground in the wings, ready to pull my stuff off stage. As he’s crouched down, I see one set of eyes. It was like the Scooby Doo, where the eyes pop up in the dark, and it’s eyes and breasts. Eyes, breasts, and you’re naked! As I’m performing, I then see three beautiful naked women to my right and “Lefty” is surrounded by breasts. I look to my left and there are four more girls over there. All of a sudden it dawned on me that I wasn’t trying to impress the audience, but the pretty naked girls. Who cares about the audience?! (laughter) I’d never thought that in my life. By the end of the act, I had the whole cast in the wings completely naked, watching me! The audience couldn’t see this and all I could think was, ‘Do the act well and get the job. Don’t screw the damn thing up!’ I knew there were more naked women around me than I’d ever seen in my entire life, but I stayed focused. I finally ended the act and the curtain closed, and of course, they all went away and I never saw them again! (laughter) What are the chances? It was like a dream and then I woke up. True story.
SLV: Were you nervous when you were on “America’s Got Talent”, doing those huge magic acts?
MURRAY: It was probably the most nerve-racking experience of my life, and something I’ll never do again. It was also the most rewarding and thrilling, because what that taught me, is that if somebody asks you if you 

can do something, if you say, “Yes,” it’s amazing how you can make it happen. Somebody asked me to produce a car in the show, but I’d never produced a car in a theater in my life. I talked to a few friends and they didn’t want to rent me their illusion, so I designed my own. I got help from a builder in town named Bill Smith, who builds illusions for all the guys in town. We put the trick together, and I made the Ferrari appear. We rehearsed that in his warehouse in Vegas, not even close to a theater. We loaded it into a theater in front of a live audience. I brought my own team who knew what they were doing, and we had five minutes to rehearse it. The girl who was in the actual Ferrari had never been in the car before. They cut the gas, because you can’t run a car properly, can’t start it inside a building, without all the precautionary measures, and we did the trick. As we did the trick, I was spraying with a spray paint can, and two things went through my mind. ‘Please don’t drop the cloth early and have this can hit the car.’ It’s a $280,000 Ferrari! The second thing I was thinking was I was praying to God that when the cloth dropped, that there was a car there. The way I rehearsed it, it should be there, but I have no choice, because that cloth has got to come down. The trick is to have nothing there and now it’s there. It’s live on camera, in front of the judges, and I’ve signed a release saying that they can air anything they want. I’ve worked 20 years of my life, and there could be this one little 90-second bit that screws up all that. Luckily, when the cloth dropped, it was there and looked amazing! I say it looked amazing just for the fact that I was just as excited as everyone else that was watching. It was the same when the girl turned into the tiger. Would you believe when we rehearsed the tiger trick, I’d never worked with a tiger in my life. I designed it and we built that whole routine for that one 90-second spot. As I rehearsed that for the cameras, it never worked right once. There were times the curtain would drop and the girl was in there and the tiger was in there at the same time. There were times the girl didn’t make it behind the judges. There were times the curtain dropped and the tiger was there, but the other part of the curtain didn’t drop. I couldn’t believe the curtain not dropping. I had enough problems with a 450-pound tiger and a live woman. I thought the curtain should be the last thing to worry about. The producer walked up to me and said: “Hey Murray, just so you know, it’s a great trick, but if it doesn’t work, you don’t go to the next round. That’s all I have to say.” And he walked away. That night, Lefty, (my right-hand with everything) and I stood in the CBS parking lot from 7:00 until 10:00 with a security guard, and I must have undone that curtain 80-90 times to make sure it worked. I had everything working now, the tiger and the girl, but if that curtain snags, it doesn’t matter how great the trick works, if the curtain doesn’t drop, it doesn’t matter what’s there. When we went live, I turned to Howie and said: “Howie, this is a trick that everyone’s going to be talking about tomorrow.” When I pulled the curtain and it came all the way down and the tiger was there, my face was as relieved and excited as the audience, because I really was! When I saw that cat there, it was exactly the way we designed it. Someone asked if I’d ever redo the trick again and I said no, because it worked the best it would ever work in my lifetime. The minute it was done, the tiger was back in his beautiful NASCAR trailer, air-conditioned, with hay and a steak. It had better living conditions than most people in New York City. By the time I got to my dressing room, the tiger was already on its way back to Big Bear, California, to a ranch. He was a Hollywood tiger and was used in the movie “Gladiator” with Russell Crowe.
SLV: Had you asked Piers Morgan if you could borrow his jacket before that trick?
MURRAY: No. I had told the producers that “When you mic him, mic his tie, not his lapel, and make sure his cell phone wasn’t in the jacket.” It was the first time in the history of “America’s Got Talent”, that somebody’s actually borrowed something from Piers Morgan. No, it wasn’t a set-up. Piers could have said no and it would have messed up my time, because you’re only given 90 seconds.
SLV: Tell me the story about the train.
MURRAY: The steam train was the same thing. “Lefty”, my mom, and I were sitting around and saying what would be next? Why don’t you do something about your family? The wolves didn’t raise you, you didn’t have a poor upbringing, and you were the only one that didn’t have a normal job. Your whole family was in the railway, so why don’t you produce a train? I said I’d already produced the Ferrari, so “Why don’t we vanish the train?” The producer said: “It doesn’t get any better than this, so what’s next?” and I said, “Yes it does. What if I vanished an early 1900 steam engine on stage?” They said: “You can do that?” I said, “Of course I can!” They asked how much it was going to cost and I gave them a price. So they gave me some money and I looked at Lefty and my mom and said that we were going to vanish a steam train in 10 days. The first thing out of their mouths was: “Where are we going to find a steam train?” I had no idea, but we finally found one in Boulder City. They had to gut the train and cut some pieces off it, because it was too big for the studio, and then ship it to Los Angeles. Again, we were in the parking lot every night trying to make this train disappear. The way we draped the cloth over it, wasn’t going to work. We thought it would, until we tried it, and it didn’t work. So at the show, when I went to pull the cloth off the cover, I pointed to the audience and I ran back to pull off the cover and I thought, ‘Man, when I pull this off, I hope there’s no train sitting there.’ Thank God, we did it, and there was no train. These are things I’ll probably never recreate, because we did them as well as we could, and remember, we were doing them live. Criss Angel and David Copperfield do TV specials where they tape it. I had to do it in front of a live audience, judges, and 22 million people who were watching the show. You knew it was real time. There was no camera editing, no cutting. What you saw was real time.
SLV: You’ve won 21 awards worldwide for your magic work. That’s more than any other magician. Is there one that you’re the most proud of?
MURRAY: I think the one that I’m most proud of is the World Championship Award I won in Shanghai, China, in 2001. Every country flies in magicians and they all compete with each other, and then it’s judged by a people’s choice, along with judges.
SLV: Tell me something about yourself that most people don’t know.
MURRAY: Most people don’t know that I was in the Rodeo for six years. My parents had a ranch and I rode for 21 years. I was on my first horse when I was 2 years old, and I’ve ridden all my life. I rode the most between 10 and 20 years old and was in the rodeo between 15 and 19.
SLV: Where did you meet Chloe, the beautiful girl from England?
MURRAY: Chloe and I have been together just under five years. We met when she was dancing with Jean Ann Ryan Productions on a Norwegian cruise ship. I was the headlining magician on board and I needed an assistant to work with me, since my other assistant was leaving and a new cast was coming in. I asked if they could find a girl that would like to work with me, I really didn’t care who it was. All dancers are in good shape and they’re fine. I was told: “I found this amazing girl, she’s stunning, the most beautiful girl in the cast.” I thought she was just saying that. Then I met her and she was absolutely gorgeous, super nice, no ego, really laidback to work with and enjoyed magic. She wasn’t one of those girls that would help and then disappear on their cell phone, texting. She really enjoyed the process of magic and how it worked 

and the entertainment value of it, so that was intriguing. She had someone at the time, and so did I. That all disappeared and we started dating on and off over a five-year period. I asked her to marry me and she said “Yes,” so we got married. We believe marriage is in the eye of each other, and that we didn’t need this massive 800-person wedding with every entertainer in Vegas. I said, “Let’s do the opposite of what people would think I would do or you would do. Let’s have it in our backyard with people that know both of us.” Coming from England, she doesn’t know that many people. She knows people, but she doesn’t know people. It was important to us that the people we invited knew both of us, so that was the rule. I could have invited easily 400 people, but then she’d be walking around with 400 people that she would have no clue who they were. It was a really small group. I think every couple should do that when they get married, because usually half the people there are people you never met or knew. At the end of the day it saves costs, because it’s coming out of your pockets and you can put that into buying something else, like another house or something. I went down to the Pawn Shop and they had always said: “When you buy jewelry, always buy it from a pawn shop. You’re paying for the weight of the gold, not the design or the Tiffany brand.” So we bought our rings from them. We planned it in two and a half weeks. We didn’t fight. We had a very intimate wedding with Monti Rock being the reverend. We both knew him very well, and he’s a person that shoots straight and that’s just who he is.
SLV: You’ve traveled the world. Where are your favorite places?
MURRAY: My two favorite places in the whole world are Monte Carlo, Monaco, and Santorini, Greece. If I were to retire, I love Palm Springs. I get why lots of the stars of yesteryear went there. It’s safe, it’s comfortable, and tucked between these mountains, and has a lot of greenery. My mentor lives there, too – Mr. Electric. He’s the guy who lit light bulbs with his hands for years. Without him, I wouldn’t have a career.
SLV: Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?
MURRAY: I’d love to do some TV like Tom Bergeron. I love Tom Bergeron, the host of “Dancing With The Stars” and “America’s Funniest Home Videos”. He has this likability that when you meet him, you just want him to be your neighbor. He has this great personality from having years of experience being a game show host.
SLV: Describe your show at Laugh Factory in the Tropicana for our readers.
MURRAY: I think it’s where magic and comedy collide, with a guy that looks like a Q-tip. Magic is my vehicle, but I love hearing the laughter louder than the applause for a trick.

Murray Sawchuck at the Laugh Factory inside Tropicana

GALLAGHER - UNHOOKED

STRIPLVINTERVIEWS

STRIPPED!
Interviews by Marla Santos

GALLAGHER - UNHOOKED

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"I don't like ignorant people!"

“I was going to be a scientist, when I realized that I would have more fun studying the world from the standpoint of comedy, rather than science.”  


Not many people would guess that Gallagher, the comedian, possesses a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of South Florida.  He is best known for his signature skit, Sledge-O-Matic, where he used a sledgehammer to smash over 15,000 watermelons (and various other squishy foods) splattering into willing audiences faces and laps across America (that’s about 4 per show).  Leo Gallagher was the star of 14 comedy specials that were broadcast on Showtime in the ‘80s and ‘90s, which continue to this day to be shown on Comedy Central.  Recently, he was featured in a GEICO insurance television advertisement, where he was able to once again smash watermelons.  Gallagher has brought a unique comedic entertainment to the public and one that will be missed when he stops performing.  That may be soon, or not, since Gallagher is anything but predictable and “The Farewell Tour” could go on indefinitely.

I see a similarity in the outlook on life between Gallagher and the Archie Bunker character played by Carroll O’Connor in the television show “All In The Family”.  Norman Lear, the creator of the show, is said to have thought that Bunker’s ignorant, bigoted persona and opinions on race, sex, marriage and religion would be laughed at because it was so outrageous, but to his surprise, it turned out that the people laughed with Archie.  Gallagher spews much of the same outrageous homophobic, racist, and political language that Archie did.  The difference is that Gallagher’s intelligence and frustrations have made him angry, and he has developed a hatred and distrust of humankind.  Interestingly, his analysis of what is wrong with society and our government is hardly off track, and despite his sarcastic delivery, he maintains his stage presence and skill as a performer.  He literally is the opening act for himself as he wanders through the crowd, exuding a charm that has successfully assisted him all these years.  He tells me that he was probably the only entertainer to have been both a busboy and a headliner at the same casino here in Las Vegas: The Dunes.         

Gallagher’s younger brother, Ron, started performing as “Gallagher Two” doing the Sledge-O-Matic routine and people thought they were seeing the original Leo Gallagher.  Finally Gallagher sued Ron and won, preventing “Gallagher Two” from ever performing again under that name and using Leo Gallagher’s unique watermelon smashing routine.

Watching his humorous show at the Tropicana ignited my interest, and I wondered if there was just a bit of a warm, fuzzy character underneath his persona on stage.  He has suffered four heart attacks and sometimes that mellows you… but not Gallagher!

STRIPLV:  Has your mind always worked this fast?
GALLAGHER:  Yes.  
STRIPLV:  Your analytical nature is pretty unique.
GALLAGHER:  I’m a scientist first.  I was the youngest chief chemist that Kaiser Aluminum had in any of their nitric acid plants.  
STRIPLV:  This was all before the Sledge-O-Matic?
GALLAGHER:  Yes.  It’s silly and I’m a very intelligent person and I didn’t want to be in this silly business.  I worked with Jim Stafford, wrote for him and did comedy songs and jokes, and we ended up with a summer show on ABC.  I end up about 30 years old and I had to decide whether I would go back to science or do comedy.  I’m working now with NASA and Dark Horse Comics, to come up with a comic book about subatomic particles (particles smaller than an atom).  I have a number of patents and I’m trying to sell my patent idea to the gaming industry.  I have a patent for new software for slot machines and you can see it on USPTO.gov and search: Gallagher slot machine.  It’s entertaining and more like what the kids are used to on their cell phones.  They’re being ignored and it’s ridiculous.  I have everybody’s kids.  They bring me their kids and I have to entertain kids every night.  They bring me birthdays... they’ll say we didn’t know what to get him, so they bring him here and now I’ve got to be their birthday party.  I smash a birthday cake at my show.  They get the cake in their face, they get to smack a watermelon, they take pictures and put it on YouTube and their Facebook.  
STRIPLV:  What turns you on?
GALLAGHER:  I write poems and songs.  My iPad over there is full of songs and poems.  I enjoy the language.  I have many romantic poems that I’m trying to interest women in, ‘cause I wrote from a woman’s point of view.  I write from any point of view.  I’m a writer!  
STRIPLV:  What turns you off?
GALLAGHER:  Ignorance!  I hate people!  I hate people that tell me they don’t have a smart phone ‘cause they don’t understand those things.  I just don’t want to talk to them.  If you don’t want to be in touch with all the information in the world, you’re not curious enough for me to talk to.  I don’t like ignorant people!
STRIPLV:  During your show, you discuss how America has “dumbed” down.  
GALLAGHER:  Yeah.  We don’t win from dumb.
STRIPLV:  What do you believe is the cause – lack of education, lack of common sense, laziness, or apathy?
GALLAGHER:  I think the family not having dinner together is really the problem with America (when everybody started to eat on their own, going through the drive-thru, and didn’t come and have a time from 6 to 7 where they hear what everybody did that day and share it).  But that doesn’t have anything to do with intelligence, and there are really smart kids, so it’s probably laziness and lack of self-discipline.  People don’t know how to make themselves do something they don’t want to do.  
STRIPLV:  Were your parents very strict, and did they stress the importance of your intelligence?
GALLAGHER:  My mom wanted to go to work, so she left me with the kids.      
STRIPLV:  You learned self-discipline through that?
GALLAGHER:  I was 9 and she had 4 kids!  I had to sue the one, so it’s my fault.  I raised them.  My mom realized I was intelligent and that’s why she left me with the kids and went and got a job at the hospital!  
STRIPLV:  Obviously, she was very proud of you.
GALLAGHER:  No!  She didn’t want to have kids.  Who in the hell wants to watch kids?  She wanted to go and have her life.  She knew I was smart enough to take care of them, so she left me!  My brother was 8, my sister 7, and my other brother, who was 3.  I had a 3, a 7, an 8 and I was 9!
STRIPLV:  That was a huge responsibility.
GALLAGHER:  Yes, that’s right.  Do I sound like I’m happy about it?!  
STRIPLV:  But it didn’t turn you off to having a family yourself...
GALLAGHER:  One at a time, with different women.    
STRIPLV:  Then I guess you had a good time.
GALLAGHER:  Yes, that’s the way to do it.  
STRIPLV:  What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?
GALLAGHER:  I write poems and songs, and read about science.  I try to find people that would put music to my songs and they always flake out on me.  All of them – every one of them.
STRIPLV:  What would you call an autobiography of your life?
GALLAGHER:  “The Reluctant Celebrity.”  I didn’t want to be one.  I didn’t start until I was 30.
STRIPLV:  But didn’t you like it?
GALLAGHER:  No, I don’t like it!  It’s a lot of babysitting.  The kids are all drunk; they’re all stupid, and everyone that you said that has a problem with self-discipline is at the bar to see the guy that smashes food.  Only about one out of three shows is worth being in show business, and the other two are either embarrassing or too much work.  It’s not fun!   
STRIPLV:  But is it fun being a celebrity and being recognized?
GALLAGHER:  Only if it helps you do something that you want to do.
STRIPLV:  You must have liked part of it, because you didn’t go back to being a full time scientist.  You chose this life, right?
GALLAGHER:  You just want show business to be a wonderful decision, filled with warm-hearted people who are doing it because they want to make people happy and laugh.  That’s not the nursery rhyme that’s going on!  Most of the time on stage is embarrassing and stupid!  Horrid moments, in which there’s silence, nothing’s working, you’re in the wrong place, you’ve said the wrong thing, the environment isn’t conducive to theater, they didn’t have a good sound system, they didn’t have lights, they don’t have a stage that’s up so people can see, and they don’t control the crowd that are knocking beer bottles over.  Most of the time, it’s stupid!      
STRIPLV:  What excites you?
GALLAGHER:  I trade stocks, and I have for 30 years.  I like to read about companies and P & L’s.  I’ve got other patents, too.  I’ve got one for furniture that turns into a fort, so the kids can have fun in the living room.  I have a floor plan for a family reunion facility, so families can bond and have great times together, because hotels are not conducive to letting the kids run free.  I have an idea for a fashion show where the girls sing while they model the clothes.  I’ve written a song about what clothes mean to a woman.  I think it’s the next thing that is going to happen in fashion shows, because it’s so much entertainment.  I have so many pots on the stove that I need another stove.    
STRIPLV:  That sounds very exciting.  
GALLAGHER:  It’s very discouraging, because I can’t get to the right people or they’re not open to it.  
STRIPLV:  With all these ideas, is it the idea that excites you or the money at the end when it becomes successful?
GALLAGHER:  It’s never about the money.  I just want the world to be a better place.  I’ve never been money motivated.  I’ve disrespected money my whole life.  I don’t want it to run me.  It’s just so stupid.
STRIPLV:  Do you go see other comedians, or Broadway shows, or movies?
GALLAGHER:  I just want to kibitz in the Green Room.  I really don’t want to go in the showroom and watch the show.  I’m a terrible audience.  I usually only can last the first act of a Broadway show.  During intermission, I end up talking to the people that work there and everybody goes back in for the show and I’m still out there in the lobby talking to the workers, and then I go to a different show and they give me a ticket, because it’s the second act.  So I’ll usually see two shows a night, but different acts.  I get it, I’m not interested, and it doesn’t move fast enough for me.    
STRIPLV:  People in show business – are they similiar or different than you?
GALLAGHER:  I don’t like them!  Otherwise I would have had a TV show.  I really don’t care for the Hollywood scene.  I don’t feel creative in those vast studios.  They are cold and the audiences are brought in by bus, no matter whether they speak English or have ever heard of you.  I’ve had my worst experiences making television shows, and so I really don’t want to be there.  I like everything between L.A. and N.Y., but not either of those two cities.  
STRIPLV:  Do you have a manager?
GALLAGHER:  Yeah.  
STRIPLV:  Is it hard to deal with a manager, because you want to do what you want to do?
GALLAGHER:  No.  A manager works for you.  I wasn’t looking for someone to give me orders!  
STRIPLV:  But most of them do.
GALLAGHER:  Yeah, but they’re not dealing with a self-generating person with experience.  
STRIPLV: If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
GALLAGHER:  Ahh, that’s one of those James Lipton questions.  “This is the wrong show.  You have a ticket for hell.”  I don’t want to be in heaven with all those fake people.

For a limited time only.  Gallagher appears at The Laugh Factory, inside the Tropicana

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