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Brad Garrett stars in ‘Bupkis,’ tapes new Las Vegas comedy series | Las Vegas Review-Journal
Brad Garrett stars in ‘Bupkis,’ tapes new Las Vegas comedy series | Las Vegas Review-Journal

Comedia Brad Garrett poses for a portrait at his comedy club venue at the MGM Grand hotel-casino in Las Vegas, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. (Erik Verduzco / Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Erik_Verduzco
Jen Kober is shown in a screen grab for “Brad Garrett Presents,” a special featuring comedians who have headlined Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club at MGM Grand. (Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club)
Francisco Ramos is shown in a screen grab for “Brad Garrett Presents,” a special featuring comedians who have headlined Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club at MGM Grand. (Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club)
Omid Singh shown in a screen grab for “Brad Garrett Presents,” a special featuring comedians who have headlined Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club at MGM Grand. (Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club)
Gabriel Iglesias is shown with Rich Little, along with fellow comic Flip Schultz (far left) and Patrick DeGuire (far right) at Laugh Factory at the Tropicana on Sunday, April 9, 2023. (Harry Basil)

The Kats Comedy Corner opens with classic concept from a throwback comic, who is also co-starring in a new Peacock comedy series.

We referred to the pillar of Las Vegas stand-up, Brad Garrett. His “Bupkis” series premieres May 4 on Peacock.

Garrett is also developing “Brad Garrett Presents,” a showcase for stand-ups on the rise, out of his MGM Grand comedy club.

First up, “Bupkis” is the eight-episode series kinda based on the life of comic-actor Pete Davidson, with Edie Falco cast as his mom and Joe Pesci as his grandfather. We say kinda, because the show’s disclaimer at the start warns that it is based on reality, but heightened fiction. “Bupkis,” in other words.

Stars abound, with Ray Romano, Charlie Day, Simon Rex, Ray Romano, Kenan Thompson, Steve Buscemi, Bobby Cannavale, Philip Ettinger, Al Gore, Paul Walter Hauser, Sunita Mani, John Mulaney, Oona Roche, Cliff “Method Man” Smith, Jon Stewart and Marissa Jaret Winokur in the cast.

Yes, Al Gore. Comedy gold.

We’re watching the screener and can already report palpable — palpable, I tell you! — chemistry between Pesci and Davidson. Pesci’s Italian-grandpa character, Joe, is a chain smoker, dying of lung cancer. Joe breaks the news to Pete at a diner, coughing into a napkin. Davidson looks at the red stain and says, “Is that blood!?” Pesci says, “It ain’t ketchup.”

Garrett’s Uncle Roy shows up during a boys’ night on the scene. “This is exciting!” Garrett says, taking up all of the back seat. “I feel like I’m on ‘Entourage’ with the big movie star here!”

Garrett, who turned 63 on Friday, has been filming sets from comics who, as he says, “Crush it every time,” at his MGM Grand comedy club: Omid Singh, Francisco Ramos, Jen Kober and Paul Ogata.

The performances are being banked as Garrett creates a platform for fans to access. Or, the shows will be made available on such streaming services as Amazon Prime and Netflix.

Production will continue into the fall (Ogata is scheduled to be recorded in October). Meantime, Garrett and club operations manager Ed Conover are collecting and editing the comics’ set, which is why you occasionally share the venue with a camera crew.

The project is inspired by Rodney Dangerfield’s showcase for emerging stand-ups from his Dangerfield’s club in New York. Garrett was one of those, some time ago, and Dangerfield was one of his comedy idols.

Garrett considers the effort “the next step in our brand and vision.”

“Our goal is showcasing some of our favorite comics and using our platform to connect them with our audience in a more direct way,” the comic star says. “For us, it’s always been about ‘funny’ being the main thing. This allows us to go directly to our diverse audience who knows what they like, without waiting for the industry to give specific comics the chance we feel they deserve.”

These are not entry-level comedians. They are established. They are just not as famous as they should be.

“Over the last 10 years, there’s been a handful of comics that we’re thought it’s shocking that they haven’t blown up,” Conover says. “The industry is obviously, really fickle. But there’s a handful of acts that we just really believe in , we want to give them a little bit more of a platform with our push.”

More laughs for Basil

Laugh Factory at the Tropicana General Manager (and, sometime stand-up) Harry Basil, was one of the comics who appeared on Dangerfield’s comedy special. Dangerfield would become a friend and writing partner, and helped inspire Basil to operate a club.

Basil now oversees the Laugh Factory at the Trop and also the company’s venues in Reno, Long Beach and (soon) in Covina, Calif. Basil reports the Laugh Factory Covina should be open in mid-May. The venue has a proper-theater design. The space was originally a 1920s movie theater, then turned into the Covina Center for Performing Arts, and now the Laugh Factory at Covina Theater.

In Vegas, Rich Little continues to headline at 6:30 p.m. Sundays through Wednesdays (following Murray Sawchuck at 4 p.m.). Popular Strip headliner Gabriel Iglesias dropped into Little’s show on Easter Sunday, just after his shows at The Mirage, and sat in the Rodney Booth (next to the Rodney statue).

Afterward, Iglesias told Little he was among his two earliest comedy influences. The other? Eddie Murphy.

Leno to Laughlin

Jay Leno follows his March premiere at Encore Theater at the Wynn Las Vegas with a summertime debut in a venue with a different kinda vibe.

Leno is headlining The Edge Pavilion at Edgewater Casino Resort in Laughlin on June 17. The Edge has assembled an adventurous roster in the coming months, with Rick Springfield on June 24, Debbie Gibson on July 15 and War on Aug. 24.

As reported in exclusive fashion in this column, Leno was injured on his vintage Indian motorcycle in January. That mishap followed the accident in November, in which Leno’s face was burned as he worked on an antique car in his L.A. garage.

But the 72-year-old road veteran returned to a busy touring schedule, and is the only comedian scheduled to headline either The Edge, or nearby Laughlin Events Center at Aquarius Casino Resort, this year.

On the topic …

L.A. Comedy Club is opening a Laughlin outpost at Edgewater in May. Specific dates are to be announced. Billed as a showroom and nicknamed Dragon’s Edge, the club takes over what used to be Edge Lounge, with seating for 150. It’s the sibling club to The Strat’s Dragon Room, home of the Vegas L.A. Comedy Club. Similar to The Strat venue, the new club is also home to live music and karaoke, or as we call it, live-ish music.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

This content was originally published here.