Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the showroom….
…you learn that master roaster and insult comedian Vinnie Favorito is now appearing at The Tommy Wind Theater on the Las Vegas Strip three nights a week, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, at 10 p.m.
Well, hey, it isn’t often that you get the opportunity to experience “Jaws” upfront and personal and live to tell the tale. And no doubt about it, the quick-witted sharp-tongued comedian, who goes up, down and around and around the showroom searching for his prey in his off-the-cuff audience participatory show, will try to make mincemeat out of you. But it comes with so much “ham” that you’ll be laughing with his every mouthful, even as he chews you up and spits you out.
“My show starts out as ad-lib that kind of evolves into a show,” Favorito explains. “I go right into the audience. This time, however, I’m changing the format – in the middle of the show, there will be some man-on-the-street stuff that I will be filming for YouTube during the day that the crowd can download to their cellphones while I’m on stage at night. I’ll be messing with people on the street like I do with them on stage. It will be almost like an old-school Don Rickles show with new technology. It will be filmed live via Periscope and will be able to be seen all over the world.
I also have a comic buddy who does a five-minute opening to explain what I’m doing,” he adds. “I can talk to him while he’s on the Strip and tell him what to do from stage. There are no boundaries. I’m a big fan of pranks, practical jokes, and hidden video. It’s very ballsy and I don’t really know how people will react.”
Favorito, who has a reputation for being one of the quickest guys on his feet, maintains that he has the best memory in the country and says that it’s actually frightening sometimes He can talk to 40 people during his high-energy unpredictable show and refer to each of them throughout his evening, calling them by name and recalling pertinent details about them. There are no plants in his audiences.
“I call it magical,” he expresses. “Sometimes I even amaze myself with how it all ties together. I start with nothing and build a show between all the audience members and I tie them all in. It’s great to have a job in which I can have fun all the time even if I don’t know what’s going to happen.
“I’m never scared,” he continues, revealing that he’s not concerned that people will feel insulted by his humor. “I love testing the boundaries – I really never know what’s going to come out of my mouth. But 90 percent of the people in my audience know what I do. And I do it with fun and likeability. I don’t do personal attacks, such as ‘You’re fat’ or ‘You’re bald.’ And I stay away from topics such as rape, illness, politics, religion and abortion, anything that can split the audience. Mine was a politically incorrect show at the Flamingo, which I recently left. They wanted me to be edgy. Now I’m even more politically incorrect. I’ve built up my name as far as being a unique entertainer. “
Favorito adds that he never talks to anyone who doesn’t want to be talked to, which he admits doesn’t happen very often, and says that he can tell instantly who these folks are. He notes that he’s a professional and can sum people up in 30 seconds. He also admonishes that some people ask to sit in the back because they think they’re safe but they’re not. But if someone goes after him, he knows how to finesse it.
“I buff things up and make it fun,” he explains. “It’s like someone punches you to the ground then picks you up and asks if you’re all right. I’m an equal opportunity guy – it doesn’t matter what race, gender, or age you are. If I can crap on myself on stage, I can do it to somebody else.”
Emphasizing that he’s a chance-taker who strives to keep his show fresh, Favorito is honored by the comparisons to Don Rickles but says that he was never influenced by him.
“Rickles said to me a long time ago in L.A., ‘I’m passing the torch to you –I’ve heard about ‘The Kid,’” Favorito acknowledges. “But I’m Rickles to the 10th power. Milton Berle said to me, ‘You’re the Rickles of venom.’ And George Carlin, who was a fan of mine, told me, ‘You walk that line and just when you think you’re going to cross over it, you pull them back.’ I can dig the biggest hole and get out of it. If people leave the room talking about me, I’ve done my job.”
So just who is this man-eater offstage? Married to his wife Nicole, whom he met at a comedy club in his hometown of Boston, they have two children, ages 6 and 2, that Favorito is looking forward to spending more time with since he’s only working at The Tommy Wind Theater three days a week. That will also give him time to take private gigs for what he is known for – being a roast master. When it comes to his at-home personality, he says that he is funny around the house and that his kids and wife are, too.
“IF you hang around me long enough, you become a smart ass,” he smiles. “It’s a fun house to be in. We laugh a lot, even with our extended family.”
Likewise, when it comes to his audiences, Favorito may bite the hand that feeds him, so to speak, but it’s all swimmingly good fun. That’s why he is one comedian who will always have “teeth” where his staying power is concerned.