(by Dianne R. Davis)
George Wallace boasts that he has the best ten o’clock show in Las Vegas. He finds humor all around us in everyday life and situations. Wallace recently returned from touring Europe with his close friend Jerry Seinfeld. He’s back in the showroom at the Flamingo where he tells people, “I be thinkin!” You just never know what this former writer for Redd Foxx might “be thinking” so we asked him a few questions.
George, who should come see your show? Young people? Over 21? Seniors? Caucasians? Blacks? Asians?
GW: Somebody , anybody and everybody should come to see my show. And they do. I’m proud to say I have the most diverse audience in Las Vegas. Old people, young people, black people, hip hoppers and gang-bangers, all sitting next to each other enjoying the gift of laughter. And you should come to my show to learn about this thing called comedy. I guarantee you’ll feel much better than you do leaving the doctor’s office. I also have a very large international following.
If I see your show in May and come back in July, will it be the same? How often do you change it?
GW: You can see my show on Tuesday and come back on Wednesday, and it won’t be the same. Always something different going on at my show. Because you never know who’s gonna stop in, and what’s gonna happen. Vegas like it used to be. Friends stop in all the time. Friends like Aretha Franklin, Chris Tucker, Bette Midler, Tom Jones, Prince, Eddie Murphy, Denzel Washington, Yolanda Adams, Gladys Knight, Gayle King, Tom Joyner, Steve Harvey, Michael Baisden, Jerry Seinfeld, Paul Schaeffer, David Brenner just to name a few. You never know what’s gonna happen at the George Wallace “I Be Thinking Show”. For the first time in 25 years, I had the world famous SLY and THE FAMILY STONE perform on my stage and they’re coming back. Jennifer Holiday, WAR, and the great Eddie LeVert. I love going to my show because you don’t know what’s gonna happen ‘til you get there. I give away cars, cruises, diamonds, and sometimes just a 4-pack of AAA Batteries. I’m crazy. Everybody can’t get a great gift.
Your show is on at 10 p.m. at the Flamingo. How does that work for you? Have you had any “interesting experiences” with audience members that you can share? How does it work?
GW: The show starts after 9:59pm. It works for me because I own and operate my show. I’m different than most entertainers in Las Vegas. I don’t work for the hotel. I “four wall”. A term that means, I rent the showroom from the hotel. All responsibilities are on me. I do all my marketing. All my social networking. All the multiple-million dollar advertising campaign. I do it all. There’s show, and there’s business. It’s not just telling jokes for me. It’s hard work. I came to Vegas for a 30-day run. After 60 days, 90 days, I’m into my 8th year. What a blessing. Boy those two college degrees did come in handy. My first degree was in transportation. My second was in marketing and advertising.
You have often been referred to as the King of Late Night shows in Vegas—Would you do an early show?
GW: Yes, I’ll do an early show when I get old. I like comedy later. I’d probably make twice the money if I did an earlier show. I like it late. More people grin at 10.
What comedian(s) do you most admire?
GW: I most admire my best friend for over 35 years. Jerry Seinfeld. By the way…we just returned from a European tour. Breaking all kind of records in arenas with over 17,000 seats sold. What a blessing.
Have there been some “big” names that helped you along the way?
GW: OPRAH. WHAT A GREAT LADY. In my earlier days, I was on Oprah a few times. I wanna be like Oprah so badly. She is a giver. She is a winner. She is the IT. Arsenio Hall. I did Arsenio more than any other comedian. Arsenio, myself and Will Smith brought back the old game of snappin’, joanin’ and some call it “playin’ the dozens”. Somewhere along the way Redd Foxx and Sammy Davis Jr certainly paved a way for me here in Las Vegas, where I have become “The New Mr Vegas”. I now hold the record of headlining at a major casino in Las Vegas, more than any other African-American.
You ask the audience to submit questions during your show. Give us a few examples of some outrageous questions and of course we want your answers.
GW: They always wanna know when am I coming to their city. I always tell them, I’ll be there in the winter. Cause, it’ll be a COLD day. They always ask questions about two of my best friends. Jerry Seinfeld and ole’ punk J Anthony Brown. Jerry is really nice. J Anthony is an idiot. He gets on my last nerve. He and his ugly Mona. She is so fat…she sat on an iPod and made an iPad! You can find J Anthony Brown Mon-Thurs. on the Tom Joyner Morning Show.
Do you have a favorite charity that you support?
GW: This year, my new charity is Smile Train. Children born with a clef pallet. This is what life is all about for comedians. Making people smile. You must go online and donate. Check out the website
Do you feel that you have anything in common with the other George Wallace, the one who was governor of Alabama?
GW: Who the hell is the other George Wallace?
How is your golf game? Favorite spot to play?
GW: My golf game is as good today as it was last year. My favorite spot to play is in my living room. Yeah, I play with a foursome on Wii. Yes, we have broken furniture.
How do you unwind after a show?
GW: First of all, after having a great set is the summit. There’s no sex or drug that turns on a comedian, more than a great set. After a show you need between one and two hours to settle down. Then you dissect the set you just had. What you did right and what you did wrong. Then you get ready for your next set.
George, you do stand out in a crowd, very recognizable. When your fans see you, would you like them to ask for your autograph, ignore you, wave across the room, or engage you in conversation?
GW: All of the above. Just don’t act stupid. Some people just walk in your face and stare. They don’t say a word. Others ask stupid questions. “Are you who I think you are?” How the hell do I know who you think I AM? Then some people call you a different name. I’ve been called George Kirby, George Benson, George Jefferson and Sinbad. But, the bottom line is, I love my fans. They pay my rent and I have to respect that. I’m no better than they are. At least that’s what I tell them. I don’t always tell the truth. I think I’m the most blessed person on this earth. God has been good to me in so many ways. Starting with my parents. Out of all the momma’s and daddy’s in the world. God gave me the BEST. I could really go crazy on this answer….
George Wallace performs in the Flamingo Showroom of the Flamingo Hotel from Tuesdays through Sundays at 10:00 p.m. Prices begin at $49.95 plus tax & fees. For reservations, call 702-733-3333 or 800-221-7299.
Click here for ticket info, and click here for more on George Wallace.