This Brett Loudermilk-Sofia Vergara onstage interplay is comedy gold.
Loudermilk, a multitalented performer from Las Vegas, survived the live quarterfinals of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” on Tuesday night. He needed help from the viewer-voted Dunkin’ Donuts “instant save” round after the show. He also needed help from Vergara, a new judge on the show and Loudermilk’s onstage foil.
In the live broadcast, during which Kelly Clarkson sat in for the injured Simon Cowell, Loudermilk began with a routine card trick. Judge Heidi Klum picked a 6 of diamonds from an ordinary deck of cards (as magicians say) and signed her name in black Sharpie.
Loudermilk then called Vergara to the stage, handed her a crossbow, and gave her only scant direction on how to use the weapon.
Vergara said, “What if something, I do wrong?”
Loudermilk casually answered, “I die.”
Vergara, wincing, fired at the deck — and at Loudermilk’s face.
Loudermilk swallowed a card, or seemed to, and began to choke. He ran to Vergara, grabbed an arrow, plunged it down his throat. You guessed it, he pulled out the 6 of diamonds.
In one trick, Loudermilk pulled off an “AGT” trifecta: A classic card trick, a danger stunt and sword swallowing.
But still, Loudermilk, an performer in “Opium” at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, still needed assistance to advance. Judge Howie Mandel nodded to Loudermilk’s obvious stage experience, “You were incredibly entertaining. You live in the moment and when things don’t go right, you make it right.”
Las Vegas was further repped in Tuesday’s episode by 2014 “AGT” champ and Linq Hotel headliner Mat Franco.
The next scheduled Vegas performer is danger act Johnathan Goodwin, scheduled to appear Tuesday night. As for Cowell, no word on when he’ll be able to return after suffering multiple fractures while test-driving a new electric bike at his home Sunday in Malibu, California.
Do tell mama
Don’t Tell Mama at Neonopolis is reopening at 8 p.m. Friday. The nightspot is now a piano bar AND pizzeria. Club co-owners Minh and Joanna Pham have been issued an emergency COVID license to allow the business to open as long as it operates as a bar/restaurant.
Thus, a pizza oven has been installed. The Phams are offering such specials as $8 beer and pizza combos for your dining experience, with COVID safety protocols in place. Friday, Colte Julien, late of “Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel The Concert” at Harrah’s, is behind the piano. Saturday, Kenny Davidsen returns to his main gig.
Mama’s is running nightly, off Mondays, open until about 1 a.m. on weeknights and up to 2:30-3 a.m. on weekends.
As for the new operating license, the city has been offering such temporary permits for bars under the state’s updated reopening protocols. Joanna Pham says the arrangement is open-ended, in effect until Gov. Steve Sisolak announceds a re-opening of bars without food.
Upstairs, at Notoriety, Ken Henderson is also reviewing food options to match his plan to return live entertainment to his main lounge. It’s movement, at least, to a widespread return of safe, live performances.
Meantime, on the Island …
The reopening of venues under Clark County and Gaming Control Board jurisdiction has led to some trial-and-error moments. On Aug. 6, Clark County Business Licesne Enforcement Unit special agent Drew Renter flagged the Ellis Island hotel-casino for its karaoke setup.
You might remember Renter from a similar episode o July 8, when he showed up to shut down entertainment plans at Mosaic Theater on the Strip (this was the infamous interruption of “Aussie Heat” rehearsals).
If you know anything about Ellis Island, karaoke is a serious issue. Customers cash in their players-club points just to improve their position in line to sing. But as hotel marketing director (and founding family member) Christina Ellis says, “We are listening, following diredtions and doing what we are supposed to do and what will keep everybody safe.”
Live entertainment at the Front Yard has also been halted until further notice. But the two-story, indoor-outdoor venue is alive with Major League Baseball and — the hottest act in town — the Vegas Golden Knights.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats! podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.