Matt says, "Look Ma! We're on Television!"
When the big TV producers call, will you be ready? For most people the answer is no. Most people didn't know the big TV producers were going to call. But Stinky and I did. We knew it so well that for years we called them and asked "Hey, when do you want us to come down there and be celebrities?"
We had been politely and impolitely turned down for so long that we had become discouraged. I hadn't even bothered getting new 8x10 glossies made since I grew out my lustrous mullet. Stinky had resorted to dancing for attention on the subway. He would throw people's nickels back at them and just say, "Just someone say you love me, please."
Of course, it's when you give up hope that fate steps in. The producers of "Vegas on the Cheap", a new one-hour special that will play in perpetuity on the Travel Channel, called. They wanted us to anchor an hour of tips for folks like you: cheap, rotten bastards who will risk a little salmonella for the right price. The producers heaped praise on us, lavishing us with "We've already tried everyone else and they're all busy," and "We saw your pictures on the web and you don't look too terribly unpleasant."
Next thing we knew, Stinky and I were on planes to Las Vegas with a plan to meet a camera crew who would follow us around as we took in the city for $25 a day. This was our chance to show America our super-secret tips for traveling cheap, and to let a national audience decide, once and for all, who the better dancer is (me).
On Day One, we met with the camera crew at Circus Circus. The goal was to illustrate how to use a matchplay and to talk about the city's free entertainment. It turned out to be our first horrible experience with the seamy side of television. The camera crew wanted to film Stinky and me playing blackjack at a $5 table, a minimum so steep we would never play it in real life. Given the choice of stardom or principles, however, Stinky and I folded like a wet house of cards. We lost a combined $35 while the cameras rolled. While the cameras were on, we maintained our good-natured facades, pretending to like losing huge sums of cash, but our guts curdled and when the scene cut we cried so loudly that the producer gave us our money back. You'd think Circus Circus would have the class to cheat for us.
We then saw the circus acts: a clown who didn't do jokes and a skinny man in velvet who was proudly introduced as being from exotic "Canadaaaaaa!" Stinky was invited on stage along with two other eight-year olds for the audience participation of the clown's act and he immediately and literally dropped the ball. The velveteen Canadian followed with an act consisting of him bouncing balls off plexiglass. He bounced them high, then low, then diagonal and finally against a keyboard. It was pretty awful, but as TV stars, we pretended to enjoy it because we believe it's important to be benevolent and condescending to lesser celebrities.
Next, we visited the Westward Ho to show people how to eat cheaply and badly. For $2.03 each, we had 12 oz., 14-inch Mega dogs, 27 oz. Margaritas, free ice cream sundaes and nickel cups of coffee. The magic of television allowed us to appear to be enjoying our fat wieners when we actually ate only a few bites before tossing them. And the margaritas are really more like extra-sweet slurpees that dribble some cheap tequila into the bottom of. Mine was red, white and blue and I tried to get drunk off it to honor our soldiers. Stinky got the traditional Mexican flavor: orange dreamsicle. My favorite, however, is the piņa colada-flavored margarita. During the filming of our ice cream eating at the Ho's daily free Ice Cream Social, Stinky and I had to pretend we were so full and sleepy we needed to get coffee. This was perhaps the second creepiest moment of the "shoot" (as we in the business call it), because for the first time we realized there were hundreds of unamused senior citizens drilling holes in us with their stares. The creepiest moment was the Ho's bland Elvis impersonator who followed us around the casino, kindly giving us suggestions for great shots that he could be the star of. "Uh-huh-huh, howzabout you guys, uh, standing right over there, while I stand in front of the camera? Hummina."
>From there, we headed to the Imperial Palace to show viewers what used to be the "Imperial Palace Auto Collection." It is no longer owned by the IP, and to avoid confusion the new owners have changed its name to "The Auto Collection at the Imperial Palace." That's much clearer, isn't it? Now, the collection is basically a gallery of old cars for sale. There are still many classics, like a Mercedes 190 SL, a glitzy old Rolls Royce and several muscle cars. But there are also 1985 Oldsmobile Trofeos and a spectacularly average "Knight Rider" era Firebird. One tip we have for others wanting to visit this free exhibit is to bring a key grip, and camera and sound men. Then they let you sit in the cars. Stinky and I chose a 1974 Jaguar E-Type V12 to ham it up in. They would not let us drive it, however, not even around the museum. I think this is mostly because Stinky kept pointing at the curator and saying "We're gunning for you, bub."
At this point, our first day of filming was only half over. We still had to visit the fabulous Checkmates to dance with the horny housewife, and spin for free Crazy Girl mugs at the Riviera. But those stories, our meal at Lotus of Siam, a night of unwinding with the dice at the El Cortez (where they still treat us like regular folks, no matter how famous we are), and our second day, including several hours locked in a Fitzgerald's hotel room with a mafioso-looking marketing manager are for the web site. Check the Trip Report section for photos and the rest soon.
Who are we? ©1998 by Randy Shandis Enterprises. Questions or Comments?