I lunched with Lynn Holt, Vice President Marketing for the Excalibur Hotel in Las Vegas. He unveiled his 100 million dollar plus renovation drawings for guest rooms and the top-secret plans for new culinary experiences. The Excalibur boasts the distinction of being the most profitable casino on the strip. Previous owners scooped the money and forgot about upgrades and maintenance. Lynn claims Excalibur will return as a premier location. Still one of the best bargains on the strip, Excalibur is fast becoming the nicest mid range hotel accommodating those desiring affordable or family vacations. They host the “Tournament of Kings”, a jousting and medieval show sure to amaze young and old.
Since the venue was purchased by and became a subsidiary of MGM / Mirage, every thing has changed. With new management and clear direction, employee moral has gone into orbit.
The Excalibur features comedy legend Louie Anderson. Backstage before his show Louie answered questions for his fans. It was an entertaining and immensely rewarding time with one of America’s entertainment icons. It felt like I was chatting with a friend over coffee. We discussed everything from admissions of past show flops, to his double by-pass surgery. He spoke softly when mentioning his deceased mother’s advice, “remember people are all important, and treat them well”.
I inquired about the famous thumbs up from the late Johnny Carson. The story goes that when Carson liked a first time comedian on the Tonight Show, they got the signal. Like Nero, thumbs up meant your career had just left the launch pad headed for stardom. In Louie’s case, Johnny left the famous desk and followed him into the hall to compliment his routine. Louie claims show business is akin to a Disney World ride, if you get in line your turn will come. The headliner will get sick, caught in traffic or just not show and they’ll call on you, so be ready.
Louie’s show was side splitting, nothing in the material would prevent including my teenager’s attendance next time.
Louie originally was a writer for Henny Youngman. Later he became a regular on Comedy Central eventually being included on their list of top one hundred comic greats! With numerous television cartoon and movie credits, Louie’s guaranteed a place in history.
His great passion is supporting an organization he co- founded, H.E.R.O an acronym for Homeless Empowerment Relationship Organization. This unique hand’s on system empowers home less people and helps them attain maximum self-sufficiency. They identify and set written goals in classroom environments. Graduates of the program are matched with a one on one mentor to encourage and keep alumni on track toward attaining their goals of education, employment, or home ownership. Those trapped in the downward spiraling vortex of street life can be rescued and transformed into productive members of society.
Louie Anderson recognizes reality isn’t found in the glitz of Las Vegas and everything in life isn’t funny. Where hope ends, desperation begins! There’s thousands of homeless people on streets enslaved by alcohol, drugs or held captive by their past. They’re drowning in waves of self-incrimination. Just one person is needed to come and stand along side, pointing the direction back toward self-reliance and sufficiency. H.E.R.O. is just such an organization, look for more details at www.louieanderson.com. The organization was founded just outside of Detroit.
Anderson is a national celebrity but one of the most down to earth guys I’ve been privileged to meet.
Writing this story about Louie was easy he’s the kind of guy you would want as a friend. I was enriched and I’m a far better person for knowing him. I’m hoping that after reading this piece, you’ll feel you’ve spent some time “Back Stage” as well.
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