Ed Driscoll

What Is It With Hollywood And Vegas These Days?

In his 1990-ish biography on Woody Allen (published about 30 seconds before the name Soon-Yi because a household word), Eric Lax described Las Vegas as “a giant get out of jail free card” for entertainers because of its enormous salaries.

So why have Linda Ronstadt, and now George Carlin had some strange shows there? Carlin’s meltdown sounds particularly bad:

December 7, 2004 — GEORGE Carlin ended his relationship with the MGM Grand in Las Vegas with a devastating diss the other night. The caustic comic finished his four-year run with a dark set that included riffs on suicides and beheadings, and made it clear that he couldn’t wait to get out of “this [bleeping] hotel” and Sin City. The Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Norm Clarke reports that Carlin told the crowd of 700 that he was looking forward to going back east “where the real people are.” He added, “People who go to Las Vegas, you’ve got to question their [bleeping] intellect . . . Traveling hundreds and thousands of miles to essentially give your money to a large corporation is kind of [bleeping] moronic. That’s what I’m always getting here is these kind of [bleeping] people with very limited intellects.” When a woman yelled something that sounded like “stop degrading us,” Carlin fired back, “Thank you very much, whatever that was. I hope it was positive; if not, well, [bleep] me,” using slang for oral sex. Strangely, though, Carlin isn’t ready to leave town yet: He’s jumping to the Stardust in February after a falling out with the MGM Grand.

Las Vegas is probably the only time that Hollywood comes close leaving the liberal cocoon to interacting with folks from red states, which must have been particularly challenging to the delicate constitutions of celebrities in 2004.