DIGITAL EDITION: Downtown Gordie Brown
It’s been a quiet two years at downtown’s Golden Nugget and its headliner, Gordie Brown. Not that that’s bad, just out of the norm for Vegas entertainers, who have been known to toot their own horn, on a regular basis. But if there were any naysayers and doubters of Brown’s show, “Gordie Brown Live,” then they’ve just been proven wrong. His show was recently extended for two more years, with options for another two; plus he’s got several projects in the works. So yes, he’s kept busy, but for the most part, also kept to himself.
Flashback to 2009 – the last time we profiled Brown – who, at that time, was days away from his grand opening at the Nugget. No stranger to The Strip as a performer, he was famously doing shows at The Venetian, and then at the V Theater, plus he was finishing-off his gig as the opening act for the North American leg of Celine Dion’s “Taking Chances World Tour.” His history, obviously, hasn’t changed – prior to becoming a Las Vegas headliner, he was a political cartoonist in Canada, which by the way, he credits for his start in comedy. (The cartoons, not Canada). He even shared that on his last day of cartooning, he did a self-caricature – of him leaving for Hollywood. Of course, his journey to L.A. got sidetracked by a short trip to Las Vegas – and it was here that he met fellow Canadian (and idol), Paul Anka – coincidentally, in the same Golden Nugget dressing room that now bears his name. And the rest is history, although Brown, ever so humble, chalks it up to a higher power, “If you are so sincere and clear about what you want, then I believe that the universe lines up to give it to you.”
It’s not all about his show, in the span of two years, he’s also launched an album and a book. “As I Am,” his debut album, contains original songs composed, arranged and performed by him. There’s also, “Gordie Brown in Caricature,” a collection of 120 illustrations done throughout his years at the Ottawa Sunday Herald and beyond. “A lot of the voices that I do in the show and entertainers I admire made it to the book,” adds Brown. “For example, I don’t do Rosie O’Donnell, but she’s in the book. Of course, there’s Elvis and Michael, and it came out just before Obama, or I would have added that.”
If it seems like he’s living the life, Brown shares that there was a period where he voluntarily “took a step back,” to take stock of his life, choosing instead to just concentrate on his show, adding, “I just wanted to entertain, I just wanted to do my show, and that’s what I did.” That time off seemed to have done him well because, as he says, “I’m doing really great, amazing even.”
He shares other projects in the works – he recently auditioned to star in a TV show; and also in the midst of developing his own pilot which is about “seventy percent of my lifestyle; it’s more of the Vegas life, but also the family life…” He’s also thinking of doing another album, along the same lines as his first, featuring a blend pop and pop-rock songs.
Other than that, the show is running pretty smoothly. “People are always on their feet and cheering,” says Brown. “People have really been loving the show; there’s so much energy from my band and the audience.” Fans can look forward to “new” characters – like Al Pacino; or at the very least new material, like for Schwarzenegger.
We asked if there was something else he would like to do, perhaps something to add to his show – a prop? a new gimmick? but he’s emphatic when he says, “I don’t use props anymore, so when you see me, you see me,” adding, “I never want the props to get the joke or the laugh, so I never want it to be like Halloween.”
Also, it helps that he’s got a great working relationship with the Golden Nugget, saying, “they let me do anything I want over there,” so he probably won’t be moving Strip-side for a long, long while. He recounts a conversation he had with the hotel’s executives, “I tell you what, you make me feel like I’m on The Strip; that’s what I need – I need to not miss The Strip – and they’re doing that – they make me feel like I’m part of The Strip scene.”
-Rachel M. Sugay