This week, Ira spoke with Justin Tranz. To listen to the interview
Comedy Hypnotist Justin Tranz, who performs at the Tommy Wind Theater (Thursdays through Tuesdays) has been “hipnotizing” people for more than 40 years. He has performed more than 8,000 stage shows and has put more than 150,000 people to “sleep.”
Tranz headlined in Las Vegas on The Strip for more than a decade, starred in Playboy TV’s hit show “The Extreme Truth” and is the only hypnotist in history to have a run on Broadway for two years. He has been featured on The Tonight Show, The Wayne Brady Show, MTV, BET, VH1, and Fox Sports.
Tranz also knows the serious side of hypnosis and the benefits it can bring into peoples’ lives. Through his seminars and personal sessions he has helped thousands with their battles to stop smoking, lose weight or build confidence.
This week, Ira spoke with Steve Solomon. To listen to the interview click below.
Steve Solomon, the author and star of the three time award-winning, critically acclaimed show: “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish and I’m in Therapy, is bringing his newest project, “Cannoli, Latkes & Guilt” to the Troesh Studio Theater at the Smith Center, April 29 through May 3.
A native of Brooklyn, Solomon grew up in the multi-ethnic neighborhood of Sheepshead Bay. This was the perfect training ground for a dialectician and comedian. Steve learned at an early age how to use his gift for imitating accents to his advantage.
He also realized that he was a prolific writer of jokes and stories. He submitted dozens of his stories to periodicals, friends and stand-up comics he knew in the business. With the coming of the Internet and e-mail, Solomon now had an outlet for much of his comedy writings.
Using humor, dialects and sound effects in teaching, he was a real life version of Gabe Kaplan’s “Welcome Back Kotter.” Eventually, Solomon became a physics teacher and an assistant to the superintendent on Long Island.
Solomon left his academic career behind and turned his attention to his latent love of making people laugh. As he puts it, “I decided follow my heart and become an impoverished comedy writer and performer.”
This week, Ira spoke with Elizabeth Blau. To listen to the interview click below.
Elizabeth Blau is founder and CEO of Blau & Associates, a restaurant development company. She also owns and operates Andiron Steak and Sea in Downtown Summerlin, Honey Salt in Summerlin, and Made LV at Tivoli Village.
Blau’s food service career spans nearly three decades. She is widely credited with helping to transform Las Vegas into a world-class culinary destination.
She parlayed her extensive experience and expertise in the restaurant industry to found Blau & Associates in 2002. Blau assembled a team of experts and turned the firm into one of the foremost restaurant development companies in the field. Blau & Associate’s client list includes Celebrity Cruises, Destination Hotels and Resorts, the Kor Group, One and Only Resorts, Montage Resorts, Paragon Gaming, the Ritz Carlton Hotels and Resorts, Trump Casinos, Viceroy Hotels and Resorts and Wynn Resorts, among others.
Blau also maintains partnerships in four successful Las Vegas ventures. She and her husband, Kim Canteenwalla, opened neighborhood hot spot Honey Salt in 2012. Located on the west side of Las Vegas, the restaurant has gained attention locally and nationally for its sophisticated yet low key approach to seasonal American favorites inspired by the food the power couple serves at home.
Blau’s longstanding friendship with celebrity chef Kerry Simon resulted in their fifth collaboration together; they opened Simon Restaurant & Lounge at Palms Place in 2008 with partner George Maloof. Buddy V’s at the Venetian is a collaboration between Blau and the world famous “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro. Blau and her husband opened their west side restaurant, Made LV, an American tavern located in Tivoli Village, and recently opened Andiron in Downtown Summerlin.
This week, Ira spoke with David Osborne. To listen to the interview click below.
Dom Irrera is headlining at the Laugh Factory at the Tropicana Las Vegas, April 9th through the 12th. Showtimes are 8:30 and 10:30. For ticket information, go to troplv.com and for everything about Dom Irrera, go to domirrera.com
Irrera’s stand-up material was honed in a multi-generational Italian household in South Philadelphia with his mother, sister, grandmother, uncles and cousins all under one very big roof. A great-grandmother even lived across the street. Together, there were three floors and four generations of family.
His first big break was his performance on Rodney Dangerfield’s “Nothing Goes Right” comedy specials for HBO. In 1989 Irrera’s own HBO “One Night Stand” earned him his first CableACE award for Best Stand-Up Comedy Special.
In 1995 Irrera won a second CableACE for the Showtime stand-up series he hosted, “Full Frontal Comedy.” That same year he received a second CableACE nomination in the writing category for his work on Comedy Central’s animated series, “Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist.” He also starred in a solo stand-up special for HBO in ’92, titled “Command Performance.”
Irrera has performed on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “The Late Show with David Letterman,””Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “The View,” and made several appearances on “Oprah.”
In addition, he voiced the character Ernie, the demolitions expert, on Nickelodeon’s “Hey Arnold.” Other notable animation work includes multiple seasons voicing Duke The Dog in “Barnyard.”
Irrera’s film work includes a featured role in Robert Townsend’s “Hollywood Shuffle,” a cameo in the Coen Bros. Film, “The Big Lebowski,” “The Fourth Tenor,” starring old pal Rodney Dangerfield, and he played himself in the Rodney Dangerfield / Dom De Luise film, “The Godson.”
This week, Ira spoke with Tony Orlando. To listen to the interview click below.
Tony Orlando is performing at the South Point Casino April 3-5.
Orlando, born and raised in New York City, began hitting the national charts at the age of 16 with “Halfway to Paradise” and “Bless You” as the first vocal artist to sign with Epic Records. He later routed his musical career to the nonperformance side and became one of the youngest vice-presidents for CBS Records, heading their April-Blackwood music label.
Through no plans of his own, Orlando was coaxed into putting his voice on a demo record for a song titled “Candida,” for his friends Hank Medress and Dave Appell at Bell Records. The record was released under the name of the record promotion director’s daughter, Dawn.
“I think it is really the rule of show business that every big break you get, you back into it without knowing it at the time. A few weeks after recording Candida. I had forgotten all about it. And then Hank Medress calls me and says, ‘Hey man, we’ve got a hit.’ The crazy thing was, the song kept climbing the charts till it hit number one,” said Orlando.
Hoping lightning would strike again, Medress had Orlando record “Knock Three Times.” The song not only became number one, it was the top song of 1971, selling over six million copies worldwide.
Realizing it was probably safe to give up his successful career at CBS Records, Orlando decided to jump full force into what was already a meteoric rise to the top. Along with Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson, Tony Orlando and Dawn became an international sensation.
In 1973, he recorded Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree. The song was number one for the year, became Orlando’s theme song and grew into an American anthem of hope and homecoming, reunion and renewal.
A string of hits continued including “Sweet Gypsy Rose,” “He Don’t Love You,” “Who’s In The Strawberry Patch With Sally,” “Cupid,” “Steppin’ Out (Gonna Boogie Tonight)” and “Mornin’ Beautiful.”
Orlando then set his sights on television which resulted in his highly rated weekly variety series on CBS. Breaking new ground, it was the first multi-ethnic variety show on television. Orlando, of Hispanic and Greek origins, and Hopkins and Wilson, African Americans, were an instant hit. The show, which ran for four seasons from (1974 – 1976), welcomed the biggest names in show business each week as Tony’s guests, including his boyhood idols, Jackie Gleason and Jerry Lewis.
The friendship forged by Orlando and Lewis was a strong one. He has guested on Jerry’s Labor Day Telethon for 25 years, nine of those as the New York host. Orlando and Lewis also teamed for an unforgettable series of shows in the early 1990’s, taking the stage at the Las Vegas Hilton and Riviera hotels. Only two other entertainers share the distinction of performing with Lewis: Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr.
Orlando has been a recipient of three American Music Awards and a People’s Choice Award. For outstanding achievements to the entertainment industry, he was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.