Tuesday 13 - Geechy Guy's Got Talent

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 Piers Morgan may disagree, but Geechy Guy has talent. The 47-year-old comic, who has been telling jokes for nearly 30 years, didn’t ultimately win “America’s Got Talent” last year, but he certainly won over a new generation of fans on that showcase, just as “Star Search” catapulted him into the mainstream consciousness in the early ‘90s (he still holds the record for most consecutive wins by a comedian, with 10 appearances).

Although some of the comedians he beat back then have gone on to more visible projects (anyone heard of Ray Romano?), Guy’s resume is nothing to laugh at. In 1993, he landed in the Guinness Book of World Records for telling the most jokes in one hour (676), has made more than 75 television appearances and has headlined a number of shows both in Reno and Las Vegas, most recently the critically-lauded “Dirty Joke Show” at Hooters Hotel and Casino.

On the eve of his headline stint at Big Al’s Comedy Club at The Orleans Hotel and Casino Wednesday through Sunday, Guy talked with the Best of Las Vegas about dirty jokes, roller coasters and what makes him laugh.

BOLV: Your stage name is fairly unusual. What’s the story behind it?
GG: Kichigai is Japanese for crazy, it was a nickname given to me in college by an exchange student. When I started comedy, I didn’t want to embarrass my mom, so… It has actually been sort of fortuitous.

BOLV: Do you remember your first joke?
GG: Not really! I was doing magic since I was six, juggling since I was 12, then I played my first comedy club when I was 19. Basically, I had a street juggling act, and I was at an audition where the ceiling was too low, I didn’t have enough room to juggle, so instead of doing my juggling material I just did some jokes. It was kind of organic. I didn’t necessarily know I wanted to be a comedian. I kinda knew I wanted to perform. In 3rd grade I told everybody I wanted to be a magician in Las Vegas, which was kind of ironic.

BOLV: Where did you get your funny bone?
GG: I’m not sure! My mom is pretty funny. Me and George Carlin have the same birthday, so maybe that has something to do with it. I don’t know, I think I’m just fortunate that I have a sense of humor, and that what I think is funny is pretty universal.

BOLV: The “Dirty Joke Show” at Hooters, which just closed after a two-year run, was universally praised for it’s out-of-the-box format. Was that your idea?
GG: Yeah, it was more like a play. We wanted it to be something more than stand-up; it was what me and my friends do. I grew up in this business, and when I had the most fun it was sitting around in an alley behind the comedy club, waiting for the next show to start, being funny with the other comics. That was really the basis of it. We acknowledged the audience a little, but mostly it was kind of a fly-on-the-wall thing.

BOLV: Who laughs harder at dirty jokes, women or men?
GG: It’s equal, and what’s neat is it’s really just a different kind of laughter, just a deep, catching-their-breath kind of (laugh). I mean, these are jokes that, when your grandpa tells them they’re funny, but you when hear them from guys that have that much more comedy experience under their belt, it’s just that much more fun. It takes something a little different to make a comedian laugh.

BOLV: From the wholesome “America’s Got Talent” to the raunchy “Dirty Joke Show,” who is your target audience?
GG: That’s the beauty of it, I think it’s everyone. There are certain people who wouldn’t enjoy the “Dirty Joke Show,” but even then we didn’t get too gross, didn’t bring race too much into it. It was mostly just sex jokes and the jokes your grandpa and uncles would tell at the reunion. There are some real funny jokes out there. You know how to get a fat girl into bed? Piece of cake. I mean, there’s hundreds of jokes like that out there.

BOLV: Was that one of your signature joke grenades (jokes he tells that then take about 8 seconds to ‘hit’)?
GG: Maybe, maybe. There are a lot of jokes out there, and I may not have written them, but they’re jokes I like. You know what you call a guy with a rubber toe? Roberto. It’s a great joke. The older crowds like it as much as the younger crowds.

BOLV: Your rapid-fire method of joke telling landed you in the Guinness Book of World Records. Have you ever considered topping that?
GG: If (the record) was broken, I’d probably defend it. It wasn’t that fun to watch, as it was very technical and of course it was done for a specific reason. It wasn’t like watching a show, because the people watching were there to count the laughs. But it was fun, it was a great experience. And it’s a great credit. I mean, thousands of people have been on the “Tonight Show” but there is only one world-record joke teller.

BOLV: Speaking of late-night talk shows, who is funnier: Craig Ferguson or Jay Leno?
GG: I don’t know, I’ve been on both shows, as you know, but I didn’t get to meet Craig Ferguson too much during my (appearance). A friend of mine opens for him, though, and I think he’s very funny. And Jay is just a legend in his own time. When I first started, Jay was at the pinnacle of what (comics) strived for. I don’t get to watch either one’s shows now, though; I’m usually in bed by then. I’m getting old.

BOLV: You’ve been on two era-defining talent searches in your career, “Star Search” and “America’s Got Talent.” How were those experiences different?
GG: They were both great. The “Star Search” (recognition) lasted a long time. I mean, people who recognized me back then still do. “America’s Got Talent” certainly helped, as well, but I still have people come up to me and say they saw me on “Star Search” and wondered what had happened with me. I mean, I was getting recognized for six or seven years, even ten years later. I still get recognized (for “America’s Got Talent”,) but I just don’t know if it’s going to last as long as it did then.

BOLV: Who would play you in the movie of your life?
GG: Oh my goodness! Who would play me? People tell me I look like Stephen Hawking. I don’t know, that’s a tough one. I think you’d have to use me, and I could probably use the work.

BOLV: You’ve been quoted in the Best of Las Vegas as being a roller coaster fanatic. Is that still the case?
GG: Yeah! The beauty of roller coasters is that they’re not like Ferris wheels, where they’re all the same. That’s when I really started to love them, when I realized that they were all their own little footprint, and each one had their own little unique things about them. The one at New York, New York is great, I think that was the first one that had a barrel roll ever built in the U.S.; I know the Desperado down in Primm, was the tallest when it was built. And then the one at Circus Circus is great, it’s one of the best indoor ones. Stratosphere’s was very cool, too. Me and my wife got engaged on the roller coaster up there. I think they’ve all got something going for them, I hope they keep building more here. A wooden one would be nice, if anybody is listening.

BOLV: What is your proudest accomplishment as a comedian?
GG: Just being able to do it. People always ask, “when are you going to make it?” I made it when I started doing it. I made it back in1985, when I didn’t have to do anything else for a living. That’s making it to me. To wake up and want to go to work is great. I was in the great earthquake in San Francisco, the World Series earthquake. I had never been in an earthquake before, and it was huge. These two girls in the street were talking, and one said, “wow, I hope I don’t have to go to work tomorrow,” and it dawned on me that I wasn’t even thinking that. I was thinking “I hope they get this cleaned up in time for my show tonight.” And I realized how lucky I was to be in that position, of wanting to go to work and get paid for what I do. I’ve never lost sight of that. There are ups and downs. I could end up making $100,000 a year or $9. I mean, I’d love to take it to the next level and play theaters and things like that, but if it doesn’t happen, I’ll still keep telling jokes for a living. I’m very happy.

Geechy Guy headlines at Big Al’s Comedy Club inside The Orleans from Wednesday to Sunday. Tickets are $19.95 and include one drink. Guests must be 18 and over to attend. For more information, contact the Orleans Box Office at 702-365-7075 or toll free at 888-365-7111.

Published on bestoflasveags.com

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