The city breathes!
A girl in neon fishnets kicks up a jig while her boyfriend guzzles a boozy slushy nearby. Gawk-eyed college kids surround a street performer strumming an electric guitar. It’s Friday night and I’m on Fremont Street.
I’m here for one reason- to watch the Hilarious 7, a comedy show housed inside the Neonoplis’ Notoriety club.
Everyone’s in face masks. An entire family in flimsy, disposable pieces, a couple with Las Vegas Golden Knights-branded masks slapped onto their faces. It’s a strange look but you get used to it.
Vegas is still Vegas. The coronavirus hasn’t changed everything. People want to enjoy themselves, to forget about their worries and shrug off the week’s stress. That’s why I’m standing outside of Notoriety’s doors on a sweaty Friday night. A quick ticket check and I’m inside.
The interior reminds me of a swanky lounge. Soft purple lighting, socially distanced tables. A cocktail waitress slinking through the room. I’m waiting for my first drink when John Hilder bounds on a stage. He’s the show’s host and opening comedian.
A couple of jokes about the COVID screen “protecting” the crowd and the comedians from each other and we’re off!
Each comedian has ten minutes to complete their set. If you like their style, it’s enough time to get you interested. If you don’t, you’re not stuck with the boring comedian long enough to get antsy.
Jaye Devan hits the stage next. Before the audience gets too comfortable, we’re talking about politics. People get touchy when you talk about the president’s golf habits, so how are they going to react to a couple of jokes about the political movements roiling the country? Pretty well, it seems. This is a good crowd. The waitress swings by again and I’m ready for drink number 2.
Politics not your thing? Let’s forget about the topical content and jump into Rob O’Reilly’s set. O’Reilly’s taking us into a whole new direction- puns. These aren’t the lame jokes whipped out by your dad. These puns are actually funny. I’d tell you one, but I promise you’re better off watching O’Reilly yourself. Puns are all about the delivery.
Time for AK. By now, we’re all feeling rowdy. Everyone’s a couple of drinks in, and we need someone who matches our energy. Otherwise, this show’s gonna get sloppy. Luckily, AK has enough spirit to keep us corralled. She handles the drunken shoutouts and acts like the crowd’s new best friend. The temporary intimacy works. Someone gives AK their water bottle and we all feel friendlier.
Evan Fonfa’s up next. If AK is someone we all want to take a shot with, Evan is who we want to smoke a joint with. Dude is chill. He seems less like a stand-up comedian and more like your really funny best friend from college. He tells stories instead of bite-sized jokes.
We’re back in party mode because Derek Richards is on stage now. He has the brisk energy, and low-cut hair of a military captain combined with the dirty mouth of a dock worker. In other words, he’s perfect. This is the critical part of the show; if people aren’t laughing now they’ll be stretching their legs and looking at the clock. Instead, we’re all cracking up. Time for my final drink!
Thai Rivera waltz onto stage last. He’s politically incorrect and no one cares. Everything from face masks to American political culture is skewered by his fierce wit. Honestly, the crowd’s so tipsy at this point that we’d probably laugh at anything. The fact that Thai is actually hilarious is just an extra benefit.
70 minutes goes fast! The show is dark right now but it’ll be up and running again as soon as the Governor reopens bars in the state.