George Wallace Tells You Exactly What He’s Thinkin’
Judging from the way he shakes hands and interacts with guests, and considering he was Mayor of Gotham City in Batman Forever, you’d think Flamingo comedian George Wallace was running for the nonexistent title of “Mayor of the Las Vegas Strip.”
But Wallace, who was labeled by one local writer as “The New Mr. Las Vegas,” is just happy to follow in the footsteps of Redd Foxx and Sammy Davis, Jr.— two comedians (Wallace started out as a writer for The Redd Foxx Show) he says helped pave the way for him. “Just think, they had to walk through the kitchen to work and headline in the main showroom. If they were alive today, they would be surprised to know that we’re still going through that same damn kitchen,” he jokes.
Here Wallace shares some thoughts on his career, Las Vegas and pal Jerry Seinfeld, with whom he’s shared a 35-plus year friendship. “I told his wife on [their wedding] day that if he is the same friend to her as he’d been to me, then she’s got a winner and indeed she [does].”
If you were not a comedian, what would you be doing? Look, I knew I wanted to be a comedian before I was born. I didn’t even come out of my mother’s womb until I heard a knock…(‘five minutes, Mr. Wallace’). This is what God put me on this earth for.
What was your big break? What big break? I’m still working my ass off.
What’s the best thing about living in Las Vegas? Vegas has it all: Fun, food, shows and beautiful people. And some ugly people too. Let’s be fair. No other city on earth has as many top entertainers on the same block. The same can be said for having the greatest restaurants in the world.
How would you play tourist in Vegas with 24 hours of free time? My favorite thing to do in Las Vegas is to find me a great seat and people watch, especially at a location like Mon Ami Gabi, which is the best place in town to eat and people watch at the same time.
What’s the strangest thing about Las Vegas? The oddest thing is the world’s largest gift store. The Bonanza General Store, located at Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara. On the marquee, it reads: ‘IF IT’S IN STOCK, WE HAVE IT.’ Damn, why don’t they put up a sign saying, ‘IF YOU PAY FOR IT, IT’S FREE!’
Jerry Seinfeld is a longtime friend. What makes him such a great comic? One thing that makes Jerry funny is discipline. He is so dedicated to the art of comedy. Every comedian in our era [had] the most respect for Jerry, because come hell or high water, he would always stop for an hour each day to write. The difference between a good comedian and a great comedian is that a great comedian always has new jokes.
In one Seinfeld episode, you played a doctor distracted every time he heard the song “Witchy Woman.” When it comes on now, what happens? I hear ka-ching. Come on, it was only a two-minute scene, but it was the joke of the day.