Man of Many Voices

With classic impersonations, Gordie Brown has won a contract extension and showroom bragging rights

Watching Gordie Brown perform at the Golden Nugget is a lot like watching TV with your Nana … if your Nana has ADHD and refuses to give up the remote. Brown and his band keep the channel-surfing pace going from start to finish, clicking through impersonations of all the old favorites: Neil Diamond, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, Jimmy Stewart, Sammy Davis Jr.—you get the picture.

He does throw in more recent acts such as Creed, Green Day, Maroon 5, Eminem and Michael Jackson, as well as Garth Brooks and a smattering of other country stars. His crazed pace reaches its climax with a fragmented pop-music diner routine that fully lives up to the confusing “pandemonium” advertised on his promotional posters. It was sometimes difficult to follow every transition, and his voices and postures often blurred like so much static.

The clicking stopped briefly (probably on TCM) and Brown did a pointedly sentimental but truly excellent impersonation of Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn’s performance in On Golden Pond. There was nary a dry eye in the house.

Brown’s satirical lyrics, jokes and often dead-on physical impersonations poke gentle fun at the acts and actors he mimics, and the crowd seemed to appreciate his safe retreads of Stupid George W., Horny Bill Clinton, even Hornier Tiger Woods, Cultist Tom Cruise and Baked Willie Nelson.

In short, Brown has found a comfortable home at the Golden Nugget. His act is perfectly pitched and priced right, with buffet-and-show packages starting at $35. The outbound audience at the April 9 performance thought he was “brilliant,” “funny” and “well worth the money.” That’s good news, considering that in late March he signed a “multi-year” renewal of his initial 2008 contract and earned naming rights to the 600-seat Gordie Brown Showroom.

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