The Heavy Hitter

Costumes, cameras, celebrities— all in a night’s work for Jason ‘JRoc’ Craig

It takes balls to prance around a nightclub in a Playboy Bunny costume just to get a few laughs during a night of partying at the Palms on Halloween. Especially when that’s not in your job description. However extracurricular, dressing up and poking fun at himself might as well be part of the gig for Jason Craig, as long as it means that people are having a good time. To most, he’s JRoc, a nickname well known in Sin City, belonging to the “golden boy” of Las Vegas nightlife. His actual day job: He’s the guy that throws the party, lassos in the lasses and gets the party started. Having the time of his life doing so is just the happy byproduct. We’ve come to face it: JRoc often is the party.

The Los Angeles native lived in four different states before moving with his family to Las Vegas as a high school sophomore. After serving in Iraq with the Marines, Craig, now of legal age swooped in on the Vegas nightlife industry. He rose from the “glass and trash” guy at Baby’s in the Hard Rock to bartender then VIP host at Moon and Playboy, where he moved up fast to become director of special operations.

Contrary to popular belief, Craig is more than just a playboy and omnipresent partier. He’s the epitome of the “work hard, play harder” ethic, as his networking skills and unique, unabashed antics have helped him climb the corporate ladder. It’s not that he’s an executive with a hard-partying streak (those being a dime a dozen). It’s that he’s more like a party boy on a success streak. As problems go, a pretty good one to have.

“My position as the fun party guy can be trying because of the obvious [pressure to drink],” Craig says. “And everyone is like, ‘Let’s go party! Time of our life!’ and I’m like, I can’t have the time of my life every single day; I have to be in the office tomorrow! So just finding that fine line, I think I’ve done it somewhat well. It took me a while.”

Craig recently switched gears from the Palms to L.A.-based entertainment group SBE, working in marketing and customer development, and on New Year’s Eve helped deliver his new baby, Hyde Bellagio. Craig will travel back and forth between L.A. and Las Vegas over the next year for other SBE ventures.

Meantime, his legendary little black Blackberry is worth its weight in gold among the nightlife industry, as one of his valuable assets is his ability to bring in clients from all around the world to Hyde. “In 2012, I look to help SBE to the best of my abilities identify these key people to make our venue one of a kind,” Craig says. The 30-year-old will also play a big part in another major SBE project this year: the SLS Hotel’s move into the former Sahara.

Solidifying his party-starter status beyond merely the Valley, now he’s a reality television star, too: In October he hosted the Oxygen Network’s Bachelorette Party Las Vegas, and on March 29, MTV will premiere The Pauly D Project in which Craig hosts Jersey Shore star/Hard Rock resident DJ Pauly D and his best friends on a 12-week party binge.

The tanned, chiseled and charismatic personality with the thunderbolt tats on his massive mitts (his resounding “thunder-clap” is the stuff of nightlife legend) has become the poster child for Vegas-style ‘surreality’. “A lot of people come to Vegas and have no idea where they need to go, what they’re doin’,” Craig says. “So if I can help with that and make their trip better, they’ll remember me forever.”

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