“Absolute shit show” is the only way to describe a performance of Beacher’s Madhouse during its four-year run at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. And he’s planning a comeback. “We are talking to many hotels and are looking to open in 2013,” Jeff Beacher confirms.
When it opened in December 2003 at The Joint, it not only became the talk of Las Vegas but also the place for Hollywood’s young “It” crowd to congregate. Alas, those were the days before Lindsay had served time and prior to Paris being 86’d from and then welcomed back with open arms to Wynn Las Vegas. Heidi and Spencer probably hadn’t even started dating yet, and DJs still carried crates. The Hard Rock offered this sometimes chic, sometimes ill-behaved crowd something it couldn’t get anywhere else—an irreverent hideaway—a place you hoped you wouldn’t leave in an ambulance, but knew if you did it would make you all the more popular.
At the center of the madness was ringleader Beacher, who along with his cadre of midgets, comedians, magicians and other freaks put on an unforgettable show. According to Beacher, it was all part of his commitment to give audiences what they paid for. “I love to bring out extreme emotions in everything I do. Love me, hate me—there’s no middle. I create the performances to also do that.” Whether you liked it or not, you never forgot it.
Beacher recalls that opening night in Las Vegas was comedy-based with four headliners including one of his “favorite comedians ever,” Steve Byrne. “We hired 200 dancers and 200 different variety acts, from crazy contortionists to a guy who balanced stoves on his chin to the world’s oldest male stripper, Bernie, may he rest in peace,” he says.
From there, it spread like a disease—err, wildfire. The gimmicks were legendary, and the audience inevitably became part of the show. “We once held an orgasm contest where the winner won a boob job. The girls were crazy and screaming and pushing to get onstage—it was like a Justin Bieber concert,” Beacher recalls.
Perhaps the most astonishing part of all this was that just a year prior to his gig at Hard Rock, Beacher was selling furniture and cellphones. “I started doing stand-up and quickly got bored of it. I wanted more, bigger and better. I found a small theater off Broadway and started producing and hosting a show for 200 people,” he says, noting the early days when he had comedians, dancers and just a single little person. One serendipitous night, the head of Madison Square Garden came to see his spectacle … and loved it. “He gave me the Paramount Theatre at Madison Square Garden. I sold it out, and then booked a bigger 1,000-person theater called the Supper Club.”
Next came Broadway and then Vegas. As for his 2013 return, Beacher says there is no ink yet, but it’s definitely in the cards. You can’t keep a good showman down.