Let’s judge Vegas shows by a booze-o-meter, on a scale of zero to five snorts: Zero is a show you can appreciate with nothing stronger than a Diet Coke. Five is a show that demands Wild Turkey.
Strip Comedy at the Palms is a five. Therefore, this review carries a caveat: This reviewer was sober.
Presented by comic hypnotist Anthony Cools (who doesn’t appear), Strip Comedy is an adult (i.e., sex-crazed) show working off a competitive premise with a T&A prize: Two teams of boisterous, twenty-something comics—two guys and a gal on each—square off in improvisational games, the winners determined by audience applause. With every victory, a hot babe assigned to each team—already clad in just enough to make a dinner napkin—sheds a shred of clothing until, we’re told, one will wear nothing, meaning topless. (Eventually, they both strip to pasties.)
Amiable host/creator Nicolas “Kopy” Kopatich solicits audience suggestions for shtick and referees the contest. Occasionally they engage the crowd in filthy banter when not improvising about spanking, penis exposure, masturbation, sodomy and screwing.
In fairness, we’re informed up front this show will be D-I-R-T-Y, and some bits aren’t completely based between the legs. Yet Kopatich, an improv comic whose first Vegas shows were staged at UNLV dorms, doesn’t advance past the frat-house mentality with Strip Comedy. Frat parties, you’ll recall, were more of a blast the more you got blitzed, and so it would be with this show, where booze-fueled woo-hoo-ing can cover for a scarcity of clever comedy.
Adult-oriented improv? Cool—assuming the bits follow their own comic logic, but Strip Comedy collapses into a cacophony of naughty noise. When kept simple, it works on its own leering terms, as when players must finish the sentence, “I like my men/women the way I like my yogurt.” One guy’s answer: “Pink inside.” One woman’s answer: “Licking the top.” Adolescent, but amusing.
Unfortunately, it becomes an untenable mess when setups grow dense and stupid. On this night, it was a player having to guess a sex act in which a penis is a Super Mario Bros. video game and a vagina is a black hole filled with cucumbers. (Huh?). Or a charade-type challenge where when one player squints, another has to scratch his balls, curse like a Tourette’s sufferer, act robotic, slap himself and simulate self-pleasuring. (Double-huh?)
Another bit in which one of the about-to-be-stripped ladies becomes a prop—of course, she was bent over into a sex-ready pose—and used as a seesaw and a surfboard with the innuendo of being ridden went beyond unfunny into uncomfortable.
Sex is funny when wit connects the crotch to the brain. Presumably, Strip Comedy is funnier the drunker you are, when simply the idea of fucking is the height of hilarity. Sober, that equals the comic sophistication of a teenage boy.
Have a snort. … Have five.
STRIP POSTSCRIPT: Overheard entering Fantasy, Luxor’s topless girl-a-whirl, from a guy examining a portrait of a lithe, lovely, top-loaded lass: “Think she’s had a nose job?”
Dude, this is Vegas. Unless you’re a nasologist in town for a rhinoplasty seminar, the more interesting show’s farther south—and so, in all likelihood, was the cosmetic alteration.