By Jacqueline Monahan
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Frat Boys of Comedy do Halloween at V Theater at Planet Hollywood

I spent Halloween going back to college, with four frat boys as comedic tour guides. Real keg tappin’, cursin’, flannel and denim wearin’ frat boys. Take a hint from the title of the act and check any thought of manners at the door for these rough and raunchy renegades.

The comics stopped in Las Vegas during their national tour for a special Halloween comedy bash. Gauze-wrapped mummies flanked the stage of the intimate 500-seat V Theater, as D.J. Chino cranked (and danced to) a very loud set of house music prior to the start of the show.

Audience members in colorful and flamboyant costumes filled the seats with cartoon characters (Supergirl, Minnie Mouse), a half-naked Indian chief, mad scientists, three recycle boxes (Reduce, Recycle, Reuse), two zombies and one Napoleon Dynamite stud in short-shorts and headband. A videographer wandered around the venue in drag, bra strap showing for authenticity, but wearing the wrong shoes for his gown. His beard was a nice touch, though.



Sexual innuendo based on race and stereotypes poured forth from the quartet as each got his turn at bat. Lightening rods for comic attention appeared to be Asian girls in the front row, the Napoleon Dynamite character, two men sitting together, and the aforementioned cross-dressing videographer. Every comedian had a comment or two for this population, becoming unintentionally repetitive.

Andy Ruther, looking like a disheveled college freshman (is there any other kind?), took the stage to shouts from the rowdy attendees. Ruther made sure to address the entirely female first row of the theater with sexually loaded chatter that had him admit to having small hands, and you know what that means. Ruther took a few swipes at gay jokes with those hands before retreating.

Andy Ruther

Self-proclaimed loser Michael J. Herbert could single-handedly resurrect the pocket protector with his sartorial style. His act consisted mostly of asking “duh” questions to the inebriated masses, such as “Who like to drink?” and “Who likes Ecstasy?” Of course the crowd screamed its approval, a rather hollow victory for a comedian because no joke is involved, just reaction. Herbert went on to list the ways that he’s sub-par with the opposite sex, a fact disputed by a shrieking row of females in the middle of the theater.

Michael J. Herbert

Meatloaf-like Doug Reed took the stage violently, knocking down one of the standing mummies to a forlorn sideways position, where it stayed for the rest of the show. Reed expounded on gross sex, holiday pedophiles (how festive!), the cross-dressing videographer and the Asian women in the front row (again). Reed is no stranger to F-bombs and threw them frequently at the crowd, like punctuation on a profane manifesto.

Doug Reed

At long last, headliner and number one frat boy Jason Harris took the stage. Harris had the strongest material and best delivery of the featured frats, but had to compete with an audience that was more drunkenly rowdy and disrespectful, especially the crowd that congregated in the back of the theater near the bar, who thought they’d entered an actual frat house.

Jason Harris

Rude chatter, disrespect for the performers, and an oblivious attitude toward the show that was being presented all served to hamper Harris as he tried to compete with booze-soaked hoots and cell phone interludes.

Harris varied his comic material by including the homeless, George Bush, prostate exams, and God. There was sexual content as well, incorporating bisexuals, the mentally challenged, and practical jokes into the mix. Harris tried to engage the partying portion of the noisy crowd but ended up looking like some guy that found a working microphone at a large function and decided to speak into it. I give the man props for taking on such a challenging venture.

Located in the Miracle Mile Shops inside of Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, The V Theater is an intimate venue, making for an immediately interactive atmosphere between performer and audience. When it works (Popovich Pet Theater) it is electrifying. When it doesn’t, it’s just a big, noisy room full of disorganized comics and an inattentive swarm of millennials with miniscule attention spans, desiring more sensation than sense.

Since it was Halloween, it would have been an evocative touch to have a costumed theme to the performers. Instead, all four came out looking like they’d slept in their nondescript clothes, which I suppose supports the frat boy image of educated slob. Still, if you dress for disrespect, don’t be surprised if you get it right back. When the storm trooper in the second row is more visually appealing than the act itself, it sets the stage for wandering eyes and wayward conversations.

Each one of the young comedians has the potential to kill instead of bore to death. They just have to find a voice, a look, and an act that will command attention without resorting to clichés.

Profanity is fine, but see Bobby Slayton if you want to know how to do it right. Bad acoustics from the (nearly swallowed by each comic) microphone can be avoided by simply holding the thing farther from your mouth. Trade in some of the cheap shots for clever insight. Harris has a Bluetooth joke like this, the most original of the evening. Refine the act and the presentational style and Frat Boys of Comedy just might turn out to be your cup of tea; or maybe the word “brew” would be more appropriate.

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Professional Bull Riders Championships Keep the Joint Jumpin’ at The Thomas & Mack Center

The Thomas and Mack Center thundered under several tons of hooves on imported dirt on Thursday, November 6th for the fourth round of the PBR World Finals. The event ran from Friday, October 31 through Sunday, November 9 in a double arena flanked with holding pens and surrounded by a capacity crowd that regularly saluted the longhorns with long necks (beer) and a virtual sea of cowboy hats.

Bull riding is among the most macho of sports, full of testosterone and tenacity. Male members of the human and bovine community battle for control over a shared environment. You’ve heard of mad cow disease, but you haven’t seen anything until you’ve experienced 1800-2300 lbs. of mad bull let out of a corral with the equivalent of a wedgie to make him one ornery varmint, y’all.

This is not a rodeo, as aficionados, bull riders and announcers are quick to point out. This is an event unto itself where young men (ages of 19 and 20 are common) with names like Wiley, Shane, Dusty, Travis and Ty ride massive, near-tons of irritated beef with names like Troubador, Black Bend, Unabomber, Tilta Whirl and Spit Fire. Riders hail from nearby hometowns in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana and even from different hemispheres (Brazil, Australia).

Pyrotechnics, rock music, and a Jumbo-tron for replays, slow-motion shots and rider tributes make for an exciting multimedia show, whether at ground level or high above the action. These are sexy beasts (the men and the bulls) that, when combined with pounding rock beats and slow motion images of dangerous rides, can conjure up a sinewy dance that can remind one of carnal pleasures. The Spanish word carne means meat, after all.

The top 45 bull riders compete for lucrative 1sr, 2nd and 3rd prize purses of $250,000, $135,000, and $80,000 respectively. A glitzy introduction of the 45 featured them all on a revolving platform, surrounding the silver World Cup 2008 trophy. The platform rested upon three Ford “built tough” trucks. The top five (by score totals) got their own platforms in the opposite arena, accompanied by columns of flame and sparks and the appreciative roar of the loyal fans, including celebrity guests, the Bellamy Brothers (remember their 70’s hit, Let Your Love Flow? This crowd sure did).

The U.S. Border Patrol Honor Guard, one of the event’s sponsors, opened the show with the National Anthem. Hats were removed by the score, and more than half of the riders hit one or both knees as a prayer was recited over the proceedings. Bull riders and their fans are a patriotic and devout lot as much for God and country as they are for risking life and limb on a writhing, leathery creature with horns on his head and fire in his eyes.

Your intrepid, yet ever-humble correspondent hung onto the iron bars of the arena parameter by her biceps to get a better-than-front-row view of the action, leaving her sore the next day from the effort. A dropped pen was rescued from a possible hoof-stomp by a friendly cowboy. Sponsor banners were everywhere; aside from Ford, Jack Daniels, Big Tex Trailers, Wrangler, Dickies, and Copenhagen Smokeless Tobacco were represented, among others. Pictures accompanying this article illustrate the sheer speed that these bulls can muster (blurriness due to trying to capture a motion akin to a whip crack).

bye bye cowboy
bye bye cowboy

While being loaded into the holding pen the bulls can appear either bored or determined, and if they could talk you might imagine them saying, “Wait ‘til I get the chance to knock this $%#@% off my back!” Riders and assistants appear to torment the animal by poking and prodding his head and body with hands and feet and pulling on the rope fastened around his loins, like a binding girdle.

A bull’s skin is six times tougher than a human’s, so what looks like a punch or kick merely feels like a tap on the shoulder, irritating though that may be. If you could easily throw a pesky goon off of your back – wouldn’t you take the opportunity? These animals are ready to rock once released from their pens.

catch me if you can
catch me if you can

speed of light
speed of light

like quicksilver
like quicksilver

2 fast 4 most
2 fast 4 most

There are about a dozen men in the arena before a bull is released, one on horseback with a lasso. All are there for the rider’s protection, distracting and herding the bull into its backstage habitat once the ride is through. The floor of the arena is covered in hoof and boot prints, smoothed over by what looks like a mini-bulldozer between rounds.

Since 60% of bull riding injuries involve concussions, a rider’s standard gear includes a cowboy hat or helmet (with face cage or without), a shock absorbing leather and foam vest, leather chaps over denim or corduroy pants, a riding-hand glove to prevent rope burns, and dull spurs which cause irritation without pain.

The bull has one rope around his chest for the rider to hold onto and another binding noose encircling his hind quarters. His performance is judged too, by criteria involving movement and “switches.” Sometimes this happens before the gate is even opened.

The whole object is for these contestants to hang on for eight seconds, using only one hand. A free arm used for balance only, and a rider is disqualified if it touches the bull during a ride. The ride itself ends when a rider touches the ground, his hand comes out of the rope, or he slaps the bull with his free arm.

One poor chap in chaps had his bull buck violently while still in the pen, tossing him forward so that his forehead met the bull’s neck in a split second, testament to the unpredictable behavior of which these animals are capable. Another rider, Aussie Jared Farley of Australia, suffered a shoulder dislocation after only a few seconds atop Tom Petty (the bull, not the singer).

In its 15th year, the PBR bid farewell to two legends who retired after this year’s participation. Adriano Moraes of Brazil, a three-time PBR champ, and Justin McBride, a two-time PBR champ, with combined winnings of over $8,000,000, have won 1/3 of the championships between them. At 38, Moraes is considered mature for the sport, and McBride simply wants to devote more time to his family.

After 21 broken bones and countless event titles, Moraes summed up his bull riding career by saying it gave him a “sense of power and freedom. If you can face those bulls, you can face life.”


As long as there are young men willing to jump on a ton of fury for the glory of a short ride, or the quick spike face down in the dirt, which could likely feature kick to the back or face, there’ll be a PBR Championship World Final to capture all of the neck snapping, spine crunching action.

Being full of bull is a good thing. Some people wouldn’t have it any other way.

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