Much like the drink Absinthe, a spirit with a reputation for having an intoxicating power for creativity and adventure, the show ABSINTHE similarly seduces its audience with its comedic carnival and sensual spectacle. It is by far the funniest show on the strip and I’d go as far as to say the funniest show anywhere, libations aside.
ABSINTHE, which calls a big top tent nestled between Serendipity 3 and Caesars Palace its home, is the perfect ticket for an evening of adult entertainment. Stress, adult! The show, a Spiegelworld Production, is part of Caesars Palace- a venue already known for its stellar nightlife options. However, ABSINTHE elevates things to whole new heights- literally. The acts include tightrope walkers who do keg stands and balance on chairs while baring their sexy abs (and one hairy chest) above the audience’s heads. Angel Porrino from Holly’s World tap dances topless inside a cotton candy colored weather balloon, and singing act Melody Sweets undresses down to her bare essentials while hanging from a swing. Sure there’s hot naked chicks and muscle bound men (the European male gymnasts are sure to make you Ooh & Aah and Ooh & Aah!) but what really makes the show special are its hosts- The Gazillonaire and his potty-mouthed sidekick Penny Pibbets.
This duo brings the laughs and they are equal opportunity offenders. The small stage and circular venue sure make for an intimate feel to begin with, but once these two begin to pick the audience apart, you start to feel like you’ve spent a whole night together doing body shots of….well, Absinthe. Walk of shame aside; you are bound to have some good stories to tell your friends when the hangover wears off. In fact, I’m pretty sure the two middle-aged females (deemed the ‘Black Lesbian’ and ‘White Republican’) who ‘motor-boated’ each other’s cleavage during audience participation felt closer than they did when they entered the tent. Not to worry, The Gazillonaire made sure to mouth- kiss their dates on the way out to avoid any jealousy- one moment that husband certainly didn’t see coming when he paid the price of admission!
If this all sounds like too much excitement for you, then you’re probably better off seeing a traditional show and commenting on the amazing agility and muscle strength of the acts because this is not your Mamma’s brand of acrobatics. This is a show for someone who likes a little adventure (sock puppets, anyone?), dangerous feats, and doesn’t offend easily.
Just in case you’re not yet inspired, check out our Q & A with the hosts of the show…who WARNING, never break character!
PPLA: How did you first create the show ABSINTHE? What was that process like- meeting each other, selecting your acts, and then bringing the show to Caesars Palace?
P: Well, I auditioned to work for Gazillionaire through Craig’s List. I actually didn’t audition for the show. I applied to be his accountant, and since I messed up some of the numbers and he lost some money…
G: I lost some money…I lost a lot of money!
P: I don’t really know how much. I’m not very good at math.
G: Yeah, I’ll say.
P: So, he decided to put me in the show instead, because he felt bad.
P: And I didn’t mind.
G: I had hired her off Craig’s List and it must have been a very false resume because she was terrible.
P: I actually copied it from Google- the resume. Well, my brother helped me with it too.
PPLA: How did your participation in the show come about, after the failed accounting incident?
G: I said to Penny, ‘What can you do?’ She said, ‘Absolutely nothing’. So I said, ‘Then you’re going to introduce me. She also mentioned she has some interest in puppets’.
PPLA: I hear you have a pretty interesting puppet segment in the show. What does it entail?
P: I actually used to play with puppets on my own time, just on my own. There was no audience. I think that was a little more sad. But now, people seem to laugh and really enjoy it, so I guess it’s a good thing! It’s just a fairy-tale, like a modern fairy-tale about two puppets in love.
G: Sure, what she said.
Not exactly how I’d describe the act having now seen the show. More like two drunk puppets meet in a bar and have a one-night stand! But either way, funny as hell.)
PPLA: Your show recently went dark here at Caesars so that you could build a new tent and stage set-up, and then you reopened and renewed your contract with the venue. Tell me about what it was like the very first time you did the show at this iconic casino.
G: You know, we did the show in New York and Miami first, and we did it in Australia a couple times, so we were confident in the show. (Straight-faced and as dry as can be) I don’t really care how it goes. It’s just kind of one of those passion projects. I’m losing tons of money every night, but I like to get out there and talk to the audience and get people in the tent.
P: And insult people!
G: And insult people…but just a little bit. Just be honest about things.
PPLA: So we shouldn’t sit too close is what you are saying?
G: Yeah probably! Penny and I thought, ‘Vegas is like the coolest place in the world and where else would I want to hang out the most amount of time’, so that’s how we chose Vegas. I didn’t think I was going to be hosting every night. Originally, I thought I’d just get some other schmuck…
P: Buenos Aires would be pretty cool too!
G: All right, the next show we’re going to open in Buenos Aires. Settled.
P: I can learn Spanish or whatever they speak there.
G: Or whatever they speak down there…
P: I just gotta say ‘La Cucaracha’, Right? And drink lots of tequila?
PPLA: Let me get this straight. You wanted to hang out in Vegas a lot so you decided to just approach Caesars and put on a show here?
G: I said, ‘Don’t worry about the money. I’ll pay for everything. I’ll buy Caesars if I have to’. And they said, ‘No, we’ll give you this little plot of land over here. It’s a prime location’. So, I just ran around the world really quickly and got some acts together. I paid the acts crap too because most of them are Russian or Ukrainian and the dollar is worth nothing over there.
P: It’s like a million rubles to them, isn’t it?
G: Yeah. So, they’re buying houses over there with their salary and really it’s crap. (Leans in) But don’t tell them I said that though. And then I made them do some crazy, stupid, dangerous, stuff and put it all in the show. I put up a tent, and then we had to put up another tent for some safety reasons. This is our second tent now, but this one is cooler and bigger and more unique. It’s probably the only one in the world like it. So yeah, that’s basically how we put together our show!
PPLA: What do you think sets your show apart? There are so many talented acts on the strip, what do you think makes yours different?
G: Well if you can see the stage right there (he points to the small circular stage in the middle of the room)… the front row is like two and a half feet away from the stage. And the stage is just a circular piece of crap right there- it’s nothing! I spent no money on the show. Really, it’s the intimacy that you get here that is like nothing else. It’s the really high caliber level of acts that we are putting on in the very simplest forms. No makeup…I mean some of them wear make-up…
P: (Aggressively) But not that stupid, overdone make-up that acts always wear with those big, ridiculous costumes…
G: All right, all right, calm down Penny! So, it’s very simple. You’re so close. We’re in the farthest seats right here for this interview and you can still see everything in the room. You can see the acts sweating and if you’re in the front you can smell sweaty balls and stuff like that… or testicles…I don’t know what I can say (for this interview). Anyway, you get this real interaction and you get to see all the muscles flexing and everything that is happening on stage. Normally, you get to see a theatrical kind of event but we’re really making it simple and intimate.
P: And honest.
G: Agreed, and honest.
P: And also, if you are tripping your balls off, it all feels very, very close! Can I say balls?
PPLA: What are some of the acts that we’re going to see here tonight?
G: We have some amazing high-wire guys that do high-wire right over the audience- very, very close to them. They are my friends from college and they pretty much just get drunk and run around on the wire. It’s really stupid and dangerous.
P: But they have great abs!
G: Great abs! But who has even better abs is this duo, a couple of polish guys that play my bodyguards and look like soldiers, like robots even. They just lift each other and…. I don’t really know what they do…but they lift each other around and the audience seems to love it! We have some roller skaters who skate right there and spin each other around by the neck and it’s crazy. The wheels are literally inches from your face if you sit in the front row.
P: And we have sexy girls writhing on ropes in the air, and Melody Sweets who takes off her clothes…and sings! She shimmies and shakes and you can’t see nipple but you can see everything else. Well, sometimes you can see nipple if it slips out.
PPLA: How did you find all these acts? Please tell me it wasn’t through Craig’s List again?
G: Yeah, it was circus Craig’s List! It is kind of like that though. You see, the circus world is small, so you put out the word that you are looking for acts and next thing you know you hear someone say, ‘Have you seen those two polish guys?’ They’re working over in Israel at some dumpy club, and then you board a plane and go there. You pay them a little bit more money than they are making, and you steal them and bring them over to your show. That’s how it’s done.
P: I don’t remember two months of my life because we were just going around the world stealing acts.
G: Sometimes, you are so drunk and high when you first see these acts and you think, ‘WOW! That’s an amazing act!’ Then you bring them over here and they’re crap. You have to get rid of them and get new people.
P: Get rid of them…you mean kill them?
G: Just fire them, Penny.
PPLA: What were the two of you doing before you met and created ABSINTHE. Did you have individual solo shows?
G: I had my own show, The Gazillionaire Show, in Los Angeles, and Penny had her own band called Fish Circus. They are an LA-based band but they just played in Vegas last week to rave reviews and packed houses, of course. We used to put on a little show together with music and comedy in LA.
P: But there would be no circus acts. It would just be the stage, songs, and a wheel the audience would spin and whatever thing it landed on, we would have to do it! (Like a performance dare)
G: We would practice messing around with the audience mostly in bars and clubs. It was a series of little shows and then we just decided to bring it to Vegas.
PPLA: What was it like pitching a huge casino like Caesars and convincing them to give your show, which is certainly not traditional, a shot?
G: I said I’ll buy the casino if you don’t pick this up! I threatened to put them out of work and it worked. (Laughs). They gave me this little plot of land right here and I gave them a good chunk of money and a good percentage. And now we have this prime location on Las Vegas Boulevard.
PPLA: For now, Caesars is the show’s permanent home. What else do you see for the future of the show and the two of you?
G: Retiring from all of this. I’m exhausted. Penny loves it though; she’ll do it forever!
P: Yeah I will. I’ll do it ,and I’ll have my kids running around doing it one day too.
G: I’ll go to Bermuda and get some other guy to do it. I’ll go out of town and bring in some guy who pretends to be me. It’s very easy really, and it’ll work out good for us both because I’m pretty lazy.
PPLA: How did you come up with these personas- these individual characters that are the heart of the show?
(I am looking at The Gazillionaire with his odd-shaped mustache, gold tooth, and too small white tuxedo, and Penny in her ‘green fairy’ dress, bright red hair and matching lipstick.)
Two blank stares look back at me- never breaking character.
PPLA: These characters are just who you really are then?
P: (Laughs) How did you become a blonde?
G: Usually, I get drunk before the show so that puts some sort of an edge on things, and Penny will eat a lot of sugar.
P: I do I eat a lot of sugar before the show. Plus, he usually yells at me right before we go on so my self-esteem goes down. Thats’ good too.
G: You see her low self-esteem on stage and that honesty is something people relate to.
P: It’s complete self-destruction out there!
It seems the duo must be doing something right. With a brand new tent, updated acts, and nightly sold-out performances, it’s doubtful The Gazillionaire will be retiring to Bermuda anytime soon.
For more information or to purchase tickets for the show, please visit AbsintheVegas.com.Tickets can also be purchased online at Ticketmaster or by calling 800-745-3000. In addition, tickets can be purchased in person at the ABSINTHE, Planet Hollywood, Bally’s, Paris and Rio box offices. For groups of 10 or more, please call 702-785-5394 / 866-633-0195 or [email protected] Follow ABSINTHE on Facebook and Twitter @AbsintheVegas.