Jimmy Kimmel returns to his hometown with a new comedy club
Jimmy Kimmel may have had to leave Las Vegas for work, but Las Vegas has never left Jimmy Kimmel. Now Kimmel can always be here in spirit, thanks to the opening of the Jimmy Kimmel’s Comedy Club at the Linq Promenade. The executive producer and 17-season host of Emmy-winning ABC late-night program Jimmy Kimmel Live! had long wanted a presence in the city he was raised in from age 9, and he unhesitatingly accepted when Caesars Entertainment approached him in late 2017 with an offer to open a venue and bar with his name on it. Now, in addition to all his other endeavors, he’s helping to take Las Vegas’ comedy scene to the next level.
The club debuted May 2 with a four-night, six-show stand by Harland Williams, who first broke out in the late ’90s with roles in There’s Something About Mary and Half-Baked. Opening-night patrons found a classy bar and lounge with comfortable seating and décor that created a welcoming feeling. Stairs lead to the second-level venue, where spacious showroom-style seating and a banquette that wraps the back wall provide up to 300 direct-to-stage sightlines.
Audience members can’t see the green room and aren’t cognizant of the ways Kimmel and his team designed the club with consideration for comedians in mind, but Kimmel stood firm in his vision for the club. The idea of working with the company that runs Caesars Palace, where friends and family worked while he grew up, appealed to him. He wanted to capture the spirit of classic Vegas entertainment, and consulted with veteran comics to get their input on how he could create the ideal comedy venue. The final results more than speak for themselves.
First-class treatment of comedians, the opportunity to have surprise guests and the ability to stretch out what could be done on a stand-up stage formed the foundational vision for the club. Williams was the guest, after his set, for a 10 p.m. live recording of The Adam Carolla Show, hosted by Kimmel’s former co-conspirator on subversive Comedy Central series The Man Show. There was no clatter of flatware to disrupt Williams’ set or Carolla’s podcast, as audience members ordered selections from a high-end menu that were meant to be eaten by hand.
Williams’ dates were followed with engagements by rising stand-up stars such as Fahim Anwar, John Heffron and Beth Stelling. Gina Brillon (The Conners, Kevin Can Wait), who just came off a tour opening for Gabriel Iglesias, takes the stage for four nights beginning June 13, and Orny Adams appears the following weekend.
Kimmel has yet to schedule a date for himself, but that’s understandable. In addition to his talk-show host duties he started a media company, Kimmelot, and has the clout to take on projects like collaborating with legendary sit-com producer Norman Lear on ABC’s live TV re-imagining of All in the Family and The Jeffersons, which was was broadcast prime time last month. It was a groundbreaking program, inspired and critically acclaimed. If anyone can make that kind of inspiration happen in a comedy club, Kimmel can.
The Linq Promenade, 8 p.m. Sun. & Thurs., 8 & 11 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 18+, bar opens at 4 p.m. daily, 21+. 702.777.2782