Q&A: Carrot Top
Carrot Top wrapped up 2019 with a five-year extension of his comedy residency at Luxor that will keep the inimitable funnyman onstage at the Atrium Showroom through 2025. Really, how could the pyramid-shaped casino not keep this unique headliner on the roster? Scott Thompson has become one of the Las Vegas Strip’s all-time favorite comedians and performers, which is why he was inducted into Las Vegas Magazine’s inaugural Hall of Fame class earlier this month.
Congrats on your induction into the Las Vegas Magazine Hall of Fame!
Thank you, that was very nice. I appreciate that. I’ve been here for a long while so it’s really nice to be (included) in something like that.
It’s a natural choice. You’ve really become synonymous with Las Vegas entertainment after more than 15 years of performing at Luxor and MGM Grand.
Looking back on it, when I started out in Vegas maybe 25 years ago, I definitely didn’t imagine I’d have this kind of staying power. Vegas crowds are a different kind of audience from what I was used to on the road, where people would come specifically to see me. Starting in Vegas, I was the sideshow in a sense. If you couldn’t get into Cirque (du Soleil), maybe you’d go see Carrot Top. And then I slowly became more comfortable with how to work a Vegas audience, which is people from all over the country and all over the world, really. It’s taken years to get it down.
It sounds strange but you’ve spent half of your comedy career with a Vegas residency.
Yeah, never did I think this would happen. When I was first offered a room I was kind of reluctant, not knowing if I could pull it off or if I wanted to pull it off, just because I was doing so many shows on the road every year. Looking back, I can’t imagine going back...
Your show has always been incredibly fast, and other comedians and shows have been moving in that direction as the audience attention span has decreased. How has that affected your performance?
Audiences in general have evolved and attention spans have changed dramatically since I first started doing this. People can’t be off their cell phones for more than an hour without losing their minds. But when I go back and look at my older shows, my pacing was so slow and I think it’s because working in Vegas so much has kept it going. It has been speeding up the process more than ever.
I love the part of your show when you slow things down a bit, give the props and the cues a break and you’re just doing straight stand-up, just you and a microphone. Is that portion of the show important for you to break free from expectations?
Yeah. Part of it is I just want to do it for myself and part is to show I can do more than be the silly guy with the props. I’ve always wanted to do that and this show has given me the luxury to do that, and working every night in Vegas gives you the chance to get comfortable with that. My comedian friends come to the show and say, “You’re not a prop comic, you’re a stand-up!” And I say, “Well, I always thought that.” I never really cared that people label me a prop comic, but I always thought if you came to see the show, you would consider me to be more than that. And it’s been really fun to showcase that.