We've enlisted comedians, some based here and others who spend their time on the road and come through Vegas, to share their recommendations on great places to dine in Sin City for a feature dubbed Comedian Confidential.
You may know John Melendez better as his character Stuttering John from The Howard Stern Show, a gig he landed as an intern in college. He ended up interviewing celebrities with that act, and since, he’s appeared in Private Parts, Dude Where's My Car, Meet Wally Sparks, Airheads and Osmosis Jones. Most recently, Melendez starred in the full-length feature One, Two, Many, which he wrote and executive produced. He performs at the Improv at Harrah’s through Saturday night. Here he talks about his first trip to Las Vegas, what to expect in his show and what he orders at Rao's.
How often do you get to Las Vegas?
I try and go there five times a year, or until they figure out that I only put $20 in the video poker machine by the bar after drinking 30 free beers and I get thrown out.
Do you remember your first trip to Vegas?
Yes, we bought a friends beat up Monte Carlo and drove to L.A. from New York and stopped in Vegas, in the old part of Vegas, Golden Nugget territory, aka where the $20 hookers hang. Hey, that's all we could afford. Then we parked the car at the airport in L.A. and flew home.
Do you have any favorite restaurants you like to visit here?
I love Rao's at Caesars Palace. My friend Frankie from New York owns it. The best pollo al limone in the country. I took a picture with Bill Clinton there. He offered me a cigar, but, I was like, um, no thanks?
Do people approach you while you're dining out?
Yes, but mostly by the wait staff telling me, “Mr. Melendez, this credit card was also declined, here's the dish towel.”
What about nightlife? Do you ever go out after a show to unwind?
Before, during and after.
What was the first thing that shocked you in Las Vegas?
They once put me up in a handicapped room when I was performing. I'm like, “The handicapped room, really?” I stutter. I can still walk. I don't need the stool and guard rails in the shower! It's weird because all the electric sockets are waist high for people in wheelchairs, so, unfortunately, once I slipped getting out of the shower and electrocuted my penis!
What can we expect at your show?
Everything from my marriage of 13 years — three great years — to my kids, my divorce, my interviews, drugs. Going from the Howard Stern show to Jay Leno, which is like going from Vivid Video to Disney, to stuttering, childbirth, drugs, Vegas and drugs.