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Size matters for Tanyalee Davis

Comedian’s latest show previewed to a small—but boisterous—crowd

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Tanyalee Davis, striking a pose.

The vibrant, stage-front mural is an arresting focal point: Hand behind her head, cheeks sucked in, a woman vamps on a Strip sidewalk between the Luxor’s sphinx and New York-New York’s Statue of Liberty. She stands eye level with a leg-humping dog. Randy Newman’s “Short People” plays overhead, its chorus attesting, “Short people are just the same/As you and I.”

Calendar

Tanyalee Davis
Sunday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, 8 p.m., $47.97 - $67.97.
The Clarion, 952-8000.

Tanyalee Davis has performed stand-up for 21 years, and her journey from Thunder Bay, Ontario, to Winnipeg to Los Angeles and, finally, to Las Vegas provides the central narrative of her one-woman show, Little Comedian, Big Laughs. During previews like tonight’s, the 100-capacity Wolf Theater inside Convention Center Drive’s Clarion Hotel and Casino (formerly the Greek Isles) hosts about 30. Overwhelmingly young-to-middle-age males, the audience is engaged and receptive, chuckling steadily as Davis relives the embarrassment of her roller-skating mother’s substituting sanitary napkins for kneepads, her outrageous encounters as a men’s-prison counselor and the endless indignity of “special” treatment by the TSA. Recalling a comedy performance at the Green Door, meanwhile, earns an applause break when Davis confesses, “Being a midget at a sex club is like being a prize pig at the county fair.” Musical interludes, sound effects, an “underwater” setting and even a disco ball add surprisingly high production value to the intimate, hour-and-15-minute production, which begins a full run this week.

Afterward, men cluster for DVDs and photos. Repeating their favorite puns, asides and sight gags back to Davis, they vow they’ll return … and bring more of their buddies with them.

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Julie Seabaugh

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