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Bagg of Friends” takes late night comedy, and comics, across the street

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Dave Attell
Photo: Maury Phillips

Imagine the chance to go back in time and see some of today’s leading comedians perform in the small venues they frequented before they made it big.

Now imagine it in present day Vegas, and right across the street from the city’s biggest annual comedy festival.

The LA Comedy Club at the Miracle Mile shops at Planet Hollywood began hosting informal late night shows featuring a handful of Comedy Festival comics this past Thursday.

“It’s kind of a fun, organic little thing,” the club’s manager, Joaquin Trujillo, said.

The show “Bagg of Friends” is a mixed bag of festival headliners and low-liners, named after its host, comedian Ian Bagg, which runs from midnight to 2 a.m.

The line-up is never announced or promoted, so ticket holders have to cross their fingers and hope for the best.

So far, however, few have been disappointed.

“Last night we had the guys from MAD TV here, tonight we had Dave Attell. Who knows who’s going to be here tomorrow night,” Trujillo said.

The inaugural Bagg of Friends this past Thursday saw Gene Pompa, Tom Segura, Eddy Gossling and Matt Braunger take turns at the mic. Todd Barry, Robert Hawkins, Morgan Murphy, Dana Eagle and Dave Attell were all there on Friday.

“All the big guns are here,” seasoned late night talk show comic Barry said Friday night.

With no one is saying for sure who will step onstage any given night, it’s fun to guess. Perhaps Mike Epps and Dice play will stop by; that’d be a nice start. Or cross your fingers for two of the bigger names that have been floated around as possible guests: Jerry Seinfeld and Ellen DeGeneres. (It doesn’t hurt to dream big and aim high, now, does it?)

The comedians seem to enjoy the change of pace.

“It’s cool, I had a good time,” HBO and Comedy Central veteran comedian Dave Attell said after finishing a 10-minute stint at the mic. “It’s a small room and they’re all drunk – it’s different from the big ballrooms at the festival.”

Attell headlined the festival Saturday night at 11:30 p.m., but stopped by the comedy club on Friday after arriving from New York.

For many of the comedians, doing short bits in front of small audiences like this is a fun yet humbling return to their roots. The comics joke with each other between sets and chat with fans at the bar as they mix and mingle.

The venue, located in the second floor of Trader Vics inside the Miracle Mile shops at Planet Hollywood, holds about 200 people and provides a markedly different experience from the large-scale festival shows across the street at Caesars. Trujillo said he plans on making the after hours open call a Comedy Festival tradition.

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Melissa Arseniuk

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