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Of Kathy Griffin and a well-seated tranny: A night with Bette Midler

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Bette Midler.
Photo: Kevin Mazur

A year after I attended the opening of Bette Midler’s production The Showgirl Must Go On at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, I still feel it’s a show worth seeing. I saw it again Wednesday night and, even in what seems to be the minority of straight men who were in the impressively near-capacity audience, found that Midler remains one of the city’s standout headliners. She’s funny, as you would expect – it’s hard not to laugh the stretch of aged, dirty jokes she tells as the aged showgirl “Soph.” At age 62, Midler’s voice is still great and she hustles around the bean field-sized stage, often panting about the sheer scope of her surroundings. The lone drone is the 18 minutes spent on the production number featuring wheelchair-bound mermaid Delores Delgado, which chews up more than a quarter of the show, but Midler’s devotees love the character, even in large doses.

But this is not a review. Joe Brown of the LV Sun, he wrote a great review of the show earlier this month.

Rather, I’ll offer couple of notes from the performance I caught Wednesday:

*Comic Kathy Griffin showed up onstage, in costume, during the Delores Delgado number. The audience applauded, in a smattering sort of way, as we weren’t quite sure it was actually Kathy Griffin or perhaps a new character from American Superstars getting some on-the-job training. Griffin did contribute a typically salty line: “Hey, I don’t show up at your job and knock the d***s out of your mouth.” Funny, but Midler does the dirty better. The scene will be shown in an upcoming episode of Griffin's Bravo show, My Life on the D-List

*As I entered I passed a person dressed as a woman who could certainly post me up (and I am 6-feet-2 ½, when I stand up straight) and, likely, whip me 10 ways to Sunday in a fair fight. This person was seated in the very middle of the front row. I’m thinking it’s a held seat for such crossover personalities. But this woman, or man, had guns.

*I left my seat to hit the lavatory, and as I re-entered the theater an usher said, “Go directly to your seat.” Where else would I go? By the time I made it back to my seat, I’d come up with:

The Top 5 Places I Might Be Going Instead Of Back To My Seat At the Bette Midler Show:

5. To the stage, to do 10 minutes.

4. Off the rails, on the Crazy Train.

3. To ask otherwise unsuspecting audience members if they’d like their photos taken so they can spend $35 after the show to relive the experience.

2. To the front of the theater, where I would ask the transvestite if he, or she, might like to hit Piranha after the show.

1. To the souvenir boutique, to pick up a half-dozen Bette Midler logo-stamped golf balls.

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