Monday, May 07, 2012

State guys Kennedy, Gardner play Mohegan Cabaret

UNCASVILLE, CT. -- Two Connecticut-raised guys and a Brooklyn, N.Y., native put in a workman-like comedy evening Saturday at a largely packed Mohegan Sun's Cabaret Theatre, led by headliner Andrew Kennedy, who has been on Comedy Central.
Kennedy, product of a Latino mom and English dad, is a master of many voices and accents. I've seen him listed as a Newtown native but he talks about being raised in New Canaan. Either way, his adult-language routine is salted amusingly with his mother's native Spanish.
Chris DeStefano, a likable young man from Brooklyn, led off and joked about his Guido cousin from Queens in his brief but amusing set.
The middle comic in this Treehouse Comedy Productions show, Perry Gardner, is from Stratford; his presence is testament to the blessing that Mohegan and Foxwoods bring to Connecticut comics looking to play bigger venues.
Gardner, 67, employs a sort-of Rodney Dangerfield tone and a heaping helping of old-fart references. The approach works as a contrast because comedy is largely a young man's game; only familiar veterans and stag comics seem to be over 50 years old.
"I tried one of my old lines at the bar about an hour and a half ago," says Gardner. "I said to this young girl, 'Where you been all my life?' She said, 'For most of it, I wasn't alive yet.'"
For the uninitiated, the Cabaret Theatre at Mohegan is a good-sized room, with more than dozen curved, open booths spread around among tables and chairs.
Gardner later joked that he had lit candles in his bedroom, and while making love to his wife she told him to stop and blow out the candle "because I can still see your face."
It was Cinco de Mayo day at the casino, which was also Kentucky Derby Day and a preview of Mohegan's new PowerPlayBonusing system on the slot machines, in collaboration with Bally Technologies.
The new technology allows the casino to run a computer-generated horse race in a small window on its slot machines, allowing players to pick a horse (with names like Lucky Day) and run the race while people either pause or continue their slot play (gamblers do get in a zone). Audio is piped over the sound system of the entire property at once, and winners of the races (run every 20 minutes during selected hours) received $25 in free slot play on their Players Club cards (or $84 for the big 5 p.m. finale race).
It's another addicting offering from an industry that blitzes players with waves of sound, color, animation, motion and crisp video. It's fun for the casual players, and a real concern for the good folks who work to treat a growing number of problem gamblers in the region.
In a recent report the Register did on suicide totals in the state, a top expert noted that gambling problems are a serious contributor to suicidal urges.
So JavaJoe strongly urges players to have a conversation with yourself (and significant other) to determine what amount you can lose and not be depressed afterward. Picture yourself coming home without that money. Never use the ATM at the casino. Bring only what you're ready to lose. The machines aren't there for you to go home a cash winner more than once in eight visits. (This especially applies to those of you who with "addictive" personalities. You're playing with fire, obviously.)

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