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Not only does he perform dead-on impressions, Gordie Brown makes the audience laugh with his hilarious song parodies and onstage antics in his self-titled show at the Golden Nugget. He uses well-known quirks of popular entertainers as the source for his lyrics, reiterating why good old fashioned ribbing is just that.
"When I switched the words, that was the magic formula," said Brown.
When Brown was starting his career there were many entertainers who were popular including Michael Jackson, Prince, Tina Turner, Bruce Springsteen, George Michael and Boy George. Having a wide catalogue of entertainers with recognizable characteristics enabled Brown do his impressions and change the lyrics of his songs without losing the audience. If people could immediately recognize the personality, then they could understand Brown's comedy.
"I knew the value of music and a strong persona. It was just the perfect time in music where there were these superstars that transcended years of career," said Brown.
He first opened at the Golden Nugget in 2004 and after two years moved to the Venetian and then Planet Hollywood. After six months of performing as the opening act for Celine Dion's North American tour, Brown is back at the Golden Nugget. His new show features a five-piece band and more hilarious impressions of famous performers that run the gamut from John Wayne to Elvis and Eminem. Instead of trying to sing along, you'll be laughing with tears in your eyes.
"To all the plants I smoked before … I'm glad they came along and helped me find my bong," sings Brown to the tune of Willie Nelson's song "To All the Girls I've Loved Before." This is just one of the many song parodies that he performs in the show.
Sometimes he incorporates props to enhance his impressions, which add to the fun. For Michael Jackson he puts on one sparkly white glove and a hat with wavy black hair attached to it that covers his eyes. He looks just like the real entertainer from his outfit to his signature moon walk.
Don't worry if you are not familiar with every entertainer. Brown takes brief pauses between his impressions to set up the premise for his next bit and reveal who is going to be appearing.
"Let's do one of Billy Ray Cyrus' hits, oh wait there was only one hit," jokes Brown before singing a parody of "Achy Breaky Heart."
Apart from just the singing and dancing, Brown also takes notable entertainers and places them into ridiculous situations where he tells a story through their different voices and personalities.
Auditions for "Batman" are the premise for one of these silly storylines. First, Brown becomes Robin Williams, before transforming into Nicolas Cage, John Travolta, Christopher Walken and Chris Rock. The audience is left in awe at his ability to seamlessly jump from one character to the next while maintaining the humorous narrative that results from these outrageous auditions.
Before starting his career as an entertainer, Brown worked as a political cartoonist for the "Ottawa Sunday Herald" in Canada. After being known as a funny guy in the office, Brown's co-workers entered him in a lip-synching contest where he performed as Elvis and won.
The following year he won the contest again as Michael Jackson and decided to start learning the voices of other popular entertainers. Afterwards, he decided to move to Las Vegas to fulfill his dream of headlining there and within two years he was the opening act for two of his idols, Rich Little and Paul Anka. He also opened for other stars including Jay Leno, Louie Anderson, Barry Manilow and Jerry Seinfeld.
Later on, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a stand-up comedian and made his national TV debut on A&E's "Evening at the Improv." He also co-hosted NBC's "Friday Night Videos" and wrote and recorded the theme song for the Emmy-Award winning animated series "Life with Louie." Brown was also featured on the PAX TV series "Twice a Lifetime" in the starring role of Mr. Jones.
His co-workers and the talent show initially helped launch Brown's career, but he had dreams of being an entertainer that date back to when he was 15 years old and played the lead role in "West Side Story."
"After we did the opening night of the play, that was definitely a defining moment in my life in that I knew I wanted to be an entertainer. It's just that it took years for me to come out and do something," said Brown.
When the play ended, Brown continued to push in that direction by teaching himself how to play the guitar. He spent about five hours a day practicing, writing songs and rewriting the lyrics to already existing songs. Brown explained that his Attention Deficit Disorder sometimes made it hard for him to concentrate and learn lyrics so he would make up his own.
"By having ADD I wanted to entertain myself through guitar, writing, watching movies and drawing. It was always one thing or another in the arts. Eventually in my life it all came together. And that's now."
Apart from his new show, he currently has a book of celebrity caricatures out and he is also coming out with a CD.
"The only thing I don't have is a sitcom, but that's not on my mind," joked Brown.
He has entertained in various mediums from drawing to composing music and acting, but he explained that being a headliner is his favorite.
"The live feedback from the audience is the most magical and rewarding to me," said Brown.