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Comics and Heists

Comics and Heists

As you may have guessed, as a professional gaming humor columnist, I often do Google news searches looking for gaming-related subjects that are snark-worthy for my column. I look for stuff on which I can “riff,” as we say in the professional gaming humor columnist world.

There are not many professional gaming humor columnists, by the way. I’m the only one in my union local. (Amalgamated Brotherhood of Gaming Humor Columnists, Local 236, AFL/CIO/OMG/LOL.)

But as I was searching through the internet gaming news archives this month, the name “George Lopez” kept coming up. He’s a big-time comedian and TV star whose act celebrates and lampoons his own Mexican-American culture.

Lopez was in the middle of his show at California’s Eagle Mountain Casino when he stopped and walked out, 30 minutes before the show ended, because, according to him, he felt ‘unsafe’—as it would later come out, because of unruly hecklers in the audience.

Lopez even had private security for this kind of thing, whose job it is to escort troublemakers out, but didn’t in this case. The casino refunded everyone’s ticket prices.

OK, let me get this straight. This is a comedian who brings private security guards in case he gets heckled. That tells me he expects to be heckled, and doesn’t want to have to come up with something clever to shut the heckler up.

What, throwing hecklers out instead of slamming them with hilarious insults? Why, Don Rickles must be rolling in his grave.

Here’s a clue. Don’t want to be heckled? Get better material. Maybe then, you wouldn’t need a private heckler squad.

Maybe he just wanted to walk out on his show before everyone else did.

OK, I don’t know this for a fact. It’s just what I read.

For all I know, Lopez is hilarious in his live act.

(Yes, that’s right. I don’t criticize anyone without including a disclaimer for legal purposes. It’s in my union contract. Clause 163.)

For their part, casino officials say there was no heckling. “The claims of unruly guests are not consistent with casino footage and surveillance,” the casino’s statement said. “It was the job of Lopez’s private security team to inform casino security if they wanted to escort anyone out, which never occurred. Under the casino’s discretion no guests were unruly or providing an unsafe environment.”

Actually, after the whole incident played out, some audience members took to social media to describe what had led to the walkout. One post said it was maybe two or three hecklers, out of a crowd of 2,000, and that they were actually saying positive things, like, “We love you!” and “Can we buy you a drink?”

Hey, if I’m playing a gig and someone shouts out, “We love you!,” I’m out of there. I’m not being paid to put up with that kind of abuse.

OK, so it was a few drunk, loudmouth audience members shouting stuff. I can see how that could get on a performer’s nerves—you know, disrupting the concentration. But after 40-odd years of making a million wisecracks, how much do you really need to concentrate?

I wonder how much his concentration would have been disrupted if people had laughed.

Oh, I’m kidding, George! Stop it! You’re the best! (Clause 163.)

Moving on, according to KOAM News of Pittsburg, Kansas, two unidentified white males stole a slot machine from 405 W. State Highway C in Purdy, Missouri.

Now, if I’m not mistaken, there are no casinos in Purdy, Missouri. That means this was in all likelihood one of those “skill games,” slot-like machines that can be in a variety of commercial locations in Missouri. Evidently, a couple of guys just walked in with a hand truck and hauled a machine away.

According to Barry Lawrence County Crime Stoppers, “The suspects used a dolly to remove the machine from the building, then loaded it into the back of a gold-colored late ’90s Chevy Colorado Pickup, with an extended cab.”

Yeah, you’ve got to have the extended cab for that job.

What’s really wild is that this is the second hand-truck slot heist in Missouri this year. Back in January, a guy entered the Shriner’s Store in Aurora with a hand truck, told the owner he was with the slot machine company, and hauled a complete machine out the door.

It’s because these “skill games,” which our industry considers illegal slot machines, are placed in convenience stores, pizza parlors, gas stations and the like. They don’t have security like a casino. They have owner Bob’s cousin Larry.

Trust me, you’ll never get an act like George Lopez into one of those joints.

Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the books, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying, and Atlantic City: In Living Color.  

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