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"You're gorgeous," she says when she recovers, which leaves Porno Jeff looking sideways at Dan.
It involved an equally elderly man hiring a prostitute."Are you ready for some super sex? " Thompson shouts, and he throws his hands off her as though he were electrocuted. He's entertained in some capacity since he was a child. There are his trunks of props, of course, but over the years they have become less the foundation of his act than its curtain walls. ") Thompson, with Lorren's invisible assistance, is expert at making things look improvisational, riding on the edge of chaos.
" the hooker asks him."I'll take the soup," he says."You can use that in your show," the old man told Scott Thompson—the same Scott Thompson who has made a millionaire's living as a comedian for nearly thirty years, who has sprawling homes in Las Vegas and his native Florida with a Mercedes-Benz G-Class SUV parked in each driveway, who once played for stadiums and countless late-night TV audiences, and who now performs those 240 shows for eighty thousand people in his nineteenth year in Las Vegas—just in case Carrot Top needs "I'll take the soup" to kick-start his career. After his parents divorced when he was twelve, he decided his job was to tell his mother jokes to cheer her up—the way another child might take out the trash. There are also hundreds of musical and video cues, an elaborate duet of comedic timing that he conducts with a former stand-up named Lee Lorren, stashed with a soundboard in the back of the house. Only repeated viewings reveal that the laughs that seem like accidents have been planned out like cities.
And now here's Dan, who also thinks he's pretty funny. "You're so wonderful for this city," she says to Thompson. He can remember her waking him to do his Jimmy Carter impersonation for her bridge club, and today there remains something vaudevillian about his act—a relentless, physical, almost pathological eagerness to please. (For nearly two decades, Lorren has also set up the trunks before each show; every prop has its place. On Thompson's best nights, the laughter turns into a cascade.
His show is never shorter than sixty-five minutes, but on most nights it lasts closer to ninety—"I sit around all day waiting to do this," he says—setting what must be some kind of land-speed record for punchlines.
Only once, in the middle of his set, does he go longer than a few seconds without a laugh or a stab at one. It took him years to find the courage to tell a story, to be closer to his genuine self onstage. "But the story in the middle isn't like the others.