Chapter 21

The Regular Guys Dressing Room
The Colosseum at Caesars Palace
Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino
Las Vegas, Nevada

After six months as permanent headliners at Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino The Regular Guys had settled into a very nice routine, very similar to the one they had fallen into while at Las VegasUSA.

They were, not for the first time, content with matters. Caesars Palace was a step up from Las VegasUSA. Not a terribly big step up; they were both large, luxurious hotels on the Las Vegas Strip after all and both had an obscenely large marquee out front dedicated to The Regular Guys.

There were differences, however. The Colosseum at Caesars Palace sat four times as many people as the All-American Theater at Las VegasUSA and the combination of the Caesars Palace name and The Regular Guys talent meant customers were paying anywhere from $100 to $225 to see Lenny and Larry perform, which was a lot more than they charged at Las VegasUSA. And Caesars Palace probably ranked a little higher on the legendary scale than Las VegasUSA.

They had signed a five-year contract, and both Lenny and Larry could see themselves enjoying this gig for the length of that contract, at which time they would decide if comedy still interested the both of them.

Then Larry came up with the bright idea of releasing an album. The first few months or so of shows at Caesars Palace had, in Larry’s opinion, seen The Regular Guys at their funniest, most insightful and most relevant. Morty, who’d been putting up with their crap night in and night out almost since the beginning even acknowledged that they had probably never been this consistently good for so long.

Typically, he kept this project to himself. Each Regular Guy show at Caesars Palace was recorded as a matter of course, and for the past few months, Larry had been going over the previous night’s show, usually looking for a specific set or two he thought had gone particularly well. He was accustomed to running an audio board from his days as a radio announcer, and, after some brief instruction from Caesars Palace soundmen on 21st-century digital technology, Larry found it easy to take out various excerpts from select shows and store them for future use.

When he was done he had about two hours of what he thought was the best of The Regular Guys over the past few months. Again typically, since he didn’t want to impose his thoughts on anyone, he sent Lenny and Morty copies with a brief note that invited them to listen and see what they thought. He also sent one to Ann Shelton.

The point of the compilation escaped Lenny completely.

“That was pretty interesting stuff, partner,” Lenny said one night in the dressing room before a show. “What in the world compelled you to do that much work?”

Larry sighed. For someone who enjoyed being wealthy as much as Lenny did, he was surprised he hadn’t jumped on the commercial possibilities of a Regular Guy album.

“Well, if you like it, perhaps others will like it, too,” Larry said.

It took a few seconds before Lenny became clear on the concept.

“You mean, release this as an album?”

“Sure. Why not? Comedians have been releasing albums for years.”

Lenny shrugged.

“This appears to be an idea of sheer genius. How come we just now thought of it?”

Larry laughed.

“Beats me, but now that we have, let’s make it happen.”

Morty then walked in; he had his copy of the CD in his hands.

“Oh, there you two are,” Morty said conversationally as if he’s been looking everywhere for his clients. Lenny and Larry looked at each other; they were in Larry’s office, where they usually were 45 minutes before a show.

“Lenny, did you listen to this?”

Lenny nodded.

“Larry, this is pretty good stuff. This could do something.”

Morty wasn’t exaggerating. Larry had done his work well and after a few minutes of listening to it he had the same feeling he had gotten when he had first seen The Regular Guys perform: he was completely captivated; Larry’s compilation had commanded his complete and undivided attention.

“You think so?”

Morty nodded.

“I think it’s got possibilities,” he said. “With The Regular Guys’ track record, I could probably scam a deal for you in fairly short order.”

“Why don’t we just do it ourselves?” Larry asked.

“Well, that would violate the principle of using other people’s money to make money, but since the content’s already in the can, production costs are minimal. You’d be losing whatever advance a company would be willing to pay you though.”

“That’s all right,” Larry said. “This is kinda fun.”

So Larry worked with a freelance graphic artist and they had come up with a simple but nice layout for the liner, and Larry forced Lenny to join him in writing some liner notes, and he hired a company to produce 2,000 CDs. Right before the liners went to press he titled the work The Comedy Delivery System – a title inspired by a line Lenny had used in a show ages ago; the working title had been The Regular Guys Live.

Not counting Larry’s time, which Larry did not put a particularly high value on, the total production cost The Regular Guys around $5000. Not entirely sure how The Comedy Delivery System would be received, Larry initially snuck it in the souvenir stand outside the theater with zero fanfare.

The commercial viability of a Regular Guy album was established in short order. The 2,000 copies of The Comedy Delivery System sold out in two days – a steal at $15 – thereby realizing a net profit of $25,000.

The 19th Hole
The Rio Vegas Golf Club
Las Vegas, Nevada

“What are you, an idiot?” Ray Evans asked Larry incredulously while they had lunch. “You should’ve known a Regular Guy album would’ve sold big.”

“It’s only sold 2,000 copies, Ray,” Larry pointed out.

“That’s because that’s all you made, doe-doe head. You stars, I swear, you can be so dense sometimes.”

Larry and Ray had just completed a round of very bad golf, even for Ray, who was the worst player north of the equator. Larry had gone around in just over 110 and he stopped counting Ray’s strokes when ray shot a 23 on the fifth hole.

“I just wanted to see what would happen,” Larry said. “I suspected it might sell, but you never know.”

“You never know because you don’t pay attention to things like that. All you worry about is your next show. Anyone with an ear to the ground could’ve told you it would’ve sold like hotcakes. I’m really surprised Morty hadn’t thought of it before.”

“Well, except for Lenny’s occasional movie appearance, we’re pretty happy onstage. Plus, as you well know, I enjoy not working almost as I enjoy being on stage. I don’t particularly want to be too busy.”

“Larry, this idea had crossed even my small mind on occasion. You gotta get some greed in you. The idea is way overdue.”

“Greed,” Larry said. “Listen to you. I’m the son of a Lutheran minister, Ray. Greed is unheard of. The only sin we’re guilty of is lust, and before Farrah Fawcett and Charlie’s Angels, even that was sporadic. And awkward.”

“And since Charlie’s Angels?”

Larry chuckled.

“Well, that just opened up the floodgates, of course.”

“So what are The Regular Guys going to do about it? Your own in-house marketing has shown, in fairly short order, that you have an album people want. You plan on issuing it two thousand at a time?”

Larry laughed.

“Morty’s actually taken complete charge of all of that now. He said I couldn’t be bothered with mundane matters such as this.”

“He’s right, of course. You’re the star, he’s the agent; he handles those details. And he’s good at it, too. He’s handled your career like a fine violinist handles a Stradivarius.”


“Oh yeah. Just like the old days, really. Better actually.”

Larry looked at Ray Evans quizzically.

“Morty’s never talked about the old days.”

“He wouldn’t,” Ray said, shaking his head. “He had some good talent here way back, not Regular Guy talent, but good talent nonetheless. Then for some reason, his talent got not so good. Before you appeared, he hadn’t had anyone here in the memory of man.”

“That fits. When he met us, Lenny and I were really playing some dives.”

“What made you sign on with him?”

“I have no idea,” Larry said. “Lenny took care of that, actually.”


“Almost immediately my instincts told me Morty was a good man. I thought, ‘what the hell’ and left it to Lenny. He knows more about that stuff than I do.”

Ray Evans chuckled.

“Your instincts were right; Morty is a good man, which may have been his downfall lo those many years ago. I can’t believe you made a major decision like representation based on the ‘What The Hell’ theory?”

“Sure. Why not? It’s served us well, after all.”

Larry and Ray Evans enjoyed their lunch. They were in the main clubhouse dining room. Larry sometimes utilized a private dining room when dining out, but the breeding of the privileged class who played the Rio Vegas Golf Club insured, more or less, they could enjoy lunch at leisure without being bothered.

“So what’s the deal with The Comedy Delivery System?” Ray asked.

“Morty’s all over it,” Larry said. “He’s got a record company lined up and everything. It should ship in a couple of months or so.”

Larry then gave Ray Evans the details, details Ray Evans would report in tomorrow’s column, attributed, as always, to a “pal” of The Regular Guys, or, more likely since this was info on a specific deal, an insider.

After he had rattled off the details, it occurred to Larry he wouldn’t be nearly as involved in the production as he had been in the production of the first 2,000 copies, which he had commanded from start to finish; there were people to handle those details for The Regular Guys, though Larry, in his role as executive producer, had overall charge of the project.

Larry sighed, the sigh of a man who realized he had lost control over certain aspects of his life.

“You know, it was kinda fun, actually, producing the first edition. It’s too bad I can’t be more involved in the second. But there are people who do those things for us now, I suppose.”

The Recording Industry Association of American (RIAA) started awarding gold records to singles and albums in 1958 when it established its Gold certification for records selling at least 500,000 copies. Its first award went to the single Catch A Falling Star by Perry Como.

The gold record was the standard for almost 20 years. However, as record sales grew and the gold award became more and more common, the RIAA saw the need for further awards and created the platinum record in 1976 for sales in excess of one million copies, and the multi-platinum award for sales in excess of two million copies in 1984.

And as record sales continued to grow, it created the diamond award for records that sold in excess of 10 million copies in 1999.

The Comedy Delivery System was released in the spring, available everywhere, from to Walmart. Sales started out pretty good, then The Regular Guys had one of their shows taped for a cable network, and that spurred sales. Then radio stations actually started playing cuts from it, and, by the middle of summer, The Comedy Delivery System went gold and – thanks to a flurry of sales around the holidays – was platinum by the end of the year.

It didn’t stop there, though. Larry, in an interview rarer than planetary alignment, appeared on Oprah for reasons he was not entirely sure of. He received a disgustingly long ovation, and he and Oprah had a warm, funny and friendly conversation. Afterward, he called Lenny and allowed it wasn’t altogether like pulling teeth.

Later, Larry would neither confirm nor deny persistent rumors that the pair had an affair; though he did point out there was no evidence to support such claims.

The Comedy Delivery System went multi-platinum by the following autumn, and, then, matters got completely out of hand when Lenny had a small, though important, role in a successful film called Mayonnaise For Five that went on to earn a Golden Globe award and an Academy Award nomination and before anyone knew it The Comedy Delivery System reached five million in sales and became the largest selling comedy album in history.

As if being Vegas headliners and creators of the biggest selling comedy album in history wasn’t enough, The Regular Guys officially became stars of the first magnitude when the Weekly World News broke the story of how Lenny and Larry had been kidnapped by spacemen and forced to do a show on the planet Zortron. Later, they would follow that up with the inside scoop about how Lenny and Larry, along with Bat Boy, were planning to take over the Trilateral Commission.

“Partner, this is completely and absolutely insane,” Lenny had said one time before a show. The Comedy Delivery System had just gone platinum.

“No kidding, this is pretty heady stuff.”

“I’m starting to get lots of movie offers, partner,” Lenny said. “Actually, we are. You’re included in everything; it’s there if you want it.”

“You know, the funny thing is, part of me wants that now.”

“Really?” Lenny was surprised; it was the first time Larry had expressed an interest in anything besides being onstage.

“Yeah. This is an intoxicating drug, success. I can see why people acquire drug problems, so they can duplicate this feeling.”

Lenny nodded.

“It is pretty addicting, isn’t it.”

Larry nodded.

“What do we do about it?” he asked.

“Well, let’s review. Why did we start working together?”

“Because we were losers desperate enough to try anything?”

Lenny laughed.

“Okay, what other reasons were there?” Lenny didn’t wait for an answer. “Because we’re comedians; we make people laugh, right?

Larry shrugged agreement

“We keep doing that, then. Everything we have stems from that.”

Larry nodded again; he wasn’t accustomed to Lenny being the sensible one.

“There might come a time when we want to do something else…” Lenny let the sentence hang.

“Perhaps. I could see that. You’re a pretty good actor.”

Taken in the context of coming from an understated Lutheran man, pretty good was a nice compliment. Larry did not confer “pretty good” status all that often.

“You think so?”

“Oh yeah, there’s no doubt.”

“Why thank you.”

“You’re welcome, my friend. I could see a time when you’d rather make movies than be on stage.”

“I can too. That time is not now though; not even close. The show is too good. We keep getting better and better. We haven’t come close to mailing it in yet. When we start mailing it in every night, then it might be time to do something else. Right now though, this grass is just too green.”

“You’re right. We’re not even close.”

“Morty says there’s enough demand for another CD.”

“Yeah. You want to help sort through the material this time instead of slacking like you did the first one?”

Lenny laughed.

“You know, you did that really well. I don’t think I’d have the patience to listen to our crap again.”

“Well, I think we can make the second one funnier than the first. We’ve got some good stuff to work with.”

“That is just what we need, partner, more success,” Lenny said, smiling.

Just the day before Lenny and Larry had tried to have lunch at an off-Strip eatery and found themselves completely overwhelmed by well-wishers and autograph seekers. “Morty said if we think our lives are out of hand now, we should wait a year or so.”

“Hey, you know what?” Larry asked philosophically. “Don’t get on the ship if you don’t wanna cross the ocean. It’s kinda nice actually, knowing you’ve produced something people like.”

Chapter 20
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