By Michael Petitti
Photo courtesy New Line Cinema
Vince Vaughn. Very sexy. Very funny. Very Vince-y. See him emcee his Wild West comedy tour Monday at Centennial Hall, if you can afford it.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 15, 2005
Vince Vaughn. Nothing else really needs to be said. You know the name, you've seen the name and very likely you've laughed at the man behind the name. So, what's he doing in your Arizona Daily Wildcat? Well, it just so happens the Swinging, Wedding Crashing, Ball Dodging, Older Schooler is bringing his Wild West comedy tour through town on Monday in Centennial Hall.
The tour, officially dubbed Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show, kicked off this past Monday in Los Angeles and runs through Oct. 11 in Chicago. The event started simply enough when Vaughn began checking out comedians with a buddy in the Big Easy.
"I started going with my friend to a bar in New Orleans," Vaughn said. "I met a bunch of comics down there and I sort of emceed a show for the comics and I would improvise with the audience and that went over really well, so I did another one last year ... in Chicago ... and that also went really well, so I kind of decided to do one more starting in Los Angeles and heading to Chicago and out West and do that for 30 days and 30 nights."
Vaughn's official position during the show is a cross between master of ceremony, emcee and occasional participant, but the improvised nature of the show allows a looseness to his role each night.
"You know, I kind of emcee and get out and do stuff between the comics," Vaughn said. "Depending on who's around we'll have different guest stars or actors come out on stage with me. You'll never know who will show up at a particular show and I'll have them come out and do some sketch with me, something we have written or improvise with the audience, it changes every night. The only thing we have consistently are the four comics."
Those four comics, Bret Ernst, John Caparulo, Ahmed Ahmed and Sebastian Maniscalco, each have impressive resumes to boot.
"They're all regulars at the world famous Comedy Store in Los Angeles," Vaughn said. "They've been on 'The Tonight Show,' they've been on 'Premium Blend' on Comedy Central, they've been in movies and television shows, and they're all really great stand-ups."
The show itself is a blend of improvisation and standup and sketch comedy, which makes each night different and exciting for both the audience and the performers.
"I mean, I have some stuff that we've been doing that I think is really funny and that I like," Vaughn said. "Like I had Justin Long who was in 'Dodgeball' with me and some of the Chicago White Sox were in the audience, so I had them come onstage and throw dodge balls and try and hit Justin with dodge balls. He won't be in Tucson. Someone else will be there, or if not I'll come out and do some improvisation with the audience so we'll always try something fun to do with that second slot."
In true road trip fashion, Vaughn and the comics will travel the country in a couple of buses, scoping the scenery and passing time by playing poker. The experience will be a transition from the work Vaughn is used to with films.
"Part of the reason I did this is I love interacting with the audience and it's live, and I love to see people, go places and interact with people," Vaughn said. "In doing movies, you're sort of on a set, doing scenes, but there is a big part about getting up in front of a crowd and interacting that I really enjoy and haven't done in a long time."
As much fun as traveling the country and seeing the sights is, Vaughn always has altruism on the mind (he's traveled to Iraq twice to show the troops "Dodgeball" and "Wedding Crashers"). The recent events of Hurricane Katrina have turned part of the tour into a benefit for the victims of the storm.
"We had to reroute some of them (the shows) and where we were going because of what happened down in New Orleans, it's tragic," Vaughn said. "We were supposed to play Mobile (Ala.), which we can't play now either, so we're going to end up playing Arkansas and maybe Birmingham (Ala.). We're switching some venues, so I want to take the proceeds from those shows and maybe figure out what I want to do overall maybe do some of the proceeds from everywhere and be able to give it to some relief fund for what's happened out there."
Vaughn's comedy tour coincides with his cinematic streak of making mostly comedic films like "Wedding Crashers" and "Starsky and Hutch." However, Vaughn has not completely abandoned his desire to do drama or action.
"You know, the better scripts I've seen lately have been comedy scripts," Vaughn said. "'Dodgeball,' 'Old School,' obviously 'Wedding Crashers' were just the better material that was out there. I still will do drama, but I haven't seen as many scripts that I like and I've had a lot of fun sort of doing the comedies right now."
His recent spat of comedies has also earned him a spot in the "Frat Pack" of comedians that include Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell. Contrary to popular belief, Vaughn and the rest of the pack do not intentionally set out to do projects together.
"It just kind of came about," Vaughn said. "People sort of just started saying it was some kind of collective group, but it was never really planned that way. I mean I love working with Owen, I think he's great, I enjoy working with Ben, I think Will's really funny and I'm definitely open to doing more stuff with them, but I really started with (Jon) Favreau with 'Swingers' and 'Made.' He was sort of the official guy I started with, you know it just kind of crossed paths, I guess, with the comedy world and with these other guys and they're all really funny and really good, so I've enjoyed doing it. But there is no sort of conscious thing like, 'Let's all go do something together.'"
So, as if there was any doubt, Vaughn remains a man with his priorities intact and a bright future ahead of his already fire-hot career. Plus, he's a fan of the Old Pueblo.
"I've been there a few times," Vaughn said. "I shot a Western there years ago ... and we would have some time to stop and I would go to Tucson. My dad lives out in Phoenix, so I go down to Tucson every now and then. The landscape in Tucson is just beautiful."
To check out Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show, head over to Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd. Call 621-3364 for tickets. Tickets are $30 for the general public and $25 for students. The show is on Monday and it starts at 8 p.m.