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Las Vegas: Comedians go for laughs in contest for club contract

Las Vegas: Comedians go for laughs in contest for club contract
Comic Mike Merrill of Panorama City is one of four finalists in a contest to find a headliner for the Riviera Comedy Club in Las Vegas.
(Gabe Ginsberg / VegasKool)

The next two Saturdays will determine who will become the newest headliner at the Riviera Comedy Club. In recent weeks, the hotel has been auditioning comics from around the country in a contest with a prize worthy of a TV talent show: a gig on the Las Vegas Strip.

A total of 226 people from across the country submitted videos of their funniest material, from which 16 people were chosen to compete live on stage. The last of four finalists will be selected during a show that begins at  10 p.m. Saturday. Those four -- including Mike Merrill of Panorama City -- will then go head-to-head at 10 p.m. April 20.

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The winner will receive a week’s contract as a headliner at the Comedy Club. In years past, such exposure at the Riviera provided early boosts to the careers of several  comedians including Jeff Foxworthy, Billy Gardell and Rita Rudner.

Both the semifinal and final will follow the scheduled 8:30 p.m. shows. Tickets for the doubleheaders are priced at $19.99. They are available online and at the Riviera box office.

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The final coincides with the 58th anniversary of the venerable Vegas resort. It opened on April 20, 1955.

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