Most young comics move to New York or Los Angeles to hone their craft. Young Sam Tripoli headed for Vegas. While he did attend the University of Nevada Las Vegas, college was just a ruse. "I went to college just to make my parents happy," he explains. "I have wanted to be a comedian since kindergarten." However, Tripoli found out that the Meadows is a tough place to start a comedy career — at least it was in the early '90s. "There was one open mic, and it was like every other week. So I started my own scene. I asked local bars what their slowest night was." Tripoli organized shows, and eventually joined an improv troupe that performed in several of the town's top casinos. When he began featuring for comedians on the strip, he knew that his comedy career in the city had reached its limit, so he relocated to L.A. He doesn't rule out a return to Vegas, as he is still very fond of his adopted hometown. "I'd like to have a permanent show there on the weekends, and then go out of town during the week," he says. "I could do the same show in Vegas for three or four months without turning it over. If I did that for a month anywhere else people would stop showing up." While Tripoli has a distinct style, you can see the influences of Sam Kinison, Eddie Murphy, and Bill Hicks, as well as that of Vegas. "I've performed for three people before," he tells an audience. "Now I know how strippers feel at four in the afternoon."
April 11-15, 8 p.m.; April 13-14, 10:30 p.m., 2012
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