It would be hard to imagine finding a more unassuming entertainer than Joe Piscopo.
While making the rounds at the Carson Nugget on Thursday he makes it a point to shake hands with every person he comes across. So it’s a natural fit for Piscopo to play the lead role in “Casino Boss.”
“I just love the concept,” Piscopo said.
Piscopo and the rest of the cast have been filming a pilot episode for “Casino Boss,” a sitcom written by Carson Nugget owner Dean DiLullo. Filming began on Thursday and ends today.
The show is loosely based on the Carson Nugget’s history, something Piscopo was quick to point out — his appreciation for Carson City’s history. “You know what, I love the history of Carson City,” he said. “It’s a great city. It’s just down, so down to earth.”
While making the rounds Piscopo also shared his middle name is Charles and that he was named after Charles Atlas because he represented strength. He was then told Charles is a German name for a strong man.
“That’s great, that’s great stuff,” Piscopo said.
The premise of the “Casino Boss” is how hard can it be to run a casino where funny things happen.
And of course another legacy Piscopo appreciates — the legacy of Frank Sinatra and that golden era of entertainment — will be featured in the show.
Piscopo is well-known for his tenure on “Saturday Night Live” during the 1980s in which he was also known for his iconic impersonation of Sinatra.
“He was always so gracious to me,” said Piscopo about Sinatra. “That’s what a casino is about, Frank Sinatra tunes. It’s swingin’ baby.”
With that in mind, Piscopo said he would like to sing in the show and gave a possible preview of that when he performed at a dinner party on Thursday at the Nugget’s ballroom.
“I’m an entertainer,” Piscopo said. “I’m like a throwback. You do a little bit of everything. You want to give the audience as much as you can.”
Piscopo lived up the legacy he wants to maintain during his performance on Thursday. He gave a swingin’ version of the National Anthem that would’ve made Sinatra proud and even broke out in his Sinatra voice.
He then did a version of Bobby Darin’s “Mack the Knife” while doing impersonations of William Shatner, Rodney Dangerfield, James Brown, Jerry Lewis and Arnold Schwarzenegger singing different stages of the song.
And of course he ended his performance with a rousing rendition of “New York New York.”
Piscopo made a “hopeful prediction.” “I’ll be coming back here doing a lot more,” said Piscopo about filming the show in Carson City.
Piscopo said along with the show possibly being picked up by a network of some kind he hoped it would eventually lead to a movie. “Hopefully all of that will come to fruition,” Piscopo said.
DiLullo and Piscopo are long-time friends. “Dean DiLullo is one of the star casino executives in this country,” Piscopo said. “I would go anywhere for him.”
That includes taking a break from his nationally syndicated radio talk show that airs on New York’s AM970.
“I don’t usually do that,” said Piscopo about taking a break from his show.
“Casino Boss” is being directed by Grammy nominee, singer-songwriter, producer, award-winning filmmaker and author Linda Chorney.
Other stars include comedians Bob Zany and Kabir Singh — who were also entertaining and hilarious on Thursday — and locals Roger Diez, Cameron Crane and Sophie Moeller.
There are also 200 people from the community who are serving as extras in the show.
“I want to personally thank every one of them,” Piscopo said.