The charismatic Vince Vaughn has appeared in two of the most successful movies of the summer, has just finished filming “The Break-up” with Jennifer Aniston and has a new comedy cranking up shortly.
But in between all the movie work, he’s finding time to shepherd a comedy tour across the country, including a stop in Little Rock on Monday, Sept. 26, at Robinson Center Music Hall. “Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Tour,” hitting 30 towns in 30 days, features four up-and-coming comics from Los Angeles’ famed Comedy Store, and it also includes lots of Vaughn himself, he told us earlier this week by phone from L.A.
“I come from Illinois and I went out to California to pursue acting,” he said. “Most of the time you have to go to New York or California to see this type of show. I wanted to take it on a bus, take this next generation of comedy stars from the Comedy Store, and take them out to the Midwest, take it out to America so they can see what they don’t usually see.
“It’s fun for me to see America, driving on the roads, and to go to some places I like and see others I haven’t been to before. I’ve never been to Little Rock, but I did have a girlfriend who was from Little Rock who talked about the place a lot and I wanted to come out and see it for myself.”
His comedy shows in the past also have served as benefits for the Army Relief Fund. Little Rock got this show at almost the last minute after it had to be moved from Baton Rouge in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Proceeds from the $32 ticket price will go to hurricane relief.
Vaughn says a special guest star is coming Monday, but he’s keeping that a secret until the show. The other comics are Bret Ernst, John Caparulo, Ahmed Ahmed and Sebastian Maniscalco. Those whose TV habits included The Comedy Channel and HBO’s or MTV’s comedy shows very likely are familiar with those names.
“I host the show and do some sketch comedy,” Vaughn said. “It’s a different show every night. The show has gone over overwhelmingly everywhere we’ve been. I love getting up and doing live sketch comedy.”
Vaughn has had several big moments in his film career through the past few years since coming into the public eye in “Swingers” with buddy Jon Favreau (who has also appeared on previous comedy show tours with the actor). But nothing has quite matched the year he’s experienced since last summer, with “Dodgeball” turning out to be a popular hit, his supporting role in the terrific marriage send-up “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” earlier this summer and with the enormous success of “Wedding Crashers,” also starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams.
Of “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” he said, “That was a cameo I did for the director [Doug Liman, who also directed ‘Swingers’] and the part ended up getting bigger and bigger.” Vaughn was Brad Pitt’s best friend and partner in the company that murdered for hire. “It was a great time.”
Vaughn said, “When we went out to make ‘Wedding Crashers,’ Owen and the director, David Dobkin, and I, we wanted to make a comedy like the comedies I grew up with, ‘The Blues Brothers,’ ‘Animal House.’ A lot of guys are making PG comedies but we wanted to make an adult comedy that adults could really enjoy watching. We didn’t want to do the gross-out humor you see in a lot of comedies today, but rather do scenes for example like the one around the dinner table or where I’m being tied to the bedpost. All that was around a nice little love story between Owen and Rachel.” That film, where Wilson and Vaughn are divorce mediators who spend their weekends slipping uninvited into weddings and seducing vulnerable women, has been a box-office smash with more than $150 million in ticket sales.
Vaughn also appeared in “Be Cool” earlier this year, and is in the upcoming “Thumbsucker” with Keanu Reeves, Vincent D’Onofrio and Pitt. “The Break-up,” a romantic comedy with Aniston, was filmed in Chicago and will be released in February. After the comedy tour ends, he scheduled to film a so-far-untitled comedy with director David O. Russell where he plays a neurotic radio talk-show host. But comedy isn’t all Vaughn focuses on with films. “I’ve been fortunate to do some dramas as well as some comedies, and I go back and forth,” he said. “I don’t want to do just comedies and get locked into that.”
Vaughn followed the drama of Hurricane Katrina by television, he said. “I have a couple of good friends down there. The first show I did was at a friend of mine’s bar in New Orleans, One Eyed Jacks. New Orleans is a great city and I hope they can get past all of this.”
A documentary film of the comedy tour is planned.
Showtime at Robinson is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available through all TIcketmaster outlets (975-7575) or Celebrity Attractions (244-88