Even in Vegas, Drew Carey doesn't stray from his favorite fashion statement.
Under the effects of three nights in Vegas, I totally forgot about this story until today, and now it’s more or less old and depressing news, since it has to do with that one sports team, which did that one thing, which resulted in a whole lot of people throwing Miller Lites through their flat-screens.
But I’ll tell the story anyway, because the world needs more stories about Cleveland celebrities showing unfettered, unprecedented, even unwarranted faith in their city’s sports teams.
Why can't LeBron be more like Drew?
So it’s last Friday night, midnight or so, and I’m sitting in the Viva Las Vegas Lounge at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, also known as the City That Never Stops Feeling Around in Your Pockets and Saying, Is That a Quarter? I Think That's A Quarter! The bar is pretty crowded, I guess because it’s eight-dollar beer night. I’m fairly drunk, and fairly depressed, because a blackjack dealer named Jimmy just pulled 85 consecutive twenty-ones, causing me to lose my bankroll before my first free Corona.
Nothing can lift my spirits now, I’m thinking. Nothing. But then I see something across the way, something improbable and beautiful, like a desert mirage or an OC
rerun on the Soap Network: It’s Drew Carey, and he's playing blackjack in the high-limit room. By himself. ...
I know it’s Drew not because he looks like Drew – he looks skinnier, actually, and plainer – but because he’s wearing his trademark black-rim glasses and an old-school, really-giant-Chief-Wahoo Tribe hat. If I were talking about a different celebrity with a different go-to look, I might have thought it was a celebrity impersonator who just got off work, or maybe someone trying to dine out on a celeb’s fame. But it’s Drew Carey. There’s no money in impersonating Drew Carey, unless you can sneak onto the lot of Price is Right and steal something from the Showcase Showdown, which, by the way, would be genius, and a much better story than this.
Watching him there, I have this overwhelming feeling that if I show him my Scene business card, he’ll be so excited – Cleveland Rocks! Take a seat! – he’ll buy me a drink, toss me a few black chips, and, after a rousing night of high-limit Pai Gow, invite me to LA for a week, to be his co-host on Price is Right. I would chuckle as if I was going to decline, and then say Hell Yes to the whole proposition, and probably try to sleep in his suite that night, just so he couldn’t renege in the morning.
But alas, when I finally get the nerve to talk to him, he seems fairly underwhelmed, disappointed, even, that I’ve interrupted his (really boring) story, which he’s sharing with three bartenders, about some gambling adventure he once had. (Drew Carey, it should be said, really likes to gamble. If you ever find yourself on Price is Right, and find Drew urging you to “Just go for it,” ignore him). He’s polite, takes my card, endures my questions about his replacing Bob Barker, and the effects Bob’s retirement might have on the pet population. Then he stops paying attention to me.
Without Bob Barker, how will people know to have their pers spayed and neutered?
Cut to the next day. I’m sitting in the Hard Rock sports book now, rooting for Michigan State to cover the +17 (they do), when Drew walks in. Apparently one person recognizing him was enough for one weekend, because he’s ditched his hat and glasses, and now just looks like a regular overweight degenerate like the rest of us. But I recognize the shoes – stylish laceless Cons -- and the thirst for action in his eyes. He’s watching the board, and then I realize: he’s looking at the Tribe game.
I’d asked him about the Indians the night before, and he’d struck me as oddly nonchalant: “Whatever happens, happens,” I think he said. It was something very Manny Ramirez-like. That’s just Drew being Drew, I’d thought.
But he seems a more into when, standing at the cashier, he starts counting out $100 bills: 1, 2, 3, 4 … all the way to 10, a cool thousand. He gets his ticket and starts to walk out, so I yell his name, and when he tries to pull the say-hi-without-stopping-celebrity move, I stop him anyway, and remind him of our Cleveland bonding the previous night. He shakes my hand, and I ask him who he likes. He tells me he bet the Indians, who are underdogs, and the under, which is 9.5 runs. I think this is a pretty dumb bet – really, really stupid, actually, in Fenway Park with a kid like Carmona pitching. But I don’t tell him that. I tell him, “Go Tribe,” and wait till he’s gone to make fun of him, even though he could bet $1000 on every baseball game for the rest of his life and still have more money in his couch cushions than I do in my savings account.
Turns out, Drew isn’t the only Cleveland connected celeb in town this weekend. A night later, I see both Ron Harper and Mike Fratello czaring it up with Jim Grey, Charles Barkley, and Eric Dickerson, among other important-looking dudes, at Tryst, a night club at the Wynn Hotel that’s a lot like Disneyland, only with $18 drinks and bathroom attendants. I look around for Drew that night, but I don’t see him anywhere. Makes sense, I guess: it’s only been a few hours since the Tribe completed the Fenway Fuck-Up of ‘07. If I know Drew – I think it’s safe to say I do; he did shake my hand – he’s probably back at the casino, looking for a game to help make his money back. Thank God for the NFL – and thank God for Drew that the Browns have the weekend off. – Joe P. Tone