Newton, Smothers Bros. draw Vegas fest kudos

Laffer confab runs Oct. 29-Nov. 2 at Stardust Resort

LAS VEGAS — Wayne Newton, the Smothers Brothers, Rita Rudner and Budd Friedman are the 2003 honorees of the Las Vegas Comedy Festival.

Org’s second annual confab runs Oct. 29-Nov. 2 at the Stardust Resort.

Newton will receive the group’s first Bob Hope lifetime service award for his many hours spent entertaining U.S. troops. Newton has taken over the responsibilities once held by Hope in heading up the USO celebrity tours. He is also the resident headliner at the Stardust.

Tom and Dick Smothers will be recognized with the career achievement award for their long-running live comedy act and vintage ’60s comedy shows, while the Improv’s Budd Friedman will receive the Steve Allen Pioneer of Comedy Award.

Rudner, currently a headliner at New York-New York, will be honored with the comedian of the year award, presented by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Produced by Mark Allen and Mary Thomas, fest includes seminars and performance workshops. Among the planned industry showcases are Ken Kragen’s “Stardom Strategy” and Shelley Berman’s “Comedy and Its Reflection in History.”

For more info, call the festival office at (702) 736-6595 or visit Web site

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