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Journey back in time with Matt Kazam in ’40 Is Not the New 20’ at Riviera


Christopher DeVargas

Comedian Matt Kazam is headlining at the Riviera.

Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014 | 11:01 p.m.


Comedian Matt Kazam.

It’s frightening to think that 40 years ago, iPhones didn’t exist, and instead we held up a Get Smart shoebox-sized phone with a 6-foot antenna to our ears. Worse is that online dating sites didn’t exist back then, and instead one told tall tales to attract someone in a bar — in person.

Life has completely changed since 1974, and crazed comic Matt Kazam proves it in his very funny one-man show “40 Is Not the New 20” at the Riviera.

He takes on the differences of two decades contrasting politics, technology, media and relationships, which means jokes about how sex has changed. The comparisons of wha  t went on 20 years ago to what happens today had me laughing — and I can go back to the 1960s before there was anything like a computer-controlled world.

I remember how excited we were at “Entertainment Tonight” to test the first fax machines in 1981 that took 6 minutes to send one page between our New York and Los Angeles studios. I remember punching out holes as copy on a telex reel from the Cannes Film Festival each year and it miraculously spitting out text on the other end in New York.

Click to enlarge photo Our pockets were laden down with dimes to make calls from phone booths. (Try finding a public phone today anywhere else other than our Las Vegas casinos.) Those were no laughing matters because we believed that we were on the cutting edge of communication, but look back with Matt and you realize that what we had then was laughable by today’s innovations. 

And that’s the “remember when” premise of his times have changed show. As a comedic celebration of the knowledge and experience that can only be gained from age, the show plays well to 40-year-olds scoffing at our then-challenging accomplishments and 20-year-olds wondering how we ever coped.

Matt takes on marriage, parenting, work, commuting, exercise and even how bills are paid differently today vs. yesteryear. Matt has been a comedy veteran for 25 years, so he knows the subject matter really well.

“The world has really changed in the past 40 years,” he told me. “You remember, Robin, when there were only three TV stations? We had giant boom-box speakers instead of a portable Bluetooth. Pac-Man and Rubik’s Cubes were the brainteasers then. Our priorities and even our bodies have really changed over the years.”

Matt, who has performed more than 6,000 solo standup gigs in 45 states, appeared on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” and has opened for the late Robin Williams, Drew Carey, Chris Rock and more.

He said: “I am so excited for my show at the Riviera. To think of the entertainment legends who have performed at the Riv is amazing. When I was 10 years old, my parents brought me here to see Joan Rivers and Shecky Greene perform. I knew then that I wanted to be a comedian, and now I’m here six nights a week.”

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at


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