“I remember, vaguely, being in a Jacuzzi with Eddie Murphy.”
The fact that the tale that follows those amazing words doesn’t rank as Rob Lowe’s favorite anecdote — even just among his Las Vegas experiences — provides a window into what audiences can expect during the actor’s Strip-headlining debut.
“Stories I Only Tell My Friends: Live!” scheduled for April 13 at Planet Hollywood Resort, is an offshoot of his 2011 memoir. Lowe says he created the show the same way he wrote that bestseller as well as “Love Life,” its 2014 followup. “They go down easy. … But there’s a ton of work that goes into making it seem so effortless.”
The live show is tightly formatted, incorporating personal photos and film clips, but that doesn’t mean he can’t
veer off and share other memories from his four decades in Hollywood.
“It’s like a concert,” Lowe explains. “ ‘Do I wanna open with a hit? Do I wanna open with, like, Brat Pack? Or do I wanna open with a deep cut?’ I have hits, and I have deep cuts, and you build your show that way.”
You want hits? Try “St. Elmo’s Fire,” “About Last Night …” or his first movie, 1983’s “The Outsiders,” alongside some kids named Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, C. Thomas Howell and Diane Lane. Lowe’s comedic career kicked off in “Wayne’s World” and continued through “Tommy Boy” and the “Austin Powers” movies. On the TV side, think “The West Wing” and “Parks and Recreation.”
As for deep cuts, there’s Lowe’s turn as the since-convicted wife killer in the Lifetime movie “Drew Peterson: Untouchable” and his brief tenure leading the CBS drama “Dr. Vegas.” He could perform an entire show as unhinged A-lister and all-around deviant Eddie Nero, his recurring role opposite David Duchovny on Showtime’s “Californication.”
Whether it will be a hit or a deep cut come showtime, he’ll likely have something to say about “Mental Samurai,” his new Fox game show in which contestants try to answer simple questions while being tossed about in a capsule attached to a robotic arm like something out of an old NASA training film.
Lowe, 55, grew up hearing about Las Vegas via the story of the time his dad, Chuck, saw Elvis perform at the Hilton. Thinking of Presley at the time as “kind of a joke,” the elder Lowe went ironically — back before hipsters made that a thing. He “went back five nights in a row,” the actor recalls. And it was “one of the greatest experiences of his life.”
Of all the Strip headliners Lowe has seen over the years — and there have been many — the artist he says he tried to emulate with “Stories I Only Tell My Friends: Live!” may come as a surprise.
“I remember seeing Garth Brooks when he had a little residency (at Wynn Las Vegas). He just walked out on stage in, like, a T-shirt and jeans. He looked like he just arrived in town. It was so intimate … It was like a long conversation with the audience … It was the opposite end of the Vegas spectacle experience, and that’s always been a little bit of
“I’m never going to be that person,” Lowe continues, “but an intimate show that brings people on a journey? That I can do.”
The actor and Sheryl Berkoff, his wife of 28 years, are something close to regulars in Las Vegas.
“My wife is a big player. She loves her slots, so she loves the casino,” Lowe says. “I love golf. I love the gyms and the spas and the restaurants and the shows. So we’ve spent quite
a lot of time in Vegas over the years.”
There aren’t too many dads who could throw their child a birthday party at Omnia nightclub at Caesars Palace — as Lowe did for son John Owen’s 21st in 2016 — without sticking out like a shriveled old thumb.
“Stories I Only Tell My Friends: Live!” has taken Lowe around the country, as well as to London. Depending on how the Las Vegas show goes, he and his family could be seeing much more of the city.
“Vegas would be the perfect place to do it with regularity, I think,” he says of the prospects of having his own residency on the Strip.
“I would love it. I would LOVE it! Are you kidding me? It would be the coolest thing ever.”