Since November 28, 2005, Carrot Top has been drawing sold-out crowds at the Luxor with the most lavish stage production in stand-up, all of which is now orchestrated with the aid of an SQ-7 digital mixer from Allen & Heath.
“When I told my friends I was going to be a comedian, they laughed,” Carrot Top, aka Scott Thompson, 54, has famously said. Now the joke is on them as he continues to rack up miles and smiles on what is surely the longest running stand-up act in the country. While he is widely defined as a prop comic, he actually dives into his onstage trunks filled with all kinds of gadgets and geegaws only twice during his show. In between he does straight stand-up, and that’s where the show is heavily imbued with exceptionally elaborate sound design.
“Hardly a few seconds go by without something being punctuated by a snippet from a popular song, a cartoonish screech, a blast of confetti, or some other effect,” says Thompson’s production and tour manager Dan O’Leary, who has been with the show for 23 years. “This is stand-up scored like a musical when it comes to our sound.”
O’Leary found himself in a position at front of house not all that long ago where he was exceeding the capacity of his aging console. Casting about for a solution, he chose an Allen & Heath SQ-7, purchased from Sweetwater Sound, as a replacement earlier this year.
Beyond the immediate gain in sonic quality the SQ-7 offered, O’Leary notes that having Allen & Heath’s SQ MixPad app—which provides offline editing and online wired or wireless control of his SQ-7’s main mixing functions—was a necessity, not a luxury.
“The SQ-7 and I reside in a tiny little room off to the side where I have to view the show through a small window,” O’Leary explains. “I can only manage the basics from the board in there. With SQ MixPad I simply walk out into the room and handle the fine-tuning. There have been countless times when I’m onstage and something pops-up as well. With the app I use my phone to link to the desk and make a change.”
The scope of Carrot Top’s show has rock ‘n roll dynamics. There are wedges and a subwoofer onstage, and an endless stream of cue lines to hit. “I’m using 15 of the SQ-7’s outputs,” O’Leary adds with a sense of almost geographic wonder. “We record every show with the desk too. This console is perfect for Carrot Top’s experimental spirit. I keep building and refining our control right along with his act.”