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Local comedian living in Vegas among many entertainers getting back on stage

Tom Garland, a native of Cedar Rapids, performing his stand-up comedy act in Las Vegas in September.

Cedar Rapids native Tom Garland has lived in Las Vegas for barely a month - moving there from Iowa to continue his comedy career.

"Vegas is a small town. It's one of the reasons I wanted to move here," Garland said during a Facebook video chat on Wednesday, "especially even like the entertainment community."

It's that community that is getting back to work - and getting back to being an escape for audiences - after the weekend's mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip.

Garland says the first shows on Tuesday at the L.A. Comedy Club inside The Stratosphere Casino were a success. He plans on returning to the stand-up stage this weekend.

"The rooms packed up," he said. "People were there to laugh. I think people wanna be able to get out and go laugh and put their brain on something else."

While Garland has only lived in Vegas a few weeks, entertainment veterans like Frank Marino - the longest-tenured headliner on the Strip - have made Sin City their home for decades.

"You gotta realize - people come to Vegas from all over the world," Marino said during a phone interview on Wednesday. "They've saved for this trip. They've planned. They've got things that they wanted to do."

He returned to the stage at The LINQ on Tuesday to what he says was a crowd even bigger than normal.

"The crowd was amazing," he said. "Everybody wanted the show to go on."

Both Garland and Marino believe that the performers in Las Vegas have a key role to play in the recovery process.

"Cops protect us. Teachers teach us. Nurses aid us. The entertainers entertain us," Marino said, "and that's what we do and that should be our part in getting back to some sense of normality here."

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