"Phoenix is like a second home for me," the actor tells New Times via phone from Chicago, where he's just finished shooting The Break Up with Jennifer Aniston. "My sister went to ASU, and my dad lives there now. I've been there the last five years for Thanksgiving, and I come in usually once or twice a year besides that."
Vaughn's next Valley visit takes place Sunday, September 18, when the star of Swingers, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, and The Wedding Crashers hosts "Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show" at Celebrity Theatre.
Vaughn booked four up-and-coming comedians for the touring show, which will be filmed for a 2006 documentary release by Wild West Picture Show Productions. He says he patterned the tour after Buffalo Bill's old traveling shows, but instead of featuring famous figures from the Wild West, the tour treats audiences to an upstart pack of California comics: Bret "Captain America" Ernst (Fox's Sports List; The Late, Late Show with Craig Kilborn), John "The Ohio Player" Caparulo (Jimmy Kimmel Live; Comedy Central's Premium Blend), Sebastian "The Hit Man" Maniscalco (ABC's Complete Savages), and Ahmed "The Egyptian Lover" Ahmed (Swingers; Roseanne; MTV's Punk'd). All four of the performers are regulars at Los Angeles' Comedy Store.
"They're all great," says Vaughn. "I feel like these guys are really young and really funny, and it's a good opportunity for them to get out and for people to get a chance to see them ahead of the curve, before they break out and start doing some really big stuff."
Vaughn will emcee the show, but he'll also perform some comic bits himself. "I have other friends, some actors that are fairly well known, that will show up and do stuff with me," Vaughn says. (Vaughn's Dodgeball co-star Justin Long and members of the Chicago White Sox appeared in previous shows.) "We improvise some material, we do pre-skits, and we just sort of interact with the audience. It's a fun show, and for me, it's a nice change of pace."
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Vaughn's tour has also become a vehicle for humanitarian aid. Shows originally scheduled for New Orleans and Mobile have been relocated to Arkansas and Birmingham, respectively, and proceeds from those shows will benefit relief efforts for hurricane victims. "It's terrible what's happened down there," Vaughn says. "You can only imagine what the families and the people have gone through, and all we can do now is try to come together and do the best we can to get past this thing."
And while the tour covers 30 cities in 30 days, Vaughn's not balking at the lack of days off. "It's been so long since I've taken a road trip," he says. "I've got a chance to see all the cool places in America. I love living in California, but it's also nice to get up and interact with people and meet people. I really like that experience. And being an actor in movies, you don't always get that chance, so this is a way for me to do that." -- By Niki D'Andrea