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King of Broadway Stewart F. Lane and Ellen M. Krass Present Company, (The Film)

Stewart Lane is truly the King of Broadway! He just won his 5th Tony Award for War Horse. It received the Tony for Best Play, but when I last saw him two days before the Tonys at the premiere of the film version of Stephen Sondheim’s “Company” at the NYIT Screening Room on 61st Street and Broadway, he didn’t know that yet.

Company poster showing the all star cast with Neil Patrick Harris, Patti Lupone, Jon Cryer, Stephen Colbert and many more!!

I had seen him a couple of weeks before that at his book party at The Friars Club, where we are both brother Friars,for his new book “Jews on Broadway”, (of which there have been quite a few!) Btw, just in case you were wondering some of the Jews on Broadway were Fanny Brice, Irving Berlin, Barbra Streisand, Jerome Kern, Alan Menken, and Tony Kushner, some of whom you may have heard! (LOL)

Jeffrey Gurian and Stewart Lane at The Friars Club book party for Stewart's new book, " Jews on Broadway!" Jews are also off-Broadway but that's a topic for Stewart's next book!

It was there at The Friars that I also ran into Broadway Producer Ellen M. Krass, CEO of EMK Productions, and she and Stewart told me about an event they were doing for the premiere of the film version of Stephen Sondheim’s “Company”, which would only be shown four times June 15th, 16th, 19th and 21st. The production was done with the world-renowned New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and starred Neil Patrick Harris who went on to host The Tony’s that Sunday, Patti Lupone, Jon Cryer, Stephen Colbert, Christina Hendricks, Craig Bierko, Martha Plimpton and more.

(L-R) Friars Club Dean Freddie Roman, Ellen M. Krass, Jeffrey Gurian, and producer Susan Solomon supporting Stewart Lane at his book party!

Ellen gave all the credit for the evening to co-producer Lonny Price. She herself is a successful producer of TV, off-Broadway and Broadway, and actually produced the Kathy and Mo Show starring Kathy Najimy, and Mo Gaffney. That show will always stick out in my mind because the one show I ever invested in in my life was a show called “Only Kidding” starring Paul Provenza. That show was in the Westside Arts Theatre on West 43rd Street, and so was Kathy and Mo. Only Kidding was voted the #1 off-Broadway comedy by Tim Zagat, so we thought for sure we had a winner, but instead everyone lost all the money they put into it.

It was very disturbing and a very painful lesson, and wound up costing me a fortune. Not because of what I lost, but because of what I could have gained. Right afterwards, I had the opportunity to invest in a brand new little show called “Blue Man Group.” I went to see it, thought it was very entertaining, three guys in blue doing wild things with rhythym, but the fear of having lost all of my investment in Only Kidding caused me to pass, and needless to say, ( then why am I saying it??? LOL), Blue Man Group is not only still running after 20 years, but I think it’s running world-wide. Maybe not in Mozambique, … but it’s certainly running in most places, and I probably could have made a fortune on it, but I guess everyone has a story like that!

So anyway, the plot of Company follows five couples and their friend Robert (Neil Patrick Harris), the perpetual bachelor, and explores the meaning of relationships through a series of vignettes. Company first won the 1971 Tony Award for Best Musical, and is a classic.

Anyway, at the Company event, I got to speak with Stewart, Ellen and Jon Cryer in the video you’ll see below. Stewart was there with his lovely wife and co-producer Bonnie Comley!

Bonnie Comley is not only Stewart Lane's wife but also a producer in her own right, and as you can see "Comley" is a perfect name for her because Comely means "beautiful"!!!

Jon is as nice as you would expect, maybe even nicer! He had gotten a call from his agent asking if he’d do a benefit for the NY Philharmonic, but he didn’t realize he’d be asked to sing on stage professionally, which he had never done before. He thought it might be something simple, with people holding their scripts and such. After he agreed, he found out it was a fully staged production, to which he said , “EXCUSE ME???”!!! Hear it for yourself in the cool video below!

Jon Cryer smiling big while being interviewed by Jeffrey Gurian for Comedy Matters!

I was tempted to ask Jon about my old pal Charlie Sheen and Two and a Half Men, now that Ashton Kutcher has agreed to join the cast, but in my infinite wisdom, I decided against it, and just stuck to Company. Check it out right here!

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Liv Tyler A Femme Fatale In "The Ledge"

I’ve ALWAYS been a fan of Liv Tyler. She’s elegant, great to look at, really talented, and even more impressive, exceptionally sweet and down to earth. If you want to fall in love with her immediately, watch her in Bernardo Bertolucci’s “Stealing Beauty,” which was her first lead role, back in 1996. Her character, an American teenager named Lucy Harmon loses her Mom to suicide, and she goes to Italy to connect with people who knew her Mom, and also to lose her virginity.

The film poster for "The Ledge" starring Liv Tyler, Patrick Wilson, Charlie Hunnam, and Terrence Howard, written and directed by Matthew Chapman!

The last time I was in her company was when she was a teenager. I thought she was 16, but she says she could actually have been 13! Don’t get nervous, it was at a party in honor of Peter Max, the world-famous artist, who is a very dear friend of mine for many years. Peter actually once “psychedelicized” ( if there even IS such a word! LOL) the outside of an entire airplane with his artwork, was the foremost psychedelic artist of the 60’s, and has had his work exhibited at the White House.

Jeffrey Gurian, at a party for Peter Max, with a young, and lovely Liv Tyler who claims she might have only been 13 at the time! Jeffrey thinks she was 16. Either way she was already a knockout! (LOL)

I have an original Peter Max that he drew for me on a dinner napkin many years ago when he attended a party for a film I wrote, with Michael Ian Black of “Ed” fame, and Ben Garant from MTV’s The State, and Reno 911. It was the first interactive film ever made, by Sony, where the audience pressed buttons that were installed at their seats to change the course of the movie. It was called “I’m Your Man”, and was shown at the Sony Theatre on 19th Street and Broadway in Manhattan.

Jeffrey Gurian with Michael Ian Black at a black tie affair, where Black was wearing a red tie!!! (LOL)

So at the party where I first met Liv, I remember being there with Jon Lovitz, who was probably still on SNL in those years, and someone brought me over to meet Liv.

As you can see in the photo above, I was in my Elton John stage at the time, complete with flowered glasses! I even had my 80’s moustache, which I now keep in my wallet just in case I ever need it! (LOL)

It wasn’t until the writing of this post that I realized that I also had a photo of Peter Max and I from that same night, which you can see below. Same outfit, same flowered glasses, and same moustache!

Jeffrey Gurian with the world-famous artist Peter Max at the party where he first met Liv Tyler!

Some time after, Peter attended a party in my honor for the “I’m Your Man” film I mentioned above. The party was also attended by celebs like Robin Leach, energy/exercise guru High Voltage, legendary music producer Nile Rogers, and baseball legend Keith Hernandez.

I can’t believe I found that photo of me with Peter as well. I had progressed to red glasses from the flowered glasses but I still insisted on having that moustache.

In this photo it looks like I was in good company since both Peter and Nile brought their moustaches out for the evening as well! (LOL)

(L-R) Peter Max, Jeffrey Gurian, and Nile Rogers at the party for Jeffrey's film "I'm Your Man" at Country Club, many years ago! All sporting very hip moustaches for the time!

So anyway, when I got invited to interview Liv for her new film “The Ledge” written and directed by Matthew Chapman, and co-starring award-winning actor Patrick Wilson, who will be starring in a new TV show on CBS, a drama called ” A Gifted Man”, Charlie ( Sons of Anarchy) Hunnam who reminds me somewhat of Brad Pitt, and Terrence (Hustle and Flow) Howard, I jumped at the chance.

Jeffrey Gurian with the amazingly talented Liv Tyler, ( in her 6 inch heels) at The Crosby Hotel for her new film "The Ledge"!

The movie, which created a lot of buzz at Sundance this year, is a thriller/love triangle, and starts out with Charlie Hunnam whose character is named Gavin, riding to work on the bus when he spots a beautiful young girl (Tyler) and they exchange smiles. Imagine his surprise when he shows up at work as the manager of a hotel, and she comes in to apply for a job. Her character’s name is Shana, which is very fitting, as I told Liv during the interview because Shana means “Beautiful” in Yiddish. Of course Gavin hires her immediately, but gives her a job as a chambermaid.

They even live in the same building. Lots of coincidences here. As a writer myself, I might have questioned that as I wrote it, but it just shows you that when you have a good script, the audience goes with the story and doesn’t get hung up on little things like that. Liv (Shana) is married to Patrick’s character Joe, who we soon find out is a Bible-thumping evangelical nut.

He and Shana knock on Gavin’s door so he can meet his wife’s new boss, and after meeting Gavin and his gay roommate Chris and inviting them both in for dinner, he begins berating them both for being gay. Shana is hiding a secret past and is in a loveless marriage out of gratitude for having been saved. As a matter of fact, all three of these main characters have had some serious personal trauma that they’re dealing with.

Gavin lost his little girl in a car accident, and thinks he is an atheist. I say it that way for a reason! It’s inevitable that he and Shana are drawn to each other. It’s done in such a subtle way that there are really no explicit sex scenes. It just shows that you don’t need that kind of stuff to have a great film. However, if I was Charlie Hunnam, I would have been disappointed! (LOL)

When Gavin winds up on a ledge high above the city and says he must jump off at noon in order to save Shana’s life, Terrence Howard, as “Hollis”, is the cop who tries to talk him down. He is also dealing with the trauma of finding out accidentally that very same day, that his kids were not his kids.

I got to interview not only Liv, but also Patrick and Matthew Chapman. I had to tell Patrick how relieved I was to see what a nice, normal looking guy he was because he played such a scary looking guy in the film. He really captured the intensity of his character’s insanity, and when I asked him if he carried that character with him when he left the set, he told me that having his wife and kids on set with him, helped him remain sane, and leave the “Joe” character behind.

Jeffrey Gurian with a very handsome and sane looking Patrick Wilson at The Crosby Hotel for The Ledge press event!

And Liv was so excited about seeing her old photo with me that we took a new one holding the old one, and she made me promise to send it to her which I’m doing right after I post this! (LOL)
She insists she was only 13 which is a scary thought when you see how beautiful and mature she looks! ( I know I remember being told she was 16, but she should know better! She probably remembers the outfit! LOL) What’s amazing is that she remembers that night at all. It’s funny what sticks out in people’s minds.

An excited Liv Tyler pointing to her old self in a photo with Jeffrey Gurian taken when she was just a teen!

Check out the clip of Liv, Patrick and Matthew right here!

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Jon Stewart Sponsors The Story Pirates

The Story Pirates is a story in itself. Founded in 2003 by talented, caring people like Kristen Schaal and Lee Overtree, and about 7 others who went to school together at Northwestern University in Illinois, it is a writing initiative for elementary school children to encourage their creativity and get them to write. From what Kristen told me it exists in different states under different names.

What they do is they take children’s stories and get well known actors to act them out within the framework of a musical-sketch-comedy show. But they stage them in such a wonderful way with great music, furry monsters, Viking costumes, flying cats, and sacks of treasure that they create an unforgettable experience for kids and adults alike.

Jeffrey Gurian interviewing Kristen Schaal and Lee Overtree on the red carpet of the Story Pirates event with Jon Stewart!

Just between you and I, I was totally prepared to be bored when I attended, thanks to an invite from my friend, performance artist Kiki Valentine who was also involved in the presentation, and who is friends with Lee Overtree, the artistic director of S.P., but instead I was captivated and totally entertained by the ideas, the huge puppets, and the fun of it all.

Jeffrey Gurian and the talented and beautiful Kiki Valentine at Story Pirates at Symphony Space!

So Tracey and Jon Stewart co-chaired the event at The Symphony Space on Broadway and 95th Street, and were joined by Lou Reed of Velvet Underground fame, The Daily Show’s John Oliver, comic/actor Kristen Schaal, comic/actor and friend Mike Birbiglia, currently starring in off-Broadway’s “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend”, Ana Gasteyer from SNL and Wicked, and Josh Gad, one of the stars of the Tony-nominated Broadway show, “The Book of Mormon” along with the troop of Story Pirates and they all took part in acting out these children’s stories.

Lou Reed on stage reading a piece that a child wrote!

The inimitable Reggie Watts, performing one of his unique pieces, based on a child's idea, onstage at Story Pirates!

Jon Stewart on stage acting out a story for the Story Pirates!

John Oliver getting ready to throw a pie into the face of one of the Story Pirates troop!

Mission accomplished! One actor got pied multiple times!

You can see the red carpet video below, in which I kiddingly tell Jon Stewart that the reason they call it “Story Pirates” is because they steal ideas from little kids, and then I suggest that they should do that on The Daily Show! Check it out!

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Soldiers in Afghanistan Want Kevin Hart

Last year I had the pleasure of co-producing a comedy concert starring the great Kevin Hart in a fundraiser for Haiti, at a huge amphitheatre in New York called Westbury Theatre. It’s a theatre in the round and as you might expect if you have heard of Kevin Hart, it was a super successful sold out event. Three thousand people laughing hysterically. The man is HILARIOUS!!!

Jeffrey Gurian with Kevin Hart at a promotional event at the W Hotel!

Also on the bill were TV and film star Tony Rock, who just happens to be Chris Rock’s brother, but is amazingly funny in his own right, and Wil Sylvince, a Haitian comedian and good friend, who also served as the MC. This was one of the promos for the event!

A few weeks before Kevin’s show at Westbury I was flown down to the South Beach Comedy Festival as their guest to cover the shows for Comedy Matters and got to see Kevin Hart kill there as well. Sold out shows wherever he goes!!!

Jeffrey Gurian and Kevin Hart hanging out at the South Beach Comedy Festival!

Afterwards at the after party Kevin was actually doing interviews for Comedy Central.

Kevin Hart jus' chillin' with the Comedy Central mic at the South Beach Comedy Festival!

When Kevin came to New York, the day before the event, my then partner Jean Alerte and I accompanied Kevin to several of the hottest radio stations in New York to sit with DJ’s like Cipha Sounds and Rosenberg on Hot 97, and Egypt from WBLS, and also to the WB 11 TV station, where Kevin went on air to do the weather. Hip hop weather. The weather was never so cool, till Kevin did it! ( Btw who was the first guy to take telling people the weather, and turning that into a business, when all you ever had to do was look out your own window and see what’s happening? How did that happen? ” Hey pal, nice day! That’ll be 20 bucks!” ) LOL

Jean Alerte, Kevin Hart, and Jeffrey Gurian doing promos for the show at Westbury

DJ Cipha Sounds, Jean Alerte, Kevin Hart and Jeffrey Gurian down at Hot 97 in NYC!

(L-R) Jeffrey Gurian, Tony Rock, Kevin Hart, Egypt, DJ FaDelf down at WBLS radio where Egypt holds court!

Jean and I went down to Kevin’s hotel and shot a promo for the event, and we all had a blast. The evening of the show on the red carpet, we had some great guests among them Richie Tienken, owner and founder of the legendary comedy club The Comic Strip, in NYC. Richie discovered both Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock, and managed Eddie for about 11 years. The club also launched the careers of Jerry Seinfeld, Paul Reiser, Larry Miller, George Wallace, Ray Romano and so many more!

Anyway, very recently I got an e-mail from a soldier in Afghanistan. A female soldier named Devon Diaz, who was trying to do something nice for the soldiers she serves with in the 504th MP BN Deployed. I’m not sure what that is exactly, but I’m pretty sure I don’t wanna be there! Thank G-d for those people who are over there risking their lives to keep us safe. I’m including the text of her e-mail below, so you can see what she wrote. She found my name on the internet as having been involved with Kevin and sent me this heartfelt request to get in touch with him.

I thought it would be nice for people to see how well loved he is, and that he is being requested by our fighting troops overseas who have very little to make them smile some days, I’m sure!

Hi Jeffrey,

I am LT Devon Diaz with the 504th MP BN Deployed to Kandahar,
Afghanistan. There is not a day that goes by that you don’t hear
soldiers referencing a Kevin Hart joke. I think he is unofficially the
comic of the 504th. Nothing brings up our spirits more than a good
laugh. His CDs are watched and passed around constantly. We have had a few
losses in the past week and our unit is definitely in need of a morale
boost. I understand that Kevin Hart is an extremely busy entertainer but
if he truly knew how much it would mean to us, I’m positive that funds
could be worked out for payment, in order to have him come and entertain the troops.
I saw your name above one of his shows. Please reply, even if it’s a “hell no and have a nice
day.”
I have my non-official email address in the cc line. If there is
a possibility that it could happen then I will talk to higher-ups to see
where we will get the funding.
Also we return to Fort Lewis, Washington (Joint Base
Lewis-McChord) in late June so even if he couldn’t come out here (which
would mean the world) then could he come visit us then.

Wow, now that I have read everything I wrote, please believe I’m
not a fanatic or stalker, LOL. I just really want to do something for
my soldiers. They truly deserve this.
V/R
Devon Diaz
1LT , AG
BN S1, 504 MP BN
Camp Nathan Smith
Kandahar, Afghanistan

(L-R) Jordan Rock (Chris Rock and Tony Rock's younger brother), Sherrod Small, Jeffrey Gurian, Tony Rock, Richie Tienken backstage at Westbury Theatre.

Kevin Hart should feel very proud that he can use his sense of humor to bring comfort to our fighting men and women overseas, and I thought it would be a good idea to post this, if for no other reason than to show that Comedy Matters!!!

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Page 6 Review – Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and David Blaine

So as one of the new features of Comedy Matters I’m taking stories from Page 6 in the NY Post, the most powerful and influential page in the country, and adding some personal stories about the people I know who were mentioned on the page.

The top story this day was about Mick Jagger going into the studio with a new supergroup including Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics, Damian Marley, Joss Stone, and A.R. Rahman. And also about how pissed he was at Keith Richards for writing unkind things about him in his new book ” Life.”

I only met Jagger once but he has a very special place in my history. First of all, as far as I’m concerned, ( and no one actually knows how far that is! ) the man is a King. To me he’s the best of the best. No one has ever come close and his performance at The Grammy’s this year gave me the chills cause he’s 67, and rocks out better than most musicians in their 20’s. He’s thin and still has the moves that made him famous back in the 60’s.

The man is AMAZING. And thanks to Mick no one ever has to be old. Who ever heard of anyone being 67, and being so hip? Mick Jagger changed the world, and the world’s perception of getting old. Because if HE can do it, so can others. He’s an inspiration. As long as Mick is older than me, I can never get old. I look at him for inspiration.

Now when my kids were little, ( yes, … I have kids! LOL) and we lived in a fancy neighborhood in Westchester, they used to ask me why I couldn’t be like the other Dads. At the time, my hair was way, way below my shoulders, and I was driving a car that could only be described as a “pimp-mobile!” It was a Mandarin Orange Eldorado, with a white Cabriolet top, the big white wall tires, and I totally pimped it out with a Rolls Royce grille, just like the pimps did in the 70’s. The dealer where I bought it told me it had been made for one of the Eisley Brothers, and he decided not to take it, so I grabbed it.

My wife used to say to me, ” We’re Jewish and we live in Scarsdale. Why do I have to drive an orange Cadillac? All the women laugh at me! ” Obviously she didn’t get it! So when my kids said, ” How come you can’t look like the other Dads, my answer was, ” Well you’d understand if I was Mick Jagger!” And their answer was, ” Yeh Dad, but you’re not!”

In all my years of hanging out, I was sure I’d run into Mick, but it never happened until one night at a place called Lotus. I was at a private dinner party, with an actress named Aesha Waks, and right near us, seated with Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone fame was Mick Jagger. I couldn’t believe it. He was like two tables away from me. Because I was a guest at the same party I was able to walk over and introduce myself to him. I actually told him that story about my kids, thinking that he’d think it was really funny, but to be honest, he didn’t seem that amused. And he didn’t ask me for my number so we could keep in touch! (LOL) Maybe he had other things on his mind.

I also met Keith Richards once as well. This was at an event for the Songwriters Hall of Fame awards, and it was black tie and I was with a gorgeous singer I was dating at the time. We were seated at a main table and with my tux and long hair, everyone took it for granted that I was someone big in the music business. To this day when people meet me, many people still think I’m in the music business. ( Even my parents think I’m in the music business! )

Anyway, on this night, three superstars stopped off at my table specifically to say “Hello” to me even though they had never met me before. I guess I looked like the kind of guy you should know, and they didn’t want to slight me. It was Keith Richards, who was there with Patty Hansen, Paul Anka and Billy Joel. I swear to G-d, each one of them stopped by to say “Hi!” and ” Great to see you! It’s been a while.” The girl I was with was absolutely shocked, and said ” No one would believe this! “

Perception is everything in show biz! If you like look a certain way, and carry yourself a certain way, and have a gorgeous girl with you, interesting things can happen! Unfortunately in those days I wasn’t carrying a camera the way I do now. They didn’t have small cameras in those days, and certainly not digital ones.

I missed getting photos with Woody Allen, Salvador Dali, The Beach Boys, and the three musical superstars mentioned above.

Jeffrey Gurian and David Blaine at Denise Rich's Angel Ball!

David Blaine, was also in a Page 6 story the same day, about him hanging out with Ashton Kutcher, who is replacing Charlie Sheen in Two and a Half Men. They were at a restaurant in Manhattan called Indochine. The first time I met David Blaine was also in a restaurant. I don’t recall the name but I know it was on East 21st Street, and I was with the legendary music agent, and long time friend Jonny Podell.

Jeffrey Gurian with Jonny Podell at The Friars Club for the book party for Jeffrey's book, " Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive". The book was based on Jeffrey's writing for the famed Friars Roasts for many years and featured the favorite nastiest jokes from over 250 celebs.

Jonny Podell is known these days as the father of DJ Cassidy who spins at every hot hip-hop party on the planet, whether it’s for Russell Simmons, Jay-Z, or Oprah! He was actually flown to South Africa to spin for one of Oprah’s New Years Eve parties a few years back.
DJ Cassidy at Heffrey's book party at The Friars Club holding a copy of Jeffrey's book, Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive!

D J Cassidy looking at Jeffrey Gurian at a party in NYC, where Cassidy was spinning!

Both Jonny and Cassidy came to my sold-out totally packed, book party at The Friars Club for my book “Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive” and it was written up on Page 6.

Page 6 did a great write-up about Jeffrey Gurian's book party at The Friars Club, with all the names of the celebs that attended!

Anyway, Jonny was representing David Blaine at the time and was also like a mentor to him. We were sitting with Alan Grubman, the famous entertainment lawyer and father of P.R. queen Lizzie Grubman. Jonny asked David to show me some card tricks and the one I remember most is where he asked me to pick a card, look at it and put it back in the deck. Then he threw the entire deck at the window of the restaurant, and the card I picked was stuck to the glass outside of the restaurant looking in at us. I never saw anything like that in my entire life. Even if he would offer to tell me how he did it, I wouldn’t want to know. I prefer to think he has magical powers! He amazed us for quite some time with many different and amazing tricks, but that’s the trick that stands out to me.

I think it was shortly after that that Jonny got him his first huge TV deal for a special. It could have been for about a million bucks if I’m not mistaken. Since then I see David periodically, usually at some fun special event like Denise Rich’s Angel Ball, and he’s even a fan of my short comedy films “The Men Who Series”, about men who do very unusual things, like ” Men Who Take A Pitchfork To The Movies”, “Men Who Enjoy Latin Dancing With Tools”, and “Men Who Dance Alone In Gas Stations After They Close For The Evening.”

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Jeffrey Gurian Former Stutterer, Discusses His Cure For Stuttering on TV and Radio

I never know whether to write about myself in the first person or third person, but it’s MY blog, so I guess first person is fine.

People who know anything about my story know that I was a severe stutterer.  I started stuttering at about age 6 or 7 and it made my high school and college years miserable.  Only another stutterer has any idea of the embarrassment and humiliation a stutterer feels when not only are they stuttering, but even worse, when nothing comes out.

That’s how it was for me.  To this day, I’ll never forget the day in high school, when I was called on in class and I stood up to answer, which is what we had to do in those days, and absolutely nothing came out.  Not a sound.  And I felt the redness of embarrassment coming over me, and I can still feel it today. That’s how powerful the experience was.

I always knew a lot of kids and I didn’t let my stutter make me isolate, but it made me very unhappy.  I couldn’t even say my name which is a problem for many stutterers.  ( Not to say MY name to say their own names! LOL)

So when I got to college, and it was a huge college made up of kids from many high schools in NYC where I grew up, I made the decision to run for Pres. of the Freshman class, telling myself that if I could win the election and be President, I wouldn’t  have to stutter anymore, because it would prove to me that kids liked me, and that I was okay.

Somewhere along the way I must have picked up the idea that I was flawed in some way, and I had a very negative self-image.  Since I wasn’t able to say my name I appointed other kids as my campaign managers, and they introduced me to kids I didn’t know yet, and once I got a few words out I was able to speak.

Btw, my belief is that stutterers have a hard time saying their names, because your name represents your identity, so if you’re not happy with who you are, it’s not going to be easy for you to tell people who you are.

Anyway, I won the election and I was the President of the Freshman class of Hunter College and I still stuttered.  It was a great lesson for me.  It taught me that outside validation doesn’t work.  It doesn’t matter how many people tell you you’re fantastic, and gorgeous and talented, it matters what you think of yourself.

I became obsessed with stopping stuttering.  I had been to many types of therapy and none of them worked.  As a matter of fact it made me worse being surrounded by stutterers worse than myself. I took the next two years and worked on myself constantly.  I think that was about the time I was given the Grace to figure out that I didn’t stutter when I was alone.

Most stutterers don’t.  That means there’s really nothing wrong with you.  What a revelation.  If you can speak fluently some of the time, you can speak fluently ALL of the time. I created the stuttering problem myself!  And anything you create you can un-create.  It took me a few years of very hard work, but it was worth it.  One of my greatest accomplishments is being fluent.

I think about it every day and every time I speak.  I’ve been doing radio and TV shows for years and I challenge myself all the time, and stand up to the fear.  Stuttering is a bully that wants me to stay alone and not accomplish anything in my life.

With the popularity of The King’s Speech, which I thought was incredible, I was asked to do several public appearances to discuss Stuttering and my cure.

I’m including both of those video clips here, one on the Joey Reynolds show , ” All Night With Joey Reynolds” on NBC,  and the other on Valerie Smaldone’s show Valerie’s New York, on WOR Radio.

One of my greatest gifts is working with other stutterers to teach them what I did and how NOT to stutter.

If anyone who is reading this happens to stutter or knows someone who stutters, after watching the two videos in this blog, please ask them to read the Stuttering page on my website, at http://dr.jeffreygurian.com/stuttering.html and if it makes sense to them, which is important, because a lot of my cure is about knowledge, ask them to contact me at jeffrey@jeffreygurian.com

Remember – KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!!!

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Politicians Should Have Normal Names!

This post is in no way political.  It has to do with names.  Strictly names.  Names have power. As an example just think of James Bond.  When he introduced himself to people, especially women, all he had to say was “Bond.  James Bond.”  And women would swoon.  He couldn’t have gotten that reaction if his name had been Jimmy Binder.  Try it.  It sounds horrible.  “Binder.  Jimmy Binder.”

Jimmy is not a name for a President.  Think Jimmy Carter to help me make my point.  Jimmy is a name for a window washer, or a janitor, no slam on window washers or janitors, that’s just what you think of when you hear the name “Jimmy.”

In the Black community your “Jimmy” is your “Johnson”, so if your name is Jimmy Johnson, you’re totally screwed!

What brings me to talk about this were some of the names I read of the Republicans who might be running for President.  Mike Huckabee?  Jeb Bush?  Mike Pence?  John Thune???  Are you kidding me?

How are you supposed to beat a strong name like Obama, ( which rhymes with Osama, btw) with a name like Huckabee???  Huckabee is a name you might see on the old show Hee Haw.  The Huckabees, are not a family you’d want to see in The White House.  You’d expect to see The Huckabees with The Clampetts, maybe as a spin-off of Beverly Hilbillies, with a guy named Jeb Bush as the gardener!

C’mon, y’all, we’re going over to The Huckabees for a taste of that new moonshine they just made, and then we can sit around by the fire, and spin some yarns, while Jeb Bush plays the kazoo.   You can’t have a President named Huckabee!  The rest of the world will be laughing at us.

And now, President Huckabee, backed up by the little Huckabees, one playing the washboard, the other switching off between the comb and the spoons!

John Thune?  Is “Thune” even a legitimate name?  Does he play the bassoon? Newt Gingrich?  Are you kidding me?  Where do they get these names?  Aside from the fact that he looks like an elderly woman, Newt is the name for a lizard, not a President.  And certainly not The Pres. of The United States.

Mitt Romney?  It sounds like a made up name?  Mitt?  That’s what you use to catch a baseball!  When I was a kid there was a German couple who ran an icecream store and when you’d come in and order let’s say a vanilla cone, the guy would say ” Mit”???  That’s how he pronounced the word “with”!  Like the Katzenjammer kids, if anyone remembers who they were.

Mitt?  And I’d say, “Mit shprinkles!” because that’s what he wanted to know.  What do you want “Mit” the icecream?  “Mit shprinkles” of course!!!

And it’s not only Republicans who seem to have cornered the market on ridiculous names, it’s Dems too!  Steny Hoyer?  It sounds like something you could get on your leg!  You better go to a doctor.  I think you’ve got StenyHoyer!

Whose parents looked down on their baby in a crib and said, “You know what? Someday he’ll probably run for President.   Let’s call him “Steny”!  He’d make a great Steny, don’t you think?”  Aaaah yes, Steny, the name of many great men throughout history!  Not in this country.  Somewhere in the world maybe, but nowhere I know of!

Tim Pawlenty?  Tim is the name of a weakling. You think Tim you think “Tiny Tim”, not only from the famous Christmas story but from the lunatic who played the ukelele and got married to Miss Vicki on Johnny Carson 400 years ago.   Maybe he could find a running mate named Good and they could run as ” Good and Pawlenty”!!! ( a popular candy from years ago- Good and Plenty, for those of you who are newborn!)

The President of The United States should cut a dashing figure and have a strong name.  A powerful name.  I could handle a Mitch Daniels as a name, and Chris Christie is a fine name, but the best name I’ve heard come up so far is Rick Perry.

“Rick” is a cool name and “Perry” is like Steve Perry from Aerosmith.  Rick is the Governor of Texas, strong in his beliefs, and a good looking guy with a great head of hair, who’s not afraid to wear it so it looks stylish.  Unlike some of the other potential candidates, he doesn’t look like he needs hormone shots!

Most men, especially men in politics wear their hair like they’re embarrassed for having any. It’s almost like an apology.  Sorry I have hair.  I’ll try and wear it in a way you won’t notice!  Let me try and flatten it out, or grease it down, or maybe even cut it off completely!

They’re trying to convince Rick Perry to run for the Presidency, and on his name alone I think he could win!  I for one would vote for him in a second!

 

 

 

Posted in: Comedians In The News, Comedy Events, Comedy Matters, Point of View

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Stop Kicking My Seat Or I'll Kill You!

Most of Comedy Matters is about celebs, and the comedy world, but I also want to include my own personal viewpoints on different subjects.  Subjects that are meaningful to me.  Like some schmuck who won’t stop kicking the back of your seat!  That drives me crazy!

Have you ever been in a theatre or at a talk or presentation of some kind and some idiot behind you keeps kicking your seat?  The first time, you just write if off. It can happen to anyone.  Just an accident.  Maybe even the second time, but by the third time you want to rip the guys leg off, and shove it up his ass.

How can’t you not notice that your foot is hitting something hard?  What are you fucking numb?  What did you go to a foot dentist, and get Novocaine injections into your feet, so they have no feeling?

I say it’s impossible to keep kicking another person’s seat without realizing that you’re doing it.  You simply HAVE TO know that your foot is making contact with another object.  Unless you’re dead, no one can be that detached.

The thing is they just don’t care.  It’s self-centeredness, pure and simple.  I was at a meeting the other day, and trying to pay attention when the kicking started.  The first time I didn’t say anything.  Nor did I say anything the second time, but when it started happening with a kind of rhythym, as if he was keeping time to some imaginary song in his head, using the back of my seat as a drum pad, I turned my head sharply as if to scold the guy, ( and it’s usually a guy!) thinking he’d see my action and realize the error of his ways.

I got a glance at the schmuck.  He was tall, and thin, with a very strange look on his face, and was sitting in his seat at a weird angle,  like a woman with one leg dangling over the other, the way most men can’t do because they have “an appendage” in the way.  Not this guy.  He didn’t seem to have that problem.

He was sitting there, as I said, on this weird kind of an angle, as if he was the tallest man in the world, and just couldn’t possibly fit his immense frame into the confines of the space of just one seat.

He had to branch out into other people’s spaces, while making little kicking motions with his foot, that ended up on the back of my chair.  Finally when I could take it no more, I turned to him and said directly into his face, ” Can you PLEASE stop kicking my seat?”

He made some kind of conciliatory expression as if I was asking too much of him, but he’d try his best to comply with my outrageous demand. It absolutely infuriates me that someone can be so callous, and so fucking numb that they can’t tell what an enormous bother they’re being to someone else.

I pictured myself having a long sword and turning around and saying,” I know and appreciate the fact that you’re very tall, but if you kick my seat one more time, I’m gonna chop off you’re fucking leg, you dweeb!

The whole rest of the meeting I was on edge expecting him to kick it again, and thinking of what I would do if he did, because after all he WAS the tallest man in the world, and a regular person’s space could not possibly be enough for him, but then as the meeting ended, and there were no more kicks, I felt vindicated, only to get up and see that the reason there were no more kicks was because he had left early, and took his numb fucking leg with him.

Posted in: Comedy Events, Comedy Matters, Point of View

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Page 6 Review-LuAnn de Lesseps, Marisa Tomei, Frank Whaley, Nick Loeb

In a new feature on the Comedy Matters Vlog, I am reviewing items on Page 6, the most powerful gossip page in the country, specifically those pertaining to friends of mine, and people I know personally.

On Sat. May 21, 2011, the entire top of the page was about LuAnn de Lesseps, a close friend of mine since before she was a Countess.

Jeffrey Gurian with his dear friend LuAnn deLesseps, (AKA The Countess) at a party at La Pomme, for Real Housewives of New York City.

I know LuAnn from when she was a nurse.  She was beautiful then, and still is.  We ran around together and had some amazing and wild fun times!

LuAnn deLesseps interviewing Jeffrey Gurian back in '04 when he co-produced the Hamptons Comedy Festival!

When I co-produced the Hamptons Comedy Festival back in ’04, LuAnn was there to interview me for Plum TV, as one of their correspondents, and appears in the little doc. film made about me (below) as a promo real for a reality type TV show based on this column/Vlog.

LuAnn was ALWAYS very focussed on becoming successful in the entertainment industry, and had been hosting a TV show in Italy where she became fluent in Italian.  She’s also fluent in French which I’m sure helps her to communicate with her boyfriend Jacques Azoulay, whose English is perfect by the way.

Countess LuAnn and Jacques Azoulay at a Housewives party, shortly after they met!

He just has a nice accent!  But I can see them speaking French when they don’t want anyone else to understand what they’re saying.  I believe I first met him soon after he and LuAnn met.  She brought him to one of the premiere parties for the new season of Real Housewives of New York City, at a place called La Pomme, where I had the pleasure of meeting her Mom.

Countess LuAnn and her elegant Mom at a party for Housewives at La Pomme.

(L-R) Most of the cast of Real Housewives of NYC including Jill Zarin, LuAnn DeLesseps, Kelly Bensimon, Ramona Singer, and Sonja Morgan. Bethenny, and a couple of others didn't show up, and unfortunately I don't have time to find the first woman's name! (LOL)

This particular Page 6 item was about LuAnn’s daughter Victoria leaving the Ross School in The Hamptons, ostensibly after Housewife Ramona Singer,(who I find it hard to watch), went and posted a link to the You Tube video of Victoria engaging in some unseemly behavior.   What a nice thing for Ramona to have done!  Not exactly a surprise considering the venom these women have the ability to express!

She did however apologize which makes all the difference in the world, right???  If you accidentally stab someone and then apologize afterwards, it makes the wound heal up right away doesn’t it???

As a side note, LuAnn’s press rep says that Victoria leaving The Ross School, had nothing to do with the video clip, and that Victoria is looking forward to studying art in Paris this summer!  If she turns out like her Mom she’ll be just fine!

Both Marisa Tomei and Frank Whaley are mentioned in this Page 6, and were at the after-party for Knickerbocker, a play at The Public Theatre, directed by another old friend Pippin Parker, brother of none other than Sarah Jessica.

Jeffrey Gurian with Marisa Tomei at a press junket for her film "Before The Devil Knows You're Dead!"

Jeffrey Gurian interviewing Frank Whaley at a New Group event at Capitale honoring Wallace Shawn!

The party was held at the Knickerbocker Bar and Grill which according to Page 6, Chris Noth calls “downtown’s answer to Elaine’s.”

Pippin and Toby are the two Parker siblings I know best from my early days at Naked Angels, when I used to go down there with actor Federico Castelluccio and director Billy Goins, who at the time had been engaged to Claudia Schiffer.

Jeffrey Gurian and Toby Parker at a show after Toby's performance!

Jeffrey Gurian with Federico Castelluccio at an event at The Cutting Room!

I was one of the writers whose stuff got read by Naked Angels members at their weekly Tuesdays at Nine events where writers would bring in new works and ask resident actors to do a cold reading for the rest of the audience.

In those days it was run by a guy named Craig Carlisle, a great guy who I think may be in LA these days.  It was where I first met Ethan Hawke, when he came over and introduced himself to me after hearing the early version of a play I wrote called ” A Punch In The Face”, which he told me he liked and encouraged me to finish.

I did years later and wound up dedicating it to actor Chuck Zito after he punched out Jean Claude Van Damme at Scores one night and broke his knuckle on Van Damme’s head, a story told to me by Chuck himself! And if you look at the photo below and see the size of Chuck’s fist, you can only imagine what Van Damme’s head felt like when it got hit with it!

Jeffrey Gurian at the receiving end of Chuck Zito's massive fist at the premiere of a play written by Jeffrey in his honor called " A Punch In The Face", something at which Chuck is an expert!

I had first met Chuck through another old friend Charlie Sheen, when Charlie was in his prime.  He’s an amazing, brilliant guy and will be the subject of a separate post another day!

Marisa Tomei and Frank Whaley are currently starring on Broadway together in Wallace Shawn’s “Marie and Bruce”, which you’ll soon read about in a post I’m working on about the very recent New Group tribute to Wallace Shawn, which I attended and did interviews for on the red carpet.

The poster for Wallace Shawn's play "Marie and Bruce" starring Marisa Tomei and Frank Whaley at the Acorn Theatre on Theatre Row!

Last on Page 6 that day was Nick Loeb, recent Senate hopeful from Florida, and a good friend of mine and reader of Comedy Matters.  Nick is one of those guys where when you see him, even if you don’t know what he does, you know it’s something special.

Nick’s Dad is John L. Loeb former Ambassador to Denmark from 1981-1983, who was knighted by Queen Margrethe of Denmark after he left his post, and was also a Delegate to The United Nations. The Loeb family is one of the oldest, and most successful Jewish families dating back to Colonial times, and are also related to the Lehman family.

Nick is a film producer, though his company IPC ( International Production Company), and has worked with Exec. Producers like Quincy Jones and Barbara Streisand.

Jeffrey Gurian with the amazing Nick Loeb who was running for the Florida Senate at the time!

Nick was a candidate for the Florida State Senate, a possible Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate as the Republican Senator from Florida, but most important, he currently holds the position of being the boyfriend of Modern Family’s gorgeous, and funny Sofia Vergara! (LOL)  All the other stuff is certainly possible, but how does one accomplish that??? (LOLOL)

I was proud to support Nick in his run for Florida’s Senate, and the fundraiser was held in Manhattan at his father’s townhouse.  His father happened to be out of town that evening, and I asked Nick jokingly whether his father even knew he was using his home or did he just sneak the keys while his Dad wasn’t looking!

( I love to ask questions like that of powerful people!  Can you imagine what it must be like to grow up as an Ambassador’s son, with a family lineage like that?  Like when I asked Don Trump Jr. if his Dad would think it was funny if I tipped him a dollar for having me at one of his events.  Just fold a dollar into his palm when I was shaking hands with him.  Don suggested that I don’t do that, and I was glad I took his advice! LOL )  Personally I think Donald would have laughed, but you never know.

Jeffrey Gurian, at a Donald Trump event, surrounded by the gorgeous couple of Don and Vanessa Trump!

Nick is the consummate gentleman, and a guy with a great sense of humor. His taste in women is also excellent, and I’d love to see him hold a high office one of these days.  I think he’d make a great contribution to the country.  Plus then we could all get to meet Sofia Vergara! (LOLOLOL)

 

 

Posted in: Celeb Photos, Comedians In The News, Comedy Events, Comedy Matters, Comedy Videos, Featured, Hot Models, Nightlife Events, Page 6 Review, Press Junkets, Red Carpet Events

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Page 6 Review With Camille Grammer

I have been a fan of Page 6 in the New York Post for longer than I care to admit.  As far as I’m concerned it’s the most powerful and most influential “gossip page” in the country, and I’ve been honored to be on it maybe a dozen times over the years, if not more.

Page 6 with Jeffrey Gurian, Gilbert Gottfried, and Richie Tienken, owner and founder of the legendary comedy club The Comic Strip after Gilbert's interview for the book Jeffrey is writing for the 35th anniversary of the club.

Every day, it’s basically the first thing I read in the NY Post, and very often I know many of the people being written about, so as a new feature of this Vlog, I will be telling some personal anecdotes involving the people written about on Page 6.

Today’s column is headed with a huge story on Camille Grammer, Kelsey Grammer’s ex-wife who supposedly recently settled their divorce for about $50 million bucks.  Camille was one of Bravo’s “Housewives of Beverly Hills” and supposedly the producers of the show are concerned that she’s toning down her act so as not to stir up any trouble between her and Kelsey.

It seems that Kelsey is looking for custody of their kids, and she doesn’t want to give him any ammunition by acting out in any way on the show.  Meanwhile the producers want the cast to be more outrageous for Season 2.

Camille agreed to the divorce settlement about a day before Kelsey was to marry Kayte Walsh, supposedly as an accommodation to him, and she doesn’t want to jeopardize all she’s attained for a reality TV show.

Camille is often portrayed in a negative light, but I know her for many years, since we were both kids, and she’s a sweetheart, with a heart of gold! (LOL)

Jeffrey Gurian with his dear friend Camille Grammer on the red carpet of the Comedy Central Night of Too Many Stars!

When I first met Camille, it was before her Playboy days.  Her name was Camille Donatacci, and I cast her in two little comedy films that I wrote and co-produced, that just happened to be for Playboy TV.

Frank Chindamo Pres. and CEO of a company called “Fun Little Movies” which is now world known for creating video content for mobile phones, was in those days producing short films.  He came to me to create a series of short “futuristic” films for Playboy TV, and I got famous comics like Richard Belzer, Pat Cooper, and Gilbert Gottfried to star in them, which they did strictly as a favor to me.

Camille was in two of them.  In the one with Richard Belzer, called “The Bar Channel”, Belzer is at home watching “the bar channel”, where guys can scan girls from their homes.  ( remember this was futuristic, before the days of Skype, and videophones.)

So in the script, guys watch this channel at home, scan for hot girls, and then try and pick up girls via TV’s that are placed on the bar.  Phoebe Legere also starred in this one, and Belzer comes on the screen and offers her a drink.

She accepts and with that, another guy pops up on another screen and tries to muscle in on the first guy’s thing by belittling him.

Both guys are played by Belzer.  An argument breaks out between them, and a bouncer comes and throws both TV’s out of the bar.  Camille played a patron about whom Belzer says, ” That chick’s so hot she could set off the friggin’ sprinkler system.”

In the second film with Gilbert Gottfried called ” Seeing Is Believing”, Gilbert is in a club trying to pick up girls wearing glasses that can only be described as being kind of like microscopes.  He has to focus his lenses by hand.  His pick-up lines are the worst!  ” Would you like to see some pictures of my furniture?”

Needless to say he meets no one.  His friend tells him that maybe he needs to get new glasses, and for a few extra bucks he can get them with X-ray vision.  Gilbert thinks that means he can see through girls clothing.  He goes to the eye doctor and Camille is the sexy nurse.

Gilbert envisions seeing through her clothing, but after the surgery when the doctor gives him a remote control box to turn on the X-ray vision, he looks at Camille, presses the button, excitedly expecting to see her naked, but instead he sees her skeleton, and goes into seizures.

On the shoot, Camille looked gorgeous and every guy wanted to be with her, but she wouldn’t give anyone any play, hence instead of calling her Camille Donatacci, she got the nickname Camille “Don’t Touch Me.”  We all knew she’d wind up with someone famous and successful and she certainly did.
Jeffrey Gurian and Camille Grammer on the Comedy Central red carpet for Night of Too Many Stars!

Despite how they often portray her, she’s a great girl, with a good heart, and I wish her all the best!

 

 

Posted in: Celeb Photos, Comedians In The News, Comedy Events, Comedy Matters, Comedy Videos, Featured, Hot Models, Nightlife Events, Page 6 Review, Red Carpet Events

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