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“Dice” Clay Brings His Magic To The Stand, NYC

Every once in a while something very special happens to me. Last night was one of those times. I’ve known Andrew “Dice” Clay since 1998. There are very few modern day legends in comedy, but he’s definitely one of them.

TAKING AWAY A HEADACHE FROM DICE IN THE PARKING LOT OF MEL’S DINER BACK IN 1998

I had the honor of knowing and working with some of the legends from what they call “The Golden Age of Comedy” like Milton Berle, who was my sponsor in The Friars Club, Jerry Lewis, Henny Youngman, Sid Caesar, Buddy Hackett, Red Buttons, and more, but there’s only ever been one “Dice”. A comic who back in the day was one of the first and very few who could fill stadiums, … and did! ( AND STILL CAN!!!)

WITH MR. TELEVISION HIMSELF AT THE L.A. FRIARS IN 1985

Last night I went to see him at The Stand in it’s new location on East 16th Street in Manhattan. The place is amazing. It’s huge, on two levels, with two showrooms, and a great restaurant, … with a real chef!

The show was sold out but co-owner Paul Italia was nice enough to find me a great seat. Eleanor Kerrigan who’s been Dice’s opener for the last 10 years killed the crowd with her opening set, as she always does. More on that below!

Dice took “Dice” to a whole other level and his refreshingly un-P.C. material was rewarded by screaming laughter and applause from the crowd. There was no doubt they were loyal fans and were there to hear what he had to say. And when he said something particularly outrageous, he was like, “What are they gonna do to me, … I’m rich!” And I’m happy to say that no one was offended. They knew why they were there and who they came to see!

He interacted a lot with the audience which they love, and gave advice on marriage and relationships, which should probably be it’s own call-in show.
I think that would be a big hit, “Dice on Relationships”. Kind of like what I did with Patrice O’Neal on the Black Phillip Show back in 2008, which I still get thank you messages for from guys who were grateful for the info we put out!

During the show the audience was instructed to not take out any cell phones but at the end of his act he told the audience they could take out their phones and do whatever they wanted. He showed his warm side when an audience member asked to take a photo WITH him and he called her up on the stage.

It’s only when you get to know the real Andrew “Dice” Clay that you can tell him apart from the guy on stage. The real guy is a warm, caring family man, whether he’d want you to know that or not!

To close the show he broke into a few of his Mother Goose nursery rhymes, a blast from the past. He’d start them and then stop, and the audience would yell out the rest word for word! It was amazing!

He did an hour and 17 minutes of non-stop material, during which he came up with some new names for female body parts, one of which was something like purple bacon slices, and I might add the women laughed as hard or harder than the men, … and then after he left the stage he was escorted from the room by his longtime friend and security head Club Soda Kenny, a guy you don’t wanna mess with.

Dice breezed past and I called out to him, but I didn’t think he saw me. Kenny escorted him backstage, and I debated just leaving because I know that Dice likes to chill after a show, and I didn’t text him to tell him I was coming, like I usually do because I try and attend all of Dice’s shows any time he’s local!

Two minutes later, Kenny comes out and says ” Jeff, Dice wants to see you.” He led me backstage where Dice greeted me with a big hug. He was sitting with Eleanor Kerrigan, and he said to me, “Jeff, tell Kenny the bit that you wrote for me that I did in my special!”

It was a very rare honor for me that I got to write for Dice because hardly anyone else ever did. He actually talked about it and shouted me out three times during a one hour interview he did up at Sirius XM with Ron Bennington.

WITH DICE UP AT SIRIUS XM HOLDING THE PHOTO OF US FROM BACK IN 1998

I can’t repeat the bit here, but suffice it to say it had to do with Dice being able to cure world hunger in a very interesting and unique “Dice-like” way, and a couple of the keywords were pipeline, cropduster, and sparrows!

Dice said he often doesn’t remember things he didn’t write himself. I’ll never forget the night he did it for the first time on the stage of The Comedy Store. I was right there in the audience. He liked it so much he didn’t have time to memorize it so he did it right off the paper! So awesome!

When I asked him what he had coming up he said I could announce that he’ll be coming back to The Stand in December, and that’s a scoop cause nobody knows that yet, … except the owners of The Stand!

One of whom, Cris Italia came in to bring Dice a custom made pizza in his honor. I think Dice said it had honey truffle chicken.

CO-OWNER OF THE STAND, CRIS ITALIA WITH THE SPECIAL PIZZA THEY MADE FOR DICE

Before I left, Dice wanted to say a few words about Eleanor Kerrigan and his fans, who he lovingly says are “animals” and they’re proud of it and own it. I taped it to make sure I got it correctly.

Dice had just got off a tour with Roseanne, and he said that when Eleanor opened the shows for him and Roseanne, “and they were shows she’s not used to doing, like bigger than life shows, like the arena we were in in Atlantic City, it’s gigantic, and she came on cold in front of like Roseanne and myself and I felt that she stole the show.

It’s a gigantic stage so I was able to just watch her work, and she was just killing! You know, … like they were there to see her! And I’ve had certain openers, like I talk about Eddie Griffin a lot or Jim Norton a lot, but she’s like the best there’s been and also the fact that she’s a woman comic and has gone up against every kind of audience, and my audiences are probably the toughest there are.

And that’s why she’s the best, and that’s how I really feel about her, and I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t true. We’re friends for nearly 25 years, but she’s been opening for me for 10. From nothing. From getting booed off the stage at Westbury, (which Eleanor acknowledged happened!). I put her up there, I knew it was gonna be tough, but my audience is animals, so it was just an experience, but instead of backing up she went forward with it and just became the best, and kills every crowd, every night, all year long, wherever we are.

And when I asked him if it was ok to quote that his audience are animals, he said, ” They know they’re animals. They made ME a star. Eleanor added, “That’s what makes them so great. That’s their energy.” And Dice added, ” They’re the real deal, my fans. They’re as honest as they come. They’re in your face and I would say that myself and Joe Rogan have the most aggressive audiences ever in stand up! Definitely!

And he ended by saying, ” This was so much fun. And I’ll just take the small clubs over the huge arenas. You gotta do the bigger places to make your living, but I love the smaller clubs more than everything, because that’s when you can really get into stuff, like I did tonight.

And with that he said, ” Gimme a hug”, we wished each other a Happy New Year, and promised to stay in touch!

He’s there for one more night if you’re lucky enough to be able to get tickets! For me it was one of those very special nights! And I wish I had taken a photo of Eleanor but maybe I’ll go back tonight and get one!!!

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The Love For Patrice O’Neal Lives On!

WITH THE LEGEND KNOWN AS PATRICE O’NEAL

On Nov. 29, 2011 the comedy world and the world at large lost a luminous presence, … the great Patrice O’Neal. I thought of Patrice not only as a comedian but as a comedy philosopher. He had such a specific and well thought out point of view. One of my greatest honors was being named a co-host of The Black Phillip Show on XM radio, by Patrice himself.

The first night we went on the radio together was Feb. 10th 2008. It went so well that he called me that night at 4:05 in the morning, and left me a message which I keep on my phone to this day, to tell me how much he liked the show, and that we should do our own show together. But he was so humble, that when you listen to the phone call (below) you’ll hear him say that he didn’t want to assume anything.

As if I might not have wanted to do it with him. I would have done ANYTHING to have been able to do that show with Patrice. Unfortunately it was not to be.

Bill Burr and Maureen Taran produce a benefit for Patrice every year for the last 7 years. It’s usually held at Town Hall in NYC, which holds 3,000 people, and sells out well before the date.

I always knew The Black Phillip Show had a great influence on a lot of guys by the calls that came in while we were on the air, but it’s been pointed out to me lately by the amount of messages I receive on Instagram, and by random encounters in the street.

Recently I was down at The Village Underground which is part of The Comedy Cellar hanging out with Ardie Fuqua who was hosting a great show that night, and as I left and was walking to my car I heard someone yell out, ” Holy shit, it’s Jeffrey Gurian.” Not accustomed to getting called out like that I turned and saw two brothers, … and not brothers because they were Black, (which they were) but because they were true biological brothers.

WITH ARDIE FUQUA AT THE COMEDY CELLAR

We stopped to chat and they told me what big fans they were of Black Phillip and how much the show changed their lives. They were so sincere and so excited that I stayed there talking with them for quite a while and told them how it was working with Patrice and then I walked them back to the Fat Black Pussycat bar to meet Ardie.

BLACK PHILLIP FANS THAT STOPPED ME IN THE STREET

This past weekend I went to a wedding in Boston. Late at night I went into the basement of the hotel I was staying in to grab a snack from a vending machine, and two guys were sitting at a table looking like they were doing some writing work. Next thing I know one yelled out, ” We love your interviews!” and when I went over to chat, once again it was two “brothers” but this time not biological, … and they admitted to being big fans of The Black Phillip Show but said they were reluctant to yell that out.

MAKALANI ADISA AND RAKIM WILLIAMS IN BOSTON

We talked for quite a while and again I shared stories of the fun we had up at the studio and how when I brought models up to the show, which I did each time, I would warn them that Patrice would try and “deconstruct” them to take away their power. They were always cool enough to go with the flow!

And the show didn’t only have Black fans. White guys stop me too lately. Skankfest, the outrageously crazy comedy festival out in Brooklyn draws fans from all over the world. Last year at Skankfest two guys from Ireland stopped me about Black Phillip and I didn’t think to take photos of them, which I try and do now each time it happens.

This year at Skankfest two Indian looking guys from Scotland stopped me who were Black Phillip fans, then a guy from England and then three guys from Canada came up to me talking about how much Black Phillip changed their lives as well. Only two are in the photo below because the third one volunteered to take the pic!

NOT SURE OF THE ORDER BUT IT WAS JOHN BOWLEY AND JAMIE MALCOLM AND BEN DELLER I BELIEVE WHO SNAPPED THE PHOTO! ALL FROM CANADA!

At this years’ Patrice benefit produced by Bill Burr and hosted by Rich Vos, I heard someone calling my name at the after-party. It turned out to be Patrice’s Mom Georgia, who called me over to take a pic with her and her daughter Zinder. It’s always so wonderful to see her. The first time we met was backstage at the taping of “Elephant In The Room” when Patrice called me over to introduce me.

AT THE PATRICE BENEFIT AFTER PARTY WITH PATRICE’S MOM GEORGIA AND SISTER ZINDER
BACKSTAGE AT THE TAPING OF ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM WITH HARRIS STANTON AND PATRICE O’NEAL

These are just some of the messages I’ve received lately on Instagram for my work with Patrice on The Black Phillip Show.

It’s just nice to know that Patrice’s memory and his words and his commentary live on to inspire people and that in some small way I was part of that history.
R.I.P Patrice!

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SKANKFEST 2019

It’s hard to describe the insanity and raucous good time that is Skankfest unless you’ve been there to experience it. It’s the 4th year and the second year at the Brooklyn Bazaar. They had to move from Long Island City’s “Creek and the Cave” because it just got too big. SKANKFEST IS A PHENOMENON!!!

Rebecca Trent, owner of The Creek is still one of the producers along with Christine Marie Evans, and the guys from The Legion of Skanks, Big Jay Oakerson, Luis J. Gomez, and Dave Smith. I’ve been at all of them, and it gets bigger and crazier every year.

I was there for the second night and will be returning for the third night later today, but I felt it deserves at LEAST two posts. People come from all over the world to celebrate with the Skanks. Within a short period of time I was approached by Patrice O’Neal fans from The UK and two Indian-looking dudes from Scotland believe it or not who said they loved listening to me and Patrice on The Black Phillip Show and asked to take photos.

The two brown dudes even had the kind of sense of humor where they said they needed a flash or all I would see was eyes and teeth! Skankfest is the home of the un-PC crowd which is so refreshing. Literally anything goes, as exemplified by Louis CK’s surprise set, where if you hadn’t heard anything he said, by the applause you’d have thought The Messiah had showed up.

Needless to say there were more beards than you ever thought could fit into one room, and for anyone who felt they didn’t have enough tattoos there was even a tattoo room for you to fulfill your tattoo desires.

I walked in when Bonnie McFarlane and Rich Vos were doing their show “Would You Bang Him?” with judges Kerryn Feehan, Kim Congdon, Corinne Fisher, and Krystyna Hutchinson the acknowledged experts on banging. Bonnie pointed out that their names all started with the “K” sound, the four cunts as she put it!

WITH MY GIRLS FROM “GUYS WE FUCKED” THE LOVELY AND TALENTED KRYSTYNA HUTCHINSON ON THE LEFT AND CORINNE FISHER ON THE RIGHT!

Josh Adam Meyers of Goddam Comedy Jam fame was the first of the contestants who coined the phrase “Journey Legs” to describe how the band Journey walks in their video, and how ridiculous it would be to walk that way in real life!

JOSH ADAM MEYERS DOING “JOURNEY LEGS”

Michael Che was one of the contestants who came out and said to roars of laughter, ” I don’t really wanna do this. This can’t help me at all!” And then went on to do a hilarious set including a story of how he wound up in an after hours club and some gay dude bought him drinks all night hoping to get with him.

MICHAEL CHE WITH JUDGES KRYSTYNA HUTCHINSON, CORINNE FISHER, ,KERRYN FEEHAN AND NOT SHOWN KIM CONGDON ( WITH A GAY BLACK GUY FROM THE AUDIENCE!)

After the comic performs the judges declare whether they would bang him or not, according to various factors including their history together. Corinne voted “No” due to Michael having once put her up on a show after two heavyweights like Joe Rogan and Bill Burr, where she felt a bit overwhelmed.

Ari Shaffir was also a contestant and at one point chased Rich Vos off the stage by pulling out his dick at the request of the judges and waving it around in a threatening manner! No one shook his hand as he left. It was an insane show to say the least! And packed to the proverbial gills!

For the big stand-up show that Louis CK was on, I went backstage for a bit and Louie stayed and hung around after his set schmoozing with Dan Soder, Joe List, MC Justin Silver, and Nate Bargatze who closed the show with amazingly funny stories.

Nate is also one of the great story tellers evidenced by his new Netflix special “The Tennessee Kid” and he will be co-starring in the upcoming sitcom with Jerrod Carmichael.

He told an amazing story about pranking Luis J. Gomez when they were out to eat at a McDonalds by taking a bite out of his sandwich while he was away from the table, and re-wrapping it and watching Luis go crazy on the McDonald’s staff for serving him a sandwich with a bite taken out of it. I actually laughed out loud as did Louis CK. Not sure about Louis, but very rare for me!

Back in 2014 I brought Nate on as my guest on the Ron and Fez show up on Sirius XM because I could tell even then that he was destined for great things. And last night he and I were wearing the exact same sneakers!

There’s a stand-up show every hour on the hour so I stayed till around 1 A.M. to catch late night sets from Derek Gaines and Sherrod Small.

CUL-DE-SAC BLACK DEREK GAINES ON THE MIC
SHERROD SMALL BRINGING THE HEAT ON SKANKFEST

Other stars expected today are Dave Attell, Gilbert Gottfried who I’m sure will do a squeaky clean set, Ron Bennington, Chris Stanley, Monroe Martin, Mark Normand, Judy Gold, The Lucas Brothers, Tony Hinchcliffe, Zac Amico, Robert Kelly and so many more!

I gotta run to get back there so more on Skankfest 2019 tomorrow!

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Comedy Matters Round-Up With Lisa Lampanelli

Lisa Lampanelli’s New Podcast

Anyone who knows anything about comedy knows that Lisa Lampanelli has changed her direction and instead of doing “insult” comedy, which is a decision she reached back in 2018, she has transitioned, … not sexually, … but spiritually into the realm of a life coach, a story teller, a workshop leader, and from her former persona as “The Queen of Mean” to the “Queen of Meaning.”

As a long time friend, I’ve had the honor of watching her transform over the years, and it’s been a miraculous journey. She just announced the launch of a new podcast called “Let Lisa Help” on the PodCastOne Network, available on Apple Podcasts, PodCastOne, i-Tunes and everywhere else you can hear a podcast.

I had the honor of moderating Lisa Lampanelli’s AOL Build talk for the release of her Grammy nominated album “Back To The Drawing Board” which was kind of the start of the changes that led her to give up stand-up and move into this other self-help realm.

I called to congratulate her and this is a quote she gave me personally:
“I can’t believe I’ve actually found a way I can help people and still get my rocks off performance-wise. To have a whole hour to give unfiltered feedback and advice to people who want it, plus talk to guests I love and can learn from, is a real thrill for me — and, of course, for my listeners. I mean, come on! I’m the gift that keeps on giving!”

After doing comedy for more than 30 years, she realized it wasn’t her any more. It takes a lot of courage to step away from something that people love, and that you’re doing successfully, to do something you yourself love more, but it’s only one of the many changes that Lisa has made in her life in recent years. The 107 pound weight loss, the “Spiritual” divorce, and I think that losing her beloved Dad also had a big effect on her decision to pursue what she loves.

Lisa’s new skills as a life coach are now available to anyone with access to the internet. Each week, she strikes an Instagrammable yoga pose with her guest co-host, then sits down with him or her to work on each of their problems, plus issues submitted by fans. Then, just as you think it couldn’t get any deeper, more entertaining, or more vulnerable, Lisa takes calls from her actual real-life clients to learn how she can be a better life coach.

Hey, if there’s one thing Lisa’s learned, it’s this: if she can dish it out, she has to be able to take it.The first two episodes, featuring actor/internet sensation Josh Peck, and podcaster extraordinaire Em Schulz, are available now with new episodes every Wednesday on Apple Podcasts and PodcastOne.

She also said, “I LOVE having a platform in which I can just be myself, use my life-coaching skills, and help people whether they like it or not,” says Lampanelli. “

And the fact that my guest co-hosts, no matter what their level of fame, come in with their issues and we dig in in a very real way excites the hell outta me. Thank goodness PodcastOne recognized my true genius when it comes to forcing help down people’s throats,” she laughs. “And, in advance, listeners: you’re welcome!”Click here to subscribe, rate, review, and listen now!

This is a little assortment of photos we’ve taken over the years cataloguing her transformational journey seen through her hairstyles: ( In no particular order! LOL)

Go to Lisa’s Facebook page to be a part of it.


For more info on Lisa, including her entire schedule, go to: www.LisaLampanelli.com

Find Lisa on

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | itunes
click and say hey!

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Samuel J. Comroe, A Man of Inspiration

Every single one of us has some kind of obstacle to face in our lives. Some people allow it to overcome them and never accomplish anything. Others rise above it. Samuel J. Comroe is one who rose above it, and in a hilarious way.

Sam developed Tourette’s Syndrome at 6 years old. It’s a neurological condition characterized by repetitive, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. It was named for Dr. Georges Gilles de la Tourette, a French neurologist who first described the condition back in 1885 before many of you were born!

Sam describes it more as a “twitch”, which can be embarrassing to people who have the condition, but Sam decided to take it and use it to create a successful comedy career. He took what could have been considered as a negative and turning it into a positive. As he says, ” I got 99 problems, but a twitch ain’t one!”

He made his TV debut on Conan, appeared on BET’s Real Husbands of Hollywood with Kevin Hart, and became nationally known for his appearance on America’s Got Talent where he totally wowed Howie Mandel, and the other judges. He said that show changed the game for him.

He also won Ricky Gervais’ “San Francisco Comedy Competition” and has a huge following on social media. So when I heard he was headlining at Gotham Comedy Club I made sure to make it down there to see him.

Good thing I have my own table cause the place was so packed people had to pull in their stomachs and hold their breath to squeeze in and get a seat. Sam is pure high energy, and speaks so quickly it’s amazing. He spits jokes like rappers spit beats. Like a machine gun!

His positive energy is contagious and spreads to the audience who absolutely loved him and kept interrupting him with applause breaks. He brings a real likability to the stage as he talks about life with Tourette’s and a whole host of other things, like when his parents sent him to Tourettes camp.

He also does a Q&A with the audience towards the end and answers questions like ” What’s it like having sex with Tourette’s?”

In my recent best seller on Happiness I write a lot about the concept of “acceptance” and how there are certain things about ourselves that we must accept or else it will drive you crazy. Then there are things you can change. It’s the basis for what’s known as The Serenity Prayer, … “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

That last line is the most important as far as I’m concerned, … the wisdom to know the difference. In my case my own major obstacle was that I stuttered very badly starting around age 7 or 8, continuing well into my 20’s and beyond. If I had “accepted” that I would still be stuttering today, but I consider it Grace that I realized one day that I didn’t stutter when I was alone. I only stuttered when trying to talk to somebody else which told me that there was really nothing wrong with me, because you can’t have a disability based on your location.

A man with a limp limps in every room of his house. He can’t go into a room alone and walk perfectly. But if I could speak perfectly when I was alone then theoretically I could speak perfectly all the time. I used that fact to help me work on myself for the next few years.

I had no one to help me. I basically took my mind apart and examined all of my thoughts and identified thoughts I was holding that were not valid for me and were negative against myself. I was obsessed with getting better and after much hard work I was able to free myself from the bondage of stuttering.

Now as an avocation I work with stutterers to teach them how not to stutter. And I use my voice in everything I do whether it’s on the phone, on stage, on the radio or on TV.

I look at Sam Comroe as an example of what you can accomplish if you refuse to let your particular obstacle define you. Make sure you go see Sam when he’s performing in your town, … and tell him I sent you! (LOL)

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The Virzi Effect Live For The First Time

Paul Virzi is killing it! He’s having a really great year and it’s well deserved. He often opens for Bill Burr when Bill is on tour.

When I go to Gotham Comedy Club, as I do almost every night, I usually go backstage first to say hello to whoever is performing and wish him luck.

Paul was celebrating the 400th episode of his podcast “The Virzi Effect” but doing it live for the first time, and he chose The Impractical Jokers own Sal Vulcano to be his special guest.

The Virzi Effect is a really fun show. I have had the honor of being on the podcast and we did it from my place in the city. Paul was nice enough to bring his equipment and we did it from my “comedy museum”! (LOL) I knew that Paul would appreciate seeing all the photos of many of the greats in comedy going back to The Golden Age.

This night I opened the backstage door expecting to find Paul, and instead was greeted by a mob scene. A whole bunch of guys standing and chatting in a circle, and when that happens, and you realize that you know everyone, you don’t know who to say hello to first! (LOL) It’s awkward!

I tried saying hello to all of them at once. It was co-owner Steve Mazzilli, uber-agent and producer Rory Rosegarten who had just produced the huge Garden of Laughs event, and he was there with his son Ryan, Paul Virzi of course, Sal Vulcano and a close friend of Paul’s Sam Jackalow, who just happened to know my daughter Liz. Then Jon Fisch came in and he was doing another show upstairs and he and Sal realized that they had the exact same Members Only jacket that they bonded over!

We hung out and shared stories and laughed until it was time to start the show. Paul brought up Sal to huge applause from the audience.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FS5tH4oOH8

They are very close friends and it was obvious the affection that they had for each other. Paul gave Sal a gift of some very expensive alcoholic beverage, which as a non-drinker I was not familiar with, but Sal was very touched.

They talked about all kinds of fun stuff, and Sal was comfortable enough to admit to being very sensitive. He said he once cried at a Pep Boys commercial. I totally relate and have gotten emotional about songs, movies TV shows, and when talking about my daughters. I have to censor everything I watch, or watch it alone so I don’t have to feel embarrassed! (LOL)

Paul always does an “Unacceptable” segment where the guest and then members of the audience share experiences they had that they deem unacceptable.

I asked Rory Rosegarten if he thought I should share my experience of showing up at Madison Square Garden to do interviews for the Garden of Laughs event with Bill Burr, Tracy Morgan, Jon Oliver, John Mulaney, and a bunch of famous actors, and realizing that I had no microphone with me because my video assistant had forgotten to pack it. I would call that quite unacceptable and Rory agreed but Paul and Sal had already moved on, so I’m sharing it right here.

Luckily my assistant slightly redeemed himself by getting this little snippet from John Mulaney while I had to run home like a maniac through rush hour traffic to get my mic!

Bill Burr had his own take on the situation after I nearly killed myself to run home and get my mic!

Sal talked a lot about the new 8th season of his tru TV hit Impractical Jokers and told some funny stories, including the times when the guys almost got assaulted by people who were pranked.

Fans of Paul and Sal traveled from all over to attend this live show, so they saved a few minutes for a Q&A during which time I raised my hand to ask if they were still entertaining “Unacceptable” stories, which I was informed they were not!

Good thing I have this platform! (LOL) At one point Paul was trying to tell a story while Sal hummed ” I Believe I Can Fly” in the background, until Paul found it too distracting.

It was a really fun hour and even ran long because Paul wanted to get in some other things. He invited anyone who wanted to to hang out at Jake’s Tavern which is basically next door, to grab a drink and a snack, and he gave all of his guests special posters he had made up to commemorate his 400th episode and first live show.

I’m really glad I was there to celebrate this with them!

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STAR STUDDED GARDEN OF LAUGHS RAISES 2 MILLION BUCKS FOR KIDS

I had been waiting for weeks to cover the biennial “Garden of Laughs” at the Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden. It’s a star studded event that raises money for underprivileged kids and kids with disabilities. It’s produced by Rory Rosegarten of The Conversation Company and his team, and features some of the biggest comedy stars in the biz as well as many top actors. We were expecting Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Burr, Jon Stewart, John Mulaney, Michael Che, John Oliver, Iliza Shlesinger, Tiffany Haddish, Brian Regan, and actors Debra Messing, Lucas Hedges, Ansel Elgort, Michael K. Williams, Toby Leonard Moore, Gaten Matarazzo, and all hosted by 3 time host Steve Schirripa of Sopranos fame.

WITH RORY ROSEGARTEN PRODUCER OF GARDEN OF LAUGHS

A lot of people don’t know that Steve booked some of the biggest comedy acts when he used to book talent in Las Vegas, and he’s very funny in his own right. Not every star decides to do the red carpet so we’re never really sure who’s going to come out. It was slated to start at 6:30, so I made sure to get there at 5:30 to have time to set up because there’s no real schedule with a red carpet. It’s very stressful. Sometimes several stars come out at once and while you’re talking to one, another one you would have liked to talk to walks by. It’s also all improv. Some journalists come with stock questions that they ask each person. Not me! All my stuff is improv’ed on the spot.

I specifically had my videographer show up at 4 to pack the camera bag and make 100% sure we had all of our equipment.  We went over it together.  So imagine my surprise at 6:10 when he suggested that we do a mic check and the shock ran through my body when we realized we hadn’t packed the microphone.  I can’t describe the horror, and the icy cold feeling that ran through my body. Weeks of planning, and I’m on the red carpet with no mic.

The one thing you need to do interviews besides the camera and we didn’t bring it. I decided I’d have to run home and get it. But I live on the other side of town and it was rush hour. Perfect! I told my assistant to try and shoot some B-roll, and I ran out like a maniac, flashing my red carpet badge to security as I ran through one door after another. As I was running I tried to figure out which would be the fastest way to get home. Should I run back to 8th avenue to take the train, call an Uber, or just jump into a taxi.

I chose the closest taxi and just like in the movies I told the guy to step on it. I said I had to get across town and back in 20 minutes which was impossible. I turned on my WAZE and we got to my house at 6:26. I told him to wait in the downtown direction, jumped out of the cab, ran past my doormen, got the mic and ran back downstairs so fast that both of my shoes opened and I didn’t stop to re-tie them.

Just past 6:30 my assistant texted me that no one had come out yet. As we got closer to the Garden he texted me that John Mulaney was on the red carpet! Shoot! I was hoping he’d come out late but he came out first. Luckily my videographer had the sense to tell John he was working with me, and that I had to run home to get my mic, so John left me this hilarious message, which made it a little bit better!

Of course as we got near the Garden we got stuck in traffic, and every block seemed to take a year. Finally we pulled up in front, I gave the driver a big tip just like in the movies and ran back in, not expecting to have to go through airport-like security again. But I was wrong. Very wrong.  I flashed my badge but it did no good. I told the guy I had forgotten my mic and had to run home to get it and I was missing the whole red carpet but he wouldn’t hear of it. He said he had to do his job. The only man in Manhattan who had to do his job. And of course because I was so nervous I kept leaving something metal in one pocket or another and literally had to go through the metal detector about 10 times while the people behind me waited patiently.

Finally he let me through and then I first had to re-fill my pockets. By the time I got upstairs I had missed Mulaney and Tobey Leonard Moore from Billions who I would have loved to talk to, so I finally bent down to re-tie my shoes, and then Michael K. Williams came along. I loved Michael’s characters “Omar” on “The Wire” and  “Chalkie” White on Boardwalk Empire so I was excited to talk to him. He told me that working with Martin Scorcese was a dream come true for him and that he also works with kids from Garden of Dreams which is the charity itself that Garden of Laughs raises money for.

WITH MICHAEL K. WILLIAMS ON THE RED CARPET AT MSG

To tell you the truth I had never noticed that he had a scar that ran from his forehead right near his eye and down onto his cheek. Obviously I didn’t bring it up, he did. He said he was working with a young boy of 14 who also has scars on his face from an assault, and that he was able to give him some reassurance that he’d be okay. Michael told me he had been assaulted by a gang on his 25th birthday. Man’s inhumanity to man.

Rory Rosegarten came out and told me had been looking for me because he knows I always come early to these things. When I told him the mic story he said the exact same thing that John Mulaney said without having heard him say it. You can hear it for yourself in the video below. He was there with his family.  I was able to congratulate him on another successful show, and it was great to see him looking so healthy again.

Michael Imperioli who played cousin Christopher Moltisante on The Sopranos came out next, and we hadn’t seen each other in years so it was so nice to re-connect. He’s got a movie coming out with Nick Cage, and an NBC TV series based on the movie The Bone Collector, and when we inquired about each other’s health and I told him I had survived a heart attack he said he was sorry, and it sounded like he said he was sorry I survived. Funny!!!

WITH MICHAEL IMPERIOLI ON THE RED CARPET AT GARDEN OF LAUGHS

Bill Burr is always a great time on the red carpet and as soon as he sees me he starts yelling out things like “Oh no”, and “This is gonna be good.”  I told him I was thinking of texting him to let him know I was going to be there so he could think up some insults for me, but he said he didn’t need any advance notice because they just came naturally. He started out by asking me about my sport jacket and if I had gotten it at Woodstock, which was actually very funny.

LAUGHING WITH BILL BURR AT GARDEN OF LAUGHS

 

I asked him if he knew of the You Tube video called “Bill Burr Roasting People” which has over 5.4 million views and opens with he and I on the red carpet where he says he hopes I go bald so that one day we’re two old bald guys on the red carpet.” He said that not only does he know about it he hates that people think he doesn’t like me because he LOVES me, … and that made me feel really good.

I had sent him a recording that the late great Patrice O’Neal had left for me on my phone one night at 4:05 A.M. It was the first night we had done the Black Phillip Show together and Patrice was so happy with it he couldn’t wait to call me and so humbly suggested that we do a show together just the two of us. He said he didn’t want to assume anything, as if I might have said “No”, but unfortunately we never got to do it. I still get messages and e-mails from guys who track me down to give me props on my work on Black Phillip.  R.I.P Patrice. Btw Bill said he listened to it, and I hope he did cause it’s one of my greatest possessions, along with the phone message that Richard Lewis left me saying that some jokes I had written for him were “hilarious” and if he was ever going to use anyone else’s jokes it would be mine!

Bill’s interview went on so long that at one point he asked me if it was still an interview or just two guys talking on the corner! Then he offered me a $700. class he was giving on how to end an interview. He’s hilarious and the very best! And he’s off on a tour from Iceland to Israel!

Just when I thought it was over, I left the red carpet but luckily didn’t pack up yet when I saw Tracy Morgan talking to Bill Burr and went over to catch up with Tracy. His new season if his TBS show “The Last O.G.” was premiering that night and we had a few laughs on camera. He always says something so nice to me and this time he said, “You ARE comedy!”

WITH TRACY MORGAN AT GARDEN OF LAUGHS

Last on the red carpet was John Oliver who was going to be the very first presenter that night. I asked him if his kids were old enough to know that he’s playing Zazu the bird in the new remake of The Lion King directed by John Favreau due out this July.  He said his son is only three and he took him to a movie in which he did the voice of a porcupine named Steve.  He told him that was his Dad and his son said ” No it isn’t”, just like my Too Much Tuna sketch with Nick Kroll and John Mulaney. Anyway this little video is a recap of my adventurous day on the red carpet of Garden of Laughs.

Please feel free to “Like”, Comment and Subscribe and please share it with a friend.  On Twitter and IG I’m @jeffreygurian

 

 

 

 

 

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Weekly Humorist Up For Webby Award

A Webby Award is an award for excellence on the Internet and it’s presented annually by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a judging body composed of over two thousand industry experts and technology innovators. It’s a big honor to be nominated for a Webby and Marty Dundics’ Weekly Humorist is in line to win one for Best Humor Site, in the upcoming 23rd annual Webby Awards contest.

The event itself will be held on Monday, May 13th at Cipriani Wall Street in lower Manhattan, and will be hosted by everyone’s favorite Jenny Slate, so memorable from Kroll Show on Comedy Central. Jenny played many characters especially “niece Denise” and Liz from Publizity which was a sketch I got to be in.

Marty himself describes his recent comedy startup as an “underdog”,  but people love underdogs and they’re only up against College Humor, Funny or Die, The Daily Show and Cards Against Humanity which bills itself as a game for horrible people.

Marty, who’s the CEO and Editor-In-Chief of Weekly Humorist birthed this babe and is basically a one man band. He has an office on Wall Street wHere he hosts the popular comedy podcast Talkward, and produces “Guaranteed Delivery” a monthly standup show at The Mailroom lounge, a very cool space in the same building. I’ve been on it and he gets great talent. This was a flier from his recent show in April.

He’s also the founder of Humorist Media, which develops comedy media programming and publishing.  Despite having a long history with comedy, having worked at National Lampoon, and The Late Show with David Letterman, he’s funny but he’s never performed himself.

Voting ends this Thursday April 18th with the winner to be announced on Tuesday April 23rd, and you can vote by going to this site, …but do it now while you’re thinking about it, because voting ends on Thursday :  

https://vote.webbyawards.com/PublicVoting#/2019/websites/general-websites/humor

 

WITH MARTY DUNDICS DOWN AT THE WEEKLY HUMORIST OFFICE

PLEASE REMEMBER TO “LIKE” COMMENT AND SUBSCRIBE AND FEEL FREE TO SHARE THIS WITH PEOPLE YOU HATE! 

 

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Comedians Rule Boy Band

With comedian/actor/writer Seth Herzog

When you hear the words “Boy Band” maybe you think of The Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, or New Kids on the Block. Well change that image cause from now on you’re gonna be thinking of Seth Herzog, Dave Hill, Jordan Carlos and Steve Agee, who played part of a gay couple with Brian Posehn on the Sarah Silverman Program.

(L-R) Stephen Levinson, Dave Hill, Jordan Carlos, Joel Levinson and Seth Herzog

All four of the above are comedians who thanks to first time feature screenwriters Joel and Stephen Levinson play members of a boy band called “The Heartthrob Boyz” who were wildly successful in the 90’s,  and went into the studio 15 years ago to record an album and are still there working on the same album. They’ve aged, gained weight and lost hair but didn’t lose their childish sense of humor.

Joel and Steven wrote the script together and Joel directed it. They screened it last night at the Chelsea Music Hall on West 15th Street in Manhattan and preceded the screening with a VIP cocktail party at 7 P.M. I who am never late for anything was literally the first one there which is how I got to talk with Joel and Steve, and Seth who was there early too making sure that everything went smoothly, which it did.

Stephen Levinson holding the film poster with his brother Joel Levinson

I brought the lovely, talented and amazing Jessica Robinson with me, who is kind of my muse, and we had the best time!

The Levinson boys wrote the script over a six month period and shot it in 10 days in Yellow Springs, Ohio, the home of independent film! (JK) They shot it there because it’s near Dayton where they live and because that’s where they had connections for locations and also they said that the rates of everything else were much lower. ( Lower than New York? Who would have believed it? LOL)

I always like to know how things come about so I asked them how they met Seth Herzog. They met through comedy writer Rob Kutner who wrote for The Daily Show and Conan through a project called Purim Shpiel, a sketch comedy show in honor of the Jewish holiday of Purim, and Seth always played a wicked character named Haman, who to this day is responsible for Jewish people eating what’s called Hamantashen on the holiday of Purim, actually coming up later this month. (Google it!)

They said that Seth played the perfect asshole so he was the first one cast in Boy Band to play the bad boy of the group. He’s also a producer on the film. Last May at a John McEnroe charity event at Carolines on Broadway where I covered the red carpet I got to interview my buddy Seth and he told me all about Boy Band before it was shot.

The film was loaded with recognizable faces, like David Gruber Allen and Julie Goldman, and I was pleasantly surprised to see my pal Jerry O’Connell in a pretty big role as a newscaster, opposite Seth’s wife, on-air journalist/actress Hitha Herzog, who he somehow coerced to be in the film.  (LOL) Jerry will soon have his own talk show called Jerry O.  on FOX owned stations, and it’s set to begin on August 12th. It will feature celebs and comedy for sure because Jerry is a funny guy, who appreciates the importance of comedy.

Hitha Herzog and Jerry O’Connell

They even had Questlove from The Roots in the film playing an alien, hence the horns, also appearing in the newscast with Hitha and Jerry.

Seth as you should know is the warm up comic for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and so works with Questlove on a day to day basis. Stephen Levinson is also a writer on that show. And Gilbert Gottfried’s voice made an appearance speaking as a puppet named Morty who played an accountant.

The film also featured comedian Esther Ku playing the character of Tina, Steve Agee’s character’s girlfriend. Esther recently co-hosted the AVN ( porno) awards in Las Vegas, and she had a big part in this film.

Esther looked absolutely gorgeous as she did hosting the AVN awards, and it’s so nice seeing her owning that power and not playing down her looks like many female comedians of the past felt they had to do in order to be taken seriously as a funny person. (Having to be taken seriously as a funny person is a funny concept!) And Esther had the foresight to be Asian before it was even popular!

The screening had a great turnout, and was packed with lots of industry people. I ran into comedy exec. Maureen Taran, and Ali Farahnakian founder and owner of The P.I.T. who many people may not recall was also one of the founding members of USB. He was there with wife TV producer Beth Saunders, and he showed her the photo he took of me in the street many years before that wound up, unbeknownst to me, on the wall of the Men’s Room in The P.I.T.

Funny story, … I was walking in the street at a street fair when this nice guy who I had never met before asked if he could take my photo. He said he thought I had an interesting look and because he was so nice I agreed. At the time I didn’t know who he was. So one night I’m at The P.I.T. and I had to use the Men’s Room and while I’m standing there doing my business, I happen to look to my right and see my photo staring me in the face. It was hilarious and we’ve been friends ever since. He’s just a great guy.

And when Bravo TV wanted to shoot scenes with me for RHONY, with Countess LuAnn de Lesseps and Princess Carole Radziwill for a sketch I created and co-wrote for them, Ali was kind enough to give us The P.I.T. for the shoot and after-party.

Boy Band was a fun 90 minutes with a sci-fi element and even a touch of zombie stuff, and it’s available to be seen on all platforms that show movies! Make sure to check it out.

And with that, … I’m OUT!!!

Oh yeah, … and please make sure to like this post, comment and “Subscribe” to Comedy Matters TV by clicking on the “Follow” button at the bottom of the post. Also follow Jeffrey on Twitter and IG at @jeffreygurian.

 

 

 

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Comedy In An Alley

If you’ve been to any upscale, fancy Manhattan event chances are you’ve seen Francesco Belcaro. He’s hard to miss. Tall, handsome and stylish with 46 thousand followers on Instagram, and usually surrounded by models, chances are good he had something to do with making the event successful.

As a matter of fact I’ll be attending a black tie affair of his tomorrow night called The Venetian Carnival which will be held at The Top of the Standard. You can see him greeting me at a fashion party he arranged in a cool beautique, where the champagne was flowing freely in the  video below.

Pinko fashion Brand and Valdo Prosecco event.

Posted by Francesco Belcaro on Tuesday, October 23, 2018

A force in marketing, promotion, and real estate you can imagine my surprise when he invited me to a comedy event.

And then I saw that Mehul Patel was involved and I know that he does comedy shows in upscale venues to try and create a party kind of atmosphere where the audience hangs out afterwards to keep the show/party feeling going. There was no question that I would attend. It was a concerted effort between those guys as well as Rick Rosa and Maria Ton.

This show was called Laughter at Alley Cat and was held at a place called “Alley Cat” on a street I didn’t even know existed in New York. Theatre Alley. I had no idea what to expect when I drove down there, but it was a good sign that Waze knew just where to take me.

Luckily I was able to find a parking spot where Waze said it was, but when I got out of my car I didn’t  know where to go. I was parked right across from this narrow alley and Waze said I had arrived so I tentatively walked into this alley. Late at night in New York you don’t just walk into any alley, but I didn’t know where else to go. When I first walked in all I saw was this.

I ventured further and suddenly saw velvet ropes which in New York is always a good sign.

As I got even closer I saw the logo of the Alley Cat and felt relieved that I was in the right place.

Right away it had a cool vibe. Security guided me downstairs and then upstairs into a showroom that was packed with people already drinking and having a good time. Francesco spotted me and took me to the VIP room where I saw the other comics, host Rashad Bashir who I had just met recently at a show at Alex Carabano’s V-Spot restaurant and comedy club, Kendall Ketchum representing those with two X chromosomes, Shawn Jackson, Elon Altman, the afore-mentioned Mehul Patel, and Matt Pavich.

Front Row: Shawn Jackson and Yours Truly, Rear )L-R) Elon Altman, Kendall Ketchum, Matt Pavich, Rashad Bashir, and Mehul Patel.

Rashad Bashir was a great host who really got the energy pumping, and one by one all the comics brought their A-game which wasn’t always easy because of the noise from the bar. That’s the only problem with doing comedy from a “hip” venue that is not a traditional comedy club, trying to control the noise from the bar, and from people who may have drank enough to forget their manners and that a show is going on.

Mehul Patel onstage

Fortunately the host reprimanded them and most of the comics projected loudly on the mic to overcome the background noise. Matt Pavich had a different approach which I really respected because it’s hard to do. Rather than yell, he took a chance and spoke quietly, and the audience in turn quieted down to hear him. I’ve seen it done before but it takes courage because if it doesn’t work you’re in worse shape than you were in the first place. I gave him props for that after the show because it was a choice he made that worked.

All in all it was a very strong show, and I hope to go back and perform on it myself one month.

That’s all for me. Just remember that Comedy Matters, … and with that I’m OUT!!!

And please go to my Comedy Matters TV You Tube channel to see fun video interviews with all your favorite stars, and follow me on Twitter and IG at @jeffreygurian

 

 

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