Hurricane Sandy affected everyone in NYC either directly or indirectly. Luckily for me I didn’t lose power or have any flooding, but I did have several TV shoots cancelled, in which I was supposed to talk about my new book with Chris Rock called “Make ‘Em Laugh” about the 35 year history of the legendary comedy club “The Comic Strip.
My co-author is owner and founder of the club Richie Tienken!
One of them was with WPIX TV, and it had something to do with their bus being out of service. When I heard the word “bus” I was thinking of something small like the little yellow school buses we see around the city. How wrong I was!
When we re-scheduled, WPIX reporter Dan Mannarino showed up at The Comic Strip in a block long custom made WPIX bus sponsored by Dunkin’ Donuts! The thing was huge but outfitted inside like a limo, or a private jet. Very spacious and elegant!
We started the interview in the club with me and owner/founder Richie Tienken on the stage of the club telling stories from the book, then I took Dan on a tour of the club, and finished by going on the bus and doing more if the interview on there!
It was really fun and the interview is airing this coming Monday morning, Dec. 10, 2012, between 8 and 9 A.M. on the WPIX Morning News! Check it out!
I was heading out to LA to do my third guest spot on Nick Kroll’s Comedy Central hit Kroll Show, in which I’d be playing myself in a red carpet sketch during a Pub-LIZ-ity sketch with Nick as Liz G.
I love ALL of Nick’s sketches but Pub-LIZ-ity is really one of my faves so I was doubly exicted. But since I’m not a great traveler, I don’t like to fly across the country for one or two days, so I decided to go out out a few days earlier and stay a few days afterwards to visit some friends and check out the LA comedy scene.
My first night in town I went right to The Comedy Store to see my buddy Tommy Morris, who runs the place, and give him a copy of the documentary film I recently co-produced with Exec. Producers Scott Sobel and Gary Licker who also directed the film.
It was called “The Business of Comedy” and featured interviews with comedy icons like Budd Friedman, who opened the world’s first comedy club, The Improv, in NYC in 1963, Rick Newman who opened Catch A Rising Star in 1972, Richie Tienken who opened The Comic Strip in 1976, and comics like George Wallace, Robert Klein, Tom Dreesen, and newcomer Sasheer Zamata, all talking about the business end of the comedy world.
I wanted to bring Tommy his copy personally, and as you can see from the photo, … I did!
There’s always a star-studded show at The Store, and that night I ran into my old friend Marc Maron, with Cort McCown, who I had met on the Kandy Kruise where he was performing for 500 guys and even more important, 16500 girls from Maxim, Playboy, and Penthouse.
I also ran into Bobby Lee, and then I got to see Chris D’elia from Whitney, and Dov Davidoff who I just saw again headlining Gotham in NYC this past weekend. These guys go back and forth like it’s nothing!
If you were around in the 70’s, 1973-1979 to be exact, then you were aware of Jimmy “J.J.” Walker who played J.J. Evans in the Norman Lear, CBS hit “Good Times”, with Esther Rolle who played JJ’s mom Florida Evans, and John Amos who played his dad Michael Evans.
Interestingly enough, Good Times was a spin-off of Maude, which was itself a spin-off of All in the Family along with The Jeffersons. And it was co-created by Mike Evans, who portrayed Lionel Jefferson on the Norman Lear-produced series All in the Family and The Jeffersons.
JImmy “J.J” Walker onstage at Broadway Comedy Club without a floppy hat, but making one of his signature faces!
At the time that JJ was on the show he played so much younger than he actually was that John Amos who played his Dad was only 8 years older than him!
JJ’s signature phrase was “Dyn-O-Mite!” which follows him to this day. And in my interview with him recently at Broadway Comedy Club where he showed up with his agent and my old friend Roger Paul, he said he was grateful for that tag, “Dyn-O-Mite”! Very few performers have something that sticks for so long. Like Rodney Dangerfield will always be associated with the phrase “No Respect.” In comedy having an identity like that is magical!
The main room downstairs was packed, wall to wall, and JJ went up on stage and knocked it out of the park. He talked about the economy being so bad that when you rent an apartment they want the first month’s rent and the last month’s rent. JJ was like, ” I wasn’t even here last month! Why do I gotta pay that guy’s rent?”
Jimmy “J.J.” Walker killing it onstage at Broadway Comedy Club! The audience loved him!
In talking about doing drug testing of post office employees, he said, “The one drug you won’t find is speed!”
And in talking about crime, he told of a 21 year old man who tried to rob a Toys ‘R Us with a toy gun. He was shot by a 5 year old with a real gun!
And he said, ” As crowded as jails are these days, they always seem to have room for Black people!”
He was just filled with funny lines. He said that Kim Kardashian is like Kryptonite for Black men, and that they tried to do a Real Housewives of San Francisco, but they couldn’t find any.
He even acted out scenes from a fictional Maury Povich show where the Black characters were named what sounded to me like Aquaneshia and Tyquarius, and he called “Cops” a Black reality show with a three tattoo minimum and a 4 tooth maximum.
I was so glad to see him being so funny after all these years. And he was so kind to his audience. He stayed afterwards to greet people who wanted to take photos and buy his merchandise.
Jimmy “J.J.” Walker and Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV at Al Martin’s Broadway Comedy Club!
It just goes to show you that being funny is like riding a bike. You never lose it, and if you fall off the end of the stage you get right back up and start telling jokes again!
Check out the cool video interview we did after the show!
After four long years, the book I’ve been writing with Richie Tienken on the 35 year history of his club The Comic Strip is finally coming out. And Chris Rock is not only interviewed in the book, he also was kind enough to write the introduction.
He sent it in from Cannes where he was promoting Madagascar 3.
Let me start by saying that I know Gilbert Gottfried for more than 25 years. Gilbert can be outrageous, but I don’t think he would intentionally hurt anyone’s feelings. He’s not capable of that, and it’s not his energy.
Jackie Mason is used to getting lots of press, but not like this!
He’s one of the only comedians, if not the only one to have multiple, successful shows on Broadway.
But today’s New York Post had a front page photo of Jackie Mason with a story of how he was attacked by his 48 year old girlfriend in his apartment. She left him with a bloodied arm after fighting him for his cell phone so he wouldn’t call the police. Fortunately he wasn’t hurt worse. When people go crazy there’s no telling what they’ll do.
His girlfriend, Kaoru Suzuki-McMullen, supposedly woke up at 6 A.M. to find herself alone in bed, and found him asleep in the living room. She took that as a sign he had been cheating on her. People should really have more evidence than that before attacking someone. According to the NY Post, she is now facing misdemeanor assault charges.
The NY Post says Jackie’s 83. TMZ and the Wall Street Journal say he’s only 75. I have no idea which is correct. All I know is that he should be proud that he got a 48 year old girlfriend. Most men of substance are not out looking for 75 or 83 year old women. So, … more power to him!
I hope he gets better quick, and puts this behind him, but knowing the media, and their penchant for a good story, I have a feeling it will play out over the next few days!