Archive for Charity Events

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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Tracy Morgan On Road To Recovery

Anyone who knows my posts knows I only like to write about positive things.  I’ve been holding off on writing about the horrible accident that injured Tracy Morgan, and his fellow-comic passengers Ardie Fuqua, Harris Stanton, and Jimmy Mack who unfortunately did not survive.   I didn’t know Jimmy personally but from mutual friends I  heard he was a great guy and that Tracy considered him his mentor.

It’s a very different thing writing about someone you know.  Especially when it’s something terrible.  Most journalists write very dispassionately never having met the people they’re writing about.  Writing about a friend is much more difficult in many ways, because you never want to feel that you’re trying to draw attention to yourself, through their misfortune.

With Tracy Morgan in happier days at Gotham Comedy Club!

With Tracy Morgan in happier days at Gotham Comedy Club!

I saw Tracy as recently as April 15th when he came up to Sirius XM studios to do a special ” Unmasked” interview with Ron Bennington, the “Ron” from the legendary Ron and Fez Show.  Everyone was excited and Tracy did a very moving and intimate interview, really opening up about his life, and the things that are important to him, and moving both himself and the audience to tears!   I was in the green room watching, and after the interview there were big hugs all around!

The shocking news came through on Saturday, June 7th that Tracy was in critical condition after a tractor trailer slammed into his SUV limo bringing him and his entourage back from performing at a casino in Delaware.

The limo Tracy was in turned over, and Tracy was said to have sustained several injuries including a broken femur, a broken nose and several broken ribs.  He already underwent surgery for the broken femur , and was said to be recovering, at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick.

Fortunately Harris Stanton got away with relatively minor injuries if you can call any injury “minor”,  and was well enough to be released.

Harris Stanton, Jeffrey Gurian, and Patrice O'Neal at the taping of Patrice's last special "Elephant In The Room!"

Harris Stanton, Jeffrey Gurian, and Patrice O’Neal at the taping of Patrice’s last special “Elephant In The Room!”

Ardie who has been opening for Tracy for a while now, is still listed in critical condition, and to my knowledge no one has said anything  specific about his injuries.  I last heard from him the Wednesday before the accident, when he texted me all excited that Chris Rock himself had brought him on to the BET Awards.

Ardie is a super guy, loved by all who know him, who’s still recovering from the loss of his beloved son Ardley Jamaal Fuqua in May of 2012 in a freak accident, but he still manages to go out and make other people laugh despite his own personal pain.   He teased me for weeks about the fact that when I went out to Brooklyn a few months back to see him open for Tracy , I brought Tracy a copy of my book “Make ‘Em Laugh” as a gift, and signed it for him on the spot.  Tracy had known about the book, and I promised him a copy but for some reason Ardie thought it was hysterical that I would think to give Tracy a signed copy of my book!  I’m still not sure why he thought it was strange, but he did!  And he told that to everyone he saw when I was around! (LOL)

Ardie Fuqua and Jeffrey Gurian in an Ardie-taken selfie at Carolines!  His arms are REALLY long so they come out good!

Ardie Fuqua and Jeffrey Gurian in an Ardie-taken selfie at Carolines! His arms are REALLY long so they come out good!

Also seriously injured were Tracy’s assistant Jeffrey Millea, and there were supposedly two other people in the limo that were not injured.  Thank G-d Tracy’s wife Megan, and 11 month old baby daughter  Maven were not in the SUV as they usually travel with Tracy, and are there at every recent show of Tracy’s that I’ve attended.

Everyone, especially his friends in the comedy community are all praying for their swift and complete recovery!

 

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Tina Fey and Amy Poehler Host Golden Globes Again-Tonight on NBC

Last year when Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosted the Golden Globes, they both looked gorgeous and sexy, and viewership went up 17% over the year before, to almost 20 million people.  That’s a lot of people! Especially if you invite them all back to your house for a post-show snack!

I’m one of the lucky 20 million who got to tell Amy Poehler personally how much I enjoyed their performance.   It was on the set of Kroll Show, Comedy Central’s hit show starring Nick Kroll the man of a million characters, all of them funny, this past June.

Amy Poehler, Jeffrey Gurian, and Nick Kroll as Liz G. on the set of Comedy Central's hit Kroll Show!

Amy Poehler, Jeffrey Gurian, and Nick Kroll as Liz G. on the set of Comedy Central’s hit Kroll Show!

Nick had brought me out to LA to be in a sketch playing myself in a red carpet scene where I had to interact with Nick in character as Liz G., Laura Dern, Golden Globe-Award-winning actress, who played C-Czar’s mother, ( C-Czar is the toilet baby dating Pretty Liz!), internationally known singing sensation Katy Perry, and the super-talented UCB co-founder Amy Poehler!

Jeffrey Gurian with Laura Dern, as C-Czar's mom. on the LA set of Comedy Central's hit Kroll Show!

Jeffrey Gurian with Laura Dern, as C-Czar’s mom. on the LA set of Comedy Central’s hit Kroll Show!

Jeffrey Gurian with international singing star Katy Perry on the set of Kroll Show in LA!

Jeffrey Gurian with international singing star Katy Perry on the set of Kroll Show in LA!

What a thrill for me.  It’s enough to be on any show but when you get the opportunity to be on a show you absolutely LOVE it makes all the difference in the world.   Anyway after the shoot I got to tell Amy that she and Tina were incredible as hosts, and that I hoped they do it again.

Jeffrey Gurian with Amy Poehler on the LA set of Kroll Show in a sketch that will air in the new 2nd season!

Jeffrey Gurian with Amy Poehler on the LA set of Kroll Show in a sketch that will air in the new 2nd season!

When I think of comedy teams I think of the old greats Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, The Marx Brothers.  Comedy like that no longer exists.  It’s not hip enough.   Those guys probably couldn’t even get representation today.

Yet many young people still love the old comedies.

But there haven’t been any two women teams in comedy that I can think of and Tina and Amy  would be perfect to be the first ones to do it.  I told her that too! (LOL)

In their one co-starring movie, “Baby Mama” the film grossed more than $17 million in it’s opening weekend.

About a month or so later I saw Amy again in Montreal at The Just for Laughs Festival, and shot a little video with her again on the red carpet of the Just for Laughs Comedy Awards where she won for Comedy Person of the Year, in which she gave me the unexpected  honor of referring to me as her “co-star.”

Nick Kroll won for Breakout Comedy Star, even though he broke out a long time ago!  And John Mulaney who was recently written up in the NY Post as the next Jerry Seinfeld was there to present him with the award.

John also gave me a very unexpected shout-out in front of the entire comedy industry as he was introducing Andy Kindler to give his annual State of the Industry speech.  You can see it at the end of this little 3 minute video entitled “Who The F*@k is Jeffrey Gurian.”

I got to see Tina work in person when Tracy Morgan brought me to the set of 30 Rock where he was doing a scene with a horse.  I sat in the control booth with Tina’s husband Jeff Richmond and needless to say it was a really fun day! ( And if it was needless to say then why did I say it?)

Tina Fey, Jeffrey Gurian and Rachel Dratch at an Animal Fair event in NYC!

Tina Fey, Jeffrey Gurian and Rachel Dratch at an Animal Fair event in NYC!

Jeffrey Gurian with Tracy Morgan on the set of 30 Rock!

Jeffrey Gurian with Tracy Morgan on the set of 30 Rock!

Tracy Morgan and the horse he co-starred with in a scene from 30 Rock! I keep in touch with that horse!

Tracy Morgan and the horse he co-starred with in a scene from 30 Rock! I still keep in touch with that horse!

Tina and Amy have been friends for more than 20 years, as you can tell by the chemistry they have together.

Tina got SNL in 1997 and Amy came on in 2001 and since then they’ve become super-powers in Hollywood.  They both have 4 year deals with NBC, with Tina doing a new as yet unnamed series she’s writing with Robert Carlock the showrunner of 30 Rock, (how’s that for a credit on your resume?) , and Amy  has a new sit-com as well written with her brother Greg called ” Welcome to Sweden”, set to air this coming summer!

So tonight at 8 on NBC, I will be watching and cheering them on, and I’m sure you will too!

 

 

 

 

 

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Jeffrey Gurian Named Head of Live Comedy Programming for Third Annual Gold Coast International Film Festival

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When Peter Rosegarten from The Conversation Company called and asked me to get involved with the Gold Coast International Film Festival, on Long Island, I was open to it right away because of who the request came from.  Peter and Rory are legends in the comedy world, and I was proud that they thought to call me.

I met with Aviva Miller the head of events and planning and we decided to work together.  They wanted to honor a big comedy star with the Artist of Distinction Award in Comedy so I called my friend Susie Essman and she accepted the invitation to be honored.

Susie Essman and Jeffrey Gurian at Carolines Comedy Club in NYC.

Susie Essman and Jeffrey Gurian at Carolines Comedy Club in NYC.

 

We are holding the event in a gorgeous new theatre called “The Space at Westbury”, that can accommodate 800 people.

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Aviva Miller, Head of Events for  GCIFF, and Jeffrey Gurian in the lobby of the new "Space at Westbury."

Aviva Miller, Head of Events for GCIFF, and Jeffrey Gurian in the lobby of the new “Space at Westbury.”

Susie just got back from starring in 8 sold out shows in London’s famed Soho Theatre and headlines in major venues all across the country.

We will be showing a little video at the event where I got some funny video messages from friends of Susie like Mario Cantone, D.L. Hughley, and Richard Lewis, also from Curb, who shot his video in the Men’s Room of The Friars Club.

I knew he was in there but in my excitement in finding him, I couldn’t wait till he was finished doing his business. He didn’t seem all that happy to see me!

 

Richard Lewis on the toilet in the Men's Room of The Friars Club.

Richard Lewis on the toilet in the Men’s Room of The Friars Club.

I got him to calm down by showing him an article about myself in the Friars Club Epistle.

 

Jeffrey Gurian with Richard Lewis in the Men's Room of The Friars Club, reading an article about Jeffrey in the Friars Epistle.

Jeffrey Gurian with Richard Lewis in the Men’s Room of The Friars Club, reading an article about Jeffrey in the Friars Epistle.

 

This is a little video I shot with Susie recently when she hosted AXS-TV’s Gotham Comedy Live at the Gotham Comedy Club in NYC.

The evening will also be honoring actor Paul Sorvino with the Lifetime Achievement Award.  Paul has been in 140 movies, 6 television series, 2 operas, 3 Broadway plays, numerous musicals on Broadway and has performed at major theaters across the country … and that’s just a part of his tremendous resume.

The festival will be presenting  a special screening of his new film “How Sweet It Is,” followed by a Q&A with the legendary actor on Tuesday October 22 at the Soundview Theater in Port Washington.

 

Jeffrey Gurian, socialite/philanthropist Karen Koeningsberg, and Paul Sorvino celebrating Karen's birthday at The Dream Hotel PHD, Meatpacking District, NYC!

Jeffrey Gurian, socialite/philanthropist Karen Koeningsberg, and Paul Sorvino celebrating Karen’s birthday at The Dream Hotel PHD, Meatpacking District, NYC!

For tickets and information go to http://tinyurl.com/GCIFF-HowSweet.

For sponsorship information and tickets to the Gala, visit: http://www.goldcoastfilmfestival.org/gala

And finally the Mindel Family will be honored with the Honorary Founders Award.  They own several hotels through their company named  Samar Hospitality, which is a combination of the names Sam and Mary.

The Mindel Family has been a loyal supporter of the Great Neck Arts Center for many years, and through their company Samar Hospitality, they own and built The Inn At Great Neck, as well as other hotels like the Viana Hotel and Spa.

Sam and Mary Mindel were Holocaust Survivors that raised their children, Joseph, Marlene and Alan in Great Neck.  They believed strongly in supporting their community and instilled that in their children.

When they built the Inn at Great Neck, the realization of a long time family dream, incorporating an artistic touch was a must.  You can see their love of art throughout the Hotel; from the hand painted mural of the roaring 20’s to the gorgeous paintings in the restaurant.

Artistic design elements can also be found in the other Samar Hospitality hotels as well.

Most recently when the Viana Hotel and Spa was built, their son Alan incorporated the use of the ancient art of Feng Shui and specially commissioned art pieces to make the hotel a unique and stunning facility.

The Mindel Family has not only hosted many events for the Great Neck Arts Center at the Inn at Great Neck but has also catered events at the Center itself.  Alan and his wife Kara have brought their children there over the years to help continue their family legacy of love for the arts.

The Mindels are absolutely thrilled to be associated with and honored by the Great Neck Arts Center. 

We’ve done several media events leading up to the festival and all have been really fun!

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Sen. Alfonse Damato, Jeffrey Gurian and Aviva Miller at Oheka Castle in Hungtington, Long Island.

Jeffrey Gurian with Congressman Steve Israel in the Owner's Box at Citi Field.

Jeffrey Gurian with Congressman Steve Israel in the Owner’s Box at Citi Field.

 

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Producer Emily Conner, Jeffrey Gurian, and Jackie “The Jokeman” Martling at Citi Field.

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WPIX news anchor Tamsen Fadal with Jeffrey Gurian in the owner’s box at Citi Field.

Singer/entertainer Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin with Jeffrey Gurian at the GCIFF press conference in Manhasset, Long Island.

Singer/entertainer Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin with Jeffrey Gurian at the GCIFF press conference in Manhasset, Long Island.

Regina Gil founded the Great Neck Arts Center more than 20 years ago and has worked tirelessly with her team of Aviva, Gala Coordinator Ronni Berger, Assoc. Director Caroline Sorokoff, Coordinator of the Furman Film Series Katie Mancher, Gala Chair Bonnie Zarabi, and Honorary Gala Co-Chairs Jill and Michael T. Lamoretti to make this third annual film festival the great success it will be.

 

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Jerry Seinfeld and Colin Quinn Team Up at MSG to Fight Diabetes

Comedy is a great way to call attention to a cause and to raise money for charity, and needless to say the bigger the comedy star the more money you can raise. This Wednesday, April 17th two of the biggest, most well-loved stars of comedy, Jerry Seinfeld and his close friend Colin Quinn, will be performing in a comedy concert, as part of the Stand Up For A Cure Concert Series, to benefit the American Diabetes Association.

Jerry Seinfeld and Colin Quinn will be at The Theatre at Madison Square Garden this Wed. 4/17/13! Come out to support a great cause!

It’s a wonderful thing when stars use their celebrity to give back to society. It’s a sign of their gratitude for the success they have achieved.

Stand Up for a Cure Concert Series was launched in 2007 with a Seinfeld-starring show at Hammerstein Ballroom to benefit the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Since that time, they have produced shows with Dave Matthews Band at MSG, Bon Jovi at the Hammerstein Ballroom, Barry Manilow at the Nassau Coliseum, Brian Wilson at the Hammerstein Ballroom, and another Seinfeld show at MSG in 2008.

This will be Jerry Seinfeld’s third show for Stand Up For A Cure, and I’m sure he gets a lot of pleasure out of knowing how many people are helped through his kindness.

Jerry Seinfeld will star in a Stand-Up For A Cure comedy concert to benefit the American Diabetes Association!

The event will take place on Wednesday, April 17 at The Theater at Madison Square Garden (Seventh Avenue and 32nd Street). Jerry had his choice of charities to benefit from his performance and he personally selected the American Diabetes Association as his charity of choice for this year’s fundraiser. I will be covering this event and I hope to be able to ask him why.

I personally have a strong connection to Diabetes as I lost my Dad to that dreaded disease. Many people have no idea how devastating Diabetes can be. My Dad looked like a cancer victim before it took him. It affected every part of his body except his eyesight, which was a Blessing in itself. It’s a wasting disease, where in the end your kidneys can shut down due to end stage renal disease.

My oldest daughter Elizabeth DeRobertis is the head of the nutrition department at a medical group in Scarsdale, and specializes in treating Diabetes and I myself produced a sold-out comedy event to raise money for the ADA at The Comic Strip, on 81st and 2nd in NYC.

Both Jerry and Colin were kind enough to give me interviews for my new book “Make ‘Em Laugh” about the 35 year history of The Comic Strip the legendary comedy club where both of them started out and called “home”. I wrote it with owner/founder Richie Tienken, and Chris Rock who also started out there wrote an amazing introduction to the book, besides giving his own interview.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Jerry Seinfeld at The Comic Strip after Jerry’s interview for Jeffrey’s book “Make ‘Em Laugh” about the 35 year history of the club where Jerry started out!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Colin Quinn holding a copy of “Make ‘Em Laugh” the book he is in, about the 35 year history of The Comic Strip where he started his career!

A portion of the proceeds from the event will go towards funding research, education, programs and advocacy for the American Diabetes Association.

Right now there are over two million people living in the New York metropolitan area who have diabetes and that number continues to grow. If this trend continues, one in three children who were born after 2000 will develop diabetes within their lifetime. For minorities, this number becomes one in two.

The American Diabetes Association of Greater New York is working hard to stop this, by focusing many of its programs in New York on prevention. To do this, the association provides health fairs, school walks, healthy living ideas and food choice options/exercise materials to public schools and community organizations.

To learn more about how the American Diabetes Association works with the community, please visit, http://www.diabetes.org/newyork or visit them on Facebook or Twitter.

Together, by attending and supporting comedy events like this, we can Stop Diabetes and have fun along the way!

The overall event is being produced by premiere concert producers Heywood, Mendel and Rose, who have some other exciting shows coming up in the future as well. On August 10th “X Factor” finalist Carly Rose Sonenclar will be performing at the Best Buy Theater and they will also be doing a 3 day festival at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Jan 2014 leading up to the Superbowl in NY with a handful of incredible acts, which I will tell you more about closer to the date!

In the meantime, hope to see you at MSG. I will be there covering the event and will hopefully be posting video of it very soon!

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Robert Klein at The Friars Club for the Documentary "The Business of Comedy"

I get involved in so many interesting projects. Sometimes things just seem to come out of nowhere because life is magical like that. So I find myself as an Associate Producer on a wonderful documentary film slated for PBS called “The Business of Comedy” working with two great Exec. Producers Gary Licker and Scott Sobel.

(L-R) Scott Sobel, and Gary Licker with trusty camera in Jeffrey Gurian’s writing room, after his interview for “The Business of Comedy!”

They made a name for themselves with a successful documentary called “Selling Cars in America”, about the history of the American car dealership and a look at the players who set the tone in the modern day, 21st century showroom. Scott produced it and Gary Licker directed.

“The Business of Comedy” examines just what it says, the business of comedy. So they’re not only interviewing comedians, but they’re speaking to club owners, managers, agents and anybody who makes the comedy world tick. That’s where I came in. First they interviewed me in my home, in what I call my “comedy museum” packed with photos and nostalgia going back to the late 70’s and early 80’s, when I was writing for Rodney Dangerfield and many Friars Club Roasts at the behest of Friars producer Bob Saks, and my original sponsor in The Friars Club, Milton Berle.

We had so much fun on that interview and we all got along so well that we decided to progress together with me being an Associate Producer. Now as a co-producer I brought the project to Richie Tienken at The Comic Strip where we not only interviewed Richie on his vast experience as the owner and founder of The Strip, but also interviewed a bunch of comics both established and new who shared their feelings on the business of comedy.

Then we spoke to Chris Mazzilli at the Gotham Comedy Club, who offered his unique perspective and who I refer to as “the classiest man in comedy”, and Gabe Waldman owner of Stand-Up New York, who we also filmed performing on stage. Very soon we will be speaking on camera with my old friend comedy legend/icon Rick Newman who opened the legendary Catch A Rising Star at the end of 1972, which was the admitted inspiration for The Comic Strip.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Chris Mazzilli owner of Gotham Comedy Club at a Laugh For Sight charity event in 2011!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with comedy icon Rick Newman founder of Catch A Rising Star and current co-owner of Stage 72 in NYC!

But this week was something special for all of us. We got to interview Robert Klein at The Friars Club. Both Gary and Scott made no secret of the fact that they were both incredibly excited at the opportunity to speak to Robert who is himself an icon of comedy, and one of the enduring bright stars of his generation. Not only has he established himself onstage but he’s appeared in over 40 feature films.

I think it was Gary who said that he’s interviewed many celebs but that the excitement of knowing he was going to interview Robert Klein kept him up the night before the interview! We had intended to do the interview in the beautifully appointed Milton Berle Room but as were were setting up we ran into Peter Rosegarten, Robert’s manager from The Conversation Company who facilitated us moving to the gorgeous dining room to do our interview. It’s actually Peter’s brother Rory who works directly with Robert and has done so for the past maybe 30 years ever since Robert left Rollins and Joffe.

Exec. Producer Gary Licker adjusting the microphone for Robert Klein before his interview at The Friars Club!

That story is in my new book with Chris Rock called “Make ‘Em Laugh” in a great interview that Rory gave me. Rory and I go back many years and he represented me when I was writing for Joan Rivers.

Gary and Scott started out by playing a little audio recording of Budd Friedman founder of The Improv, which he opened in 1963, saying some very complimentary things about Robert Klein who was a regular there. Robert was very gracious and humbled by Budd’s statement, and said that as years go on, the more those kind of things mean to him. That kind of set the tone for what turned out to be a fantastic interview.

Exec. Producers Scott Sobel and Gary Licker interviewing Robert Klein at The Friars Club for their project “The Business of Comedy” on which I am Associate Producer!

Robert was so generous with his sharing of stories and his energy. I loved how he easily remembered the date of his first appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. I believe he said it was Jan. 9th, 1968. He remembered Johnny also as being “generous” with his laughter and support.

In 1970 Robert had his own summer replacement comedy/variety show called “Comedy Tonight”, which he hosted along with frequent guests Peter Boyle and Madeline Kahn. He has since done nine HBO comedy specials, and is still very active performing around the country at different venues.

Exec. Producer Scott Sobel with his notes asking questions of Robert Klein for the doc film for PBS, “The Business of Comedy”!

His original manager Jack Rollins who helped me greatly in my own career and who originally introduced me to his other clients at the time Billy Crystal and Robin Williams figured greatly in Robert’s early career. I was still a Cosmetic Dentist in those early days and Jack thought that Billy Crystal would be perfect to play me in a sit-com about a dentist who wanted to be in show biz. That’s why when I interviewed Billy for my book “Make ‘Em Laugh” in one of the photos we took he was pointing to his teeth!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Billy Crystal in Billy’s office in LA. Billy is pointing to his teeth referencing Jeffrey’s background as a Cosmetic Dentist!

Robert was inspired by Jonathan Winters, and Lenny Bruce who was persecuted, blacklisted and ultimately ruined for performing material that was considered obscene in those days, but would be considered tame by today’s standards, where literally anything goes. Robert spoke of comedy as a “craft” that used to have a certain “dignity”. I saw it that way as well.

I was also very glad to hear that Robert and I share the same sensitivity as to what is commonly referred to as “bathroom humor” and I can’t really grasp the fascination that many young comics seem to have with bodily functions that to me have no place in a show where men are taking women out for an evening of entertainment.

Neither Robert nor I are prudes in any sense of the word. I wrote filthy jokes for Friars Roasts for many years, but that wasn’t the material I chose to do when I went on stage, and neither did he. We just share the same dislike for unnecessary grossness which is all too common these days.

Robert literally gave us “gold” for the documentary with his honest evaluation of the comedy scene then and now, and he kept me on my toes by throwing questions at me, when certain names in comedy history didn’t quite come to him right away, like Dane Cook and Rosie O’Donnell! He also remembered many years ago when I approached him about writing some material for him. It’s amazing what sticks out in people’s minds that you would think they would never remember!

I was so happy I was able to give him a copy of “Make ‘Em Laugh” because it’s about everyone he knows!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Robert Klein at The Friars Club, holding Jeffrey’s book ” Make’Em Laugh!”

His spirit was youthful and engaging and I hope to see him again soon and maybe even work with him on something fun and meaningful.

Btw, in case you’re interested this is the very cool trailer for the documentary “The Business of Comedy!”

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Rita Cosby’s "Quiet Hero"; Bestseller and Masterpiece of Emotion

I go to a lot of events. Some stand out more than others. Such was the case with Rita Cosby’s event for her bestselling book “Quiet Hero”, the touching story of her Dad, Ryszard (Richard) Kossobudzki (Cosby), who had been a Polish Resistance Fighter during World War II against The Nazis.

It wasn’t just that he had been a resistance fighter, it was that Rita and her brother and Mom never knew the whole story of his painful background until recent years. It seems that her Dad left the family with no explanation, while she was just a teenager, and she hadn’t seen him for many years.

In the meantime she had grown up to become an award-winning journalist, known internationally for her work and her interviews with celebrities and Heads of State. Needless to say it had always bothered her, as it would any child, to have been estranged from a parent, and when her Mom passed away she was forced to go through her Mom’s personal belongings.

That’s when she discovered a long forgotten, battered old suitcase, that had belonged to her Dad. Upon opening it she made a discovery that would change all of their lives from that day on. The items in that suitcase identified her father as having been a prisoner of war in a Nazi dentention camp known as Stalag IV-B. That explained not only the obvious scars on his body, but the internal scars on his psyche and his spirit.

He had never been the kind of man who opened up. The family knew he had been through hard times, but they had no idea of the extent. Rita used her journalistic skills to track down her Dad to where he was living in Washington,D.C.

She called him up and began to re-establish a relationship with the man she missed so much. In time they traveled back to Poland together to work on this book and a documentary film, and as this progressed the ice around his heart began to melt. It was only there as a form of self-preservation, not because he lacked the capacity to love.

He went back to Poland with Rita, for the first time in 65 years, but he went back as the hero he was, and was welcomed by no less than the President of Poland. Several times during Rita’s presentation, I was moved to tears, as were others around me, thinking of her Dad as a young boy, risking his life to try and save his country, when so many of his friends had been killed by The Nazis.

Three million Polish Jews were killed along with 3 million non-Polish Jews. Growing up, that was a thought that haunted me. That so many people were killed solely for their belief. How could that happen? How could people be that cruel? How could the world just watch, and let that happen? I’ve never been totally comfortable in life since learning of The Holocaust as a child.

Just the thought of what happened haunts me, to know that people are capable of such extreme cruelty. Man’s inhumanity to man! I believe in G-d, but I could certainly understand how The Holocaust could make you question your Faith!

Thank G-d there were heroes like Riszard Kossobudzki who even as a child fought back against evil, and risked his life to save others. What a story.

The well-attended event was held at the Heyman Auditorium which turned out to be in a Synagogue on East 85th Street, where I ran into several people I knew including Dr. Shireen Fernandez and Alex Harris of Society’s Choice. There were also members of our Armed Forces present adding to the power of the evening.

Shu-Lan and Kyoko bonding at the “Quiet hero” event!

Dr. Shireen Fernandez and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV!

And to make the evening even more special, Rita’s husband Tomascek sang two beautiful patriotic songs, the national anthem and America The Beautiful, which if I remember correctly, he sang directly to the American flag. They both thanked me sincerely for coming but I felt honored to have been there!

Tomasczek performing for the “Quiet Hero” audience!

I had planned to give her a copy of my new book ” Make ‘Em Laugh” with Chris Rock, so we took a photo together of each of us holding the other’s book!

Award-winning journalist Rita Cosby with Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV each holding the other’s book in a show of mutual support! (LOL)

It was an incredibly moving and enlightening evening, and I can’t wait to read her book which is available at all bookstores and on Amazon.com!

HyperSmash

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Richard Lewis, (aka "Lon Chaney’s Undertaker"), and Jeffrey Gurian on Nick and Artie

The logo and opening shot of “Nick and Artie”, seen nightly Mon-Fri, 10 P.M. to 1 A.M.on Sirius Radio and DirecTV!

I was really psyched to do the “Nick and Artie” Show and talk about my new book “Make ‘Em Laugh” with Chris Rock, after Artie invited me to come on one night when he was judging The Lottery Show at The Comic Strip. The book is about the 35 year history of The Strip and is written with Richie Tienken the owner and founder of the club.

The promo for Jeffrey Gurian on the “Nick and Artie Show”!

Then I ran into Artie a few days later when he performed at a memorial show for Patrice O’Neal at Gotham Comedy Club, and he invited me again.

Patrice and I were very close and he honored me my making me his co-host along with Dante Nero, when he hosted The Black Phillip Show on Sirius Radio. We always had fun, and I always made sure to bring lots of hot models with me, cause nothing is more fun than mixing comedy with beautiful girls!

This is a phone call from Patrice that I will always treasure, inviting me to do our own show together! Unfortunately that never came to fruition, and will always be one of the great disappointments of my life!

Patrice Phone Call_Feb_2008 2

patrice phPatrice Phone Call_Feb_2008 2one call_1-2

(L-R) Dante Nero, Drew Boogie, Jeffrey Gurian, Carlotta Butler, Patrice Oneal, and in back Kathy and Dawn Leak, AKA “The Leak Sisters!”

So I make my arrangements to come on the show with Liz Canavan of “Twinsanity”, and I went down there with my buddy from L.A. Nathan Oventhal who starred in my film “Men Who Take A Fish To Work”, the newest addition of The “Men Who Series!”

Nathan Oventhal holding a fish with nightlife impresario Wass Stevens on the set of ” Men Who Take A Fish To Work”!

Liz greeted us and brought us to the green room, where I see that Richard Lewis is a guest on the show. Richard is not only a dear friend, but he also wrote a blurb that’s on the back cover if “Make ‘Em Laugh” and I hadn’t had the chance yet to give him a copy.

Luckily I had an extra one with me, so I told Liz to tell Richard I was here. Next thing I know I hear someone calling my name, and it was him. I hadn’t seen him since the year before when we did a private Comedy Matters TV interview at The Friars Club, and it was so great to see him again!

Richard Lewis being interviewed by Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at The Friars Club in NYC!

He said he was really excited about the book, and congratulated me on bringing it to life after four years of work. And the timing was so cool that I had one to sign and to give him. He wrote a hilarious blurb that said:

The hilarious blurb sent to me my my great pal Richard Lewis!

Richard has always been a favorite of mine in many ways. To my detriment I relate so much to his personna!(LOL) Back around 1997 when he was starring in the movie “Drunks”, I got the bright idea that I should be writing for him, although I knew he always writes his own stuff. But it was my dream, like when I got a chance to show my earliest material to Woody Allen, expecting him to leave what he was doing and run off and write films with me! (LOL)

That didn’t happen by the way! This is as close as I got to that!

The night I made Woody Allen laugh by saying, ” Hi Woody, I’m a very close friend of yours!” You can see how absolutely hysterical he is in this photo!

I did however make some films he encouraged me to make called “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 one special one in particular called “Men Who Swim To Work” starring Mike Bochetti, currently the side-kick on Nick and Artie, which airs on both Sirius radio and DirecTV!

Mike Bochetti as he appears today in 2012, with Jeffrey Guiran on the set of “Nick and Artie” where he is a regular!

And if you watch ” Men Who Dance Where They’re Not Supposed To” you’ll see award winning actor Peter Dinklage, star of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” getting arrested for dancing in a “No Dancing” zone!

So I wrote up some material for Richard which I called his “Born To Be Nervous” Tour, and brought it with me to the theatre. For whatever reason I arrived late, and tried to bypass a long line of people waiting to get in, by running down a staircase which turned out to be leading to the Men’s Room! And who comes out walking towards me but Richard himself and he says, “What are you doing here?” To which I responded my handing him a manila envelope filled with neatly typed jokes.

These were some of them: My family are firm believers in the power of negative thinking. They feel you can ruin almost anything, if you really put your mind to it.

Low self esteem goes back in my family to the beginning of time. I actually had an uncle who was supposedly the first man to walk erect. But he couldn’t hold it. He’d take a few steps, and just slump over.

ALTERNATIVE – …. I actually had an uncle who was supposedly the first man to walk erect, but nobody noticed.

My shrink was also treating me for feelings of loneliness. At one point, I was so lonely, I tried to develop a split personality, just for the company.
I once knew a guy from group therapy who had a split personality. He dated a girl who also had a split personality. They used to double date.
He fell in love with her other personality, and she fell in love with his other personality. They got married, accused each other of cheating with themselves, and the marriage fell apart.

Anyway less than an hour after I got home, I got this message from Richard on my answering machine. Another message that I treasure:

Richard Lewis Phone Call

So as I reminisced with Richard about the video we shot at The Friars, Richard commented that it was a great interview but that he thought he looked like Lon Chaney’s undertaker, which we all thought was hysterical! I think he looked great! See what you think! (This is part 1. Part 2 is on the Comedy Matters You Tube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/guriannewsnetwork)

Richard is in town headlining Carolines on Broadway this weekend through Sunday night. If you can still get a seat, go down and see him. It’s always a treat to see Richard perform.

So going on the show with Nick and Artie was exciting and they made me feel right at home. Appearing with two powerhouse comics like that can be intimidating, but they were very generous, and made it easy for me to tell my stories about the history of The Comic Strip and all the huge stars that came out of there, … although I really wanted to have time to do my one of my special GNN news reports which I often do on radio.

GNN (Gurian News Network) are unusual stories missed by mainstream media, like “Man Robs Bank With His Chin”, “College Professor Fired For Casually Removing His Spine in Class”, and “Hunter Lost in Wilderness Saved By His Moustache!”. These are the kind of stories I wrote for the legendary Weekly World News in my own column called “Gurian’s World of the Bizarre!”

There was the story ” Rare Virus Sweeps Japan, Victims Too Weak To Bow” about two men hurt in a bowing accident, and “Man Impaled On Spike, Still Shows Up For Work On Time!”, which is kind of self-explanatory! Hence GNN is known as your source for ” All The News That’s Fit To Dance To!”

Four of the stories, including “Man With Infant’s Head Sues For Discrimination”, and “George Washington Wore Wooden Pants” got made into animated films and wound up in the Cannes Film Festival in 2009.

But with Nick and Artie, I got to tell some cool stories from Seinfeld, Paul Reiser, Gilbert Gottfried, Chris Rock and also got to discuss my days writing for Rodney and some other fun people.

We also talked about the synchronicity of events in life and Artie told me that two days after getting out of rehab, during a quite stressful and confusing time of his life, Nick called and asked him to be his co-host on the show. Talk about synchronicity. I hope Artie knows how much he is loved,by his fans and the public in general.

I’ll never forget the reaction to Artie when he came out onstage one night at Town Hall, I think it was, to a standing ovation before he even said a word. I had never remembered seeing a reaction like that to any comic before. And he gave Mike Bochetti the great opportunity to open for him. That’s the kind of great guy that Artie is. I remember very clearly going backstage to congratulate him. I don’t recall 100% where it was, but it was a huge venue and it was sold out!

So I’m so happy for him that he gets to do this great show five nights a week with his good friend Nick!

Nick DiPaolo on camera on his fantastic “Nick and Artie” show!

Their set is also incredible. It’s like the ultimate man-cave, complete with Foosball, ping-pong, big screen TV’s all over, a photo booth, a full size kitchen and as they pointed out to me, pull out beds. Ohhh, and I forgot to mention two beautiful blonde twins Liz and Marie Canavan known as “Twinsanity”!

Artie Lange onscreen during the broadcast of the Nick and Artie Show, on Sirius and DirecTV, Mon-Fri. from 10 P.M. till 1 A.M.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV in a “Twinsanity” sandwich with Liz on the left, and Marie on the right! (If you’re facing the screen!)

Part of the great “Nick and Artie” set where guests come to chat!

The photo booth on the set of “Nick and Artie” where I came out looking like Lon Chaney’s undertaker!” Only models who are already gorgeous come out good in those photos! (LOL)

It’s a total party, I had a great time, and I really hope they ask me back!

Nick DiPaolo, Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV and Artie Lange on the set of “Nick and Artie” , on Mon-Friday from 10 P.M. until 1 A.M.! Make sure to tune in!

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Stand-Up For Heroes at The Beacon Theatre

The NY Comedy Festival had so many star-studded shows, but the one that stuck out for me as being the most meaningful, besides being just entertaining was the Stand-Up For Heroes event, at The Beacon Theater on 75th and Broadway, produced in conjunction with the Bob Woodruff Foundation, honoring our brave servicemen and women who have been injured while serving our country overseas.

NY Comedy Festival poster highlighting all the big stars attending!

The line-up of talent was impressive including on the musical end John Mayer, Bruce Springsteen, and Roger Waters, and on the comedic end Ricky Gervais, Robin Williams, Jon Stewart, and Mike Birbiglia. Also on the style end were the two gorgeous style experts Ann Caruso and Mary Alice Stephenson, who you know from TV!

Stand-Up For Heroes Poster for event at The Beacon Theater on November 8, 2012!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV having a grand old time with two gorgeous style experts, Mary Alice Stephenson on the left, and Ann Caruso right in the middle! (LOL)

Covering a red carpet is difficult at times, because the huge TV networks tend to monopolize the stars as they make their way down the red carpet, so that by the time they get down to the independent press people like us, very often they’re out of time to speak, because the event is starting. And it’s difficult for the press people running the event to hurry everyone along.

Luckily I know a lot of the red carpet honorees so they stop off to say “Hi” even briefly. Besides getting to speak to Robin Williams and Ricky Gervais, who asked if I did my hair like that for him, (LOL), I got a very cool interview with Ann Caruso and Mary Alice Stephenson who styled the wives and female soldiers for this great event, and managed to get clothing donated from The Limited and even from Dior.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing Ricky Gervais on the red carpet of Stand-Up For Heroes!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing Style Experts Mary Alice Stephenson and Ann Caruso on the red carpet of “Stand-Up For Heroes!”

One of the biggest honors I had was getting to speak to some of the “wounded warriors” themselves. In the video accompanying this post you’ll see interviews with Lance Cpl. Michael Martinez, USMC who lost both of his legs in Afghanistan, but walks so well with his prosthetics that you wouldn’t even know. He walks with a limp, but walked the red carpet proudly with his girlfriend Megan Waters.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing hero /Wounded Warrior Lance Cpl. Michael Martinez of the US Marine Corps at Stand-Up For Heroes!

I also got to speak to Capt. Pat Horan, U.S. Army who was there with his wife Patty Horan. Capt. Pat had a bullet explode under his helmet, which within an hour destroyed his ability to walk, the coordination of his body, mouth, and his vestibular system which controls your balance. He lost all sensation on the right side of his body, and the ability to speak, read, and write, but as you’ll see in the video through lots of hard work in rehab has made an incredibly miraculous recovery.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviews Capt. Pat Horan, US Army on the red carpet of “Stand-Up For Heroes” at The Beacon Theater!

It was truly an honor to meet these brave men and women who sacrificed so much for our country, and who were escorted down the red carpet by various stars in attendance. You can see the video right here:

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SNL Show to Benefit Victims of Sandy at The Comic Strip

This Sunday night,11/18, at 8:30 P.M. cast members from SNL plus Judah Friedlander from 30 Rock will be performing at The Comic Strip on 81st and 2nd to raise money to benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

The show will feature Saturday Night Live’s castmembers Jay Pharoah, Vanessa Bayer, Tim Robinson, and John Mulaney and writers Colin Jost (head writer) and Mike O’Brien. 30 Rock’s Judah Friedlander will also be performing.

(L-R) Jeffrey Gurian, Shayna Farrow, Richie Tienken, Jay Pharoah at The Strip!

Vanessa Bayer on stage at The Strip!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with John Mulaney of SNL after taping his comedy special at The Skirball Center!

Judah Friedlander of 30 Rock holding the book “Make ‘Em Laugh” on the history of The Comic Strip, with author Jeffrey Gurian!

Admission proceeds will be donated to New York Cares to help further the work they have done to aid victims in areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy and the subsequent Nor’easter.

RAFFLE: We’ve received great product donations that will be raffled off to attendees at the benefit. Prizes include: Tickets to Late Night with David Letterman; Personal Training Sessions at Equinox; Restaurant Gift Cards; Beauty Makeover and Consultation with Celebrity Makeup Artist; Free Night at The Comic Strip, an autographed copy of “Make ‘Em Laugh” the new book by me and Richie Tienken on the 35 year history of The Strip, with an intro by Chris Rock, and more.

In case you haven’t already seen it, this is a video of Jay Pharoah reading Chris Rock’s introduction in Chris Rock’s voice for JB Smoove and others at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal this past July.

Admission price is $50 plus a two-drink minimum per person. Reservations are required 212-861-9386. Tickets may be purchased at http://comicstriplive.com/

Let’s all come out for this fabulous show and opportunity to help out! This storm affected all of us whether directly or indirectly.

***If you are unable to attend the show, please consider donating: http://www.crowdrise.com/comicstriplive ***

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