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!
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 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!
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.”
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!
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 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!
The core group is made up of George Gaffney, Brent Katz, Lance Rizzo, Jake Hart, Mark Becker, Justin Williams, Jose Vega, Jaclyn Brown, Akash Bhasin, and Candice Guardino, and they bring in regulars like comic/producer Alyse Kenny and myself.
Jeffrey Gurian with comedy icon Rick Newman the founder of Catch A Rising Star, and current owner of Stage 72!
The show opened with Jake Hart, the consummate host due to his commanding presence, (in a bright red suit no less!), and a booming voice which translates to a beautiful singing voice, and he brought up the hilarious Stone Brothers, Adam and Todd Stone who I see often performing at Friars events and clubs all over town.
I love when they speak at the same time. It’s silly and always makes me laugh. They are very likable and funny, and I understand they decided to be twins at a very early age!
The Stone Brothers otherwise known as Adam and Todd Stone doing their twin thing at Stage 72!
The show was a succession of funny sketches and videos. One of my favorites is the Black Israelites with George Gaffney, Justin Williams (with the really big hat), and Jose Vega who plays a character called Sup Son! They are HYSTERICAL! George works very hard both behind the camera and in front of the camera, and does really great character work, as well as a lot of the editing of the video pieces.
The hysterically funny Black Israelites,(L-R) Jose Vega, Justin Williams and George Gaffney engaging with host Jake Hart!
Brent Katz spends most of his time behind the camera but also appears in some of the sketches as well!
I brought the troupe in to film a sketch I wrote with Lance Rizzo for Countess LuAnn DeLesseps and Princess Carole Radziwill of Bravo TV’s Real Housewives of New York, which will run in the new season, starting in March, and they came through with a very funny video in a very short amount of time.
Carole Radziwill, Jeffrey Gurian, and LuAnn DeLesseps in character for the Real Housewives of New York at The PIT!
Truth be told they worked feverishly until the very last minute and actually got it finished literally 20 minutes before I left for the theatre where it was to be shown! Luckily for me, I had a very strong heart, and very strong faith in them that they’d get it done, and they came through with flying colors! Real Housewives of New York means NATIONAL exposure!
Alyse Kenny came up and she and Jake did a sketch which involved a “naughty or nice” contest, and a holiday give-away of prizes to the audience.
Alyse Kenny and Jake Hart on stage doing their thing!
And Jaclyn Brown and Mark Becker did a hysterical musical sketch with Jaclyn’s Dad a famous musician who accompanied them on the guitar. Mark wound up shirtless exposing a sculptured body that put everyone else to shame! Great abs!
Jaclyn Brown, and Mark Becker in a musical parody with Mr. Brown on guitar!
And Candace Guardino and Jake Hart teamed up to do a little musical number which parodied Dean Martin’s “Baby It’s Cold Outside” under the title “Baby, It’s Cult Outside!”. Can’t wait for Candace to restart her hit off-Broadway show Italian Bred which Lance Rizzo is helping to produce, and I am participating in as well!
Brent Katz filmed Lance Rizzo and I in the theatre district on 42nd Street one night in the frigid cold, and Lance presented me with the award on behalf of the rest of the group. You can see my reaction in the video below:
Jeffrey Gurian holding his manhole cover award with his face imprinted on it! PRICELESS!!!
Lance Rizzo presenting Jeffrey Gurian with the Manhole Cover of the Year Award for the Comedy Walk of Fame!
The manhole cover in it’s proper place in Times Square!
I said to him at the time while we were shivering in the cold, people have no idea what some people go through just to make other people laugh. The audience was all warm and snuggly in their homes while we were out in the arctic cold, freezing our butts off, busy presenting me with a manhole cover!
And the truth is I can’t wait to do it again! (LOLOL) We’re supposed to do a series of funny, sexy videos, with big name comics and gorgeous girls, so stay tuned for that!
After many years on the Opie and Anthony Channel on Sirius XM, Ron and Fez are moving over to Raw Dog to focus more on comedy. Starting Monday, Jan. 6th, 2014 they will make the switch and get back to their comedic roots. In line with that they are bringing me on to create Comedy Matters Radio for Ron and Fez, in which I will be inviting on well known comics to join us in studio to talk about comedy and whatever we want to talk about.
(L-R) Fez Whatley, Jeffrey Gurian, and Ron Bennington in the Sirius XM studio on the next to last show before they moved to Raw Dog!
The studio is a very relaxed hang, with the kind of atmosphere that makes people feel comfortable and open up!
My first guest is Colin Quinn and I chose Colin because we go way back, and I’m in awe of his talent. He’s smart, he’s the consummate wordsmith, and I love that. He takes things we all say and do and deconstructs them down down to their very essence.
I recently heard some young guys in comedy refer to him as the godfather of comedy in New York right now.
When I saw him last he was giving the keynote speech at the Just for Laughs Festival this past summer in Montreal, which is a HUGE honor. It was hard for Colin to admit that because despite all he’s done and accomplished, he’s a very humble guy!
We sat down together and shot this little interview for Comedy Matters TV!
He’s also in my book ” Make ‘Em Laugh” about the history of The Comic Strip, and he told me some great stories. He was actually the bartender at The Comic Strip, and was constantly berated by manager Lucien Hold who constantly called him a “moron” and complained about the way he used the cash register!
Jeffrey Gurian with Colin Quinn holding Jeffrey’s book “Make ‘Em Laugh” featuring an introduction with Chris Rock!
Colin finally had to quit his job in order to perform at the club. I think he’s glad he did, and so is everyone else who’s ever enjoyed him!
We’re planning specials like one on my book “Make ‘Em Laugh” which will hopefully include a lot of the big stars that are in it, and I will also be doing regular updates on what’s going on in the comedy world in both New York and L.A.
Jeffrey Gurian with Judah Friedlander holding Jeffrey’s book “Make ‘Em Laugh”, which he is in!
Jeffrey Gurian with Susie Essman holding Jeffrey’s book “Make ‘Em Laugh” which she is in!
Jeffrey Gurian with the new, skinny Lisa Lampanelli holding Jeffrey’s book ” Make ‘Em Laugh”, which she is in, and which is on HIM!
I’ll be talking about who’s headlining what club, who got what TV show, and who’s doing what with whom, … comedy-wise!
For instance in New York, my old friend Michelle (Michy) Buteau scored a regular part on the new Fox sitcom “Enlisted” starting this Friday night, 1/10/14 at 9:30 P.M., my friend Sasheer Zamata just got cast on the new season of SNL and will be the first African-American female comic to be a regular on the show in 6 years since Maya Rudolph left, and LA’s Mark Schiff will be going on tour with his old friend Jerry Seinfeld!
Sasheer Zamata is so funny, so pretty, and so talented, and she will be the first Black female comic to be on SNL since Maya Rudolph left 6 years ago. I feel so proud of her, and FOR her!
Jeffrey Gurian with new SNL cast member Sasheer Zamata in his apartment, during the shoot for the documentary film she was featured in and that he co-produced and appeared in called “The Business of Comedy”!
The first time I saw her perform was in a show out in Brooklyn. I rarely go to Brooklyn because there are so many things for me to see right here in Manhattan, but I went out to Union Hall for what I thought was a party. It was an invite from a young comic named Lisa Delarios, who is hilarious, (which sounds a lot like Delarios! LOL) and it invited me to The Party Machine’s Yacht Party on a Saturday night in April, and that sounded good to me.
I thought everyone would be dressed in white, and pictured a scene from The Hamptons. I drove out with my assistant at the time, funny, funny girl Corinne Fisher from the comedy duo with Krystyna Hutchinson called “Sorry About Last Night”, to find a packed room, with everyone in black, not a white outfit in sight, and a very Brooklyn hipster crowd. Most of the men had unibomber-type beards, and looked like they lived in a cabin in the woods! Lots of flannel! (LOL) I fit right in, and blended in with the crowd as I always do! (LOL)
To make matters worse because I thought it was a party, we showed up fashionably late and missed part of the show! The show was produced by Arden Myrin from Mad TV, and the aforementioned Lisa Delarios, who also produces shows around town, as well as producer Emily Kindler, related to the great comic Andy Kindler, known for his incredible “State of the Industry” speeches every year in Montreal at the Just for Laughs Festival, which everyone in the industry looks forward to and attends.
The invite also advertised “Yacht Passengers” Jessi Klein (SNL), Team Submarine (Just For Laughs, NPR) , Ben Kronberg (Jimmy Kimmel Live), Sara Schaefer (Jimmy Fallon), who went on to star in The Nikki and Sara Show on MTV, which I went to a couple of times, Lukas Kaiser (Spike TV), and Adira Amram (ECNY WINNER) so I thought it was a combination show and party and that they’d all be mingling in the crowd at the party! (LOL)
The promo card for “The Business of Comedy” a doc film co-produced by Jeffrey Gurian featuring Sasheer Zamata, pictured in the box right next to the producing credits.
She talked about how much fun it is to get paid for doing comedy even though she’d do it for free just because she loves it so much. She also lamented that she doesn’t see a lot of people who “look like her” doing comedy! Maybe that’s because no one else looks like her! (LOL)
She has her own very unique look and it’s awesome! Her eyes sparkle and her smile lights up a room!
And lots and lots of people will get to see her now, and all of her hard work will pay off. And if being paid for doing comedy is fun, Sasheer should be having lots and lots of fun this year!
Congratulations Sasheer, can’t wait to see you on the show!
Jeffrey Gurian and Sasheer Zamata after the shoot for The Business of Comedy, shot in his “comedy museum”!
When I was just starting out as a comedy writer, I didn’t know one person in the entertainment business. I had to go out and meet each and every person I ever met on my own. If I had known of a company that could arrange for me to meet people in the entertainment business I would have jumped on it, but it didn’t exist.
Now it does. Alycia Kaback’s V.I.P. Talent Connect, does just that, in a very helpful and professional way. This past Saturday. Dec. 14th, 2013 I spent the entire day at Carolines on Broadway, addressing and meeting with young people who wanted to break into “the biz.”
The marquee for “He’s Way More Famous Than You”, Michael Urie’s directorial debut!
Michael Urie, Jeffrey Gurian, and Ryan Spahn at the Friars Club Comedy Film Festival premiere of “He’s Way More Famous Than You”, which was the opening night film!
Each of the speakers gave a 15 minute presentation followed by a Q&A while onstage.
Michael came to VIP even though he had a performance that afternoon in his one-man hit show “Buyer and Cellar”, at the Barrow STreet Theatre. I was called to go onstage to do my presentation right before he was, and because I was concerned about him getting out on time, I cut my Q&A a little bit short, because I knew I could stay all afternoon to answer questions, and he had to leave and fight traveling in the snow.
Jeffrey Gurian with Michael Urie at Carolines for the VIP Talent event!
I will definitely be seeing “Buyer and Cellar” right after the holidays! But you shouldn’t wait and should probably go tonight, no matter what time it is when you read this! Even if the theatre is already closed! just go!
And tell them I sent you! (LOL)
The playbill ad for “Buyer and Cellar” the one man show starring the tour de force that is Michael Urie!
Despite a freezing snowstorm, lots of people showed up for this event, and the attendees got more than their money’s worth. Aspiring models like Nina Tang, Kristina Beepot, and Ann Sekyiwah got to meet Ryan Colby from Colby KMM Models, and everyone gets a photo shoot and 8×10’s with a resume and bio to hand out to the industry speakers. I personally met many talented young people who I know will be some of tomorrow’s stars.
Jeffrey Gurian with Ann Sekyiwah at Carolines!
As I said, I wish I had a VIP Talent company when I was coming up, but what can you do? I had to do it the hard way!
If you watch this little video, you’ll hear Nick Kroll and Paul Provenza telling me exactly that, and until a few days ago my answer was always, ” Yeh, but I don’t know Larry David.”
For whatever reason, in all my years in the comedy world, our paths have never crossed, but I’m a huge fan and I always wanted to meet him.
So I’m at LaGuardia Airport , flying to Florida and who do I run into, … Larry David. And he was alone. And I was nervous to approach him, and I didn’t know what to say!
I turned into a little girl! Only knowing his cantankerous ( I don’t think I’ve ever used that word before! LOL) character on Curb, I was reluctant to go over and introduce myself, not knowing what kind of response to expect.
In D.L. Hughley’s interview, we made up to say something like, I tried to get J.B. Smoove and The Wayans Brothers but D.L. was the only one available.
Jeffrey Gurian with D.L. Hughely after D.L.’s show at Gotham Comedy Club!
Jeffrey Gurian with J.B. Smoove on the red carpet of Comedy Central’s Night of Too Many Stars, holding Jeffrey’s book “”Make ‘Em Laugh” , with an intro by Chris Rock!
Jeffrey Gurian backstage with Jeff Garlin at Carolines Comedy Club in NYC!
But I realized that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I had to do it despite my nervousness. What’s the worst he could say? It felt like an episode of “Curb!”
To add to the tension, I was running out of time because he was walking towards his gate, with papers in his hand. There was a terrible fog and everyone’s flights had been delayed for several hours. I could tell by the look on his face that he was troubled which added to the tension of me approaching him.
Do I tell him I’m friends with Susie Essman, Richard Lewis, Jeff Garlin and J.B. Smoove, or will I just look like a name-dropper?
I realized I would have to do what I had been doing for most of my life, …. confronting my fear and doing something I was nervous to do. It’s how I finally got up on stage to perform.
I knew that if I waited too long debating on what to say, I might miss the opportunity all together and never forgive myself, so I tapped him on the shoulder, which for whatever reason is where most people usually tap each other, when they want to get another person’s attention, and I said ” Hey Larry, I’m Jeffrey Gurian a comedy writer from NY and we have a lot of mutual friends!”
He was very friendly, gracious, and open and went and sat down while I stood in front of him talking to him. The whole entire time, I kept wondering whether I was overstaying my welcome. I got to tell him about the gala I produced in honor of Susie Essman, the video with Richard Lewis, how J.B. Smoove took a photo holding my book, that Jerry Seinfeld gave me an interview for, and he took it all in.
Jeffrey Gurian, Jerry Seinfeld and Richie Tienken at The Comic Strip after Jerry’s interview for the book “Make ‘Em Laugh.”
I told him the book has interviews with Seinfeld, Billy Crystal, Ray Romano, Colin Quinn, Lisa Lampanelli, Gilbert Gottfried, Chris Rock, Judah Friedlander, and about 50 more big stars that started at The Comic Strip, several of whom talk about Larry!
And I told him the story that Comic Strip owner Richie Tienken always told me about Larry. There were times in Larry’s early career when if he wasn’t happy on stage, either with his set or the audience, he’d throw the mic on the floor and storm off in the middle of his set.
Richie said that mics were expensive, so one night they played a trick on Larry, and glued the mic into the stand, and when he went to throw it he couldn’t get it out! Larry smiled and said it was a good story, but he didn’t remember it. Richie Tienken re-confirmed it for me when i got back to New York.
As I was about to leave, I thought of shaking his hand, but I had a feeling he wasn’t into shaking hands in general and to tell you the truth neither am I. I actually wear a little bottle of Purell hanging from my belt at all times. So I said to him, ” You don’t shake hands do you? And he said, ” I prefer not to!”, at which point I pointed to my Purell and we had a good laugh.
I really wanted to ask for a photo but that’s where I drew the line. Things were going so well I didn’t want to take the chance of him saying “No.”
However we did exchange contact info and I already sent him a copy of my book with a note that got delivered just yesterday, the date of which will vary depending on when you read this Blog post! (LOL)
Jeffrey Gurian with Budd Friedman in Montreal at the Just for Laughs Festival’s celebration in honor of 50 years of The Improv., July 2013!
It was on 44th Street and 9th Avenue, in Manhattan, and it started out as a coffee house and a place for actors to come and hang out, and maybe get up on stage to perform after they got off stage at the nearby Broadway theatres.
At first it drew actors and singers, and then comedians began to come and perform. Budd was the onstage host, and Danny Aiello was the door host/bouncer. After a while more and more comics started showing up to hone their craft.
Before The Improv came along comics would perform only in nightclubs and theatres as part of variety shows, but there had never been an establishment that offered only stand-up comedy.
After a couple of years Budd noticed that the comics were predominating, and that the audiences loved it, so he started doing all comedy, hence the world’s first comedy club!
Fifty years later The Improv is still going strong on Melrose Avenue in LA. I performed there a couple of times myself.
Narrated by Adam Sandler and produced by Judy Pastore, Monica Bautista, Budd and his partner Mark Lonow, (who joined him in 1979), and Budd’s accomplished daughter Zoe Friedman, who actually was the Exec. Producer, the film features footage with Judd Apatow, Lewis Black, Larry David, Jimmy Fallon, Sarah Silverman, Kathy Griffin, Jay Leno, Richard Lewis, Bill Maher, Ray Romano, Jerry Seinfeld, and Damon, Keenen, Marlon, and Shawn Wayans all in intimate sit-down recollections of their early days at The Improv. accompanied by archival video footage and rare photos. Only a legend like Budd could assemble that many huge names!
And those are just some of the comedy stars he helped become household names. Besides having Danny Aiello as his door host/bouncer, other workers went on to achieve greatness.
First there was Chris Albrecht who managed the club when Budd went to LA in 1975, and went on to become the Pres. of HBO, then Les Moonves, currently the Pres. and CEO of CBS, who was a bartender. There were the waitresses, like Karen Black, who I got to work with last year on Kroll Show, and who we just lost to cancer this past August, and cable TV’s pioneer female comic/legend Elayne Boosler, who also toiled as a waitress, and then there were a couple of other door hosts you may have heard of including Keenen Ivory Wayans and Joe Piscopo.
Jeffrey Gurian, Nick Kroll as Gil Faison, Karen Black, and John Mulaney as George St. Geegland on the L.A. set of Kroll Show!
Jeffrey Gurian with Keenen Ivory Wayans in NYC, helping him cast the new, but “ill-fated” “In Living Color”.
Jeffrey Gurian with Joe Piscopo at a fundraiser at Gotham Comedy Club!
Jeffrey Gurian with comic extraordinaire Elayne Boosler at a Diabetes fundraiser she performed in produced by Jeffrey!
A&E immortalized Budd when they had him host “An Evening at The Improv” from his Hollywood club, which was a weekly series that ran from 1982 through 1996. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t performing in those days and never got to be on, but I watched the show religiously!
Over the years I got to know Budd and his partner Mark Lonow who joined him in 1979. As a matter of fact, I wrote Budd and his lovely wife Alix into a feature film script I wrote in 1990 called Baby and Max, about a comic named Max Arnold who gets the worst gigs imaginable. The film opens with Max trying to entertain a guy on Death Row. He’s about to get the electric chair, and is already strapped in, and Max is in the execution room trying to tell him jokes.
On one of his other horrible gigs he’s trying to entertain passengers on a cross-country flight from NY to LA, by telling jokes in the main aisle of the plane, when he gets discovered by Budd Friedman who’s on the flight with his wife Alix. To find out what happens next you’ll have to come up with a budget to make the movie!
Budd and I have history! I recall many years ago he made a party in Montreal to honor Milton Berle who may have been the first honoree to be inducted into the Comedy Hall of Fame, and Milton invited me to attend as his guest. He was also my sponsor in The Friars Club. We sat at a long table, with Budd at the head, me on his right and Milton directly across from me. Budd went to read the menu and put a monocle into his eye. I had never seen that before and was kind of surprised.
Jeffrey Gurian and Milton Berle at the LA Friars in 1985!
Around 1970, I had created a character I called “Spoon-eye” who went around holding a spoon in his eye like a monocle, as if he didn’t know it was there. It sounds silly but at one point Conan O’Brien came out on his show with a spoon in his eye, and it took Cindy Adams to write that it was I who started that. She wrote, “I don’t know who would even want to take credit for such a thing but it was Jeffrey Gurian who did it first.” I actually showed it to Salvador Dali back around 1978, who was so intrigued he actually tried to put one of my spoons in his ear, instead of his eye. I still have that spoon!
Jeffrey Gurian and his Spoon-Eye Club on an outing, circa 2003!
Anyway, when Budd put his monocle in I took out a spoon and put that it MY eye. Budd looked at me like “What the heck are you doing?” and I made the mistake of trying to tell him it was very big on “The Coast.” He said to me, “I live on The Coast and I NEVER saw anyone do that!” Milton just sat there confused and I quickly changed the subject!
In 2007, Kent Emmons from All Comedy Radio made me a party in LA for my new book at the time based on my years of writing for the Friars Roasts. It was called “Filthy Funny, and Totally Offensive” and featured nasty jokes from over 250 celebs like Drew Carey, Jason Alexander, Chris Elliott, Jeff Garlin, the late Greg Giraldo, Colin Quinn, the late Patrice O’Neal,Artie Lange, Joan Rivers, Jason Alexander, and more than 200 more. Budd was there as evidenced by the photo below!
Jeffrey Gurian with Budd Friedman in 2007 at Kent Emmons’ party for Jeffrey’s book “Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive.”
Budd is also in the recent documentary film I co-produced called “The Business of Comedy, with Exec. Producers Scott Sobel of Scott Entertainment and Gary Licker who also directed the film. It features Budd along with Robert Klein, George Wallace, Tom Dreesen, Susie Essman, Shecky Greene, and comedy club owners who were inspired by Budd, Rick Newman and Richie Tienken. In actuality all comedy club owners were inspired by Budd, which is why when I opened this post I said that Budd changed the world! In the photo below, a young Budd Friedman with a goatee, is on the upper right corner!
The promo card for “The Business of Comedy” a doc film co-produced by Jeffrey Gurian featuring Budd Friedman, pictured on the upper right hand corner.
This is the trailer for the doc.
So on Dec. 6th at 8 P.M. ET, make sure to watch “The Improv-Fifty Years Behind The Brick Wall” on Epix and Epix.com . You’ll thank me for the tip!
Watch the Epix trailer in case you need convincing:
Despite the fact that after all my years in comedy, a lot of people still don’t know what I do, … (which is the reason for the video “Who The F*@k is Jeffrey Gurian”, seen below with Nick Kroll, Amy Poehler, John Mulaney, Bob Saget, Marc Maron, Sarah Silverman, D.L. Hughley, and Robert Kelly), … I get to appear on lots of podcasts.
I really enjoy doing podcasts because you have more time then you do on TV, and you usually get enough time to speak your piece, and expound on a few subjects.
This past summer at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, which is the biggest comedy festival in the world, I got to see Bobby Kelly tape a special JFL version of his podcast “You Know What Dude” on the RiotCast Network and I thought it was great. After I interviewed him for my Comedy Matters TV channel, he was kind enough to invite me on as a guest.
It’s done from The Comedy Cellar in owner Noam Dworman’s old apartment festooned with all kinds of fun stuff on the walls, including a collection of guitars that looked very special, and probably are, since Noam is not a comic but an accomplished musician.
As the special guest, I got to sit on the comfortable couch next to Bobby, along with the regulars Chris Scopo who also produces, Kelly Fastuca, Dan Soder, Joe List and Luis J. Gomez, who all had to sit on regular chairs!
The cool clubhouse atmosphere around Robert Kelly’s podcast “You Know What Dude?”
The studio is set up like a cool little clubhouse, complete with a little fridge stocked with beers!
It was cool seeing Luis, who I had just gone over to introduce myself to a couple of nights before when he appeared on AXS-TV’s “Live at Gotham” so I could congratulate him on his great set on live TV.
Luis J. Gomez holding a small yellow doll that he always carries with him for luck, and Dan Soder looking bemused!
The exact same Dan Soder as in the photo above, Joe List and Kelly Fastuca around the YKWD “roundtable”, which just happened to be rectangular!
Over the next two hours which went pretty fast we covered a range of topics, including one I brought up about comics not needing to rip on each other all the time which they seem prone to do. If you force comics to do so, they can actually engage in a conversation without making fun of every word the other guy says!
But it isn’t easy. We got our experience interrupting teachers in school, by making random comments to make the other kids laugh, and comics carry that over into their daily lives, taking advantage of every opportunity to make fun of what someone is saying.
Especially if the other guy is trying his best to be serious!
That led to Bobby saying that there were some comics who were afraid to do the show. He made the point that he wanted his show to be the kind of show that all comics felt comfortable coming on, and didn’t like to feel like he was putting out any kind of negative vibe, which he is not.
Bobby is a smart, well spoken guy, who like a lot of comics has a lot to say, about a variety of different things. Comedians are generally really intelligent. They have to be in order to be the wordsmiths that they are. And Bobby adds structure to his show by grabbing the reins when he feels it’s necessary, to make a point.
He gives his guests a lot of freedom but there’s no doubt that it’s his show.
Bobby Kelly making a point with Chris Scopo holding it down in the background!
Anyway I got to tell some stories about how I got started in comedy by pulling up to 30 Rock in a Mandarin Orange Pimpmobile that had been made for one of the Isley Brothers, and telling the doorman to please watch my car, because Lorne Michaels was expecting me!
The front of my Mandarin Orange Cadillac Eldorado, with the Rolls Royce Grille that had been made for one of the Isley Brothers, (note the D.D.S. plates!)
Then I snuck past the security and got up to SNL where I met Alan Zweibel playing handball on the wall with Neil Levy, a producer on the show. I got Alan to look at my comedy films one of which was a faux news story about several men who were arrested for smearing creamcheese on the ankles of elderly women who wore their stocking rolled down like bagels. I actually got my dear grandmother to roll down her stockings, make believe she had a Jewish accent and then schmeared creamcheese on her ankles, which she let me film.
She explained to the police that Jewish people have two kinds of stockings, one for milk and one for meat and this crazy man schmeared creamcheese on her “meat” stockings and she can’t get it off! Fortunately Alan liked what he saw, and actually called his manager for me, who at the time was a guy named David Jonas. He was the guy who was managing Freddie Prinze Sr. and got him Chico and The Man, and that’s how I got started writing comedy!
As a result of telling that “creamcheese” story, Robert named this podcast episode “Creamcheese on the Ankles!” And if I hadn’t told you that story you would have NEVER figured out the reason for that title!
Jeffrey Gurian with Robert Kelly who’s holding his copy of Jeffrey’s book, “Make ‘Em Laugh”!
Anyway, we had a real blast, with Dan Soder doing a great Rodney Dangerfield impression after my stories about writing for Rodney, who was the first really big star I ever worked with. That was in between him and Joe List good-naturedly slamming each other every chance they got, and doing the same to Luis J. Gomez, cause you have to expect that when you’re around comics that are friends. You need to develop a thick skin when you’re a comic!
I told Bobby that Patrice O’Neal and I never did that with each other, even though Patrice was known for doing that to most other comics, and Bobby said he’d never do that with me either! Wheww! So I got away lucky!
Jeffrey Gurian with his dear friend, the late, great Patrice O’Neal!
Kelly Fastuca proved she was one of the guys, by taking a lot of heat, and a lot of jokes at her expense, and laughing it off, which is really all you can do in a situation like that!
(L-R) Robert Kelly, Jeffrey Gurian, Joe List, Kelly Fastuca, Dan Soder, and Luis J. Gomez!
And the segment went up today so what YOU need to do is to go to www.riotcast.com and sit there and listen to every word! Then go and Tweet the shit out of it! (LOL)
This is the RiotCast.com page. On the upper right, where it says “You Know What Dude”, is “Creamcheese on the Ankles!”
They always say that everyone wants to be in comedy, and now I’m sure it’s true. Even Nat Geo is getting into the mix. I attended a taping the other night in the AMV/Unitel studios on West 53rd Street in Manhattan, where Wendy Williams does her show, to see “Duck Quacks Don’t Echo” with three of my comedy friends starring in the show, Tom Papa, Michael Ian Black and Seth Herzog.
I had just seen Tom kill it at The Village Underground, a beautiful venue recently taken over by Noam Dworman of The Comedy Cellar. Noam is very proud of the space as he should be. He put in great lighting and sound, and every show I’ve seen there so far has been super!
Tom Papa on stage at Noam Dworman’s The Village Underground, now part of The Comedy Cellar
Last week Paul Provenza came in to do his new show Set List, and everyone is talking about Jim Norton’s performance, and how great he was doing it for the first time.
The reason it’s called Set List is because Paul gives each comic their “set list” when they hit the stage, and not a moment before. They have no idea what it’s going to be, and it’s not topics like “Internet Dating” it’s more like “Anorexic Dog”, or “Penguin Sex Therapist” which one comic actually got stuck with, when I saw the show in Montreal this past summer at Just for Laughs.
So I ran into Tom Papa at The Underground, and he invited me to see his new show and two days later, before I even got a chance to make arrangements with him to attend I got an invite.
Duck Quacks Don’t Echo is a comedy/science show where each of the three stars gets to present weird, unusual and incredible facts. In addition to telling us the fact, they will each participate in an on-the-spot experiment proving each fact. It kind of reminded me of the stuff I used to do in science class to make the other students laugh when the instructor wasn’t looking.
On one occasion I mixed the wrong ingredients together and accidentally created poison gas, and they had to evacuate not only my class, but the entire floor.
The fact that stuck with me was than you can’t hum while holding your nose. It’s true. We tried humming Yankee Doodle, which was a very synchronicitous choice as I’ll explain in a moment, and then Tom instructed us to hold our collective noses and all the humming stopped. Who know that humming comes through the nose?
Another thing they could not have known is that I’ve always been fascinated by humming and actually did my college thesis on Abe Bembelman, the man who invented humming, back in the day when Yankee Doodle was popular. Before Bembelman people would hear a song they liked and have no way of recalling the tune. Then Bembelman came along and changed the entire world.
Bembelman was actually English but moved to this country during Revolutionary times, and during the Revolutionary War he was responsible for teaching the English to hum when they went into battle. Fortunately for us, the English hummed so loud that the American’s heard them coming, and that’s how we won the war, because basically you can’t sneak up on anyone while you’re humming! As a result Abe Bembelman became an American national hero. It’s in the history books! Look it up!
So towards the end of “Duck Quacks Don’t Echo” the guys took a break for a costume change and I was wondering what was going on, until they came back in what turned out be motion detection outfits but what at first looked like a re-enactment of “Blue Man Group Attacked By Ping Pong Ball Gang.”
Tom Papa in his new look for the film ” Attack of the Ping Pong Ball Men!”
(L-R) Michael Ian Black, Jeffrey Gurian, and Seth Herzog in a very strange stance that goes perfectly with his outfit!
Seth Herzog is used to wearing costumes as he’s been known to do when doing his popular Wonder Woman routine, so he took to this quite naturally, as you can see in the photo. Seth is the warm up comic for Jimmy Fallon and plays all the hot clubs in the city.
He also has his own show called “Sweet” every Tuesday night at The Slipper Room on Orchard Street, in NYC, where I hope to perform one day! It’s one of the few stages I haven’t been on.
What made the evening even more special was getting to re-connect with two guys I hadn’t seen for a long time. Michael Ian Black and Duck Quack’s producer Jim Biederman.
Michael and I have history. Back around 1992 Michael and I and Ben Garant wrote the first ever interactive film for Sony called “I’m Your Man.” It was shown in the Sony Theatre on 19th Street and Broadway and the audience got to change the outcome of certain scenes by pressing buttons from their seats. From what I recall Sony spent about half a million bucks on outfitting the theatre with the buttons that attached to the arm rest of each seat.
Michael Ian Black with Jeffrey Gurian at a Roast, possibly for The Naked Angels!
This was before Michael went on to co-create MTV’s The State and the sketch group Stella of which he was a founding member, along with Michael Showalter, and David Wain. They performed together from 1997 through 2005. The photo below was after one of the Stella’s performances at a place called Fez, which was their home base, and Ben Stiller and Janeane Garofalo both came by that night.
(L-R) David Wain, Michael Ian Black, Jeffrey Gurian, and Ben Stiller at Fez, circa 1997.
Duck Quacks producer Jim Biederman is the head of JimCo Productions and I hadn’t seen him in maybe 15-20 years. Jim was at Lorne Michael’s company Broadway Video back in the day working with a guy named John Head, who as I recall was in charge of film acquisition, and I was making short, bizarre little films in those days.
I had been sent up to see Herb by another legend Jack Rollins, best known for managing Woody Allen and producing all of Woody’s movies, and in those days was also managing Robin Williams and Billy Crystal. When I first met Herb he said he didn’t even have to look at my stuff because if Jack Rollins said I was funny, I was funny!
I was still a practicing Cosmetic Dentist in those days, which is why in the photo below Billy Crystal is pointing to his teeth. Jack Rollins had wanted to do a sit-com based on a dentist in show biz and thought Billy would be great to play me!
Jeffrey Gurian with Woody Allen who he had met many years earlier through his mentor Jack Rollins!
Jeffrey Gurian with Billy Crystal pointing to his teeth, referencing Jeffrey’s history as a dentist!
But Herb did look at my films and set me up with a meeting with Jim Biederman. I was doing a comedy news broadcast at the time with stories like ” Several men were arrested for smearing creamcheese on the ankles of elderly women who wore their stockings rolled down like bagels”, and “The Masters of Disguise” which were two master criminals who disguised themselves as inanimate objects to commit their crimes.
It started with two men disguised as coats who robbed a hat store by coming in over the arms of two other men who claim they had no part in the crime. I did an interview with one of the victims who gave his account of what happened, and said that one of the coats pulled a gun and said, ” Just act natural like we’re your coats and no one’ll get hurt!” Police artists did a composite drawing of the perpetrators. One man was described as a tan trenchcoat, the other man was said to resemble an overcoat, possibly black, … but could have been navy blue!
I had several crimes like that culminating in 250,000 men disguised as vests robbed a suit warehouse taking all 250,ooo suits and the police artists were going out on strike so as not to have to draw pictures of all 250,000 vests! As I recall Jim set me up with a meeting with John Head who said ” I see no reason why you shouldn’t be doing films for SNL”, and the reason it didn’t happen is a story for another day.
Jim went on to produce a ton of TV shows including “The Whitest Kids You Know” and the Onion News Network, and I went on to write a column for Weekly World News called “Gurian’s World of the Bizarre” which the guys from The Onion told me they were fans of. So it all comes full circle!
And the wild stories I was writing also became part of a comedy news broadcast which I shot up at WPIX TV. Check it out here:
It was great to see Jim again after all these years and I wish him luck with Duck Quacks!
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.
We are holding the event in a gorgeous new theatre called “The Space at Westbury”, that can accommodate 800 people.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
Producer Emily Conner, Jeffrey Gurian, and Jackie “The Jokeman” Martling at Citi Field.
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.
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.