Archive for Comedy Videos

Chris Rock Rocks in The Motherf**ker With The Hat

Chris Rock made his Broadway debut in a hard-hitting and fantastic new show with one of the strangest names ever to hit Broadway, The Motherf**ker With The Hat.

The Schoenfeld Theatre Marquee for The Motherf**ker With The Hat starring Bobby Cannavale, Chris Rock, and Annabella Sciorra

What’s particularly funny to me as a comedy writer and something I’ve thought about since The Vagina Monologues came out, is that as a writer you can call your work anything you want, and people HAVE to say it if they want to either buy it or see it.

They could just have easily called this play The C**ksucker With The Beard, and nice, regular people would have to call up and say, ” I’d like two tickets for “The C**cksucker With The Beard”, and no one could say anything about it cause that’s the name of the play.

Before The Vagina Monologues, no one used the word “vagina” in regular conversation.  It felt too weird.  As a matter of fact, when I saw it, the next day my mother asked me what play I saw the night before, and I felt so uncomfortable I told her I didn’t remember.  She said ” How can’t you remember?  You just saw it last night!”

And that’s when I realized I would rather my mother thought I had brain damage than that I knew the word “vagina.”

Anyway, this play was superb.  it’s only in previews so by the time it opens officially it will supposedly be even better although I don’t see how that can happen.  Now I’m not a critic, so I look at a performance as to whether I enjoyed it or not.

I don’t notice things that critics tend to notice.  When I use a camera, I leave it on “Auto”.  If I can see the picture I think it’s a good camera.  When people rave about audio systems, it means nothing to me.  If I turn on my CD player, and I can hear the song, and it sounds good to me, that’s all I need to know.

I don’t know about the bass, the treble, and all that other stuff.  All I need to know is that I can hear the song clearly enough to tell it from another song,and I’m good to go!

Annabella Sciorra, Chris Rock, Elizabeth Rodriguez, and Bobby Cannavale in Chris Rock's dressing room after the show.

That being said, this cast is superb.  Every one of them is a shining star.  Chris Rock plays a guy named Ralph who’s the A.A. sponsor of a career criminal named Jackie, fresh out of jail, and trying to stay sober and do the right thing, played by the incredible Bobby Cannavale.

Even if you knew Bobby Cannavale personally, ( which I did), you would NEVER recognize him in this role. He actually changed physically, and looks like a completely different person. I’ve met him a few times over the years, and even looking at his photo I have to struggle to see that it’s him.

He used his talent to morph into a Puerto Rican or Dominican drug addict from The Bronx, who walks, talks, looks and sounds the part.

It’s not even acting.  He BECOMES that person.  He reminds me of my friend Cipha Sounds, the highly successful and talented non-drug addict radio DJ who does the morning show on Hot 97, Cipha Sounds and Rosenberg, and who IS a Puerto Rican from The Bronx.

Over the years, I had met Bobby several times through my friends Ethan Hawke and Peter Dinklage, with whom he starred in the Academy Award nominated picture “The Station Agent”, but I think he must have worked out hard physically for this part as well as having learned the script.

His body is “cut”, but even his face is cut.  And he mastered the facial expressions, and even the hand motions of the kind of guy he’s playing.  In the photos we took after the show, he’s throwing some kind of street hand signs, … but doing it right! Bobby’s Dad is Italian and his Mom is Cuban, so he probably gets a great tan during the summer!

Chris Rock acts like he’s been on a Broadway stage all his life.  It’s his first show but he’s been on stages all over the world, so it didn’t intimidate him at all.

I went to the show with Richie Tienken, the owner and co-founder of the legendary comedy club The Comic Strip.  Richie discovered Eddie Murphy and went on to manage him for 11 years and in 1986 they jointly discovered Chris Rock, so Chris is always happy to see Richie.

Watch the little interview I did with Chris backstage after the show.  Richie is in it as is Chris’ friend, hilarious comic Ardie Fuqua, who happened to sit right near us in the audience.

On the way up the 6 flights of stairs to Chris’ dressing room, ( and I’m not kidding about that!) we ran into the rest of the cast and brought them with us to take the photos you’re seeing here.

Annabella Sciorra has been a favorite of mine since The Sopranos.  She’s so talented and plays the long suffering wife of Ralph, Chris Rock’s character, in this, her Broadway debut as well.

She was running home to take care of her kids but was kind enough to come upstairs for a group photo for Comedy Matters, and that’s why she was wearing her hat and coat!

(L-R) Frt. -Annabella Sciorra, Jeffrey Gurian,Richie Tienken,(Back) Chris Rock, Elizabeth Rodriguez, and Bobby Cannavale in Chris' dressing room after the show.

Chris plays a guy so cold he actually tells a guy in detail how he’s been with his girlfriend and when I say in detail, I mean “IN DETAIL”!  It was COLD, bro’!

I meant to ask Chris what that was like, even doing that on stage, cause most people could never do something like that in real life, but I didn’t get a chance to.  I plan on seeing the show again, so maybe I’ll get to ask him that next time.

So much of acting is learning to detach from self-consciousnessm so you can be free to do what you have to onstage.

Another actor making his Broadway debut, who wasn’t with us backstage is Yul Vazquez, a very talented actor who played such an unusual character called ” Cousin Julio”. He plays kind of like a gay Jean-Claude Van Damme character who is very ready to “throw down” at any moment, to stand up for his cousin Jackie, played by Cannavale.

Yul is the co-artistic director and founding member of the LAByrinth Theater Company of which Cannavale, Elizabeth Rodriguez, who plays Victoria, Jackie’s girlfriend, and writer Stephen Adly Guirgis are all members.

Gurguis who is a brilliant writer is the other co-artistic director of the LAByrinth Theater Company.

I saved Elizabeth Rodriguez for last, because I wanted to give myself enough room to praise her. (LOL) She’s done lots of theatre and television, with recurring roles on NY Undercover, The Shield, and All My Children, besides numerous roles on other shows.  She’s also been in films like “Miami Vice”, “Jack Goes Boating”, and “Acts of Worship”.

Even more amazing to me, a day or two after I met her I found out she’s the next door neighbor of my dear friend Mary Elizabeth, who just happened to call and excitedly ask me if I heard about this play, telling me her friend and neighbor Elizabeth is in it.  I’m like ” Elizabeth Rodriguez?”  That can’t even happen!

The way Bobby Cannavale captured the essence of his character is the way Elizabeth captured the essence of hers.  I fully expected her to talk that way when I met her after the show, because it seemed to real to be a performance.

Obviously, while growing up,  she met many girls like the one she portrayed, and so have we all, but it’s one thing to meet them, and another thing to be able to bring them to life on the stage.   This girl is AMAZING, and sexy in a very subtle way.  She makes it very easy to fall for her character, who is tough as nails on the surface, but really just wants to be loved like everyone else. I plan to do a separate interview with Elizabeth in an upcoming posting, so stay tuned!

All in all this is a play not to be missed!

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Elayne Boosler Drops "Facebook Is A Clock Sucker"

Elayne Boosler is often credited with opening the doors of comedy to women, since she was the first woman to get a one hour cable TV special. In 1986, Showtime gave Boosler her own hour special called “Table For One” which she wound up producing herself.

Jeffrey Gurian and Elayne Boosler in the street outside The Comic Strip in Manhattan.

She came up at a time when there weren’t that many women doing comedy, and the ones that were, were all talking about the same boring stuff.  Elayne broke that mould.

Networks weren’t convinced that people would tune in to watch a woman do an hour of comedy, but Boosler proved to them that it could be done. She got rave reviews, and a deal for 3 more specials, and then HBO caught on and came out with it’s own specials featuring women called “Women of the Night”.

All thanks to Elayne!

Elayne came up in the ranks with Seinfeld, Freddie Prinze, ( the original from Chico and The Man, not his son Freddie Prinze Jr.), Jay Leno, Larry David, Richard Lewis, Richard Belzer, and comics of that ilk.  ( Who says “ilk” anymore?  What am I living in 1943??? )

Richard Lewis sitting underneath his prized Al Hirschfeld caricature in the dining room of The Friars Club.

All in all she’s done 7, ( count them, … 7!) cable TV specials, acted in film and TV commercials, and now came out with a very funny rap song called “Facebook Is A Clock Sucker”, about how you can waste a whole day on Facebook, by just planning to post your status! The nice thing is, she worked with real rappers like Mac Lucci so… and let me see if I can phrase this properly, … it’s not a typical lame white person’s rap. (LOL)

Let me explain myself. Eminem is AMAZING, and showed the world that White people can rap as well, if not better than some Black performers, but most comics when they want to imitate something about rap do not have the ability to spit out beats the way you need to to make it sound real. It’s like when I was a young comedy writer, comics in those days would inevitably make fun of the “new rock and roll” lyrics. Their imitations were so lame that all these years later, I’m still embarrassed for them, just thinking about it.

Elayne’s song totally nails it and I think she”s got a hit on her hands that should go viral! Check it out the video below:

Elayne is back in New York for a while working on some important projects and I ran into her at The Comic Strip a few nights ago at a charity event she was doing.

Elayne Boosler, Nancy Parker, Mary Chestaro (singer Mary C.), and her mom singer Mercedes Hall outside The Comic Strip.

We have been internet friends for a while, and I’m proud to say she reads Comedy Matters. I’m even prouder to say she’ll be performing at the comedy fundraiser to fight Diabetes, that I’m producing at The Comic Strip with owner/founder Richie Tienken on Thursday April 14th at 8 P.M.

Diabetes Comedy Fundraiser, Thurs. April 14th, 8 P.M. at The Comic Strip

The Comic Strip is the legendary club that launched the careers of Jerry Seinfeld, Larry Miller, Paul Reiser, George Wallace, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Ray Romano, Adam Sandler and so many more. I should know cause I’ve interviewed just about all of them already for the book I’m doing on the 35 year history of the club. It’s located at 1568 Second Avenue, in Manhattan, between 81st and 82nd Street.

Jeffrey Gurian with Jerry Seinfeld at an event in Manhattan.

George Wallace and Jeffrey Gurian hanging out at The Comic Strip.

Richie Tienken, Ray Romano, and Jeffrey Gurian all waiting to audition at The Comic Strip! (LOL)

Tickets for the fundraiser are only $50., plus a 2 drink minimum, for a night of great talent including Goumba Johnny the afternoon host of WKTU radio, Cipha Sounds the morning host from Hot 97 radio, Eddie Brill from Lettterman, Sherrod Small from VH1, Jeff Pirrami from The Friars Club, Jim Mendrinos from Comedy Central and VH1, Jon Fisch from Comedy Central, VH1, and Last Comic Standing, Macio from The Chappelle Show, Harrison Greenbaum,winner of the Andy Kaufman Award,  which is very pertinent to this blog piece since Elayne actually dated Andy Kaufman for three years, and many surprise guests. Judah Friedlander may drop by as well as Louis CK, and other invited comedy luminaries.

Flier For Diabetes Comedy Fundraiser,Thurs. April 14t, 8 P.M. at The Comic Strip

Diabetes Comedy Fundraiser, Thurs. April 14th, 8 P.M. at The Comic Strip

FOR TIX CALL THE CLUB AT (212) 861-9386 AND TELL THEM YOU WANT TO ATTEND THE DIABETES FUNDRAISER ON APRIL 14TH OR YOU CAN GO TO PAY PAL AT NO EXTRA CHARGE AT

HOPE TO SEE YOU ALL THERE!

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Look Who Reads Comedy Matters-Richard Lewis, Jon Stewart, Lisa Lampanelli & So Many More!!!

I’ve been doing so many red carpets lately and am thrilled to see how many big stars read “Comedy Matters.”  if you don’t believe me, watch for yourself, ( and then tell everyone you know!  Even if they’re sleeping.  Wake them up and tell them! Even if they’re very tired.  Trust me, they’ll be grateful!)

Lisa Lampanelli with Jeffrey at The Donald Trump Roast after telling Jeffrey she reads Comedy Matters every time she forgets to delete it! (LOLOLOL)

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Judah Friedlander Comes To The Comic Strip For Interview

On June 1, 1976 Richie Tienken and Bob Wachs opened the legendary comedy club called The Comic Strip.  It was at 1568 Second Avenue in Manhattan, between 81st and 82nd streets.  It’s still there and thriving.

Jeffrey Gurian, Jerry Seinfeld and Richie Tienken at The Comic Strip for Jerry's interview for the book!

On June 17th, 1976, barely two weeks after it opened, a young, unknown comic named Jerry Seinfeld came in to audition.  His sign-up sheet still hangs in the club.  It says ” Good.  Definitely put on Monday 6/21.”

Richie Tienken, Ray Romano and Jeffrey Gurian below Ray's old photo on the wall at The Comic Strip!

Not only did Seinfeld get his start there, but so did Paul Reiser, Larry Miller, George Wallace, Ray Romano, Adam Sandler, Colin Quinn, Susie Essman, Jim Gaffigan, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock and many other huge stars who called that club their home.

Jeffrey Gurian, Susie Essman, and Richie Tienken after Susie's interview for the book!

Jim Gaffigan and Jeffrey after Jim's interview at The Strip. Richie must have been hiding!

Richie and Bob went on to manage Eddie Murphy for 11 years, from his SNL career through Beverly Hills Cop 2.  Richie also managed Adam Sandler, Tony Rock, and Colin Quinn.

Jeffrey Gurian, Tony Rock, and Richie Tienken after Tony's interview at The Strip!

Jeffrey Gurian, Judah Friedlander, and Richie Tienken under the photo taken BEFORE Judah was World Champion! ( over his left shoulder!)

I have been chosen by Richie, to write the book on the history of the club, and so far have interviewed about 26 of the biggest names that have come out of the club, including Seinfeld, Larry Miller, Paul Reiser, George Wallace, Colin Quinn, Ray Romano, and Chris Rock.

Recently Judah Friedlander of 30 Rock fame, and The World Champion, came to the club to sit down with Richie and I to reminisce about his beginnings, and his memories of the club in the early days of his career.  This is a little video excerpt of the interview.

Jeffrey Gurian Interviews Judah Friedlander at The Comic Strip

I hope you’ll like it enough to send it around to your friends!!!

 

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Jeffrey Gurian Documentary Reel with A-List Comics and Film Stars

This documentary reel about me was shot as a pre-cursor to a proposed TV project that I would host, taking the viewers “behind the scenes” in the comedy world, the film world and behind the velvet ropes of New York nightlife, all places where I have strong connections.

In this reel you will see great comics from late night TV like Ted Alexandro from Comedy Central, Letterman, Conan O’Brien, & Jimmy Kimmel, Jon Fisch from Last Comic Standing, VH1 and Comedy Central, Macio from The Chapelle Show, Uptown Comedy Club, & Comedy Central, Goumba Johnny, afternoon host  from WKTU, 103.5 FM, film stars Marisa Tomei, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Jason Statham, John Leguizamo, Vincent Pastore, Chris Meloni, Kal Penn, Sidney Lumet, Guy Ritchie, nightlife and TV legends Wass, Noel Ashman, and Countess LuAnn DeLesseps from Real Housewives of New York City, and Camille Grammer from Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Please watch and feel free to leave a comment, and/or share it with your friends.  Thanks!!!

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Oscars of Gaga – Lady Gaga Parody of The Oscars

Internet sensation Lauren Francesca, who plays Lady Gaga in the super-successful Key of Awesome parodies,( 27 million hits and rising)

filmed a parody of Lady Gaga in all of the Oscar nominated films, True Grit, The Fighter, 127 Hours, Black Swan, and The King’s Speech.
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters is in The King’s Speech playing the Lionel Logue character.

Jeffrey Gurian also works with stutterers teaching them the technique he created to cure himself of a severe stutter. If you or anyone you know stutters, have them read this page and if it makes sense to them, they can contact Jeffrey directly through his website.

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