Archive for Entertainment News

Seth Meyers Takes Over Late Night Tonight

In the ever-increasing entertainment empire that is under the guidance/ownership/leadership of king-maker Lorne Michaels, Seth Meyers will take over the reins of Late Night tonight, a week after his friend and former SNL cast-mate Jimmy Fallon replaced Jay Leno on The Tonight Show.

 

Jeffrey Gurian of ComedyMattersTV.com interviewing Seth Meyers on the red carpet of the Just for Laughs Awards luncheon!

Jeffrey Gurian of ComedyMattersTV.com interviewing Seth Meyers on the red carpet of the Just for Laughs Awards luncheon!

In a NY Post article, Seth credits the confidence needed to make such a move to Lorne’s support in suggesting him for the gig.  It’s such a HUGE thing to have someone like that behind you.  It makes all the difference in the world, when someone with that much power believes in you!

Jeffrey Gurian with Lorne Michaels at a Writers Guild Awards event!

Jeffrey Gurian with Lorne Michaels at a Writers Guild Awards event!

Lorne created Saturday Night Live in 1975 and the show has gone on to provide some of the biggest stars we know today like Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Will Ferrell, TIna Fey, Amy Poehler, Eddie Murphy, Jimmy Fallon and on and on!

It’s a huge amount of pressure to do a show five nights a week where you have to interview A-list celebs every night, and keep it fresh and hip!  He’ll be in the same 30 Rock building  he’s called home, since 2001 when he joined the cast of SNL.  Within a period of two years he went from writing supervisor to head writer, and then to Weekend Update co-anchor with Amy Poehler.

He, like Jimmy Fallon has been doing test shows during the week with guest celebs like Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb of “Today”, and a few guest comics as well.  His bandleader is also an interesting choice, former SNL star and current star of IFC’s Portlandia, Fred Armisen.

Interesting fact: Portlandia was created by Jonathan Krisel who also directs Kroll Show on Comedy Central, and during the last NY Comedy Festival, when Nick Kroll did a panel at The Paley Center, ( formerly the Museum of TV and Radio), Seth was the moderator, and Jon Krisel was on the panel, along with Nick Kroll and Exec. Producer of Kroll Show and sometime actor on the show, John Levenstein.

KrollShowGraphic_PaleyCenter_SetyhMeyers_11_9_13

(L-R) Jon Krisel, John Levenstein, Nick Kroll, and Seth Meyers at The Paley Center in a panel on Kroll Show!

(L-R) Jon Krisel, John Levenstein, Nick Kroll, and Seth Meyers at The Paley Center in a panel on Kroll Show!

It happened to be during that panel that I got a great surprise.  Not only did Nick give me a shout out from the stage, before showing my ” Too Much Tuna” sketch with him and John Mulaney, but they also showed the upcoming sketch I’m in, which I understand will be the finale of the 2nd season, with me playing myself in a sketch with Laura Dern, Amy Poehler, and Katy Perry!

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 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!

Amy and Seth are very close as they shared the Weekend Update desk for two years from 2006-2008.  This past summer in Montreal at The Just for Laughs Festival which is the biggest comedy festival in the world, Seth presented Amy with the Breakout Comedy Star of the Year Award at a huge awards luncheon.

AmyPoehlerGraphic_Montreal_7:24:13

Seth Meyers at the podium at the Just for Laughs Festival presenting Amy Poehler with the Comedy Person of the Year Award!

Seth Meyers at the podium at the Just for Laughs Festival presenting Amy Poehler with the Comedy Person of the Year Award!  Amy is partly shown sitting behind where he’s standing!

She will be his first guest tonight along with VP Joe Biden.  Interesting mix!  Later in the week he’ll have Kanye West, and Patrick Stewart!

Seth is such a charming, humble, and likable guy, he’s a natural for the spot and people will love him.   Just last year he got married to human rights lawyer Alexi Ashe and he says his new schedule will allow him to start a family!  ( Not by himself, with Alexi’s cooperation, of course! LOL)

Between Seth, Jimmy, and David Letterman, they’ll be bringing major entertainment back to New York in a very big way.  So many more stars from LA will be here to do the shows!  Very exciting.

We’ll all be watching you tonight Seth, and we know you’ll totally kill it!  Below you can see my little interview with Seth in Montreal just before he presented Amy with her award!

 

 

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Jimmy Fallon Brings The Tonight Show Tonight!

Today is the day we’ve all been waiting for.  You’d basically have to be from a small village in Bulgaria, living next to a stream not to know that Jimmy Fallon is bringing The Tonight Show back to New York, starting tonight and it will change entertainment completely!

For the first time in 42 years since Johnny Carson took the show out to Burbank, The Tonight Show will have it’s home at 30 Rock, along with SNL and Late Night with Seth Meyers, who is replacing Jimmy Fallon in that spot.  Jimmy’s last night on Late Night was Feb. 7th.

Jimmy Fallon and Will Ferrell doing a song about their tight pants!

Jimmy Fallon and Will Ferrell doing a song about their tight pants!

Never before has there been a late night host as talented as Jimmy.  Many were funny, and many did characters and different types of “shtick”, but NOBODY does as many things as Jimmy Fallon.  First he’s only 39 and appeals to a younger demographic.  But besides doing stand-up, he also sings, dances, (which he claimed in an interview he did with me that he doesn’t dance, but anyone who’s seen him move on the show will beg to differ), plays instruments, (especially the guitar!), does impressions, and is the right age to bond with most of his popular guests like Justin Timberlake, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt with whom he yodeled in a video, and Bruce Springsteen who he dressed up as and sang a duet with.  He even  got Jerry Seinfeld and Billy Crystal to dress up as old time baseball players!

 

Jimmy Fallon and guest Justin Timberlake in conversation!

Jimmy Fallon and guest Justin Timberlake in conversation!

Tom Cruise crushing raw eggs on his head after losing a bet to Jimmy Fallon!

Tom Cruise crushing raw eggs on his head after losing in Egg Russian Roulette, to Jimmy Fallon!  Hysterical bit!

Jerry Seinfeld, not sure who this guy is, and Billy Crystal as old time baseball players

Jerry Seinfeld, not sure who this guy is, and Billy Crystal as old time baseball players

Jimmy’s “Tonight Show  starring Jimmy Fallon”, will be broadcast from Studio 6B in 30 Rock, Monday through Friday at 11:34, except for tonight when it will start a few minutes later due to The Olympics! Among his first guests will be Will Smith and U2.  Can’t wait to hear U2 jamming with The Roots!

Later on in the week he’s planning on having Justin Timberlake who was on his recent “Best Of” special on NBC doing a “History of Rap” duet with Jimmy, Lady Gaga, and Michelle Obama, who also appeared in that special.  And what a special it was.  Not only does he have the hugest guests in the world, but he does fun things with them.

Like when he got Pres. Obama to actually do “Slow Jam the News”, a bit he does where they do the news to Barry White-like music in the background.  C’mon, … getting the President of the United States on your show doing comedy?  Talk about “beyond your wildest dreams!”  Who gets the Pres. to do comedy on their show?  Only Jimmy Fallon!

Pres. Barack Obama "slow-jamming the news" with Jimmy Fallon, and The Roots!

Pres. Barack Obama “slow-jamming the news” with Jimmy Fallon, and The Roots!

He’s had Mick Jagger, Mariah Carey, and Robin Thicke, he’s come out dressed as David Bowie, and Bob Dylan  and imitated both, (his Dylan is better than Dylan, and he did it during an interview he did with me as well!), he’s arm-wrestled with Jason Statham, he had Tom Cruise crack eggs on his own head, and dressed up like Bruce Springsteen and actually did a duet with the real Springsteen, side by side on his show.

Jimmy Fallon on stage with Mick Jagger!

Jimmy Fallon on stage with Mick Jagger!

Jimmy Fallon having fun with Robin Thicke!

Jimmy Fallon having fun with Robin Thicke!

Jimmy Fallon arm-wrestling with action star Jason Statham!

Jimmy Fallon arm-wrestling with action star Jason Statham!

And as far as arm-wrestling with Jason Statham goes, I can attest to how strong Jimmy is physically.   One night when we were hanging out he insisted on picking me up, and not that I’m so heavy, but when I resisted as I tend to do when people try and lift me off the ground, I could feel the strength in his arms. The dude works out!

Having Jimmy in New York will give New York’s comedic talent more of a shot at getting on the show and many more big stars from LA will be coming to New York to be on the show.

What’s also special about Jimmy is that he’s not out to make his guests uncomfortable or as was said in a recent New York Mag article  of 2/10/14, ” he doesn’t try to expose his guests’ hypocrisy like Stewart or Colbert, and in contrast to Letterman, he actually watches his guests’ movies, listens to their music and geeks out endearingly in front of them.”

That “niceness” comes easily for Jimmy.  He’s a genuinely nice guy!  I remember when I was shooting an interview with him backstage at Gotham Comedy Club, and my D.P wasn’t able to make it.  I was so nervous to tell him I didn’t have anyone to work my camera, and when I finally got up the nerve to tell him as we sat in the green room, he said ” Don’t worry about it, my wife Nancy is a producer and she’ll shoot it for us”, … and she did!

Jeffrey Gurian with Jimmy Fallon backstage at Gotham Comedy Club after Jeffrey interviewed Jimmy for Comedy Matters TV! (with the help of Jimmy's wife Nancy!)

Jeffrey Gurian with Jimmy Fallon backstage at Gotham Comedy Club after Jeffrey interviewed Jimmy for Comedy Matters TV! (with the help of Jimmy’s wife Nancy!)

The last time I saw Jimmy I was performing in a show at The Players Club, hosted by the inimitable Brute Force who hosts a monthly show there, and Jimmy dropped by to see Brute.  He was shocked to see me, and we all hung out at the bar after the show.  I think he was playing a song on the piano and then turned to me and asked me to play something!

Jeffrey Gurian, Jimmy Fallon and Brute Force hanging out at The Players Club!

Jeffrey Gurian, Jimmy Fallon and Brute Force hanging out at The Players Club!

I think I surprised him by playing a little something I remembered from my 10 years of taking lessons when I was a kid.   Jimmy sat on the pool table behind me and just listened.  Then we all just hung out and had fun for the next couple of hours.

Jimmy Fallon hanging out with Jeffrey Gurian, and a whole group of people at The Players Club, June 2013!

Jimmy Fallon hanging out with Jeffrey Gurian, and a whole group of people at The Players Club, June 2013!

Anyway, I’ll be staying home tonight to watch Jimmy inaugurate his show.  I could TIVO it, but that wouldn’t be as fun as seeing it live and in person.  I’ve never really had the time to watch late night TV, but I plan to be watching Jimmy on a constant basis!  I hope you will too!

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Hail (Sid) Caesar! There’ll Never Be Another!

When I heard the sad news that Sid Caesar passed away this week at 91 years old, I was very moved.  He’s one of the last of his generation of comedians from what has been referred to as The Golden Age of Television.  I think I first got to meet him when I wrote for his Friars Roast in 1983.  Every big star was there, and I was writing for the Roasts at the time and at that Roast I wrote for five different performers including Dick Shawn, Jan Murray, and Joey Travolta, John Travolta’s older brother, and the son-in-law of Dick Shawn, one of my very favorite comedians, and a friend.

(L-R) Bobby Shields, Norm Crosby, Gene Baylos, Sid Caesar, and Jeffrey Gurian at the Friars Roast for Sid Caesar, 1983.

(L-R) Bobby Shields, Norm Crosby, Gene Baylos, Sid Caesar, and Jeffrey Gurian at the Friars Roast for Sid Caesar, 1983.

Joey Travolta, Jeffrey Gurian, and Jack Carter at the Friars Roast for Sid Caesar!

Joey Travolta, Jeffrey Gurian, and Jack Carter at the Friars Roast for Sid Caesar!

Sid was the star of NBC’s “Your Show of Shows” from 1950-1954, and “Caesar’s Hour” from 1954-57, and created sketches with his co-star comedienne Imogene Coca that are funny to this very day.  Sid was a genius in what you might call “dialect comedy.”  He could make believe he was speaking almost any language, from German, French, Italian, Russian, or Japanese, and with the help of writers like Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Carl Reiner, and Woody Allen created many memorable characters.

He was also known for being incredibly strong physically, and supposedly once pulled a sink out of a wall in anger, and held Mel Brooks out of a window by his feet!  After we met, we stayed in touch for a while and I remmber going to see him in a theatre in NYC, and when I went backstage after the show to say “Hi” it looked like an underground bunker or construction site.

Jeffrey Gurian visiting Sid Caesar backstage in what looks like a construction site!

Jeffrey Gurian visiting Sid Caesar backstage in what looks like a construction site!

A different grouping at the Sid Caesar Roast, (L-R) Henny Youngman, Sid Caesar, Gene Baylos, Jan Murray, Norm Crosby, and Jeffrey Gurian!

A different grouping at the Sid Caesar Roast, (L-R) Henny Youngman, Sid Caesar, Gene Baylos, Jan Murray, Norm Crosby, and Jeffrey Gurian!

 

So many of the greats of that generation lived to ripe old ages. Milton Berle lived to be 93 or 94.  He was my original sponsor in The Friars Club and brought me into the LA club first where he was the President.   I was out there in 1985, which was where we took the photo below.

Jeffrey Gurian with Milton Berle at the LA Friars Club in 1985.  Milton was the Pres. of The Friars Club and was Jeffrey's sponsor!

Jeffrey Gurian with Milton Berle at the LA Friars Club in 1985. Milton was the Pres. of The Friars Club and was Jeffrey’s sponsor!

And in all the years I knew Milton I was always in awe of him.  I’d be on the phone with him and all I’d be thinking was, ” Holy s**t, I’m on the phone with Milton Berle!”.  Mr. Television.  The reason he was called “Mr. Television” was because people in this country bought TV’s just to watch him on Texaco Star Theatre.

He was the host on the show that ran from 1948 until 1956, eventually called “The MIlton Berle Show”, and people would crowd around in the streets watching his show through the windows of the television stores.  TV had only been around since 1941, and thanks to Milton TV ownership went from about 500,000 TV’s to over 30 million.

Milton was like a mentor to me, and we’d have lunch at The Friars Club in NY, just the two of us, and he’d tell me wonderful show biz stories and about things like “spitballing” where two comics run ideas back and forth to create new material.    He took me to his home in Beverly Hills, and showed me  his archives of kinescopes and jokes, and even showed me the thing he was most famous for in terms of his physical endowment! (LOL)  Not that I asked to see it, but I think he was so proud of it, that he showed it to people he trusted!

Jeffrey Gurian and Milton Berle at an event where Milton was performing! Circa mid-80's.

Jeffrey Gurian and Milton Berle at an event where Milton was performing! Circa mid-80’s.

I recall one instance where I felt he really came to my rescue.  It was 1985, and I was in a very down place emotionally.  It was a freezing cold winter day, and I got to the door of my 2nd floor studio apartment, just in time to hear the phone ringing.  I remember fumbling with my keys, hoping to get the call before they hung up.  I raced to the phone and picked it up just in time and who was it, … Milton Berle.  He had called to see how I was doing.   To this day I still can’t believe that.  If I had been one minute later, I might have missed it because who knows if Milton Berle would have left a message on my answering machine.

He wound up inviting me to a Friars Tribute in his honor.  I think he was named “Man of the Year”, and that’s where he introduced me to Sammy Davis Jr., who actually kidded me about the amount of jewelry I was wearing.  He who wore more gold than an Aztec god! (LOL)

Jeffrey Gurian with Sammy Davis Jr. at a Friars Club tribute to Milton Berle.

Jeffrey Gurian with Sammy Davis Jr. at a Friars Club tribute to Milton Berle. 1985

Some years later, I also attended a special event in Milton’s honor in Montreal hosted by the legendary Budd Friedman, owner and founder of The Improv, the very first comedy club in the world.  Budd sat at the head of the table, Milton sat next to him, and I sat next to Budd directly across from Milton.    When Budd inserted his monacle into his eye, I took a plastic spoon out of my pocket, ( I’ve been carrying at least one spoon since the early 80’s and no one knows why! LOL) and inserted that into my eye to “look at the menu.”

Jeffrey Gurian with Budd Friedman at the 89th Birthday Roast of Henny Youngman, for TV!

Jeffrey Gurian with Budd Friedman at the 89th Birthday Roast of Henny Youngman, for TV!

It was a character I created back in the 70’s which I called “Spoon-eye”, and which was copied many years later by Conan O’Brien, and written about in Cindy Adam’s column in the NY Post.  I provided photos of myself “with spoon” from back in the 70’s, and Cindy wrote, ” I don’t know why anyone would want to take credit for something like this, but Jeffrey  Gurian definitely did it first!

Anyway, Budd looked at me like  “What the F**K are you doing?”  And I simply said, ” It’s very big out on the coast”, not thinking that HE lived out on “the coast.”  He looked at me and said, ” I live out there and I have NEVER seen anyone do that.”  In the meantine, Milton was looking at me in disbelief, and I decided to take out the spoon and just change the subject.  I don’t think it ever came up again!

On May 14, 1998, when Frank Sinatra passed away, I happened to be out in LA.  I remember very clearly calling Milton from a pay phone. I guess my StarTAC clamshell cell phone was on “Roam”!  He took the call and told me that he wasn’t taking calls from anyone else because the press was calling him non-stop for quotes on Frank Sinatra’s passing, but he said when he heard it was me he took the call.  Another amazing moment for me.

Jeffrey Gurian with Milton Berle at the LA Friars Club in 1985.

Jeffrey Gurian with Milton Berle at the LA Friars Club in 1985.

He brought me to his home in Beverly Hills, and showed me his kinescopes and the 6 million jokes he had compiled over the years that he kept in a separate little house.  He also showed me the body part he was known for, … without me asking, … which is a whole other story for another time! (LOL)

I remember the first time he let me write for him.  It was for an event honoring Buddy Hackett.  I was supposed to go to Atlantic City to meet with Milton where he was performing, and I was bringing my wife at the time, as Milton’s guests, and a couple of days before we were scheduled to come, he called me at home and asked me to give him an example of the jokes I was writing about Buddy.  If they were funny I could come, if not, I guess he would withdraw the offer.  Now I was in the position of having to impress Milton Berle with my jokes, the man who heard every joke ever told.

Jeffrey Gurian with Buddy Hackett at a Friars Roast, mid-80's.

Jeffrey Gurian with Buddy Hackett at a Friars Roast, mid-80’s.

I recall saying to him, ” Clean or dirty?”  He said, ” One of each.”  My clean joke was, ” Buddy’s not a good looking man.  It took him a long time to get used to the fact that girls are supposed to close their eyes when they KISS you, not when they’re introduced!”  My “dirty” one was, ” A lot of people like to think of Buddy Hackett as a little man with a rubber face.  I prefer to think of him as a little rubber, with a man’s face!”  Milton laughed, and told me to pack my bags cause he was expecting us in AC!  AMAZING!!!

Through Milton I also got to meet George Burns who was performing at one of the grand hotels in The Catskills.  In those days all the big TV stars still performed at the hotels, like The Concord, Grossingers, Kutschers, and The Nevele. George lived to be 100 years old.

Jeffrey Gurian with George (God) Burns backstage at a hotel in The Catskills! Mid-80's.

Jeffrey Gurian with George (God) Burns backstage at a hotel in The Catskills! Mid-80’s.

I got to know Red Buttons very well, who lived to be 87, as well as Norm Crosby, “The Master of Malaprop” who fortunately is still with us, and is in his mid-80’s, as is Jerry Lewis who’s 87 and who I had the honor of writing for and working alone with, when he was Roasted by The Friars, back in 1986.

Jeffrey Gurian with Red Buttons at a comedy event, mid-80's.

Jeffrey Gurian with Red Buttons at a comedy event, mid-80’s.

Jeffrey Gurian with Norm Crosby at The Friars Roast of Don King, 2005.

Jeffrey Gurian with Norm Crosby at The Friars Roast of Don King, 2005.

And then there was Henny Youngman who lived to be 91 and who I knew well from The Friars Club and from Milton.  He and Milton once headlined together at Westbury Music Fair and when Milton saw me, he gave ma a shout-out from the stage.  It was one of the proudest moments of my life.  He would always kid Youngman with lines like, ” Nice suit Youngman, who shines it for you?”  And lines like that would crack me up, cause I love that kind of humor!

Jeffrey Gurian with Henny Youngman at a comedy event, Oct. 1990.

Jeffrey Gurian with Henny Youngman at a comedy event, Oct. 1990.

I got to work with Henny for his 89th birthday roast which was televised and which I wrote with Bill Persky, the genius who wrote and created “That Girl” for Marlo Thomas, Danny Thomas’s daughter, and was also known for “Kate and Allie” and for his writing on the Dick Van Dyke Show.

I consider myself Blessed that I got to meet so many of the legends I watched growing up, and I think it’s safe to say that no matter how talented the stars of today are, there’ll never be any others like Sid Caesar, Milton Berle, and the others I mentioned.  And the fact that they all had such longevity adds strength to the concept that laughing keeps you young!  In any case, I certainly hope so!  As a matter of fact, I’m counting on it! (LOL)

 

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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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Cult Comedy Pictures Holiday Show and Manhole Cover Presentation!

CCP xmas_stage72 flyer

I feel very fortunate to be considered part of Cult Comedy Pictures, a group of very talented, very funny, and very creative performers.  Their forte are comedy videos which is what drew me to them in the first place!

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.

The holiday show was an extravaganza of comedy, videos and musical parodies that took place at Rick Newman’s gorgeous new theatre Stage 72, which used to be known as The Triad Theatre on West 72nd Street, and the place was jam packed.  They had to insert two people next to me with a shoehorn!

Jeffrey Gurian with comedy icon Rick Newman the founder of Catch A Rising Star, and current owner of Stage 72!

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 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 Black israelites,(L-R) Jose Vega, Justin Williams and George Gaffney engaging with host Jake Hart!

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!

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!

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!

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!

The show closed with the very sharp comedy of the always funny Leighann Lord, who’s an old friend and who I enjoy every time I see her perform!

Leighann Lord making them laugh at Stage 72!

Leighann Lord making them laugh at Stage 72!

But the high point of the evening for me was the group’s presentation to me of a very special award, which turned out to be a manhole cover with my face on it!  It was hysterical and I have it now in my apartment as a great piece of memorabilia!

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!!!

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!

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!

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!

Cult Comedy Pictures rules!!!  Check out Mike Sgroi’s article on Cult Comedy Pictures as well!

CCPScreen_12:13:13

 

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Ron and Fez Move To Raw Dog, Channel 99, And Bring Comedy Matters Radio with Them! (Sirius XM and Serious Comedy!)

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 Whately, Jeffrey Gurian, and Ron Bennington in the Sirius XM studio on the next to last show before they moved to Raw Dog!

(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!

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 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 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!

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 was featured in my new documentary film “The Business of Comedy” which just aired this past New Years Eve on Channel 13, WNET at midnight!  What a great way to start the new year!

Jeffrey Gurian with new SNL cast member Sasheer Zamata in his apartment, during the shoot for the documentary film he co-produced and appeared in called "The Business of Comedy"!

Jeffrey Gurian with new SNL cast member Sasheer Zamata in his apartment, during the shoot for the documentary film he co-produced and appeared in called “The Business of Comedy”!

Happy New Year to you all, and please tune in to listen to me on Ron and Fez!

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Sasheer Zamata To Join SNL Jan. 18, 2014

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 he co-produced and appeared in called "The Business of Comedy"!

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.

At this past one last July, John Mulaney introduced Andy and gave me a surprise shout out from the stage!  You can see it at the end of this little 3 minute video!

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)

I felt like such a moron because there was no party.  That was just the name of the show.  I even wrote a blog post about how misinformed I was!

But that was the first time I saw Sasheer perform and I was struck by her presence.  There was something magical about her that I couldn’t get out of my mind!  I saw her again a short time later at The PIT, and was impressed yet again, so when Gary Licker and Scott Sobel came to me to appear in the documentary called “The Business of Comedy”, which just played on New Year’s Eve on WNET, Channel 13 at midnight, and I wound up becoming a co-producer on the project, I invited Sasheer to participate.

Gary Licker and Scott Sobel shooting Sasheer Zamata for the documentary The Business of Comedy in Jeffrey Gurian's apartment!

Gary Licker and Scott Sobel shooting Sasheer Zamata for the documentary The Business of Comedy in Jeffrey Gurian’s apartment!

We shot the scene at my apartment this past April and she was wonderful, and open, and forthright, and is featured prominently in the film which you can see on Hulu.

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.

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"!

Jeffrey Gurian and Sasheer Zamata after the shoot for The Business of Comedy, shot in his “comedy museum”!

 

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My Synchronicitous Meeting With Larry David

People often tell me I know everyone in comedy.

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.

I had been trying to reach him as recently as October 23rd to request a video message to Susie Essman, because I was producing a gala in her honor as part of the Gold Coast International Film Festival for which I was named “Head of Live Comedy Programming”,  and had gotten funny video messages from Richard Lewis, (which for a joke, we filmed in the Men’s Room of The Friars Club), Mario Cantone, and D.L. Hughley, but I couldn’t get to Larry.  I even have a friend who’s close to him but even he was reluctant to approach Larry, which made me even more nervous!

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 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 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 bacjstage with Jeff Garlin at Carolines Comedy Club in NYC!

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 that Jerry Seinfeld is in my book “Make ‘Em Laugh” that has an intro by Chris Rock?

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."

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)

 

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Epix Presents: The Improv-Fifty Years Behind The Brick Wall

In 1963 a man named Budd Friedman changed the world.  And I’m not being over-dramatic.  He literally changed the world, and especially the world of entertainment, by opening what became the world’s first ever comedy club, The Improv.

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!

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.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of The Improv, EPIX, the network that brings you the biggest movies including three of the biggest of 2012, like The Avengers, Skyfall, and The Hunger Games, is releasing “The Improv-Fifty Years Behind The Brick Wall” on Friday Dec. 6th, 2013.

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, 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 helping him cast the new "In Living Color".

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 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!

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!

This past July at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, which is the biggest and oldest comedy festival in the world, Budd and Mark were honored with an award and the red carpet treatment.  I interviewed them both, once together on the red carpet and then separately!

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!

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!

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."

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.

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:

 

 

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“You Know What Dude?” with Robert Kelly

RobertKellyLogo_YKWD

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 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 carries with him, and Dan Soder looking bemused!

Luis J. Gomez holding a small yellow doll that he always carries with him for luck, and Dan Soder looking bemused!

Dan Soder, Joe List and Kelly Fastuca around the YKWD roundtable!

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!

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, (with the D.D.S. plates!)

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!

Bobby also gave me the opportunity to talk about my book “Make ‘Em Laugh” with a really cool, heartfelt introduction by Chris Rock.  It took me four years to write it,  and get interviews with Seinfeld, Ray Romano, Billy Crystal, Colin Quinn, Jim Gaffigan, Lisa Lampanelli, Susie Essman, Lewis Black, Gilbert, and so many more.

The book is available on Amazon and also in Barnes and Noble and makes a great Xmas gift! (LOL)

Jeffrey Gurian with Robert Kelly who's holding his copy of  Jeffrey's book, "Make 'Em Laugh"!

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!

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!

(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 is "Creamcheese on the Ankles!"

This is the RiotCast.com page. On the upper right, where it says “You Know What Dude”, is “Creamcheese on the Ankles!”

I’m out!

 

 

 

 

 

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