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Lisa Lampanelli Kills It At Westbury

Westbury Theatre out on Long Island holds about 2800 people. I know that because I co-produced a show there starring Kevin Hart back in 2010, and we filled the place. So did Lisa Lampanelli! I didn’t see an empty seat in the house.

A screenshot of Lisa Lampanelli on Jeffrey Ross’s show “The Burn”, which got mis-credited at the end as “The Bum”!

I had seen her the night before on Jeff Ross’s show on Comedy Central “The Burn”, and she was on with the very funny Anthony Jeselnik, whose new CD “Caligula”” just came out. It’s on my desk to be listened to the moment I have a free hour!(Does that even make sense, … the moment I have a free hour??? I might as well say ” The hour I have a free moment!!!”)

I TIVO’ed “The Burn” and at the end of the show, when it asks if you want to keep it or delete it, I noticed a typo on the credits! They called it “The Bum” instead of “The Burn”. I took pictures of it because I couldn’t believe it! See for yourself!

Tell me that doesn’t say “The Bum” with Jeff Ross! I have to Tweet this to Jeff!

I think she said it was her fifth time performing there, but it was her first time performing there as a thin woman! I’ll get into that later!

I drove out early so I could see her, and her husband Jimmy BB, before the show. Only really secure performers see people BEFORE the show! Most prefer to wait until after the show, but I think Lisa was leaving for another gig somewhere out of town the next day, and was leaving the theatre as soon as she was done, so she saw people before the show.

I went out there with my Chinese girlfriend Shu Lan, who Lisa would definitely call Ching Ping if she saw her in the audience, but in real life she would never say anything like that!

Shu Lan in the elevator on the way to see Lisa Lampanelli at Westbury!

For anyone who’s wondering, what Lisa does on stage does not match her offstage personna. She’s a sweet, loving person, but onstage she’s a human piranha who goes for blood! She lives up to her title, “The Loveable Queen of Mean!”

Lisa’s opening act is Mike Morse who’s very funny, and very easy going onstage. I guess people get used to performing for large crowds. The largest crowd I ever performed for was about 400 people, but I guess once you have enough experience, it doesn’t matter how many people are out there. Actually the more people, the more laughs you get, the louder it sounds, and the more it pumps you up!

The very funny Mike Morse, who opens for Lisa Lampanelli on the East Coast!

With 2800 people even if only 10% of them laughed at any particular joke, that’s still 280 people laughing which is a lot more people than you get in most comedy clubs!

Mike Morse made a lot of people laugh a lot of the time, with clever lines like, ” My wife and I decided we don’t want children. Unfortunately we already had two!”

Talking about how the people are in New Jersey he said he went to the hospital and told the nurse he wanted to give blood. She gave him a bucket and stabbed him in the neck!

On Chris Christie – A lot of people say he’s too fat to be President. I say he’s perfect for an oval office!

Talking about playing a club in Alabama where no one had teeth. He said one guy chewed on a potato chip for half an hour without breaking it!

And then he did an impression of his own penis when he has an orgasm. He said it looks like it has acid reflux, and then he acted it out! That was hysterical!

He ended on a really clever bit about a Martin Luther King Day commercial for used cars declaring things like ” Malcolm X-tra Savings”, and “We will overcome high prices”! He left the stage to huge applause.

Then Lisa came out and her audience was ready for her. You don’t go to a Lisa Lampanelli concert without knowing what you’re gonna get, unless you were brought there by friends who really should have prepared you!

The very thin Lisa Lampanelli performing to a sold-out crowd at Westbury! I have a feeling she doesn’t even know how thin she looks!

She saw an Asian woman in front and said ” Ching Ping, (which could have been my gf!), what kind of Gook are you???

She talked about her experiences on Celebrity Apprentice, especially with her best girlfriend Clay Aiken, who at one point took offense to some of her jokes about him, like the only thing “Aiken about him was his ass!”

She said that Lady Gaga was making a perfume that smelled like a combination of sperm and blood, and followed that up by saying, if she wanted to smell sperm and blood she’d punch Clay Aiken in the mouth! The audience howled with laughter at almost everything she said!

Luckily for her there was one Black guy in the front row, there with a white girl, and luckily for him, he had a great sense of humor! Lisa said there was a blackout in Connecticut, then added, ” Thank G-d they caught him!”

Lisa mentioned lots of people. Like Zsa Zsa Gabor, when she lost her leg, Lisa Tweeted, ” Zsa Zsa is selling her home. It’s 28,000 feet, which is 27,999 feet more than she has!” She claims that Zsa Zsa loved the joke!

She said she started sweating more than Jerry Sandusky at a cub scout meeting! In talking about “The Situation” from Jersey Shore, and about how badly he bombed at the Charlie Sheen Roast even though he thought he did well, she said he was as useless as a tampon at Betty White’s house!

Chaz Bono- She said most women get plastic surgery to look like eye candy. Chaz got plastic surgery to look like John Candy!

And she didn’t spare herself! When answering someone who asked about her dramatic weight loss of over 100 pounds she said,” I was lucky enough to get AIDS and cancer at the same time!” That’s so sick it’s funny, and the audience thought so too!

Actually she and her husband Jimmy both had weight-loss surgery. He told her to go first and if she survived he’d do it too. They look fantastic as you can see in this photo!

Lisa Lampanelli and husband Jimmy Cannizzaro, two little stringbeans, backstage at Westbury!

Lisa also did great impressions of Donald Trump, Lou Ferrigno and her Twitter enemy Dog The Bounty Hunter’s wife Beth.

Besides Shu Lan I also brought my new book ” Make ‘Em Laugh” which Lisa is in bigtime! I had brought her a copy when I went to watch her rehearsal for the Broadway show she’s creating, but for some reason I didn’t get a photo with her that day. This night we took a couple!

Lisa Lampanelli and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV holding Jeffrey’s new book ” Make ‘Em Laugh” that Lisa is in with an in-depth interview about how she got her start!

When I asked for a second photo as a “safety” this is what I got! (LOLOL)

She’s an amazing talent and if you have not seen her yet, make sure you do! Just don’t bring your elderly parents! (LOL) (Unless they have a will, you’re the beneficiary, and you stand to get lots of money!!! LOLOL)

www.HyperSmash.com

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Clayton Morris from Fox News Wins NY’s Funniest Reporter Contest

Seven years ago, Mark Goldman and Ryan McCormick of powerhouse PR firm Goldman/McCormick came up with a very unique, and surefire way to raise money for charity. For the 7th year in a row, they have produced New York’s Funniest Reporter Show and gotten some of New York’s top TV and print news people/personalities to risk, if not their physical lives, certainly their emotional lives, by getting up on stage and performing five minutes of stand-up comedy.

(L-R) Mark Goldman, and Ryan McCormick of Goldman/McCormick PR onstage at The Comic Strip for their NY’s Funniest Reporter event!

It usually takes place at the legendary comedy club The Comic Strip, the club that launched the careers of such superstars as Jerry Seinfeld, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, and Adam Sandler, and some of the powerful news names that have graced the stage were Ellis Henican, Courtney Friel, Lauren Sivan, Jane Velez-Mitchell, Rob Hoell, Cat Greenleaf, Taryn Winter-Brill, and so many more!

And each year they pick a different charity to benefit from the show. This year was The Humane Society, but the only dog to show up was Wendy Diamond’s dog “Baby Hope” who brought Wendy along with him/her! (I didn’t get a chance to check! LOL)

Judge Judith Regan, holding Baby Hope, with Judge Jeffrey Gurian holding his stomach in, at The Comic Strip!

Wendy, an animal advocate, and the founder of Animal Fair Magazine, comes out every year!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV capturing Wendy Diamond of Animal Fair Magazine in a bear hug, at NY’s Funniest Reporter Show in 2011!

The proceeds of the event will benefit the Lucky Diamond Critical Care Ward at The Humane Society of New York. Lucky Diamond was Wendy’s original dog, a little white Maltese, who unfortunately succumbed to cancer this past year! Wendy and I go back a long ways, as you can see in the photos below!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Wendy and Lucky Diamond back in ’06!

I was honored to be one of the two judges along with my friend, media powerhouse Judith Regan, who now has her own radio show on Sirius/XM radio. Thanks to Judith my book with Chris Rock called “Make ‘Em Laugh” about the 35 year history of The Comic Strip will be in stores as of this Monday, Oct 1, 2012. It was written with owner/founder of The Strip, Richie Tienken.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with his angel Judith Regan holding the book she made possible, “Make ‘Em Laugh”!

This time up they had Greg Kelly Fox 5 news anchor, Clayton Morris who is the co-host of FOX and Friends Weekend, Marianne Garvey from In Touch Weekly, who used to write for Page 6 in the NY Post, the most powerful gossip column in the world, Lauren Lyster from RTTV, Michele Steele, the sports anchor/reporter from ESPN, and Dr. Manny Alvarez, the Senior Managing Health Editor for FOX News Channel.

Marianne Garvey, who looked smoking hot by the way, opened the show with a very strong set about the guy she’s currently with. She got lots of laughs, and wound up coming in first runner up!

Marianne Garvey looking totally “hot” onstage at The Comic Strip! If we ever have a contest for NY’s Sexiest Reporter, she’ll def win!

Greg Kelly was next, because he had to anchor the 10 P.M. news broadcast, and it wouldn’t look good if he missed it because he was on stage doing stand-up comedy, … even at The Comic Strip! They would have sent his Dad, police commissioner Ray Kelly to arrest him! (LOL) So he had to leave before finding out he was the 2nd runner up!

Greg Kelly making ’em laugh right in front of the “Make ‘Em Laugh” poster onstage at The Comic Strip!

Greg had great stage presence and lots of confidence, which is just as important as the jokes sometimes! I told him I hope his Dad runs for Mayor. I think he’d be fantastic! He promised to tell him I said so! (LOL)

Michele Steele from ESPN was up next, and introduced herself as Ann Curry, since she says they are both half Filipino, and that people are always curious as to her ethnicity! Michele wasn’t taking any chances on forgetting her lines, and she openly referred to notes, which is usually only done by the biggest comics trying out new material who don’t particular care how it looks! Michele exuded the confidence of a well known comic and used her notes throughout her whole set!

Michele (Ann Curry) Steele confidently referring to her notes onstage at The Comic Strip!

Lauren Lyster came in all the way from Washington, DC for this contest and had the courage not only to get up and perform, but also to admit that she didn’t prepare anything. That takes real courage as it’s a lot different being funny at a party, or with your friends, than getting up on stage and trying to make strangers laugh with thoughts that YOU think are funny!

Lauren Lyster looking like she’s singing but in reality improv’ing onstage at The Comic Strip!

Dr. Manny Alvarez brought his best bedside manner to the stage and was dressed very casually in what he described as the outfit of a “Latino doctor”, which is very fitting (unlike his shirt! LOL) because he is Cuban! He wore a casual shirt out of his pants that he called his “Cuban-style shirt” and he definitely owned the stage for his set. I guess he gets that confidence from being a doctor.

A very animated Dr. Many Alvarez doing his thing onstage at The Comic Strip! Who says doctors aren’t funny???

Dr. Manny is an OB-GYN specialist, and he “brought it” to the point where his producers were yelling out for him to do a “vagina joke!” He didn’t, although he did make a reference to something called “Penis Soup”, which brings to mind a highly unusual and disturbing visual! (LOL)

I wanted to tell him that I was also a doctor, like I did at the end of my interview with Ken Jeong from the Hangover movies,( who is also a doctor!), but I didn’t get the chance. Hopefully, he’ll read about it here!

Clayton Miller went on last, and I guess it’s true when they say they saved the best for last, because he wound up winning! What Judith and I liked best about Clayton was that he did his homework and really came off as a stand-up. He structured his material the way a real comic would, talking about several things, and linking them together artfully, including being a new Dad, for the second time.

Clayton Morris, from FOX News Channel proudly displaying his award for Funniest Reporter, onstage at The Comic Strip with producers Ryan McCormick and Mark Goldman!

His beautiful wife was there cheering him on and she looked so slim, you’d never know she recently had a baby!

One of his observations was that babies are so small, you can put them anywhere! And then he added the killer tag, “As long as your wife isn’t home!” Then made some mention about balancing the baby on the mantle of the fireplace! That was hysterical!

There were two guest spots, one from last year’s winner Marlaina Schiavo, who showed why she won last year, and that she still had it this year, and WWE wrestling champion, 2 time best selling author, Mick Foley, who I had just seen in Montreal at the end of July, at the 30th annual Just for Laughs festival in Montreal! Mick is the proverbial “Gentle Giant”, and might be scary to face in the ring, but in person is the nicest guy in the world!

Marlaina Schiavo, winner from 2011, showing the audience she hasn’t lost it!

And funny too, which always helps if you wanna be in comedy! (LOL) What’s cool about Mick, (and I was glad I got a chance to say it on camera as the WWE Network was filming him that night for an upcoming special), is that one of the reasons that Mick is so likable on stage is that he’s not afraid to be vulnerable.

Mick Foley, man of many talents including comedy, “killing it” onstage at The Comic Strip!

As big and macho as he is, he’s not afraid to be self-deprecating or talk in a little voice that you wouldn’t even think would come out of a man that big. Add that to his humor and stage presence and you’ve got a budding comedy star. He’s also a favorite of Judith Regan who published both of his best-selling books!

I complimented him on being so comfortable onstage that he even sat down on the stool to talk to the packed crowd! He explained to me that it wasn’t confidence, but body pain that made him sit down! A very down-to-earth, humble guy!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with comedy/wrestling star Mick Foley, and a copy of “Make ‘Em Laugh” at The Comic Strip!

All in all, it was a wonderful night of entertainment thanks to Goldman/McCormick PR. They did it again!

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Spectacular Evening at Sotheby’s for 20th Anniversary of ACE

It was 20 years ago that social activist Henry Buhl created ACE which stands for “The Association of Community Employment Programs for the Homeless” with the help of people like Tony Goldman,a real estate magnate, who’s also responsible for building up a lot of South Beach in Miami.

Prince Lorenzo Borghese, Tinsley Mortimer and Henry Buhl at the gala 20th anniversary ACE event at Sotheby’s!

Last night there was a gala event honoring ACE’s work over the past 20 years as well as honoring Russell Simmons and international opera star Jessye Norman.

I was covering the red carpet so I was really hoping to see and interview Russell, who I hadn’t seen since we honored Brett Ratner at The Friars Club some months back, but unfortunately he was detained in arriving.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV ready to man the red carpet at Sotheby’s for the 20th anniversary gala of ACE,, to assist the homeless!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Rosanna Scotto of FOX TV’s Good Day New York at the ACE gala at Sotheby’s!

I did get to see and interview Henry Buhl, Sara Herbert-Galloway who was one of the esteemed hosts,(and a friend!), Jessye Norman, who couldn’t have been nicer, Rosanna Scotto, the anchor from FOX’s Good Day New York, Prince Lorenzo Borghese who I hadn’t seen in quite a while and who was there with Tinsley Mortimer, my old dear friend Countess LuAnn DeLesseps from The Real Housewives of New York City, who was there with her boyfriend Jacques Azoulay, two other old friends Dr. Judy Kuriansky the famous sex therapist, and Mary Sliwa, ex-wife of Curtis Sliwa, and one very special interview for me, with Aviva Drescher one of the new women on Real Housewives of NYC. That was a real treat!

Countess LuAnn DeLesseps with Jacques Azoulay on the red carpet at Sotheby’s!

Jessye Norman was passionate about helping the homeless, and about Henry Buhl’s work over the past 20 years.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with international opera star Jessye Norman at Sotheby’s!

Lorenzo and I caught up on old times and he was shocked that I remembered the name of his line of pet products, Royal Treatment! It always amazes me what I do remember because very often I remember nothing at all!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Lorenzo Borghese at a party back in 2006!

And Tinsley Mortimer and I had a good laugh about the first time we met in of all places, a McDonald’s. You’d have thought maybe The Four Seasons, or Nobu maybe, but no, … it was McDonalds. It was very late at night and we were both hungry and on line for a snack! She has a new book just out for a month called “Southern Charm” and one day soon we’re going to sit down and shoot a little video interview about it for Comedy Matters TV!

Countess LuAnn and I always have something to laugh about together! We just look at each other and laugh! We’re friends since the 80’s, when she was still a nurse and a model, and we had lots of fun times together. It wasn’t that long ago when she was interviewing me on Plum TV in the Hamptons. I’m so happy for her for all of her success, and for being with Jacques who’s such a great guy, but could have been a little more creative with his name! (LOL)

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Countess LuAnn DeLesseps at one of the opening parties for “Real Housewives of New York City”! ( Her Mom is next to us!)

Countess LuAnn DeLesseps and her beautiful Mom at a Real Housewives party!

Who would believe a French guy named Jacques? It’s like an Italian guy named Carmine! Or a Jewish guy named Sol! Not very creative! (LOL)

Anyway, I suggested to LuAnn that we do a comedy thing on Housewives, like some kind of comedy event, and we’re going to discuss it!

But I’d have to say my interview with Aviva Drescher was the highlight of the evening for me. I asked her about her charity “One Step Ahead” and she complimented me on my preparedness, which led to such a heartwarming interview on people overcoming obstacles in their lives.

Real Housewives Heather Thompson, LuAnn DeLesseps, and Aviva Drescher at Sotheby’s!

Aviva is an amputee which you would have no way of knowing unless she told you. She’s a gorgeous woman with a super personality, and a handsome husband with four beautiful kids. When she was six, she lost her left leg in an accident at a friend’s house. But she never let it get the best of her and I admire people so much for that. Because not everyone rises above difficulties like that. Some people let it overwhelm them.

And she shared with me that when she was younger she thought she might never get married or have children, but fortunately none of that was true. I was able to share with her my own story of overcoming obstacles, of which I feel there were many. None as serious as the loss of a limb, but I was a very severe stutterer until I was in my 20’s.

My parents took me for speech therapy but no one was able to help me. One day I realized that I did’t stutter when I was alone, only when I tried to speak to someone else. That basically told me there was really nothing wrong with me, and I vowed to cure myself. I was determined not to go through the rest of my life as a stutterer.

For the next two or three years I became obsessed with curing myself, and as I look at it now, I was given the Grace to figure out how to stop. I now work with other stutterers to teach them how not to stutter. I love doing that kind of work.

So Aviva and I had an instantaneous bond,and I can’t wait to see her again!

You’ll see it all when the video is edited!

And all of this glitz and glamour was thanks to the team at Oui 2 PR, Rob Goldstone and David Wilson who are both so humble and hate to be recognized, but the truth is they do A-1 events, that are well organized, and I for one appreciate that, and believe in giving credit where credit is due! So there!!! (LOL)

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Caron Foundation Honors Clive Davis, with Judy Collins, Geraldo Rivera, Chris Lawford, and Lots More!

The Caron Foundation is a nationally recognized nonprofit provider of alcohol and drug addiction treatment. Thanks to their grateful donors, their treatment centers last year provided almost 14 million dollars in scholarships to addicted individuals and their families.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with music legend and Caron Foundation honoree Clive Davis at Cipriani’s 42nd Street!

Cipriani’s 42nd Street was the site of the Caron Foundation event honoring music legends Clive Davis and Judy Collins, and it was a spectacular, star-studded event handled by Rob Goldstone and David Wilson’s Oui2 Public Relations.

Clive Davis is the Chief Creative Officer of Sony Music Entertainment and a true legend in the music industry. The last time I saw Clive I was having dinner with Michael Bolton and we went over to his table to “kibbitz”! In the video below, you’ll see I had the opportunity to reminisce with him about the time I invited him to attend a Friars Roast, (I wish I recalled which one it was!), which led to Clive being honored as The Friars Man of the Year.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with good buddy Michael Bolton backstage in Vegas!

During his long and illustrious career, Clive Davis has discovered and nurtured the careers of many superstars including Janis Joplin, Bruce Springsteen, Barry Manilow, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, and the late Whitney Houston.

Judy Collins’ career has spanned more than fifty years, and she has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. She’s also openly sober for many years and something so cool happened which you’ll see in the accompanying video. As I was interviewing Geraldo Rivera on the red carpet, we were suddenly, and unexpectedly joined by Judy Collins who was so open, and so kind that the other journalists thought I had planned it. But you could never plan something like that.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing both Geraldo Rivera and Judy Collins at the same time!

So there I was doing a three-way interview with Geraldo on one side of me, and Judy Collins on the other. I felt like I was watching a tennis match! I didn’t know which way to turn first! (LOL) Geraldo had bought a table for his friends from Fox News including national correspondent Laura Ingel, and Laurie Dhue who was the MC for the evening and was also openly celebrating five years of sobriety.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing Laurie Dhue, MC for the Caron Foundation event honoring Clive Davis and Judy Collins!

I also got to see my old pal Chris Kennedy Lawford, who is a big supporter of the work that Caron does. He looks so much like his Dad, Peter Lawford that whenever I see him it reminds me of The Rat Pack, with Frank Sinatra, cause his Dad was one of the group.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing his pal Chris Kennedy Lawford at the Caron event at Cipriani’

Chris was a nephew of JFK, and is also very open about his own struggles with addiction. It hits every age group and social strata, and it’s always very courageous when well known people use their “celebrity” to bring attention to the need for help.

I never knew that Chris was instrumental in bringing the movie “Drunks” to the big screen, in which another old friend Richard Lewis was the star.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Richard Lewis at The Friars Club in NYC!

Laurie Dhue told me that Geraldo had been a big supporter of hers and she felt that he was very helpful in her staying sober. Geraldo of course was too humble to accept that assessment, but she assured me he helped her tremendously.

It was truly a night of reminiscing for me, because when I spoke to Geraldo I was able to reminisce with him about the great story his mother-in-law told me about how he was able to prolong his father-in-law’s life.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Geraldo Rivera at Cipriani’s 42nd Street for teh Caron Foundation event honoring Clive Davis and Judy Collins!

It was a powerful story of synchronicity, where his wife Erica’s Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Geraldo attended an affair where he just happened to be seated next to a doctor he had never met before who just happened to be an expert in prostate cancer and guided him to the surgeon who prolonged his father-in-law’s life. Unfortunately he later on succumbed to the disease, but his wife told me the story because she was struck by the synchronicity of the event.

Geraldo was surprised that I remembered it so clearly, but it’s the kind of story I hold on to, because it’s so meaningful. Theoretically it can’t even happen! (LOL)

I also got to reminisce with Geraldo about an evening we spent many, many years ago with Salvador Dali at the St. Regis Hotel in the King Cole Lounge. Check it all out right here!

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Friars Club Red Carpet for Betty White Roast

The Friars Club is older than Betty White and that’s really saying something cause Betty is 90! The Friars was born in 1904. I’m sure that people were making fun of each other before, but the first official Roast was in 1950 honoring Joe E. Lewis.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing Friars Prior Stewie Stone on the red carpet of the Betty White Roast!

Even though they skewer you, it’s considered a great honor to be Roasted by The Friars Club and Betty White stepped up to the plate. In the video I shot on the red carpet (below) you’ll hear Stewie Stone, the Prior of The Friars Club tell about how when Quentin Tarantino was asked to be the honoree his PR company turned it down, and he happened to be there, noticed the letter from The Friars Club and said something like, ” What are you crazy, turning this down? This is a great honor.” And so last year, in 2011 Quentin was the Roastee!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing the king interviewer himself, Larry King on the red carpet of the Betty White Roast!

The red carpet was packed with press, so I took up a position all the way at the end, so far down it was almost in another hotel, hoping that some of my friends on the red carpet would come over to say “Hi” for Comedy Matters TV.

Besides Stewie Stone and Scott Blakeman who was doing interviews for The Friars archives, I got some great interviews with legends like Larry King, Dick Cavett, Abe Vigoda, Bill Boggs, Don Buchwald, Donny Deutsch, Dominic Chianese, and even Uggie from The Artist! He was very insightful!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing legendary talk show host Dick Cavett on the red carpet of the Friars Club Roast of Betty White!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing Don Buchwald on the red carpet of the Betty White Roast!

Abe Vigoda explaining to Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV why people have been saying he’s dead for the last 20 years! There’s actually a story to it!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV sharing a laugh with Donny Deutsch on the red carpet of the Friars Club Roast of Betty White!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with his old friend Dominic Chianese on the red carpet of the Friars Roast of Betty White!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Bill Boggs on the red carpet of the Friars Roast of Betty White!

Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV getting the real scoop from Uggie, star of the Academy Award winning film, The Artist! The film was silent, but Uggie wasn’t! Check out the video!

I didn’t get to see Betty White, but she’s only 90 so maybe next time! Check out the video right here!

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Chazz Palminteri in Mighty Fine-Opening Today May 25th

I get to interview lots of people but every so often I get to interview someone of whom I’m a genuine fan, which makes it even more exciting. I’ve enjoyed all of Chazz Palminteri’s work, and his new film Mighty Fine really shows off his range as an actor.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Chazz Palminteri!

Known for playing tough guys, in this film he plays Joe Fine, a tough Jewish guy from Brooklyn in the “schmatte” trade who relocates his family from Brooklyn to New Orleans in order to be closer to his factory. Every major character in a film needs a fatal flaw, and Joe’s fatal flaw is his unpredictable anger and uncontrollable rage.

An Adopt Films feature, written by writer/producer/director Debbi Goodstein, it’s a semi-autobigraphical drama based loosely on her own Dad, about a father’s love for his wife and two daughters, and how they are affected by his sudden, unexpected bursts of anger and rage.

Joe’s wife is played by the incredibly talented Andie MacDowell, who plays a Holocaust survivor, and I understand that Andie worked very hard to get her Polish accent down pat which she certainly did. It takes a very strong and talented performer to be able to stay in character even for a short sketch, but for a whole film it’s really quite an achievement.

The daughters superbly played by Jodell Ferland, who played Nathalie the youngest daughter, and Rainie Qualley who played Maddie the older daughter were both very endearing and had great chemistry as they had to support each other through the trials and tribulations of living with a father who constantly embarrassed them with his behavior, and probably needed to be medicated, but was living in denial about his problem, and refused to seek help.

Rainie Qualley is actually Andie MacDowell’s daughter. It must be so fun to act in a film with one of your kids!

The story is supposedly told in the voice of Nathalie as a grown woman, which turned out to be the voice of Janeane Garofalo. I knew it sounded somewhat familiar to me!

When Joe Fine did finally give in to his wife’s demand to seek help he wound up charming the psychiatrist into thinking it was all a distortion of his wife’s thinking since she suffered through the Holocaust. Joe refuses to face the fact that his business is on the brink of collapse, and struggles to turn that around with the unwilling, coerced help of his partner well-played by Arthur Nascarella.

When I started this video interview Chazz asked me how long I would like to speak with him so he could guide himself on how long or short to make his answers. I told him I was at his disposal. I would stay for as long as he had things to say. We spent 30 minutes together, and it was an insightful interview into the mind of the Academy Award nominee, who gave us among too many to mention, A Bronx Tale, the Academy Award nominated role of Cheech in Woody Allen’s “Bullets Over Broadway”, and his starring role in “The Usual Suspects.”

If you’re a Chazz Palminteri fan, and who isn’t, … I think you’ll really enjoy this!

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Al Martin To Open Third Comedy Club in NYC

It’s hard enough to own one comedy club in NYC and make it successful. Two is pretty amazing, but three is completely off the charts. Meet Al Martin the guy who soon will be opening this third comedy club, the Greenwich Village Comedy Club, somewhere on MacDougal Street.

That will mean he has New York Comedy Club on 24th Street between 2nd and 3rd avenue, Broadway Comedy Club on West 53rd Street, which is almost like three clubs in one anyway, with The World, and the upstairs and downstairs rooms going constantly, and now Greenwich Village Comedy.

I have a feeling Al won’t stop until he has a room in every part of the city. The Soho Comedy Club, The Turtle Bay area Comedy Club, … well actually he did have a club in Turtle Bay!

I remember when New York Comedy Club was around 52nd Street and 2nd avenue, and I’d come by to see the variety of shows he had. I recall meeting the late Eric Douglas there, the comedian brother of Michael Douglas, who died very young.

One of the things that Al prides himself on is the variety of the shows he offers. For instance coming up on June 3rd, “The Big Brown Comedy Show” hosted by Aasif Manvi from The Daily Show. Indian comedy is definitely on the rise, as evidenced by the success of Russell Peters, Aziz Ansari, and Kal Penn who plays Kumar in the wildly successful Harold and Kumar films.

The legendary J.J. Walker will be hosting a show there at the end of June, and one night recently, Vinny Parco from the TV show Parco P.I. was there hosting a show called “Naughty Girls”. Despite everything else he does, and with all the reality shows he’s planning, Vinny always makes time to perform comedy, a great love of his.

Vinny Parco of Parco P.I. fame hosting the “Naughty Girls” show at Broadway Comedy Club!

And true to the name of his show he brought a bunch of very naughty girls to do stand-up.

Tatiana, one of Parco’s “Naughty Girls” comics onstage at Broadway Comedy Club!

It was a very fun show including Judy Cianciotto, Maureen Langan, and Jen Raumero!

Vinny Parco with one of his “naughtiest” girls on stage at Broadway Comedy Club!

Al is a funny comic in his own right, so now he doesn’t have to audition at any other clubs. (LOL) He’ll have three stages with which to indulge his passion! Good luck Al. Can’t wait to start hanging out there!

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Mark and Jay Duplass Score With "Jeff Who Lives At Home"

In 2002, Mark and Jay Duplass, writer/director brothers from New Orleans, were ready to pack it in. They hadn’t been having much success, until they decided to make one last try where Mark improvised a character having a breakdown while trying to record a message on an answering machine. This short film called ” This Is John” made it into Sundance, and got them representation, leading to two feature films.

(L-R) Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass, brother writer/directors at the press junket for Cyrus starring Jonah Hill, John C. Reilly, and Marisa Tomei!

Isn’t that the greatest story of synchronicity you ever heard? ( Well at least one of them??? LOL)

Just when you’re ready to give up, The Universe steps in and brings you the inspiration you need. They went on to make “The Puffy Chair” in 2005, followed by “Baghead” a horror/comedy which they made in 2008.

I met them at a press junket for their award winning film Cyrus which they made in 2010, with a fantastic cast, starring Jonah Hill, John C. Reilly, and Marisa Tomei, and got a really fun interview. Cyrus was the official selection at the SXSW Film Festival that year.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Academy Award winner Marisa Tomei!

A short time later, I ran into Mark and his beautiful actress wife Katie Aselton on the red carpet of the Comedy Central First Annual Comedy Awards, where Cyrus was up for four awards, Jonah Hill for Best Actor, Mark and Jay for Best Comedy Director, Best Comedy Film, and Best Writer.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing Mark Duplass and Katie Aselton on the red carpet of Comedy Central’s Comedy Awards!

Katie Aselton with husband Mark Duplass showing Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV how many awards Cyrus was up for!

During the interview which you can see below, they told me about their next film called “Jeff Who Lives At Home”, which I thought was going to be about me! At least Katie said it was! It also has a fantastic cast, starring Ed Helms, Susan Sarandon, Judy Greer, and Jason Segal, as the “Jeff” character, a 30 year old stoner who still lives at home with his Mom, and obsesses on the concept that our lives are controlled by fate. It’s a black comedy!

Mark assured me that even though it was wrapped and edited, he was still going to find a place for me in it! Maybe he meant in the audience! (LOL) You watch and see for yourselves!

Mark Duplass and Katie Aselton laughing assuring Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV that they would get him a part in “Jeff Who Lives At Home” despite the fact that the film was finished! (LOL)

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Me and Arnold Schwartzenegger at SNL

I read an item about Arnold Schwartzenegger today on Page 6, something about him trying on a watch with a huge face, (which I’m sure he can handle),and then something about his recent shoulder surgery, but it made me think of one of the funniest stories of my career, when I met Arnold many years ago at SNL, and then wound up writing some jokes for him to do on the Mike Douglas show.

Growing up, I had always been a big fan of body building. I never had the genetics to succeed at it, but I read the magazines, and was fascinated by the sport. I was also fascinated by unusual names so when a friend told me about a young guy named Arnold Schwartzenegger, I thought it was a joke. I think his last name translates to mean something like ” Black-Black”!

I soon found out that it wasn’t a joke, and I became a big fan. He was absolutely immense and his nickname was “The Austrian Oak”! As time went on, I got married and I used to say to my wife, “Please don’t ever let Arnold Schwartzenegger insult you, because I’d hate to have to fight him.” It was kind of a standing joke between us.

A couple of years later, when SNL was new, I went to one of the early shows with a girl named Kathy Jonas, the daughter of famed comedy manager David Jonas, best known for managing Freddie Prinze Sr., and Alan Zweibel. As we walked in, in those days you had assigned seats. I don’t think they do that anymore. Anyway, we walked to our seats, and who was sitting in MY seat? None other than Arnold Schwartzenegger. I almost fell down. I was wishing my wife was there to share the experience with me. I recognized him from his photos in the magazines.

Anyway, I gathered up my courage, walked over to him and said ” Excuse me, aren’t you Arnold Schwartzenegger?” To which he said, “Yes.” I said, ” Well I’m sorry to tell you, but you’re in my seat!”

He jumped right up and was so apologetic. He was so kind and humble and apologized profusely. And I was thinking, “Life is so bizarre. (Or at least MY life is so bizarre!) I just asked Arnold Schwartzenegger to get out of my seat. And he did!!!

I told him I was a comedy writer and a big fan of his. I think Pumping Iron either just came out or was about to come out, and he said he needed some comedy material to do on the talk shows. We exchanged information, but didn’t connect for a while.

Then after Pumping Iron came out, I heard he was doing some kind of book signing at a bookstore in Westchester, not far from where I lived. I went over to see him, and we spoke again, and once again exchanged information, and this time I wound up writing for him for an appearance he did on the Mike Douglas Show.

Somewhere in my memorabilia, I still have a letter from him on his Golden Oak Productions letterhead. At least I think it was called Golden Oak. I have a feeling that was the precursor to Oak Productions which he created in 1985.

It’s going back a long ways! I wasn’t carrying a camera in those days like I do today, so I don’t have a photo of us together, because there was no such thing as small digital pocket cameras in those days. Cameras were huge, needed film, and lights, and definitely did not fit into anyone’s pocket. But even without a photo, it’s an experience I’ll never forget.

It makes me want to search my house to find it, but that’s probably just because I’m in the midst of a huge project and my ADHD is telling me to divert my attention to something less important! (LOL)

In more recent years, I had another connection to Arnold. Back in 2004, David Pecker, the billionaire who owns American Media and many magazines and newspapers under that vast umbrella, bought Muscle and Fitness and Flex magazines, and went into an association with Arnold, who was supposed to be an advisor, and editorial contributor. I was asked to write some humorous remarks for David to say at a big press event entitled “The Arnold Classic”, announcing their association, and this was part of what I wrote for David to say, in which he was comparing himself to Arnold:

“And in terms of comparing our experience in the world of fitness. Basically, I am to the world of bodybuilding what the legendary Luciano Pavarotti is to the world of pole-vaulting.

I am to the world of fitness, what the great Mike Tyson is to the world of speed-reading, … what George Bush is to the world of cliff-diving, what Al Sharpton is to the world of modern dance, and what the legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman is to the world of porno films.”

That’s all folks!

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Nick Cannon Stranded in Hospital In Aspen

Black Planet reports that Nick Cannon is recuperating from mild kidney failure in a hospital in Aspen. Fortunately his wife , Mariah Carey is at his side and not leaving, even when doctors asked her to. She said that Nick was there for HER when she was hospitalized while having twins Moroccan and Monroe, so now when the situation is reversed, she’s not leaving HIM! Good girl Mariah!

She tweeted this pic from Nick’s hospital room!

According to Black Planet, Mariah Carey tweeted this photo of her in hubby Nick Cannon’s hospital bed! What better nurse could he ask for???

I only had the pleasure of meeting Mariah once at a charity event at The Whitney Museum, to raise money for Operation Smile, a charity that provides poverty stricken children with facial defects like cleft lip and cleft palate, the opportunity of having corrective surgery.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, with Mariah Carey at a charity event for Operation Smile, at The Whitney Museum!

I know that Nick has a tour coming up on Jan. 12th, called the “Still Standing” Tour with Mike Epps and Nick’s new 18 year old protege Pete Davidson. It’s supposed to kick off at the San Manuel Casino in Highland, California.

So let’s keep Nick in our prayers, and hope that he has a speedy recovery. He’s one of the nicest guys in the biz and at 31 years old has lots of wonderful things to look forward to. Get well quick Nick!!!

A healthy Nick Cannon with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at Nick’s New Faces Show at Gotham Comedy Club.

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