Archive for Point of View

Breaking Down The Breakdown

The Red Room is a very cool space in the KGB Bar on East 4th Street, coincidentally right next door to the new New York Comedy Club. And once a month comic/actor Boris Khaykin puts on a really unique variety-type show called The Breakdown with Boris Khaykin, with the help of producer Jeremy Moses.

I got invited to be a guest and went down the month before to check it out and needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway, I was duly impressed. Boris and his co-host Jawnee Conroy also a talented comedian and actor have created a very unique format, along with Boris’ co-writer and co-producer of the show Alex Estrada!

The audience warm up was not a stand-up comedian but a musical improviser named Rebecca Vigil. A great song came out of absolutely nowhere. Amazing. Then Boris and Jawnee took the stage and worked off each other for about 10 minutes or so, and then Exacto an amazing beatboxer did a solo performance that blew everyone away. It sounded like he swallowed a drum kit!

Then the first guest was called which happened to be me! I made a point of thanking Ethan “Exacto” Scott for his incredible performance and remarked that his teachers must have hated him because I’m sure he disrupted every class he was ever in.

I got to talk about my Amazon Best Seller book on Happiness, “Healing Your Heart, By Changing Your Mind – A Spiritual and Humorous Approach To Achieving Happiness”, a subject I felt the audience could relate to, and they did. We spoke about changing negative thoughts we were holding onto that were not working for us, and in doing so raising our self-esteem, and self-confidence and conquering the fear that tells us we can’t do something we’d like to accomplish. Fear is a bully and we have to stand up to it.

Speaking of fear, I even got to talk about how I cured myself of stuttering, and how people can overcome obstacles in their lives. I feel like it went well and the audience feedback was very positive.

We also discussed my hair and decided it was the exact opposite of Boris’ beard. If I turned my head upside down, I’d have something close to Boris’ beard, which is real by the way, and is what to aim for if you want to grow a beard.

Not everyone has the genetics for it, so don’t feel compelled to grow a beard if you can’t because believe me, no one is interested in your INTERPRETATION of a beard! You either have one or you don’t. There’s a big difference between having a beard, and just having hair on your face! None of that patchy shit! (LOL)

I talked about hair establishing your identity which is why in the Army they shave off your hair right away to make everyone the same and take away your own personal identity. I also said that “Most men wear their hair like they’re embarrassed for having any” and someone in the audience created an immediate meme for Instagram which I thought was very cool!

Then after my interview segment some talented improv artists, Nick Carillo, Katie Hartman, got up and did a sketch using the facts from my interview as inspiration, and that’s always fascinating to me that someone can remember so much of what somebody else said. I have a hard time remembering someone’s name immediately after being introduced to them! (LOL) And then there was a sketch in which Lauren Kahn played Jawnee’s ex-girlfriend.

Next up as a guest was Jamilah Lemieux named in 2015 to The Root’s (the magazine, not Jimmy Fallon’s band) Root 100 list of the nation’s most influential African-American citizens.

She’s a journalist, columnist, cultural critic and editor and afterwards told me she’ll be moving to L.A. to try and get into writing for TV. She’s already got an idea for a script and she wants to do stand-up comedy.

Speaking of stand-up comedy, Emmy Blotnick was the purely stand-up comedy segment of the show and I was glad to finally meet her. Of all things she did some “dental humor” and joked about having to wear a nightguard to protect against the damage caused by grinding and clenching the teeth. How could she have known that was my specialty? Anyway it gave us something to bond over! ( Bonding, … get it? LOL)

And then there was the big close with Boris and Jawnee back on stage, and lots of people hung out to just party because it’s that kind of a hang. Next month’s show will feature Richard Kind, and I’m sure it will be hilarious so make sure to go check it out. I had a BLAST!!!

So until next time we meet please remember that COMEDY MATTERS!!!

Please like, comment and SUBSCRIBE to my Comedy Matters TV YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/guriannewsnetwork and follow me on Twitter and IG at @jeffreygurian

See you all soon!

 

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Ashley Madison – Not What You Think

Ashley Madison – Not What You Think

Most of the time when you hear the names Ashley and Madison together the website for people who cheat on their spouses pops into mind. Now there’s a whole new affiliation since two talented comedians Ashley Austin Morris and Madison Malloy got together to create the Ashley and Madison Podcast.

And I got the honor of being their first guest! At least that’s what they told me! (LOL) Besides being a stand-up comic Ashley, originally from Texas, is also an accomplished actress who you may know from her role as Francine Carruthers in the  revival of the PBS Kids children’s series The Electric Company, or from her appearances on The Big Bang Theory and Desperate Housewives.

Madison Malloy has been a staple of the stand-up comedy scene for a while, and has performed all over the country, in clubs, at festivals, and on radio and TV as well. The two of them together are a dynamite combination, and prove that you can be funny and still be beautiful! Many legendary women in comedy’s past like Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, and Phyllis Diller have had to downplay their looks to make themselves palatable for the public to laugh at, because as a society despite what some may think, we’re trained to treat women respectfully which makes it harder to laugh “at them.”

These days women own their power and come out on stage looking any way they choose. Our podcast day started with them offering to travel on the subway with me to Brooklyn so I could find the studio more easily. I had a better idea and offered to drive, which they liked, so the day started with them meeting me at my home, which is like a comedy museum, with photos going back decades.  In many of the photos I actually let someone else be in there with me! (LOL) Some people say I have more on my walls than some comedy clubs! (LOL)

                                         Such a fun day!

They asked for the tour and what impressed Ashley the most was that I had a phone mounted in one bathroom right next to the commode. I had seen this at The Four Seasons hotel and decided that “hotel chic” was for me. She asked if she could try it out and was so excited she forgot to pull down her pants! Ooops!!!

I got so excited with this phone, I can’t believe I forgot to pull down my pants! Good thing I’m wearing black!

And then just like that, we were on our way to their studio, The Brooklyn Podcasting Studio, in Park Slope, Brooklyn. When we got there our parking karma was right on the money and we got a great spot.  Then they led me to a garage. And I thought, is this gonna be like a Marc Maron thing where he does WTF from his garage?

But no it was more like a hidden speakeasy kind of thing where you had to walk through a garage and go up a couple of flights of stairs to get to this really cool studio. I thought we were gonna have to give some guy a password.

The studio had a big beautiful wooden round table/console set  up with a bunch of mics, in a very cool room with lots of snacks, and it was run by a great guy named Josh Wilcox, the manager and lead engineer who was very helpful and made sure that the sound was perfect and that everything went smoothly.

He also was kind enough to take some photos while everything was going on.

                           Jeffrey making a point!

They wanted to talk about my new book on Happiness called “Healing Your Heart, By Changing Your Mind – A Spiritual and Humorous Approach To Achieving Happiness” which hit Best Seller status on Amazon, and how I used the concept of changing your thoughts to cure myself of a severe stutter that plagued me well into my 20’s and beyond.

In reality it’s more about overcoming obstacles in our lives, which we all face. The concept is that we’re all holding thoughts that are not valid for us. Most of the time they are negative thoughts about ourselves, given to us by people who did not have our best interests at heart.

Sometimes it was our parents.  Other times bullies, school “friends”, people we dated, worked with or were married to. Those negative thoughts hold us back. They affect our self-esteem, our self-confidence and every decision we make in our lives. Every time you have to decide what to do you use your thoughts to decide but if your thoughts are faulty your decisions won’t work out for you.

 

                  You understand, … don’t you? 

In order to be Happy, you literally have to “change your mind.” Anyway even though this stuff sounds kind of serious we had a lot of laughs along the way, and the three of us had a great connection. The girls are so funny, and we were all on the same wavelength. It just flowed.

                Jeffrey making another point!

Then we had a fun ride back to the city trading stories, and we all made plans to do something cool together. More on that to come!

In the meantime the podcast officially launches this Monday Feb. 4th wherever you can listen to a podcast. My episode probably won’t air till March, but that’s ok.  Good things are worth waiting for!

                              See how Happy we look?

Until then remember, … COMEDY MATTERS!!!

Please subscribe to Comedy Matters TV on You Tube at https://www.youtube.com/guriannewsnetwork and follow Jeffrey on Twitter and IG at @jeffreygurian

 

Posted in: Book Reviews, Books, Celeb Photos, Comedians In The News, Comedy Clubs, Comedy Events, Comedy Festivals, Comedy Matters, Entertainment News, General Information, Happiness Information, Jeffrey Gurian News, Podcasts, Point of View, Radio Show, Stand-Up Comedy

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My Take On Bullying

Bullying seems to be a hot topic these days.  Not a day goes by when you don’t read an article in the paper about the effects of bullying, from a student committing suicide to a school shooting blamed on the shooter having been bullied.   What is it about us as human beings that causes us to be bullies?

The dictionary defines “bully” as “a person who is habitually cruel or overbearing, especially to smaller or weaker people.”  That makes sense until you consider that last October, of 2013, football player Jonathan Martin, at 6’5 and 300 plus pounds, walked away from his team for being bullied by teammate Richie Incognito.  If a 6’5″ 300 pound guy can be bullied I guess that ANYONE can be bullied!

And Incognito’s explanation mirrors what all bullies say, “I was just kidding around!”   He went on to say ” Jonathan’s lawyer says he experienced “a malicious personal attack,” but again, that’s because he doesn’t understand how our locker room relationship was. We’d carry on. We’re big, physical guys. I would put my hands on him, just messing around. Like head-butting. Give him a belly shot. Normal stuff, that’s all.”

We’re “big, physical guys?”  Is that an excuse for acting like a moron?   You get a pass based on your physical size?  Why does your size allow you to head butt someone?  Is that really a game?  That’s not even allowed in some forms of MMA, because it can be so damaging.  “A belly shot?”  I’ve always known that that’s how those guys think, but to hear them actually say it is still shocking to me.

Former Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde talked about “bullying” and “hazing” of new players, and what goes on in the locker rooms, in an article in the NY Post, and said “When Chad Pennington was a rookie with the Jets, we made him wear his helmet to breakfast, lunch and dinner in the cafeteria one day.  That was kind of our prank or joke on him to welcome him into the NFL.”  Now MY question is what would have happened if you had just said ” Welcome to the NFL, we’re really glad to have you.”  Would he have been disappointed?  Would he have felt unwelcome?  Would he have felt like ” Boy I really wish they had done something mean to me, or at least made me look stupid!”

In all honesty I experienced the same “Jock” mentality entering Dental School!  And all these years later I still can’t figure out why.  It should have been a great honor to be accepted to a professional school and the doctors on staff should theoretically have gone out of their way to make the students feel that way.  Instead they did everything in their power to humiliate us, demean us, and take away any amount of self-esteem we might have had.

I was bullied from my very first day when the Dean made a speech to “welcome” the incoming students and said, ” We don’t want any hippies with guitars here.  If you want to be a hippy with a guitar go to Dental School in California!”  Then a certain Dr. Lantz , with a Pennsylvania Dutch accent, came over to me and told me to get a haircut, and continued telling me that for the next four years,  until literally the very  day he handed me my diploma.  As I approached the podium to receive my D.D.S. degree after four grueling years of work, all he could manage to say was ” Gurian, get a haircut!”

And if you saw the length of my hair in those days you’d know they were out of their minds.  I also had grown a moustache which was in style in New York in those days and that really threw them over the edge.  In those days in Philadelphia, if you wore a turtleneck sweater you were considered a radical, … an anarchist!  I was not allowed to see patients for three whole weeks which put me in danger of not being able to complete my clinic requirements, and therefore not be able to graduate.

Because I grew a moustache I was told by my faculty advisor that I was “a disgrace to the profession.”   Meanwhile the halls bore the paintings of the school’s founders all of whom had huge mutton chop whiskers and plenty of facial hair.

The only saving grace was that Dr. Lantz and Dr. Mingeldorff ( I’m not kidding, that was his name!), who actually had a Confederate flag in his office that said ” The South will rise again” found out that my father had served in World War II.   And the way they found out was because my Dad had come down to Philly for me to do some work on his teeth and to speak to them about not letting me in the clinic, and they refused to let me work on my own father, until he had a talk with them and it came out that he had been in the O.S.S. ( Officer’s Strategic Service).  Dr. Lantz’s exact words which were seared into my brain were, ” Your Dad served us well in World War II.”

That still didn’t get me back in the clinic but they did let me work on my father, since he had driven down from New York City to see me.  My Dad told them that he didn’t feel he could tell me how to look because I was almost a doctor. It took my mother buying me a wig, with short hair and a part, in order for them to allow me to see patients again.  And I had to appear in Dr. Mingeldorff’s office , and slowly turn in a circle so that he could examine my hair from every angle.  He seemed to have no idea that it was a wig, because several weeks later, he showed his true nature by telling me it was time to get a haircut again because my “hair” was once again getting too long!

This was the length hair that got me banned from Dental School, and forced me to resort to wearing a wig in order to graduate!

This was the length hair that got me banned from Dental School, and forced me to resort to wearing a wig in order to graduate!

The bullying in Dental School got so bad that in the class where we were being taught how to give injections in the mouth, I was in the middle of giving an injection to a patient over the upper front teeth.  I was doing my best to make it painless. The needle was already into the gum, and some moron instructor came by and said to me, “Put it in further, don’t be afraid”,  and he actually pushed my elbow so that the needle went in too far.  I remember the horror of that till this day, and if it happened now he would have been fired.  In those days we were too afraid to speak up.  Today I would have.

The torment I faced for those four years definitely changed me as a person.  I know it and I try and fight it on a daily basis.  To be openly humiliated by the very people you’re trying your hardest to join , is not something you ever forget.  I wrote on my apartment walls with crayon that they would NEVER break me.  I told myself that I would have the last laugh, and I did.  I had a very successful practice and I never participated in any of the alumni events or had anything to do with the school , or any of the other students, since the day I graduated.

I’ve been bullied throughout my life.  By construction workers who didn’t like long hair when it started back in the 60’s.  By random strangers who’d make remarks to me on the street about my appearance!  By neighborhood gangs growing up in The Bronx!  By powerless insignificant people who Tweet mean things to make themselves feel important.  I know how it feels to be made to feel like you don’t fit in.

Fortunately the entertainment world is a lot more inclusive.  They are used to free thinkers, and encourage that as it’s a sign of your creativity.  When you go into the Army the first thing they do is to shave off your hair because your hair is a symbol of your identity, and they don’t want you to have your own identity.  They want everyone to be the same.  Crosby, Stills, and Nash said it best a long time ago when they advised, “Let your freak flag fly!”   To this day if I hear them sing “Almost Cut My Hair” it can still bring tears to my eyes.  That’s how much I was bullied about my appearance. 

In recent weeks a 10 year old Brooklyn boy ran away and rode the subways all night to try and escape the constant bullying he experienced at school.  He was terrified to ride the trains all night alone, but it was preferable to the terror he experienced daily being bullied.  The NY Post reported that a  6′ tall high school female senior had her face slashed with a razor, just two weeks before graduation,  for the audacity of being pretty enough to be a model.   Where she went to school that was enough to deserve a slashed face.  She already had a promising modeling career that was cut short by the jealousy of a bully that attended her school.  She said they made fun of her for her height, but she tried not to let it get to her.  She was the only model in her school.

And another football player at Rutgers has accused one of the coaches of bullying him, which is the same school where men’s basketball coach Mike Rice was fired for bullying HIS players. The sporting field seems to be ripe with bullying since lots of sports guys have that same “jock mentality” I mentioned above, that belittles anyone without the right genetics.   Too many people take credit for their genetics, when it was really just a roll of the dice.

If you were ever one of the kids who got picked last when other kids chose up teams, you know the feeling.  I was considered a popular kid, and played a lot of different sports, but I often felt left out.

And the media bullies people too, as evidenced by the NY Post headline of May 7, 2014 about Monica Lewinsky, who is still trying to make a life for herself after being humiliated on a worldwide basis for being seduced by the President of the United States.  The headline read “After 10 years Monica breaks her silence”, and then it said “My life sucks” as if she said that.  I read the article.  Nowhere does she use the term “sucks.”  The clever press person who came up with the title thought it would be cute to continue the humiliation, while the guy who seduced her goes on to ignore an impeachment and is looked at as some great hero who makes millions of dollars giving speeches.

Bullying is bad enough when you’re a kid,  but you’re supposed to outgrow it.  When you’re still bullying people as an adult maybe you’re just sick and need help!

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The Most Horrible Parts of the Body

The Most Horrible Parts of the Body

Early in June, 2014 the world went wild with stories about Rihanna, who on June 2, 2014 walked into an event in a see-through dress.  It was an event at Lincoln Center and she was there to receive a Fashion Icon Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, presented by no less than the editor of Vogue, Anna Wintour! Rihanna’s gown was created by designer Adam Selman with over 216,000 Swarovski crystals.    Her critics, including Andrea Peyser of the NY Post,  felt it should have had at least 216,002 crystals, with the other two crystals covering her nipples which could be seen through the sheer material. ( I tried unsuccessfully to upload the photos from The Post but WordPress didn’t let me!)

On Wednesday June 4th the NY Post wrote an article about the occurrence, with a photo of Rihanna with the area showing her nipples blocked out.  Two days later Andrea Peyser of the NY Post, ( same paper) wrote an article she called ” Hey, nip this nonsense”, with an unblocked photo of Rihanna’s nipples, but the “nonsense” she was referring to was not the nonsense of making a big deal out of seeing Rihanna’s nipples, but the nonsense of her doing such a  dastardly thing as exposing them to public view!

What is it about the nipple that is so horrible that you’re allowed to exhibit and expose every other single part of the breast but that part?   How can such a small patch of skin with a little bump in the middle inspire such insanity in people?  Who was it who made that part of the breast so taboo, that it’s considered a sin for anyone to see it?  is it because that’s the part of the body that Moms feed their children with?

In Europe, toplessness is considered kind of normal.  European men must be geniuses!  Somehow they managed to convince European women that they could go to the beach topless, and no one would notice!  Maybe they just promised not to look!  That makes European women either the most gullible women in the world or the most relaxed and enlightened!

There are some people who still haven’t gotten over the Justin Timberlake/Janet Jackson “Nipplegate” thing that happened back in 2004 during the Super Bowl in Houston, when 143.6 million people were titillated by the sight of Janet Jackson’s pasty covered nipple.  It was blamed on a “wardrobe malfunction!”  More than half a million people complained and some haven’t slept well since.  Most were women without nipples who were just jealous!

Back in the old days, burlesque queens and strippers wore pasties to cover their nipples.   Actually they still do!  And back when I was doing comedy videos for Playboy TV, I  had to audition girls from the strip clubs, and there was actually a time when they were letting them use clear, latex pasties that you’d spray on from a can.  You could actually see through them, but just the fact that there was something over their nipples was enough to get past the “no nipple” rule!

In this so called age of “equality” between the sexes, it seems there’s a real double standard!  You’re allowed to actually see men’s nipples, probably because they don’t do anything.  It’s a wonder that we have them at all.  I don’t think anyone’s ever found a real use for them.  But on a man the penis is the most horrible part that no one is ever allowed to see.  Now I’m not advocating that you should be allowed to see it or to show it to anyone, but it just seems strange from a comedic point of view, that there is a part of our body once again that is so horrible, disgusting, and obscene that you can actually be arrested for showing it to anyone.  It’s literally a crime to show someone your penis.  Unless they request a viewing!

Women have low cut tops, showing off most of their breasts.  At any fashion gala or even some spectacular event like the Academy Awards you see women with their breasts pushed up so high, they look like they’re about to pop out.  It looks more ridiculous than sexy! But again, there’s such a double standard.   Men don’t have low cut pants.  Fortunately there’s no such thing.  It’s not like you can show off the entire length of the shaft of your penis except for the tip, which would be the equivalent of a woman showing off her entire breast except for the center!

It’s funny that the two parts of the male and female anatomy used to either make children or feed them are the two parts people are shamed by and are illegal to show.  Where did that start?  Maybe back in The Garden when Eve ate the apple because the snake told her to, and man was given shame! We’ve been paying the price ever since, but for us comedy writers, it’s really just a big joke!

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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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“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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The Comedy Cellar’s Live From The Table

I had a really great experience as a guest on the Comedy Cellar podcast called “Live From The Table.” Noam Dworman the owner of The Cellar is such a kind and hospitable guy, and I’ll tell you why I say so!

The inviting look of the outside of The Comedy Cellar! Makes you wanna go in and have some laughs!

First let me tell you about The Cellar. It’s a magical place where every single big star likes to hang out and perform. On any given night you’ll see Louis CK, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Attell, Jim Gaffigan, Ray Romano, Colin Quinn, and anyone who happens to be in town from LA hanging out there or getting up to do a set. It’s not that the 150 seat room is so overpoweringly beautiful, because it literally is in a cellar, but I think it’s kind of an energy thing.

Rooms take on the energy of the people who own them and hang out in them, and I think it’s the positive energy that pervades the place that draws the big names. That and the Olive Tree Cafe that’s part of it with the VIP table in the back!

The VIP table in the back of the Olive Tree Cafe where all the stars hang out while waiting to go on! Here it’s set up for the weekly podcast on Tuesday nights!

The club at 117 MacDougal Street, was originally owned by Noam’s Dad, the beloved Manny Dworman, who opened it in 1980 as Cafe Feenjon, a coffeehouse that was a serious hang for musicians. I remember seeing that name as a kid hanging out in The Village. It always stood out to me because “Feenjon” was such an unusual name.

Manny was not only a nightclub owner, but also a talented musician who appeared as himself in the Seinfeld documentary film “Comedian” in 2002. The Cellar was renowned for its postperformance roundtable discussions with comedians in the audience about political issues, and it was these very exchanges that were the inspiration for ”Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn” on Comedy Central.

When Manny left us in 2004, Noam took over the helm of the club! And he hosts the Comedy Cellar podcast called “Live From The Table” which is done from the VIP table in the back of the club where the comics who are performing in that night’s show can be found along with the comics that just come to schmooze or hang out with their friends.

Noam had me on as a guest and made me comfortable right away. I got there early as I always do so I can just chill and be ready to go on the air. I had a bite to eat and even got to meet his beautiful little daughter Mila!

Noam Dworman, owner of The Comedy Cellar, holding his 15 month old daughter Mila, with comedy writer/comic Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV!

One of the things we were going to talk about was my book called “Make ‘Em Laugh” which is about the 35 year history of The Comic Strip, the comedy club on 81st and 2nd. Chris Rock wrote an amazing introduction to the book and I interviewed comics that started out there like Seinfeld, Chris, Larry Miller, George Wallace, Billy Crystal, and several that frequent The Cellar like Ray Romano, Jim Gaffigan, Jim Breuer, Judah Friedlander, and Colin Quinn who was a bartender at The Strip until he quit to start performing stand-up.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with old friend Colin Quinn holding Jeffrey’s book ” Make ‘Em Laugh” which he is in!

I was on the podcast with Jim Norton who I had just interviewed a few days before for my Comedy Matters TV channel, when he hosted the last show of the first season of AXS TV’s Gotham Comedy Live at the Gotham Comedy Club.

Promo for the Comedy Cellar podcast announcing Jeffrey Gurian as a guest, and coincidentally it’s #54 which is Jeffrey Gurian’s lucky number! He even lives on 54th Street and graduated #54 in his class!

This was Jim’s fun interview:

Then it was also Lynne Koplitz who I love, and she had also just been on that same show with Norton, and then it was Dan Naturman who I know for many years and have always enjoyed his comedy.

Noam Dworman, Lynne Koplitz, and Dan Naturman on “Live From The Table” at The Comedy Cellar!

Noam was such a gentleman to have me on to talk about another comedy club, but I liken that to a beautiful woman who’s secure enough in herself to acknowledge the beauty of another woman without feeling threatened. Noam has nothing to be threatened about. He is the owner of a truly legendary venue that the biggest stars in the business call “home” today.

Not only did he help promote my book but he himself was kind enough to buy a copy and said on the air that he really enjoyed it. That’s not a just a gentleman, it’s the definition of a “Mensch” a word you may not find in your dictionary, … unless your dictionary was printed in Tel Aviv! (LOL)

Noam began by trying to give me a compliment by telling people that they should read about me, because I had an interesting background and an interesting look, and that I looked like a star, but Dan Naturman couldn’t bear to let him finish. He couldn’t wait to interrupt with an attempt to sabotage the compliment by yelling out “No, he looks more like a 70’s style producer” or something to that effect, but I stopped him in mid sentence.

I said, ” Why do you say “No’? Why can’t you let Noam finish saying something nice about me? Why do you have to jump in and try and say something negative?” Noam immediately agreed and stated that Dan was known for being negative, and Dan backpedaled by saying that what he meant to say was that I looked like a successful producer or someone who worked behind the scenes.

That led us into a discussion of “cock-blocking”, which that was a form of, where people try and block someone else from succeeding in some way. For whatever reason they can’t bear for someone else to receive something good. It kind of became the theme of the show, as you’ll see on the promo!

Now Dan is always a nice, mild-mannered kind of guy, and I don’t even think he realized he was doing that. It’s probably just second nature for him as it is for many comics.

Guys grow up being used to cutting each other down. It’s not necessary. Every meeting doesn’t have to be a rite of passage. Guys can support each other. For a lot of comics every casual meeting turns into a Roast. It’s why a lot of guys are not comfortable hanging out with other guys. Patrice O’Neal was supposedly famous for putting other comics in their place, or making remarks about them, but he never did it to me. It’s basically high school behavior!

Patrice and I had a closer relationship, and we really “got” each other. I would go so far as to say we had mad respect for each other.

(L-R) My special girl Jacqui B., Patrice O’Neal, Jeffrey Gurian, and Dante Nero at The Black Phillip Show!

Many people still don’t know that I was his co-host on The Black Phillip Show on Sirius, along with his original co-host Dante Nero. And if he hadn’t left us when he did, so prematurely, we would have probably had our own show together. Listen to a phone call he left me one night after we did our first show together. It’s something I treasure:

Patrice-Our Own Show

Anyway, I stayed on the podcast for the whole hour and when it was over, Noam invited me back, not only to the podcast but to hang in the club more often which I totally intend to do. It’s a rare magical place and he’s a rare magical guy! I can’t wait to go back! Here’s the link to the podcast:

http://www.riotcast.com/thecomedycellar/

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The Insult of a $2.40 Settlement Check from Wall Street

In the aftermath of the Wall Street meltdown of 2008, where so many people lost so much money due to the greed and dishonesty of the people who run Wall Street, many companies were sued in what are known as Class Action Suits, … one suit on behalf of the millions of people who were victimized in some way.

These suits are taken by law firms who get a large percentage of the settlement while the victims literally get pennies on the dollar to make up for their losses, adding only insult to injury.

Today after having a pretty good day, I got home, and checked my mail as I usually do. Inside it was an envelope identifying it as coming from SEC v. Bank of America Corp. Fair Fund. Underneath that it said ” Distribution Agent”. But the word “Fair” is the operative word here.

I read a letter that said I had owned 297 shares of Bank of America Corp. and as a settlement for my losses, which amounted to more than I want to think about, I was being reimbursed the grand total of $2.40. That is 0.008 cents per share. When I first saw the letter, I thought it had said I was receiving a check for $297. dollars. That would have been little enough. But $2.40? It must have cost more than that to send out the letter and statement!

What a joke, except it’s not even close to being funny. I expected to see an “LOL” after the amount. Wasn’t the person who wrote out that check embarrassed? How do you write out a check to someone reimbursing them for their losses and have the nerve to write two dollars and forty cents?

You wouldn’t even give that to someone as a tip. If someone helped you carry your heavy packages upstairs to your house, and you only gave them $2.40, I think you would be embarrassed. I can only imagine how much money the lawyers charged for this wonderful settlement of 0.0008 cents per share. Why even bother? I’ll tell you why, because you can be sure that made millions!

Not being a lawyer, my interpretation is strictly that of a layman. In most of these cases the defendant company never admits wrongdoing. They just eventually settle, with one of the contingencies seeming to be that they do not have to admit having done anything wrong. They just settle because they want to settle and have it over with.

I’m a firm believer in capitalism. I’m not one of those “Occupy Wall Street” people, who wants to tear it down, but I certainly understand their frustration. I stopped hoping for a Wall Street windfall a long time ago. To me the market is phony b.s.

It’s a big phony mess and the only people who make money are the traders. They don’t care if the market goes up or down. They make money either way. And then when the times comes to analyze the quarter and tell you how you did, instead of telling you how much money you made, they try and explain your current status in terms of percentages.

In other words, chances are you have less money at the end of the quarter than you did at the beginning, and on the surface even though it looks like you lost a lot of money, they try and spin it to show you how you didn’t do as badly as most of the other investment companies out there, as if that’s supposed to make you feel better. And they love doing it in percentages!

Whenever I’m in a conversation like that, all I keep asking is ” How much money do I have in my accounts?” I don’t care about the rest of the story and your percentages. Percentages mean nothing to me. Less than nothing.

I can’t spend percentages. I can only spend dollars. I want to know how many dollars I have now as compared to how many dollars I had before.

They hate that. They can’t answer you that way, with the truth, because all they could say then is that they’re sorry. They tried.

One day the market is up 200 points, the next day it’s down 400 points. It’s like gambling. Like going to Las Vegas, except on Wall STreet you’re gambling involuntarily with money you can’t afford to lose.

The market is driven by fear. Listen to any news broadcast. Every day they explain shifts in the market as being caused by “fears” of investors. Who are these investors who are so afraid of every single thing?

Every bit of news that comes across their computers puts them into a state of fear, where all they can think about is selling their stock so the market goes down, and so they can share their fear with others. Fears of inflation, fears of deflation, fears of trouble in The Middle East, fears of trouble in Europe, fears of unemployment, and if I hear the term “Fiscal Cliff” one more time, I may become ill!

What a disgusting term to keep repeating over, and over, and over again on every radio and TV station in America. Fiscal Cliff. That’s where these phony Wall Street guys belong. At the edge of a fiscal cliff. They pay themselves multi-million dollar bonuses for cheating people out of their life savings.

And short-selling is something I will never understand. How it is allowed that anyone can actually make money betting that the market will go down, by selling stock they don’t even own, is only a vehicle for unscrupulous people to make the market go down. I’m not sophisticated enough to know how they do that, but it’s obvious that they do, because every so often someone gets busted for manipulating the market in that way.

If the market goes down, NO ONE should be able to make money off of that. I think that would probably keep the market going up. And I’m sure they have their self-serving reasons to explain why short-selling is necessary, but once again it’s just another lie. It’s just another reason, or opportunity for them to make money at someone else’s expense.

So I’m not sure whether I’m going to cash this $2.40 check or not, or maybe I’ll just add it to another check I once got for 99 cents on another settlement, and go out and buy a candy bar, but when I saw it I just felt so disgusted with the people who have the nerve to send out checks for $2.40 and consider themselves having done a service, I felt I had to write about it.

I don’t know how these people sleep at night. And I don’t know who I despise more, the corporate people who cause the Wall Street downfall in the first place, or the scavenger lawyers who are supposedly representing the victims while lining their own pockets with the majority of the settlements. You can bet not one of these lawyers ever accepted a settlement for two dollars and forty cents!

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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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Oui 2 PR Firm Rocks Two Huge Events In One Day

For the past 15 years Rob Goldstone and David Wilson founders of Oui 2 Public Relations have been creating HUGE events and representing even bigger stars! They have a national and international network of connections.

Even in his early days, Rob was a force to be reckoned with. Originally from the U.K., (which is where he got that great accent! LOL) he traveled with Michael Jackson, as the only journalist personally chosen by Michael to cover his “down under” tour in Australia, and was chosen to accompany Bob Geldof to Ethiopia for his Band Aid Relief Fund concert back in 1985.

While living in Australia Rob represented almost every major international artist touring that country; from Cyndi Lauper to Julio Iglesias, James Taylor, Tracy Chapman, BB King, Marianne Faithful and Poison! Among his corporate clients were Saatchi and Saatchi, The Hard Rock Cafe, Chess: The Musical, Richard Branson’s Virgin Megastores, and HMV Music Stores.

After returning to England in 1991, he moved to The States the following year as the Head of International Marketing for HMV Group, (part of EMI Records)- a position he held until 1998. In this capacity, he oversaw the international marketing for the world’s largest music retail corporation, from the U.S. and Canada, to the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Japan, and Australia. His work led to close working relationships with artists, managers, and record labels across the globe.

David Wilson made similar moves, starting out in Northern California where he grew up, and winding up in Sydney, Australia, where he began his PR career at Rob Goldstone’s company, Crawford Goldstone Corporation, which at the time was one of the leading entertainment/lifestyle PR firms in the country. He moved first to London and then to NYC where he worked with a cross section of both music and entertainment heavyweights including Joe Cocker, Lisa Stansfield, Warner Bros. TV, Atlantic Records, HMV Records, and the New York Friars Club.

Which brings me to the purpose of this post. Yesterday I personally witnessed the talent of these two Oui 2 guys as they pulled off two HUGE events in the same day! I first attended the red carpet event for the Friars Club Roast of Betty White, and finished off the day by covering the red carpet for the Caron Foundation event at Cipriani’s on 42nd STreet, in honor of Clive Davis and Judy Collins.

Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV with Gilbert Gottfried at the Betty White Roast!

Needless to say, (then why am I saying it? LOL) both were star-studded events, and packed with press. David and Rob made sure that everything ran smoothly, and you could see how hard David was working by how wet his shirt was! LOL Despite the tremendous pressure, and various demands made on him, he was still very accomodating.

The actual red carpet was so crowded with photogs and press, that David was kind enough to set me up with a spot at the end, so I could get some great video interviews for Comedy Matters TV with legends like Dick Cavett, Larry King, and Abe Vigoda, as well as Prior of The Friars Club Stewie Stone.

Larry King, making a point to both Uggie from The Artist, and Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV at the Betty White Roast!

Old friends Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV and actor/singer Dominic Chianese at the Friars Roast for Betty White!

Although I didn’t get to talk to Betty White or some of my old pals like Norm Crosby,(who just didn’t hear me when I called out to him! LOL), and Liza Minelli, I did get to talk to Donny Deutsch, who was shocked that I had met his parents at a comedy event I produced at the Westbury Country Club, Dominic Chianese who was shocked that we hadn’t seen each other in so long, and legendary talent agent Don Buchwald who was just plain shocked that I wanted to do an interview with him, (he’s just very humble!LOL)

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Donny Deutsch at the Friars Club Roast of Betty White!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with the legendary Liza Minelli at an earlier event! I missed her at both the Roast and the Caron event!

After the Roast, I went home to change my clothes so I wouldn’t be dressed the same in both events, got hold of a second DP to shoot the Clive Davis/Judy Collins event, and headed over to Cipriani’s where I got to interview not only Clive, and reminisce with him about the time I got him invited to his first Friars Roast, but also Laurie Dhue the MC for the evening, my old friend Chris Lawford, Geraldo Rivera, and Judy Collins, who pleasantly surprised both Geraldo and I by coming over to join us during our red carpet interview. It turned into a fantastic three-way, you should excuse the expression!

Patrick McMullen’s photo of Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing both Geraldo Rivera and Judy Collins at the same time!

MC Laurie Dhue with Stephanie Seymour on the red carpet for the Caron Foundation event honoring Clive Davis and Judy Collins!

Geraldo Rivera with his wife Erica at the Caron event honoring Clive Davis and Judy Collins!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with honoree Clive Davis at the Caron event at Cipriani’s!

I also got to reminisce with Geraldo about an evening we spent with Salvador Dali many years before at the St. Regis Hotel in the King Cole Lounge where Dali held court whenever he was in New York!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV reminiscing with Geraldo Rivera at Cipriani’s about an evening long ago with Salvador Dali!

You’ll see lots more when the video is posted, in the meantime I just wanted to give props to Oui 2, and Rob and David, for their amazing accomplishment!

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