Posts Tagged Academy Awards

Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Mike Birbiglia in "Your Sister’s Sister"

I get to see a lot of films before they hit the theatres and that is one of the perks of writing Comedy Matters for so many years. This week I had the pleasure of seeing Sundance award-winning filmmaker Lynn Shelton’s fourth feature film “Your Sister’s Sister”, and when I use the word “pleasure” I really mean it. The film was great!

Interestingly enough when I heard the title it reminded me of Mike Birbiglia’s My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, not knowing that he was even in this film. As the film opened on a group scene where friends gathered to remember their friend Tom who had passed away, it was all about Mike Birbiglia. He had the entire opening of the film, and it was great.

An unclear shot of Mike Birbiglia onscreen in “Your Sister’s Sister”, and I think he’s wearing his own clothes in this shot!

I tried shooting some screen shots but it didn’t work out that well, mostly because I was so startled to see him up there, I couldn’t stop watching to get a grip on my camera! (LOL)

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV backstage with Mike Birbiglia when he first did “Sleepwalk With Me” back in 2008.

Mike was recently in Sundance showing his own film “Sleepwalk With Me” which I saw when he did it live at the Bleecker Street Theatre. The New York Times called it “simply perfect”, and it was named “Comedy of the Year” by Time Out New York.

Richie Tienken, Mike Birbiglia, and Jeffrey Gurian at The Comic Strip after Mike filmed a scene for Sundance!

He came into The Comic Strip one night before he went to Sundance, to shoot a scene of him performing onstage to play over the credits of Sleepwalk With Me. That’s when I did this little video:

Mark Duplass is absolutely everywhere and for good reason. He’s incredibly talented, and he’s as nice as he is talented! The first time I met him was at a press junket for the film Cyrus which he wrote with his brother Jay, and which starred Marisa Tomei, John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill. It garnered well deserved rave reviews.

Jay Duplass with his arm around his brother Mark Duplass at the press conference for Cyrus their hit film starring Marisa Tomei, John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill!

I interviewed them both and then got to see Mark again on the red carpet of the First Annual Comedy Central Comedy Awards. He was with his beautiful wife Katie Aselton who is also an actor, co-stars with him in FX’s The League, and appeared in Cyrus as well. They assured me there was a part for me in their upcoming film “Jeff Who Lives At Home” even though it had already been shot and was ready to be released! (LOL)

Mark Duplass and his wife Katie Aselton from The League, on the red carpet of The Comedy Awards, holding up four fingers to show me how many awards they were up for!

You can see that right here in this red carpet video interview from my Comedy Matters TV channel:

When I was out in LA recently to shoot some sketches for Nick Kroll’s new show “The Nick Show Kroll” on Comedy Central, everyone on set was friends with Mark Duplass. Nick, as Ruxin, is one of the stars on FX’s hit show “The League”, and Mark and his wife Katie Aselton also star on that show as well. Mark is definitely everywhere you look these days, and deservedly so.

In “Your Sister’s Sister” Mark plays Jack, the brother of Tom who died recently. Tom’s girlfriend Iris, played by the fantastic Emily Blunt, is Jack’s best friend and because he is emotionally spent she offers him her family cabin on an island in the Pacific Northwest so that he can just chill and get back to himself.

Emily Blunt in a serious onscreen moment with Rosemarie DeWitt in “Your Sister’s Sister.”

Mark Duplass in an on-screen close-up from “Your Sister’s Sister” opening June 15th, 2012!

The cabin is supposedly empty, but when Jack arrives he finds Iris’s sister Hannah there, beautifully played by Rosemarie DeWitt, who just happens to be a Lesbian trying to get over the break-up of a 7 year relationship.

Rosemarie DeWitt in an onscreen moment, making a facial expression that makes her look like Diane Keaton in early Woody Allen movies. Tell me if you agree!

They proceed to get really drunk and despite the fact that she has no interest in men, they wind up in bed together, with some really unpredictable consequences. I really loved this scene because I have been friends with some women of that proclivity and I could swear we had an attraction to each other, which I found both very freeing and kind of exciting.

Things get even more complicated when Iris shows up unexpectedly the next day, and is thrilled to see her sister, but wonders how she and Jack spent the evening. I won’t tell you any more, because it’s too good, and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.

Iris ( Emily Blunt) and Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) having a sisterly talk in bed in “Your Sister’s Sister!”

I understand a lot of the movie was improv’ed which is incredible because that is just so hard to do, but it tends to give you more of a real feel as opposed to someone who memorized all of their lines. It must be very draining especially during the confrontational scenes which are very powerful in this film.

The film brought out some very interesting points to me, one of the most important being that you can have a terrible, all-out battle with someone you love, and if you step away from it for a few days, it tends to resolve itself. Sometimes distance is necessary to allow yourself to think clearly and to allow your heart to heal a little bit.

This is a heart-warming, thoughtful film that definitely needs to be seen, so go out and see it! It opens on Friday June 15th. Don’t even wait till then, go figure out a way to see it tonight!

Posted in: Breaking News, Celeb Photos, Comedians In The News, Comedy Clubs, Comedy Events, Comedy Matters, Comedy Videos, New Films

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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!

Posted in: Breaking News, Celeb Photos, Comedians In The News, Comedy Clubs, Comedy Events, Comedy Matters, Comedy Videos, New Films, Page 6 Review, Point of View, Press Junkets, Red Carpet Events

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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)

Posted in: Celeb Photos, Comedians In The News, Comedy Events, Comedy Matters, Comedy Videos, Featured, Film Review, General Information, New Films, Nightlife Events, Page 6 Review, Red Carpet Events

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Jeffrey Gurian Former Stutterer, Discusses His Cure For Stuttering on TV and Radio

I never know whether to write about myself in the first person or third person, but it’s MY blog, so I guess first person is fine.

People who know anything about my story know that I was a severe stutterer.  I started stuttering at about age 6 or 7 and it made my high school and college years miserable.  Only another stutterer has any idea of the embarrassment and humiliation a stutterer feels when not only are they stuttering, but even worse, when nothing comes out.

That’s how it was for me.  To this day, I’ll never forget the day in high school, when I was called on in class and I stood up to answer, which is what we had to do in those days, and absolutely nothing came out.  Not a sound.  And I felt the redness of embarrassment coming over me, and I can still feel it today. That’s how powerful the experience was.

I always knew a lot of kids and I didn’t let my stutter make me isolate, but it made me very unhappy.  I couldn’t even say my name which is a problem for many stutterers.  ( Not to say MY name to say their own names! LOL)

So when I got to college, and it was a huge college made up of kids from many high schools in NYC where I grew up, I made the decision to run for Pres. of the Freshman class, telling myself that if I could win the election and be President, I wouldn’t  have to stutter anymore, because it would prove to me that kids liked me, and that I was okay.

Somewhere along the way I must have picked up the idea that I was flawed in some way, and I had a very negative self-image.  Since I wasn’t able to say my name I appointed other kids as my campaign managers, and they introduced me to kids I didn’t know yet, and once I got a few words out I was able to speak.

Btw, my belief is that stutterers have a hard time saying their names, because your name represents your identity, so if you’re not happy with who you are, it’s not going to be easy for you to tell people who you are.

Anyway, I won the election and I was the President of the Freshman class of Hunter College and I still stuttered.  It was a great lesson for me.  It taught me that outside validation doesn’t work.  It doesn’t matter how many people tell you you’re fantastic, and gorgeous and talented, it matters what you think of yourself.

I became obsessed with stopping stuttering.  I had been to many types of therapy and none of them worked.  As a matter of fact it made me worse being surrounded by stutterers worse than myself. I took the next two years and worked on myself constantly.  I think that was about the time I was given the Grace to figure out that I didn’t stutter when I was alone.

Most stutterers don’t.  That means there’s really nothing wrong with you.  What a revelation.  If you can speak fluently some of the time, you can speak fluently ALL of the time. I created the stuttering problem myself!  And anything you create you can un-create.  It took me a few years of very hard work, but it was worth it.  One of my greatest accomplishments is being fluent.

I think about it every day and every time I speak.  I’ve been doing radio and TV shows for years and I challenge myself all the time, and stand up to the fear.  Stuttering is a bully that wants me to stay alone and not accomplish anything in my life.

With the popularity of The King’s Speech, which I thought was incredible, I was asked to do several public appearances to discuss Stuttering and my cure.

I’m including both of those video clips here, one on the Joey Reynolds show , ” All Night With Joey Reynolds” on NBC,  and the other on Valerie Smaldone’s show Valerie’s New York, on WOR Radio.

One of my greatest gifts is working with other stutterers to teach them what I did and how NOT to stutter.

If anyone who is reading this happens to stutter or knows someone who stutters, after watching the two videos in this blog, please ask them to read the Stuttering page on my website, at http://dr.jeffreygurian.com/stuttering.html and if it makes sense to them, which is important, because a lot of my cure is about knowledge, ask them to contact me at jeffrey@jeffreygurian.com

Remember – KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!!!

Posted in: Comedians In The News, Comedy Events, Comedy Matters, Comedy Videos, General Information, Point of View, Self Help Information

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Oscars of Gaga – Lady Gaga Parody of The Oscars

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

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

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

Posted in: Comedy Videos

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