Posts Tagged “Alan Zweibel”

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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Lisa Lampanelli, "Loveable Queen of Mean" Comes To Westbury

In the comedy world where backbiting and jealousy are so rampant, its nice to be able to feel happy for someone’s success. With Lisa Lampanelli I get that opportunity all the time. Lisa is a comedy superstar, who I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for many years now.

Lisa Lampanelli and Jeffrey Gurian at The Friars Club for Lisa’s singing debut!

I knew her when she was about 100 pounds heavier and as she lost weight over the years I sometimes worried that it might affect her career. If it did, it was only for the better, because now not only is she just hysterically funny, but she is also an inspiration for people who want to change their lives.

Lisa Lampanelli and Jeffrey Gurian back in the day, circa 2002!

It doesn’t take much incentive to stay the way you are. Anyone can do that. But to take your current situation and decide that you’ve had enough of living like that, and decide to make a change is a rare and admirable trait. Most people don’t do it. I did it in my own life, as a former severe stutterer, whose speech could easily have kept me from accomplishing anything in my life that had to do with speaking, which is just about everything!

Instead I drew on some inner strength I didn’t know I had, and by focussing all of my energy, and refusing to continue my life as a stutterer, I was able to conquer that “disability”, and go on to do many things where I use my speech in public, like appearing on radio and TV, performing, and addressing large crowds of people, none of which I would ever have done as a stutterer.

Lisa did that by having the courage and determination to change her appearance into the rich, glamorous woman she is today, and I’m sure she’s still pleasantly surprised every time she looks in the mirror, which I hope is a lot these days! (LOL)

The new and improved Lisa Lampanelli, post weight-loss surgery! What an amazing transformation! Photo by Andrew Coppa.

She and her handsome husband Jimmy Cannizzaro, who has gone from looking like a building with clothes to just a garden apartment with clothes,
(and I mean that only in the best way!) (LOL) have done it together. It would have been too weird for just one of them to go through such a drastic change.

Jimmy Cannizzaro and Lisa Lampanelli at the Donald Trump Roast before they both went through their dramatic transformations!

Now her comedy is a whole other thing. She’s known as “The Loveable Queen of Mean”, which is a perfect title for her, as opposed to the “Queen of Mean” title that Leona Helmsley carried. It’s very fitting in Lisa’s case since in my mind she does a very important public service beyond making people laugh. She allows people to laugh at themselves before they laugh at each other.

Very few comics can do that, and the reason she can is because she comes from a place of love. You know that there’s no hatred in her heart for any ethnic group or sexual persuasion, which is why her comedy is so popular with every group. Russell Peters does something similar which is why I refer to him as “The Messiah of Comedy”. His audience is completely multi-ethnic, and within moments he has every group laughing at themselves and each other.

People can sense where you’re coming from when you say something and with Lisa they know it’s all in fun. This Friday, Jan, 18th she brings her unique talents to Westbury Theatre. I can’t wait to go and see her. When I spoke to her earlier this week she had this to say:

“I can’t wait to come back to Westbury Music Fair or whatever the f- that venue is calling itself today. Actually, when I play there, they should just call it the ‘T&A Theatre.’ No, that’s not short for ‘Tits & Ass.’ It’s short for Terrorizing and Antagonizing, which is what I do best! But for some reason people seem to be able to take it, and the people of Long Island are some of the best at that!”

The world needs Lisa Lampanelli. There’s too much Political Correctness and instead of bring people together, by making them respect each other, (which I think may have been the original intention), it’s actually divided people by making every group hypersensitive to the remarks of others. Lisa helps to break down those barriers and in doing so is doing a tremendous public service!

Lisa is also in my new book Make ‘Em Laugh” with Chris Rock about the 35 year history of the legendary comedy club “The Comic Strip” for which she gave me such a cool interview!

Jeffrey Gurian and Lisa Lampanelli the day Lisa did the interview for Jeffrey’s book ” Make ‘Em Laugh”!

She’s even part of my ” Dancing With Comedians” series of photos, of which very few comics have made the cut!

Jeffrey Gurian dancing with Lisa Lampanelli as part of his rare “Dancing With Comedians” photo series!

I can’t wait to see her at Westbury and then again at The Apollo at the end of the month! More on that to come!

For Westbury tickets, you can go to:

Ticketmaster — more specifically, http://concerts.livenation.com/event/00004957D54AC7A0?crosssite=TM_US:909543:141

Or you can get tickets on Lisa’s website, which is also cool to experience, at http://www.insultcomic.com

No matter how you do it, just do it and look for me there, and come say “Hi!” If you don’t see me, it just means I’m backstage taking photos! (LOL)

www.HyperSmash.com

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Fourth Annual Friars Club Comedy Film Festival

The most frustrating thing about attending any film festival is not being able to see all the films you’d like to see, because there’s just too many good ones to choose from. That was the case at the Friars Club’s Fourth Annual Comedy Film Festival.

The schedule for the 4th Annual Friars Club Comedy Film Festival!

Back in 2009, Friar Charlie Prince, an entertainment lawyer in Manhattan realized the lack of a film festival geared towards comedy. He suggested it to the Board of Governors at The Friars Club, and they agreed to give him the green light, so the festival was born. The second year they had 8 films in competition. This year they had over 40.

Charlie as the Exec. Director of the festival is aided by his indefatigable team, including Eric Johnson, head of Programming, Susanna Gora the Director of the festival, and Sue Constantine, Director of Communications. There are others as well not named “Sue”, whose names I don’t recall, but they all work tirelessly to make this festival the success that it is.

Films, (features and shorts) were shown over four nights, to packed audiences, in six different venues: the Cantor Film Center at NYU, The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, The Core Club, the SVA Theatre, The HBO Theater, and The PIT.

Opening night was fun with a film titled ” It’s A Disaster” starring America Ferrera, Julia Stiles and David Cross, which could possibly be described as an apocalyptic comedy if there is such a thing! It was directed by Todd Berger, and Todd, America, and David, along with a couple of funny actors named Jeff Grace, and Kevin Brennan, were at the Q&A that followed as well as the kick-ass opening party at the legendary Friars Club, a gorgeous mansion on East 55th Street in midtowm Manhattan.

(L-R) Moderator Charlie Prince, with America Ferrera, Jeff Grace, Kevin Brennan, and director Todd Berger from ” It’s A Disaster”!

I shot some very cool video interviews with Charlie Prince, David Cross and some of the comics at The Friars CLub which you will see as soon as it’s edited!

Other highlights of the festival for me, and there were several, were seeing my old friend, widely-loved comic Eddie Pepitone immortalized in a film about him,called “The Bitter Buddha”, as well as seeing the film “Price Check” with one of my favorite actresses, indie-queen Parker Posey, and actor Brian Berebbi, who was also there for the Q&A and for the after-party, along with director Mike Walker.

Actor/improv comic Brian (30 Rock) Berebbi, at the premiere of Price Check at the HBO Theater!

Brian played a fun role in the film and as I left the theatre, because my life usually turns into a Woody Allen movie, I fell down in the darkness, and unknowingly cut my hand. As I walked outside with my producer Rob Krieg, I saw Brian who called me over to introduce me to the film’s director Mike Walker, and producer Dolly Hall, and as I extended my hand to shake it was dripping blood.

(L-R_ Charlie Prince, Mike Walker, Dolly Hall, and Brian Berebbi on stage at the HBO Theater, for the Q&A for Price Check!

We all had a good laugh as I made my way to the Men’s Room to clean up. Fortunately it was a minor injury, but a funny visual for a film, trying to shake hands with people while you’re bleeding but trying to act very casual!

The Bitter Buddha was made by Steven Feinartz,(pronounced Fine Arts, which is about as good a name for a director as you can get! LOL.) The title is how Feinartz describes Eddie, who is often called ” the comedian’s comedian” meaning someone that other comics like to watch perform, and it was a great look into his life and what makes him tick.

Eddie Pepitone fielding questions during the Q&A for the film about him “The Bitter Buddha”!

The scenes of Eddie with his Dad, who doesn’t get to attend many of Eddie’s shows, but who unexpectedly came out to Gotham Comedy Club to support his headlining performance there were particularly heart-warming. You could see how proud he was of his son!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV in the audience with Eddie Pepitone after his performance in “The Bitter Buddha” a doc on his life. I couldn’t resist holding up my book ” Make ‘Em Laugh” with a great intro by Chris Rock!

And it was particularly gratifying to me to see the turnout for the afterparties at The Friars CLub, and to see the club packed with so many young, creative people. That’s how it’s supposed to be. I’ve been involved with the club for so many years, and it’s great seeing the energy that Charlie and his team bring to the club.

I attended the closing party with Shoko Tamai, a very talented, and super-creative ballet dancer originally from Japan, but who performs all over the world, and is also surprisingly very funny! I’m excited that she will be doing some comedy work with me, and we are planning some fun and unusual things together!

Friar Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, with internationally known ballet dancer Shoko Tamei, on the Step and Repeat at The Friars Club!

It was thrilling for me to be able to show her around the club, and watch her amazement at the show business history that is obvious everywhere you look in the club. There’s really no other place like The Friars Club, and it always feels good to be there.

Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV, with international ballet star Shoko Tamei, in the Milton Berle room at the legendary Friars Club in NYC. Milton Berle was Jeffrey’s original sponsor in the Friars Club!

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Mark Malkoff’s Bill Murray Show

When I first met Mark Malkoff I had no idea how much we’d have in common. He’s a very interesting guy! (That’s not what we have in common! LOL) He sets himself a difficult goal and then puts all his energy into making that happen.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Mark Malkoff of The Bill Murray Show on My Damn Channel!

Mark hosts The Bill Murray Show on My Damn Channel, and the sole purpose of the show is to get Bill Murray to come to Mark’s house in Queens and have dinner with him and his beautiful wife Christine. If I was Bill I’d go. When I went for the taping, Christine made me a great meal, and the two of them were so nice, and really fun!

So when I was asked to appear and talk about my new book “Make ‘Em Laugh” with Chris Rock, and my experiences with Bill Murray of which I had four to speak of, I was very excited to do so! Also because I love My Damn Channel and Rob Barnett rocks! (He’s the guy who created My Damn Channel, just so you know I’m not giving a shout-out to some random guy! LOL)

Grace Helbig’s “Daily Grace” on MDC is amazing and she gets millions, and millions of hits! I just saw her doing her version of “Gangnam Style” and she’s adorable, and does it so well. She must have gone to dancing school as a little girl in Korea!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with the ebullient Grace Helbig from “Daily Grace” on My Damn Channel at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal!

I actually got to interview both Grace and Rob up at Montreal this past July during the Just for Laughs Festival! ( See Grace’s interview above, and Rob’s interview right here!)

So basically all the My Damn Channel stuff is super and I was psyched to be on.

The reason I relate so much to Mark is that Mark sets out to do things that appeal to him, even if they’re unusual. When I looked him up, I realized I had read about some of his exploits without realizing it had been him.

He’s a former “Colbert Report” staffer, who also visited 171 Starbucks locations in Manhattan in less than 24 hours, moved into a Paramus, N.J., IKEA for a week, and convinced New Yorkers to carry him 9.4 miles.

If I had known that I would have told him about my film I made years ago as part of the “Men Who” Series. It was part of a series of short films about men who go to work in unusual ways entitled “Men Who Insist On Being Carried To Work”! You can actually see it on my website at http://www.jeffreygurian.com, where you will also see Peter Dinklage star of HBO’s hit “Game of Thrones” starring in a film called ” Men Who Dance Where They’re Not Supposed To” and he gets arrested for dancing in a “No Dancing” zone!

So the Bill Murray thing really resonated with me because when I was in my 20’s, before I knew anyone in show biz, there were only three people I ever wanted to meet, and they were Salvador Dali, Woody Allen, and The Beach Boys, and I got to meet and spend an evening with each one of them. I actually made that happen!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Woody Allen in a much more recent photo than when I first met him! I made him laugh by saying, ” Hi Woody, I’m a very close friend of yours!”

And that’s when I realized that if I could lose my self-consciousness, expand my comfort zone, and not be embarrassed to go out and try things, I could basically accomplish anything I wanted, and meet whoever I set out to meet!

Each of those three events is a story in it’s own, but when I realize what I was able to manifest in those days, it’s not unlike what Mark has set out to do. And if you want something bad enough there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.

I live in Manhattan and Mark lives in Queens so ordinarily I would drive, but just that day Pres. Obama came to town, specifically to mess up traffic, so I did something I never did before! I went to Queens by train! Mark gave me great directions and it wasn’t even that bad.

We had a great time and Mark speaks comedy! The guy is a fund of knowledge about comedy and was able to speak to me knowledgeably about people that were way before his time, and people that I knew well like Milton Berle, who was was my original sponsor in the LA Friars Club, Henny Youngman,Jack Rollins, Charlie Joffe, and Alan Zweibel to name just a few!

Also there was My Damn Channel’s Jesse Cowell, the Exec. Director of Original Content, who oversees 30 new series, ( not 10, or 20, but THIRTY!) that will be debuting on My Damn Channel.

Jesse was very low key but is also a lightweight karate champ and when I watched his You Tube videos of him kicking butt, I was like, … this guy’s no lightweight! (LOL) When you’re that well versed in martial arts, you can afford to be low key. It takes great discipline to get that far, and it was always one of my dreams to be that accomplished in Tae Kwon Do. One of my very few unrealized dreams!

In my interview which will air tomorrow, Tuesday Oct. 16, 2012 and will be posted on the My Damn Channel website (http://www.mydamnchannel.com), besides talking about my new book with Chris Rock called “Make ‘Em Laugh”, you’ll hear me telling my stories of my experiences with Bill Murray:

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Bill Murray at The Four Seasons Hotel in NYC! ( No, we weren’t staying there together! LOL)

1. How we originally met up at SNL in the early years!
2. How Bill Murray tried to repair my car one night during the 90’s.
3. Me and Bill Murray at a press conference for his film “Get Low”.
4. A screenplay I wrote, with Bill Murray specifically in mind for the lead called “Searching For Ed Zintz”, where as the result of a practical joke gone wrong, Hollywood winds up honoring a guy who doesn’t exist, it becomes the hottest ticket in town, people are fighting for tickets, and Bill Murray, a failed comedian, gets hired to play the guy “Ed Zintz”! But because of my ADD, I got so confused that while I was with Bill Murray, in his company, alone and right next to him, I forgot to tell him about it!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV in yet a second photo with Bill Murray just to prove to myself I was actually there!

Well, if he comes to Mark’s house for dinner, maybe Mark or Christine would be kind enough to mention it, and then we can all make the movie together!

And then I think my next goal after that is to get my own show on My Damn Channel, and have Rob Barnett come to MY house for dinner!

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Rick Newman Has The Comedy Midas Touch!

It’s always a good feeling when you can be happy for a friend’s success, and when your friend happens to be Rick Newman, you could literally be happy all the time! (LOL)

Rick and I go back a long way, as we were reminiscing on the phone the other day, and he was kind enough to give me a very special scoop which I will share with you Comedy Matters guys!

Rick Newman and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at the Friars Roast of Pat Cooper in 2007!

Rick and his partner, Peter Martin, have undertaken a complete overhaul of what was The Triad Theatre on West 72nd Street, (which has been owned by Peter for the last 16 years!), to come up with a place “non pareil” in New York nightlife, (in other words, that can not be compared to, for you non-linguists), which will tentatively be called “Variety 72 Theatre.”

A photo of the new, completely refurbished Triad Theatre, NY home of Celebrity Autobiography, on West 72nd Street. set to re-launch this coming November!

This is the former space where once a month, on Monday evenings, for the last four years, Rick has been offering his international hit “Celebrity Autobiography”, where celebs come in and read other celebs autobiographies, and audiences go crazy for it.

Some of the New York regulars who appear are Susie Essman, Joy Behar, Matthew Broderick, John Leguizamo, Martin Short, Brooke Shields, Mario Cantone, Sherri Shepherd, Alan Zweibel, Rachel Dratch, and Kristen Wiig! It’s like a Who’s Who of showbiz! And I hear there’s actually a waiting list of celebs who would like to appear.

This new expensively overhauled theatre is set to be re-launched this coming November, right in time to run a week of shows during Caroline Hirsch’s New York Comedy Festival. As a matter of fact, the entire month of November will feature new “avant garde” productions in comedy, music, one person shows, plays, and seminars, and right now I’m thinking about what I could present in that one-of-a-kind space! According to Rick, “there’s no other place quite like it”, and he should know!

They even installed a complete state-of-art projection unit for screenings plus a luxury green-room. Rick has always stayed current with trends so part of the transformation of the theater “is to make it flexible and be able to use as a studio for the Internet”, he said.

“It’s a natural extension of what Peter and I have been doing for many years … providing new platforms and exposure for new writers, musicians, comediennes, comedians, bands, original plays, one person shows, animation, short films,etc. We are hoping to be able to provide new original programming for the Internet and for fresh talent and their ideas.”

And it will be nice not to have to run all the way downtown for this experience, as many art houses are down in Tribeca. This is great because it’s on the Upper West Side! I can’t wait to take him up on his offer to give me a private tour!

And now with Rick’s collaboration with longtime friend Orin Wolf of Off Broadway Booking, (which is a hot beautique agency that takes successful Off-Broadway shows on the road), Celebrity Autobiography will be touring internationally as well. They always wanted to do something together and I think that this definitely falls into that category! (LOL)

As a Broadway producer Orin is involved with the new hit “Once” which opened to rave reviews on Sunday, March 18, 2012. A national tour will begin in the summer of 2013, and the cast recently appeared on The View.

ONCE has been nominated for 11 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It was recently named Best Musical by the New York Drama Critics Circle, the Outer Critic Circle and the Lucille Lortel Awards. In addition, the production has been nominated for three Drama League Awards and five Drama Desk Awards.

And the story of how Rick came to be involved with Celebrity Autobiography is also a great story. Four years ago, our mutual friend Susie Essman, star of HBO’s hit “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, called Rick all excited and told him he needed to come and see her in this show Celebrity Autobiography. He went, and was hooked from the first night.

Rick Newman, Susie Essman, and Richie Tienken the day we did Rick and Susie’s interviews at The Comic Strip for the new book on the 35 year history of The Strip called “Make ‘Em Laugh”!

The four producers at the time, Peter Martin, Angelo Fraboni, Eugene Pack, and Dayle Reyfel, were seeking a fifth producer, and Rick became that producer, but with his own billing. It’s Peter Martin, Angelo Fraboni, Eugene Pack, and Dayle Reyfel in association with Rick Newman! That’s very cool!

The final part of this exclusive Rick Newman scoop is that on top of everything else, he is the Exec. Producer of a new online series for Comedy Central called “Thirty Seconds Over Washington” and it’s an updated version of a show he did 16 years ago for HBO, with Dennis Miller and Bill Maher.

It consists of political commercials with comics doing analyses and comedic commentary before and after the commercial. I love stuff like that because it’s so fun and so easy to poke fun at these pompous buffoons who take themselves so seriously, while making decisions that affect the course of all of our lives. This is a show I can’t wait to see. I’m not particularly political, but you don’t have to be Mort Sahl in order to see the humor in this type of stuff.

Rick appears in my new book with Chris Rock called “Make ‘Em Laugh- 35 Years of The Comic Strip, The Greatest Comedy Club Of All Time”, a book I wrote with Richie Tienken the owner and founder of The Comic Strip. What is especially nice about having Rick in the book is that at the end of 1972, Rick opened up the second big comedy club in New York City called “Catch A Rising Star”. The Strip opened in 1976.

Before that it was just Budd Friedman’s “Improv” which opened in 1963. Catch had regulars like Larry David, Robert Klein, David Brenner, and Billy Crystal. Richie Tienken was present when I did Rick’s interview at The Strip and Richie had the opportunity to tell Rick that he was his idol and the inspiration for The Comic Strip. That was a very special moment in comedy history and I felt privileged to be present for that, … with these two lions of comedy!

Rick Newman and Richie Tienken, the two “lions” of comedy at The Comic Strip, for the book I wrote with Richie called “Make ‘Em Laugh.”

When I launched Comedy Matters back in 1999, Rick was one of the first, if not THE first one-on-one interview I did, because I never wanted to just focus on the talent. I wanted Comedy Matters to also be about the people who made things happen in the comedy world, and Rick has always been one of those people.

Rick Newman being interviewed by Jeffrey Gurian for Jeffrey’s new column at the time called “Comedy Matters”, circa 1999. We both had darker hair and matching moustaches!

On top of everything else he does, Rick runs the Activities and Entertainment Committee at The Friars Club with Prior Stewie Stone, and plans special events for the club.

Rick Newman and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at The Friars Club back in 2006!

We wish Rick lots of luck in all of his many endeavors!

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Tuesday Night Comedy At The Friars

The flier for Tuesday night comedy at The Friars Club!

I’ve been going to The Friars Club since the late 70’s, and it’s as exciting today to walk in there as it was then. Granted, I don’t run into Milton Berle, Henny Youngman, or Joey Adams anymore, but I do run into people like Richard Belzer, Richard Lewis, and even people not named Richard, … like Alan Zweibel!

Friars Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV and Richard Lewis in the dining room of The Friars Club!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Richard Belzer in the dining room at The Friars Club!

In the last year alone, I shot video interviews there for Comedy Matters TV with Friar Lisa Lampanelli who made her singing debut at the club, Friar Richard Lewis who came to town to headline at Carolines, and Friar Brett Ratner, who was honored at the club, and you can see these videos on my Comedy Matters Channel at http://www.youtube.com/guriannewsnetwork

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Friar/director Brett Ratner at an event at The Friars in his honor!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Lisa Lampanelli at The Friars Club for her singing debut in preparation for her upcoming one-woman Broadway show!

The Friars is like a museum of show biz, and if you’re a comedy fan, you can’t help be excited to be within it’s walls. The club itself is a beautiful 6 story mansion on East 55th Street between Park and Madison, with a pool room, a well stocked gym, a couple of cool bars, like the downstairs Billy Crystal Bar, a fantastic dining room, a card playing room, and several gorgeous meeting rooms.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Billy Crystal in Billy’s office in Beverly Hills!

Once a month, comic/producer Aaron Haber puts on a comedy show in where else, “The Milton Berle Room” on the 2nd floor. Aaron is the busiest guy. He also produces shows at Al Martin’s Broadway Comedy Club, and also just launched www.evilnewsdaily.com

Jeffrey Gurian with Milton Berle in 1985 at the LA Friars, the year he sponsored me into the club!

This month he invited me to participate and in all my years at The Friars it’s the first time I performed stand-up comedy there.

I’ve been hosting shows at the legendary comedy club The Comic Strip for about a year now, so I felt I was ready to do The Friars. It was a great show. Aaron, who could have been the inspiration for Chris Rock’s play, “The Mother-Fuc*er With The Hat”, is a perfect MC, and somehow reminds me of Kevin Nealon, with his delivery. He’s very funny.

Aaron Haber or as he’s known, The Motherfu**er With The Hat, MC’ing his show at The Friars Club!

Also on the bill was Moody McCarthy, and I always mean to ask him how he got the name “Moody” cause he’s always in a good mood when I see him. He agreed to go on first which is always a tough spot, but not so much when you’re funny, and he is. It’s a very appreciative and supportive audience, and they loved him.

Moody McCarthy entertaining Friars in the Milton Berle Room!

Then my old friend Maureen Langan went up and killed it. Comics always reminisce about going on road trips together where they travelled to their gigs in the same car. Maureen lives on my block so we walked over together all the way from East 54th Street! What a reminiscence that will be some day! (LOL) Hey Mo, remember the time we walked three blocks together to get to that gig? And it was a little windy too! Remember that??? My hair almost got all messed up.

Maureen Langan making a comedy point to the audience at The Friars Club!

I followed Maureen and felt pretty good about my set. At least no one threatened to take away my membership, … and General Manager Michael Caputo was there, and was even kind enough to shoot the group photo you see below!

(L-R_ Moody McCarthy, Maureen Langan, Jeffrey Gurian, Aaron Haber, and in the back Josh Spear! ( A Spear in the back sounds painful! LOL)

The next comic up, Josh Spear, was an old friend of mine from the club scene days, where he used to promote hot parties. I hadn’t seen him in quite a while and was glad to see we were going to be on the same show, so it gave us a chance to catch up! He had a really good set, and told me he had to leave on the early side, because he was actually going back to college to pursue the education he never took the time to get previously. I thought that takes a lot of courage, and is very commendable since he already has a career in comedy.

Josh Spear being funny onstage at The Friars Club!

Friar Steven Scott doing his thing onstage at The Friars Club!

And closing the show was the always entertaining Steven Scott, who’s a perfect closer, cause he does so many things. Not only does he tell jokes, but he does imitations, voices, sound effects, and can even imitate music with his voice. Once we were on the Joey Reynolds radio show together, and he acted as an entire band, making the sound of each instrument with his mouth. It was truly amazing.

All in all it was a fantastic show, and all The Friars had a great time. You have to either be a Friar or a guest of a Friar to attend, so if any of you in the biz ever wanna come to a show, let me know and I’ll sponsor you for membership!

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Lisa Lampanelli Postpones Her First Anniversary Celebration With Husband’s Blessing

You know that saying, ” Behind every successful woman is a great man?” Don’t blame yourself if you never heard of it, I just made it up, but in Lisa Lampanelli’s case it’s true.

Lisa Lampanelli is a dear friend of mine, and one of the few to be in my “Dancing With Comedians” series of photos. A couple of the others were Phil Hartman and Gilbert Gottfried. Mostly men for some reason! (LOL)

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV dancing with Lisa Lampanelli as part of his rare “Dancing With Comedians” series!

Lisa’s husband, Jimmy Cannizzaro, or Jimmy Big Balls as Lisa affectionately calls him, has a security company, Canno Security, and is Lisa’s road manager. You HAVE to feel secure around Jimmy. He’s a huge, imposing individual, who is the quintessential “gentle giant”! The only people who wouldn’t feel secure around Jimmy are the kind of people who would try to ruin your evening. Those people would feel very INSECURE around Jimmy. To say he could be intimidating would be a gross understatement. He looks like he could take a bite out of a desk! I once saw him throw a guy out of a club with his eye! Just picked him up with his eye and tossed him out! (LOL)

Lisa Lampanelli and her husband Jimmy “Big Balls” Cannizzaro at the after-party for the Donald Trump Roast!

I see Jimmy a lot at Gotham Comedy Club, where he makes sure that everyone stays in line. He told me that even though their actual one year anniversary is this coming weekend, Oct. 2nd, he and Lisa were going to celebrate tonight. He even had tickets for a Broadway show, but she suddenly got a call from Whitney Cummings yesterday, to fly out to LA to do a guest spot on her new NBC sit-com the very next day, and he told her to go ahead, because they could always celebrate when she got back, but guest spots on hot shows don’t come along that often! That’s the kind of partner a show business person needs. Someone understanding.

No one should ever have to make the choice between taking an important gig or insulting your significant other! It’s not fair. In show biz you have to be where they need you to be when they need you, or else you miss out! Too many showbiz people wind up with partners who don’t understand that.

I’m a big fan of Whitney Cummings. I hadn’t really been aware of her until I started seeing her on the Roasts, and I was very impressed. First by her appearance, because there are very few such attractive women performing comedy. I was not surprised to find out she had been a model! They make fun of her relentlessly at the Roasts and she takes it in good stride because she’s obviously comfortable with her appearance! She also has a gorgeous smile, and I say that both personally and professionally, as I used to be a Cosmetic Dentist! I know great teeth when I see them!

Plus I’m a good judge of beauty, as Lisa Lampanelli referred to in the video interview I did with her recently when she made her singing debut at The Friars Club in NYC. She was preparing for her upcoming Broadway show tentatively titled “Bring Back The Fat Chick”, in which she’ll talk about her lief and her life-long battle with food and her weight!

She said that over the years she always sees me with hot, gorgeous women, and like many other people to whom I have not felt the need to explain, she wanted to know how I was able to get so many extraordinary women.

With Lisa it was different. I explained to her that I feel sorry for beautiful women because most men are intimidated by them and are afraid to ask them out. For that reason, many beautiful women are lonely. That makes me sad! That’s why when I see a beautiful woman, I go out of my way to be friendly and pay attention to them! And the more beautiful they are, the nicer I am to them! I feel it’s the least I can do! (LOL) Someone has to date them, … it may as well be ME!!! She agreed!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Lisa Lampanelli at The Friars Club in NYC!

Whitney Cummings is that rare breed of beauty who can also be very funny, and let it all hang out, like Chelsea Handler, and not worry about losing their femininity! The first time I ever met Chelsea Handler was at Carolines and she was doing BJ jokes with her father in the audience. That took balls! And I knew right then and there that she was destined for stardom. Not just because of her choice of material, but because of her stage presence, and the confidence it took to do that kind of material and not be shook by the fact that her father was there!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with the beautiful and funny Chelsea Handler at Carolines Comedy Club back in 2005!

Needless to say, I was right, and Chelsea is at the top with her own show, Chelsea Lately, for quite a while now!

Jimmy told me that Lisa liked the interview I did with her so much that she showed it to Whitney, and Whitney loved it! Maybe now I’ll get to do a similar one with Whitney! How cool would that be? ( Rhetorical question, not requiring an answer! LOL )

Whitney has her own show “Whitney” on NBC, Thursdays at 9:30, and is Exec. Producer of “2 Broke Girls” on CBS. She’s definitely working it, and I’m looking forward to seeing her in the nurse’s uniform she’s wearing in the pilot! When I ran into her in Montreal, she was dressed exactly like her co-star Chris D’Elia described her. He said for the last 5 years that he knows her, every single day all she wears is a hoodie. Check out the photo below!

Whitney Cummings flashing her beautiful smile in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal!

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Lisa Lampanelli Videos of Her Singing Debut At The Friars Club

I’ve been a Friar for many years. So when my good friend Lisa Lampanelli informed me that she would be making her singing debut at the club I was, … needless to say, very excited. ( It may have been needless to say, but I said it anyway! )

Jeffrey Gurian of #ComedyMattersTV with Lisa Lampanelli at The Friars Club in NY!C

So I was able to get exclusive inside footage with Lisa where we discussed everything from her upcoming Broadway show, tentatively titled “Bring Back The Fat Chick”, to people feeling left out, how she got started as an insult comic, hecklers, cruelty, why I’m not the same as most other Black comics, and all kinds of interesting things.

Lisa Lampanelli on stage at The Friars Club looking rightfully proud of her great performance!

Get to see Lisa how she really is. The video is in two parts cause it’s really too good for just one!

Part 1 –

Part 2 –

Please watch and leave a comment, and send it around to your peeps! And make sure to check out the previous post with all the Lisa Lampanelli photos at this link right here!

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Lisa Lampanelli Makes Her Singing Debut At The Friars Club In NYC

In a departure from the kind of performance she’s known for and that brought her great fame, Lisa Lampanelli is changing her tune, … literally! In preparation for a one woman show on Broadway, that she is writing with famed comedy writer Alan Zweibel, ( the very same Alan Zweibel that gave me my start in the biz! ) Lisa has been practicing her singing.

Jeffrey Gurian with Lisa Lampanelli at The Friars Club just before her singing debut!

Jeffrey Gurian with Alan Zweibel at the Friars Roast of Jerry Lewis back in 2006!

The show should be ready in the Fall of 2012, and has the working title of “Bring Back The Fat Chick”, which is a reference to a great story as to how she got started doing insult comedy. She did a set at a show and the set went great. The next comic didn’t do so well and some guy in the audience yelled out, “Bring back the fat chick”, probably thinking in his mindless stupidity that he was offering up a compliment!

All Lisa heard was “fat chick” and it got her so annoyed she went home and wrote ” 15 pages of jokes insults and retorts to hecklers!” After that she became an insult comic. She says she’s grateful to that guy to this day, but hopes he’s dead anyway! (LOL) Lisa Lampanelli can say ANYTHING and get away with it. Very few people have that gift! It’s cause she has a beautiful heart and comes from a good place and people can tell the difference!

At a Friars event in her honor that I attended, along with her parents, she referred to her Mom as the “C” word, and her Dad as “an old deaf bastard!” To their credit, both of her parents were hysterical laughing.

Lisa Lampanelli flanked by her parents at an event at The Friars Club in her honor!

So for her singing debut, she did two songs at the legendary Friars Club on what they call “Diva Night.” In an evening produced by Randie Levine-Miller, Lisa joined the ranks of Broadway songstresses, and belted out two funny numbers that go along perfectly with who she is.

Producer Randie Levine-Miller getting ready to introduce Lisa Lampanelli as part of Diva Night at The Friars Club!

They were parodies written by her friend and opening act Mike Morse, who probably has no idea that he’s supposed to be gay! (LOL) Boy will he be shocked! In her early days, Lisa only used gay comics as her opening acts, so unless she changed her ways entirely, he will have to become gay! He also appeared in a little funny sketch she did as a Jimmy Olsen-style old time reporter, who introduced himself as “Brown from the Sun.” I absolutely love silly jokes like that! And he shares a desk with a guy named Al Bumin!

Lisa Lampanelli rehearsing for Jeffrey Gurian in the grand lobby of the famed Friars Club of NYC!

The first song parody was about her addiction to food, because Lisa is very honest about everything, but especially about her struggle with food and her weight. It was written to the tune of ” I’m Just A Girl Who Can’t Say No” from Oklahoma.

Lisa Lampanelli singing her little heart out at The Friars Club in NYC!

The second one was a parody called ” I Don’t Wanna Insult No More”, to the tune “Show Off” from The Drowsey Chaperone! They were both perfect vehicles for her, and she did great! I didn’t know what to expect, but I had the confidence in Lisa to know that if she was going to do something she was going to give it her all, and do it well.

I was honored that she asked me to come and tape her performance, and do an in depth video interview, which you will all be seeing very shortly! Contrary to what some unenlightened people might think, Lisa is about inclusion. The theme of her show will be her lifelong struggles with weight control,and I have to say she looks fantastic. I’ve known her for years, and she’s lost a ton of weight and developed a glamorous appearance. Fame, money and self-esteem will do that for you!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV and his good pal Lisa Lampanelli AFTER her singing debut, and their video interview at The Friars Club!

Lisa’s husband Jimmy Cannizzaro is a great guy, who I see very often helping control the crowds at Gotham Comedy Club. Trust me, no one would mess with this guy. He’s basically a building with clothing! He looks like he could take a bite out of a desk! But he’s one of those guys they describe as “a gentle giant”! You can tell he has a heart of gold. He was telling me about their wedding which took place at The Friars Club last October of 2010.

Lisa Lampanelli and her husband Jimmy Cannizzaro, otherwise affectionately known as Jimmy Big Balls by his loving wife Lisa!

They deserve a lot of Happiness, and I’m proud to say they’re friends of mine, and supporters of Comedy Matters! Video coming soon!!!

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