Posts Tagged “Aziz Ansari”

New York Comedy Festival Packed With Stars-11/7-11/11

For the past 9 years Caroline Hirsch, owner and founder of Carolines Comedy Club has put together the NY Comedy Festival, a festival of gigantic talent and impressive proportions. I alternate between calling her “The Queen of NY Comedy” and the “First Lady of NY Comedy”, both titles of which she is deserving, for having Carolines Comedy Club thriving in NYC, and providing A-list entertainment for over 30 years.

The star-studded New York Comedy Festival takes over NYC for 5 days and nights!

The festival is made up of the biggest stars performing in the biggest venues, like Ricky Gervais at Town Hall,Kevin Hart at Madison Square Garden for two shows on Saturday, 11/10, Marlon and Shawn Wayans at Carolines for several shows throughout the festival, Denis Leary at the Paley Center for Media, Artie Lange at Town Hall in a show called ” Too Fat To Die”, Adam Carolla’s “Not Taco Bell Material” at Town Hall, and in a brilliant bit of casting, Jim Gaffigan, the whitest man in comedy, at The Apollo up in Harlem!

These are just some of the shows being offered. There are many more in many other venues, twenty-four altogether. I sat down with Caroline for a fun video interview which should be up very shortly, but we had a chance to reminisce about all of her clubs, which I’ve been going to since she opened in 1981. That club was in a small space on 26th Street and 8th Avenue, where she hired Jay Leno as the first comic to be booked there.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at Carolines on Broadway, with Caroline Hirsch, owner and founder of the NY Comedy Festival!

I don’t remember much of my life, but for some reason I remember very clearly seeing both Jerry Seinfeld and Paul Reiser there, before either of them were known, and being so impressed with them both, that I offered to introduce them to comedy manager David Jonas who at the time was managing Freddie Prinze, and went on to get him ” Chico and the Man!”

I had been introduced years earlier to David by award-winning writer/director/producer Alan Zweibel, when Alan and I first met up at SNL in the early days, although when I first met Alan he wasn’t any of those aforementioned things yet! But it was David that got me started as a comedy writer for great comics like Dick Capri and Freddie Roman.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Alan Zweibel and Jeffrey’s new book ” Make ‘Em Laugh” with Chris Rock!

Alan was a comedy writer on the show, and was playing handball on the walls of the SNL offices with Neil Levy, a cousin of Lorne Michaels, and Neil was also a producer on the show at the time!

Caroline closed her 26th Street location in 1987, when she opened her magnificent South Street Seaport location, and that’s where Jon Stewart got his start as an opening act. He even did children’s parties on Saturdays, and Caroline thinks she remembers him wearing a cape.

Then after five years at that location, in 1992 Caroline opened in her current location on 50th and Broadway, a beautiful room that probably holds 300 people or more, and is usually packed whenever I go. Now it’s called “Carolines on Broadway!”

And it’s run by old, old friend Louis Faranda, who I go back with to the days when he was a bartender at Catch A Rising Star. Louis and I also got a chance to reminisce about old times, and I got to tell him that he’s in my book ” Make ‘Em Laugh” in the Chris Rock story, of how he encouraged a 19 year old Chris to call Eddie Murphy after Eddie had given him his number. Chris was too nervous to call until he ran into Louis who said something to the effect, “Schmuck, if Eddie Murphy gives you his number call him!”

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV in a rare photo with old friend Louis Faranda at Carolines on Broadway, the club he runs so well!

That led to Chris calling Eddie, going out with him and his entourage that night to see Spike Lee’s “Do The Right Thing”, which led to a part in Beverly Hills Cop 2, which led to Chris Rock’s amazing career!

One NY Comedy Festival event in particular that I’m excited about is “Stand Up For Heroes” at The Beacon Theatre, whose red carpet I’ll be covering tonight. It’s a benefit for the Bob Woodruff Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to investing in national and community-based programs that connect our troops to the help they need— from individual needs like physical accommodations, job training, financial counseling, to larger social issues like homelessness and suicide prevention; educating the public about the needs of service members returning from war; and collaborating with key federal, state, and local experts to identify and solve issues related to the successful return of service members from combat to civilian life.

On that show and hopefully on the red carpet escorting injured servicemen will be Mike Birbiglia, (who kindly gave me a great blurb for the back cover of my new book with Chris Rock called “Make ‘Em Laugh”),Ricky Gervais, Patton Oswalt, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Stewart, Robin Williams, John Mayer and Roger Waters.

Sneak peek of Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing Ricky Gervais on the red carpet of Stand Up For Heroes at The Beacon Theatre!

I’m also excited about the prospect of seeing my good friend, style expert Ann Caruso, who worked with her best friend, and style expert Mary Alice Stephenson to style both the wives of the wounded warriors and some of the female warriors who were wounded as well and will be attending the event! It should be a spectacular evening!

For more info on the festival and the schedule of events please go to http://www.nycomedyfestival.com There’s almost 90 shows in 24 different venues!

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Millennium’s "The Babymakers" At The Friars- Opens August 3rd

Charlie Prince and his team always manage to get great films for the Friars Club Film Festival, coming up in October, but also to screen at The Friars Club itself. He even manages to get stars and producers to show up for Q & A’s.

Charlie Prince having a great time with Paul Schneider at the Friars Club screening of “The Babymakers!”

So even though I just got back from Montreal from being an official videographer at the Just For Laughs Festival and was exhausted from shooting over 35 video interviews with celebs like Bob Saget, Chelsea Handler, Howie Mandel, Adam Carolla, JB Smoove, and Triumph The Insult Comic Dog, I made sure not to miss the screening of “The Babymakers” starring Paul Schneider from NBC’s Parks and Rec, Olivia Munn from The Daily Show, Magic Mike, and HBO’s “The Newsroom”, actor/Babymakers producer Kevin Heffernan, and actor/Babymakers director Jay Chandrasekhar.

The Friars Club flier announcing the screening of “The Babymakers!”

(L-R) Paul Schneider, Jay Chandrasekhar, and Kevin Heffernan at the Q&A at The Friars Club for “The Babymakers!”

Paul, Jay and Kevin were there, and it was obvious from the way they got along that they had a blast doing this movie.

Jay and Kevin are two of the founding members of the comedy troupe Broken Lizard, and are friends since attending Colgate University together. Even as a screenwriter who creates characters, two nicer guys would be hard for me to imagine, and they both have great comedic presence, even while just doing a Q & A.

Actor/producer Kevin Heffernan making Jay Chandresekhar and everyone else laugh during the Q&A for The Babymakers at The Friars Club in NYC!

I had the treat of seeing them perform last night at The Bowery Ballroom to a packed, SRO crowd, and they were the same. Both of them have great comedy voices, if you know what I mean. Not every comic has a great comedy voice, but when these guys speak, their voices command attention, (and laughs!)

This film is the latest in a line-up from Broken Lizard that includes Super Troopers, Club Dread, and Beer Fest. In Super Troopers they played highway patrolmen who played tricks on people they stopped for speeding. Some of them were things I would do myself, like seeing how many times you could say “meow” to someone during a conversation, while denying you’re saying it.

Jay and Kevin actually guzzled two bottles of Maple Syrup each, during the filming of Super Troopers, which to me shows great commitment to their craft! The stomach-aches must have been intolerable.(LOL) After the second bottle, Jay found himself on the floor in a fetal position vowing to never do that again. He said he finally ran to the rest room, and he thinks he “passed” a sparrow!

In Babymakers, Paul Schneider plays a guy named Tommy Macklin, who’s finally ready to try and get his wife Audrey (Olivia Munn) pregnant, but to his dismay, finds out he’s shooting blanks. With the help of his friends, he decides to rob a sperm bank that holds a sample of his from earlier days when his sperm was still viable.

Paul Schneider, star of The Babymakers with Jay Chandrasekhar actor/director of The Babymakers at The Friars Club!

Jay Chandrasekhar plays a guy who’s supposedly a member of the Indian Mafia, and who agrees to lead the sperm theft! His Indian accent is right on, and I guess he comes by it naturally!

Jay Chandrasekhar and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at The Friars Club for a screening of Jay’s new film “The Babymakers!”

He, Russell Peters, Aziz, and Kal Penn have broken down stereotypes, by showing how funny Indian people can be, which I love.

A sperm bank in general is a funny concept! It’s basically the only bank where after you make a deposit you LOSE interest! And I once wrote a Friars Roast joke, (maybe about Lisa Lampanelli?), that she just got a job as the night depository slot for an all night sperm bank!

Anyway, this movie is very funny, with lots of unpredictable situations, including Kevin getting to slip and slide his way through a roomful of sperm, so if you want some really good laughs, check out the film that opens tomorrow Friday, Aug. 3rd, in theatres nationwide!

I’m just fascinated that five guys who are friends from college actually get to make feature films together! To me that is AWESOME!

And stay tuned for the great video interview I did with Jay and Kevin at the Soho Grand Hotel, which will be up in the next few days!

Jay Chandrasekhar, Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, and Kevin Heffernan at the Soho Grand Hotel in NYC talking about “The Babymakers!”

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Artie Lange Serves Up Comedy Juice at Gotham

I had been hearing about Comedy Juice for a while. It’s one of the top live comedy brands in the world, producing hundreds of All-Star stand up comedy events each year, and run by a comic named Mark Serittella, who lives in LA. Comedy Juice has been called the best standup comedy show in the nation by sources ranging from Sirius Satellite radio to People magazine.

Comedy Juice has featured stars like Sarah Silverman, Daniel Tosh, Aziz Ansari, Dane Cook, and Marc Maron on a regular basis and has consistently been a place to discover new comedy stars before they blow up!

Now, every Tuesday night at 10 P.M. they’ll be at Gotham Comedy Club, so I went down to check it out, and was pleasantly surprised to run into my old pal Artie Lange who came in with a young comic named Chris DeStefano, who I know from performing on Yonah Grossman’s shows in the Vintage Lounge.

Helen Hong making people laugh during Comedy Juice at Gotham!

The show was hosted by Jared Logan who was very funny, and also on the show was Helen Hong who although she lives in LA now I seem to run into on either coast. Last week I was in LA and I ran into Helen, and then I’m back and she’s here too! And that’s a good thing. I love Helen Hong, or should I say “Herren?” LOL

Al Madrigal onstage at Gotham Comedy Club for Comedy Juice!

Besides Herren, they had Al Madrigal from The Daily Show, Rory Albanese, Chris DeStefano, and Donnell Rawlings. Unfortunately I missed Rory Albanese, the producer of The Daily Show, who is also a really funny comic. I first saw Rory perform at the South Beach Comedy Festival and he killed it. I was very impressed that a major producer was also so funny. When you have a serious job like that, the only reason you still do comedy is because you LOVE it! There’s no other reason to do it.

Donnell closed the show and was really strong. The audience loved him, especially Kristen J. Eddy ,the producer of Anthony Anderson’s Comedy Mixtape Show, who sat next to me and was laughing her little butt off!

Donnell Rawlings killing it onstage at Gotham Comedy Club!

Artie went up and destroyed the room. People love to see Artie Lange. He’s one of the only performers I’ve ever seen who got a standing ovation just by walking out on the stage. That was at Town Hall during the NY Comedy Festival.

Artie was very upfront about getting off heroin, and spoke about how different people try to give him advice. One guy suggested he start running to get a “runner’s high” which the guy claimed was better than heroin. Artie tried it and was like, ” I’m on my 8th mile. When does it start feeling like heroin?”

Then he convinced the guy to try heroin since he tried running and the guy got addicted to heroin, and wound up living under a bridge!

Artie said he used to be healthy, back around 1974. Now that he’s healthy again, he’s afraid he’ll die from an old time disease like Scurvy or something!”

Artie Lange dispensing laughter to the packed crowd at Gotham Comedy Club!

He did a lot of new material, which I never heard before like analyzing the lyrics to Biggie Small’s rap songs. And he also spoke to me about his new radio show with Nick DePaolo on Sirius Radio, weeknights at 10 P.M. on Extreme Talk XM 165. It’s a mix of sports and comedy.

The reason I missed Rory Albanese is because I was downstairs in the green room shooting a video with Artie. It was a rare opportunity and I couldn’t pass it up.

I really like Artie and I hadn’t seen him since he went to rehab so we had a lot to talk about, and we did it on camera. It was very cool, it ran about 20 minutes, and I’ll be posting it as soon as it’s edited. First I have to decide whether to keep it as one long film or divide it into two parts. People have such short attention spans these days, you may not even have read this post this far down!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV backstage at Gotham Comedy Club with Artie Lange!

Anyway, Comedy Juice was a great show and I plan to become a regular! Maybe I’ll even get to perform one week, … who knows???

Check out www.comedyjuice.com and come check out the show in person!

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