Posts Tagged Carolines Comedy Club

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!

Posted in: Books, Breaking News, Celeb Photos, Comedians In The News, Comedy Clubs, Comedy Events, Comedy Festivals, Comedy Matters, Comedy Videos, Nightlife Events, Podcasts, Red Carpet Events, Variety Show

Leave a Comment (0) →

Cipha Sounds and Tony Roberts Birthday Show at Carolines

Cipha Sounds is one of the busiest guys in comedy. He produces about a show a minute these days. At least it seems that way. Every time I check my e-mail there’s another Cipha Sounds show and they’re all good!

As soon as he ends one show he starts another, and for a guy who gets up at 3 A.M. every morning to do his radio thing on Hot 97, that’s not easy!

Cipha Sounds, Ruperto Vanderpool,( the Dominican Tupac !), and Esau McGraw spinning webs backstage at Carolines!

But I knew I had to catch his birthday show. I recently shot a cool video with Ciph at the Comedy Juice show at Gotham, where he finally explained to me what “Don’t Get Gassed” means cause that’s the name of his show. It’s the “Don’t Get Gassed Comedy Series.”

It’s an old school hip-hop expression for don’t get carried away with yourself. He was once interviewing Russell Simmons and DJ Funkmaster Flex yelled out in the background during the interview, “Hey Cipha, don’t get gassed. DON’T GET GASSED!”

And Cipha liked the expression so much, he used it for the name of his show. In the interview he told me about the birthday show, so I knew I had to show up and support!

It was a great line-up of talent, and I got to meet a couple of new guys I had only heard about, but had never seen before, Trixx, Esau McGraw, and Tony Roberts.

Cipha opened the show, and he does a round up of all the races in attendance. He salutes each one in their own dialect, and he does a very good “White” voice, which he explains by saying, ” I speak job interview!”

Then he goes around the crowd asking interesting questions. To one couple who he asked if they were married, and who said “yes”, he said, ” Black married or legally married?” That’s hysterical! He was like, ” How many years are you Black married for?”

He asked another guy, ” What part of Queens are you from, … Riker’s Island? (For those of you from out of town, Riker’s Island is a prison! LOL)

Then Trixx came out, and he’s from Toronto. Funny dude! He had this advice for White people: “Stop inviting Black people to go camping. We don’t wanna go!” And it’s true, you never see Black people camping.

You also don’t see them white water rafting, or bungee jumping, and other stupid dangerous things like that! Only bored White people do those dangerous things.

Andrew Schulz, the token White comic, with Tony Roberts backstage at Carolines! At least he’s wearing a backwards baseball cap!

Thanks to comedic affirmative action, they had a white comic on the show too, and it was Andrew Schulz. He was a big hit, and talked about his three female roommates, and how much hair he finds around the apartment. “It’s like living with three cats”, he says!

He went on to say, ” I don’t know how men go bald. It’s women that are losing all the hair.” He went into the bathroom and pulled what looked like a wolf out of the drain! (LOL)

On Mexicans: Mexicans are hard working people. Just to prove it to you, are there any Mexican’s here tonight? You see, they’re all working!”

People say that Mexicans steal our jobs. If you were going to steal a job, wouldn’t you steal a good job? What do they do, walk into a kitchen with a gun and say “Give me those dishes! This dishwashing job is mine!”

Then I got to see Esau McGraw. I knew I was going to like Esau even before I saw him from what Cipha told me in the video I shot with him the week before. Esau also had a great singing voice and he brought the audience to it’s knees with laughter. He had them gasping for breath, he was that strong!

He told of his uncle, who I think lives in Florida and lost 315 pounds, but now has all that extra skin. He has so much extra skin, when he goes swimming he glides around the pool like a stingray! (LOL) Great visual!

He also just found out that his step-Dad is his real Dad, and he was like, ” All those Sundays I sat on the porch waiting for you to come visit me, and you were here all the time?”

Esau is a Biblical name after the story of Esau and Jacob. I think their father was blind, and Esau was very hairy, and tried to steal his brother’s birthright. In other words, he tried to trick his father into giving him some land that was meant for his brother, but when his father felt his arm and felt how hairy it was he realized he was being tricked! So Esau McGraw is such a cool name. It’s almost like a Biblical cartoon name!

Ruperto Vanderpool, who is always a killer performer, and is so talented, came out as a surprise and did a character piece as “Dominican Tupac”. That man can dance, and has abs of steel! The audience loved it and they had no rehearsal at all. He and Cipha put it together right before the show, and I was backstage with them and saw the whole thing. They just put it together on the spot!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with his son Tony Roberts backstage at Carolines! Can you see the resemblance???

Tony Roberts from Detroit was the closer. After we met and kicked it a bit we found out we were both friends with Frank Holder from Humor Mill Magazine, who hopefully will be posting this article! (LOL)

Tony came out singing this really funny song, which I think he wrote called “You Need Your Ass Beat”, and most songs that people write are lame, but this one wasn’t. It was actually funny the way he did it, and I think it’s on his new DVD, “Bitch Where You Been!” I’m not even sure if he was kidding or not with that, but I guess I can always check it out on Google!

He is so high energy, it’s not common to see someone work a stage like that. He almost makes Chris Rock look lethargic! (LOL)

I laughed my ass off when he mentioned a comedy porn he was working on called ” Not So Fast, Her Tooth Is Loose!” That is hysterical!

But the best part was after the show in the dressing room. A video guy from Hot 97 came in to ask Tony to do a “drop”, (a promo for the station), and right in the middle of it, he pulled me into the frame, and said I was his Dad, and that he was so happy to see me! I can’t wait to get a copy of it and show all you guys!

Needless to say, I had a great time, and I hope to see these guys again soon! (So if it’s needless to say, why did I say it??? LOL)

As a matter of fact, we all had so much fun that we all hung out after the show right outside the club, and talked comedy till my meter ran out and I had to run, cause in NY a ticket is $130. bucks! And that’s really CRAZY!

For more on Cipha Sounds see the previous Comedy Matters post – http://wp.me/p1pHIm-X5

Posted in: Comedians In The News, Comedy Clubs, Comedy Events, Comedy Matters, Comedy Videos, Red Carpet Events

Leave a Comment (0) →

Ricky Gervais at the 92nd Street Y

Bill Carter of the NY Times moderated a fascinating and highly entertaining conversation with multi-award winning Ricky Gervais, said by some to be the most influential British writer/comedian in the USA since Charlie Chaplin. Ricky of course created The Office which is now shown in 90 countries. Even China is considering creating a version, which should be especially funny,when they try and translate it into all of the dialects spoken in China.

Ricky has won three Golden Globes, two primetime Emmy’s, and seven BAFTAS. I’m not even sure what a BAFTA is, but I’m sure it’s something special since he admits to winning seven of them! (LOL)

As I walked into the 92nd Street Y, I ran into Caroline Hirsch, New York’s reigning Queen of Comedy, and the creator/producer of the NY Comedy Festival. This event is part of that festival and Caroline always brings in the biggest stars from the comedy world to play in special venues.

The event was opened by a man named Buddy Teich,who is described as the benefactor of the Y’s “Funny People” series. I know Buddy as the man who seconded my application to become an LA Friar, when Milton Berle sponsored me for membership many years ago. Uncle Miltie was a good friend of mine, and honored me by sponsoring me for membership while I was out in LA. I had been writing some material for him, and one day while I was at his house, he suggested bringing me into the LA Friars. He was the Pres. at the time.

When I asked him who would second me, he said his friend Buddy Teich. That was the last time I saw him until last night. I know he didn’t remember cause it was so long ago, but it was great to be able to see him again and reminded me of my friendship with the legend known as Mr. Television.

Ricky had lots to say about a lot of things. He started out by saying that just before he came over he ran into Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters on the street, and Dave had invited him to his show tonight. He was all excited about going, until his girlfriend reminded him he had to appear at the Y. So much for Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters!

A little known fact about Ricky is that in 1982, he and his friend Bill Macrae formed a British New Wave group called Seona ( Shawna) Dancing, with Gervais writing and singing the lyrics. In 1985, one of his songs became a #1 hit in The Philippines, which he still can’t understand.

On people being offended by the jokes he told while hosting The Golden Globes this past year: They should see my stand-up act! It’s not like I was playing to a roomful of wounded soldiers. In referring to his remarks about The Tourist starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, he described it as, ( and I’m paraphrasing ) “gently ribbing two of the most talented , … or did he say pampered,… people on the planet about one of their films.” The reason I’m paraphrasing is because just as he said two of the most … people my attention was drawn away and I only heard it subconsciously!

On the possibility of hosting The Oscars : ” They don’t want me. They want someone nice and pleasant! It’s a night of glamour. I’d be fired immediately!”

He had a lot to say about Karl Pilkington, from The Ricky Gervais Show, who Ricky and Stephen Merchant have made into sort of a cult celebrity. They met when Karl was producing a radio show for Ricky in 1997, and Ricky was struck not only by his unusual sense of humor, but also his directness, and his inability to be pretentious. That and the fact that “he has the roundest head Ricky Gervais had ever seen on a human being!”

Some of Ricky’s most important thoughts:

Ricky thinks it’s important to laugh every day, and that humor makes you bulletproof to the big and little miseries we all have to suffer!

In discussing the difference between British and American humor he said that in England, everyone wants you to be as miserable as they are.

In America, every kid grows up thinking that they can be President. In England the attitude is more like, ” Don’t bother trying. It won’t be you!” That’s why the character of David Brent is so perfectly British. He’s a man who thinks he’s above his own station in life.

He and Larry David create what might be seen as “comedy of embarrassment”, because an Englishman really tries his best to get to his grave without ever being embarrassed.

There’s nothing like doing your own thing, and not having to listen to anyone else!

They also showed clips from “Life’s Too Short”, a fake documentary from Gervais and Merchant starring actor Warwick Davis (Prof. Flitwick in the “Harry Potter” movies) that premieres on the BBC later this year and on HBO in 2012.

It was a packed crowd, and a fun and insightful look into the mind of Ricky Gervais!

Posted in: Breaking News, Celeb Photos, Comedians In The News, Comedy Events, Comedy Matters, Featured, Important News, New TV Show, Nightlife Events

Leave a Comment (0) →

Susie Essman in Cindy Adams' Column-NY Post

Susie Essman got most of Cindy Adam’s column this past Tuesday, and she deserves it. Truth be told she deserves the whole, entire column! Everybody loves Susie as Susie Greene on HBO’s Larry David hit, “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” If I remember correctly, Larry saw Susie perform at the Friars Roast of Jerry Stiller and liked her so much, he cast her in “Curb.”

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Susie Essman at The Comic Strip!

I have the exact details of that story in the interview I did with Susie for the book I’m writing on the history of the legendary comedy club “The Comic Strip”, a club where she performed in her early days, but I’d have to look it up and I’m too lazy! I’m proud to say that Susie and I are friends for many years! We often joke that she and I have more photos together than she and her husband!

Jeffrey Gurian, Susie Essman, and Richie Tienken owner and founder of The Comic Strip after Susie's interview for the book on the 35 year history of The Strip!

I’m very happy for her that she and Jimmy Harder, a commercial real estate broker got married back in 2008. They got married at The Friars Club, and multiple Emmy-award winning writer/producer Tom Fontana who is one of the most talented and prolific TV writer/producers in the business, and who also happens to be a minister, officiated at the ceremony. Among other things, he wrote and produced such groundbreaking TV series as “Oz”, “St. Elsewhere”, and “Homicide: Life On The Street.” Tom is also an old friend, and was the Vice Pres. of the Writers Guild East where at least one of the photos below was taken!

Dean Winters, Jeffrey Gurian, and Tom Fontana at a party in NYC!

Jeffrey Gurian with Tom Fontana at the Writer's Guild Awards!

Susie’s TV husband Jeff Greene is played by the hysterically funny Jeff Garlin!

Jeffrey Gurian backstage at Carolines with Jeff Garlin from HBO's hot series, "Curb Your Enthusiasm."

I actually knew Susie’s Dad Leonard, who was a wonderful physician. He was an internist, ( which you would think all doctors were, since most of our organs are internal, right? LOL ), and he was partners with a doctor I went to. Once when my doctor was away, Susie’s Dad treated me, but in those days, I didn’t realize he was Susie’s Dad. He taught me something I never forgot. I had a pain in the back of my head, down into my neck, that wouldn’t go away, and he took his thumb and pressed really hard on something in the back of my head that made me see stars, but the pain went away. I have used that technique ever since!

Jeffrey Gurian with Susie Essman in Montreal at the Just for Laughs Festival posing with his book that she is in called "Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive."

Once when Susie was appearing at Carolines Comedy Club, she came down with some sort of eye infection and was afraid she’d have to cancel her gig. I wrote her a prescription for antibiotics, and according to her I saved the day, cause her eye cleared up right away and she was able to perform. How I was able to write her a prescription is a whole other story, but to keep it simple, I was and still am a doctor, and am licensed to write prescriptions!

Jeffrey Gurian and Susie Essman at an event at The Friars Club in NYC!

Susie will be headlining Carolines Comedy Club this coming week, and she doesn’t know it yet, but I’m planning on coming down to say “Hi!”. Please don’t tell her! I want it to be a surprise!

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

Leave a Comment (0) →

Hot 97's Cipha Sounds Says "Don't Get Gassed"

Cipha Sounds is a straight-up cool dude from The Bronx, born Luis Diaz, who doesn’t speak Spanish, but speaks a language that lots of people like to listen to, which they do every day on his hit morning radio show, Cipha Sounds and Rosenberg.

I first met Cipha when I was co-producing Kevin Hart at Westbury last year in a comedy fundraiser for Haiti, right after the devastation that shook that country. The show starred Kevin Hart, featuring Tony Rock and Haitian comic Wil Sylvince who was also the host of the sold-out show. Check out the You Tube promo/commercial with Kevin Hart below.
Jeffrey Gurian and Jean Alerte Produce Kevin Hart at Westbury

We went up to the Hot 97 studio with Kevin to do some radio promos, and Cipha was great, and very accomodating, as was his partner Peter Rosenberg, another Jewish guy like myself who loves hip-hop music. I suspect there’s more of us than you might expect!

DJ Cipha Sounds, Jean Alerte, Kevin Hart, and Jeffrey Gurian up at Hot 97 studios.

I run into Cipha pretty often cause he hosts a lot of comedy shows. He’s very easy with his audience, and by that I mean he’s humble and makes them feel comfortable and relaxed. He’s a perfect host. I remember him telling me he didn’t really consider himself a stand-up comic, but I would argue that fact cause the guy is HILARIOUS!

Cipha Sounds and Jeffrey looking "hard" backstage at Carolines! ( You can't be smiling and looking hard at the same time! LOL)

I went to see him last night in his once-a-month. sold-out show at Carolines called “Don’t Get Gassed”. The room was so packed I had to smear Astro-Glide on my sides just to get through the crowd. And Cipha told me it’s usually even more crowded if that’s even possible. People had to take turns breathing, it was so packed. But there was plenty of room to laugh, and the line-up was killer!

I always like hanging out near the back wall at Carolines, right by the dressing rooms where the talent waits to go on stage. That way I get to offer my support to the comics before they go up, and take a few photos as well for my column and blog.

Cipha and I kicked it backstage for a little bit, and I meant to ask him what that title of his show was about, but it slipped my mind. We did discuss what happened recently with Gilbert Gottfried, and AFLAC, and unfortunately Cipha had a similar experience with an off-the-cuff on-air remark taken wrongly by a community of listeners.

As with Gilbert, Cipha is a man with no hate in his heart. Comics look for the funny and every once in a while they make a mistake, just like everyone else. The difference is that most people do it privately, and not publically on the airwaves. He apologized immediately,and all was forgiven.

Pat Brown chillin' with Capone in the audience after her killer set!

Cipha’s show opened with Pat Brown a really funny comic recently back in New York. I met her at Gotham one night when she first came back, and I had not heard of her yet. I was struck by her confidence, and when I saw her perform, I understood why she was so confident. She’s really funny, which always helps when you’re doing comedy! Not so important at the bank,or the supermarket … but when you’re up there on stage it definitely helps! She definitely held her own with the guys, and the crowd loved her.

Women have to be particularly strong to fit in on a show with Colin Kane, Mike Britt from Bad Boys of Comedy, and Mark Viera, “The Latin Prince of Comedy, three heavyweights in comedy as far as I’m concerned, ( and I’m still trying to figure out how far that actually is!!! LOL )

Colin Kane and Cipha Sounds showing us all the right way to look "hard"! Not really smiling!

It was great to see Colin again.  He and I go back to my early performing days at The Village Lantern with guys like Clayton Fletcher who often hosted the shows I would appear on. Colin always had an edge to his jokes, that made him stand out as a performer, and he’s developed that into a really unique stage personna.   I always knew he’d be big.  He’s the perfect white comic to play to a mostly Black crowd.
( For some reason I always capitalize the word “Black” in referring to race, but I don’t feel the need to do that with “white”. Is that reverse racism??? ) He doesn’t pander, although he does make fun of white people being kind of lame! (LOL)

Colin can get away with saying almost anything, and when he thinks he might have gone a little too far he says, ” Ohhh, so you want me to go home now? It’s 2011 people!” You can see Colin twice a month when he has a show he calls “Unzipped” at Gotham Comedy Club. The next one is coming up on April 7th.

Colin Kane being physical on stage at Carolines!

Now that we re-connected I definitely have to put that on my “to-do” list. You can see more about Colin at www.colinkane.com and follow him on Twitter at @colinkane.

Mike Britt is a more easy going comic, always funny, and he kills it every time I see him perform. Mark Viera is just so funny, especially when he imitates his grandmother, and does the Puerto Rican accent.  He’s definitely one of my faves.

He made one guy laugh so hard he accidentally spit his drink all over the stage. I think it was one of those deals where it shot out the guy’s nose. Hopefully he wasn’t on a date cause that could be really embarrassing. Not as embarrassing as dying on a date. That has to be the worst! How do you ever face the girl again??? You remember me, … I’m the guy that passed away after the appetizer!

Mark Viera backstage at Carolines just before going up on stage and destroying the room!

The great Capone, the gangster of comedy, was in the audience, sitting right next to me, laughing his ass off. He told me he was thinking of getting up to do a set, but I had to leave to put money in the meter, and run to my next event so I didn’t get to see whether he ever went up. I had just seen him perform at Gotham for Anthony Anderson’s Mixtape Show a few days before, so I didn’t feel as bad, in case I missed him. He’s a world class performer, even working clean like he was forced to do for Anthony’s show.

Capone and Jeffrey hangin' out at Anthony Anderson's Mixtape Show at Gotham!

When I told Cipha about my upcoming comedy fundraiser on Thursday April 14th, to help fight Diabetes, before I could even ask he volunteered to come and perform, since he lost his grandmother to that deadly disease.  I lost my Dad to that disease, and I look forward to seeing Cipha kill it at The Comic Strip on April 14th, and hope all of you guys out there will join us as well.

Tix are only $50. (plus 2 drinks of course!), and must be purchased in advance thru Pay Pal at

 

Diabetes Comedy Fundraiser at The Comic Strip-Thurs. April 14th, 8 P.M.-TIX ONLY AVAILABLE IN ADVANCE THRU PAY PAL, NOT AT DOOR

 

Posted in: Celeb Photos, Comedians In The News, Comedy Events, Comedy Matters, Nightlife Events

Leave a Comment (0) →

New Issue of Comedy Matters-2/14/11-Judah Friedlander, Nick Kroll, Amy Schumer, Rachel Feinstein & Many More!

Comic Strip Action

The Key of Awesome ( www.thekeyofawesome.com ) makes comedy video parodies. Their Kesha parody of her hit song Tik Tok got 63,000,000 views ( that’s not a typo!) and still rising.

Their Lady Gaga video parodies get around 20 million hits plus and the star of those videos is Lauren Francesca, who has gotten over 150 million hits on all of her videos combined. This numbers are staggering, when you think that most comics would be thrilled with 100,000 hits on something they posted.

The Key of Awesome’s main players are founders Ben Relles, director Tom Small, and writer/performer Mark Douglas. You have to see Mark as Lord Gaga. The man is brilliant!

So why am I telling you all this? Because The Comic Strip will be the site for the presentation of the new video I created for the launch of Lauren Francesca’s new channel, which launched on Valentine’s Day.

Jeffrey and Lauren Francesca as Besame Mucho, wearing color-coordinated outfits, on the set of “The Academy of Oral Skills."

In this film, (one of a series I am creating for her!), featuring the Comic Strip’s own Ray Ellin, Lauren plays a hot Latina named Besame Mucho who has been voted by three major men’s magazines, as “the best kisser in the world.”

She runs a kissing school for women, who need to improve their oral skills. It’s called “The Academy of Oral Skills” and she runs a tough class where she teaches women rare oral exercises like tongue push-ups, trapeze swinging by your tongue, and other assorted skills. The problem is that when You Tube saw “Oral Skills” they flagged it as possibly being too sexual when there’s nothing in it but kissing!

Mark Douglas from The Key of Awesome being pinned to a wall by an oral student’s tongue.

Even with the flagging we got 27,000 plus hits in only the first five days, and it was rated #1 on You Tube as the most subscribed, and watched comedy for the week. You can check out the film at http://www.youtube.com/iwantmylauren#p/a/u/1/yl-hgzCXOXQ

World Champion Hangs at World Champion Club

Several nights a week you can find World Champion of everything, Judah Friedlander, hanging out at The Strip, waiting to do a spot. Not that he has to wait. He could go on whenever he wants but he enjoys the hang.

Judah came in recently in the afternoon to do an interview for the book I’m doing with Richie Tienken, owner and founder of The Strip, for the 35th anniversary of the club. We also filmed it for the Vook we’re planning, which is a video book, something very new.

Jeffrey, Judah, and Richie against the wall at The Strip

We had the best time, because Judah just kicked back and told us great stories of how he got started, how it was a goal of his to pass and perform at The Strip, how he got 30 Rock, and lots of other cool things.

At the time he got the offer for 30 Rock he also received an offer to do a show in LA, but at 30 Rock he knew he’d be working with Tina Fey and would be able to keep his persona and dress like he likes to dress, so he made the wise choice of staying in New York and doing 30 Rock. He does have to shave off his beard for the show, but he doesn’t mind doing that. After all he’s the World Champion beard grower as well! It probably grows back in a few hours! (LOL)

What’s great about Judah is that he hasn’t let success get in the way of being a nice guy. He’s approachable. He’s very kind to his fans who mob him after the show, and he’s very humble and grateful for his success.

I like the bit he does when he’s running on his treadmill that has hurdles on it while he’s shoulder pressing heavy weights. His new book is “ How To Beat Up Anybody” and if you don’t run out and get it, he will definitely find you, and beat you to a pulp!

Also, many of you may not know that Richie Tienken is a comedy historian and through his exhaustive research he came up with the very first stand-up comedian from ancient Egyptian times, which he donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This is a photo of the very first comedy cruise, captured in a sculpture and donated to the museum by Richie Tienken.

Ancient comedian sculpture, donated by Richie Tienken to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Antiquities Section.

Gotham Happenings

Starting with their fabulous holiday party in January, Gotham has had a string of unbelievable shows one after the other. The holiday party was a smash, and packed with comedy notables, like Ted Alexandro, Mike Vecchione, Todd Barry, Judah Friedlander, and John Fugelsang, who was back in New York from Florida, getting over the loss of his Dad. Our sincerest condolences to John. He’s back making waves in the biz.

Bonnie McFarlane, Amy Schumer, and Rachel Feinstein at the Gotham party.

Dean Edwards formerly of SNL headlined a packed show, where the hilarious Marion Grodin was the MC. Harris Stanton told the story of being asked by an Orthodox Jew to turn on his heat for him on a cold winter day, because Orthodox Jews are not allowed to do things like that during the Sabbath, and Harris, not knowing that, responded, “ What did you have a mysterious beef with Thomas Edison?’”

Rich Francese said he wouldn’t mind being a rapper, cause there doesn’t seem to be any weight limit! He got invited to a birthday party on the internet so he sent them a picture of a gift!

 

(L-R) Harris Stanton and Dean Edwards at Gotham.

In order to get SNL you can’t just be funny, you have to be able to do characters, and Dean is amazing at that. He does fantastic accents, and impressions of Tracy Morgan, Chris Rock, and even Denzel answering a phone call from singer Lou Rawls which was a gut-buster! ( Where am I getting these expressions from? A dictionary of phrases from The Civil War??? LOL)

Anthony Anderson’s monthly Mixtape show never disappoints. It’s basically a comedy party where everyone is grooving on the energy that Anthony and his cohorts, like partner Royale Watkins, put out. ( If there’s such a thing as a cohort, is there such a thing as a hort?)

Anthony and Royale call themselves The Goodtime Brothers and it fits. Everyone there has a good time.

 

Anthony Anderson and Jeffrey laughing it up after the show.

Mark Viera opened the show and killed it as he always does. He had just come back from the Middle East entertaining our troops in 140 degree weather, so when he hit the 92 degree weather of LA, he was freezing.

Greer Barnes did a great set, and is another performer who can do really cool sound effects on the mike. He did an impression of a cop on horseback arresting a “brother”, and wondering where he would put him. Does he just say “ Hop on!”? Funny visual of a perp holding onto the cop around the waist as they gallop off into the sunset!

In the musical segment of the show they had Naughty By Nature do a set, and the great Chubb Rock was in the audience.

Gotham had an All-Star show which was aptly named. Rich Vos was the MC, and he often talks about his sobriety. He’s coming up on almost as many years of sobriety as Bill Wilson. Rich is another of those reliable acts that you can always count on to destroy the room.

Bonnie McFarlane was also on the show and to me is one of the funniest women on the scene today.

And then there was a guy I hadn’t seen before, which was an unusual and alarming experience for me, and his name was Louis Katz. I’m pretty sure his name is STILL Louis Katz since he has a half hour special coming up on Comedy Central on March 11th, and it would hardly make sense for him to have changed his name before it airs.

Commenting on his look, he told the audience he had spent the day balding. He also has a moustache and glasses, so according to him, with that look he’s just “a bowler away from being in disguise!”

Then I got to attend Rachel Feinstein’s CD taping for an album for Comedy Central to be released later this year,. The evening was hosted by Hot 97 morning star Cipha Sounds who I believe is back to hosting a regular show at Carolines on Tuesdays.

Rachel Feinstein throwing down gang signs , to Cipha Sounds from The Bronx, who actually understands them!

He describes himself as a Puerto Rican from The Bronx, named Luis Diaz, who can’t speak Spanish. He had a guy from the audience re-introduce him cause he said the audience was all white people who didn’t know him, and he didn’t get enough love.

He certainly got it the second time around. Cipha is a funny dude, and I gotta get over to Carolines to check out his show.

The great Jon Fisch had advice for anyone guy losing his hair. As soon as you realize you’re losing your hair, turn to whatever girl you’re with and propose!

Rachel Feinstein is cool. I don’t know how she was in high school, but she’s definitely cool now! She’s an original, and always fun to watch. She has the unique ability to imitate a guy’s voice and have it sound like a guy’s voice. Most girls can’t do that.

When she imitates her mother and grandmother , in that distinctly Jewish kind of inflection that only other Jews find hysterically funny and nauseating at the same time, you could “plotz”! ( Look that up on Google!)

Rachel imitates street guys coming on to her with pseudo compliments, opening with “ I’m sayin’ boo!” which might sound to an older person like you might be trying to scare someone, unless you are immersed in hip-hop culture.

But when she tells how her grandmother was a big fan of Biggie and is so glad the East Coast- West Coast wars are over, it reminded me of all the times I told people that my Mom bought me the AMG CD “ Bitch Betta Have My Money.”

And then there was Pete Correale’s sold out show. Jon Fisch was MC’ing cause good comics know other good comics! Also on the bill was Veronica Mosey another fave of mine. She’s also one of the few women I see who can really command a stage, and take control of the audience. It’s all about energy and she puts it out there!

Pete is funny and clever, and makes any topic work. Like his “Killer Whale” bit, about the whale killing it’s trainer. How couldn’t she know when the word “Killer” is part of his name? He asks, “ How many animals DIDN’T get the name killer? He didn’t get the name from being sharply dressed! Killing is part of his name.

Pete Correale asking Jeffrey to flatten his hair and that’s as close as it got.

Then he did a bit I guessed was new, and it worked so well I was excited for him. He said during Prohibition, the only way guys had to get high was spinning around. If he had ended it at that, it might have gotten a chuckle, but he embellished upon it, and as he spun himself around it became hysterical. As a comedy writer I always appreciate what it takes to develop a bit to it’s fullest potential. A month from now I’m sure it’ll be even richer.

Pete and I had a laugh about the time he and Jim Breuer, and Greg Charles from Carolines played a practical joke on me on the air. I went on Breuer’s show to talk about my celeb joke book, “Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive”, based on my years of writing for the Friars Roasts, and all three of them were in the book.

Pete was Breuer’s co-host and on the air they confronted me, and accused me of using their jokes without their permission. They even went so far as to create a phony tape of them talking about me, like “ who’s that guy with the tape recorder trying to tape us?”

I turned white, and almost had a heart attack, sputtering, “ but you TOLD me I could use those jokes.” Finally Breuer blurted out, “ we’re just effin’ with you.”, but they didn’t do it right away, and it felt like it went on for hours.

They had prepared their audience in advance and said, “ Wait till you see what we do to this guy!” I was wondering why they didn’t let me listen to the show before I went on, as guests usually do.

I was put into an isolated room to wait for my turn to go on. Greg told me later that they only did it because they love me. I’m like, “try not to love me so much in the future” !

Comedy Matters Quickies

Judy Carter is a one woman comedy industry. She’s a comic, a coach, a comedy writer, an author, a speaker, and she has sets of DVD’s that you can purchase if you’re not lucky enough to live near her in Cali.

Her “Speaking Career in a Box” is 3 DVD’s and tells you how to take your skills as a stand-up and make a great living as a corporate speaker. That’s assuming of course that you DO have skills as a comedian! And if you don’t she can help you with that too! You can find out all about her at www.judycarter.com

Comic Bob Greenberg made a surprise 88th birthday party for Larry Storch at Gabe Waldman’s Stand-Up New York, and it was a really fun event. Larry was so surprised he actually screamed when he walked into the room. I was afraid for his heart. I ran into my old, old friend Rhonda Hansome who is back performing again, and the great Jerry Stiller got up and said a few words. Even the legendary boxer Jake LaMotta came out to honor Larry.

(L-R) 2nd row-Bob Greenberg, Larry Storch, and Dave Konig on the end and in the first row, Jerry Stiller and Jake Lamotta for Larry’s surprise party.

Joey Reynolds has a new TV show called All Night With Joey Reynolds. After so many years of doing a hit show on WOR talk radio, which I was honored to be on so many, many times, Joey got his own TV show on NBC New York Nonstop.

It’s shot in the ground floor studio in the NASDAQ building right on Broadway in the heart of Times Square, and you can see the show going on from the street. It’s very exciting and I was really happy to be asked to do the show.

Not only did I get a chance to talk about my comedy projects but I got a chance to talk about my cure for stuttering which I used to cure myself. I was a pretty severe stutterer. Joey always asks me about it because he finds it fascinating, and I am very grateful to get that information out to people who need it. Stuttering can be cured.

And now with the popularity of The King’s Speech, there’s a lot of attention being given to stuttering. I was on the show with the super-talented Steven Scott, NY1 film critic Neil Rosen, innovative school principal Anthony Albano, ( brother of the late Captain Lou!), and a few others.

(L-R_ Anthony Albano, Joey Reynolds, Steven Scott, Jeffrey, Neil Rosen on the set of All Night With Joey Reynolds.

Steven imitates not only people, but musical instruments so well that he played along with the band, using only his mouth. Sounds like a graduate of The Academy of Oral Skills!!! The show is Monday to Friday from midnight till 2 A.M.

Frank Chindamo of Fun Little Movies, is just racking up the awards and honors. He hosted the Comedy Hotshots panel at NATPE in Miami and also has his own show on Direct TV called “The MoShow-The Pursuit of App-iness. You can check that out on www.gomoshow.com

The Writer’s Guild Awards is always one of my favorite things to cover because Sherry Goldman is a pro and makes sure everything runs smoothly. I take my position at the end of the red carpet cause I can’t stand being squeezed into places, and I greet the celebs as they leave the carpet. It’s so much more comfortable that way.

Hosted by Kristen Schaal, it took place in the gorgeous lobby of the Equitable building, and I got to meet and interview so many cool people, including director John Waters, Jenny Lumet, Liz Brixius who created Nurse Jackie, Matthew Settle from Gossip Girl, Wayne Federman who wrote for the event, and Vincent Piazza who plays Lucky Luciano on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, who said he really liked my scarf.

Jeffrey and his magical scarf, with Vincent Piazza at the WGA Awards in Manhattan.

It just so happens I often wear 3 scarves at the same time, but that’s a whole other story. I’m a big fan of Kristen’s and I tried e-mailing her to arrange a quick photo shoot, but maybe her e-mail changed cause I didn’t hear back from her.

I also ran into the ubiquitous Judah Friedlander who’s at as many places as I am. People often say to me, “ I see you everywhere” and I assure them that I’ll probably be in their apartment when they get home. One very gullible girl once said “ Really?” I assured her that I would!

But most important, I found my Comedy Matters Girl of the Month there. Her name is Angela Phillips and she is spectacular. You’ll be seeing her in an upcoming film by Alonzo Anderson, called Step Sisters. She’s a 5’3” ex-basketball player, who became a successful petite model, and actress and is the nicest person you could ever meet.

Comedy Matters Girl of the Month, Angela Phillips absolutely shocked at the size of Jeffrey’s pen!

She’s the regional director for Bella Petite Magazine, which caters to the petite modeling business. She’s also very humble, and the kind of person that when you meet them, you feel like you’ve known them forever. She has aspirations in comedy, and I’m looking forward to working with Angela on an upcoming project myself! Trust me, … you’ll be seeing a lot of Angela Phillips!

Madison Malloy and Andrew Schwartztol are running a new comedy show on Wednesdays at O’Casey’s on West 41st Street. It’s a great room and when I stopped by, one comic was late so I filled in and did a set. That was fun!

(L-R) Harrison Greenbaum, Andrew Schwartztol, Jeffrey Gurian, and Madison Malloy at O’Casey’s.

Jordan Ferber also has a great show and I went by to celebrate with him at the 2 year anniversary of his Thursday night show at Zinc Bar. Another “must see”!

Times Square Tidbits

They used to call James Brown the hardest working man in show biz. That title has now been taken by Dennis Gatti the one man show who runs the Times Square Comedy Club. When he’s not booking the shows you can find him behind the bar serving drinks. If he could, he’d take every table’s order, and even eat the food, and laugh at the jokes for you.

There are five showrooms of different size capacities, and Dennis runs from room to room making sure that everything is going as it should. He also has specialty shows like Manhattan Magic and the Ultimate Drag Off.

Dennis Gatti and Jeffrey at the Times Square Comedy Club.

As if that wasn’t enough, he also manages talent, and the night I was there I had the pleasant surprise of seeing a great talent he’s working with, Bobby Johnson.

People often say I know everyone in comedy, but every so often someone escapes my radar. Bobby has a multi-cultural background, and has done lots of TV and has been a regular on 98.7 Kiss FM’s morning show.

This guy made me laugh out loud and that’s hard to do. In comedy nobody laughs. They’re like, “ That’s funny”, but they don’t crack a smile. Bobby really made me laugh out loud.

His accents are great. His Latino accent rules, especially when he explains how all they want to do is dance, … even at a funeral. “Let’s dance!” But when he talked about how he hoped Arabs have to do the same thing in their airports as we have to do in ours, and mimed a guy unwrapping an Arab going through security, as if he was swathed in bandages, I totally lost it.

Bobby Johnson and Jeffrey at the Times Square Arts Center.

Nick Kroll On The Loose

Nick Kroll is a fixture on TV, and on the comedy circuit in general. You gotta love Nick Kroll. He’s written for Chapelle’s Show and Human Giant, performed at UCB on both coasts, on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, HBO’s The Life and Times of Tim, and is one half of the “Oh Hello” guys with his writing partner John Mulaney.

Nick creates memorable characters, like Fabrice Fabrice, craft services coordinator for the show “That’s So Raven”, El Chupacabre, and his newest character Bobby Bottleservice, plus he just aired his first Comedy Central special Thank You Very Cool!

Just before it aired I went to see Nick at a store down in Soho called The Hundreds, where he was doing a personal appearance. I also went to give Nick the script I wrote for The Key of Awesome comedy hoping he could star in it with Lauren Francesca. Fortunately he liked it, unfortunately he was on his way to Vegas and then back to LA.

Bobby Bottleservice and Jeffrey at The Hundreds.

However he did give me a signed Bobby Bottleservice poster on which he wrote, “To Jeff, U R the only person with better hair than me!” Bobby B. , and he gave me a Bobby Bottleservice T-shirt which was also very cool. What he gave me that I liked best was his friendship! Thank you, very cool!

Anyway, until next time, … remember, … Comedy Matters!!!

Posted in: Celeb Photos, Comedians In The News, Comedy Events, Comedy Matters, Nightlife Events

Leave a Comment (0) →