Posts Tagged Chris Noth

Soho International Film Festival Video with Kevin Jonas, Danny Aiello, Mike Starr

The third annual Soho International Film Festival at the Sunshine Cinema Theatre on Houston Street, was amazing and had lots of star power.

Some of the celebs that showed up were Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer, multiple award winner Danny Aiello who was honored with a retrospective of many of his 90 films, Kevin Jonas of The Jonas Brothers who I kept calling “Nick”, as you’ll see in the video, Armand Assante, Eric Roberts, and Mike Starr who also starred in John Gallagher’s film “The Deli,” which celebrated it’s 15th anniversary since it’s release in 1997.

Danny Aiello with Exec. Director of Soho Film Festival Sibyl Santiago!

My old pal Danny Aiello, who looks fantastic, graced me with a 20 minute interview. I also got to interview Exec. Director Sibyl Santiago, about her background and how she’s helped the festival grow in the two years since she’s been there.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with multiple award-winning actor Danny Aiello on the red carpet of the Soho International Film Festival!

I kept accidentally calling Kevin Jonas “Nick”, which is his brother, because I’m in the process of producing another comedy fundraiser to fight Diabetes, and for the last month I’ve been focussing on trying to get in touch with Nick Jonas seeking his support, to ask him to be involved in some fashion, so I have Nick Jonas on my brain!

Kevin was there to support the film “Forgetting The Girl” which was produced by his wife Danielle’s brother. Kevin thought it was funny that I kept calling him “Nick”, as you’ll see in the video!

Kevin Jonas and his wife Danielle at the Soho International Film Festival!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Kevin Jonas, who I kept insisting on calling “Nick”!

Check it all out here:

For more on the festival with lots of photos check out the previous post at http://wp.me/p1pHIm-VJ

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Soho International Film Festival Kicks Butt

It may only be the third year for the Soho International Film Festival,but it’s grown into a formidable event, with a week straight of great shorts and features, plus a cool party every night, thanks to sponsoring partner Brock Ganeles of www.NiteTables.com who arranged for all the venues from Sat. through Thurs. and Greenhouse/WIP who sponsored the opening party on Friday 4/13, and the party for awards night,on Friday 4/20, as they have done for the past two years.

It even had to move to a larger venue this year and was held at the Sunshine Cinema Theatre on East Houston Street, right next to Yonah Schimmel’s knish shop, the oldest knish shop in the country! Very fitting, the oldest knishes and the newest films! (LOL)

I must give props to the founder of the festival, Jorge Ballos for bringing in Exec. Director Sibyl Santiago, who worked tirelessly the last 2 years to make this happen, and to Carlos Santiago and his team of screeners for choosing films that people want to see. I also made sure to get what turned out to be an insightful video interview with Sibyl, as I not only like to talk to the celebs, but I like to talk to the people who make the events happen.

Soho also gets great celebrity support, with red carpet guests like Kevin Jonas, Mike Starr, Octavia Spencer, Rudolph Martin, and Danny Aiello just to name a few, and Danny doesn’t do these type of things very often at all. He told me he did it to support Sybil and John Gallagher.

I also ran into director John Gallagher’s talented writing partner Nick Brooks, who just happens to be the son of Mel Brooks! Watch out for their project “Sam” which they are currently in the process of making into a play. And it was great to see mega-movie producer Mark Lipsky who produced many of Eddie Murphy’s films, and will hopefully like my film “Men of Violence” that John Gallagher is committed to directing!

Exec. Director Sybil Santiago with international film star Danny Aiello on the red carpet of the Soho International Film Festival!

Opening night, I got to meet and interview Mike Starr, who’s been in so many TV shows and films including Goodfellas, Dumb and Dumber, Radio Days, and Ed Wood. He was also the star of John Gallagher’s film “The Deli” which was shown on closing night as part of a celebration for it’s 15th anniversary.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with film star Mike Starr, (which is a perfect name for him), on the red carpet at the Sunshine Theatre!

That night I got to see a fantastic documentary film called “Genius On Hold”, the story of Walter L. Shaw, an inventor, and genius, working for AT&T who invented things like speaker phones, call waiting, call forwarding, and conference calling, all of which were taken from him, and he was not given one cent in royalties. He died homeless and penniless. In his quest to make a living and support his family, he worked for the only people who would pay him, the mob.

He invented something called “the black box” that the mob used to evade police detection when taking bets, and he wound up going to prison for four years on charges of stealing 4 phone calls from AT&T without paying for the service. His son, Walter, who made this film, and told me it was 22 years in the making, turned to a life of crime out of bitterness, and wound up doing 12 years in prison himself. It’s a story that needs to be told and a movie that needs to be seen to be believed.

The after-party at Greenhouse that night, was off the proverbial chain, and people really let loose and had fun!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Sibyl Santiago, Exec. Director of her Soho International Film Festival at Greenhouse!

A couple of days later I had the pleasure of seeing a film called “Forgetting The Girl” directed by Nate Taylor who had an amazing Mohawk hairdo, and starring an actor named Christopher Denham. I got a great video interview with both of them which will be posted shortly.

I also got a great video interview with Kevin Jonas, of The Jonas Brothers, who was there with his wife Danielle DeLeasa. Her brother Brian Gonsar was one of the producers of the film, which answered my question to him, ” How does one get even one of the Jonas Brothers to support your film?” (LOL)

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Kevin Jonas at the Soho Film Festival. I accidentally called him Nick, and we both had a good laugh!

The short that night was a drama called “Enamour” with Ryan O’Callaghan, who I have seen in a few films already, and directed by Justin Ho, and was also very good.

The after-party that night was at Sutra on First Avenue. Besides choosing great films, they also chose great venues for the parties which included Affaire, Le Souk, Hotel Chantelle, and Tammany Hall!

(L-R) Actress Lisa Regina, Donna McKenna, Jeffrey Gurian, and director Ari Taub partying at Sutra!

The next night was another treat as I got to see a film called “From The Head” written and directed by George Griffith, currently living in LA. Not only did he write and direct the film, he starred in it as well. A masterful move!

Anyone who knows my comedy knows I always talk about owning a Men’s Room, and what I don’t like about it is that I hate when guys come in and ask if they can use my restaurant! I’m like, ” Look pal, I’m running a Men’s Room here. You can’t just come in to use the restaurant!”

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with writer/producer/director/actor George (Shoes) Griffith from the film “”From The Head”!

Well George shot almost his entire film in a Men’s Room. He was the Men’s Room attendant for three years in a strip club in NYC, and he told a brilliant story about life as a Men’s Room attendant. They called him “Shoes” for the two-toned wingtips he wore on a nightly basis, and everyone there wondered why such an intelligent guy would be working in a Men’s Room for such a long time.

I was glad I got to meet George, because I needed to tell him how talented I thought he was. I knew that scene very well, ( not the Men’s Room, the strip club! LOL) and he portrayed it perfectly. I understand he had to actually build a Men’s Room in order to be able to get the camera in there and get the shots he needed. I’m sure it was a difficult job, because there’s lots of mirrors in Men’s Rooms and you have to be careful that the camera doesn’t show in the shot!

I also liked the choices he made as an actor. He didn’t play the character as a typical loser. He played him as a guy in control who made a conscious choice to do what he was doing. If you get a chance to see this film, definitely go and see it, and check out the site at www.fromthehead.com

The after-party that night was in Le Souk, a place I really like on LaGuardia Street that has cool “hookahs.” (Not hookers! LOL)

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with actress Valery LaFond at the Soho Film Festival, before attending the after-party at Le Souk!

I was not able to attend every night even though I wanted to, because of my schedule. I don’t know how Sibyl and Carlos did it, but they did it with grace, and neither of them even looked tired. I guess when you do something you love, it gives you energy! (LOL)

Closing night was very exciting as it began with an event honoring Danny Aiello, one of the greatest film stars, and one of the greatest, and humblest gentlemen in the business. Danny has been in 90 films, and starred in 30 of them. They showed a retrospective of his films, some of which were Spike Lee’s ” Do The Right Thing” for which he was nominated for an Academy Award, Norman Jewison’s “Moonstruck” in which he starred with Cher, Luc Besson’s “The Professional”, Woody Allen’s “The Purple Rose of Cairo”, Sergio Leone’s “Once Upon A Time In America”, and Francis Ford Coppola’s classic “The Godfather.”

This moving retrospective of his films was followed by a Q&A, and Danny could not have been more open and more generous. The only time he was more open and generous was in the interview he gave to me before the evening started. I had gotten there early, with my DP Rob Krieg, and we were all set to shoot Danny on the red carpet. As luck would have it, he got there early and I was in the right place at the right time, and as I went up to say “Hello”, Sibyl went to introduce me, and Danny said, ” I know Jeffrey for a very long time”, and we embraced and went onto the red carpet by ourselves to do an interview.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with award-winning film and TV star Danny Aiello at the Soho International Film Festival!

Well we weren’t by ourselves for very long, as people started to come in and gathered around to watch and listen. I wanted people to know about Danny’s connection to comedy since many people only know him from his film roles and from TV, where he usually plays a tough guy or a cop. (Is that redundant? LOL)

Danny got his start as a bouncer at the original Improv Comedy Club on West 44th Street, which Budd Friedman first opened back in 1963. Danny worked his way up to be an MC, and he was supporting three children at the time, and always appreciated what Budd did for him. He also worked for Greyhound Bus Co. where he started as a bus driver, calling out the stops all the way from NYC to Buffalo, which he still remembers and did for me in the interview, worked his way up to head the union, and then got into acting late in life.

In recent years he even had a comedy club called “Danny’s Upstairs” in Hoboken, above a fantastic Italian restaurant, (where else???), and I remember being at the opening. All the comics from NYC wanted to work at Danny’s. I wasn’t performing yet in those days or else I would have asked for a spot too!

Danny and I reminisced about the days we used to hang out in Columbus Cafe back in the mid 80’s, and he shared a great story with me about a night when Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Dustin Hoffman, and other stars of that magnitude were there, which was common for Columbus. That’s when Danny and I first met, since I was a regular there as well.

I recall one night, I was downstairs near the rest rooms, talking to Robin Givens, and Mike Tyson came over, grabbed her, literally threw her over his shoulder and carried her out of the restaurant. I think it was the first time they met! Needless to say, I didn’t start a fight over it! (LOL)

Danny also shared with me the story of how he lost his son Danny, back in 2010 to pancreatic cancer, and how he was concerned that if he did a PSA,to help raise awareness and money to fight pancreatic cancer, it might look to people that he was looking to get attention for himself. That is the sign of a truly humble man to even worry about such a thing. He spent about 25 minutes with me on that red carpet and it was a moment I will cherish. I can’t wait to edit the video and show you all!

The best part was when I was able to ask Danny to play the lead in a film I wrote called “Men of Violence” that John Gallagher loves and wants to direct, and he asked me to send him the script. He’d be absolutely perfect for the lead.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters Tv with director John Gallagher before the showing of his films “I Love You” and “The Deli”!

After the Danny Aiello Q&A, they showed two of John Gallagher’s films. One was a short that I and my “muse” Sylvia Ogonaga are in called “I Love You”.

Sybil Santiago onscreen in John Gallagher’s film ” I Love You!”

Actress and Jeffrey Gurian muse Sylvia Ogonaga onscreen in John Gallagher’s film ” I Love You”! Come home Sylvia, we miss you!

The other was his iconic film “The Deli” which I think had more stars than almost any movie I’ve ever seen. It was the 15th anniversary and in the film were Gretchen Mol, Ice-T, Heavy D, Michael Imperioli, Frank Vincent, Heather Matarazzo, Burt Young, Chris Noth, David Johansen, Iman, Frank Vincent, Tony Sirico, Vincent Pastore, Mike Starr, Debi Mazar, and even Jerry Stiller. There were even more, like comic Joey Kola who it took me a moment to recognize! And he was funny even then!

Screenshot of the John Gallagher movie “The Deli!”!

Poster credits for “The Deli”! I’m surprised he didn’t need two posters to get all the names on there! (LOL)

(L-R_ A.J.Benza, Frank Vincent, and Debi Mazar in a scene from “The Deli”!

Anyway, I can’t wait to see what Sibyl and Carlos come up with for next year. All I know is I’ll be there, so save me a place on the red carpet guys!

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Flying With Eddie Izzard

I was in Montreal last weekend for the 29th annual Just For Laughs Festival, the biggest comedy festival in the world. One of the special events was the debut of Paul Provenza’s great show on Showtime, The Green Room. Paul is a good friend and hooked me up with an “All Access” backstage pass so I could interview everyone for my Comedy Matters Vlog and column. I was the only one back there shooting video and I got some great stuff, which you will see in an upcoming post.

Paul Provenza earlier this month in NYC kissing Jeffrey Gurian shamelessly while Jamie Kilstein looks on casually, as if nothing unusual was happening!

Paul produces the show with Barbara Romen, and gets tons of huge comedy stars to appear on it with him. It’s a totally unplanned, unscripted, unprepared talk show. As Colin Quinn told me backstage, the only one who knows what’s going on is Paul. He said ” Paul looks good and we all look like schmucks!”

Jeffrey Gurian and Colin Quinn on Broadway at Colin's Show "Long Story Short" directed by Jerry Seinfeld!

Paul was taping the last two shows of the season at the Mainline Theatre on St. Laurent Street as part of the festival. The first show had Colin Quinn, Russell Peters, Paul of course as host, Caroline Rhea, Lizz Winstead, and Bill Burr on the panel, and in the audience was Greg Proops, and Vegas lounge singer Tony Clifton who some of you may recall was Andy Kaufman’s best friend!

Bill Burr showing Jeffrey Gurian some love backstage at the taping of The Green Room in Montreal at The Just For Laughs Festival!

Jeffrey Gurian, with Greg Proops and a moose at the taping of Paul Provenza's Green Room in Montreal. The Moose used Greg's name to get in, although he claimed they had never met before!

Things got hot and heavy when Tony began yelling out very inappropriate remarks even for cable, and at first people thought it was a joke, but he wouldn’t stop and kept interrupting the comedians while they were speaking. Paul eventually had to have security throw him out. No one knew if it was real or not, but it was.

I even thought it was planned until the security team literally wrestled Tony to the ground and he fell on the glass table where Paul and the panel were sitting. They wouldn’t have done that for a joke. I have it on video which I will post in a separate Vlog. He just got carried away. I had interviewed him and his lady friend before the show and he had me do a separate interview with her boobs. That’s on the video too!

The second show included Eddie Izzard who I also wanted to film, but the show started late and I still had to pack and get up very early to fly back to The States the next day. While I was waiting for Eddie to arrive, I was warned that he often didn’t like to be interviewed and that I should definitely ask first. That seemed strange to me since that’s the only way I work. I would never just start filming someone without their permission. But I recalled hearing that Eddie could be touchy at times. The truth is, who isn’t???

Anyway, I had to leave before I got to see him or I would have had to stay until the show was over about 2 A.M. Next day on the plane back to New York, who’s sitting right near me but Eddie Izzard. I’m two rows in front of him. I went to say hello and told him that I had just missed him last night, and went back to my seat.

Suddenly a guy comes over to him and asks him if he would change seats with him so he could sit with his girlfriend. I was expecting a scene, but Eddie couldn’t have been nicer and more accomodating. As a matter of fact, he was the one who went over to the girl, tapped her on the shoulder and said, ” Either that guy is your boyfriend, or he’s got a great pick-up line.” So now he wound up two rows in front of me.

When the plane landed in NYC, for some reason his overhead bag was right above me, and mine was right above him, because the overhead space above my seat had been filled, so I put it two rows in front. I gave him his bag and he gave me mine.

Turned out he was in New York to do an episode of CBS’s “The Good Wife” with Julianna Margulies and Chris Noth. He’s playing Abbott Thrush, an English barrister, … or a lawyer to those who have no idea what a “barrister” is!
Jeffrey Gurian and Eddie Izzard waiting for their bags at baggage claim at La Guardia airport in NYC!

The end result of this story is that Eddie Izzard is a heck of a nice guy. I saw how he treated the people on the plane when they asked him to move his seat, and I saw how he treated me. I didn’t get to do my video interview but we did take a couple of stills at baggage claim while waiting for our bags to come around.

And next time I see him we’ll get the video, and I do have a feeling I’ll be seeing him again!

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Page 6 Review-LuAnn de Lesseps, Marisa Tomei, Frank Whaley, Nick Loeb

In a new feature on the Comedy Matters Vlog, I am reviewing items on Page 6, the most powerful gossip page in the country, specifically those pertaining to friends of mine, and people I know personally.

On Sat. May 21, 2011, the entire top of the page was about LuAnn de Lesseps, a close friend of mine since before she was a Countess.

Jeffrey Gurian with his dear friend LuAnn deLesseps, (AKA The Countess) at a party at La Pomme, for Real Housewives of New York City.

I know LuAnn from when she was a nurse.  She was beautiful then, and still is.  We ran around together and had some amazing and wild fun times!

LuAnn deLesseps interviewing Jeffrey Gurian back in '04 when he co-produced the Hamptons Comedy Festival!

When I co-produced the Hamptons Comedy Festival back in ’04, LuAnn was there to interview me for Plum TV, as one of their correspondents, and appears in the little doc. film made about me (below) as a promo real for a reality type TV show based on this column/Vlog.

LuAnn was ALWAYS very focussed on becoming successful in the entertainment industry, and had been hosting a TV show in Italy where she became fluent in Italian.  She’s also fluent in French which I’m sure helps her to communicate with her boyfriend Jacques Azoulay, whose English is perfect by the way.

Countess LuAnn and Jacques Azoulay at a Housewives party, shortly after they met!

He just has a nice accent!  But I can see them speaking French when they don’t want anyone else to understand what they’re saying.  I believe I first met him soon after he and LuAnn met.  She brought him to one of the premiere parties for the new season of Real Housewives of New York City, at a place called La Pomme, where I had the pleasure of meeting her Mom.

Countess LuAnn and her elegant Mom at a party for Housewives at La Pomme.

(L-R) Most of the cast of Real Housewives of NYC including Jill Zarin, LuAnn DeLesseps, Kelly Bensimon, Ramona Singer, and Sonja Morgan. Bethenny, and a couple of others didn't show up, and unfortunately I don't have time to find the first woman's name! (LOL)

This particular Page 6 item was about LuAnn’s daughter Victoria leaving the Ross School in The Hamptons, ostensibly after Housewife Ramona Singer,(who I find it hard to watch), went and posted a link to the You Tube video of Victoria engaging in some unseemly behavior.   What a nice thing for Ramona to have done!  Not exactly a surprise considering the venom these women have the ability to express!

She did however apologize which makes all the difference in the world, right???  If you accidentally stab someone and then apologize afterwards, it makes the wound heal up right away doesn’t it???

As a side note, LuAnn’s press rep says that Victoria leaving The Ross School, had nothing to do with the video clip, and that Victoria is looking forward to studying art in Paris this summer!  If she turns out like her Mom she’ll be just fine!

Both Marisa Tomei and Frank Whaley are mentioned in this Page 6, and were at the after-party for Knickerbocker, a play at The Public Theatre, directed by another old friend Pippin Parker, brother of none other than Sarah Jessica.

Jeffrey Gurian with Marisa Tomei at a press junket for her film "Before The Devil Knows You're Dead!"

Jeffrey Gurian interviewing Frank Whaley at a New Group event at Capitale honoring Wallace Shawn!

The party was held at the Knickerbocker Bar and Grill which according to Page 6, Chris Noth calls “downtown’s answer to Elaine’s.”

Pippin and Toby are the two Parker siblings I know best from my early days at Naked Angels, when I used to go down there with actor Federico Castelluccio and director Billy Goins, who at the time had been engaged to Claudia Schiffer.

Jeffrey Gurian and Toby Parker at a show after Toby's performance!

Jeffrey Gurian with Federico Castelluccio at an event at The Cutting Room!

I was one of the writers whose stuff got read by Naked Angels members at their weekly Tuesdays at Nine events where writers would bring in new works and ask resident actors to do a cold reading for the rest of the audience.

In those days it was run by a guy named Craig Carlisle, a great guy who I think may be in LA these days.  It was where I first met Ethan Hawke, when he came over and introduced himself to me after hearing the early version of a play I wrote called ” A Punch In The Face”, which he told me he liked and encouraged me to finish.

I did years later and wound up dedicating it to actor Chuck Zito after he punched out Jean Claude Van Damme at Scores one night and broke his knuckle on Van Damme’s head, a story told to me by Chuck himself! And if you look at the photo below and see the size of Chuck’s fist, you can only imagine what Van Damme’s head felt like when it got hit with it!

Jeffrey Gurian at the receiving end of Chuck Zito's massive fist at the premiere of a play written by Jeffrey in his honor called " A Punch In The Face", something at which Chuck is an expert!

I had first met Chuck through another old friend Charlie Sheen, when Charlie was in his prime.  He’s an amazing, brilliant guy and will be the subject of a separate post another day!

Marisa Tomei and Frank Whaley are currently starring on Broadway together in Wallace Shawn’s “Marie and Bruce”, which you’ll soon read about in a post I’m working on about the very recent New Group tribute to Wallace Shawn, which I attended and did interviews for on the red carpet.

The poster for Wallace Shawn's play "Marie and Bruce" starring Marisa Tomei and Frank Whaley at the Acorn Theatre on Theatre Row!

Last on Page 6 that day was Nick Loeb, recent Senate hopeful from Florida, and a good friend of mine and reader of Comedy Matters.  Nick is one of those guys where when you see him, even if you don’t know what he does, you know it’s something special.

Nick’s Dad is John L. Loeb former Ambassador to Denmark from 1981-1983, who was knighted by Queen Margrethe of Denmark after he left his post, and was also a Delegate to The United Nations. The Loeb family is one of the oldest, and most successful Jewish families dating back to Colonial times, and are also related to the Lehman family.

Nick is a film producer, though his company IPC ( International Production Company), and has worked with Exec. Producers like Quincy Jones and Barbara Streisand.

Jeffrey Gurian with the amazing Nick Loeb who was running for the Florida Senate at the time!

Nick was a candidate for the Florida State Senate, a possible Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate as the Republican Senator from Florida, but most important, he currently holds the position of being the boyfriend of Modern Family’s gorgeous, and funny Sofia Vergara! (LOL)  All the other stuff is certainly possible, but how does one accomplish that??? (LOLOL)

I was proud to support Nick in his run for Florida’s Senate, and the fundraiser was held in Manhattan at his father’s townhouse.  His father happened to be out of town that evening, and I asked Nick jokingly whether his father even knew he was using his home or did he just sneak the keys while his Dad wasn’t looking!

( I love to ask questions like that of powerful people!  Can you imagine what it must be like to grow up as an Ambassador’s son, with a family lineage like that?  Like when I asked Don Trump Jr. if his Dad would think it was funny if I tipped him a dollar for having me at one of his events.  Just fold a dollar into his palm when I was shaking hands with him.  Don suggested that I don’t do that, and I was glad I took his advice! LOL )  Personally I think Donald would have laughed, but you never know.

Jeffrey Gurian, at a Donald Trump event, surrounded by the gorgeous couple of Don and Vanessa Trump!

Nick is the consummate gentleman, and a guy with a great sense of humor. His taste in women is also excellent, and I’d love to see him hold a high office one of these days.  I think he’d make a great contribution to the country.  Plus then we could all get to meet Sofia Vergara! (LOLOLOL)

 

 

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