Posts Tagged “Comedy Festival”

Amy Poehler, Nick Kroll, Michael Cera, Sarah Silverman and more at JFL Comedy Awards Show

Out of all the amazing shows and panels at this year’s 31st annual Just for Laughs Festival, I think the most exciting event was the JFL Awards Show.

The Awards Show poster showing recipients Amy Poehler, Edgar Wright, Mitch Hurwitz, Nick Kroll, Michael Cera, and Mark Lonow and Budd Friedman.

The line-up of talent was fantastic. And I would be remiss for not thanking certain people who made my attendance at this year’s festival even more meaningful than ever, so special thanks to Paul Ronca the Director of the Comedy Pro-Conference, Zoe Friedman the Artistic Director of The Awards Show, Olivia Benaroche the Industry Coordinator and my Guardian Angel, and Emily Shore my other Guardian Angel borrowed from Andy Nulman, Pres. of JFL. Thank you all sincerely!

So the Award Show was spectacular. Amy Poehler received the Comedy Person of the Year Award, presented to her by Seth Meyers. Interviews with both of them will follow very soon, in a separate Comedy Matters post.

Nick Kroll received the Breakout Comedy Star of the Year Award and it was presented to him by his old friend John Mulaney, which was a very meaningful experience for both of them.

Nick Kroll and John Mulaney in their personnaes as George St. Geegland (L) and Gil Faison!

Nick Kroll as Bobby Bottleservice.

Nick Kroll as Dr. Armond, eminent canine plastic surgeon!

In a later interview alone with Nick, outside of the Variety party for the Top 10 Comics To Watch, he said something to the effect that John was a funny guy with a lot of potential, as if he was a newcomer! Then he busted out laughing! You’ll see it in the video when it’s finished being edited.

The hilarious Michael Cera, who takes nerdiness to new heights in most of his Judd Apatow helmed films and who is back on TV in the resurrected Arrested Development now on Netflix, won an award for Best Comedic Short Film for his 16 minute short, Brazzaville Teen-Ager. It was presented to him by Sarah Silverman who did something so funny on the red carpet.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV on the red carpet of the JFL Awards with winner of Best Short Comedy Film, Michael Cera!

I was positioned at the end of the red carpet where I often prefer to be so that people have time to talk to me and no one else is waiting. That works except when the event is running behind and the PR people rush the celebs along. But in this case it worked out fine.

I was in the middle of interviewing Michael Cera, and discussing our mutual friendship with the wild and wooly Kenny Hotz, when Michael asked if Kenny was what he was smelling.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing Michael Cera on the red carpet discussing their mutual friend Kenny Hotz!

A few seconds later with no pre-planning, strictly by coincidence, Nick Kroll came over and started sniffing Michael. Nick asked him if he uses fabric softener because he told him he smelled great.

Nick Kroll sniffing Michael Cera and telling him he smelled great!

Michael left and I continued interviewing Nick, when right in the middle, one of my all time favorites, the incredibly talented and beautiful Sarah Silverman jumped in and said she had skipped all the other press people to come and talk to me. Sarah has the most amazing smile!

Sarah Silverman joins Nick Kroll in an interview by Jeffrey Gurian for Comedy Matters TV!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Sarah Silverman at the JFL Comedy Awards!

Then she and Nick double-teamed me, and wound up interviewing me, and evaluating my outfit! It was very funny because Sarah was wearing such an unusual outfit, like a hoodie on top with a T-shirt, and a very hot lingerie looking combo from the waist down, with boots!

Sarah Silverman and Nick Kroll evaluating the outfit worn by Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV on the red carpet of the JFL Comedy Awards!

Sarah Silverman presenting the award to Michael Cera in her sexy thigh highs and boots, topped off with a T-shirt and hoodie!

It was hysterical and you can see it right here!

I shot 32 interviews over the four days I was up there with people like Amy Poehler, Seth Myers, Judah Friedlander, Paul Provenza, Colin Quinn, Bo Burnham, about 26 more, and we’ll be rolling them out as they’re done, so keep your eyes on my Comedy Matters TV You Tube channel at http://www.youtube.com/guriannewsnetwork, and PLEASE SUBSCRIBE!

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Andy Nulman King Jester of Just For Laughs

Way back when, a court jester’s job was to amuse the king. But what if the king had such a good sense of humor that he didn’t need a court jester? He’d be his own court jester! That kind of describes Andy Nulman, the current President of the Montreal based, Just for Laughs Comedy Festival, the biggest and most prestigious comedy festival in the world. Andy’s the King of the Festival, but he’s also a funny guy in his own right!

Not “stand-up comedy” funny, but funny as in entertainingly funny, as you’ll see in the photos below where we took turns being huge!

The inspiration for this action on our parts, was that when I went to see Andy backstage at Russell Peters hit show, “Best Night Ever” at the Place Des Arts in Montreal, Andy and everyone else were being guarded by two “HUGE” guys, the guys that run security for the festival, Alan “Fluffy” Schwartz, ( which is not the usual name that you would expect for such a HUGE guy! LOL ) and Big Bill. I decided to hang between them! I’m not sure they even noticed I was there!

Alan Schwartz and “Bill Bill” giving Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV some support backstage at Russell Peters’ show in Montreal!

Andy Nulman, President of Just For Laughs in Montreal and Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV taking turns being absolutely “Huge” backstage at Russell Peters show in Montreal! In this shot Andy is the “Huge” one!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, taking HIS turn at being “Huge”, next to with Andy Nulman, President of Just For Laughs in Montreal!!

As current President of the festival he helped found 29 years ago, Andy currently serves as the President of Festivals and Television, something he is truly accomplished at. Taking the festival from it’s original two days, and turning it in to a month long event, Nulman has created/Exec. Produced over 150 festival TV shows, all over the world, as well as bringing in multi-million dollar corporate sponsorships!

In the attached exclusive video interview Andy did with Comedy Matters TV’s Jeffrey Gurian, he tells the story of how the festival almost never got off the ground until Bob Williams of the Spotlite Agency got him Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno in the early days, and how in 1988 Marty Klein a top agent from APA who was also a Montrealer, told Andy that the next year he would get him John Candy as his host, and he’d get the festival a deal with HBO. That’s what turned the tide for the festival. A great story!

In 1999, Nulman left the Festival’s full-time employ, and limited his participation to directing the star-studded galas, which until recently were at the St. Denis Theatre. Now they are held at the much nicer Place Des Arts.

To say that Andy Nulman is a successful businessman would be such an understatement. It would be like saying, ” Einstein was a pretty smart guy!” Andy is also the founder, President, and CMO of Airborne Mobile, a media-space company, which he wound up selling to Japan in 2005 for almost $100 million smackeroos (Smackeroos are very similar to Japanese yen. I think the conversion rate is 15 smackeroos to each Yen!) Which is basically why I felt comfortable asking him to break a twenty for me!

In 2006, Airborne was cited as North America’s 4th-Fastest Growing Tech Company by the Deloitte Fast 500, so in June of 2008, Nulman and his partner Garner Bornstein re-purchased the company. ( With all that money you’d think he could buy a better name than Garner Bornstein! LOL )

Andy was always a go-getter. Even before helping Gilbert Rozon found Just For Laughs, he was a journalist, starting at the age of 16 at the weekly tabloid The Sunday Express, and was eventually promoted to the positions of Entertainment Editor and Promotion Manager. He was a freelancer for publications like Variety, Us Magazine and the rock ‘n’ roll music bi-weekly Circus Magazine. He even toured the US with comic superstar Howie Mandel another native Canadian!

Listen to Andy tell it in his own words right here!

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Reel Works 10th Anniversary with Steve Buscemi, John Leguizamo, Fisher Stevens, Reggie Watts, Hannibal Buress

Comedy Central invited me to cover a very special event where several of the celebs just happened to be friends of mine, but that doesn’t make it any easier. It’s still always tense and exciting wondering what will go down on the red carpet, knowing you have to keep it flowing and keep it funny and interesting!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Steve Buscemi star of HBO's hit Boardwalk Empire and co-host of Reel Works 10th Anniversary celebration!

Reel Works is a youth-oriented filmmaking initiative that provides high school students with the mentoring, training, and support to finish high school and then go on to college, and find job training careers in NYC’s film and television industry.

The event was at the Prince George Ballroom on East 27th Street, and I was there with my assistant and DP Tristan Griffin. Reel Works is the only youth filmmaking program that matches each student one-on-one with a professional filmmaker mentor. I wish they had something like that when I went to school!

The event was MC’ed by the hilarious Hannibal Buress who was voted one of Variety’s 10 Top Comics To Watch in Montreal last year, 2010, at the Just For Laughs Festival, which is the biggest comedy festival in the world. Hannibal has also written for NBC’s 30 Rock and SNL!

Reggie Watts and Hannibal Buress at the Reel Works 10th Anniversary Celebration!

The co-hosts were Steve Buscemi, star of HBO’s hit show Boardwalk Empire and his filmmaker wife Jo Andres!

Steve Buscemi and his wife and co-host Jo Andres, for the event honoring the 10th anniversary of Reel Works, a youth filmmaking initiative!

The honoree was Fisher Stevens who won an Academy Award for his film “The Cove”,and is currently directing John Leguizamo in his latest hit Broadway show, Ghetto Clown, which Fisher told me is about to begin a world tour! Fisher was being presented with the award by John Leguizamo, who for whatever reason was not available to do any press that night, which is unusual for John because he always makes himself available, and is ALWAYS very gracious with his time!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with John Leguizamo at a press event for his film "The Babysitters."

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Academy Award winner Fisher Stevens, the honoree at the Reel Works 10th anniversary celebration!

Plus there was a very special musical/comedy performance by an incredibly talented guy and another friend of mine, Reggie Watts, who is the opening act for Conan O’Brien’s ” The Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour” and winner of the Andy Kaufman Award. I had just seen Reggie in Montreal at THIS year’s Just For Laughs Festival where he performed in a show with Bo Burnham!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Reggie Watts who was performing at the Reel Works 10th Anniversary celebration honoring Fisher Stevens! ( He makes my hair look normal! Actually he makes me look totally bald! )

These are just some stills from the event. Wait till you see the videos coming soon!

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Anthony Jeselnik on Comedy Matters TV From The Just For Laughs Festival In Montreal

Anthony Jeselnik came across my comedy radar a while ago, and I was a fan right away. Something about his demeanor, his delivery and the cleverness of his lines, however dark, makes him stand out amongst the others. I always enjoy seeing him perform and I run into him quite often at The Comic Strip!

Anthony Jeselnik at The Comic Strip!

It was exciting to see him make his debut at The Donald Trump Roast on Comedy Central, and I interviewed him on the red carpet. He’s had his own half hour special on Comedy Central and has appeared on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Late Night With Conan O’Brien, Last Call With Carson Daly, and was voted by Variety as one of their 10 Top Comics To Watch up in Montreal at the Just For Laughs Festival. That may have been where we first met. The video below is of the red carpet at the Donald Trump Roast, with Anthony, Lisa Lampanelli, Amy Schumer, Doug Herzog, Ice-T and many more!

Comedy Central featured him on their “Hotlist” as one of the hottest comics of the year in 2009, and his first album “Shakespeare” was voted Comedy Album Of The Year by Punchline Magazine. I see Anthony a lot at The Comic Strip!

Check out the video interview with Anthony and Amy Schumer at this year’s Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal!

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