Posts Tagged “Denis Leary”

John Gallagher’s New Feature "Act, Naturally" Filming IN NYC

I have to admit that I get to do some pretty cool things. John Gallagher is a film director who has directed some of the biggest stars in the business like John Leguizamo, Amanda Peet, Michael Imperioli, Gretchen Mol, Denis Leary, Zach Braff, Debi Mazar, and tons more, and now how proud do you think I am to be able to add my name to that list?

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with director John Gallagher outside the venue for the Soho International Film Festival!

I had the honor of being in one of John’s award-winning shorts called “I Love You”, which played in a dozen international film festivals, and then he called me back to be in his new feature called “Act, Naturally”, which he co-wrote, and co-produced with two funny, talented women who also star in the film, Mia Pinchoff and Samantha Scaffidi.

Mia Pinchoff, John Gallagher, and Samantha Scaffidi outside the Sunshine East Theatre on Houston Street, in NYC!

Other people in the cast are Joe D’Onofrio (Are We There Yet?, Goodfellas, The Deli, Blue Moon, Digger 3D), Victor Colicchio (Inside Man, Goodfellas, and four of John’s previous films Street Hunter, Men Lie, The Deli, I Love You),Steve Stanulis (Long Shot Louie, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, and five of John’s other films Cupidity, The Introduction, Mother’s Day Massacre, I Love You, Digger 3D), and Deborah Twiss (Kick-Ass, A Gun for Jennifer). One thing about John is that he’s loyal to people who work for him and if he likes you he calls you back!

His company 305 Media Group has six films at this year’s Soho International Film Festival, including the world premiere of Uncomfortable Silence, which has also been invited to the Cannes Film Festival in 2013! Sibyl Santiago is the Exec. Director of the festival and Carlos Santiago is the head of the screening and jury committee, and between them they put on an incredible festival with great films from all over the world with world-class after parties as well thanks to their partner NITETABLES!

The night he’ll be showing Uncomfortable Silence, he will also be producing an event in honor of his friend the late Ben Gazzara who he had also directed, and it should be a very special evening. I will of course be filming on the red carpet!

The next 305 Media Group pictures, all of which he’s directing, include DIGGER 3D, a feature adaptation of Euripides’ classic The Medea … and a film that I happened to write, my only non-comedy project, called “Men of Violence!” John read it and loved it and to my honor, committed to it right away!

So in Act, Naturally I’m playing myself which I feel is a part I was born to play! The truth is I almost didn’t get it because they weren’t sure I was enough like myself to do it, but in the end, John said I pulled it off perfectly!

Mia Pinchoff doing her best to distract Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV while he’s interviewing award-winning actress Samantha Scaffidi in their scene on the red carpet!

I play myself as the host of Comedy Matters TV interviewing Samantha Scaffidi on the red carpet of the Soho Film Festival right after she won an award for the film, ” No, But Yeah!” Mia Pinchoff plays her roommate who tries to hijack my interview by vamping shamlessly behing her while we talk, until I can not help but include her in the conversation. It’s a very funny scene because both of these girls are very funny actresses.

Mia Pinchoff vamping it up on the red carpet for a scene with Jeffrey Gurian, and Samantha Scaffidi in John Gallagher’s Act, Naturally!”

For me it felt natural. I did what I’ve done hundreds of times, and it was really fun. John said it was a great scene and that he got what he wanted which is all that’s important!

This is a little trailer for the film:

And it even has a website:

www.actnaturallythemovie.com

Please check it out and I’ll let you know when to look for it in the theatre as I’m sure it will find a theatrical release!

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Jim Gaffigan Takes Mira Sorvino As Wife in New CBS Sitcom

About six months ago I interviewed Mira Sorvino for a film she starred in called Union Square. I’ve been a fan of hers since she won the Oscar for her role in Woody Allen’s Mighty Aphrodite back in 1995.

Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino with writer/director of Union Square Nancy Savoca at the press conference for Union Square!

As a matter of fact, I wrote a film script with her in mind for the lead. It’s a romantic comedy called “Baby and Max” where she goes from being a tough biker’s girlfriend to falling for a nebbishy stand-up comic, and I sent it to her reps for review where it is being looked at right now.

I know her Dad, Paul Sorvino for many years. As a matter of fact as silly as it sounds, back in 1990, when he played Big Paulie in “Goodfellas” for whatever reason I was supposed to call him the same day I saw the film. All I remember is that when I left the theatre, his performance had been so powerful that I was literally afraid to call him. I finally got up the nerve to call him and when I told him how I felt, he laughingly told me I was a “schmuck”!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with award-winning actor Paul Sorvino, when he played Big Paulie in Goodfellas, back in the day at Columbus Cafe!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Paul Sorvino in more modern times at the birthday party of socialite/philanthropist Karen Koenigsberg, in the penthouse of The Dream Hotel!

Jim Gaffigan is a HUGE talent and I’ve been a fan and friend for many years. Jim gets offered one project after the next. I remember being at what I think was his first sit-com called “Welcome To New York”, back in 2000, in which he starred with Christine Baranski. I went to a taping in Astoria and I remember him being great in it, as he’s been consistently every time I’ve seen him perform.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Jim Gaffigan on the set of “Welcome To New York” back in 2000!

He occasionally headlines Gotham Comedy Club and I make sure to catch him whenever possible and he’s also very gracious about making appearances on shows for up and coming comics who ask him to do guest spots. Jim is very accommodating that way.

Jim Gaffigan with Gotham Comedy Club owner Chris Mazzilli!

Jim Gaffigan at Gotham Comedy Club after doing a guest spot for “up and comer” comic/producer Alyse Kenny!

Now CBS has partnered him up with Peter Tolan known for many projects but especially for co-creating hit shows like ABC’s “The Job” and FX’s “Rescue Me”, both starring Denis Leary.

In Jim’s new show, he will be playing a guy with five kids, with a wife played by Mira Sorvino named Jeannie, all true, and taken from his own life. Kind of like what Ray Romano did with “Everybody Loves Raymond.” I wish Jim the kind of success that Raymond enjoyed! He’s worked very hard and truly deserves it!

He’s also featured in my new book called “Make ‘Em Laugh” about the 35 year history of the legendary comedy club “The Comic Strip”, in which he gave me a funny, heart-warming and honest account of his early days. He talked about experiencing crippling stage fright for years, and said that for the first few years, his only credit was that Dave Attell told him he was funny!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Jim Gaffigan at The Comic Strip after Jim’s interview for Jeffrey’s book “Make ‘Em Laugh”, with a great introduction from Chris Rock!

Good luck Jim! We’re pulling for you!

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I’m In Another John Gallagher Film!!!

As a director, John Gallagher has worked with some of the biggest stars in the business including John Leguizamo, Gretchen Mol, Amanda Peet, Zach Braff, Vincent Pastore, Heather Matarazzo, and Denis Leary. All you have to do is see his film “The Deli” and you’ll see more stars than you can imagine in just one film!

Director John Gallagher after being interviewed by Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV on the red carpet of the Soho International Film Festival!

That particular film was honored in last year’s Soho International Film Festival in Manhattan!

He’s got 15 feature films and 25 shorts under his directorial belt! His company 305 Media Group has been involved in 4 features and 14 short films in the last three years alone.

What’s cool about John though is that he takes the time to nurture new talent. Not every successful director does that. John lectures internationally, but also teaches classes and workshops at One on One NYC, and I know he has also taught at the famed Neighborhood Playhouse where the legendary acting coach Sandy Meisner also taught for over 50 years!

In his new film ” Act Naturally” which I will be appearing in as myself, (mostly because I’m the closest thing to myself that he could find!), he will be debuting two new stars Mia Pinchoff and Samantha Scaffidi, both of whom have studied with him. All three of them collaborated on this screenplay working from a series of improv writing sessions.

Act Naturally follows the sometimes comedic, sometimes heart-breaking path of two aspiring actresses struggling to make names for themselves in the dog-eat-dog world of show biz. I will be interviewing at least one of them on the red carpet of a film festival, and I am very excited to be part of this project. I was in another of John’s films called ” I Love You”, so this will be my second project with John, and I’m counting on him to direct a screenplay I wrote called “Men of Violence” that he says he loves.

Patience is key in this business. It’s not uncommon for a project to take years until it hits the big screen!

Mia is also in the comedy world and performs with a partner Anni Weisband in the comedy team Moneymaker Duo, (www.moneymakerduo.com). They wrote, produced and starred in a short film called “Appetite”, which John Exec Produced, and which was featured in between two of John’s films at this past year’s Soho Film Festival. “Appetite” went on to play in a half dozen other international film festivals.

(L-R) Mia Pinchoff, Mike Starr, and Anni Weisband at a film event in NYC!

And Mia just placed #35 out of 200 girls in IMDB’s “Hotness List”!

The lovely rising star Mia Pinchoff who I will be performing with in John Gallagher’s “Act Naturally!”

The lovely and talented Samantha Scaffidi in a pose reminiscent of sexy Italian actresses from the 60’s! Like a young Sophia Loren!

Besides the newcomers, Act Natural will star Frank Vincent (Goodfellas, Raging Bull, The Sopranos), Mike Starr (Dumb and Dumber, Goodfellas), Ryan O’Callaghan (Digger 3D, 79 Parts), and Brian Kelly (Blue Moon, Black Dog) and probably other films without a color in the title! (LOL)

Frank Vincent and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at the Soho Film Festival at an event honoring Frank for his body of work!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Mike Starr at the tribute to John Gallagher’s “The Deli” at the Soho Film Festival 2012 in NYC!

Stay tuned for updates on this exciting project.

www.HyperSmash.com

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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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Comedy Seminar at Gotham Comedy Club

Andy Engel produces New Talent showcases at Gotham Comedy Club as he has been doing successfully for many years now. All you have to do is to look at the testimonials on his Manhattan Comedy School page to see how respected he is within the comedy community.
http://www.manhattancomedyschool.com/talent-shows/
This time he produced a comedy seminar open to the public, to anyone with an interest in comedy. I came by to “support”, and was not surprised to see a packed room, and I think the main room at Gotham holds over 300 people. I also saw lots of comedians I knew. The moderator was Gotham owner Chris Mazzilli, who I like to call “The Classiest Guy In Comedy.” Chris has been known to wear a suit and tie to the beach! (JK, … LOL)

Chris Mazzilli and Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV at a charity event at Gotham Comedy Club!

Also on the distinguished panel was JoAnn Grigioni, the talent executive from Comedy Central, who I had just seen earlier that day at Amy Schumer’s taping for her new Comedy Central pilot, Conan Smith former agent and now an executive at Apostle Entertainment which is Dennis Leary’s production company, and loved and respected comic Ted Alexandro.

(L-R_ The distinguished panel of Ted Alexandro, Conan Smith, JoAnn Grigioni, and Chris Mazzilli for Andy Engel’s comedy seminar at Gotham!

It was a question and answer session and people got the opportunity to ask whatever they wanted. Questions ranged from how to behave on the road, to how much money you could expect to make as a comic starting out! Ted said he doesn’t think he got paid anything at all the first three years he was performing.

Apostle’s Conan Smith giving a thoughtful answer during the seminar at Gotham Comedy Club!

Comedy Central’s JoAnn Grigioni and Gotham’s Chris Mazzilli listening to Ted Alexandro make a point!

They all agreed that you don’t go into comedy for the money, but that money follows success. Talent finds a home and if you’ve got it, eventually someone’s bound to see it!

Everyone’s answers were honest and insightful. It was a great panel covering all aspects of the comedy world.

I think the seminar was a great idea, people learned a lot and really enjoyed it, and I have a feeling that there will be more of them! Are you listening Andy??? (LOL)

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