Posts Tagged Eddie Murphy

George Wallace Visits The Comic Strip

Whenever George Wallace comes to New York, he always comes back to his “home” to visit Richie Tienken and The Comic Strip. That’s the place where he started back in 1976, before the place was even finished.

Before The Strip opened it’s doors on June 1, 1976 George came by selling bus advertising and convinced owner Richie Tienken to buy advertising that appeared on the back of buses going up 1st and 2nd Avenues that said ” Eat, Drink, and Laugh at The Comic Strip.”

(L-R) J.R. Ravitz, Marina Franklin, Jeffrey Gurian, and Richie Tienken, and holding down the back row by himself, is George Wallace! George is so big, he’s his own row!

It was the reason when Richie and I did the book on the 35 year history of the legendary club, we were originally planning to call it “Eat, Drink and Laugh”.

George and Jerry Seinfeld were and still are best friends. They were roommates in the early days and shared an apartment on West 71st Street. When Jerry left for LA, George kept the apartment and roomed with Paul Provenza.

George has been in Las Vegas for the last ten years with the highest rated 10 P.M. show on The Strip. He came into The Strip to do a set recently, which thrilled the crowd, and told me he’s thinking of moving back to New York.

George was the second interview I did for the book “Make ‘Em Laugh”, up in Montreal during the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, the summer of 2008.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with George Wallace backstage during rehearsal at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, 2008!

He was hosting one of the huge galas that gets televised, and right before he went out on stage he asked me what I thought he should say! I had to laugh to myself that here was a guy, so accomplished that he didn’t even have to prepare to host a major comedy gala and would decide what he was going to say when he got out there!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV backstage with “All Star Gala” host George Wallace just before he took the stage!

Needless to say he killed it and after the show he took me out for a late dinner, where I did my interview, and we got to know each other. We’ve stayed in touch ever since.

I’m one of the producers of a new comedy documentary film called “The Business of Comedy” Exec. Produced by two great guys Gary Licker and Scott Sobel of Scott Entertainment. They went out to Vegas to interview George, and I gave them a signed copy of the book to bring George as I knew he hadn’t seen it yet. They were thrilled to do it and they said that George was thrilled to get it.

Scott Sobel and Gary Licker, Exec. Producers of the doc. film “The Business of Comedy” at the home of Jeffrey Gurian, filming him for the doc., on which he is also a co-producer!

One of the first things he said when he saw me was how much he loved the book!

So I was backstage with him this time too, and don’t you think that right before he went out to perform he asked me what I thought he should do! (LOL) I reminded him of the incident in Montreal and told him that whatever he chose would be perfect. The audience was already his!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with George Wallace at The Comic Strip!

He talked about going to Oprah’s party, and talked about getting parking tickets. He said he got so many parking tickets he was thinking of removing his windshield. That’s hysterical! He also told of the dyslexic cop who gave him an IUD, instead of a DUI!

He talked about his poor childhood and how in his day kids only got measles, mumps and chickenpox. It was all they could afford!

He said to some guy in the audience who was making remarks, “Where were you when your mind got up and walked away?”

Then he said he didn’t want to get racial, but advised white people to stop looking for ghosts! And then he did one of his classic bits which he calls “I Be Thinkin'” where he comes out with lines like, ” I saw a can that said “Evaporated Milk” and I thought to myself, then what’s in the can?” I told him he should do a CD by that name and he said he was already planning on doing that! Great minds think alike! (LOL)

He also said, ” You never see a homeless Mexican!” And it’s true. They’re like baby pigeons. You know they must exist, but you never actually see one! He said you give a Mexican 8 bricks and 3 packs of chewing gum and a week later you got a housing development!”

George hung out after his killer set, and took photos with his fans and with Richie and I. It was very cool night and if he does move back to New York, you can bet he’ll be a regular at his old home, The Comic Strip!

(L-R) Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, George Wallace and Richie Tienken at The Comic Strip, holding the book ” Make “Em Laugh” about the 35 year history of the club written by Jeffrey Gurian and Richie Tienken! George is featured prominently in the book as one of the originals from The Strip!

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Jerry Seinfeld and Colin Quinn Team Up at MSG to Fight Diabetes

Comedy is a great way to call attention to a cause and to raise money for charity, and needless to say the bigger the comedy star the more money you can raise. This Wednesday, April 17th two of the biggest, most well-loved stars of comedy, Jerry Seinfeld and his close friend Colin Quinn, will be performing in a comedy concert, as part of the Stand Up For A Cure Concert Series, to benefit the American Diabetes Association.

Jerry Seinfeld and Colin Quinn will be at The Theatre at Madison Square Garden this Wed. 4/17/13! Come out to support a great cause!

It’s a wonderful thing when stars use their celebrity to give back to society. It’s a sign of their gratitude for the success they have achieved.

Stand Up for a Cure Concert Series was launched in 2007 with a Seinfeld-starring show at Hammerstein Ballroom to benefit the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Since that time, they have produced shows with Dave Matthews Band at MSG, Bon Jovi at the Hammerstein Ballroom, Barry Manilow at the Nassau Coliseum, Brian Wilson at the Hammerstein Ballroom, and another Seinfeld show at MSG in 2008.

This will be Jerry Seinfeld’s third show for Stand Up For A Cure, and I’m sure he gets a lot of pleasure out of knowing how many people are helped through his kindness.

Jerry Seinfeld will star in a Stand-Up For A Cure comedy concert to benefit the American Diabetes Association!

The event will take place on Wednesday, April 17 at The Theater at Madison Square Garden (Seventh Avenue and 32nd Street). Jerry had his choice of charities to benefit from his performance and he personally selected the American Diabetes Association as his charity of choice for this year’s fundraiser. I will be covering this event and I hope to be able to ask him why.

I personally have a strong connection to Diabetes as I lost my Dad to that dreaded disease. Many people have no idea how devastating Diabetes can be. My Dad looked like a cancer victim before it took him. It affected every part of his body except his eyesight, which was a Blessing in itself. It’s a wasting disease, where in the end your kidneys can shut down due to end stage renal disease.

My oldest daughter Elizabeth DeRobertis is the head of the nutrition department at a medical group in Scarsdale, and specializes in treating Diabetes and I myself produced a sold-out comedy event to raise money for the ADA at The Comic Strip, on 81st and 2nd in NYC.

Both Jerry and Colin were kind enough to give me interviews for my new book “Make ‘Em Laugh” about the 35 year history of The Comic Strip the legendary comedy club where both of them started out and called “home”. I wrote it with owner/founder Richie Tienken, and Chris Rock who also started out there wrote an amazing introduction to the book, besides giving his own interview.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Jerry Seinfeld at The Comic Strip after Jerry’s interview for Jeffrey’s book “Make ‘Em Laugh” about the 35 year history of the club where Jerry started out!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Colin Quinn holding a copy of “Make ‘Em Laugh” the book he is in, about the 35 year history of The Comic Strip where he started his career!

A portion of the proceeds from the event will go towards funding research, education, programs and advocacy for the American Diabetes Association.

Right now there are over two million people living in the New York metropolitan area who have diabetes and that number continues to grow. If this trend continues, one in three children who were born after 2000 will develop diabetes within their lifetime. For minorities, this number becomes one in two.

The American Diabetes Association of Greater New York is working hard to stop this, by focusing many of its programs in New York on prevention. To do this, the association provides health fairs, school walks, healthy living ideas and food choice options/exercise materials to public schools and community organizations.

To learn more about how the American Diabetes Association works with the community, please visit, http://www.diabetes.org/newyork or visit them on Facebook or Twitter.

Together, by attending and supporting comedy events like this, we can Stop Diabetes and have fun along the way!

The overall event is being produced by premiere concert producers Heywood, Mendel and Rose, who have some other exciting shows coming up in the future as well. On August 10th “X Factor” finalist Carly Rose Sonenclar will be performing at the Best Buy Theater and they will also be doing a 3 day festival at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Jan 2014 leading up to the Superbowl in NY with a handful of incredible acts, which I will tell you more about closer to the date!

In the meantime, hope to see you at MSG. I will be there covering the event and will hopefully be posting video of it very soon!

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Chris Tucker In A Rare Appearance with Ron, from Ron and Fez On Sirius Radio

I got to see Ron Bennington’s talent up close and personal recently when he interviewed me for a segment on Ron and Fez, his long-running show on Sirius Radio.

Fez Whatley, Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, and Ron Bennington up at Sirius Radio for the Ron and Fez show!

He does his homework, and knows what to ask in a way that makes you feel really comfortable, plus it’s totally unrushed. So I understood why Chris Tucker, who rarely does any press, would agree to do an episode of “Unmasked”, an interview segment that Ron does with only the biggest comedy stars.

I was one of a small, select group who got invited to attend the interview up at the Sirius studios, where I’ve been spending a lot of time lately doing press for my new book ” Make ‘Em Laugh” with Chris Rock, and Richie Tienken the owner/founder of the legendary comedy club “The Comic Strip.”

Richie Tienken, Chris Rock, and Jeffrey Gurian at The Comic Strip, the club where Chris was discovered!

Richie discovered both Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock, and managed Eddie from his early days on SNL as a featured player though his starring role in Beverly Hills Cop 2, when he was arguably the biggest star in the world.

Anyway, Ron started off the interview by telling Chris how everyone loved him, which is true. He’s such a likeable guy, both onscreen and off. But he made his rise to the top sound too easy, and Ron got lots of laughs acknowledging that, and saying that it’s supposed to be much harder to make a name for yourself in comedy, than it was for Chris.

Chris started out as a class clown, which is a skill never truly acknowledged by anyone’s parents or teachers. As Ron said, no one says, ” Your child may only be in the 3rd grade but he’s funny at a 10th grade level!” Which is a great premise for a stand-up bit.

Chris grew up in Decatur, Georgia and made his comedy debut right there, even though he was underage. One of the headliners from a big club in Atlanta took a liking to Chris and said he wouldn’t perform if Chris wasn’t allowed to come in.

He moved to LA in 1992, and got picked for the 2nd season of Def Comedy Jam where he got to perform with Bernie Mac, and according to him, was the thing that really got him seen. Then in 1995 he got to do his first Friday film with Ice Cube. That really put him on the map.

Ron joked that every day Ice Cube wakes up asking if Chris Tucker called about being in his 4th Friday movie which he’s currently writing, and wants Chris to be in!

Chris’ role as Johnny Booze in Houseparty 3 was what got him an agent, and Ron also brought up his many faceted relationships with such major and varied people as Michael Jackson, Bill Clinton and Bono from U2. How many comics can lay claim to something like that??? (Redundant question, … no answer required!)

Heavy D had seen him performing at The Comedy Store and asked him to be in his video which is how ho got to meet Brett Ratner, and what eventually led him to be in Rush Hour with Jackie Chan.

His Mom was a missionary and his grandfather was a preacher, and Chris talked about tracing his African ancestry to both Cameroon and Angola, but when he went back there he said no one looked like him. There was no “tribe of Chris Tuckers!” (LOL)

These days he’s very particular about what films he appears in, and according to Ron has turned down over 100 million dollars worth of work, which he smilingly agreed with. And then afterwards seemed shocked as the reality hit him, of the enormity of what he had turned down!

One of the things that Chris Tucker said during his interview was that he was a big fan of Eddie Murphy, and that Eddie was a big influence on his career. So when the interview was over, Ron took me over to meet Chris and I was able to give him a copy of the book about the club where his idol Eddie Murphy started out.

He seemed really thrilled to get it and said he was looking forward to reading it, after I got the chance to tell him a few of the stories in the book, including how Eddie discovered Chris in 1986.

To tell you the truth, I was so excited to meet him I don’t remember what I wrote in it, but I do recall saying I was a huge fan of his. Then we posed for some photos, and I was out!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Chris Tucker, up at Sirius Radio with Ron and Fez, holding Jeffrey’s book with Chris Rock called “Make ‘Em Laugh”, about the 35 year history of The Comic Strip!

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D.L. Hughley with Jeffrey Gurian at The Comic Strip

It took eight long years for D.L. Hughley to find a home for his project “D.L. Hughley’s Endangered Species” in which he wants to get “the Black man” added to the endangered species list!

Most people outside of show biz have no idea it could take that long to get a project done. Finally Comedy Central stepped up to the plate, and agreed to make the special and D.L. decided to shoot part of it at the legendary club “The Comic Strip” where both Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock got their start. Owner Richie Tienken managed Eddie for the first 11 years of his career, from his SNL days through Beverly Hills Cop 2!

D.L. Hughely performing onstage at The Comic Strip for his new Comedy Central special “D.L. Hughley’s Endangered Species”!

As a matter of fact it’s all in the book I wrote with Richie called “Make ‘Em Laugh – 35 Years of The Comic Strip, the Greatest Comedy Club of All Time!” From Skyhorse Publishing, which will be out in a few weeks as of Oct. 1, 2012. It’s already up on Amazon.com for pre-orders.

The book “Make ‘Em Laugh” by Jeffrey Gurian and Richie Tienken with an intro by Chris Rock, plus interviews with Seinfeld, Billy Crystal, Ray Romano, Colin Quinn, Susie Essman, Lewis Black, and so many more!

Chris Rock wrote the funniest, most amazing introduction,and while I was recently up on Montreal at the 30th anniversary of the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival, Jay Pharoah of SNL read Chris Rock’s intro in Chris’ voice for a crowd of people in the hotel lobby like J.B. Smoove and Lou Wallach past head of Comedy Central!

Richie Tienken, Chris Rock, and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at The Comic Strip after Chris’ interview for “Make ‘Em Laugh!”

I caught up with D.L. backstage after the taping, at which Comedy Central execs JoAnn Grigioni and Val Boreland attended, and filmed a little video interview for Comedy Matters TV on the special and on D.L.’s new book ” I Want You To Shut The F**k Up – How the Audacity of Dopes is Ruining America!”

D.L. Hughley and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV backstage at The Comic Strip!

Check it out right here:

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D.L. Hughley Tapes Comedy Central Special at The Comic Strip

I hadn’t seen D.L. Hughley since 2009 at a party at Comix which is no longer in existence. But I’ve always been a fan so when I heard he was going to be taping a special for Comedy Central at The Comic Strip I made sure to be there waiting backstage.

D.L. Hughley and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at Comix back in 2009!

Dean Obeidallah was the MC and did a fantastic job of warming up the packed crowd. Every seat was filled, to the point where D.L.’s bodyguard had to stand. He would have needed two or three seats anyway, cause he was that big! (LOL)

A kind of blurry Dean Obeidallah on stage warming up the audience for D.L. Hughley! ( Just to clarify, Dean’s not blurry, my photo is, cause the lighting was weird!)

Comedy Central execs like JoAnn Grigioni and Val Boreland were there, plus producer Lynne Appelle, joining owners Richie Tienken, Bob Wachs, and myself, and we all sat together in the balcony enjoying the show.

D.L. is always great and this night he did not disappoint! He was in rare form and the excited crowd showed him lots of love! After leaving the stage to thunderous applause, he gave the crowd an unexpected treat by returning to the stage a second time to do some material he felt like adding. Comedy Central still had their cameras set up so it didn’t present any problem.

D.L. Hughley onstage at The Comic Strip killing it for his taping of a Comedy Central special called “D.L. Hughley’s Endangered Species!”

I caught up with him backstage afterwards and shot a really cool, fun, and funny video interview with him for Comedy Matters TV which I will be posting as soon as it’s edited.

His special will be a mockumentary called “D.L. Hughley’s Endangered Species”, which will air this October 27th, I believe he said, in which he suggests that “the Black man” as a race, be added to the endangered species list. It took him eight years to find a home for it, until Comedy Central stepped up to the plate.

I told him that’s the kind of project only a Black man could pitch. A White guy wouldn’t stand a chance! We had a good laugh about that, and about using token White guys to get certain things done.

D.L. Hughley with a lighter skinned Black man, Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV backstage at The Comic Strip! (Under certain lights a lot of people confuse me with Dave Chappelle!)

D.L. said when he has a White guy with him, he doesn’t even bother to carry a driver’s license. That’s how safe he feels having a White guy around! (LOL)

He’s also got a new book called, ” I Want You To Shut The F**k Up: How The Audacity of Dopes is Ruining America!” It’s available on Amazon.com as well as bookstores across the nation! You can check it out right here! and stay tuned for the video coming soon!

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Heather Height: "Comedian Who Matters" At The Comic Strip

Comedy Matters held it’s periodic contest for “The Comedian Who Matters”, where up and coming comics win a shot at performing at the legendary comedy club The Comic Strip, the club that launched the careers of legends like Jerry Seinfeld, Ray Romano, Paul Reiser, Eddie Murphy, and Chris Rock to name just a very few.

Heather Height, winner of the “Comedian Who Matters” contest on stage at the legendary comedy club The Comic Strip!

Comics from all over submitted entries to the contest and we chose 6 finalists. Heather Height was the final winner, and got to perform on the late show I host at The Strip on Sunday and Monday nights.

Heather hosts an open mic at Cha-Cha’s restaurant on Mulberry Street in Little Italy every Wednesday evening with two shows, one at 8 and the other at 10:30. I’ve been there and they’re great! Cha Cha is also a well known actor, and has been in many movies and TV shows.

Heather had this to say about her Comic Strip experience: “I really want to thank the staff and Sunday night manager of The Comic Strip Jenn. Every time I’ve been there they have always been awesome, and last night was no exception. Unfortunately after my second drink, I didn’t recognize Jenn when I was leaving the club, and I asked her if she was a comic, being starved for the company of another female comedian. She just laughed and reintroduced herself. It was embarrassing, but funny, and pretty typical of how I bumble through my interactions with other humans. (but I’m gonna blame alcohol anyway, HAHA!)

Check out more about Heather Height at http://www.heatherheight.com

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Barry Sobel Is Doing It! In Two Different Shows!!!

There’s only one Barry Sobel and those of you who know him know what I mean. In a world of unique characters, like you find in the world of comedy, Barry Sobel stands out. Barry claims he’s back to save The Universe with a brand new type of entertainment, Barry Sobel’s “The Skype Show.”

He’s hosting a live stand-up comedy show mixed with special appearances by comedians from all around the world SKYPING IN, so grab your Firewire cables and hold onto your seats for an inter-galactic ride, with Barry Sobel as the Mission Commander!

The first one is coming up this Saturday, June 30th at 9 P.M. at Bowery Electric, 327 Bowery, only $10. in advance and $15. at the door! In this economy, it only makes sense to do it in advance!

The Skype Show, this Saturday June 30th at Bowery Electric!

John Fugelsang, a dear old friend of mine, whose CD on I-Tunes is currently numero uno,(#1 for all of you who are not fluent in Espanol!) performs onstage at Bowery. And comedy powerhouse Brandon Wardell, SKYPES IN, from his basement in DC. ( Where he’s been hiding for years! LOLOL) Plus many more! As Barry describes it, each show will be “an amazing one-time only experience!”

This will be the premiere show for Barry, who is an “Artist in Residence” in the new comedy room at Bowery Electric, which I think means he lives there! (LOL) Future dates will be added.

Barry currently stars on “The 3 Minute Talk Show with Barry Sobel.” Created by Barry and produced by Tom Hanks and Playtone, it is everything you have ever seen in a late night talk show, all in three minutes. It can be seen on Hulu.

Barry has had a fascinating background with tons of credits. Originally emerging from the San Francisco comedy scene, he was a favorite of rock impresario Bill Graham who invited him to perform at “The US Festival,” making Barry, at the time, the comedian to perform in front of the largest live audience in the history of comedy.(There were at least 6 or 7 people there! LOL)

Barry changed the face of stand-up comedy, ( like a comedic plastic surgeon!) with his ‘Beastie Boys’ Rap, and his homage to James Brown and Bruce Springsteen, “I Can’t Do No More!”

Introduced at “Showtime at the Apollo,” by hosts The Beastie Boys and Run DMC, Barry was the first comedian to ever rap onstage…and he received a standing ovation. (If it had been a Jewish audience he would have received a “standing oy-vation! LOL)

Barry Sobel killing it onstage way back in 2010! ( He still looks exactly the same!)

But it was Barry’s career breaking performances on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson,” that made him a force to be reckoned with, to use an expression from The Old West!

Barry has appeared on HBO with Rodney Dangerfield, (the first major star I ever wrote for back in 1810), Eddie Murphy, John Candy and Tom Hanks, and has starred in his own HBO special, “I CAN’T DO NO MORE.”

Barry became sort of a pop culture icon when he joined up with the “Nerds” starring and rapping in “Revenge of the Nerds II.” NBC President Brandon Tartikoff championed Barry’s career and cast him on the NBC hit sitcom “227.”

Barry has appeared in many movies, including “Blind Date,” “Doc Hollywood,” “I Love Trouble,” and “BAPS,” and starred in the cult classic “Martians Go Home.” He was handpicked to work on the movie “Punchline,” the film where Tom Hanks tried out some of his material at The Comic Strip, and he actually wrote Tom’s material and coached him on how to perform. They’ve been close ever since.

Barry’s TV career started with an appearance on “Family Ties” and went to include “The Ellen Burstyn Show,” “Bridges to Cross,” and “VH1’s Vinyl Justice.” He has had recurring roles on “Dave’s World,” “The Parenthood,” and wrote for and did voices for the acclaimed cartoon, “The Boondocks.”

He even wound up playing himself on an episode of “21 Jump Street.” ( I just did that on Nick Kroll’s new show for Comedy Central, and it’s really fun, and a great honor!)

Barry guest VJ’d for years on MTV, and has been in many shows on Comedy Central having appeared on “Dr. Katz,” “The A-List,” “Comics Only,” and “The Chocolate News.” He even starred in his own Comedy Central commercial with his Mom.

He’s appeared on numerous talk shows, including “The Tonight Show,” “Oprah,” “Regis,” and “The Today Show” and if you hurry down to Bowery Electric you’ll be able to verify all this for yourselves by cornering him and asking him a million questions!

As a writer, his credits include “The MTV Movie Awards,” “The MTV VMAs,” “The Boondocks,” “Nick Swardson’s Funtime,” and Saturday Night Live, for which he received an Emmy nomination. Barry has worked for years with Jimmy Fallon, who made his first TV appearance on “The Barry Sobel Show” on Comedy Central.
Barry is currently in pre-production on season two of “The 3 Minute Talk Show,” and is developing an animated project with Tom Hanks, Cartoon03.

For a sneak preview of Cartoon03 click here: http://www.youtube.com/user/cartoon03
– “Top Secret03”

Then on Thursdays at 9, starting this Thursday, June 28th Barry is doing a show called “These Jokes Aren’t 4 Everybody-Just The Sexy People” and it will be at Revision Lounge and Gallery! (Comedy just isn’t funny unless there’s a gallery! That is at 219 Avenue B in NYC in case you plan on coming in from Europe or Asia for this event!

I know I’ll be there and I hope to see you there as well! Then I can get some more photos to add to this column! (LOL)

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Comedy Juice with Cipha Sounds and Jay Pharoah

I’m becoming a “Juice” addict. Every Tuesday around 9:30 I find myself wandering over to Gotham Comedy Club to see the Comedy Juice show. I can’t seem to help it! They always have a strong line-up. (Not a line-up as in what you’d see at a Police station, where you’re expected to identify someone. This is a comedy line-up, where you don’t have to identify anyone! LOL)

Jared Logan hosting the Comedy Juice show at Gotham Comedy Club!

Jared Logan was hosting the show and he’s a really good MC. At one point there was kind of an angry woman in an unwanted dialogue with Jared, and she was saying something negative about New York City, that it made her realize how much she missed the small village near a stream where she came from.

Instead of yelling at her and trying to put her down, Jared made the opposite choice and did a bit of self-deprecatory humor telling her, ” I bet you’re wondering why a fat Lesbian is yelling at you on a microphone!” And that solved the problem. She finally shut up!

I was so glad to run into my boy Cipha Sounds from Hot 97 who came in to do the show. Cipha has to get up at 3 A.M. every day to be on the radio for his show Cipha Sounds and Rosenberg. He considers himself mainly a hip-hop DJ, and only recently began calling himself a “comic” when he felt he had enough experience to own that title.

Cipha’s real name is Luis Diaz and he’s from The Bronx, as he says, the only borough with a “The” in front of it. No one says, “The Queens”, or “The Brooklyn”, only “The Bronx” gets that distinction! I too am from The Bronx, so we had something else to bond over! (LOL)

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Cipha Sounds of Hot 97 playing rock, paper, scissors backstage after the show!

He is one busy guy, and is always producing a show somewhere. Recently he did his annual April Fools show at Madison Square Garden with Marlon and Shawn Wayans, JB Smoove, Tommy Davidson, and a bunch of other heavy hitters, including a guest spot from a favorite person of mine, the very funny Chaunte Wayans!

Chaunte Wayans onstage doing her thing!

This coming Tuesday, April 24th he’s doing a birthday show at Carolines with Tony Roberts. They both share the same birthday. One year Cipha celebrates and the next year Tony gets to celebrate! (LOL)

Cipha Sounds from Hot 97 and Jay Pharoah from SNL who’s executing a very difficult and very different kind of hand signal I had never seen before, and I’m pretty fluent in hand signals! (Not!)

He also does his Friday night shows at Laugh Lounge with Burt Smooth, and a killer line-up. Everybody wants to perform with Ciph! One of these days, I’m gonna hit him up for a spot! (LOL)

(L-R) Comedy producer Burt Smooth, Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, and Mike Yard at Laugh Lounge. See if you can spot me! (LOL)

After his killer set, Cipha and I hung out downstairs in the green room of Gotham, and we shot this awesome video interview for Comedy Matters TV where I got to ask him all kinds of cool stuff, and he even answered me! He worked his way up to an on-air guy over 14 years that he’s been at the station. He is one hard-working M-F’er!!! (LOL)

Check out the video right here:

Also on the show was a favorite of mine, Jay Pharoah from SNL who I just added to my book on the 35 year history of The Comic Strip coming out this October from Skyhore Publishing. Jay is not only funny, he’s one of the most talented impressionists around.

Jay Pharoah getting into it onstage for Comedy Juice at Gotham!

He does such a great Chappelle, along with Kanye West, Jay-Z, Weezy, Dreezy, and that other great rapper Obama, (LOL) plus Eddie Murphy and Denzel. When he does Denzel you’d think Denzel was in the room. No wonder he’s such a favorite on SNL. He was there with his manager Shayna.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Jay Pharoah from SNL at the Comedy Juice show at Gotham Comedy Club!

Closing the show was a guy I had never seen before, but I’m sure I will see again. His name is Michael Lawrence, and as soon as I saw him I was like, this guy has to live in Brooklyn. In Brooklyn these days it’s important to take on the appearance of a woodsman, or a Civil War era farmer.

Mike Lawrence and his beard, on the loose at Gotham Comedy Club for Comedy Juice!

They seem to be going for the Unibomber look of a guy who lives alone in a cabin in some remote part of the woods, where no one can bother him and he can just sit by the fire and write jokes. I think maybe Zach Galifianakis started this look, and if you can attain that kind of success, I might be trying that beard thing next.

Look at Jason Mantzoukas. He and his beard are starring in the new Sacha Baron Cohen flick “The Dictator.”

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, with Jason Mantzoukas and his beard on the Nick Kroll set in LA! Watch for Jason in “The Dictator”!

Anyway, back to Mike Lawrence. This guy was really funny. He said he recently got into a fight with a homeless guy, who thought that HE was a homeless guy trying to cut in on his turf!

Mike Lawrence, not only a funny comic but one of the pre-eminent beard painters of his generation, who recently painted a replica of the Cistine Chapel with his beard!

He also said, believe it or not he’s in a relationship, and it’s actually going well. It’s been 10 periods already!

And he dispensed wisdom like, “When a bald man masturbates, it’s like he’s strangling a tiny version of himself!” The audience loved him. I tried to see if he left in a camper, but I got distracted.

Anyway, I’ll be back next week for more Comedy Juice!

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Brett Eidman Wins Comedian Who Matters Contest

Last month we ran a contest for The Comedian Who Matters. One of the prizes was to perform in my late show at the legendary comedy club The Comic Strip, where I host on Sunday and Monday nights.

The outside of the legendary comedy club The Comic Strip open since 1976!

Most comics’ goal is to pass at The Strip, which was the launching pad for legends like Jerry Seinfeld, Larry Miller, George Wallace, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Ray Romano and on and on and on!

Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV, Jerry Seinfeld, and Richie Tienken, owner and founder of The Comic Strip!

I am also doing the book on the 35 year history of the club, which will be out this year, and have already interviewed about 30 of the biggest stars to emerge from that club.

For this contest, I got many great submissions, some international as well, from as far away as India, (that’s how far people would come to perform at The Comic Strip!), and it was really hard to pick the finalists, but I did it with the help of my staff including my producer Sean Mannion, and comic Corinne Fisher who is amazing.

There were six finalists. To make it as fair as possible, I left it up to the public to decide the winner. Whoever got the most votes was the winner and that turned out to be Brett Eidman, (www.bretteidman.com) from upstate New York.

Jeffrey Gurian and Brett Eidman at The Friars Club at a party for Jeffrey’s book “Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive.”

I happen to know Brett for a while and they couldn’t have picked a more talented, nicer guy than him. Brett is an award winning comedian/writer/actor who is best known for his song parody of “Shaft, Barack Theme” which was played on thousands of radio stations and CNN.

Comedy bits from his CD, “What’s So F#@k’n Funny?” released on the Uproar Entertainment label, are played regularly on Sirius XM radio. A graduate of The Second City,in Chicago, Brett has been seen and heard on several TV and Radio Shows including “Saturday Night Live”, “Law & Order”, and “CollegeHumor”.

Brett’s one man show “One Angry Man” just completed a sold out run in NYC, and deserves to be touring nationally!

Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV with Brett Eidman at his sold out show “One Angry Man!”

He’s fantastic at doing character work, and is currently taking meetings with major agents and managers!

So tomorrow night, Monday 2/20/12, is the night when Brett gets to perform at The Strip.

The Strip is located at 1568 Second Avenue in Manhattan between 81st and 82nd Streets. (212) 861-9386 You can arrive at 10:30 and not have to pay a cover charge if you mention Brett Eidman or Jeffrey Gurian. Brett will hit the stage first after I do my opening.

I hope you’ll all come out and support him! This is big!

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Billy Crystal Replaces Eddie Murphy To Host Academy Awards

A lot of people were excited that Brett Ratner was producing the 2012 Academy Award ceremony. And then Brett added to the excitement by asking Eddie Murphy to host. It would have been a challenge for Eddie, cause you gotta be amazingly funny hosting The Oscars, but I understand he had already called in teams of writers to help him prepare. Then Brett went on Howard Stern, and it all ended. I wonder how many people have gone on Howard’s show and said something they later regretted.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Brett Ratner at The Friars Club in NYC!

Howard has a way of tapping into everyone’s need to be “cool”, and with guys it can be devastating. To me, it all goes back to high school. Most people, especially those who are rich and famous now, did not feel cool, or like they really “fit in” in high school.

You hear it all the time when people write about their lives, how high school was an endless pit of depression and desperation. I always say, if high school was the best time of your life you should probably kill yourself!

Anyway, Brett was on Howard, and wound up saying things like he “banged” Olivia Munn a few times, and then forgot who she was when she came to audition for him. That sounds like the kind of statement high school guys make when they’re trying to impress each other with their supposed conquests of the fairer sex! There’s no other reason to say something like that.

But I’m sure Brett only said it because Howard said something that made Brett feel like he had to embellish upon who he was. All his success, respect in the business, power, and money did not feel like it was enough to make him feel secure, and keep that stuff to himself. Howard, who says he always felt like a geek, especially in high school, revels in getting people to say things that could potentially ruin their lives, or their careers.

Most people want to protect their friends from saying anything publically that might hurt them, or come back to haunt them in some way. On Howard, that seems to be the point of going on. To get people to say or admit something they never had any intention of sharing with the millions of people who listen. And once it’s said, there’s no taking it back. It’s great for Howard’s ratings but not so great for the person’s life who uttered the remark.

So when he asked Brett about rehearsing and Brett said something like “Rehearsals are for fags,” it was taken as a gay slur. In my wildest imagination, I could never believe that Brett, with his position in Hollywood, could have a homophobic bone in his body! He was probably just trying to be cool. He’s already cool, but must have forgotten that in the heat of the moment. I’m sure he knows lots of people who are gay, and probably socializes with people who are gay, and looked at his appearance on Howard as if he was on some kind of Roast or something. But in this day and age, you have to watch every word you say. Instead of bringing us together and being more inclusive, it’s separating us and creating more divisiveness.

Sometimes when non-comedians are trying their best to be funny, and time is of the essence like when you’re on the radio, they come out with something stupid that they wish they hadn’t said. Especially if the host says something provocative, and you want to respond in a funny way that people remember, plus come across as being “cool”, Professional comedians do it too, but not as much!

Anyway, as a result of those remarks, and others, Brett stepped down, and Eddie Murphy quickly followed. I wonder if Brett is sorry he went on Howard’s show. It would have been interesting to see how he produced The Oscars. Now we’ll never know!

The good news is that 9 time Oscar host Billy Crystal has agreed to step up and host for the 10th time, for first time Oscar producer, and Academy Award winner Brian Grazer, who will be co-producing with longtime pro Don Mischer. The 84th Academy Awards will be presented on Feb. 26th, 2012 at the Kodak Theatre in L.A. and televised on ABC.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Billy Crystal in LA in his office at Face Productions!

No one is worried about how Billy will do because he always kills! He’s the consummate showman. When I interviewed him recently for the book I’m doing on the 35 year history of the legendary comedy club The Comic Strip, he shared some great stories with me. One of the most memorable was on the best advice he ever got in his life. It was from Jack Rollins who was managing him in the early days, along with Woody Allen and Robin Williams. It was Jack who first introduced me to Billy so many years ago. I was a dentist at the time, and Jack thought Billy would be perfect to play me in a sit-com about a dentist who wanted to be in show biz!

Anyway, this was Billy’s best advice story. It was early in Billy’s career and Jack had come to see him perform. Billy killed it. The audience was roaring with laughter, but when Jack came back to see him after the show, this is what he said: “ I enjoyed tonight, but I don’t think you’re doing yourself any good with the kind of material your doing.”

Billy said, “So now I’m trying to butter my toast, and at the same time not stab him.” And I say , “ Whaddaya mean?” And he goes, “ It was all funny, and you can do very well with this stuff and you will, but you never once told me how you felt about something. I never heard “I” in it. Toys and games was what I heard. The audience really liked it, so take this if you want. But here’s the thing. You didn’t leave a tip! Always leave the audience something of yourself to remember! Always leave a tip!”

According to Billy that changed his entire way of performing. From the next night on he started talking about himself, and after a few weeks of awkwardness had written a whole new much more personalized act. He said it was the best advice he had ever been given!

And as far as his reason for hosting the Oscars again he said: “I am doing this so that the young woman in my pharmacy will finally stop asking me my name when I pick up my prescriptions.”

Billy Crystal pointing to his teeth, because when he first met Jeffrey many years before, Jeffrey was a dentist, who Billy referred to as “the funny dentist!”

Tune in on Feb 26th for the 84th Academy Awards!

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