Posts Tagged Friars Club

Diabetes Fundraiser Sold-Out Success-Article In Manhattan Blog

This past week I co-produced a sold out comedy fundraiser to fight Diabetes at the legendary comedy club The Comic Strip with my partner, Richie Tienken owner and founder of the club. The club was packed to hear comedy from the first lady of comedy Elayne Boosler, Eddie Brill from Letterman, Goumba Johnny the afternoon host of WKTU, national headliners Jim Mendrinos, Louis Ramey, and Jeff Pirrami from The Friars Club, Chuck Nice from VH1 and the host of The Hot 10 on Centric TV, Sherrod Small from VH1’s Best Week Ever, Harrison Greenbaum, the winner of The Andy Kaufman Award and one of Comedy Central’s “Top 10 Comics To Watch”, and even I did a little surprise spot.

(L-R) Richie Tienken, Elayne Boosler, and Jeffrey Gurian at The Comic Strip to fight Diabetes.

(L-R) JR Ravitz, GM of The Comic Strip, who also holds the auditions for the club, with host/MC Jim Mendrinos.

Jeffrey Gurian with fantastic host/MC Jim Mendrinos!

The incredibly straight Harrison Greenbaum with comedy writer/producer Jeffrey Gurian at The Strip.

(L-R) Harrison Greenbaum, Eddie Brill, Goumba Johnny, Jeff Pirrami, Elaine Boosler, and Jim Mendrinos in a rare group picture at the bar during the Diabetes fundraiser!

(L-R) Jon Fisch, Chuck Nice, and Harrison Greenbaum backstage waiting to go on at The Strip!

(L-R) A newly svelte Eddie Brill, Jeffrey Gurian, a newly svelte Jim Mendrinos, Richie TIenken, Louis Ramey, and an ALWAYS svelte Leighann Lord!

Sean and Jessica Mannion manning the new Sony VG-10 Hi Def camera during the show!

(Front L-R) Scott Blakeman, Sherrod Small,(Rear) Barry Weintraub, promoting our fundraiser on NY1's "Inside City Hall", with show host Errol Louis!

In the audience was a journalist named Rachel Wilgoren who writes for the Manhattan lifestyle site Nearsay, ( http://www.nearsay.com) and I thought it was good enough to send around to my peeps.

Check it out at this link!

Click on this photo to see the article in Nearsay

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Comedy Diabetes Fundraiser at The Legendary Comic Strip

 

This Thursday, April 14th at 8 P.M. there will be a comedy fundraiser held to fight Diabetes at the legendary comedy club The Comic Strip.

The Comic Strip opened on June 1, 1976 and on June 17th a young Jerry Seinfeld walked in to audition.  His first sign-up sheet is still on the wall, and it says ” Good.  Put on Monday 6/21!”

Jeffrey Gurian, Jerry Seinfeld, and Richie Tienken at The Comic Strip after Jerry's interview for the book that Jeffrey is writing on the history of The Strip.

Aside from Jerry, the club also launched the careers of Paul Reiser, Larry Miller, George Wallace, Ray Romano, Adam Sandler, Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock just to name a few.

Richie Tienken, Paul Reiser, and Jeffrey Gurian at The Comic Strip with Paul preparing for his new show on NBC.

Richie Tienken, Chris Rock, and Jeffrey Gurian at The Comic Strip after Chris' interview for the book Jeffrey is writing on the history of this famous club!

This show will feature appearances by the great Elayne Boosler, the first woman to ever have a one hour TV special, on Showtime, Chuck Nice from VH1, Goumba Johnny the afternoon host of WKTU, Cipha Sounds the morning host of Hot 97, Jon Fisch from Comedy Central and VH1, Sherrod Small from VH1’s Best Week Ever, Eddie Brill from Letterman, Harrison Greenbaum, winner of The Andy Kaufman Award, and voted one of Comedy Central’s ” 10 Comics To Watch”, Macio from The Chapelle Show, Comedy Central’s Louis Ramey and more, plus special guests!

Jeffrey Gurian and Elayne Boosler freezing their behinds off, outside The Comic Strip!

This event is being produced by comedy writer/producer Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters and Richie Tienken, original owner/founder of The Comic Strip.

Tickets are $50. plus a 2 drink minimum and can be purchased over the phone by calling (212) 861-9386.

Please come and help make this a sold out show to fight Diabetes!  Proceeds from all ticket sales go directly to the American Diabetes Association!!!

 

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Elayne Boosler Drops "Facebook Is A Clock Sucker"

Elayne Boosler is often credited with opening the doors of comedy to women, since she was the first woman to get a one hour cable TV special. In 1986, Showtime gave Boosler her own hour special called “Table For One” which she wound up producing herself.

Jeffrey Gurian and Elayne Boosler in the street outside The Comic Strip in Manhattan.

She came up at a time when there weren’t that many women doing comedy, and the ones that were, were all talking about the same boring stuff.  Elayne broke that mould.

Networks weren’t convinced that people would tune in to watch a woman do an hour of comedy, but Boosler proved to them that it could be done. She got rave reviews, and a deal for 3 more specials, and then HBO caught on and came out with it’s own specials featuring women called “Women of the Night”.

All thanks to Elayne!

Elayne came up in the ranks with Seinfeld, Freddie Prinze, ( the original from Chico and The Man, not his son Freddie Prinze Jr.), Jay Leno, Larry David, Richard Lewis, Richard Belzer, and comics of that ilk.  ( Who says “ilk” anymore?  What am I living in 1943??? )

Richard Lewis sitting underneath his prized Al Hirschfeld caricature in the dining room of The Friars Club.

All in all she’s done 7, ( count them, … 7!) cable TV specials, acted in film and TV commercials, and now came out with a very funny rap song called “Facebook Is A Clock Sucker”, about how you can waste a whole day on Facebook, by just planning to post your status! The nice thing is, she worked with real rappers like Mac Lucci so… and let me see if I can phrase this properly, … it’s not a typical lame white person’s rap. (LOL)

Let me explain myself. Eminem is AMAZING, and showed the world that White people can rap as well, if not better than some Black performers, but most comics when they want to imitate something about rap do not have the ability to spit out beats the way you need to to make it sound real. It’s like when I was a young comedy writer, comics in those days would inevitably make fun of the “new rock and roll” lyrics. Their imitations were so lame that all these years later, I’m still embarrassed for them, just thinking about it.

Elayne’s song totally nails it and I think she”s got a hit on her hands that should go viral! Check it out the video below:

Elayne is back in New York for a while working on some important projects and I ran into her at The Comic Strip a few nights ago at a charity event she was doing.

Elayne Boosler, Nancy Parker, Mary Chestaro (singer Mary C.), and her mom singer Mercedes Hall outside The Comic Strip.

We have been internet friends for a while, and I’m proud to say she reads Comedy Matters. I’m even prouder to say she’ll be performing at the comedy fundraiser to fight Diabetes, that I’m producing at The Comic Strip with owner/founder Richie Tienken on Thursday April 14th at 8 P.M.

Diabetes Comedy Fundraiser, Thurs. April 14th, 8 P.M. at The Comic Strip

The Comic Strip is the legendary club that launched the careers of Jerry Seinfeld, Larry Miller, Paul Reiser, George Wallace, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Ray Romano, Adam Sandler and so many more. I should know cause I’ve interviewed just about all of them already for the book I’m doing on the 35 year history of the club. It’s located at 1568 Second Avenue, in Manhattan, between 81st and 82nd Street.

Jeffrey Gurian with Jerry Seinfeld at an event in Manhattan.

George Wallace and Jeffrey Gurian hanging out at The Comic Strip.

Richie Tienken, Ray Romano, and Jeffrey Gurian all waiting to audition at The Comic Strip! (LOL)

Tickets for the fundraiser are only $50., plus a 2 drink minimum, for a night of great talent including Goumba Johnny the afternoon host of WKTU radio, Cipha Sounds the morning host from Hot 97 radio, Eddie Brill from Lettterman, Sherrod Small from VH1, Jeff Pirrami from The Friars Club, Jim Mendrinos from Comedy Central and VH1, Jon Fisch from Comedy Central, VH1, and Last Comic Standing, Macio from The Chappelle Show, Harrison Greenbaum,winner of the Andy Kaufman Award,  which is very pertinent to this blog piece since Elayne actually dated Andy Kaufman for three years, and many surprise guests. Judah Friedlander may drop by as well as Louis CK, and other invited comedy luminaries.

Flier For Diabetes Comedy Fundraiser,Thurs. April 14t, 8 P.M. at The Comic Strip

Diabetes Comedy Fundraiser, Thurs. April 14th, 8 P.M. at The Comic Strip

FOR TIX CALL THE CLUB AT (212) 861-9386 AND TELL THEM YOU WANT TO ATTEND THE DIABETES FUNDRAISER ON APRIL 14TH OR YOU CAN GO TO PAY PAL AT NO EXTRA CHARGE AT

HOPE TO SEE YOU ALL THERE!

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My Special Day With Richard Lewis

Many people have idols in their field, people who have inspired them, … and some of them even get to meet their idols. It’s rare but it does happen. Even rarer is to actually be friends with someone who’s your idol, and in my case that someone is Richard Lewis.

Jeffrey Gurian with his friend & comedy idol Richard Lewis in the Billy Crystal Bar of The Friars Club!

Let me try and explain the kind of caring individual that Richard is. We know each other for a long time, but when he agreed to meet me at The Friars Club at lunchtime the day after he opened at Carolines, I was going in hopes of just having a few laughs, and to take a few photos of us for my national column Comedy Matters.

I had hoped for, but didn’t really count on being able to do a video interview. Our plan was to meet before he sat by himself for hours at a time preparing for his show that night at 8 P.M. It’s nothing for Richard to sit for 6 hours reviewing his “premises.” I certainly didn’t want to impose on his time. But from the moment he walked in, he was nothing but accommodating. He actually suggested shots and things I could do to make the video shoot more interesting.

We went into the dining room first to get photos of Richard under his caricature done by the legendary Al Hirschfeld, which was a great honor and source of pride to Richard.  There we encountered the force known to the Friars as Frank Capitelli, the long-time Maitre-d’ who runs the dining room with an iron fist.

Richard Lewis in a calm moment with Gianfranco "Frank" Capitelli the long-time Maitre-D' of The Friars Club.

He and Richard suddenly started berating each other as only big stars can do with Frank, and Richard grabbed Frank’s lapels as they mock-threatened each other while barely being able to keep from laughing.

Richard grabbing Frank's lapel and threatening to ruin his Italian-made custom suit, if he didn't give him the table he wanted! (LOL)

The interview itself was similar to Richard’s act. There was no beginning, middle or end. All of a sudden you were just in the midst of it. It was happening. At one point he told me he didn’t need me that he could just interview himself.

It was one laugh after the next. And when it finally DID end, it was only with assurances from Richard that if I had any further questions, all I had to do was ask, and he’d answer them right away. And that’s because Richard is a “Mensch”!

For the book I’m doing on the history of The Comic Strip, I’ve interviewed some of the biggest stars in comedy. ALL of them were nice while they were there, … except maybe for one, who will go unnamed , … for now!

But it’s the effort it took to get some of them there that made the difference. Most it was easy.  Richie Tienken or I  just had to ask.  Some people are grateful for the help they received in getting to where they are now, like Chris Rock, Ray Romano, George Wallace, Larry Miller, and Jerry Seinfeld, while others want to conveniently forget where they came from and who helped them get there.  None of those names will be mentioned!

But it begs the question – HOW CAN YOU NOT BE GRATEFUL TO SOMEONE WHO HELPED YOU BECOME SUCCESSFUL??? HOW CAN IT BE SO DIFFICULT TO SCHEDULE ONE HOUR OF YOUR TIME,… LITERALLY ONE SMALL, MINISCULE HOUR OF YOUR TIME TO COME AND REMINISCE ABOUT YOUR PAST, WITHOUT HAVING TO MAKE A WHOLE “MEGILLAH” ( a big deal! ) OUT OF IT, AND INVOLVE YOUR MANAGERS, AGENTS AND ASSISTANTS TO SCHEDULE THE THING? DON’T YOU TAKE AN HOUR FOR LUNCH EVERY DAY? DO YOU HAVE TO SCHEDULE THAT THROUGH MANAGERS AND AGENTS? AND THEN MAKE IT DIFFICULT TO GET A RELEASE FROM THEM AFTER THEY DO IT??? WHY WOULD YOU SHOW UP FOR SOMETHING AND THEN NOT GLADLY SIGN A RELEASE???

But, I digress! That’s a topic for a whole other posting. By the time I’m finished with this I’ll have enough ideas for postings for the next decade! Back to Richard Lewis.

Richard prepares for his show like he does everything else in the world, … obsessively. To a fault.  And he’s the first to admit it!

He writes his premises in a notebook, about 5 times the size of regular letters, and fills the book with notes which he studies continuously for hours, by himself, coming up with thoughts on the topics he wrote.

During a conversation, something could strike him about his wife, as an example, and he’ll jot that down as a premise. Never the full joke. Only the premise. He’s one of those comedic geniuses that can actually develop a premise on stage. He’s been doing that for 41 years.

Sitting with Richard is to me like it would be sitting down with Bob Dylan, ( in the early days!), or Mick Jagger, ( which I did only once!)  or Salvador Dali (which I actually also did for a few hours, and which will be the topic for another posting!). Icons that most people don’t get a chance to know.

Sitting with Richard Lewis in the corner of The Friars Club dining room under the Al Hirschfeld drawing of Richard, of which he is very proud! ( And rightly so!)

For better or worse, ( in terms of my own sanity!), Richard encompasses everything I understand about the world. He also encompasses everything I DON’T understand about the world. He speaks for me. His sickness is MY sickness.

This is not to say that I think I could compare myself to Richard. Only in my private moments alone, when I wonder how things would have been if I had started performing back in the 70’s, would I allow myself to think I could have been good enough to be in that esteemed circle of Richard, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, David Brenner, … like that. All of whom I know from back in the day. It’s only when you’re coming up with guys, that you can allow them to see you grow as a comic.

In order to do that they have to watch you fail miserably many times. It’s the only way you get good. Every comic knows that. You have to try many things sometimes to find the thing that works. When you’re all starting out together, you’re kind of in the same boat, so you bond over that. You empathize with what the other guy is going through. So what am I saying here???

I’m saying I relate to Richard Lewis’ humor so much, that it feels part of me. I feel like he’s speaking for me. There’s an identification that goes down to the DNA. When I say I’ve had a stomach-ache since 1954, I know that HE knows what I mean because when I sat down with him today at The Friars Club, he told me he wants a plaque above the toilet in the Men’s Room, and referenced the drug Imodium.( Which is probably the only drug he can take anymore!)

Imodium is a great comedy word. In MY act, I reference the drug Lomotil. I didn’t think of Imodium. It’s a much funnier word. But I’m too late. Imodium is Richard’s and I’m stuck with Lomotil! ( As long as it works!) LOL

So we met in The Billy Crystal Bar, and as a matter of fact when Billy was honored with a ceremony at the club, the bar was roped off to Billy and his friends while the regular Friars just stood and stared past the velvet ropes, like they were looking at animals in the zoo.

I went up to the rope and before they had a chance to chase me away, Billy looked over and said, ” Hey, I know that guy. Let him in.” And they did. And everyone was shocked that Billy Crystal knew me. Jean Pierre who was the Executive Director of the club at the time was standing there, and he just smiled, as if to say, ” It figures that he would know you!”

Billy knew me from Jack Rollins. From the days when I used to hang out in Jack Rollins office on West 57th Street. Those were the days when I was married, was a dentist, and was living in Westchester, coming to the city every Wednesday to try and make my way into show biz.

I had sent a letter to Jack Rollins himself, ( on my dental stationery no less! ) telling him about the short films I was making and how everyone always compared my comedy to that of Woody Allen. How surprised was I to actually get a phone call from Jack himself, inviting me to come down to this office. It was a dream come true. Woody Allen’s manager asking me to come and meet with him.

Jack actually suggested a sitcom about me, a dentist who was trying to break into show biz. That’s how I met Billy. He thought Billy would be good to play me, and he only wanted to get involved if he was representing the star. So he introduced me to Billy, but Billy was already doing many other things. it could have been SNL or maybe Soap.

That’s when I suggested a young comic I had met who I really liked, Paul Reiser. Jack had never heard of him, because he was so new, but I raved about how funny he was, and Jack said I could call him and ask if he was interested. I remember calling Paul from the municipal parking lot on West 54th Street near what was then Studio 54, and asking him if he would consider playing me in a sitcom, if Jack Rollins was involved.

Jeffrey Gurian, Paul Reiser, and Richie Tienken at The Comic Strip for Paul's interview for the book they are doing on the history of the club!

He said he would be glad to, and then about two weeks later, I think he landed a sitcom or a movie or something, and that was the end of that. Are you starting to see a pattern here???

Just a few years ago, when I wrote the award-winning short film “I Am Woody” about a mob boss obsessed with Woody Allen, I sent him the script to read.  In one of our many phone calls he said to me, ” How come I never managed you?”

The question hit me like a lightening bolt. In that one brief moment I felt elation and sadness at the same time, like I had never felt in my life. The elation that the legendary Jack Rollins who had managed Woody from the start, and produced every one of his movies, would have thought to manage me, was one of the biggest honors I ever had.

Then the incredible sadness of realizing the opportunity I had missed, and the courage I had to come up with to ask, ” Is it too late?”, not wanting to hear the answer I knew was coming.  He said it was too late for him in his career as he had retired years before.

I remember being there in his office for the first time like it was yesterday. And after he saw my films, he got on the phone and personally called the late Herb Sargent, who went on to become Pres. of The Writer’s Guild East, and who was running the writing team up at SNL at the time, and asked him to meet with me.

Herb was actually responsible for the name, ” Not Ready For Primetime Players”, and was in charge of shaping the legendary News Update, whose early hosts were Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Dennis Miller, who turned out to be my nemesis for getting on the show.

When I went up to see Herb at the SNL offices he said to me, ” I don’t even have to look at your stuff. If Jack Rollins says you’re funny, you’re funny!” But he DID look at my stuff, and liked it enough to set up a meeting for me with a guy named John Head, who in those days was in charge of film acquisition for SNL.

In those days I was doing films on “Monty-Pythonesque news topics”, like “Several men were arrested today for smearing creamcheese on the ankles of elderly women who wore their stockings rolled down like bagels. One of the victims, here only one month from Ireland gave us her account of what happened. She granted us an interview on the stipulation that she remain anonymous. Her name is Mrs O’Goyim,and she lives in The Bronx, but to honor her request, and protect her identity we’ll simply call her Mrs X.”

And then I got my dear grandmother, Nana Fay, to roll down her stockings which she would NEVER do, and let me put creamcheese on her ankles.  She also made believe she had a thick Jewish accent, where she explained that, “you know we have two kinds of stockings, … one for milk, and one for meat, ( an Orthodox Jewish “Kosher” reference! ) and this crazy man came over and shmeared creamcheese on my “Flaisheke” (meat) stockings and I can’t get it off!”

She said, ” Jeffrey, only for you would I do something like this!” She had such a great sense of humor, and was in other films of mine as well. But it was ALWAYS comedy news for me. That was my favorite thing in the world.

I think maybe because all news sounds ridiculous to me anyway. I think it’s the cadence. I got my “news announcer” training from Chuck Scarborough when I worked with him to prepare for his Friars Roast back in the 80’s.

Anyway, when I got my meeting with John Head I made what was to be one of the biggest, if not THE biggest mistakes in my life. I was no longer married and I was trying to impress this young model/actress I had been running around with. This must have been around 1986. Dennis Miller was doing News Update. I get my meeting at SNL to show my films to John Head. I call this girl and ask her to come with me. WHAT KIND OF SHMUCK TURNS A BUSINESS MEETING INTO A DATE?

As I’m writing this all these years later, I still can’t believe I did this. I bring the girl with me, as if her presence was going to make my films funnier. Talk about low self-esteem. I wasn’t enough on my own. I had to have someone else who I thought was more special, to “validate” me!

We walk in and of course everyone takes notice. Especially Dennis Miller who was single at the time. We had already known each other from other friends of mine who were in the cast since I had been going up to SNL since around 1977. We also hung out at a place called Columbus Cafe on 69th Street and Columbus Avenue.

Dennis immediately takes notice of the girl, asks why I’m there, I excitedly tell him I’m there to show John Head my comedy news, not realizing that Dennis does comedy news, and he asks if he can sit in on my meeting. I, … like the moron I was, … was thrilled! Dennis Miller will laugh his ass off, John Head will be impressed, and I’ll become part of SNL.

What happened next is still almost too sad for me to tell, but I have no choice. We show the films and everyone’s laughing. John Head’s words were burned into my memory. He said, ” I see no reason why you shouldn’t be doing films for the show. I’ll set up a meeting with Lorne Michaels for next week. Call me on Monday.”

I was ecstatic. I was out of my mind with joy. I was going to be making films for SNL. A dream come true. I called John Head on Monday like I was asked to, and was told that Dennis Miller liked my stuff so much that HE wanted to be the guy who brought it to Lorne and that I should call him instead.  John said he was out of it.  I was a little shocked, but still ok that Dennis liked it that much.

Then he never took my call. Many messages later, I realized he wasn’t going to ever take my call, or call me back. Not only that, but he took the girl’s number who I was with and went out with her, adding insult to grievous injury.

Making it even worse, ( it that was even remotely possible!) they went out socializing with Billy Crystal and Robin Williams and didn’t invite me!   I almost lost it over that. It was a lesson that haunts me to this day, about trying to be a bigshot and wind up looking like a putz!!!

I ran into Dennis some time later at Columbus Cafe where we all hung out. I asked him why he never got back to me. Rather than give me an answer he said, ” You wanna write for me? The show wants me to do remotes and that’s not my style. It’s YOUR style. Come up with a few ideas for me and if I like them, I’ll do them on the show.”  Then came the kicker!  “But I need them by tomorrow!”

Needless to say, I stayed up all night coming up with ideas to get them to him by the next day. It’s more than 20 years later, and I still haven’t heard from him.  Nice, …  right???

It took me a long time to just let that stuff go.  It doesn’t mean I don’t remember it, but I don’t let it make me ill!  It’s not worth it.

This blog, on the other hand, is getting to be like Richard Lewis’ act, … kind of like free association, but nowhere near as funny! When I saw him last night, among the million things he discussed,and let me say that there was one moment where he almost finished a sentence, … he told about missing the huge Woodstock festival in 1967 because it was drizzling, so instead he went to the movies and saw Fred McMurray in Flubber, which was one of his biggest errors in life!

And then he went on to tell how when he called his Mom to tell her he got The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, which should have sent her into a state of rapture, she simply asked him who else was on with him!

That was one way we differed. My Mom would take every opportunity she had to brag about me.  She would brag about the way I coughed. Did you see my son cough? Amazing. Your son may cough, but not like Jeffrey. When he clears his throat there’s nothing like it.  Rest in Peace Mom, you were the best!

Go see Richard at Carolines. He’s still there tonight, Sat. March 26th for two shows and one final show tomorrow on Sunday. Trust me, it’s not to be missed. Caroline herself came to see him on opening night and stayed through the whole thing.

If this post gets any longer, I’ll need a book publisher, and a literary agent to even GET the book publisher!

Jeffrey Gurian with Richard Lewis after one of his sold-out shows at Joe's Pub in NYC!

To be continued!

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Lisa Lampanelli Comedy Central Special "Tough Love" Coming Sunday March 27

If you’re a fan of Lisa Lampanelli, and truth be told, who isn’t, … ( rhetorical question – means it answers itself, … schmuck!) then you’re in for a treat. This Sunday night, Lisa will be in all her glory with a one hour Comedy Central special called “Tough Love.”

Lisa Lampanelli and Jeffrey Gurian at The Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump

I have it from Lisa herself that this special, … if you can believe it, … will be EVEN EDGIER than her last few specials. This from a woman who when honored with a luncheon by The Friars Club, called her mother the “C” word, and referred to her Dad as something like “that old deaf f*&k”. And not only were her parents there, but they laughed harder than anyone else!

Lisa Lampanelli flanked by her proud parents who are still laughing, at her Friars Club luncheon, 2_27_07

And that’s cause everyone can tell that Lisa comes from a place of love. She’s not a mean spirited person, and has no hatred in her heart for anyone. On stage watch out. But in person, ( and I don’t want to spoil her image, … but) she’s a sweetheart!

She told me that she and her husband, affectionately known as Jimmy “Big Balls”, … ( only Italian guys get good nick-names like that. Jewish guys NEVER get good nick-names. Whaddaya gonna call him, Sol “Thrifty” Schwartz? What’s the worst he can do? Give you the wrong change? )… so Lisa and Jimmy BB, just happened to catch one of her old specials on TV the other night, and she said she was “shocked at how much more Comedy Central is letting her get away with this time. I think there were only 6 bleeps in the whole thing”, she said. ” “They really let me push the limits!”

Lisa and husband Jimmy celebrating her killer performance at the Donald Trump Roast!

Lisa, and comics like Russell Peters, who is also a good friend of mine, fall into the category of what I refer to as “The Messiahs of Comedy.” I put them together although they are actually very different. But what they have in common is they bring Healing to the world and bring everyone together by making all ethnic groups see the humor in themselves as well as in other groups. All stereo-types have some basis in truth, and Lisa just points that out.

As a treat for my readers, I have permission from Lisa to give you a little taste of what to expect. Some inside info, so to speak! Now if I give HER some inside info back, do I run the risk of being arrested for insider trading! (Do they let you wear scarves in prison???)

Lisa Lampanelli and Year Round Scarf-Wearing Jeffrey Gurian at Carolines!

Lisa as you know is Queen of the Roasts. As a matter of fact, several years ago before Lisa’s career blew up, she and I were actually going to start a Roast business, creating Roasts for the corporate world. I had been writing for The Friars Roasts for many years, and we thought it would be a great idea. She was The Queen of the Roasts, I was gonna be The King, and she had an opening act at the time that was going to be The Prince!

As I recall, he was Gay and was arguing with her over who should be The Queen!

We had several meetings at The Friars Club, and got as far as making up fliers for our company, but before we had a chance to do our first gig, her career took off, and that was as far as it got!

Anyway, Lisa is incorporating her love and affinity for doing Roasts into her special by doing what she calls , her first annual ” Roast of Worthless Americans,” where she will have a podium wheeled out and she’ll do “a good ol’ fashioned roast of everyone from the Situation to Kate Gosselin to Jennifer Aniston.”

Lisa Lampanelli and Jeffrey Gurian, in the Green Room, when Lisa was the Roast Master for the Friars Roast of Pat Cooper-2007

Lisa’s quote was, “Since I am so fond of doing the roasts, I wanted to do a roast of people who took themselves too seriously to sit in the hot seat like Donald Trump and David Hasselhoff did. It’s a first for me and a total blast.” She really respected both Donald and David for taking the heat and subjecting themselves to what can be a brutal experience if you’re not mentally set for it.

Before Donald Trump was roasted by The Friars Club, he happened to ask me, ” Do you think I can take it?” My answer was, ” If anyone can it’s YOU Donald.”

Lisa Lampanelli and Jeffrey in the street after her interview for the book he's writing on the history of The Comic Strip.

Lisa also gave me a great interview on her early days in comedy, and her experiences at The Comic Strip for the book I am doing on the 35 year history of that legendary club. I will give you a taste of that interview in upcoming blog postings.

In the meantime just let me say that I know Lisa for a long time, and I’m so happy for her and all of her success as she deserves every bit of it. No one knows how hard you have to work to make it in this business, and she’s literally worked her butt off, ( by at least 80 pounds!)

Lisa Lampanelli and Jeffrey Gurian dancing, from his rare "Dancing With Comedians" series!

So, to wrap up, once again, the special is called “Tough Love” and airs this Sunday, March 27th, at 10 p.m. EST on Comedy Central. You can also go to http://www.ComedyCentral.com for additional airings.

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Jeffrey Gurian Documentary Reel with A-List Comics and Film Stars

This documentary reel about me was shot as a pre-cursor to a proposed TV project that I would host, taking the viewers “behind the scenes” in the comedy world, the film world and behind the velvet ropes of New York nightlife, all places where I have strong connections.

In this reel you will see great comics from late night TV like Ted Alexandro from Comedy Central, Letterman, Conan O’Brien, & Jimmy Kimmel, Jon Fisch from Last Comic Standing, VH1 and Comedy Central, Macio from The Chapelle Show, Uptown Comedy Club, & Comedy Central, Goumba Johnny, afternoon host  from WKTU, 103.5 FM, film stars Marisa Tomei, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Jason Statham, John Leguizamo, Vincent Pastore, Chris Meloni, Kal Penn, Sidney Lumet, Guy Ritchie, nightlife and TV legends Wass, Noel Ashman, and Countess LuAnn DeLesseps from Real Housewives of New York City, and Camille Grammer from Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Please watch and feel free to leave a comment, and/or share it with your friends.  Thanks!!!

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Richard Lewis Comes To New York

If you grew up idolizing the stand-up comedy of Woody Allen, … that’s assuming you’re old enough to remember when he performed stand-up on the Ed Sullivan show, …you can understand the frustration of knowing you’ll never see him perform stand-up again.

As a performer myself, I hate to compare one to another, but in my estimation the closest you can come to the kind of humor, and level of sophistication of humor that Woody did, is the great Richard Lewis, the Master of Angst!
(He’s also the creator of the expression ” the __________ from hell”, like ” the date from hell”, ” the vacation from Hell” This man put that into the lexicon!

Richard Lewis and Jeffrey backstage at Joe's Pub after Richard's sold-out show!

I’ve known Richard for a long time and was very excited to hear that he will be headlining Carolines on Broadway from March 24th thru March 27th. It’s a rare occurrence and one not to be missed! Especially if you’ve been enjoying him on HBO’s hit show ” Curb Your Enthusiasm” for the past 8 seasons.

I have a couple of Richard Lewis stories to share.

Back around 1996 or so, Richard was starring in a film called “Drunks” with Faye Dunaway, Calista Flockhart, Sam Rockwell, Parker Posey, Dianne Wiest, Amanda Plummer and other names that were not as big then as they are today. I was always determined to write for Richard not knowing that he never allowed anyone to write for him. I had gotten my start by actually showing my very early writings to Woody Allen himself, who was starring on Broadway in “Play It Again Sam” at the time,with Tony Roberts of course, and Woody was so kind he invited me back the next night to show him more of my work.

Richard Lewis and Jeffrey Gurian backstage at Westbury

One of the reasons he did that was because I had so little knowledge of what to do, that I went backstage during intermission instead of waiting till the end of the show, and he had to go back onstage. The story of how that all came about, and how I wound up backstage in the first place will be the subject of another blog, but suffice it to say that years later when I became friendly with both Jack Rollins and the late Charlie Joffe, both of whom managed Woody’s career for many years, they were both pleasantly surprised that Woody was so nice to me. Woody actually read through my ideas, and told me I had a very visual sense of humor and should think about making films of my work.

Jack said, “Woody must have really seen something in you to have done that.” Whatever Woody saw that night it took me many years to turn those early ideas I showed him into The “Men Who” Series a series of films about men who do very unusual things, like ” Men Who Take A Pitchfork To The Movies”, “Men Who Enjoy Latin Dancing With Tools”, and “Men Who Take A Fish To Hot Clubs.” You can actually see those films on my You Tube page at http://www.youtube.com/guriannewsnetwork

Anyway, I showed up at Drunks with jokes in hand expecting to give them to Richard in hopes he would use them. I wrote it as part of what I was calling his ” Born To Be Nervous” tour, which I wanted to suggest to Richard. Aside from the “Born To Be Nervous” Tour, I suggested a couple of the following lines-

My family are firm believers in the power of negative thinking. They feel you can ruin anything if you really put your mind to it.

Low self esteem goes back in my family to the beginning of time. I actually had an uncle who was the first man to walk erect. But he couldn’t hold it. He’d take a few steps and just slump over.

I was such a shy kid, I never even had the courage to go Trick or Treating. I tried doing it over the phone.

My apartment is a problem too. I just got my new lease, turns out I’m renting it by the hour.

I don’t like to burden my shrink with my problems. He’s too sensitive. One time I told him I was leaving him, he threatened to kill himself.

I think I would have made more progress with him, but when he told me to lay back on his couch, I couldn’t do it. My mother always taught me not to put my feet up on someone else’s furniture.

And I knew that if I did it, she’d find out and feel that somehow, it would be a reflection on her.

My shrink was treating me for feelings of loneliness. At one point I was so lonely I tried to develop a split personality, just for the company.

So anyway, I felt pretty good about the jokes and ran to the theatre with them in an envelope. The problem was I had planned to get there early to try and see Richard, but I was so nervous I made myself late, and when I got there, there was already a long line of people waiting to get in.

In a panic, I by-passed the line and ran down a staircase not knowing where it would take me, and who’s coming up the staircase right towards me but Richard Lewis himself. Those kinds of things happen to me on kind of a regular basis, although I have no idea why, or what to do in those circumstances.

He looked at me and said, ” Hey, what are YOU doing here?” I’m like, ” I came to see you”, and I was so shocked to actually run into him that I almost forgot to give him the envelope with the jokes in it. Fortunately I remembered and gave it to him, even though he was on his way into the theatre to do his presentation. Most people don’t like to be carrying things with them, but I didn’t know what else to do.

After the screening he took off pretty quickly, but by the time I got home there was already a message on my phone from Richard. I think it was the nicest decline of material I ever received. He said I was talented and hilarious, and you can listen to it right here because it meant so much to me I saved it all these years. He was so kind that he called me right away. That is a very, very rare thing for anyone to do, especially a star of his calibre. ( I think his caliber is 9 millimeter, or it could be .380. They’re very close in size! LOL)

Richard Lewis Phone Call

I always wonder if I didn’t put the (LOL) would people know it’s a joke? I guess if they didn’t, it wasn’t much of a joke! (LOL)

I remember seeing Richard in Westbury, and going to see him backstage afterwards when he told me that he stopped taking his notes out onstage with him at that very performance.

I also went to see him at Joe’s Pub a few years back, and again at Comix in 2008, and he did an incredible performance, in a kind of stream-of-consciousness style that is inimitable, and what he’s known for. I was amazed that anyone could go that long, with what looked like an unprepared act, in the sense that no one could memorize such a thing, with one thought leading him to another, and I wrote to him at the time –

“No one goes that long at that pace but you, with consistently funny, material that is not an act! Despite the fact that you rarely let yourself finish a sentence, it’s hysterical. You have the “un-act!”

So needless to say, I will be at Carolines at least once during his stay, which is one show Thursday at 8:00, one show on Friday at 8:00, two on Saturday at 8:00 and 10:30 and one on Sunday at 8 P.M. For tickets call (212) 757-4100 or go to the Carolines website.

All the info you need to see Richard Lewis at Carolines!

I also hope to see him at The Friars Club for lunch, cause when I asked him if I could come see him backstage, I got this e-mail :

I have six or seven tv n radio shows
Prep
Jet lagged
Five shows
Never backstage more than two minutes be it God, Dylan or you

PERFECT!!! He lumped me in with G-d and Dylan! Come see Richard at Carolines!
S

 

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Sarah Silverman Snaps Photo of Jeffrey Gurian at Friars Club

The film poster for Peep World, an IFC film opening March 25th.

So I went to The Friars Club to see the new film “Peep World” starring Sarah Silverman, Michael C. Hall, Rainn Wilson, Taraji P. Henson, Leslie Ann Warren, Ron Rivkin, and Ben Schwartz. It was presented as part of the new film program created by Charlie Prince who also produces the very successful Friars Club Film Festival. Assistant Executive Director of The Friars, Michael Caputo made sure things ran smoothly as he always does.

Sarah Silverman and Ben Schwartz at the Q&A at The Friars Club for Peep World

Sarah attended with Ben Schwartz to do the Q&A and was accompanied by her close friend comic Todd Barry, one of the few who makes me laugh out loud!  I don’t even make ME laugh out loud, but he does!

Todd Barry and Jeffrey Gurian at Comix, BEFORE it went out of business!

I went with singer/composer Rosa Gudmundsdottir, who’s a big star in Iceland. That sounds like a strange credit unless you know that she’s actually from Iceland, because if you were from America and were only a star in Iceland, that could be a problem.  Agents might look at that as a red flag of some kind! (LOL)

Rosa may be from Iceland… but she’s a very warm person!  Iceland sounds like such a strange place to be from! I want to know things like, ” Is it ever warm in Iceland?” Is it dark there like 24 hours a day in Iceland? Can you only get cold drinks in Iceland?”

Rosa Gudmundsdottir and Jeffrey Raymondsson( my Icelandic name!) on the "step and repeat" at The Friars Club

Rosa is a very talented performer, as you can see if you go to her site http://rosagudmundsdottir.com/ She’s an exotic mix of Icelandic and Thai, and if the word gets out that that mix works, expect to see lots more of them! (LOLOL)

Knowing her makes me want to say, ” Meet me in Reykjavik honey, we have some serious partying to do!” Has that phrase ever been used by anyone in the world??? Even in Iceland???

Ron Rivkin as patriarch Meyerowitz and Alicia Witt playing his girlfriend Amy

Anyway, the movie was very funny. It’s actually a family comedy that stars the great Ron Rivkin as the head of the highly dysfunctional Meyerowitz family. Sarah plays Cheri, the only sister to three brothers, pursued for 8 years by a funny Orthodox Jewish character played by Stephen Tobolofsky.

Stephen Tobolofsky and Sarah Silverman onscreen in Peep World

Ben Schwartz plays Nathan the youngest brother who destroyed the family by writing a tell-all about their lives. Cheri is suing Nathan for ruining her life. They all get together once a year for their father’s birthday and they all seem to hate each other.

Rainn Wilson looks totally different with a beard, and plays a total loser who’s being hounded by loan sharks for money he owes them. He’s dating Taraji P. Henson, who’s totally hot and looks nothing like the old woman she played in Benjamin Button. I really thought she was an old woman! Shows you how much I know!!!

Siblings played by Sarah Silverman, Michael C. Hall, Ben Schwartz, and Rainn Wilson

Alicia Witt who I had met in New York some years ago, plays Amy, Ron Rivkin’s young girlfriend who defends him to his family.  She was so striking and so dedicated to her craft that I always knew she’d be successful, so I’m never surprised when I see her in something big.

One funny scene is when for some unknown reason, on his way to a book signing, Ben stops off for a Viagra-type injection and winds up with an erection that won’t go away. He has to show up and try to face an audience while hiding it as best he can, but he’s in agony, and his portrayal is hysterical. Fortunately in a fantasty-like solution, his ultra-hot P.R. assistant played by Kate Mara offers to help him get rid of it the “old-fashioned” way, … and it works!

She even offers to attend the father’s birthday party with him, as long as he doesn’t introduce her as his girlfriend. Very empowering to women! She helped him out, strictly out of the kindness of her heart!

The film screened at the Toronto and Austin film fests last fall, and IFC Films will release it March 25. So Ben and Sarah showed up at The Friars to do a Q&A after the film. Sarah’s so above all that. She never seems comfortable with that kind of stuff.

Sarah Silverman holding the i-Phone with which she proceeded to take my picture!

But while they were in front of the room answering questions, and people were snapping photos of her, she took out her camera and said, ” I’m gonna take a picture of Jeffrey Gurian”, and snapped a photo of me sitting up front. It was very unexpected, and very funny. I hope somebody was shooting video so I can get a copy!  Michael Caputo, I’m calling you about this!!! (LOL)

Then I decided to ask my own question for the Q&A, so I asked Ben how he prepared for the erection scene, and he said he was very proud of his erection work, and tried to stay hard for a few weeks in order to prepare.

It was a fun evening and I look forward to attending the next film that Charlie has coming up.

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

Comic Strip Action

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

World Champion Hangs at World Champion Club

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gotham Happenings

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Anthony Anderson and Jeffrey laughing it up after the show.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comedy Matters Quickies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Times Square Tidbits

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

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

Dennis Gatti and Jeffrey at the Times Square Comedy Club.

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

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

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

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

Bobby Johnson and Jeffrey at the Times Square Arts Center.

Nick Kroll On The Loose

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

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

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

Bobby Bottleservice and Jeffrey at The Hundreds.

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

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

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

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