Posts Tagged Harris Stanton

Tracy Morgan On Road To Recovery

Anyone who knows my posts knows I only like to write about positive things.  I’ve been holding off on writing about the horrible accident that injured Tracy Morgan, and his fellow-comic passengers Ardie Fuqua, Harris Stanton, and Jimmy Mack who unfortunately did not survive.   I didn’t know Jimmy personally but from mutual friends I  heard he was a great guy and that Tracy considered him his mentor.

It’s a very different thing writing about someone you know.  Especially when it’s something terrible.  Most journalists write very dispassionately never having met the people they’re writing about.  Writing about a friend is much more difficult in many ways, because you never want to feel that you’re trying to draw attention to yourself, through their misfortune.

With Tracy Morgan in happier days at Gotham Comedy Club!

With Tracy Morgan in happier days at Gotham Comedy Club!

I saw Tracy as recently as April 15th when he came up to Sirius XM studios to do a special ” Unmasked” interview with Ron Bennington, the “Ron” from the legendary Ron and Fez Show.  Everyone was excited and Tracy did a very moving and intimate interview, really opening up about his life, and the things that are important to him, and moving both himself and the audience to tears!   I was in the green room watching, and after the interview there were big hugs all around!

The shocking news came through on Saturday, June 7th that Tracy was in critical condition after a tractor trailer slammed into his SUV limo bringing him and his entourage back from performing at a casino in Delaware.

The limo Tracy was in turned over, and Tracy was said to have sustained several injuries including a broken femur, a broken nose and several broken ribs.  He already underwent surgery for the broken femur , and was said to be recovering, at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick.

Fortunately Harris Stanton got away with relatively minor injuries if you can call any injury “minor”,  and was well enough to be released.

Harris Stanton, Jeffrey Gurian, and Patrice O'Neal at the taping of Patrice's last special "Elephant In The Room!"

Harris Stanton, Jeffrey Gurian, and Patrice O’Neal at the taping of Patrice’s last special “Elephant In The Room!”

Ardie who has been opening for Tracy for a while now, is still listed in critical condition, and to my knowledge no one has said anything  specific about his injuries.  I last heard from him the Wednesday before the accident, when he texted me all excited that Chris Rock himself had brought him on to the BET Awards.

Ardie is a super guy, loved by all who know him, who’s still recovering from the loss of his beloved son Ardley Jamaal Fuqua in May of 2012 in a freak accident, but he still manages to go out and make other people laugh despite his own personal pain.   He teased me for weeks about the fact that when I went out to Brooklyn a few months back to see him open for Tracy , I brought Tracy a copy of my book “Make ‘Em Laugh” as a gift, and signed it for him on the spot.  Tracy had known about the book, and I promised him a copy but for some reason Ardie thought it was hysterical that I would think to give Tracy a signed copy of my book!  I’m still not sure why he thought it was strange, but he did!  And he told that to everyone he saw when I was around! (LOL)

Ardie Fuqua and Jeffrey Gurian in an Ardie-taken selfie at Carolines!  His arms are REALLY long so they come out good!

Ardie Fuqua and Jeffrey Gurian in an Ardie-taken selfie at Carolines! His arms are REALLY long so they come out good!

Also seriously injured were Tracy’s assistant Jeffrey Millea, and there were supposedly two other people in the limo that were not injured.  Thank G-d Tracy’s wife Megan, and 11 month old baby daughter  Maven were not in the SUV as they usually travel with Tracy, and are there at every recent show of Tracy’s that I’ve attended.

Everyone, especially his friends in the comedy community are all praying for their swift and complete recovery!

 

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Dean Edwards Packs ‘Em In at Gotham Comedy Club

Dean Edwards is one of those rare guys who starts out strong and gets even stronger the longer he’s on stage. When most comics are winding down, he’s just getting started. Last night at Gotham, the room was so packed they almost had to put strangers at my table! (LOL) That’s packed!

Headliner Dean Edwards with Gotham owner Chris Mazzilli at the gorgeous Gotham Comedy Club!

And Dean greeted me warmly when I came in which made it even more special. Then he told me had had my book ” Make ‘Em Laugh” and that made it even better, and then he topped that by telling me he was in Barry Katz’s office out in LA and when he walked in Barry had my book on his desk!

Barry is one of the co-creators of Last Comic Standing and one of the top comedy managers in the biz. Last July in Montreal we did a “two-hug interview” for my Comedy Matters TV, which you can see right here. A “two-hug” interview by the way, is a very rare occurrence! (LOL) This may be the only one in existence!

Dean and I will always have a special moment that we shared because I was standing with him in Montreal during the Just for Laughs Festival when he found out he had gotten SNL. It was very exciting for me, so I can only imagine how HE felt! (LOL)

Dean Edwards and Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV outside the showroom at Gotham Comedy Club!

Karen Bergreen was the MC and Karen is always funny, and really knows how to warm up an audience! She mines her relationship with her two little boys for material, and she imitates them perfectly! Not that I know them, but for all intents and purposes, it sounds like she imitates them perfectly!

MC/comic Karen Bergreen onstage at Gotham Comedy Club!

Like when they were riding in a cab where the driver was wearing a turban, and her little six year old son asked, ” Mommy, why is a genie driving our taxi?” That is hysterical! I’m sure the driver had no idea what that meant either! (LOL)

And when her older 8 year old son told her something he liked about her that was kind of a backhanded compliment she answered with, “And the only think I like about you more than your little brother is that your school day is longer!”

Harris Stanton came up next and he too is always a crowd pleaser. He was also very close to Patrice Oneal and was on Patrice’s last big show when he taped “Elephant in the Room” down at the Skirball Theatre. I used to see him a lot when I was hanging out at CB’s Comedy Club down on Macdougal Street!

Anyway he totally brought his A-game to the stage, and talked about how New York has changed him since he was a polite young man who came here from down South. Now he raced a woman to a seat on the subway!

Harris Stanton onstage, opening for Dean Edwards at Gotham Comedy Club!

And I like when he does a bit about how people shouldn’t complain if they get hurt being someplace they’re not supposed to be, and he directed this remark mostly to white people. Like if a guy gets bit by a shark. Harris is like, “Where were you when it happened? In the ocean? Well you see that’s the problem. You were in the shark’s home. If you got bit by a shark in the supermarket, I’d feel bad for you, but if you go into the ocean where you don’t belong, you gotta expect that to happen.

Or when guys get lost climbing a mountain. Another white guy thing! You don’t read about Black guys getting lost in an avalanche, or being attacked by a shark while surfing. Only white guys do stuff like that!

Rich Francese always has great lines and he was up next. He said he thought his wife was cheating on him, because the other day he caught her belittling another man! That’s really funny!

Rich “The Bouncer” Francese killing it onstage at Gotham Comedy Club!

He also said he didn’t get the concept of an ‘intervention”. At an intervention the alcoholic or drug addict is surrounded by his parents, relatives and loved ones. Aren’t those the people who made you drink and take drugs in the first place?”

Dean’s audience was waiting for him, and he hit the stage to resounding applause. He talked about lots of different things. Like people who read the NY Times always want you to know they read the NY Times! “Like, … I saw this article in the NY Times, …”

Personally the NY Times makes me nervous. Especially the Sunday edition. I always feel like I’m gonna have to cut out articles and summarize them for the next day as “Current Events” homework! I still hate Sundays because of that memory!

If you take a moment to watch this you’ll see a little film I made some years ago as part of The “Men Who” Series, about men who do very unusual things. It’s called “Men Who Dance In Traffic With The Sunday Edition of the NY Times.” That’s about all it’s good for! (LOL)

In talking about women, Dean says he wants a woman so fine that when she enters a room, she has her own theme music, and it plays automatically!

He did a masterful piece which got an applause break about being the only Black guy on a flight to Russia, where they thought he was Kobe Bryant, and he imitated the Russian accent like it was a Grinch song backwards.

Dean Edwards showing lots of expression during his sold out headlining gig at Gotham!

Accents and impressions are a real strongpoint for Dean, and his Eddie Murphy is only surpassed by his Denzel Washington which he used to close the show the night I saw him.

In talking about Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney Kardashian he said that never in this country have Black men been so supportive of the KKK! And that Kim Kardashian has taken out more Black men than Sickle Cell Anemia! That is HYSTERICAL!

On comparing his Associates Degree education to that of his wife who is a professional, with a Post-Graduate degree, he said an associates degree is like a receipt that you were in the building, … nothing more! Nothing to brag about!

He even does impressions of animals! When he described Beyonce as being so fine she was like a stallion, he pranced around the stage clip-clopping like a horse.

But ending on introducing his wife to Denzel Washington was the piece-de-resistance, that proves what an “artiste” Dean Edwards is! Plus he’s the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet!

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Broadway Business

Not all comedy clubs do business on a Sunday night but when I stopped by Broadway Comedy Club the place was busy on a Sunday night and had shows in three different rooms. Unable to spread myself that thin, I chose the main room where I got to see Backstage competition winner Giulio Gallarotti, (who despite his name insists he’s Italian!), host the show.

Backstage comedy competition winner Giulio Gallarotti hosting the show at Broadway Comedy Club!

Giulio won the “Young Guns of Comedy” competition during the Stand-Up 360 Comedy Festival that is held at Broadway Comedy annually, usually in June, which means there’s another one coming up soon! I performed in a show on the last one that was produced by John Femia, and it was a great show.

Brian Scott McFadden is a guy I could listen to all night. He’s such a wordsmith, and as a writer I really admire that. And his character work is superb. He should really be a regular on TV.

Brian Scott McFadden onstage at Broadway Comedy doing one of his many great characters!

Out of the many characters he does, one of the stand-outs is an old guy who works in a boxing gym, who repeats what he says over and over again, but it’s so well planned out that he claims to stay in the character too long, due to the the audience’s supposed “lack of response”. Its hard to even explain what he does with the bit, but it’s genius, as is his ” What Women Want” which I believe is the name of his new DVD.

He also wonders about things like why there’s no mouse-flavored cat food, and why there are no “B” batteries which is one of the greatest questions I ever heard. There are A, double A, even Triple A, and then it goes right to C. What happened to “B” batteries?

That’s what good comedians do. They take something you’ve been seeing and taking for granted all your life, and they show you how obvious, and yet how ridiculous it is, and YOU respond with laughter!

Joe DeVito is always funny and one of my favorites, and I’m not just mentioning this to mention it, I’m mentioning it because he was on next! (LOL) Well, that and the fact that mentioning things is a hobby of mine!

A newly thin Joe Devito onstage at Broadway Comedy. I would have said “svelte” but I once swore to myself I would never use that word!(LOL)

Joe claims that a medical condition kept him out of the service. He was diagnosed as a pussy! And the doctor wrote it into the chart, which was so embarrassing for Joe.

Joe lost 30 pounds and looks really great. He claims he was bullied as a kid cause he was fat, and he wonders if that kind of stuff still happens these days cause now ALL kids are fat! (LOL) He says that kids are so fat, abductions are down. They can’t get the kids in the van!

I was glad to see Harris Stanton on the show. Harris was close to my good friend Patrice Oneal who we lost so prematurely this past year. Harris is a real crowd-pleaser and talked about how technology has made some people into assholes. They demand to know where you are at all times. And they expect you to get right back to them, and if you don’t they complain, ” Hey, I sent you three text messages, an e-mail and a photo! Where are you?”

Harris Stanton, Jeffrey Gurian, and the late, great Patrice Oneal bacjstage at the Comedy Central taping of “Elephant In The Room”, Patrice’s last special!

He also doesn’t feel sorry for people who get hurt mountain climbing, cause people don’t belong way up in the mountains. That’s where G-d lives! And he also doesn’t feel bad for people who get bit by sharks. Where did it happen? In the ocean! That’s where sharks live. If you got bit by a shark in the supermarket, like in aisle 8, he’d feel bad for you, cause sharks don’t belong in the supermarket, but if you’re stupid enough to go where they live, you have to expect to get bit!

Harris Stanton “doing it” onstage at Broadway Comedy Club!

On my way out, I ran into Martin O’Keefe. Martin runs the New Faces stand-up show called “Poster Dog Comedy Show” which he does every Sunday, in the upstairs Chicago City Limits room. At certain times during the week you can go to that room and see a great improv show. Check the schedule at www.broadwaycomedyclub.com for details!

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Third Anniversary of Anthony Anderson’s Comedy Mixtape Show

Third Anniversary of Anthony Anderson’s Comedy Mixtape Show

Anthony Anderson’s third anniversary of his Mixtape Comedy Show was as good as I expected it to be. I just couldn’t believe it’s been 3 years already since he and his partner in crime Royale Watkins have been bringing the funny to Gotham Comedy Club, the third Sunday of each and every month.

Royale Watkins and Anthony Anderson bantering with each other onstage at the Mixtape Comedy Show at Gotham in NYC!

The show mixes comedy and hip-hop, most of the time with a great DJ, DJ Diamond, who really gets the crowd pumped up! Then there’s a freestyle rap battle which still amazes me how these street MC’s can spit beats on the spot like that. It’s such an incredible talent. Even the ones who lose are admirable just for being able to do it at all. I was glad to see that Royale is just as amazed by it as I am, which he says in the video below.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Tracy Morgan at a previous Mixtape Comedy Show!

You never know in advance who’s gonna be on the show, but it doesn’t matter cause I haven’t seen a weak show yet! The idea is that if you’re coming to see Mixtape Comedy, it doesn’t matter who’s advertised, because you’re coming for the brand. And the brand is hot!!! Plus you never know who’s gonna stop by to do a surprise guest spot. Tracy Morgan is a big fan of the show, and I’ve seen him perform, but this night he just came to watch!

It’s produced by Kristen J. Eddy and Byron Ward and the show is U-Streamed to people all over the United States, and internationally too! They don’t allow profanity which is a nice change. Some of the comics are taken by surprise by that rule. Kurt Metzger told me he was a little nervous that something inappropriate might slip out since he’s not used to working squeaky clean. Fortunately it didn’t and he killed it as he always does.

Because I knew it would be a special show, I came prepared to shoot a little video for Comedy Matters TV. Harris Stanton was the first comic to perform. Harris was also a good friend of Patrice Oneal, who we unfortunately lost very recently, at only 41 years old, due to an untimely stroke.

Harris Stanton, Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, and Patrice Oneal at the taping of Patrice’s last special for Comedy Central at The Skirball Center in NYC!

Harris is very funny and talks about having been a security guard, with nothing to protect himself but a piece of paper. Then he goes into what I would call “papercut” material, which I thought was very funny, and very true. You can get a nasty cut from a piece of paper, but if a guy had a knife, I wouldn’t want to have to defend myself with a piece of paper!

Harris Stanton doing his thing onstage at Mixtape Comedy Show at Gotham!

He does a really funny bit about a homeless guy who is missing the center part of his nose. The piece of skin that separates your two nostrils. He says in all seriousness, ” You’re never not supposed to have that part of your nose.”

In between acts, Anthony takes the stage to do some comedy, and often gets on Royale for not having things to his liking. They have a little “faux-argument”, and then he apologizes to the white people in the audience for having to witness something like that at a comedy show! (LOL)

Mark Viera was next on the bill and this man is a riot! I love seeing Mark perform, and was very glad to hear that he just signed a deal with Fox to develop his own show, cause he really deserves it! George Lopez is the Exec. Producer of the show, and you can hear the details in the video below. Of course I asked him if I could be on his show, and he of course agreed, … since we’re both from The Bronx and us Bronx boys have to stick together! (LOL)

Mark Viera showing the Mixtape audience why he deserves his own show on Fox!

Sherri Shepherd from “The View” was next and left the audience weak from laughing so hard.

Rising star Kurt Metzger onstage at Gotham for the 3rd anniversary of the Mixtape Comedy Show!

Then Kurt Metzger, who I think is hysterical talked about how every young Black person shot accidentally by stray bullets, is usually on their way to greatness before they were prematurely cut down. His advice is ” If you’re Black and have a scholarship of some kind, my advice is to buy a bulletproof vest. Gangs always shoot at other gangs and miss, killing some Black nerd who was on his way to a life of success.” Sad but true! You read it every day!

Tom Papa, host of The Marriage Ref on NBC, onstage for the Mixtape Comedy Show 3rd anniversary!

And then Tom Papa took the stage with his own particular brand of humor that is so relatable, and on the money, every word out of his mouth brought huge laughs from the audience. His comedy speaks to everyone, like when he marvels at children, ” Your hands are so little”, and wonders why they need pockets in their clothing. “What are you gonna put in there, … your marble??? Check out Tom in the video below as well.

We wish Anthony and Royale, ( and Kristen, and Byron of course!), many more years of success with Mixtape Comedy Show!

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R.I.P. Patrice Oneal

I just got the sad news that Patrice Oneal left us last night. He’s been on my mind every day since I heard he had a stroke on Oct. 19th. Mortality is always a weird concept to try and grasp. To think that one day you’re suddenly not here anymore is a sobering thought. When it happens to someone old you kind of expect it. When it happens to someone young who you know it shakes you to the core.

Patrice Oneal at Carolines back in 2002! He looked like a baby version of himself!

Patrice had so many friends in the comedy community and I’m proud to say I was one of them. Patrice was like a comedy philosopher. I respected his intelligence. He had a well thought out philosophy. And I respected his allegiance to his style and his choice of material. He wouldn’t bend to those who asked him to change his style, or to soften things up a little bit. He had to be who he was. I used to love watching him work. He’d take the stage, sit on a stool, and just pontificate.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with honored guest Patrice Oneal at a comedy workshop that Jeffrey was giving at Gotham Comedy Club!

One year I was honored as part of Black History Month for creating comedy workshops for inner city kids. It was a beautiful event at Hunter College. The workshops were held at Gotham Comedy Club and one of my honored guests was Patrice Oneal. He took the stage and held court for a while as was his style. He was only supposed to do a short set, but he was so kind, and the crowd loved him so much, he just kept on going. He even did a Q & A afterwards and posed for photos will all who asked.

When I did my book “Filthy, Funny and Totally Offensive” I knew I could count on Patrice to give me some killer jokes. I had written jokes for the Friars Roasts for many years and was asked by journalist Tripp Whetsell, to do a book on celebs favorite nasty jokes. I got 250 celebs to tell me nasty, nasty shit! Paul Provenza wrote the foreward to the book, and Patrice had one of the longest entries. I gave him a full two pages, where most comics had one joke. And I kept a bookmark on Patrice’s page so when people came to my house, I showed them Patrice’s jokes as a representation of what to expect.

He began by asking women,” How would you keep your man if you didn’t have a pu**y? Say there was a terrible train accident, and the doctor was like, ” We gotta remove your pu**y right away or you’re gonna die.” How would you keep your man past the three months of like, ” I can’t leave the bitch, cause she just lost her pu**y in a train accident!” It goes on and on and gets funnier as you go. Only Patrice knew how to pull off material like that!

He also described weird sexual techniques that he felt Black men needed to learn from White men,including “The Fishhook”, “The Blumpkin”, “The Omelet”, “The Donkey Punch”, “The Fish Eye”, “The Chicken Cutlet”, “Puff The Magic Dragon”, “The Angry Pirate”, “The Houdini”, and last but not least “The Spider Man.” It’s all in the book.

After I did my first Black Phillip Show with him, which was part of Opie and Anthony’s “Virus” he was so jazzed about how we performed together he left me this really sincere, and meaningful message on my phone at 4 A.M. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to be respected comedically by someone like Patrice!

Patrice-Our Own Show

Patrice Oneal in “pimp-style” with Opie from Opie and Anthony backstage at Gotham Comedy Club!

Patrice Oneal, Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, and Dante Nero at The Black Phillip Show in 2008!

He asked me to be his co-host along with Dante Nero, not only because we were funny together but because he said I was the only white man he ever met who knew all the words to “Bitch Betta Have My Money”, a hip-hop classic from AMG from back in 1992. It happened to be his theme song.

He loved when I brought “hot” girls on the show which I did each time I came on. Dante said I had magical powers and he and Patrice named me a “Level 12 Pimp”, a title I wore proudly, because they meant it with the kind of respect one guy gives another when they brag about how crazy their friend is!

(L-R) Dante Nero, Catherine Leak, Drew Boogie, Dawn Leak, Jeffrey Gurian, Carlotta Butler, and Patrice Oneal in the studio at The Black Phillip Show!

Patrice always liked when I brought beautiful girls on the show. This time I brought Jacqueline Beaulieu, my muse at the time, straight from a fashion show runway, with Patrice Oneal, me, and Dante Nero at The Black Phillip Show!

The last time I saw him was on September 27th when he came to The Comic Strip to be one of the judges on The Lottery Show. He had been asked by host Sherrod Small, and when Sherrod told him on stage how much he appreciated it, Patrice said, ” You better appreciate it motherfucker!” I’m so glad I got the chance to catch up with him, and get some video and photos with him as I always did when I saw him.

(L-R) Jordan Rock, Robert Kelly, Patrice Oneal, and Paul Mecurio judging The Lottery Show at The Comic Strip on 9/27/11!

When I heard what condition his stroke had left him in and that he was only able to blink his eyes but yet still had his consciousness, which meant he was aware of what was happening, I thought to myself, no one deserves that kind of a nightmare. This is only my opinion. I have no way of knowing. But I think that no matter how much Patrice loved his wife Von, and his Mom Gloria, and I know he loved them with all his heart, he wouldn’t let himself live in that kind of condition. Patrice did things HIS way! I could see him willing himself to leave the planet, rather than stay in that kind of helpless state.

Opening act and close Patrice friend, Harris Stanton, Vondecarlo ( Patrice’s wife), and Patrice Oneal backstage at The Skirball Center after taping a Comedy Central special!

Harris Stanton, Jeffrey Gurian, and Patrice Oneal backstage at The Skirball Center after the taping of Patrice’s Comedy Central special!

In any case, I know he knew he was loved, and I hope he knew how much he’ll be missed! I’m very, very sad right now!

R.I.P. my friend! And thank you for all of your kindnesses!!!

In honor of Patrice, Comedy Central will be re-airing his one hour special tonight, Wed. 11/30, “The Elephant In The Room” with an edited version at 8 P.M. and an unedited version at midnight.

See the previous Comedy Matters post on Patrice for more photos and video – http://wp.me/p1pHIm-Aj

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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!!!

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