Posts Tagged Harrison Greenbaum

Sherri Shepherd Kills It At Gotham

Most comics have to worry about winning the audience over. Sherri Shepherd is one of those rare comic performers that the audience likes so much, they’re already on her side when she hits the stage. Gotham Comedy is a big club and when I got there it was so crowded for Sherri that my usual table was gone.

Sherri Shepherd killing it onstage to a sold-out crowd at Gotham Comedy Club!

Fortunately I got an even better table since I need to sit way in the back so I can jump up to greet the performers and get my photos during the show without disturbing anyone. I wound up with the corner table that had good light and put me right next to the comics who were on the show.

Angelo Lozada was the host, and he’s great at warming up an audience, which is a lot harder than just coming out and performing. I should never use the word “just” because coming out and performing stand-up comedy is the hardest thing in the world, even though Joel McHale once told me that he thought that brain surgery might be more difficult! (LOL – Your cue to laugh!)

Angelo Lozada hosting the show at Gotham Comedy Club for Sherri Shepherd!

Angelo told about a homeless guy on the train, and imitated the usual spiel, “Good evening ladies and gentlemen, I don’t mean to disturb anyone. I’m just trying to get some money to get my son a tattoo, and to start a record label.”

First up was Harrison Greenbaum, a favorite of mine. Harrison’s killer theme is that people think he’s gay. And he explains it openly, “If you walked into a room and saw me kissing a guy, you’d immediately say, ‘That guy is definitely gay.’ But if you walked into a room and saw me kissing a woman, you’d immediately say, ” That guy … is fooling himself!”

Harrison Greenbaum, Harvard grad, who explains how having sex with another guy is the straightest thing you can do!

He embellished upon that by saying, ” How do you know you’re not gay unless you’ve had sex with another man? That’s the straightest thing you can do is to have sex with another man and then say you didn’t like it.” He explained it so well, it almost made sense! (LOL)

He’s also very clever with lines like,” My friend reads the Bible religiously, which is really the only way to read it!”

Next up was Brad Trackman who I think I know even before he married his lovely wife Christina, who used to book acts at Carolines. Brad is one of the few comics who is always a hit and works clean.

A photo of Brad Trackman and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV taken at The Comic Strip, circa 2002!

He’s done lots of national TV appearances like NBC’s “Later” and “Friday Night”, CBS’s “Star Search”, ABC’s “NY Comedy Festival”, MTV’s “The Buried Life” and had his own commercial campaign for Spike Television where he played the fictitious presidential elect Biff Wolinski.

One of his CD’s called “Safecracker” is based on a killer bit he does about women being like safes and men having to figure out the combination to get into the safe. A compliment like ” Of course you don’t look fat in those pants” is like 22 to the left, etc. knowing full well that men will say anything they have to to crack the combination to the safe!

I heard rumours that Brad may be in line for a show! More on that to follow. He said his wife has trust issues and he knows that for a fact because he read it in her journal! That is really funny! And when she asked him if he would still look for her if they were both in Heaven, he had to remind of of their marriage vows, ” Til death do us part!” It’s Heaven, and he’s not making any promises!

Then Sherri took the stage to thunderous applause. She’s one of those performers that people like before she even says a word. There’s not that many. I once saw Artie Lange get a standing ovation just by coming out on stage!

Sherri automatically endears herself to the audience, but don’t tell her she’s adorable, or you’ll never hear the end of it. She hates being called “adorable” and I understand it cause I always hated it when people said it about me too! “Adorable” is more for a pet or an infant, not a grown-ass adult! (LOL)

Sherri Shepherd in the midst of one of her funny stories onstage during her headlining gig at Gotham Comedy Club!

People love Sherri because not only is she funny, but she’s honest and self-effacing. In talking about her preparation for Hurricane Sandy she said she stocked up on lots of food, and then ate it all in one day!

She talks about washing her wig, and even warned her son Jeffrey, ” Don’t you lie to me. I got eyes in the back of my wig!” And if you ever saw Chris Rock’s documentary entitled “Good Hair” on the state of Black women and their hair, you know not to fool around with a Black woman and her hair! That’s serious bizness!

Sherri replaced Star Jones as a co-host on The View back in 2007, and has also appeared on 30 Rock, Entourage and Hot in Cleveland. She’s also landed supporting roles in a range of films, from the 2009 drama Precious to the 2012 action comedy One for the Money. Also in 2012, Shepherd did a stint on Dancing With the Stars, and had some really funny stories about that, and how she got eliminated from the show. Meanwhile, just being on it is an honor in itself.

Ask Jeffrey Ross who was on for only a short time when his dancing career got put on hold due to a finger in his eye! Very hard to dance with a finger in your eye!

Sherri claimed as she was running towards her partner for him to lift her up in the air she swore she heard Maksim Chmerkovskiy say ” Ohhhhhh Jesus!”

Sherri is a great story teller. Some comics just get up and tell jokes. Others are able to tell stories. She’s one of those. She talks a lot about her new husband who she calls “Sal”, who’s supposedly very tall.

Sherri Shepherd and husband Lamar Sally, otherwise known as “Sal”!

When I heard her call him “Sal” I thought she married some big Italian guy until out of curiousity I looked it up, and saw that her husband’s real name is Lamar Sally, “Sal” for short, which made a lot more sense to me! (LOL) Her son’s name is Jeffrey which I feel is one of the greatest names to come along in all of history! (LOLOL)

I recently ran into Sherri after a guest spot she did at The Comic Strip and was able to give her a copy of my new book with Chris Rock called “Make ‘Em Laugh” about the 35 year history of that legendary club! My co-author was owner/founder of the club Richie Tienken, who appears with us in the photo below.

Richie Tienken, Sherri Shepherd holding her copy of “Make ‘Em Laugh” and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV!

Sherri is really fun, and really funny, and I hope to be able to interview her soon for Comedy Matters TV!

Hypersmash.com

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Andy Engel Offers Free Comedy Workshops at Gotham

Every so often Andy Engel, the Director of New Talent at Gotham Comedy Club and the founder of Manhattan Comedy School holds a free comedy workshop, and gets industry people and well known comics to come out and address the crowd of potential comics and comedy writers. It’s always a very informative day.

A rare photo of Andy Engel onstage addressing the crowd at Gotham Comedy Club, for his complimentary comedy workshop!.

This one was on a Sunday afternoon at 12:30 and Ben Rosen from Gawker, was the host. He was very funny.

Wali Collins was up first. Wali is great, and always reliably funny, and it was kind of like family day at Gotham because several comics brought family members with them. I had the pleasure of meeting Wali’s beautiful wife Iralma, who was really sweet. It’s nice when people can share things like that together.

He introduced me to her by telling her how I supported him with an article about his clothing line Ya Nevano, when it first came out. It’s also nice when people remember things like that!

Wali had some great advice for the aspiring comics in the crowd. One thing that stuck with me was that an old rule said that your closing joke should be a strong joke. Wali made the point that every one of your jokes should be able to be a closing joke, and to try and think of them that way. When you don’t, you’re not doing justice to your other jokes. Very interesting point of view.

Ha also advised not to engage hecklers! Especially new comics who don’t have the stage time or experience to know how to handle that! Ignoring them is always the best way to go, otherwise you can lose control of your show. Just point them out so the rest of the audience can hate them, and go on doing what you do!

Jimmy Faiila tried out a new prop during his set, his 3 year old son Lincoln, named after the 16th President I’m sure, because Jimmy is very patriotic, and would definitely do something like that! (LOL)

It was funny because Jimmy couldn’t get a babysitter so he brought his son with him, and when they introduced Jimmy and brought him to the stage, he left his son with one of the women to hold, and Lincoln started crying so loud that Jimmy came and took him on stage with him, and did his act with Lincoln holding on to him. It was very cute, but I don’t think he’d want to do that on a regular basis.

Although I thought I heard him say maybe he should have another child so he could see how it felt doing his act holding a newborn infant! (JK!)

Jimmy Failla onstage holding his new prop, 3 year old son Lincoln, making his stage debut at Gotham! It was hysterical, and may set a new precedent!

What was funny, (besides Jimmy’s jokes! LOL) was that he didn’t alter any of the language in his act because he was holding his young son, so if Lincoln grows up saying words he shouldn’t be saying, we all know where he got it from! That fateful day on stage at Gotham!

The comics performed first, and then addressed the audience and shared some nuggets of wisdom. Jimmy said something interesting that I never really thought about before. He said that many times the MC’s of shows are less experienced, because they are needed to stay for the entire show, which means they don’t have other spots scheduled anywhere else.

I always thought the other way, that MC’s had to be very experienced, since I think it’s hard to keep a show going, and you have to have more material than the average comic who just comes up and does his regular length set. I found that interesting.

Another rare photo of Karen Bergreen, Harrison Greenbaum, and Ben Rosen at Andy Engel’s comedy workshop at Gotham! Look closely! You may never see these three people together again!

The last two performers were also very good, Harrison Greenbaum, and Karen Bergreen who often hosts shows at Gotham, and Harrison geared his remarks to jokewriting. All in all it was a very informative day, and I bet that Andy got some new students for his classes!

I also got to meet a new young comic named Wednesday Suarez, and I’m hoping she’s funny because it’s one of the best stage names for comedy I ever heard! How could you not like a girl named Wednesday Suarez???

You can see an earlier post on Andy Engel’s industry comedy workshops at http://wp.me/p1pHIm-IQ

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Multiple Shows at Broadway Comedy

In most clubs you’re glad if they have one show. Broadway Comedy offers at least two and sometimes more! Standing out front I ran into Aaron Haber who produces shows at The World, the sister club which adjoins Broadway Comedy, also owned by Al Martin.

Aaron produces shows featuring new talent at The World, produces the monthly comedy show at the legendary Friars Club in NYC, teaches comedy at Princeton, and is the editor-in-chief of www.evilnewsdaily.com, a blog written by supervillains. So on my way to the main show in the downstairs room of Broadway, I stopped in to The World to see what was going on.

Comic/Producer Aaron Haber standing guard at Broadway Comedy Club!

The room was pretty full for a Wednesday night, and everyone was laughing, because new comics are funny too. They just need stage time, and this is one of the places they get it!

The downstairs show had a great line-up. Ricky Velez was the MC, and he’s always funny. If he has a kid he wants him to have Diabetes, so it’ll be harder for a pedophile to lure him into his van with candy.

Ricky Velez hosting the show in the main room at Broadway Comedy!

Then there was Sam Morrill, who I’ve performed with many times. I like his laid back, easy delivery, and clever punchlines. He discussed manners during sex. He was having an interlude with his girlfriend when he urged her to go faster. Her response was ” Please”! She requested him to say “Faster please.” He was like, ” Now I have to have manners during sex? I’ll tear that ass up, … if I may! With your permission!”

Sam Morrill onstage at Broadway Comedy!

He was taking a girl home from a bar and she asked him, “you’re not gonna kill me are you?” When he said ” No” she agreed to go home with him. He was like, ” That’s your screening process? I’d have to be a terrible killer to admit I was going to kill you just by you asking me!”

Nore Davis took the stage next. Nore is a very funny young comic, and lately has been opening for Tracy Morgan. I like when he tells about getting his own apartment and he gave the landlord his entire savings of $1300. for his first month’s rent. The next month the guy came back and asked for another $1300! Nore was like, ” Do you have any idea how long it took me to save up a thousand dollars? And you want $1300. every month? That’s 32 billion dollars a year!”

A young, but experienced Nore Davis doing what he does, onstage at Broadway Comedy!

Joe DeVito is always funny and a favorite of mine. He has a friend who does nothing but talk about his i-Phone. He told Joe they could even watch a movie together on it. Joe was like, ” What would those circumstances be like? What would we do, watch cheek to cheek on a 4 inch screen?

Funny guy Joe DeVito onstage at Broadway Comedy Club!

He also talked about the new condoms that heat up while you’re wearing them. “Who is that for? The guy who likes safe sex, but misses that burning feeling?”

Mike Vecchione is another favorite of mine, and I could watch him perform every night without getting tired of seeing him. When he thought the audience wasn’t paying enough attention, he started telling his jokes at a very fast pace, until they DID start paying attention!

He feels like every person in the world should have to take a standardized citizenship test, and the results would determine what country you had to live in!

“Staten-Island Cop”-looking Mike Vecchione killing it onstage at Broadway Comedy!

He got a Taser instead of a gun and his favorite place to Tase people is the Renaissance Fair. It makes him feel like a wizard from the future!

Harrison Greenbaum closed the show. Harrison is also a big talent. I had him on my Diabetes comedy fundraiser last year, and he killed! He has a one man show called “Harrison Greenbaum – What Just Happened”, which is a mix of his stand-up and magic, that debuted to a sold out crowd at UCB in 2010. He’s also a talented magician. It’s the show he’ll be doing this summer at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, but next week,April 3-5th, it will be playing on 42nd Street and 8th Avenue at the Dan Sperry Theatre inside of Times Scare. Check it all out at http://www.whatjusthappenedshow.com

Harrison Greenbaum and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV!

And check out Broadway Comedy on West 53rd Street if you’re in the mood to laugh your ass off, and have fun food and drinks!

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7th Annual Andy Kaufman Awards At Gotham Comedy Club

7th Annual Andy Kaufman Awards At Gotham Comedy Club

Andy Kaufman was one of the most unusual, most talented, most creative comics ever to hit the stage. He left us too young, but his memory certainly lives on. Manager/producer Wayne Rada, produced the 7th Annual Andy Kaufman Awards at Gotham Comedy Club and I spent two nights there watching the semi-finals and then the finals.

Andy Kaufman performing on the Johnny Carson Tonight Show wearing a turban, while singing a Slim Whitman song, “My Rosemarie”!

Contestants are not supposed to try and copy Andy, as if anybody could, but they are supposed to try and capture the essence of his spirit and creativity. He had no fear in doing what he thought was funny, whether it was wrestling women, or real wrestlers, or coming out on the Carson show in a turban and diaper singing a Slim Whitman song.

Andy Kaufman had the courage to come out on stage dressed in a diaper and turban to perform on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson!

On the first night the judges were Rory Albanese, a very funny comic in his own right, but more importantly the producer of The Daily Show! To me, that’s more impressive than even being Jon Stewart! You get to produce one of the most popular shows on the air!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with comic/producer Rory Albanese, the producer of The Daily Show! How’s THAT for a credit?

I was so glad to see Rory. I had been waiting over a year to tell him how funny he was in the South Beach Comedy Festival last year. I had never seen him perform before and he was absolutely hilarious! I wasn’t able to find him after the show, but the good thing is that it’s never too late to give someone a compliment. He didn’t complain and say, ” Why did you wait more than a year to tell me?” He was a perfect gentleman and just said ” Thank you!”

Then there was Comedy Central executive Anne Harris, who always extends herself to come out and be helpful at these type of events, joined by previous Andy Kaufman winner and Comedy Central darling Kristen Schaal, and lastly Andy’s younger brother, ( by 2 years), Michael Kaufman.

(L-R) Judges Rory Albanese, Anne Harris, Kristen Schaal, and Michael Kaufman at the Andy Kaufman Award show at Gotham Comedy Club!

I remember going the year that Reggie Watts won and I actually met Andy’s Dad who was there with George Shapiro of Shapiro/West. ( Seinfeld’s manager! You knew it sounded familiar right??? LOL I have to find that video somewhere!) Reggie was actually the guest performer on the next night for the finals.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Reggie Watts at Gotham for the Andy Kaufman Awards!

The first night there must have been at least 15 semi-finalists. Some of them tried to reach Andy’s level of creativity by dressing very strange in outlandish costumes and several chose a stage personna. I snapped photos of a few I thought were funny and entertaining.

First there were the “Nice Brothers”, who both wore shades, and punctuated their repartee with the word “Nice” every so often. I liked them.

Nice!

Then there was Mike Amato who came out and sang a song like he was one of the Ratpack, or maybe Perry Como, if you even know who that was, then ripped of his clothes and became a stone cold rapper, with two hot dancing girls. I thought he was good.

Mike Amato and his dancing girls! I wish I knew their names but I don’t!

Then there was Dave Thunder who came out as a character named Jimmy DeLuca, a Lower East Side kind of kid who told a very scary story while eating a piece of cheese. And every so often he broke into that “scary” voice that camp counselors would use when telling a scary story to campers on an overnight in the woods. I thought he was funny too! I actually laughed out loud!

Dave Thunder as Jimmy DeLuca telling a very scary story about a guy named Frank Tanzarian!

It just goes to show you how subjective comedy is cause none of those people won. The next night for the finals, Harrison Greenbaum was the host. He’s always hilarious!

Harrison Greenbaum on stage at Gotham Comedy Club hosting the finals of the 7th Annual Andy Kaufman Awards!

The winner was a guy named Nick Vatterott, who must have gotten permission to have the longest set of anyone else on the show. Every other performer got about 5 minutes. Nick left the stage and kept coming back because his act consisted of screaming obscenities at the audience and threatening to never come back again, except he had to keep returning cause he forgot his keys, or a couple of milk containers, and each time he came back he’d “interrupt” the show, and scream again. He screamed right into the faces of people in the audience. And I mean SCREAMED! With all of his might!

I for one would not have been happy if that happened to me at a show, but the audience members he screamed at were either too embarrassed or too startled to respond, so they just laughed. And he won!

Wayne Rada is such an accommodating guy. He knew I had to leave early to host the late shows at The Comic Strip so he arranged for me to get photos with the judges and guest stars during the show. As a matter of fact, when Kristen Schaal got off the stage from doing her guest spot, she was kind enough to run out into the hallway so we could get our shots before the next act went on!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Kristen Schaal at the finals of the Andy Kaufman Awards! She is such a doll!

Wayne also books CB’s Comedy Club, a great little club downtown on MacDougal Street, with an amazing Italian restaurant attached to it, also owned by the fabulous CB. Check it out and tell Wayne and CB that I sent you!

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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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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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