Posts Tagged “Jason Mantzoukas”

Comedy Matters Is Back Bigger Than Ever

COMEDY MATTERS IS BACK

Due to popular request I am bringing back my Comedy Matters blog/vlog. It’s an inside look at The Comedy World letting you hang with the comedy peeps you love, and meeting them on a personal basis. In this first one I will be doing a short review of some cool things that have happened in the comedy world recently, including Nick Kroll and John Mulaney debuting Season 2 of Netflix’ Big Mouth at the 92Y, the NY Comedy Festival with Bert Kreischer, Mike Birbiglia and Lisa Lampanelli, Hasan Minhaj talking about his new show Patriot Act also on Netflix. Ray Romano, Bill Burr, Scott Rogowsky from HQ Trivia, D.L. Hughley and John Oliver plus lots more with photos and videos of and with your fave comedy stars. 

  • BIG MOUTH DEBUT AT 92Y

WITH NICK KROLL AND JOHN MULANEY

The 92 Y keeps bringing in the heavy hitters in comedy.  Nick Kroll, John Mulaney and Jason Mantzoukas came to the 92nd Street Y along with their whole team from their Netflix hit “Big Mouth” to kick off the new second season.  Exec. Producer Andrew Goldberg, a childhood friend of Nick’s was there and he and Nick were the ones who came up with the idea for the show.  They premiered episode three from this new second season, and needless to say it was HILARIOUS.

The event was moderated by LA Times editor Meredith Blake, and other Exec. Producers on the panel were Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett. For anyone who doesn’t know, the animated series follows a group of 7th graders through their experiences with puberty and sexual coming of age  including best friends Nick Birch played by Nick, Andrew Glouberman played by John Mulaney, and with Jason Mantzoukas voicing characters like Jay Bilzerian a guy who has sex with his pillow and with a character named Socrates.

WITH JASON MANTZOUKAS BACKSTAGE AT THE 92Y

 

Nick plays 12 different characters, including everyone’s favorite the Hormone Monster, plus the ghosts of Picasso and Richard Burton, while  Mulaney who’s plagued by the hormone monster who constantly makes him masturbate, plays at least three voices as well, as do Jordan Peele and Fred Armisen to name just two of the big stars whose voices recur on the show. Someone even plays Nick’s pubic hair, and Jessi Klein’s vagina.

During the Q&A a girl asked Jason Manztoukas if he wanted to “hang out”, and suggested that they meet at a Dunkin’ Donuts across the street.  He wasn’t taking any chances in this #MeToo age and invited everyone else there to join them.  And Jon Mulaney admitted that growing up his sexual fantasy was to be 40 and rich!  He must be very satisfied!

ACCIDENTALLY PERFORMING FOR JERRY SEINFELD

It all started on what was supposed to be a regular night at West Side Comedy Club.  I was scheduled to go on second around 8:30 or 8:45 when GM Gina Savage came in and said that Jerry Seinfeld had Tweeted that he’d be stopping by around 8:30.  That’s when people started streaming in.  And that’s what you call real live-streaming!  I happened to be sitting near the front door watching the MC warm up the ever growing crowd when I caught a glance of Jerry walking down the stairs.   He had his baseball cap pulled down low and was alone.  He greeted a few people and shook my hand as he walked by.

The comic scheduled to go on first had done 8 shows in the last couple of days, felt she was tired and decided to leave.  Gina asked Jerry if he wanted to go right up and he said he wanted to wait a minute so Gina looked at me and said “ Jeffrey, you’re up.”   Before I even had a chance to think about it or get nervous I was on stage while Jerry was in the room.  For whatever reason I felt calm, and was able to edit what I was doing while I was up there.  I often open with stuff about the weather, cell phones, and texting but for whatever reason I decided not to do any of that and went right into other material.

              WITH JERRY SEINFELD

Anyway Jerry went up after me to screaming and absolutely HUGE applause, and talked about many things including the weather, cell phones and texting, and it made me wonder what would have happened if I had actually done those same topics just moments before.  Might he have said, “ Well Jeffrey said all there is to say on these subjects!” LOL  I highly doubt it, but it made me think that at least I made good choices of topics to discuss. After I got off stage I totally re-thought all the stuff I could have done with Jerry in the room, which I think is pretty common for comics to do.

Needless to say Jerry killed with all of his new material, then did a Q&A with the audience which he likes to do.  One guy asked him what his favorite thing to do was and he said it was his show “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee” and doing stand-up.

When he finished he left as low key as when he arrived.  By himself with his hat down over his eyes.  It was a special experience, made even moreso by the fact that it wound up on Page 6 in the NY Post and also on Page 6 TV.

Jerry Seinfeld and Jeffrey Gurian on Page 6 TV

D.L. HUGHLEY DOES IT UP RIGHT

I went to see my good pal D.L. Hughley truly one of the official Kings of Comedy.  He was headlining at Carolines and there was not a seat to be had.  I was with him for all three nights and it was as much fun as you would have expected it to be.

As usual D.L. is very generous with his opening spots and gives stage time to comics on their way up.  Bo “Last Name” Dacious is one of his regular openers who is always a killer, and Clint Coley has such a unique stage persona, and is so funny that you gotta come away liking the guy.  He really takes command of the stage. Part of Bo’s merch is “Miss Hattie’s rag” which you have to see to understand but it’s a great gimmick and he said one of his best ideas ever!

BACKSTAGE WITH D.L. HUGHLEY AT CAROLINES ON BROADWAY

D.L. is one of the only comics I know who is confident and relaxed enough to either hang out with friends backstage until literally the moment he’s announced to go up, and I know this because I’m usually sitting right next to him when I’m there, and I walk with him to the showroom, or else he arrives at the club just minutes before he’s due to go on, and just goes right up.  That is amazing to me.  Many comics like to be alone before, and center themselves in some way.  Some are still looking over their material until right before they go up.

The girl I was with sparked a deep conversation about the power of women that D.L. and I will continue on his radio show very soon! His radio co-host Jasmine Sanders was backstage on the second night that I went.  Always so good to see Jaz!

D.L. hits the stage, always dressed to the nines with his unique style, and does a flawless hour plus with no stress.  He saves his crowd work for the end.  And he always proves why he’s one of the true Kings of Comedy. I made it back for Sunday night’s closing night hang, which is always fun with DL. The dressing room was just D.L., his two nephews, and his long-time friends and fellow comics Smokey Suarez, and George Willborn.

We laughed for about 2 hours after the show ended until we closed the place down.  It was just us and the help.  Then they went out to grab a bit to eat, and I uncharacteristically went to get some rest for what I knew would be a crazy week at the  NY Comedy Festival.

PLANNING A SCARF BUSINESS WITH BILL BURR

I kicked off New York Comedy Festival week with a kind of secret show from Bill Burr at West Side Comedy Club.  Secret only in terms of, … you had to know to know.  The room was packed to the proverbial gills. Joe Bartnick was the host and Mark Normand featured.

Unsurprisingly Bill did a flawless hour and has such a tremendous range of topics to talk about. He challenges people’s sensibilities which is such a good thing and he’s so smart that he presents things in a way that you have to see his point of view. Being that his wife is black he does a lot of very pertinent and necessary racial humor that everyone responded to very positively. He described himself as being so white he looks like a “bearded moon!”

He was gearing up for his headlining gig that Wed. at Madison Square Garden. He was there with “Late Night with David Letterman” legendary guitarist and Paul Shaffer staple Felicia Collins who happens to be an old friend of mine as well.  The room was so dark, and there were no seats, but thanks to owners Eugene and Nina Ashe they pulled me into a seat right next to Felicia, and she leaned over and said “ Jeffrey is that you?” After thoroughly checking, I came to the conclusion that it was me!

WITH BILL BURR AT WESTSIDE COMEDY CLUB

After the amazing show and huge applause that followed, Bill hung out to meet some fans, and take photos, and then Face Timed his wife Nia and their little daughter and he introduced us and we all got to say “hi” over his phone.  It was Felicia, GM Gina Savage, and manager Lori Sommer.

Bill’s got the third season of his hit show “F Is For Family” starting November 30th and besides Paul Virzi’s special that he just produced he has three more coming down the pike, if they still use that expression, all under the banner of his “All Things Comedy” network.  Next he was off to Chicago.

When I asked him what he had coming up the first thing he said was that he was designing a line of scarves, because he loves to joke about the way I dress, and some genius said he should call the line “Burrrrrr”, which would be incredibly perfect. We also had a long chat about fatherhood and how he felt when he first saw his daughter being born, because everyone told him it would bring tears to his eyes, but it didn’t.  I told him that when my daughters were born it brought tears to my eyes and he said that was because I was a wonderful person but that HE on the other hand was a German/Irish serial killer!

MIKE BIRBIGLIA’S NEW ONE 

Mike Birbiglia never disappoints.  His one man shows are always amazing and “The New One” at The Cort Theatre is no different.  I’ve seen them all starting with his first, “Sleepwalk With Me” and the man is a master story teller.  He opens the show and takes a minute to talk about his couch and you have no idea where he’s going with that, but he manages to weave it into a thread that carries throughout the entire show.

WITH MIKE BIRBIGLIA AT THE CORT THEATRE

It’s a wonderful story and again it’s a lot about becoming a Dad even though he had never planned on having children.  Mike paces the stage a lot during the show and sometimes walks in circles, and there’s one HUGE surprise that I promised I wouldn’t divulge.  It adds so much to the show and it’s something you’ve never seen before, and something that will totally surprise you.

After the show we went back to say hi and to congratulate him on his masterful performance, and ran into Nikki Glaser, Carmen Lynch and Myq Kaplan.

Then Mike and I shot a little funny Instagram video which you can see on my IG page @jeffreygurian  by clicking this link!   

The show will run for only 12 weeks so make sure you get out to see it.  You’ll hate yourself forever if you miss it!

BERT KREISCHER UNCUT AND UNDRESSED

Bert “The Machine” Kreischer was in town for the festival and had a show at Town Hall, which I knew for sure I had to attend.  I absolutely LOVE Bert Kreischer who like Mike Birbiglia, also happens to be a master story teller.  He’s just so unique, and when he came out on stage and immediately whipped off his shirt the crowd went insane.  It was non-stop laughs through the whole thing and he ended the show with his story of how “The Machine” came to be, and how he committed actual crimes with the Russian Mob.  His stories are so insane you know they have to be true.  No one could make that up!

SHIRT-SHOPPING WITH BERT KREISCHER AT TOWN HALL

After the show we went back to hang out and his Levity Entertainment crew was there to support, along with a bunch of industry people from different TV shows, with one Levity rep Bjorn Wentlandt having flown in from the UK.  Judy Marmel from Levity was there making sure that everything ran smoothly, and Bert greeted his friends still without his shirt.  We decided to shoot an Instagram video which seems to be the thing these days except that Bert took my phone from me and said “ Watch this”,  as he started filming from below his belly and up into his belly button to his chest while he addressed me and I talked about the show and the standing ovation he received when he was done.

It was a one minute masterpiece and again you can see it RIGHT HERE on my IG page.  (Please watch and follow!) Bert will be starting his world tour called “The Body Shots Tour” around January 9th with the kick-off in Portland, Oregon and hopefully ending in Moscow.  I’d give anything to travel with that tour!

 RAY ROMANO DOES CHARITY SHOW WITH NEW MOUSTACHE

Ray Romano came to The Cutting Room to do a charity spot for Bobby Collins’ Zeno Mountain Farm, a nationally acclaimed, ground-breaking camp for kids with disabilities.  They have facilities in Vermont, Los Angeles and Florida. It was a rare experience because it’s not often that you get to see Ray on stage in a smaller venue these days. He’s currently starring in “Get Shorty” a new series on Epix in which he plays a film producer.

Ray came out to tremendous applause and started out by apologizing for his moustache, which he said there was a reason for but didn’t explain.  He told great stories about getting older and about his family and especially his kids.  He’s got four, one daughter and three sons two of whom are twins.  He’s a real family guy and his stories are great.  I got to reminisce with him for a minute after his set about a time about 15 years ago when I brought Michael Bolton to the set of Everybody Loves Raymond so they could meet.
It seems they were mutual fans of each other but had never met.  I was out in LA talking to Michael about a potential TV show he wanted me to develop for him, and I had called Ray’s manager, and my longtime friend Rory Rosegarten, and so the three of us went over to the set to introduce Michael to Ray, and they were really excited to meet, which they did in front of the live audience, and we all had a great time.  Then Michael and I went back to his hotel and watched Ray on TV.  I brought the photo from that day of me, Michael and Ray, and Ray and I took a photo holding that old photo which is something I like to do.  Fortunately people indulge me! (LOL)

WITH RAY ROMANO AT THE CUTTING ROOM HOLDING A PHOTO OF ME, RAY ROMANO AND MICHAEL BOLTON

TEAM COCO PARTY WITH SCOTT ROGOWSKY AND JOHN OLIVER

Team Coco teamed up with TBS and took over SONY Hall on West 46th Street to create a pop-up comedy club called Team Coco House as part of this 15th annual New York Comedy Festival, which by the way gets bigger and better every year thanks to Caroline Hirsch and Louis Faranda the man who magically books all the shows.  Team Coco House lit up the street with it’s huge lighted signs and it featured shows, podcasts, musical acts, magicians, and all kinds of talent hand-picked by Team Coco and Conan himself.

Caroline and Louis were both at the huge party that took place on Thursday night after Bert’s show.  Louis doesn’t usually attend those things or stay out too late but he stayed at this one and everyone in comedy was there.  It would be impossible to name all the names but it was absolutely packed with comics and industry, and they served great drinks and passed hors d’oeuvres, and tons of desserts, and when I left around 1:30 A.M. it was still going strong.

One nice surprise was seeing my dear friend Countess LuAnn from the Real Housewives of New York come in with her super-agent Rich Super, and she told me that she’s with Live Nation now and will be going on a huge tour starting Dec. 19th at the Gramercy Theatre with Alexa Ray Joel, and comedian Murray Hill, and you can bet I’ll be there too. In the meantime she’s still filming for RHONY and I always tell her it’s so amazing watching her fulfill her dreams because this was what she always wanted, and she made it happen.  Most people don’t have the wherewithal, but she worked so hard and accomplished her dream.

WITH COUNTESS LUANN FROM RHONY

I was back there again to catch HQ Trivia star Scott Rogowsky do his long-running talk show Running Late this time starring John Oliver.  I walked in and the place was so packed there were literally no seats and then Matt Richards, who opened the show and is also an HQ Trivia host grabbed me and we hung out together at the bar with HQ Trivia producer Ellen Burke.

Scott wore a crazy jacket and joked with John about how long he had been trying to get him on as a guest.  John was his ever-pleasant self and told a lot of great stories and Scott had somehow found old video footage of John as a kid in some early TV show he did in England.  They showed the poster for the new season of Last Week Tonight and John had his face down on a desk which he explained by saying that he doesn’t like to see his face on posters.  For the last two seasons the poster didn’t show his face. But he showed his face in our photo below! (LOL)

WITH JOHN OLIVER

He talked about his wife who was a combat medic and his three year old son, and among other things told a funny story of how he had to interview the Dalai Lama and it dawned on him after he flew all the way to India that he was about to “fuck with the Dalai Lama.”  But he said thAt luckily the Dalai Lama was “a fan of fuckery” and they had a great time.

Backstage afterwards was a crazy scene and I got to see John and Scott and Matt, and Scott’s Dad who’s always on the show with him as well.

(L-R) MATT RICHARDS, JEFFREY, SCOTT ROGOWSKY, MARTY ROGOWSKY

 

LISA LAMPANELLI IS “LOSIN’ IT” – QUITS STAND-UP COMEDY

When Lisa Lampanelli told me she quit stand-up comedy I could almost hear the relief in her voice. I wasn’t really surprised.  I was actually surprised she was able to have kept doing it so long.  I think it’s very hard to create a persona that is opposite to who you really are and which can often be misunderstood, … especially these days, when there’s an entire segment of the population that can not WAIT to be offended by something.

There was a reason that Lisa had been known as not just The Queen of Mean, but as “The Lovable Queen of Mean.”  Anyone with an IQ over 11 knew she was always coming from a good place. She made fun of everyone starting with herself.  She probably made fun of gays the most and they were her biggest fans, as well as her main charity.

I know Lisa long before she became really famous, and saw her agonize more than once about whether the audience was truly getting what she was about. One particular time in Montreal at Just for Laughs was a particularly stressful time for her when the audience wasn’t sure how to take her “insult” comedy.  And it bothered her to the point where she said, “ I’m quitting comedy.”  I was there to hear her say that.  And then she went on to become a superstar, selling out Radio City and Carnegie Hall during her stand-up career.

Enough people “got her” to keep the venues packed where she performed. But around late 2013 when her beloved Dad got sick she started what I can only refer to as her Spiritual transformation which led to her having weight-loss surgery and losing 107 pounds, and going through what I can only describe as a “Spiritual divorce” in which she introduced  her ex-husband Jimmy Cannizzaro to his new wife Jenna, and made them part of her extended family.

Lisa has always had a good heart so when she announced her departure from stand-up comedy on Howard Stern recently, and said she was transitioning not sexually but to become a story-teller and Life Coach, it made perfect sense. She had been thinking about it for quite a while, and she tends to do these major things only after she has thoroughly thought them through.

WITH LISA LAMPANELLI BACKSTAGE AT THE GRAMERCY THEATRE

I had attended all of the incarnations of her one woman shows, where she started carrying her message of empowerment, and self-love. I was with her when she made her singing debut at The Friars Club.

When she did her AOL Build talk to announce her Grammy nominated album “Back to the Drawing Board” she honored me by having me moderate the four camera shoot and it was amazing.  We talked all about Spiritual principles, food, body-issues, self-empowerment and achieving your goals in life.

When Ron Bennington, king of Sirius XM radio helped me create a radio pilot called “The Happiness Show” to teach people how to bring Happiness into their lives, my first three guests were Colin Quinn, Susie Essman, and Lisa Lampanelli to talk about how they bring Happiness into their own lives. We have a long history.

So Lisa and I had made plans to meet up backstage at The Gramercy Theatre before she went onstage to perform her newest ensemble piece called “Losin’ It” as part of the New York Comedy Festival.  When I got there she was in her dressing room with her niece Christine Schiefer and Christine’s podcast partner Em Schulz, the hosts of “And That’s Why We Drink.” And typical of the new Lisa Lampanelli’s selflessness she wanted the focus to be on them.

I wound up shooting two separate videos with Lisa, one with her and the hosts of “And That’s Why We Drink”, and a separate one with just Lisa and I, with her talking about my best selling book on Happiness and how much she enjoyed it because of the principles that we share. The audiobook will be out next month sometime.
You can see the first video on my Comedy Matters TV channel on You Tube at www.youtube.com/guriannewsnetwork
This is the direct link :     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6F-iD4mslnc

“Losin’ It” was great and it had Lisa being just one of the ensemble of story-tellers, with her mainstay Frank DeCaro from Sirius XM, Lauren Ann Brickman from UCB and Lisa’s former play “Stuffed” and Eden Malyn from Orange is the New Black. It was about empowerment, body image, and learning to love yourself, and incorporated a game show and a Q&A with the audience. A really fun evening of entertainment with a very powerful message. Major congrats to Lisa on this major life choice.

HASAN MINHAJ FIRST INDIAN HOST OF MAJOR TV SHOW

I was excited to see huge billboards around town of my pal Hasan Minhaj announcing his new Sunday night Netflix show “Patriot Act” and even more excited to find out that he’d be appearing at the 92Y.  The 92Y has been outdoing itself lately bringing in major comedy figures for special events, and this was another great one.

Hasan got an unprecedented order of 32 episodes of the show which is a comedy series exploring “ the modern cultural and political landscape” one topic at a time.  Each of the episodes I saw is kind of like a short one-man show on pertinent topics like our dependence on oil, and the one they showed at the Y on “Affirmative Action.”

Hasan is very animated in his delivery and it’s a multi-media production which I always appreciate.  It adds so much when you do more than just talk.  The evening started out as a one to one interview moderated by Vinson Cunningham, a staff writer for The New Yorker, and then they were joined by Exec. Producers Jim Margolis and
Prasanth Venkataramanujam, which even Hasan didn’t dare try to pronounce, and which Prasanth joked about himself. I can only imagine how hard it must have been for him as a child to learn how to write his own name.

The episode they showed on “Affirmative Action” dealt with Asian students who feel discriminated against by Harvard admissions, where they’re only 22% of all students, while Hasan noted that Asian parents who emphasize education would probably only be happy with 100%.

WITH HASAN MINHAJ BACKSTAGE AT THE 92Y

After the event we went backstage to greet Hasan and congratulate him and we shot an Instagram video in which he laughingly described me as his “lucky charm”.  I’ve known him for several years having first met up in Montreal at JFL,  and have supported his talent ever since.  I was there at the Cherry Lane Theatre for the premiere of his hit show “Homecoming King” which as a Netflix special  won a 2018 Peabody Award.

The story was that he had asked a girl named Bethany to his high school prom and when he got to her house to pick her up she was getting ready to go with another guy, because her family was concerned that Hasan wouldn’t look right in the pictures they would inevitably be taking that night to send to their family. I had seen him do the story on earlier performances and was so moved by it that I told him it would make a great one-man show.

I shared the excitement with him when he became a correspondent on The Daily Show, which lasted four years, and then again when he hosted the White House correspondent’s dinner last year.

So it was a great feeling to see him now the master of his own show.  I never had any doubt that he would make it big.

I certainly hope you enjoyed this comedy review of recent events and hope you will subscribe for upcoming Comedy Matters blogs/vlogs! Please check out the website at www.comedymatterstv.com and subscribe to Comedy Matters TV on You Tube at www.youtune.com/guriannewsnetwork @jeffreygurian on Twitter and IG

With love to all,

Jeffrey
jeffrey@jeffreygurian.com

Posted in: Animated Show, Broadway Show, Celeb Photos, Comedy Clubs, Comedy Events, Comedy Festivals, Comedy Matters, Jeffrey Gurian News, Stand-Up Comedy

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The Phenomenon That Is Nick Kroll

Papi Steenbergen, Aspen Bruckheimer, Gil Faizon, Fabrice Fabrice, C-Czar, Dr. Armond, Bobby Bottleservice, AKA Bobby Bruschia, AKA Bobby B., … these are only a handful of the many colorful characters emanating from the mind and talent of what I call “The Phenomenon that is Nick Kroll.”

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Bobby Bottleservice, AKA Bobby Bruschia, AKA Bobby B at a promotional event at The Hundreds in NYC, back in 2011!

And what I think is most amazing is that when I see him inhabiting the body of all of these characters there are times I can not tell you who the real Nick Kroll is. I’ll try and explain that.

To the best of my ability I would identify the guy on my right, (your left) as Nick Kroll, and the guy on the other side of me as John Mulaney, but who really knows??? It could be Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland posing as them!

When Nick is in character as Gil Faizon it’s obvious that he’s in costume, but his body language and facial features seem to actually change along with the character he’s doing to the point where I no longer can tell what he really looks like. At the beginning of each episode he seems to appear as himself, in a Nick Kroll type of monologue, but even knowing him as I do, I’m still not 100% sure that’s him without any make-up. I couldn’t really tell you how he wears his hair.

And my background as a former cosmetic dentist made me very observant of detail. He so becomes the character he’s doing that he truly gets lost in it. When he’s Gil Faizon or Bobby B. it seems effortless to him to inhabit the facial movements, the tone of voice, the cadence of speech. It’s truly amazing. In all my years of comedy I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone with the ability to do so many characters, and do them well.

Quite a few years ago, around 1990, the first time we at The Friars Club roasted Chevy Chase, I was working with the producer of the Roasts at the time, as kind of the official writer for The Friars Club, and wound up working with the SNL crew who was going to appear at a Roast for the first time.

Most young guys had never done a Roast in those days, so it was up to me to guide them through the process. I had been writing for the Roasts for 12 years previously with legends like Milton Berle, Henny Youngman, and Pat Cooper, and became kind of a liaison between the older comics and the younger comics, since I was friendly with both. In those days a Roast was kind of a secret art form.

Jeffrey Gurian, now of Comedy Matters TV and Phil Hartman in Jeffrey’s apartment rehearsing for the first Chevy Chase Roast, Oct. 1990!

As I recall I had to work with my old friend Phil Hartman, who I’m pretty sure appeared as Donald Trump, Kevin Nealon, who I think appeared as Mr. Subliminal, and who I recently saw when I appeared on his show at The Laugh Factory in LA, and Dana Carvey who may or may not have appeared as Church Lady. I saw first hand how hard it is to be able to stay in character for an entire set. Nick makes it look effortless.

Dana Carvey, Jeffrey Gurian, and Phil Hartman after a rehearsal up at SNL, circa 1990!

Needless to say, people were very excited about the prospect of “Kroll Show” before it came out. A year ago February, I got a call from Inman Young, Nick’s producer in LA, asking if I’d like to come out to LA to be in some sketches with Nick. I packed my bags when I got off the phone even though I wasn’t going until the next month. That’s how excited I was to do it! (LOL)

I went out last March and shot two sketches. One was with Nick, and his writing partner and friend John Mulaney another super talent loved by all who know him, in an “Oh, Hello” sketch, and another in a Woody Allen like party scene with Nick, John, and award-winning actress Karen Black.

On the Kroll Show set with Jeffrey Gurian, Gil Faizon, Karen Black, and George St. Geegland! They were all wearing costumes! (LOL)

I had the time of my life out there with Nick and his friends like Ed Helms, Jason Mantzoukas, Joe Mande, and Jon Daly, who is not only a producer on the show but also an actor who also does several characters like Wendy Shawn, Nick’s partner in Rich Dicks.

The show is literally filled with Jons/Johns including Jon Krisel the director also co-creator of Portlandia starring Fred Armisen, and producer John Levenstein, previously from Arrested Development.

I often say there’s no more two man teams out there like you used to see with Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, or Jackie Gleason and Ed Norton who were hysterical together, but Nick and John Mulaney, or Nick and Jon Daly are two teams that could wind up in that category.

The lunch table on set was representative of the level of talent that Nick brings in. All of his friends were on other shows as well.

Nick Kroll and friends from Kroll Show on lunch break. They’re all there except for Ed Helms who had to make a call! He’s in the next photo!

Jeffrey Gurian on the set of Kroll Show in LA with Ed Helms!

Jeffrey Gurian on the set of Kroll Show in LA with Jason Mantzoukas!

In the Comedy Matters TV interview I did with Nick and John after the shoot they were still in character and I made the mistake of trying to interview them as Nick and John because it’s confusing sitting with people in character as to how to address them, … as themselves or as their character. Well, let me clarify that. It was confusing to ME, not to them as you’ll see in this video!

George St. Geegland as he really looks when he’s not playing John Mulaney, Jeffrey Gurian as he looks when he is and is not playing himself, and Gil Faizon as he looks when he’s not playing Nick Kroll!

Months before the show came out as “Kroll Show” people were already excited to see it, and buzz was building for what was originally going to be called “The Nick Show Kroll”. As a matter of fact in the early e-mails I received from the LA office, the “Subject” line all said ” Nick Show Kroll” which I promptly corrected, thinking I was being helpful, to “Nick Kroll Show.” After about the third one, I realized that it was I who was the moron, and that no one on the staff was making a consistent typo, but that it was meant to be called “The Nick Show Kroll”!

In the intervening months while people were anxiously awaiting the arrival of the show, the public had to be satisfied for their Kroll fix by enjoying Nick as Ruxin on FX’s “The League” with his pals Paul Sheer, Jon Lajoie, Stephen Rannazzisi, Mark Duplass and Katie Aselton, (husband and wife in real life!), and in his other personal appearances.

By the time it came out in January simply as “Kroll Show” the buzz was loud and Nick knocked it out of the proverbial park. The show got renewed on Comedy Central after only the first three episodes. My first sketch was in Too Much Tuna, where Nick and John do their best to prank me with a much too large tuna sandwich, but as you’ll see in this clip, I wasn’t having any part of it!

The extremely large tuna fish sandwich meant to prank Jeffrey Gurian on “Kroll Show”!

 

They told me if the show got picked up they’d ask me back for the 2nd season. As a precautionary measure, I’m not leaving the house until they do, just in case my voicemail doesn’t work when they call!

Check out Kroll Show, every Wednesday night at 10:30 ET/9C on Comedy Central, and be ready to laugh your ass off! And don’t forget to tell Nick I sent you!

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Kroll Show Debuts on Comedy Central-Wed. 1/16/13-10:30 E/T

Nick Kroll is a master of characters. He’s a chameleon. (And by comparing him to a lizard, I mean that only in the best sense! LOL)

When he’s in his Gil Faizon mode as you’ll see in the accompanying video, I can not see Nick Kroll. His facial expressions don’t look like they even belong to him. Same with Bobby Bottleservice, or Fabrice Fabrice. And putting him together with his longtime friend, writing partner, and SNL staple John Mulaney, the other half of the “Oh, Hello” boys, creates comedy energy on a level you could only describe as “nuclear”!

Bobby Bottleservice may be my favorite character because I’ve known so many guys like that. And he nails it 1,000 percent. I have my Bobby Bottleservice poster hanging prominently in my writing room from the time I went down to see Bobby at a special event in a clothing store,(it could have been Ed Hardy! LOL) where he was making a personal appearance as Bobby B, and signing posters. On mine he wrote. ” To Jeff, You are the only person with better hair than me!”

Bobby Bottleservice and Jeffrey Gurian at a promo event in NYC, where Bobby was making a personal appearance!

I was good friends with the late Phil Hartman who was also greatly respected for his amazing character work, and I hope Nick doesn’t mind the comparison, because I don’t like to compare talents, but I think Nick is the new Phil Hartman. The great thing is that if Nick was on an ensemble show like SNL he’d only get to show his talent sporadically throughout the show. By having his own show,he can really shine by being in every single sketch, which I hope he is!

Phil Hartman and Jeffrey Gurian at the piano in Jeffrey’s living room after a writing session, Oct., 1990!

And all of his friends are involved as well, like Ed Helms, Jason Mantzoukas, Jon Daly, and Paul Scheer, which adds to the level of performance because they know each other so well. Jon Daly functions as talent and also as a producer on the show. I could watch Nick and Jon in Rich Dicks all night, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that sketch turns into a spin-off show on it’s own.

Nick Kroll and his friends breaking for lunch on the set of Kroll Show in LA, 3-20-12!

Ed Helms and Jeffrey Gurian on the LA set of Kroll Show. Ed had gotten up to take a call and was not part of the previous lunch scene photo, but he was there!

Jason Mantzoukas who plays Rafi in FX’s The League, with Jeffrey Gurian on the LA set of Kroll Show. This was just before Jason co-starred with Sacha Baron Cohen in The Dictator!

Comic Joe Mande is on the show, and you’ll see him in the video above as well. When Nick brought me out to LA last March to tape some sketches with him and John Mulaney, I got to meet Joe Mande and like me, he wound up also making his Kroll Show debut by doing a sketch involving tuna fish. The door to my trailer actually had me listed as “Tuna Jeff”, a name I have worn proudly ever since! (LOL)

Jeffrey Gurian’s trailer door on the LA set of “Kroll Show”, clearly identifying him as ” Tuna Jeff”!

On the set of Kroll Show during the “Woody Allen party sketch” with Jeffrey Gurian, Gil Faizon, Karen Black, and George St. Geegland!

One of my faves is when Bobby Bottleservice is talking on the phone with sexy aspiring singer, (not perspiring, … aspiring!) Farley, played magnificently by Chelsea Peretti. Bobby is trying to sweet talk Farley as a “record producer” who wants to work with her, and Farley entices him further by saying ” A lot of people say I have a real cute laugh!” And then she does it!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at The Comedy Store in LA. with the funny and sexy Chelsea Peretti, aka Farley on the new Kroll Show!

I don’t know why girls like that are still sexy to me, but they are! (LOL) Suddenly his mother, who even the thought of always brings tears to his eyes, interrupts their video chat, and he tries to pass off his Mom as his secretary.

She calls him down for dinner telling him his food would get cold, and he responds all choked up, ” I would never let a meal go cold on you Ma!” Unbelievably funny!

This sketch is a “must see” as far as I’m concerned! (No one knows exactly how far that is, but it’s pretty far!)

All you need to do is look at Nick’s Twitter page to see the multitude of characters that he’s capable of.

A couple of months back Nick, Jon Daly and producer John Levenstein, a great guy who is also involved in the hit show Arrested Development with David Cross, debuted some of Kroll Show at Comic Con 2012, and I was there to interview them. So many Johns! John Mulaney, John Levenstein, and Jon Daly, who somehow genetically seems to have lost the “H” in his name. And the show is directed by yet another Jon, the amazing Jon Krisel also known for creating Portlandia for Fred Armisen.

Jeffrey Gurian with director Jon Krisel, one of the many “Johns” that populate the L.A, set of Kroll Show!

Rumour has it that some men NOT named John, or any variation there-of are also involved with the show!

Kroll Show is a fantastic piece of work, and I know it will be a HUGE hit! I wish them all luck, and can’t wait to see it, … and be on it!

www.HyperSmash.com

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Nick Kroll, Jon Daly, and John Levenstein at Comic Con 2012 for Kroll Show

Comic Con New York is such a huge event it’s hard to describe unless you’ve actually experienced it. Literally thousands upon thousands of people show up, many in costume, dressed like their favorite comic book characters. But it’s not only about comics and comic books, it’s also about new TV shows, and tons of celebs show up to meet their fans.

Comedy Central was debuting three new shows, one of them being “Kroll Show” starring Nick Kroll, debuting Jan. 30th, 2013, so I knew I had to cover that press conference for Comedy Matters TV.

Nick Kroll, star of “Kroll Show” coming up on Comedy Central 1/30/13, at Comic Con!

I’m not big on comparing people to others, because Nick is his own man, but in a sense I think Nick is the Phil Hartman of his generation. Phil was a very dear friend of mine, and so respected in “the business” for his amazing character work on SNL. Nick exhibits that kind of diversity going from a flamboyant (code for “gay”! LOL) character like “Fabrice Fabrice” Craft Services Coordinator for the sitcom ” That’s So Raven”, to Bobby Bottleservice a guy who out-Jersey-Shores, the Jersey Shore guys! When he addresses all the beautiful internet ladies out there in his perfect Bobby Bottleservice voice,by saying ” Do you date me?”, and ” No offense, but you’re very beautiful”, I need oxygen from laughing so hard!

When I showed up at the press conference I got an unexpected treat. Not only was it Nick, but also Jon Daly, who is an actor and supervising producer on the show,along with John Levenstein, an executive producer and writer on the show! The whole triumvirate was there! The only one missing was Jon Krisel who’s directing the show and created Fred Armisen’s Portlandia!

I think it helps to be named some form of “Jon” to get involved with the show. Maybe just the letter “J” is what they’re looking for, cause that would explain how I got on! LOL

I got to know Jon and John, and Jon when Nick called me out to be in some sketches for the new “Kroll Show”, which I shot last March. I got to do one sketch with Nick and John Mulaney, Nick’s pal from SNL, who is one of the hottest stand-ups on the scene today, and one sketch which was like a Woody Allen parody, with famed actress Karen Black, who gave me the onscreen name of Galvani, in an on-the-spot inspiration! I’ve been calling myself that ever since! (LOL) Galvani Gurian! It has quite a ring to it!

Jeffrey Gurian, Nick (Gil Faison) Kroll, Karen Black, and John (George St. Geegland) Mulaney on the set of “Kroll Show” in LA. I’m the only one wearing my own clothes!

I had such a good time on that set, and was there for the filming of another sketch called “Sex and The City For Dudes” which involved so many of Nick’s friends who are on TV shows, it was crazy. It was Ed Helms, Jason Mantzoukas, Owen Burke, Jon Daly, Seth Morris, John Mulaney, Joe Mande, and everyone you see seated at the table below where we were having lunch.

Nick Kroll’s TV star friends on the set of “Kroll Show” to film “Sex In The City For Dudes”!

Seth Morris and Owen Burke on the set of Kroll Show in LA for the sketch “Sex In The City For Dudes”!

That’s where I got to see what a great guy Ed Helms was. I got to lunch late and everyone was already eating at a packed table so I just said ” Hi” to everyone and sat down at another table by myself, which didn’t bother me. But it was in the hot LA sun, and the next thing I knew, Ed called me over and moved people’s chairs to make room for me to sit next to him, and I thought that was such a nice gesture. Everyone on the set made me feel so at home.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Ed (Hangover) Helms on the LA set of Kroll Show, which at the time had the working title of “The Nick Show Kroll”!

I think John Levenstein may have been the first person I met after I got to my trailer. John is known for his work on the hit show Arrested Development, where he wrote 6 episodes, and acted as consulting and co-executive producer for 39 episodes. That’s a pretty cool credit for your resume! John is the nicest guy and made me feel “part of” right away, so I was really glad to see him at Comic Con.

Jon Daly from “Happy Endings” and “Nick Swardson’s Pretend Time” is Nick’s partner in crime in sketches like “The Ed Hardy Boyz” where he plays a character known as Peter Paparazzo to Nick Kroll’s Bobby Bottleservice, and they solve mysteries for Christian Audigier, king of the Ed Hardy fashion empire.

He’s also the other half of “Rich Dicks” two rich and wild guys. Nick plays Aspen Bruckheimer, son of Jerry, and Jon plays a guy named Wendy (short for Wendell). Both are rich and act like dicks! When they get kidnapped by Mexican gangsters, … you just gotta see it for yourselves!

These guys are so funny together in a time where comedy teams are extremely rare. (I wanted to say ” rare as hen’s teeth”, but I suddenly became overwhelmed with sadness at the realization that I even knew that expression, so I changed my mind!)

I remember teams like Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy, and The Marx Brothers, who are still hysterical today, but probably couldn’t get representation! But that’s a whole other story!

Again in my reluctance to compare, they kind of remind me of Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd’s two wild and crazy guys, in the sense that the way Martin/Aykroyd became a phenomenon, or Belushi and Aykroyd became the phenomenon known as “The Blues Brothers”, that’s what I think will happen with Nick and Jon. I think as long as you’re comparing people favorably with legends, they won’t mind!

Watch the video. Nick and Jon give me props for my performance!

And we also took photos with my new book “Make ‘Em Laugh” with Chris Rock, and Nick was kind enough to write a blurb on the back cover!

(L-R) Jon Daly, Jeffrey Gurian, Nick Kroll holding Jeffrey’s book “Make ‘Em Laugh” with an intro by Chris Rock, and blurb from Nick Kroll,(LOL), and John Leventstein at Comic Con 2012!

And then tune in for Jan. 30th. I don’t care if it’s only October! Set your TIVO’s in advance. You’re not gonna wanna miss this! Kroll Show! It rocks!!!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV on set in LA with Nick Kroll in character as Gil Faison, of the “Oh Hello” boys!

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My Excellent LA Adventure With Nick Kroll and John Mulaney

Some years ago at one of the many Friars Roasts I had written for, someone told this joke, ” Someone broke into the William Morris office this past weekend and stole a million promises!” Now it didn’t necessarily have to be the William Morris office. It could have been any agency, or entertainment group. The point was that in “the biz” people make a lot of promises they don’t keep.

Nick Kroll, Jeffrey Gurian, and John Mulaney! What we look like when we’re not in character! (LOL)

Not so with Nick Kroll and John Mulaney. Both had been telling me for quite a while that they wanted me to be in their “Oh, Hello” sketches. These guys have been friends since college at Georgetown,when John who was a Freshman when Nick was a senior, had to audition for Nick to be in the campus Improv group. They’ve been friends and writing partners ever since. It would be hard to find two nicer and more talented guys!

So anyway, one day I’m at home working with my assistants when the phone rings and it’s Inman Young, the producer of Nick’s upcoming show on Comedy Central, “The Nick Show Kroll”, which is due to come out this summer. He says, Nick asked him to call me and invite me to be in some “Oh, Hello” sketches, and would I be interested! Of course I told him “No”,and that I was insulted that he asked! (LOL)

Producer Inman Young, with Jeffrey Gurian on the set of “The Nick Show Kroll!”

What I actually told him was that I’d pay HIM to do those sketches, and how soon did he need me to be out in LA???

The funny thing was when I started getting e-mails from the production people who were handling the details, the e-mails were labeled ” The Nick Show Kroll” and I corrected the first couple thinking the person just had A.D.H.D. and switched the words around. No one said anything, but when they kept coming like that, I checked and found out that I was the moron and that the show WAS actually called ” The Nick Show Kroll.”

First day on the set was very exciting. They were kind enough to send someone to pick me up which was very nice and took away the fear that I wouldn’t find the location and I’d miss the shoot! That someone turned out to be Peter Moses, a guy working his way up in production.

My guide and driver Peter Moses on the set of “The Nick Show Kroll!”

When I arrived Inman was there to greet me, and was very accommodating. He has a ton of credits in producing comedy, from Mad TV, to the new film High Road, with Lizzy Caplan, to The Comedians of Comedy with Zach Galifianakis, and Brian Posehn.

They took me to my trailer at the base camp, (Yes, I actually had a room in a trailer!) where I could change and relax while waiting to go on set. Stage Manager Toby Burge made sure I had everything I needed, including a made to order sandwich before it was officially time to eat!

And both Louis Tocchet the 1st A.D., and Giselle Gurza Junco, the 2nd A.D., went out of their way to make sure I was comfortable at all times! Thanks guys!!!

This was a huge, major production, with a tremendous crew, and tons of locations. Most projects are happy to have a director at all! This one had a 1st and 2nd A.D.! (LOL) It all spoke to how much Comedy Central thinks of Nick Kroll.

Nick has such a great team behind him. I got to meet producer John Levenstein, who had been a writer, consulting producer, and co-executive producer for the hit show Arrested Development.

Then the hair and make-up people came over to say hello, and quickly realized they had nothing to do. I did let one girl touch my hair a little bit, but when I told her she was making me nervous, she said she understood and left! (LOL)

Then wardrobe came over, looked at the clothing I had brought, and quickly agreed that I did not need their services! (LOL) After all I was playing myself, so it behooved me to look as much like myself as possible.

I had actually met myself once, ( many years before!), and kind of remembered what I looked like, so it was easier for me to try and re-create that look than it was for anyone else to attempt it!

At one point I told John I had to go to my trailer and get into costume, and he said, ” Aren’t you already in costume?” And I had to admit that I had something a little more fun in mind. A nice pink jacket I had brought from New York!

Nick is so talented, I would actually put him in the category of my old friend Phil Hartman who was one of the most respected character performers in the business. Everyone on SNL always respected Phil as one of the best. I think with characters like Bobby Bottleservice, Fabrice Fabrice, and Gil Faizon, Nick will be seen the same way.

Phil Hartman and Jeffrey Gurian at Jeffrey’s piano in his living room, circa 1992, The Year of the Moustache!

I can not divulge anything about what the sketches were about, except to say they were “Oh, Hello” sketches, but I was in them not only with Nick, (Gil Faizon), and John, (George St. Geegland), but also with celebrated actress Karen Black, who was once up for an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress. She was so much fun to work with as well, and as the Director Jon Krisel, who created and directs IFC’s Portlandia with SNL’s Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, allowed us to improvise a bit, she wound up calling me “Galvani”, and in doing so afforded me an extended bit in the sketch we were doing.

Jeffrey (Galvani) Gurian, Gil Faizon, Karen Black, and George St. Geegland on the set of The Nick Show Kroll!

Jeffrey Gurian with director Jon Krisel, who also co-created and directs Portlandia with Fred Armisen, on the IFC Channel!

The second day of the shoot, I got there in time for lunch and was pleasantly surprised to find myself in the company of Ed Helms, of The Hangover movies and his newest one just released, ” Jeff, Who Lives At Home”, by Mark and Jay Duplass. In an earlier Comedy Matters TV video,at Comedy Central’s First Annual Comedy Awards, Mark promised me a part in “Jeff” although it had already been shot, edited and wrapped! (LOL)

Also on set was Jason Mantzoukas, who plays Rafi in FX’s The League, and will soon be co-starring in the new Sacha Baron Cohen film “The Dictator” which everyone is excitedly waiting to see, Adam Pally who plays Adam Blum in ABC’s Happy Endings, Jon Daly from the UCB group Mr. A$$, who is also a producer on Nick’s show, and all around “macher”, ( which is a very technical term! LOL), Owen Burke from UCB, Seth Morris a comic/sketch guy from TV and films, who also writes for this new Nick Kroll show, and Brian Huskey who plays Chet on Adult Swim’s Children’s Hospital, and is a regular on the Onion News Network.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Ed Helms, from The Hangover movies and Jeff, Who Lives At Home!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Jason Mantzoukas of The Mantzoukas Brothers, and The League on FX! ( Wait till he hears about the battery-operated beard I invented! He’s gonna love it!) )

Most of these guys, ( if not all!), are UCB guys, who know and like each other and happen to be on the “hippest”, most cutting-edge shows on the air. It was quite a crew, and they all made me feel very at home. As a matter of fact, I can’t tell you how many people on Nick’s team did their homework on me, and were familiar with things I have done. Ed Helms in particular was very kind and generous, and shared a very cool story with me which will be for a future post.

The reason I say he was kind and generous is when we broke for lunch, the entire table was filled with all the guys, so I sat down at an adjoining table by myself, which happened to be in the direct sun! In LA that’s HOT!!!

It almost felt like high school again in the cafeteria when you were hoping to sit with the cool kids, but there was no room. I’m older now and more grounded,( hopefully! LOL) so it wasn’t exactly the same, but Ed looked over and said, ” Jeff, you’re gonna melt over there. Come and join us!”, and he moved over and made room for me next to him. That is the sign of a kind, caring, and gracious person! It may seem like a small thing but it was a HUGE kindness! Thank you Ed!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Ed Helms on the set of Nick Kroll’s new show on Comedy Central!

Seth Morris and Owen Burke on the set of The Nick Show Kroll!

Lunch with the boys, (L-R) Brian Huskey, John Mulaney, Adam Pally, Jon Daley, Joe Mande, Jeffrey Gurian, Jon Krisel, Nick Kroll, Jason Mantzoukas, and Owen Burke! Ed Helms had to take a call!

All I’ll say about the second day of shooting was that it involved a lot of tuna fish, and I personally came away smelling not too good, unless you’re the kind of guy who likes the scent of tuna fish!

In my sketch, I also had to try and keep up with Nick and John which was hard because they’ve been bouncing stuff off each other for years, and have so many inside jokes. We got good feedback from the people present, so I think, (and HOPE!) it came off well!

After the shoot, we shot a little video for Comedy Matters TV with Nick and John in character as Gil and George and it was HILARIOUS! It will be posted as soon as it’s edited, so stay tuned!

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