They say that beautiful women can’t be funny! Who “they” are no one actually knows, but whoever “they” are, Lynne Koplitz disproves that myth.
The beautiful, sexy, and funny Lynne Koplitz with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at Gotham Comedy Club in NYC!
She also did a very brave thing. At least I thought it was brave. She was headlining Gotham Comedy Club, and taping her show to be used for an upcoming project, and with her manager Rick Dorfman in the audience, one of the top comedy managers in the biz, (who also works with JB Smoove), she decided to go off on her own, and not do the act she had been preparing to do.
It was the first show of her weekend headlining gig, and instead of doing her prepared material, she did what I compared to a Patrice O’Neal type of performance, which she thanked me for. She said I got what she was doing.
She was looking for truth, and talked to the audience about all kinds of things, mostly about getting older, and the state of her life. It was very ballsy, and I had to give her props for that. She even said about herself, “This stripper is chatty!”
Lynne Koplitz onstage at Gotham offering an audience member a sip of her drink!
The last time I had seen her was this past summer in Montreal in the lobby of the Hyatt Hotel, where I interviewed her for my Comedy Matters TV channel, which was chosen as the official celeb interviewer at the festival. She was nursing a broken shoe, which she also attributed as part of her hooker look! It’s about 31 minutes and 58 seconds in!
I’m sure the rest of her shows were her regular material but only someone who has performed before an audience knows how hard it is to perform at all, and then to get up and do something you didn’t expect to do makes it all that much harder. She’s a courageous performer to do something like that.
Jimmy Failla was the MC and is always reliably funny, and a great host. One of the lines that stuck out for me is that he wanted a child who would be friendly to other children, so he named his son Sandusky!
MC Jimmy Failla warming up the crowd at Gotham Comedy Club!
Ryan Hamilton gave a stand-out performance, and got huge laughs. Starting from the moment he walked out on stage. Before he even said a word!
Only in comedy are we happy when people laugh at our appearance. Performers use it as a prop. Not like a Gallagher or Carrot Top prop that you have to pull out of a suitcase, but a prop you always have with you! Your face!!!
Ryan Hamilton and Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV after a wild hot-air balloon ride, at Gotham Comedy Club!
Audiences always like when comics tell them who they look like. With me it’s a cross between Phil Spector and Elton John. Ryan says he looks like a comedy club logo. And because of that he can’t even go to a funeral. It wouldn’t be appropriate! (LOL)
Ryan Hamilton onstage, describing himself as looking like the logo for a comedy club!
He did a fantastic bit on hot air ballooning, about taking a girl up in a hot air balloon on a date. You have to go early, like 5 A.M. and it takes two hours which means you’re finished at 7 A.M. Not a particularly romantic time of the day!
He described it as a romantic experience with a guy standing in the corner. In a thing made of wicker. Wicker makes him nervous even on the ground.
And the guy who flies it calls himself a pilot! Ryan felt that was a very generous term to use. The guy doesn’t even know where we’re going! Do you wanna go up or down??? (LOL) Those are your two choices!
He also said he went out with a girl he knew from the 3rd grade who suggested they pick up where they left off, so he pulled her hair, and ran away!
I’ve known Tom Cotter for a long time and always admired his work. Not only his performance but especially his writing. It’s just so sharp and clever, and he works really clean, which in a business where so many comics are obsessed with “bathroom related material”, is a breath of fresh air, (not usually found in most bathrooms! LOLOL)
Tom Cotter with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at The Comic Strip in 2003!
With all the times I’ve seen Tom perform, I still run into the room to catch his set if I know he’s going up. He’s a reliable crowd-pleaser! His lines like, ” I was the youngest in the family, but I was always beaten up by the two oldest, … Mom and Dad!” ” I used to get smacked around by these green berets in my neighborhood. Some people call them “girl scouts”, … whatever!” “The morning of my 16th birthday, the whole family tried to surprise me with a car, … but they missed!”, … make me laugh every time I hear them!(Which is not to say he’s not adding new lines all the time! Try giving a woman a compliment like that, and she’ll KILL you! “Every time I see you in that dress you look fantastic”!)
Those are just three of Tom’s jokes that helped him impress Howard Stern, Sharon Osbourne, and Howie Mandel, and pass the audition for the 7th season of the show. His material really lends itself to doing 90 second bits which is basically what you get on the show. Most comics are still adjusting the mic stand and asking people where they’re from for the first 90 seconds. Tom doesn’t fool around. He gets one laugh after the next. You can see it right here:
As a long time writer, I appreciate people who punch out the jokes. One after the other. That’s why you’re out there to tell jokes and make the audience laugh, and Tom is a master at that.
Howie Mandel gave him two “thumbs up” on camera right after his audition set, told Tom he had just become a big fan of his, and that he was confident, polished and very funny. Sharon said Tom’s performance was one laugh after the next, and “really, really spot on!”, and Howard not only thanked him for being on the show but used the word “excellent” to describe his performance!
Since that time, they have grown to love him as has the audience, and you can see they’re really rooting for him to win.
Tom is married to the very funny, and very pretty comic Kerri Louise and they have 3 little kids. I remember when they were shooting their show for the WE Channel called “Two Funny” about the lives of two married stand-up comics who have baby twins. They were shooting an episode at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, which is the biggest comedy festival in the world. (I just got back from there last month, where I shot 40 interviews for Comedy Matters TV, including one with Tom Cotter which you can see below!)
Anyway, I was chasing them all over to get a photo with the help of their manager Peter Rosegarten from The Conversation Company, but I could never get the two of them together in the same place at the same time! Finally I just gave up, and as I was leaving, and waiting for my car to take me to the airport, who pulls up in their car but Tom, Kerri, and the twins Cameron and Harrison. They got out of the car and I got my photo, and I just spent the last two hours searching for it on my computer to no avail!
I found the column from September of ’05, but I can’t find the photo! However I do have the video I just shot with Tom up in Montreal where I was the official videographer this year for my Comedy Matters TV! Check it out right here:
Those twins are 7 years old now and they need their Dad to win America’s Got Talent, so he can keep them in the style they need to be kept! And that goes for Kerri Louise as well, whose nick-name according to Tom used to be “Comic Relief”! (LOL)
Tom Cotter and the lovely Kerri Louise at Danny Aiello’s comedy room Danny’s Upstairs, back in 2007! You’d never know she had 3 kids, right?
In order to get into the finals, Tom took the “ballsy” move of letting Howie Mandel choose the category of his material from a list. Howie chose “College” and Tom went on to destroy the crowd with his killer set!
So the finals begin this Wednesday, Sept. 12th, on NBC, at 9 P.M. New York time, 8 P.M. Central time(whatever that is! LOL), and the results show is the next night on Thursday, 9/13. So make sure to vote for Tom, and let a true comedic talent win. He’s not only funny, but the nicest guy you’d ever wanna meet!
The world needs more laughs and Tom is the guy that can bring it!
The cast members and writers of SNL seem to have found a home at the legendary club called The Comic Strip, in NYC. This year is the 35th year that it’s open and still going strong. SNL made it’s debut in 1975!
The Strip opened June 1st of 1976, and on June 17th Jerry Seinfeld walked in to audition. The reason we know this is that his original sign-up sheet is still on the wall. It’s also in the book that will be out Oct. 1, 2012, called “Make ‘Em Laugh” written by myself and owner/founder Richie Tienken.
Make “Em Laugh with an intro by Chris Rock will be out on Oct. 1st but is available right now for pre-order at a big discount on Amazon.com!
Recently D.L. Hughley filmed a Comedy Central special there because of it’s history with Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock. Richie was Eddie’s manager for the first eleven years of his career, from his SNL days through Beverly Hills Cop 2, so lots of big comics today grew up dreaming of someday being on that very same stage.
D.L. Hughley with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV backstage at The Comic Strip for DL’s Comedy Central taping!
SNL writer Colin Jost is a regular performer at The Strip and he’s been bringing his buddies from SNL, writers and cast members to do shows at The Strip. Recently one went down on Sunday night. The MC was Danny McDermott, currently working with Richie Tienken and Bob Wachs as his managers.
Danny McDermott MC’ing the SNL show at The Comic Strip!
The packed crowd got to see a hilarious show, with an opening set by Teddy Smith who is always hysterically funny.
Teddy Smith killin’ it onstage at The Strip!
New featured player Kate McKinnon was there and her strength is character work, which is the only way you can get on SNL. I believe her first time on the show she did a sketch with Sofia Vergara, who was the host that week, and it was a faux Pantene commercial where she played Penelope Cruz.
Sofia got all the easy words and Kate as Penelope got all the impossibly difficult scientific words to try and pronounce in her Spanish accent! It was hysterical. This night at The Strip Kate put on a bee hat with little antennaes and discussed the mating habits of bees!
SNL cast member Kate McKinnon showing very unusual but effective mic technique onstage at The Comic Strip!
Mike O’Brien came up, who is in his third year of writing for the show. He is also the host of the very funny Hulu internet show called ” Seven Minutes in Heaven” which he created with another SNL writer Rob Klein! He takes celebs into a closet and tries to make out with them! I always thought only the kids I went to school with knew that game. I had no idea it was real and that other kids knew it too!
Mike also created the sketch “Kickspit Underground Rock Festival”, where they advertise things like spraying viruses on the crowd, and a band named Mrs. Potato Dick. That sketch he wrote with Colin Jost, while both were suffering from sleep deprivation! The part I liked best was that everyone who attended got a pitchfork!
That reminded me of a short film I made several years ago called ” Men Who Take A Pitchfork To The Movies”, which was part of my “Men Who” Series, including “Men Who Enjoy Latin Dancing With Tools”, and “Men Who Dance In Traffic With The Sunday Edition of the New York Times!” Watch it here if you dare!
SNL writer Mike O’Brien, host of Hulu’s “Seven Minutes in Heaven” onstage at The Strip!
I did a video with Colin recently for Comedy Matters TV which will be up soon. We kept passing each other in Montreal at the Just for Laughs Festival last month,and we kept saying we had to sit for an interview but it never happened. I knew I’d see him in NY though so we caught up backstage at The Strip one night and got it done!
Colin Jost with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV in the luxurious, uncluttered private office of The Comic Strip!
I thought he was kidding when he announced from the stage that his parents were in the audience, because his material at the moment was not particularly parent-friendly, having focussed mostly on bj’s, but he was serious. So afterwards I told him of the first time I met Chelsea Handler, when she was performing and doing BJ jokes and her Dad was in the audience.
Chelsea Handler with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV in Montreal at the Just for Laughs festival!
In the interview I did with Chelsea in Montreal recently I reminded her of that and she said she takes every opportunity she can to torture her father! That video will also be ready very soon!
And cast member Vanessa Bayer also performed at The Strip, and she’s adorable, and very funny! We all hung out backstage while they were waiting to go on. Her celeb impressions on the show include Kourtney Kardashian, Miley Cyrus, (although now she’ll need a short blonde wig for that one!), and Hillary Clinton!
SNL performer Vanessa Bayer onstage at The Comic Strip!
The last SNL performer to go on was Jay Pharaoah. His Denzel Washington is so killer! He and Colin Jost are both in my “Make ‘Em Laugh”, and when I saw him in Montreal at the Just for Laughs festival, he read out loud from the intro written by Chris Rock, in Chris Rock’s voice which was absolutely hysterical.
Jay Pharoah of SNL, the man of so many voices, onstage at The Comic Strip!
We were all just chillin’ in the lobby with JB Smoove, his manager Rick Dorfman, JB’s wife Shahida Omar, Lou Wallach past head of Comedy Central and a bunch of other people, when Jay took the book and started reading as Chris. I filmed it and the video will be ready for you guys very soon! Jay said when Chris sees it he’ll probably just “nod his head like he usually does when he sees my ass!”
Finishing up the show were Gary Gulman, who can take one concept and run with it for an extended period of time. Like when he examines the history of Greece and how they fell as a culture. They went from one of the most educated and sophisticated cultures in the world, to focussing on salad. One day in modern times they decided to put all their efforts into salad, and they knocked it out of the park!
Gary Gulman, an expert in Greek Salad, making people laugh at The Comic Strip!
Last up was Phil Nee, one of the original Asian comedians whose parents were so avant-garde, they were Asian before it was even popular! You can always count on Phil as a strong closing act, and that’s exactly what he did. It was a great night at The Comic Strip!
Phil Nee doing what he does best, onstage at The Comic Strip!
Well, after four years of hard work the final manuscript on the 35 year history of the legendary comedy club “The Comic Strip”, that I wrote with owner/founder Richie Tienken was handed in, and should be coming out in October of this year from Skyhorse Publishing. Chris Rock is writing the introduction.
Richie Tienken, Chris Rock, and Jeffrey Gurian at The Comic Strip.
Since The Strip is like a family, I broke down the chapters into things like “The Parents”, which were Richie and Bob Wachs, “The Older Kids” who were like Jerry Seinfeld, Larry Miller, and Ray Romano, “The Younger Kids” who were like Lisa Lampanelli, Jim Gaffigan, and Judah Friedlander, and a chapter called “The Next Generation”, kind of like the grand-children, the up and comers, who will be the next stars of tomorrow coming out of The Strip.
These are names you may or may not know, but all have impressive credits and are on their way. There’s Marina Franklin, who was chosen as one of Jay Leno’s comedy correspondents, has been on Craig Ferguson,and Last Comic Standing; Ted Alexandro who’s been on Letterman, Conan, and Louis CK’s show “Louie”; Jon Fisch who’s been on Letterman, Last Comic Standing, and Celebrity Apprentice; Brian Scott McFadden who’s been on Letterman, Craig Ferguson, and in the Ice Age films with Ray Romano, and “Robots” with Robin Williams; Mike Vecchione, who had his own ( as opposed to someone elses? LOL) half hour Comedy Central special, and was seen on Leno, as a semi-finalist on Last Comic Standing, and on Russell Simmons special “Stand-Up at the El Rey.
Jeffrey Gurian with Marina Franklin whose “home” is at The Strip!
Jeffrey Gurian and Ted Alexandro in Jeffrey’s “Dancing With Comedians” Series!
Jeffrey Gurian and Mike Vecchione hanging out casually backstage at The Strip! (LOL)
Then there’s a group of really young comics who work out regularly at The Strip, like Pete Davidson who’s 18, lost his firefighter Dad Scott on 9/11, and has been taken under the wing of Nick Cannon, who he now tours with and opens for; Nore Davis, also a “young ‘un” who’s been taken under the wing of Tracy Morgan, (not only birds have wings, “angels” have wings too!), and has appeared on Russell Simmons “The Ruckus” with J.B. Smoove; and Jordan Rock, just turned 21, who hosts late shows at The Strip on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and is the latest in line in the Rock comedy dynasty along with his brothers Tony and Chris.
Pete Davidson and Jordan Rock chillin’ backstage while waiting to go on at The Strip!
Then there’s two young guys who are already on TV, and happen to be on the very same show. Colin Jost is a senior writer on SNL, but as a stand-up has been seen on Jimmy Fallon and was featured at the prestigious Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal, and Jay Pharoah, who drops by The Strip very often to work out new material is a regular cast member on SNL. He’s an incredible impressionist, and will soon be seen in the upcoming films “Lola Versus” with indie favorite Greta Gerwig, and CBS Films’ “Get A Job”.
Jeffrey Gurian with Colin Jost from SNL, a regular at The Strip!
Richie Tienken, Jay Pharoah from SNL, and Jeffrey Gurian at The Strip!
With this kind of talent calling The Strip “home” you can be sure it will be around for many, many more years!
Last night Brett Ratner was honored at The Friars Club during the third annual Friars Club Comedy Film Festival produced by powerhouse Exec. Director Charlie Prince, and his team some of which are Senior Programmer Susannah Gora, Social Media Director Sue Constantine, Programming Director Eric Johnson, Managing Director Jor Law, and Director of Communications, Jaime Marsanico, who did a fantastic job coordinating last night’s event.
The festival screened over 60 films over the five days that it ran and they were from an international pool of films. It was a HUGE amount of work and they are to be commended!
Brett Ratner is one of the most accomplished and respected film, and music video directors in all of Hollywood, and he’s only 42. He’s known for the Rush Hour series starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, as well as The Family Man, Red Dragon, and X-Men, The Last Stand. He was also a producer on the Fox drama Prison Break and will be producing the 84th Academy Awards next year, on Feb. 26th, 2012, with co-producer Don Mischer, and with Eddie Murphy as the host. What a team that should be!
Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV with Brett Ratner after he received his Lifetime Achievement Award from The Friars Club, during the Friars Club Comedy Film Festival!
Eddie recently received the Comedy Icon Award from Comedy Central at the First Annual Comedy Central Awards and was presented that award by Tracy Morgan!
Tracy Morgan presenting Eddie Murphy with the Comedy Icon Award at the First Annual Comedy Central Awards!
But in 1990, Brett was still a film student at NYU. How he got in is an example of his determination. He was initially rejected due to his poor grades, but he got in to see the Dean himself and after literally begging him to watch one of his films, impressed him enough that he let him in as a student.
Brett’s student film was ” What Ever Happened to Mason Reese?” It starred Rebecca Gayheart, Anthony Michael Hall, and of course Mason Reese, an actor who became famous as a child in the 1970’s for a TV commercial he did for Underwood Devil Ham that swept the country, in which he mis-pronounced the word Schmorgasbord as “Borgashmord”. People loved it and he was an instant star.
Jeffrey Gurian with Mason Reese at Mason’s birthday party! He served a Borgashmord of course!
As an aside, for anyone who’s wondering about where Mason is now, he’s right here in NYC and doing great! He currently owns two restaurants in NYC. One is Paladar, a Pan-Latino restaurant located in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and the other is “Destination Bar and Grille” located on Avenue A in the East Village. He’s an old friend and I see him a few times a year!
Brett found himself short on funds to finish his film, so he made another spectacular life-changing choice, and sent out “plea letters” to 20 different producers in Hollywood asking for monetary assistance to finish his film. He got only one response, but that was all he needed. Of all people, Steven Spielberg, of Amblin Entertainment sent him a check for $5,000, without ever meeting him.
Brett brought that same film to the attention of Russell Simmons, who was impressed enough that he got Brett into directing music videos, for the likes of Jay-Z, Mariah Carey, and Madonna! Not bad credits for anyone’s resume! (LOL) Russell has since been a close friend and was asked to present Brett with his Lifetime Achievement Award.
Brett once said he wouldn’t attempt to direct a feature film until he had directed 100 music videos. In 1996, the director of a film called ” Money Talks”, starring Charlie Sheen and Chris Tucker, dropped out and Russell suggested Brett Ratner to take over, which he did. That launched his career and led to his multiple big-screen successes.
Russell Simmons himself is not only known as a music impresario, but also throughout the comedy world for creating Def Jam Comedy. I recently attended some tapings he did for Comedy Central that were hosted by JB Smoove, with DJ Cassidy on the ones and twos, that starred comics like Tony Rock, Capone, Tifffany Haddish, Wil Sylvince, Earthquake, Owen Smith and tons more!
Russell Simmons with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV on the step-and-repeat for Brett Ratner, at The Friars Club!
JB Smoove host of Russell Simmons Comedy Central Stand-Up NY specials with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at the Edison Ballroom!
DJ Cassidy, super hot DJ for Russell Simmons’ Comedy Central special with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV!
Russell Simmons came to present Brett Ratner with the award, and even billionaire Ron Perelman dropped by to say a few words and pay his respects to his good friend Brett.
Russell Simmons making his opening remarks before presenting the Lifetime Achievement Award to his pal Brett Ratner!
Ron Perelman paying his respects to director Brett Ratner at The Friars Club in NYC!
Everybody is anxiously awaiting Brett’s new film “Tower Heist” starring Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, and Matthew Broderick, which is set to open November 4th 2011, and should be a big hit!
(L-R) David Wain, Michael Ian Black, Jeffrey Gurian, and Ben Stiller at Fez, circa 2000!
The Tower Heist poster, showing the incredible cast for the film opening November 4th, 2011.
Video of this fantastic Friars Club event can be seen right here, showing not only an interview with Brett, but also with other celeb guests such as Richard Belzer, and Aisha Tyler!
Russell Simmons chatting up the gorgeous comic/actress Aisha Tyler!
Russell Simmons shot three new episodes of “Russell Simmons Presents NY Stand Up” featuring the hysterically funny JB Smoove as the host/MC, and DJ Cassidy on the ones and twos! ( Only the very hippest of you out there will know that expression! LOL ) It was shot at the Edison Ballroom, on West 47th Street in the heart of the theatre district of Manhattan, and seating and arrangements were expertly handled by Samantha Black of The Black List, as usual.
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with the hilarious JB Smoove, host of Russell Simmons shows for Comedy Central!
It needs to be said that JB Smoove is so funny he just has to show up for people to start laughing uncontrollably. He doesn’t even have to say anything. What a gift! His physicality is as funny as what he says. I have met so many legends in comedy that it usually doesn’t even phase me any more, but I remember being so excited to meet him in Montreal last year.
Click on the link below for audio interview with JB Smoove –
I was even gladder to find out he’s been repped for the last 7 years by my old friend Rick Dorfman of Rain Management Group, who I saw at the taping. Not only did I see him but he was kind enough to take the photo you see above! ( Photo credit Rick Dorfman! LOL )
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV backstage at the Edison Ballroom with Tony Rock!
The first night I went I saw Dov Davidoff, Damn Fool, Tony Rock who I had come to support, Earthquake, Tiffany Haddish who I had met many years ago out in LA when she was just starting out at The Laugh Factory, and Wil Sylvince who was the MC in the Kevin Hart show I co-produced last year at Westbury Theatre.
Jeffrey Gurian with the lady in red, Tiffany Haddish backstage at the Edison Ballroom for Russell Simmons' show for Comedy Central!
The second night I got to see Kareem Green, Owen Smith who I had seen opening for my buddy Russell Peters in NYC, and a real favorite of mine Capone, the hardcore gangster of comedy!
Owen Smith klling it onstage at the Edison Ballroom for the taping of Russell Simmons' show "Russell Simmons Presents NY Stand-Up"!
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Capone at Anthony Anderson's Mixtape Show!
Plus it’s ALWAYS fun to see my man DJ Cassidy spinning the best tunes. It really makes a difference to the audience and gets them in the mood when the right music is played before and during the show. Comedy and hip-hop definitely works as Russell Peters figured out long ago!
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with his old friend DJ Cassidy who is the only man in New York who can pull off that look, and do it so well!
He got his first turntable when he was 12 years old, and now he spins for Jay-Z and Beyonce, Russell Simmons, Diddy, and all the big hip-hop stars. Give it up for my man DJ Cassidy!!!