Posts Tagged “Jimmy Failla”

Bret Ernst Headlines Gotham Comedy Club

Every so often I get to see someone I’ve only heard about, but never seen before. Such was the case with Bret Ernst who’s based in LA, but Chris Mazzilli makes sure to bring in the best talent from all over and gives them exposure at his clubs. That’s good for me! (LOL)

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with headliner Bret Ernst at Gotham Comedy Club!

Bret was one of four comedians featured in Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights – Hollywood to the Heartland, along with Ahmed Ahmed, John Caparulo, and Sebastian Maniscalco.

Bret has also appeared on Comedy Central Presents and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,and was the host of the first season of Love Games: Bad Girls Need Love Too. He also appeared in Ke$ha’s Blah Blah Blah music video.

His Comedy Central 1/2 hour special was voted in the “TOP 5” of all of 2010, and his first comedy album “American Comic” was an instant success, breaking “TOP 10” on iTunes in its first week, so you can see why I was anxious to meet him and see him perform.

JImmy Failla hosting the Bret Ernst show at Gotham Comedy Club!

The always funny Jimmy Failla MC’ed the show and brought up Drew Fraser first. Drew is also a great host and often hosts events for Comedy Central. He said he’d rather get sick and lose weight than go to the gym. I often thought of that in terms of getting a high fever and hallucinating instead of taking drugs. It’s a legal way to hallucinate! But who do you go to to score a high fever???

Drew also talked about The Pope quitting, and said, ” you know the economy is bad when G-d starts laying people off!”

And on Latina women, he said they don’t age well. He was dating a girl who started out looking like J Lo and wound up looking like Ceelo!

Rachel Feinstein was next and she’s one of my faves! I love when she imitates her Mom talking about a joke she finds objectionable and asks Rachel, ” Can you take that joke out of your talent show?” She calls her act a “talent show”! That’s hysterical!

Rachel Feinstein onstage at Gotham, … as funny as she is pretty! Which means VERY!!!

And then she imitates her Mom as a rapper cause she says her Mom thinks she’s Wiz Khalifa! Just the juxtapostion of the words “Mom” and “Wiz Khalifa” in the same sentence you know it has to be funny!

And I’ve never heard another female comic do a guy’s voice as good as Rachel. When she imitates the “street” accents of the guys who cat-call her on the street by commenting on her appearance with lines like, ” Oh Mami, don’t do that to me!” … as if she purposely looks so sexy just to turn them on, she answers in her grandmother’s Jewish sounding voice with a come-back like, “I’m sorry Jorge,(Pronounced Hor-hay!), I guess I’m up to my old tricks again!” I could watch her all night!

Rachel Feinstein in one of her many characters, probably scolding some street guy who came onto her!

But her set ended and Bret Ernst took the stage to rousing applause. His crowd knew he was coming and turned out for him. Right away he proved his likeability, and went into imitating his cousin who tries to be super Italian, where he transforms himself into that “Jersey-shore” kind of Italian guy, even making up words and phrases like when requesting to use the GPS he’s like, “Put it in the “navigashe!”. Go to a restaurant and make a “reservache”! Just realizing that you understand what he’s saying, even using those made up words is funny in itself!

He has a great comedy voice, which not all comics have. Certain voices are better attuned for comedy than others and he has a good one! He also does a super “drunk” voice as well.

Bret Ernst in one of his many funny facial expressions to go along with his funny act!

Raised by a single Mom he wonders whether there are really any Dads anymore. Kids these days have “Dad sightings!” I think I saw your Dad in the mall!

Currently a bachelor, he explains that a “promise ring” is a ring that buys you some time. He wonders about all the rings you have to buy a girl these days, a promise ring, an engagement ring, a wedding ring. How many rings do you need? What are you Saturn?

Then he riffs on “Save the Date” cards. It’s basically a card that tells you to expect a card. He says it’s like me calling you up and telling you to hang up so I can call you back, “Yo, hang up! I’m gonna call you!” A great example of how comics take everyday things and occurrences that most people don’t notice, and make them funny.

Bret Ernst headlining and killing it at Gotham Comedy Club!

Talking about girls when they’re shopping he says his girl would say something like, ” That shirt would be great in Aruba!” He’s like, ” I don’t even know where that is!”

And he goes on to explain that girls make things more complicated than they have to be because they don’t know what they want. They live in a fantasy. They want to have fun but they make it impossible by coming up with things out of their head like ” I wanna go to a restaurant with a Mariachi band and a harp”, like an imaginary restaurant that only exists in Oz!

I’m really glad I got to see Bret Ernst and I hope I get to see him again soon!

Bret Ernst with his new fan, Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV!

Bret currently resides in Los Angeles, and hosts his own podcast on Tuesday nights at 9pm Pacific at the gocast.com network. If he likes this piece, maybe he’ll have me on as a guest???

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Lynne Koplitz Proves Beauty and Comedy Go Well Together!

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!

Another great show at Gotham!

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Bob Marley at Gotham Comedy Club

Every so often someone gets past my radar, so when I saw that Bob Marley was headlining Gotham I was like, ” I know Chris Mazzilli is amazing but to get a dead reggae star to headline his club, that’s really outdoing himself!”

Then I looked it up on Google where everyone finds everything they need to know about everything, and saw that Bob’s been performing for 15 years and has been on all the hot late-night shows, plus movies and even a regular radio spot in Portland, Maine where he lives called “The World According to Bob.”

Jimmy Failla MC’ing at the Bob Marley show at Gotham!

Jimmy Failla was the MC/host and he’s always great. I like when he talks about how men act with a woman before they’ve had sex with them. He compares them to politicians. They’ll say anything they need to say to get you to take your clothes off!

And then he talks about the Mets: “The Mets are so bad, if you get there early you can play!”

Jimmy was followed by Erin Jackson who helped warm up the crowd for the headliner.

Erin Jackson onstage at Gotham Comedy Club opening for Bob Marley!

Phil Hanley and I have performed together and his writing is really sharp. As a comedy writer for so many years, I admire people who write great, unpredictable jokes, where you can’t guess the punchline.

Like when he said he’s not gonna complain about his parents , because if it wasn’t for them he wouldn’t be here. Then he added the killer tag, “They dropped me off!”

The audience loved it when he described himself as a “stay-at-home son!” Or when he described the difference between a vegetarian and a “fruitarian”! With a fruitarian, all they eat is fruit and medication for diarrhea!

Phil Hanley entertaining the crowd at Gotham Comedy Club!

He also doesn’t kiss on the first date! He thinks women should be happy with just sex! I love jokes like that!

Mike Young was also very funny and I hadn’t seen him before. I like when he spoke about guys getting “used” by women for sex. He gave the guys in the audience a tip to know if you’re being used: ” If every line you use on a woman is working, it’s not you!”

Mike Young in a T-shirt and fedora making people laugh at Gotham!

It goes back to my concept that women never really get talked into anything. If they’re participating at all, it’s because they really want to! Not cause of your skilz!

Then Bob took the stage, and it was obvious that the audience had come out to see him. He was talking about how wives ask you to do things you would never do on your own. ” Wanna go blueberry picking?” “Yeh sure,let’s do some immigrant work!”

His wife would give him jobs just cause he had his shoes on. “You got your shoes on? Go pave the driveway!”

Bob Marley headlining the show at Gotham Comedy Club in NYC!

And talking about his Irish Catholic middle class upbringing he said, “Nothing screams financial success more than the above ground pool!”

It was a great show!

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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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Aries Spears Kills It At Gotham Comedy Club

Aries Spears’ website identifies him as “The Funniest Muther-F#*ker On The Planet” and I don’t think I’d argue with that. Most people tend to hype themselves, but in Aries’ case it’s true. I can see why he was a star on Mad TV. His characters, and ability to do dialects, are amazing. And Gotham Comedy Club was packed to capacity, which not all comics can do.

To give you an idea of how crowded it was, they had to put two strangers at my table, cause they were totally out of space! And I was cool with that! They happened to be nice people!

Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV with L.A. comic Aries Spears at Gotham Comedy Club!

Jimmy Failla was the MC and opened with a strong set. Opening a show the right way is so important. It gets the crowd in the mood to laugh. Jimmy just has that way about him, and coupled with strong material makes for a good host.

Jimmy Failla onstage at Gotham getting the audience in a good mood!

I always knew that hosting was difficult, but when I started doing it myself at The Comic Strip, I REALLY appreciated how much harder it is than just doing a regular spot. A few nights later, Jimmy and I got to perform together at Gotham on Alyse Kenny’s comedy show for the charity, “The Cure Is Now”! Alyse produces a once a month show at Gotham in the Vintage Lounge, each month benefitting a different charity.

Veronica Mosey took the stage next, … and refused to tell us where she put it! (LOL) That’s so silly, but it reminds me of the line, ” I’m a hard act to follow cause when I leave the stage, I take the mic with me!”

Veronica Mosey doing her comedy thing at Aries Spears’ show at Gotham!

Veronica is always funny, and in a male dominated world, manages to hold her own! She recently got married and was also just profiled on National Lampoon’s Interview Show, the week after I was. You can see her interview at www.nationallampoon.com

Areis did at least an hour seamlessly. Never at a loss for what to do next. He jokes about Blacks and Whites equally, and does an incredible imitation of a “White” voice! He says he uses that voice when he’s talking to a white girl, so that he feels white. As he tells that story he plays the classic Rick Springfield rock song in the background, ” Jessie’s Girl”.

He also does a variety of great ” Black” voices which answers the question that many white people have, whether Black people know that they talk a certain way! Not only do they know, but they can modify it and even “Black it up” when they feel they need to! (LOLOL)

Aries says, you know you’re a big star when you can sell out Africa!

He says that Maury Povich’s show is “Black ignorance at it’s finest!”, which may be the best summation I ever heard.

He said, ” You’ll never see Black people on shows like, ” When Animals Attack.” Black people are too smart for that, to mess with wild animals. You may however see them on shows like
“When Cops Attack!”

He jokes about Africans being so black, that he told one African guy, ” If you stood against a building you’d like like the entryway to an alley!”

He likes when Black people go out to a show and when the bill comes, one person inevitably says, ” Who ordered gratuity???”

The multi-talented Aries Spears making a point during his sold-out show at Gotham Comedy Club!

He wants to be a film star but he thinks he needs to lose some weight first. He says, “You know you have to lose weight when you have to catch your breath from breathing!”

He also does great Indian and English accents, and fantastic impressions of Arnold Schwartzeneggar, and Denzel Washington! (If I had just written “Denzel”, would you have known who I meant? LOL)

And then as a finale he does a rap song while imitating all the rappers like Snoop, DMX, Method Man, Biggie and Jay-Z. The man is an entertainment phenomenon, and if you get a chance to see him go for it!

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Alyse Kenny Brings Monthly Charity Shows To Gotham

Chris Mazzilli and Gotham are always supporting one charity or another. Now comic/actress Alyse Kenny is taking it up a notch by producing a once a month show there, the last Monday of every month called “Alyse Kenny Presents…It’s a Charity Thing!”

Funny ladies Rachel Feinstein (L) and Alyse Kenny at Alyse’s charity show at Gotham!

Each month will benefit a different charity. On the night I went down, the show was to benefit Rosie O’Donnell’s charity, Rosie’s Theater Kids.

It was a great line-up, with fun raffle prizes available to the audience, like VIP tickets to “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”, “The View” and “The Dr. Oz Show”!

The show was hosted by Jimmy Failla, Host of Off The Meter Radio, and I always give extra credit to anyone hosting. Now that I’m doing it on a regular basis, I see how much harder it is than just getting up to do a set, so I give Jimmy props for keeping the show moving smoothly.

Jimmy Failla holding it down onstage at Gotham as the host of the show!

The show also featured comedians Rachel Feinstein, who never fails to make me laugh out loud, Nick Cobb, Matt Baetz, and Greer Barnes! And Alyse got up and did a set as well. She and the audience were thrilled when Jim Gaffigan dropped in unexpectedly and did a killer set, mostly on McDonalds.

Jim Gaffigan who dropped by to do a guest spot on Alyse Kenny’s show at Gotham!

Jim tends to use food and things relating to food as his subject. He’ll always be known for his “hot-pocket” material. This night he went into McDonald’s and their fries, specifically the loose “bonus fry” we’re always so happy to find hiding at the bottom of the bag.

He said we wouldn’t know when breakfast ended if it wasn’t for McDonalds, and he also said that eating fast food gives you a momentary pleasure, followed by intense guilt, followed by Cancer.

Jim Gaffigan killing it onstage at Gotham!

Jim just had his fourth child, so he said he’s trying to be healthy. He takes vitamins, … and puts them in a drawer!

Nick Cobb said ” you know you’re broke when you know exactly how much money you have.” He also wondered about the sexual activity known as “69”! Being 6’4″, he said it’s a short man’s game, and wondered why anyone would want to do it in the first place. He wondered, ( and I’m paraphrasing) … “Who’s that short on time, to take the two most pleasurable things in the world, and combine them? It makes more sense to do each one separately! And he’s right!

Nick Cobb, who claims to be too tall for “69”, onstage at Alyse Kenny’s charity show at Gotham!

Alyse Kenny is fairly new on the comedy scene, and is an actor on ABC’s “What Would You Do?” She is co-writing and starring in the television pilot, “Pryor Knowledge” with Richard Pryor Jr., who just happens to be an old friend of mine, and who I sponsored for membership in The Friars Club. I actually took a photo of him in front of the photo of his Dad, Richard Pryor Sr. that graces one of the upstairs rooms.

Richard Pryor Jr., Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, and Rain Pryor at the premiere of Paul Provenza’s The Green Room in NYC!

Alyse also just appeared in Eli Shapiro’s indie flick, “Ike Interviews God.” Her clean, fun brand of comedy showcases her skewed view of growing up the daughter of a shrink and cardiologist, her inter-faith marriage and many jobs working in television including as an Emmy Award-winning producer.

Alyse Kenny onstage performing at her charity show at Gotham!

She’s a go-getter and I’m excited about her, and even more excited that I will be performing on her next show on Monday Feb. 27th, which will benefit a charity called The Cure Is Now. You can read about them at www.thecureisnow.org

Come on out and support!

You can read more about Alyse on her website at www.alysekenny.com

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