Posts Tagged John Leguizamo

John Gallagher’s New Feature "Act, Naturally" Filming IN NYC

I have to admit that I get to do some pretty cool things. John Gallagher is a film director who has directed some of the biggest stars in the business like John Leguizamo, Amanda Peet, Michael Imperioli, Gretchen Mol, Denis Leary, Zach Braff, Debi Mazar, and tons more, and now how proud do you think I am to be able to add my name to that list?

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with director John Gallagher outside the venue for the Soho International Film Festival!

I had the honor of being in one of John’s award-winning shorts called “I Love You”, which played in a dozen international film festivals, and then he called me back to be in his new feature called “Act, Naturally”, which he co-wrote, and co-produced with two funny, talented women who also star in the film, Mia Pinchoff and Samantha Scaffidi.

Mia Pinchoff, John Gallagher, and Samantha Scaffidi outside the Sunshine East Theatre on Houston Street, in NYC!

Other people in the cast are Joe D’Onofrio (Are We There Yet?, Goodfellas, The Deli, Blue Moon, Digger 3D), Victor Colicchio (Inside Man, Goodfellas, and four of John’s previous films Street Hunter, Men Lie, The Deli, I Love You),Steve Stanulis (Long Shot Louie, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, and five of John’s other films Cupidity, The Introduction, Mother’s Day Massacre, I Love You, Digger 3D), and Deborah Twiss (Kick-Ass, A Gun for Jennifer). One thing about John is that he’s loyal to people who work for him and if he likes you he calls you back!

His company 305 Media Group has six films at this year’s Soho International Film Festival, including the world premiere of Uncomfortable Silence, which has also been invited to the Cannes Film Festival in 2013! Sibyl Santiago is the Exec. Director of the festival and Carlos Santiago is the head of the screening and jury committee, and between them they put on an incredible festival with great films from all over the world with world-class after parties as well thanks to their partner NITETABLES!

The night he’ll be showing Uncomfortable Silence, he will also be producing an event in honor of his friend the late Ben Gazzara who he had also directed, and it should be a very special evening. I will of course be filming on the red carpet!

The next 305 Media Group pictures, all of which he’s directing, include DIGGER 3D, a feature adaptation of Euripides’ classic The Medea … and a film that I happened to write, my only non-comedy project, called “Men of Violence!” John read it and loved it and to my honor, committed to it right away!

So in Act, Naturally I’m playing myself which I feel is a part I was born to play! The truth is I almost didn’t get it because they weren’t sure I was enough like myself to do it, but in the end, John said I pulled it off perfectly!

Mia Pinchoff doing her best to distract Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV while he’s interviewing award-winning actress Samantha Scaffidi in their scene on the red carpet!

I play myself as the host of Comedy Matters TV interviewing Samantha Scaffidi on the red carpet of the Soho Film Festival right after she won an award for the film, ” No, But Yeah!” Mia Pinchoff plays her roommate who tries to hijack my interview by vamping shamlessly behing her while we talk, until I can not help but include her in the conversation. It’s a very funny scene because both of these girls are very funny actresses.

Mia Pinchoff vamping it up on the red carpet for a scene with Jeffrey Gurian, and Samantha Scaffidi in John Gallagher’s Act, Naturally!”

For me it felt natural. I did what I’ve done hundreds of times, and it was really fun. John said it was a great scene and that he got what he wanted which is all that’s important!

This is a little trailer for the film:

And it even has a website:

www.actnaturallythemovie.com

Please check it out and I’ll let you know when to look for it in the theatre as I’m sure it will find a theatrical release!

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I’m In Another John Gallagher Film!!!

As a director, John Gallagher has worked with some of the biggest stars in the business including John Leguizamo, Gretchen Mol, Amanda Peet, Zach Braff, Vincent Pastore, Heather Matarazzo, and Denis Leary. All you have to do is see his film “The Deli” and you’ll see more stars than you can imagine in just one film!

Director John Gallagher after being interviewed by Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV on the red carpet of the Soho International Film Festival!

That particular film was honored in last year’s Soho International Film Festival in Manhattan!

He’s got 15 feature films and 25 shorts under his directorial belt! His company 305 Media Group has been involved in 4 features and 14 short films in the last three years alone.

What’s cool about John though is that he takes the time to nurture new talent. Not every successful director does that. John lectures internationally, but also teaches classes and workshops at One on One NYC, and I know he has also taught at the famed Neighborhood Playhouse where the legendary acting coach Sandy Meisner also taught for over 50 years!

In his new film ” Act Naturally” which I will be appearing in as myself, (mostly because I’m the closest thing to myself that he could find!), he will be debuting two new stars Mia Pinchoff and Samantha Scaffidi, both of whom have studied with him. All three of them collaborated on this screenplay working from a series of improv writing sessions.

Act Naturally follows the sometimes comedic, sometimes heart-breaking path of two aspiring actresses struggling to make names for themselves in the dog-eat-dog world of show biz. I will be interviewing at least one of them on the red carpet of a film festival, and I am very excited to be part of this project. I was in another of John’s films called ” I Love You”, so this will be my second project with John, and I’m counting on him to direct a screenplay I wrote called “Men of Violence” that he says he loves.

Patience is key in this business. It’s not uncommon for a project to take years until it hits the big screen!

Mia is also in the comedy world and performs with a partner Anni Weisband in the comedy team Moneymaker Duo, (www.moneymakerduo.com). They wrote, produced and starred in a short film called “Appetite”, which John Exec Produced, and which was featured in between two of John’s films at this past year’s Soho Film Festival. “Appetite” went on to play in a half dozen other international film festivals.

(L-R) Mia Pinchoff, Mike Starr, and Anni Weisband at a film event in NYC!

And Mia just placed #35 out of 200 girls in IMDB’s “Hotness List”!

The lovely rising star Mia Pinchoff who I will be performing with in John Gallagher’s “Act Naturally!”

The lovely and talented Samantha Scaffidi in a pose reminiscent of sexy Italian actresses from the 60’s! Like a young Sophia Loren!

Besides the newcomers, Act Natural will star Frank Vincent (Goodfellas, Raging Bull, The Sopranos), Mike Starr (Dumb and Dumber, Goodfellas), Ryan O’Callaghan (Digger 3D, 79 Parts), and Brian Kelly (Blue Moon, Black Dog) and probably other films without a color in the title! (LOL)

Frank Vincent and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at the Soho Film Festival at an event honoring Frank for his body of work!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Mike Starr at the tribute to John Gallagher’s “The Deli” at the Soho Film Festival 2012 in NYC!

Stay tuned for updates on this exciting project.

www.HyperSmash.com

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Rick Newman Has The Comedy Midas Touch!

It’s always a good feeling when you can be happy for a friend’s success, and when your friend happens to be Rick Newman, you could literally be happy all the time! (LOL)

Rick and I go back a long way, as we were reminiscing on the phone the other day, and he was kind enough to give me a very special scoop which I will share with you Comedy Matters guys!

Rick Newman and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at the Friars Roast of Pat Cooper in 2007!

Rick and his partner, Peter Martin, have undertaken a complete overhaul of what was The Triad Theatre on West 72nd Street, (which has been owned by Peter for the last 16 years!), to come up with a place “non pareil” in New York nightlife, (in other words, that can not be compared to, for you non-linguists), which will tentatively be called “Variety 72 Theatre.”

A photo of the new, completely refurbished Triad Theatre, NY home of Celebrity Autobiography, on West 72nd Street. set to re-launch this coming November!

This is the former space where once a month, on Monday evenings, for the last four years, Rick has been offering his international hit “Celebrity Autobiography”, where celebs come in and read other celebs autobiographies, and audiences go crazy for it.

Some of the New York regulars who appear are Susie Essman, Joy Behar, Matthew Broderick, John Leguizamo, Martin Short, Brooke Shields, Mario Cantone, Sherri Shepherd, Alan Zweibel, Rachel Dratch, and Kristen Wiig! It’s like a Who’s Who of showbiz! And I hear there’s actually a waiting list of celebs who would like to appear.

This new expensively overhauled theatre is set to be re-launched this coming November, right in time to run a week of shows during Caroline Hirsch’s New York Comedy Festival. As a matter of fact, the entire month of November will feature new “avant garde” productions in comedy, music, one person shows, plays, and seminars, and right now I’m thinking about what I could present in that one-of-a-kind space! According to Rick, “there’s no other place quite like it”, and he should know!

They even installed a complete state-of-art projection unit for screenings plus a luxury green-room. Rick has always stayed current with trends so part of the transformation of the theater “is to make it flexible and be able to use as a studio for the Internet”, he said.

“It’s a natural extension of what Peter and I have been doing for many years … providing new platforms and exposure for new writers, musicians, comediennes, comedians, bands, original plays, one person shows, animation, short films,etc. We are hoping to be able to provide new original programming for the Internet and for fresh talent and their ideas.”

And it will be nice not to have to run all the way downtown for this experience, as many art houses are down in Tribeca. This is great because it’s on the Upper West Side! I can’t wait to take him up on his offer to give me a private tour!

And now with Rick’s collaboration with longtime friend Orin Wolf of Off Broadway Booking, (which is a hot beautique agency that takes successful Off-Broadway shows on the road), Celebrity Autobiography will be touring internationally as well. They always wanted to do something together and I think that this definitely falls into that category! (LOL)

As a Broadway producer Orin is involved with the new hit “Once” which opened to rave reviews on Sunday, March 18, 2012. A national tour will begin in the summer of 2013, and the cast recently appeared on The View.

ONCE has been nominated for 11 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It was recently named Best Musical by the New York Drama Critics Circle, the Outer Critic Circle and the Lucille Lortel Awards. In addition, the production has been nominated for three Drama League Awards and five Drama Desk Awards.

And the story of how Rick came to be involved with Celebrity Autobiography is also a great story. Four years ago, our mutual friend Susie Essman, star of HBO’s hit “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, called Rick all excited and told him he needed to come and see her in this show Celebrity Autobiography. He went, and was hooked from the first night.

Rick Newman, Susie Essman, and Richie Tienken the day we did Rick and Susie’s interviews at The Comic Strip for the new book on the 35 year history of The Strip called “Make ‘Em Laugh”!

The four producers at the time, Peter Martin, Angelo Fraboni, Eugene Pack, and Dayle Reyfel, were seeking a fifth producer, and Rick became that producer, but with his own billing. It’s Peter Martin, Angelo Fraboni, Eugene Pack, and Dayle Reyfel in association with Rick Newman! That’s very cool!

The final part of this exclusive Rick Newman scoop is that on top of everything else, he is the Exec. Producer of a new online series for Comedy Central called “Thirty Seconds Over Washington” and it’s an updated version of a show he did 16 years ago for HBO, with Dennis Miller and Bill Maher.

It consists of political commercials with comics doing analyses and comedic commentary before and after the commercial. I love stuff like that because it’s so fun and so easy to poke fun at these pompous buffoons who take themselves so seriously, while making decisions that affect the course of all of our lives. This is a show I can’t wait to see. I’m not particularly political, but you don’t have to be Mort Sahl in order to see the humor in this type of stuff.

Rick appears in my new book with Chris Rock called “Make ‘Em Laugh- 35 Years of The Comic Strip, The Greatest Comedy Club Of All Time”, a book I wrote with Richie Tienken the owner and founder of The Comic Strip. What is especially nice about having Rick in the book is that at the end of 1972, Rick opened up the second big comedy club in New York City called “Catch A Rising Star”. The Strip opened in 1976.

Before that it was just Budd Friedman’s “Improv” which opened in 1963. Catch had regulars like Larry David, Robert Klein, David Brenner, and Billy Crystal. Richie Tienken was present when I did Rick’s interview at The Strip and Richie had the opportunity to tell Rick that he was his idol and the inspiration for The Comic Strip. That was a very special moment in comedy history and I felt privileged to be present for that, … with these two lions of comedy!

Rick Newman and Richie Tienken, the two “lions” of comedy at The Comic Strip, for the book I wrote with Richie called “Make ‘Em Laugh.”

When I launched Comedy Matters back in 1999, Rick was one of the first, if not THE first one-on-one interview I did, because I never wanted to just focus on the talent. I wanted Comedy Matters to also be about the people who made things happen in the comedy world, and Rick has always been one of those people.

Rick Newman being interviewed by Jeffrey Gurian for Jeffrey’s new column at the time called “Comedy Matters”, circa 1999. We both had darker hair and matching moustaches!

On top of everything else he does, Rick runs the Activities and Entertainment Committee at The Friars Club with Prior Stewie Stone, and plans special events for the club.

Rick Newman and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at The Friars Club back in 2006!

We wish Rick lots of luck in all of his many endeavors!

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Reel Works 10th Anniversary with Steve Buscemi, John Leguizamo, Fisher Stevens, Reggie Watts, Hannibal Buress

Comedy Central invited me to cover a very special event where several of the celebs just happened to be friends of mine, but that doesn’t make it any easier. It’s still always tense and exciting wondering what will go down on the red carpet, knowing you have to keep it flowing and keep it funny and interesting!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Steve Buscemi star of HBO's hit Boardwalk Empire and co-host of Reel Works 10th Anniversary celebration!

Reel Works is a youth-oriented filmmaking initiative that provides high school students with the mentoring, training, and support to finish high school and then go on to college, and find job training careers in NYC’s film and television industry.

The event was at the Prince George Ballroom on East 27th Street, and I was there with my assistant and DP Tristan Griffin. Reel Works is the only youth filmmaking program that matches each student one-on-one with a professional filmmaker mentor. I wish they had something like that when I went to school!

The event was MC’ed by the hilarious Hannibal Buress who was voted one of Variety’s 10 Top Comics To Watch in Montreal last year, 2010, at the Just For Laughs Festival, which is the biggest comedy festival in the world. Hannibal has also written for NBC’s 30 Rock and SNL!

Reggie Watts and Hannibal Buress at the Reel Works 10th Anniversary Celebration!

The co-hosts were Steve Buscemi, star of HBO’s hit show Boardwalk Empire and his filmmaker wife Jo Andres!

Steve Buscemi and his wife and co-host Jo Andres, for the event honoring the 10th anniversary of Reel Works, a youth filmmaking initiative!

The honoree was Fisher Stevens who won an Academy Award for his film “The Cove”,and is currently directing John Leguizamo in his latest hit Broadway show, Ghetto Clown, which Fisher told me is about to begin a world tour! Fisher was being presented with the award by John Leguizamo, who for whatever reason was not available to do any press that night, which is unusual for John because he always makes himself available, and is ALWAYS very gracious with his time!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with John Leguizamo at a press event for his film "The Babysitters."

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Academy Award winner Fisher Stevens, the honoree at the Reel Works 10th anniversary celebration!

Plus there was a very special musical/comedy performance by an incredibly talented guy and another friend of mine, Reggie Watts, who is the opening act for Conan O’Brien’s ” The Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour” and winner of the Andy Kaufman Award. I had just seen Reggie in Montreal at THIS year’s Just For Laughs Festival where he performed in a show with Bo Burnham!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Reggie Watts who was performing at the Reel Works 10th Anniversary celebration honoring Fisher Stevens! ( He makes my hair look normal! Actually he makes me look totally bald! )

These are just some stills from the event. Wait till you see the videos coming soon!

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Jeffrey Gurian Documentary Reel with A-List Comics and Film Stars

This documentary reel about me was shot as a pre-cursor to a proposed TV project that I would host, taking the viewers “behind the scenes” in the comedy world, the film world and behind the velvet ropes of New York nightlife, all places where I have strong connections.

In this reel you will see great comics from late night TV like Ted Alexandro from Comedy Central, Letterman, Conan O’Brien, & Jimmy Kimmel, Jon Fisch from Last Comic Standing, VH1 and Comedy Central, Macio from The Chapelle Show, Uptown Comedy Club, & Comedy Central, Goumba Johnny, afternoon host  from WKTU, 103.5 FM, film stars Marisa Tomei, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Jason Statham, John Leguizamo, Vincent Pastore, Chris Meloni, Kal Penn, Sidney Lumet, Guy Ritchie, nightlife and TV legends Wass, Noel Ashman, and Countess LuAnn DeLesseps from Real Housewives of New York City, and Camille Grammer from Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Please watch and feel free to leave a comment, and/or share it with your friends.  Thanks!!!

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