Posts Tagged Just For Laughs

Lil Rel Killin’ It Bigtime

I’ve had the good fortune to know Lil Rel since at least 2012 when we met up at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, which is where this photo was taken.

Over the years since I’ve seen him many times and watched as his career blew up very deservedly I might add. The man is hilarious and multi-talented.

 

This past summer at the very same festival, which is the biggest and most prestigious comedy festival in the world, Rel received the award for “Breakout Comedy Star of the Year”, presented to him by his friend Deon Cole. This video was shot on the red carpet of the awards show.

Since his breakout performance in Jordan Peele’s smash hit “Get Out” back in 2017 Rel has been on a constant roll, with films Uncle Drew, Bird Box which is out right now, and his new film which will be at Sundance this year, “Brittany Runs a Marathon” co-starring Jillian Bell.

He’s currently on his Relevant 2 Tour and made a stop in NYC to headline at Carolines on Broadway one of the most prestigious clubs in NYC. I dropped by to catch the show and support, and needless to say it was a killer show, but I’ll say it anyway. And Rel looks great.  He lost weight and looks really in shape. They even commented on it on his recent appearance on The Breakfast Club with Charlamagne Tha God.

He had comic/actor/tour-mate Jay Alexander from “Rel” hosting the show, with comic/actor Reedo Brown from “Caught The Series” and “Rel” as his feature. Both were really funny and then Rel came out and totally crushed the room. He has such an easy way on stage and is so likable that he had the crowd from minute one! His delivery and intonation add to the humor and he’s very physical onstage as well.  A couple of times he showed his ability to move, and the man can dance! (LOL)

He’s also a great story teller and his story about going to see a show where he expected to see The Jackson’s performing, but only Tito showed up on stage, and only played his part of the songs he sang in, was hilarious, as were the stories about his family and the people who hit him up for money now that he’s doing well. It was a smooth hour of non-stop laughter.

I was waiting for him when he got off stage and went back into the green room to hang out a little bit. Emmy nominated comedy writer/comic Sam Jay was there, who commented positively on my scarf, and told me she’s back writing for SNL, and having a blast, as was my man Jack Thriller who I didn’t recognize at first.

He was there with his trainer who’s turning him into a beast, and I was sitting right across from him thinking, ” This guy looks so much like Jack Thriller”, and finally someone addressed him as Jack and I realized that it actually WAS Jack Thriller. Jack told me he’s finally moving his fun, crazy Party and Bullshit Show down to Times Square in Manhattan where it belongs. Last time I was at the show he had Safaree from Love and Hip Hop performing. It’s always a whole lotta fun, packed with tons of girls too!

Rel was very accommodating to all of the people who came back and wanted to take photos with him, because he’s really humble and handling his fame really well.

After Sundance he’ll be in Nashville, Orlando and a whole bunch of other places so check it out on his website: https://thelilrelcompany.wordpress.com/ and follow him on Instagram at @comedianlilrel

That’s it for me.  Until next time, remember that Comedy Matters!  I’m OUT!!!

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Amy Poehler, Nick Kroll, Michael Cera, Sarah Silverman and more at JFL Comedy Awards Show

Out of all the amazing shows and panels at this year’s 31st annual Just for Laughs Festival, I think the most exciting event was the JFL Awards Show.

The Awards Show poster showing recipients Amy Poehler, Edgar Wright, Mitch Hurwitz, Nick Kroll, Michael Cera, and Mark Lonow and Budd Friedman.

The line-up of talent was fantastic. And I would be remiss for not thanking certain people who made my attendance at this year’s festival even more meaningful than ever, so special thanks to Paul Ronca the Director of the Comedy Pro-Conference, Zoe Friedman the Artistic Director of The Awards Show, Olivia Benaroche the Industry Coordinator and my Guardian Angel, and Emily Shore my other Guardian Angel borrowed from Andy Nulman, Pres. of JFL. Thank you all sincerely!

So the Award Show was spectacular. Amy Poehler received the Comedy Person of the Year Award, presented to her by Seth Meyers. Interviews with both of them will follow very soon, in a separate Comedy Matters post.

Nick Kroll received the Breakout Comedy Star of the Year Award and it was presented to him by his old friend John Mulaney, which was a very meaningful experience for both of them.

Nick Kroll and John Mulaney in their personnaes as George St. Geegland (L) and Gil Faison!

Nick Kroll as Bobby Bottleservice.

Nick Kroll as Dr. Armond, eminent canine plastic surgeon!

In a later interview alone with Nick, outside of the Variety party for the Top 10 Comics To Watch, he said something to the effect that John was a funny guy with a lot of potential, as if he was a newcomer! Then he busted out laughing! You’ll see it in the video when it’s finished being edited.

The hilarious Michael Cera, who takes nerdiness to new heights in most of his Judd Apatow helmed films and who is back on TV in the resurrected Arrested Development now on Netflix, won an award for Best Comedic Short Film for his 16 minute short, Brazzaville Teen-Ager. It was presented to him by Sarah Silverman who did something so funny on the red carpet.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV on the red carpet of the JFL Awards with winner of Best Short Comedy Film, Michael Cera!

I was positioned at the end of the red carpet where I often prefer to be so that people have time to talk to me and no one else is waiting. That works except when the event is running behind and the PR people rush the celebs along. But in this case it worked out fine.

I was in the middle of interviewing Michael Cera, and discussing our mutual friendship with the wild and wooly Kenny Hotz, when Michael asked if Kenny was what he was smelling.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing Michael Cera on the red carpet discussing their mutual friend Kenny Hotz!

A few seconds later with no pre-planning, strictly by coincidence, Nick Kroll came over and started sniffing Michael. Nick asked him if he uses fabric softener because he told him he smelled great.

Nick Kroll sniffing Michael Cera and telling him he smelled great!

Michael left and I continued interviewing Nick, when right in the middle, one of my all time favorites, the incredibly talented and beautiful Sarah Silverman jumped in and said she had skipped all the other press people to come and talk to me. Sarah has the most amazing smile!

Sarah Silverman joins Nick Kroll in an interview by Jeffrey Gurian for Comedy Matters TV!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Sarah Silverman at the JFL Comedy Awards!

Then she and Nick double-teamed me, and wound up interviewing me, and evaluating my outfit! It was very funny because Sarah was wearing such an unusual outfit, like a hoodie on top with a T-shirt, and a very hot lingerie looking combo from the waist down, with boots!

Sarah Silverman and Nick Kroll evaluating the outfit worn by Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV on the red carpet of the JFL Comedy Awards!

Sarah Silverman presenting the award to Michael Cera in her sexy thigh highs and boots, topped off with a T-shirt and hoodie!

It was hysterical and you can see it right here!

I shot 32 interviews over the four days I was up there with people like Amy Poehler, Seth Myers, Judah Friedlander, Paul Provenza, Colin Quinn, Bo Burnham, about 26 more, and we’ll be rolling them out as they’re done, so keep your eyes on my Comedy Matters TV You Tube channel at http://www.youtube.com/guriannewsnetwork, and PLEASE SUBSCRIBE!

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Sklar Brothers in National Commercial for Time Warner Cable

I happen to know the Sklar brothers for a long time. Still can’t tell them apart. I interviewed them in Montreal this past summer at the Just for Laughs Festival, for Comedy Matters TV and embarrassed myself on camera by getting their names wrong, or at least that’s what they told me.

(L-R) Randy Sklar. Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, and Jason Sklar (correct me if I’m wrong! LOL) at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal!

See for yourself:

But anyway, they have a hot podcast called “Sklarbro Country” which I hope some day to be on, and I was really happy to open the Sunday paper and find the ad they’re doing for Time Warner Business Cable! Maybe they can find out why I always lose my internet connection??? Huh guys??? Hook me up!

Jason and Randy Sklar in their national Time Warner Cable ad! Good for them!

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Dean Edwards Packs ‘Em In at Gotham Comedy Club

Dean Edwards is one of those rare guys who starts out strong and gets even stronger the longer he’s on stage. When most comics are winding down, he’s just getting started. Last night at Gotham, the room was so packed they almost had to put strangers at my table! (LOL) That’s packed!

Headliner Dean Edwards with Gotham owner Chris Mazzilli at the gorgeous Gotham Comedy Club!

And Dean greeted me warmly when I came in which made it even more special. Then he told me had had my book ” Make ‘Em Laugh” and that made it even better, and then he topped that by telling me he was in Barry Katz’s office out in LA and when he walked in Barry had my book on his desk!

Barry is one of the co-creators of Last Comic Standing and one of the top comedy managers in the biz. Last July in Montreal we did a “two-hug interview” for my Comedy Matters TV, which you can see right here. A “two-hug” interview by the way, is a very rare occurrence! (LOL) This may be the only one in existence!

Dean and I will always have a special moment that we shared because I was standing with him in Montreal during the Just for Laughs Festival when he found out he had gotten SNL. It was very exciting for me, so I can only imagine how HE felt! (LOL)

Dean Edwards and Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV outside the showroom at Gotham Comedy Club!

Karen Bergreen was the MC and Karen is always funny, and really knows how to warm up an audience! She mines her relationship with her two little boys for material, and she imitates them perfectly! Not that I know them, but for all intents and purposes, it sounds like she imitates them perfectly!

MC/comic Karen Bergreen onstage at Gotham Comedy Club!

Like when they were riding in a cab where the driver was wearing a turban, and her little six year old son asked, ” Mommy, why is a genie driving our taxi?” That is hysterical! I’m sure the driver had no idea what that meant either! (LOL)

And when her older 8 year old son told her something he liked about her that was kind of a backhanded compliment she answered with, “And the only think I like about you more than your little brother is that your school day is longer!”

Harris Stanton came up next and he too is always a crowd pleaser. He was also very close to Patrice Oneal and was on Patrice’s last big show when he taped “Elephant in the Room” down at the Skirball Theatre. I used to see him a lot when I was hanging out at CB’s Comedy Club down on Macdougal Street!

Anyway he totally brought his A-game to the stage, and talked about how New York has changed him since he was a polite young man who came here from down South. Now he raced a woman to a seat on the subway!

Harris Stanton onstage, opening for Dean Edwards at Gotham Comedy Club!

And I like when he does a bit about how people shouldn’t complain if they get hurt being someplace they’re not supposed to be, and he directed this remark mostly to white people. Like if a guy gets bit by a shark. Harris is like, “Where were you when it happened? In the ocean? Well you see that’s the problem. You were in the shark’s home. If you got bit by a shark in the supermarket, I’d feel bad for you, but if you go into the ocean where you don’t belong, you gotta expect that to happen.

Or when guys get lost climbing a mountain. Another white guy thing! You don’t read about Black guys getting lost in an avalanche, or being attacked by a shark while surfing. Only white guys do stuff like that!

Rich Francese always has great lines and he was up next. He said he thought his wife was cheating on him, because the other day he caught her belittling another man! That’s really funny!

Rich “The Bouncer” Francese killing it onstage at Gotham Comedy Club!

He also said he didn’t get the concept of an ‘intervention”. At an intervention the alcoholic or drug addict is surrounded by his parents, relatives and loved ones. Aren’t those the people who made you drink and take drugs in the first place?”

Dean’s audience was waiting for him, and he hit the stage to resounding applause. He talked about lots of different things. Like people who read the NY Times always want you to know they read the NY Times! “Like, … I saw this article in the NY Times, …”

Personally the NY Times makes me nervous. Especially the Sunday edition. I always feel like I’m gonna have to cut out articles and summarize them for the next day as “Current Events” homework! I still hate Sundays because of that memory!

If you take a moment to watch this you’ll see a little film I made some years ago as part of The “Men Who” Series, about men who do very unusual things. It’s called “Men Who Dance In Traffic With The Sunday Edition of the NY Times.” That’s about all it’s good for! (LOL)

In talking about women, Dean says he wants a woman so fine that when she enters a room, she has her own theme music, and it plays automatically!

He did a masterful piece which got an applause break about being the only Black guy on a flight to Russia, where they thought he was Kobe Bryant, and he imitated the Russian accent like it was a Grinch song backwards.

Dean Edwards showing lots of expression during his sold out headlining gig at Gotham!

Accents and impressions are a real strongpoint for Dean, and his Eddie Murphy is only surpassed by his Denzel Washington which he used to close the show the night I saw him.

In talking about Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney Kardashian he said that never in this country have Black men been so supportive of the KKK! And that Kim Kardashian has taken out more Black men than Sickle Cell Anemia! That is HYSTERICAL!

On comparing his Associates Degree education to that of his wife who is a professional, with a Post-Graduate degree, he said an associates degree is like a receipt that you were in the building, … nothing more! Nothing to brag about!

He even does impressions of animals! When he described Beyonce as being so fine she was like a stallion, he pranced around the stage clip-clopping like a horse.

But ending on introducing his wife to Denzel Washington was the piece-de-resistance, that proves what an “artiste” Dean Edwards is! Plus he’s the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet!

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Mark Malkoff’s Bill Murray Show

When I first met Mark Malkoff I had no idea how much we’d have in common. He’s a very interesting guy! (That’s not what we have in common! LOL) He sets himself a difficult goal and then puts all his energy into making that happen.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Mark Malkoff of The Bill Murray Show on My Damn Channel!

Mark hosts The Bill Murray Show on My Damn Channel, and the sole purpose of the show is to get Bill Murray to come to Mark’s house in Queens and have dinner with him and his beautiful wife Christine. If I was Bill I’d go. When I went for the taping, Christine made me a great meal, and the two of them were so nice, and really fun!

So when I was asked to appear and talk about my new book “Make ‘Em Laugh” with Chris Rock, and my experiences with Bill Murray of which I had four to speak of, I was very excited to do so! Also because I love My Damn Channel and Rob Barnett rocks! (He’s the guy who created My Damn Channel, just so you know I’m not giving a shout-out to some random guy! LOL)

Grace Helbig’s “Daily Grace” on MDC is amazing and she gets millions, and millions of hits! I just saw her doing her version of “Gangnam Style” and she’s adorable, and does it so well. She must have gone to dancing school as a little girl in Korea!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with the ebullient Grace Helbig from “Daily Grace” on My Damn Channel at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal!

I actually got to interview both Grace and Rob up at Montreal this past July during the Just for Laughs Festival! ( See Grace’s interview above, and Rob’s interview right here!)

So basically all the My Damn Channel stuff is super and I was psyched to be on.

The reason I relate so much to Mark is that Mark sets out to do things that appeal to him, even if they’re unusual. When I looked him up, I realized I had read about some of his exploits without realizing it had been him.

He’s a former “Colbert Report” staffer, who also visited 171 Starbucks locations in Manhattan in less than 24 hours, moved into a Paramus, N.J., IKEA for a week, and convinced New Yorkers to carry him 9.4 miles.

If I had known that I would have told him about my film I made years ago as part of the “Men Who” Series. It was part of a series of short films about men who go to work in unusual ways entitled “Men Who Insist On Being Carried To Work”! You can actually see it on my website at http://www.jeffreygurian.com, where you will also see Peter Dinklage star of HBO’s hit “Game of Thrones” starring in a film called ” Men Who Dance Where They’re Not Supposed To” and he gets arrested for dancing in a “No Dancing” zone!

So the Bill Murray thing really resonated with me because when I was in my 20’s, before I knew anyone in show biz, there were only three people I ever wanted to meet, and they were Salvador Dali, Woody Allen, and The Beach Boys, and I got to meet and spend an evening with each one of them. I actually made that happen!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Woody Allen in a much more recent photo than when I first met him! I made him laugh by saying, ” Hi Woody, I’m a very close friend of yours!”

And that’s when I realized that if I could lose my self-consciousness, expand my comfort zone, and not be embarrassed to go out and try things, I could basically accomplish anything I wanted, and meet whoever I set out to meet!

Each of those three events is a story in it’s own, but when I realize what I was able to manifest in those days, it’s not unlike what Mark has set out to do. And if you want something bad enough there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.

I live in Manhattan and Mark lives in Queens so ordinarily I would drive, but just that day Pres. Obama came to town, specifically to mess up traffic, so I did something I never did before! I went to Queens by train! Mark gave me great directions and it wasn’t even that bad.

We had a great time and Mark speaks comedy! The guy is a fund of knowledge about comedy and was able to speak to me knowledgeably about people that were way before his time, and people that I knew well like Milton Berle, who was was my original sponsor in the LA Friars Club, Henny Youngman,Jack Rollins, Charlie Joffe, and Alan Zweibel to name just a few!

Also there was My Damn Channel’s Jesse Cowell, the Exec. Director of Original Content, who oversees 30 new series, ( not 10, or 20, but THIRTY!) that will be debuting on My Damn Channel.

Jesse was very low key but is also a lightweight karate champ and when I watched his You Tube videos of him kicking butt, I was like, … this guy’s no lightweight! (LOL) When you’re that well versed in martial arts, you can afford to be low key. It takes great discipline to get that far, and it was always one of my dreams to be that accomplished in Tae Kwon Do. One of my very few unrealized dreams!

In my interview which will air tomorrow, Tuesday Oct. 16, 2012 and will be posted on the My Damn Channel website (http://www.mydamnchannel.com), besides talking about my new book with Chris Rock called “Make ‘Em Laugh”, you’ll hear me telling my stories of my experiences with Bill Murray:

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Bill Murray at The Four Seasons Hotel in NYC! ( No, we weren’t staying there together! LOL)

1. How we originally met up at SNL in the early years!
2. How Bill Murray tried to repair my car one night during the 90’s.
3. Me and Bill Murray at a press conference for his film “Get Low”.
4. A screenplay I wrote, with Bill Murray specifically in mind for the lead called “Searching For Ed Zintz”, where as the result of a practical joke gone wrong, Hollywood winds up honoring a guy who doesn’t exist, it becomes the hottest ticket in town, people are fighting for tickets, and Bill Murray, a failed comedian, gets hired to play the guy “Ed Zintz”! But because of my ADD, I got so confused that while I was with Bill Murray, in his company, alone and right next to him, I forgot to tell him about it!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV in yet a second photo with Bill Murray just to prove to myself I was actually there!

Well, if he comes to Mark’s house for dinner, maybe Mark or Christine would be kind enough to mention it, and then we can all make the movie together!

And then I think my next goal after that is to get my own show on My Damn Channel, and have Rob Barnett come to MY house for dinner!

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Help Tom Cotter Win "America’s Got Talent"

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:

http://youtu.be/ug4ju_jFs70

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!

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Saturday Night Live Comes To The Comic Strip

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!

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Just for Laughs Video With Huge Stars-Montreal-30th Anniversary

Every July in Montreal, the city gets taken over by hundreds of thousands of comedy fans from all over the world, all wanting to see their favorite comedy stars. It’s the biggest comedy festival on the planet! (There may be bigger ones on other planets,but I’m not privy to that information! I no longer own the Hubble telescope!)

This year for the 30th anniversary I was an official videographer, and got to shoot around 40 interviews with some of the biggest stars in comedy as well as the up and comers! The huge stars of the future!

Chelsea Handler with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at the Just for Laughs Awards Luncheon where she won the award for “Comedy Person of the Year”!

Marc Maron of WTF fame with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV. Marc credits Jeffrey’s hair with making him feel safe during the “dark” times in his life!

I shot for four days straight and got some amazing interviews with people like Chelsea Handler, Bob Saget, Howie Mandel, JB Smoove, Marc Maron, Adam Carolla, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog, and his Dad Robert Smigel, Todd Barry, Joel McHale, and the Sklar Brothers.

Wayne Brady with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV backstage at the gala that Wayne hosted at JFL!

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog making nice to Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV after insulting him in every way he could think of! (But fortunately it was all in jest!)

Plus interviews with newer stars like Jay Pharaoh from SNL, who read an excerpt from Chris Rock’s intro to my new book “Make’Em Laugh”, in Chris Rock’s voice, Chelsea Peretti, Hannibal Buress who won for Rising Comedy Star of the Year, Myq Kaplan, Moshe Kasher, Jermaine Fowler and Lil Rel from the new In Living Color, Joe Mande, Grace Helbig from That Damn Channel’s “Daily Grace”, Kenny Hotz, the only Canadian to have two American TV shows on at the same time, “Kenny vs. Spenny”, and “Testees”, and Jessica Williams the newest correspondent on The Daily Show who let me swing her around like we were in the playground!

Jay Pharoah from SNL with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, who’s trying to learn how to hold his fingers like that!

Grace Helbig from My Damn Channel’s “Daily Grace” with Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV at the Comedy Conference on You Tubers at JFL!

All of this on camera! Check it out right here!

And a second shorter video with just the A-list stars and hosts of the galas, Chelsea Handler, Bob Saget, Howie Mandel, JB Smoove, Marc Maron, Adam Carolla, Joel McHale, Marc Maron, and Triumph The Insult Comic Dog, with his Dad Robert Smigel!

And for a longer, more in-depth article and photos check out the previous post:

http://wp.me/p1pHIm-192

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Just For Laughs Montreal- 30th Anniversary

I have been going up to the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival for more than 20 years. Maybe 25 years! It’s hard to imagine but it’s true. JFL is the biggest, most prestigious comedy festival in the world, and this year, thanks to Robbie Praw and “the powers that be”, I was given the honor of being one of the official videographers of the festival for my Comedy Matters TV channel.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Chelsea Handler at the JFL Awards Luncheon, who won for Comedy Person of the Year!

There was so much to see, so many shows, and so many comedians that it would literally be impossible to see all of them. Fortunately so many of the comics are friends that I was able to find them in the hotel lobby, at parties, in the elevator, on the streets, in the dining room, and just about everywhere you looked, and I got over 35 interviews with fun people like Bob Saget, Chelsea Handler, JB Smoove, Gina Yashere, Howie Mandel, Adam Carolla, Joel McHale, Jay Pharoah, Todd Barry, The Sklar Bothers, Marc Maron, Hannibal Buress, and even Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, and his owner Robert Smigel!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Wayne Brady who hosted a gala at JFL’s 30th Anniversary in Montreal!

I got there on a Wednesday, unpacked, got my “All Access” pass for me and my producer Rob Krieg, and went right off to Patton Oswalt’s show at The Metropolis. Patton was there with his manager Dave Rath from Generate,and it was a great show. Patton has enjoyed a high profile lately after having spent nine years as a regular on The King of Queens, his Comedians of Comedy tour, and his part in films like ” A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas”, and Steve Carell’s “Seeking A Friend for the End of the World!”

He also presented the Comedy Icon Award to Robin Williams at the Comedy Central Comedy Awards 2012,and delivered the Keynote Address to the attendees of this festival, of which there were many! It was nice to see Myq Kaplan opening for Patton. I’ve been a fan of Myq’s ever since I was a judge on the NY part of the auditions for the Boston Comedy Festival, a couple of years back, and Myq won.

After congratulating Patton and Myq backstage we ran over to catch “Best of the Fest” hosted by Jessica Kirson, featuring Key and Peele, John Heffron and Joe Mande who I met on the set of Nick Kroll’s new show, simply called “Kroll Show” out in LA. Nick called me out to do some sketches with him and John Mulaney and it was the best!

I’m still editing the over four hours of video I shot, but I wanted to present some of the highlights of the festival in this column and then follow it up with the videos.

When I reminded Chelsea Handler that the first time I saw her I knew she’d be HUGE cause she was doing “b.j. jokes” and her Dad was in the audience she said,” I take every opportunity I can to torture my father!”

Chelsea Handler with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV the first time they met back in 2005!

At the JFL Awards Luncheon, Chelsea received the award for Comedy Person of the Year that Louis CK received last year. Everyone was very excited to see her and people were amazed that I got my video interview. It’s all about timing.

I ran into her in the lobby the night before and told her I’d be looking forward to shooting something with her after the luncheon so she was prepared when she saw me. She even suggested we do it before the luncheon since it was less crazy than trying to do it afterwards. She was on her way to the Olympics in London and had gotten guest hosts for her TV show for the very first time. Needless to say she looked gorgeous, as usual, (and if it’s needless to say, then why did I say it? Because it’s my column and I can do anything I want! LOLOL)

Howie Mandel with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV who assured Howie that next year he would definitely get lunch!

Howie Mandel was “upset” that he didn’t get lunch at the awards luncheon. He felt bad that he didn’t get anything at all. Just as I suggested getting in touch with co-founder, and President of JFL Andy Nulman to complain, who should happen to come along but Andy Nulman in the company of the other co-founder Gilbert Rozon, and they joined my interview telling Howie that next year they’d make sure he got lunch. It gave him something to look forward to.

I hadn’t seem Howie since 2007 when he helped me promote my first book “Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive” while we were up in Montreal!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Howie Mandel at JFL in 2007, who was kind enough to help promote Jeffrey’s book “Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive!”

Andy Nulman and I also filmed a very funny video clip of us walking down the red carpet together to the Variety party for the Ten Comics To Watch, while he made my cameraguy/producer walk backwards to film us with no one guiding, or protecting him. Luckily he made it and it looked very funny!

I got to literally jump around with Jessica Williams from The Daily Show, who shared with me that she likes to play, and I taught her to spell it “pleigh” instead of “play.” I grabbed onto her and we just swung each other around, like a fast version of “Ring-A-Round-Of Rosie”! (I don’t think I ever wrote those words out before in my entire life!)

She just makes me feel like doing that when I see her so I did!

My old friend Marc Maron remembered that he never gave me the interview I wanted last year, but we did a great one this year to make up for it, and he even treated me to breakfast the next day! (No, … we didn’t spend the night together! LOL)

I found it interesting that he’d remember something like that, because I certainly did, but it just goes to show you that people do remember things, and if we were on WTF together that would probably be something we’d talk about. The awkwardness of wondering if someone remembers something like that. Every time we saw each other last year, I’d say,”Remember I wanna talk to you on camera”, and he’d say “Sure” but the whole festival went by and it didn’t happen.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Marc Maron at JFL in Montreal!

I happened to meet him in the elevator, and it was only the two of us, and it was that awkward moment where you don’t know if you should just say “Good seeing you” and walk away, or if you should continue walking with the person. So when we hit the dining room and were still talking he invited me to join him, and was kind enough to treat me.

We had a great talk about all kinds of things, and in the video interview he said that over the last 75 to 100 years in comedy, at every major comedy event, the only thing that was a constant was my hair! And in his deepest moments of despair he thought of my hair and it got him through!

I was glad I got to tell him how happy I was for him for all of his recent success with WTF. No one is honest like Marc Maron when it comes to sharing his feelings on stage. I still remember cringing at some of his revelations in “Scorching The Earth” his one man show about his break-up with his ex-wife.

I met his ex-wife many years ago through our mutual friend Ardie Fuqua, and it turns out that’s how Marc met her too!

Adam Carolla and I kicked it backstage after his podcast while David Alan Grier looked on with Rob Barnett from My Damn Channel, and Adam’s manager Mike August, who I also hadn’t seen in quite a while.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV backstage with Adam Carolla after Adam’s podcast with Howie Mandel!

I know Mike back from the days when he was an agent, I think at William Morris, but maybe not! In those days, he always hung out with James Dixon, now of Dixon Talent who handles Jon Stewart, John Oliver and stars of that magnitude.

I did a fun interview with Grace Helbig one of the stars of My Damn Channel for her show “Daily Grace.” She gets millions of hits and she’s so fun and adorable. I wanted to swing her around too, but I didn’t get the chance!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with the oh-so-fun Grace Helbig from My Damn Channel, at the Comedy Conference at JFL in Montreal! Next time I have to swing her around too!

Walking through the lobby at night I ran into Keith Robinson and Chelsea Peretti and we had a really fun interview. Then I interviewed Joe Mande who was one of the “Ten Comics To Watch At All Times, No Matter What Else You’re Doing”, and such a bizarre thing happened. I had already interviewed Chelsea, who was sitting next to me and Joe Mande sat next to her, and all of a sudden some girl comes over, kneels down and starts talking into my mic saying how some company is poisoning children in Africa.

Now I thought she was joking and was a friend of Chelsea’s. Chelsea thought she might be a friend of mine, and Joe didn’t know what to think, but after a few minutes of this girl ranting and raving we all realized she was nuts! I couldn’t get rid of her.

I went over to interview Tom Cotter about his upcoming appearance on America’s Got Talent, and she broke in screaming about children being poisoned. I was ready to poison HER, but instead I got security and they wound up having to physically remove her from the premises.

Turns out she was not a comedy person and didn’t even belong there. It was just funny that we all thought she was a friend of someone else’s so no one wanted to insult her! Chelsea made me promise to send her the video which I will as soon as we’re done with the rest!

Joel McHale, who hosted the closing gala, couldn’t get over my outfit. He wanted to know why I chose to wear a wifebeater under an open Hawaiian shirt plus a seersucker jacket with white shoes! He was just being Joel McHale.

He introduced a comic on the show by the wrong name and refused to correct it right away. He must have gone through 5 or 6 takes each time purposely messing up the comic’s name. So when he called me Perez Hilton I wasn’t totally surprised! Look what he does to Ryan Seacrest and he’s his friend!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with JB Smoove in character as Leon Black from HBO’s hit Curb Your Enthusiasm!

JB Smoove was hysterical as always. He was there with his manager Rick Dorfman and his beautiful wife Shahida Omar a singer, who couldn’t have been nicer. When JB thought he was too tired to do the interview after his show, (which he did as Leon Black from Curb Your Enthusiasm), she encouraged him to do it cause I had been waiting so long. I couldn’t have done that, but SHE did!

JB told me all about how he got started as a hip-hop dancer named J Smoove, which is why he moves so well, but the guy is just funny. He doesn’t even have to say anything. And his new DVD is killer, “This Is How I Dooz It”!

One of the other highlights for me was Jay Pharoah who was there with his manager/sister Shayna. Jay read an excerpt from Chris Rock’s introduction from my new book “Make’Em Laugh”, that I wrote with Richie Tienken about the 35 year history of The Comic Strip. But not only did he read it, he read it out loud in Chris Rock’s voice for JB Smoove and a bunch of other people hanging out in the lobby. I got it on video and trust me you’ll laugh your ass off. He does a great Chris Rock!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Jay Pharoah from SNL after Jay read Chris Rock’s intro in Chris Rock’s voice!

Robert Smigel woke Triumph The Insult Comic Dog out of a deep sleep in his backpack to do an interview with me backstage at Bob Saget’s “Triple X show”, which Bob said was more like ” Triple R”! It was really very kind of him despite the fact that Triumph roasted me, but that’s what he does. He’s an insult comic dog. He said I always looked hideous, but this time I really outdid myself.

A rare photo of Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Triumph The Insult Comic Dog and his owner Robert Smigel! The rare part is getting Robert and Triumph in the same photo! They don’t always get along!

And Robert did a great imitation of Jeff Singer, who booked him onto Saget’s show by telling him how perfect he’d be for it.

I’d have to say one of my most special interviews was with Bob Saget himself. I wasn’t sure I was going to get it, cause Bob has been working tirelessly to prepare for hosting his gala, and even his publicist, my old friend Michael O’Brien told me he couldn’t guarantee it.

So when I went backstage after the show and Bob saw me, he asked if I minded waiting a few minutes. For Bob Saget I’d wait months! (LOL) He’s that nice a guy.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Bob Saget backstage in Montreal after Bob hosted the Triple X show for JFL! According to Bob, he just couldn’t say “No!”

During the interview he said the kind of things to me that my parents would have said had I been interviewing them! He said on camera that he had to do the interview because ” No one says ‘No’ to Jeff Gurian!” And he went on to basically interview me, even asking me for my cell phone number on camera! I gave him my e-mail cause I knew I could trust him not to tell anyone! (LOL)

He ended the interview by saying “Be well” which he said is what one Jew wishes another. I added,”the real expression is ‘You should live and be well!” which he agreed with because he said, “You’re right! What good is it to be well if you’re dead?” And that interview with Bob is one I really can’t wait to put up!

Other interviews I got were with The Sklar Brothers for their show Sklarboro Country, Hannibal Buress who won for Breakout Comedy Star of the Year, someone else who won for the star whose face broke out the most last year, the great Kenny Hotz, the only Canadian comedy star to have three shows on American TV,Kenny vs. Spenny, Testees, and Triumph of the Will, (which had nothing to do with Triumph The Insult Comic Dog!), Nigerian comic Gina Yashere on her way to do a comedy special in San Francisco, L’il Rel and Jermainne Fowler who are two of the cast in the new “In Living Color” coming up soon, Todd Barry, Moshe Kasher, Godfrey, Paul Telner, Myq Kaplan, Lynn Koplitz, Jared Logan, Joe Machi, Mick Foley, Calise Hawkins, Alonzo Bodden who hosted the JFL Awards Luncheon, Andy Kindler who gave his usual SRO “State of the Industry Address”, which everyone waits to see, and his manager Bruce Smith from Omnipop films, and then I did some non-comics like Kimberly Hannwacker, Julie Lawless the comedy booker, (not hooker!) from Australia, Ben Relles from Barely Political, and The Key of Awesome fame who’s now with You Tube and Google, Lee Aronsohn the co-creator of Two and a Half Men, and Rob Barnett the head of My Damn Channel.

Whew, … that was a looooooong sentence! And a lot of interviews. The editing should be done very soon, and you guys will be the first to know!

Let me leave you with a few more fun photos until the videos are ready!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Todd Barry in the lobby of the Hyatt Hotel at JFL!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Mick Foley holding Jeffrey’s new book “Make ‘Em Laugh”!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with L’il Rel from the new “In Living Color”!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Alonzo Bodden who MC’ed the JFL Awards Luncheon and presented the awards to Chelsea Handler and Hannibal Buress!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Nigerian comic Gina Yashere at JFL, Montreal!

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Millennium’s "The Babymakers" At The Friars- Opens August 3rd

Charlie Prince and his team always manage to get great films for the Friars Club Film Festival, coming up in October, but also to screen at The Friars Club itself. He even manages to get stars and producers to show up for Q & A’s.

Charlie Prince having a great time with Paul Schneider at the Friars Club screening of “The Babymakers!”

So even though I just got back from Montreal from being an official videographer at the Just For Laughs Festival and was exhausted from shooting over 35 video interviews with celebs like Bob Saget, Chelsea Handler, Howie Mandel, Adam Carolla, JB Smoove, and Triumph The Insult Comic Dog, I made sure not to miss the screening of “The Babymakers” starring Paul Schneider from NBC’s Parks and Rec, Olivia Munn from The Daily Show, Magic Mike, and HBO’s “The Newsroom”, actor/Babymakers producer Kevin Heffernan, and actor/Babymakers director Jay Chandrasekhar.

The Friars Club flier announcing the screening of “The Babymakers!”

(L-R) Paul Schneider, Jay Chandrasekhar, and Kevin Heffernan at the Q&A at The Friars Club for “The Babymakers!”

Paul, Jay and Kevin were there, and it was obvious from the way they got along that they had a blast doing this movie.

Jay and Kevin are two of the founding members of the comedy troupe Broken Lizard, and are friends since attending Colgate University together. Even as a screenwriter who creates characters, two nicer guys would be hard for me to imagine, and they both have great comedic presence, even while just doing a Q & A.

Actor/producer Kevin Heffernan making Jay Chandresekhar and everyone else laugh during the Q&A for The Babymakers at The Friars Club in NYC!

I had the treat of seeing them perform last night at The Bowery Ballroom to a packed, SRO crowd, and they were the same. Both of them have great comedy voices, if you know what I mean. Not every comic has a great comedy voice, but when these guys speak, their voices command attention, (and laughs!)

This film is the latest in a line-up from Broken Lizard that includes Super Troopers, Club Dread, and Beer Fest. In Super Troopers they played highway patrolmen who played tricks on people they stopped for speeding. Some of them were things I would do myself, like seeing how many times you could say “meow” to someone during a conversation, while denying you’re saying it.

Jay and Kevin actually guzzled two bottles of Maple Syrup each, during the filming of Super Troopers, which to me shows great commitment to their craft! The stomach-aches must have been intolerable.(LOL) After the second bottle, Jay found himself on the floor in a fetal position vowing to never do that again. He said he finally ran to the rest room, and he thinks he “passed” a sparrow!

In Babymakers, Paul Schneider plays a guy named Tommy Macklin, who’s finally ready to try and get his wife Audrey (Olivia Munn) pregnant, but to his dismay, finds out he’s shooting blanks. With the help of his friends, he decides to rob a sperm bank that holds a sample of his from earlier days when his sperm was still viable.

Paul Schneider, star of The Babymakers with Jay Chandrasekhar actor/director of The Babymakers at The Friars Club!

Jay Chandrasekhar plays a guy who’s supposedly a member of the Indian Mafia, and who agrees to lead the sperm theft! His Indian accent is right on, and I guess he comes by it naturally!

Jay Chandrasekhar and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at The Friars Club for a screening of Jay’s new film “The Babymakers!”

He, Russell Peters, Aziz, and Kal Penn have broken down stereotypes, by showing how funny Indian people can be, which I love.

A sperm bank in general is a funny concept! It’s basically the only bank where after you make a deposit you LOSE interest! And I once wrote a Friars Roast joke, (maybe about Lisa Lampanelli?), that she just got a job as the night depository slot for an all night sperm bank!

Anyway, this movie is very funny, with lots of unpredictable situations, including Kevin getting to slip and slide his way through a roomful of sperm, so if you want some really good laughs, check out the film that opens tomorrow Friday, Aug. 3rd, in theatres nationwide!

I’m just fascinated that five guys who are friends from college actually get to make feature films together! To me that is AWESOME!

And stay tuned for the great video interview I did with Jay and Kevin at the Soho Grand Hotel, which will be up in the next few days!

Jay Chandrasekhar, Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, and Kevin Heffernan at the Soho Grand Hotel in NYC talking about “The Babymakers!”

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