Posts Tagged “Kurt Metzger”

Come to Papa at The Village Underground

Making a purposeful effort to make a home for myself at The Comedy Cellar, the legendary club owned by Noam Dworman and frequented by every major comedy star who hits New York, I went down on a Tuesday to catch their weekly podcast, “Live From The Table”, which this week featured the always hysterical Kurt Metzger and Dan Naturman. I was a guest a few weeks ago and had a blast!

The welcoming sign of “The Comedy Cellar” on MacDougal Street in NYC!

The logo from “Live From The Table” the weekly Comedy Cellar podcast!

Sitting at the bar chatting with Marina Franklin, we were soon joined by Tom (The Marriage Ref) Papa who invited me to stop by his monthly Sirius XM radio show which started right after the podcast at the Comedy Cellar’s other space, The Village Underground, conveniently located literally right around the corner.

“Come to Papa” poster at The Village Underground for Tom’s Sirius XM radio show!

Sexy fairy Marina Franklin onstage at The Village Underground for Tom Papa’s “Come to Papa” on Sirius XM radio!

What a beautiful space! A really nicely appointed room with lots of tables, dim lighting, big screen TV’s to be able to see well from all over the room, and for the last month or so, comedy as well. Tom hosts a show appropriately called “Come To Papa” which is kind of a throwback to something I had never really seen but only heard of, “scripted radio.” Before TV was invented in this country and even afterwards when people started to buy them thanks to Mr. Television himself, the legendary Milton Berle, most people listened to scripted radio shows for entertainment.

Tom Papa on one of the big screen viewers at The Village Underground, making it easy for everyone to see the show!

It’s hard to believe there was actually a time before TV, but when Milton Berle had his Texaco Star Theatre, people would gather in the streets to watch TV through the store windows of appliance stores selling TV’s, and thanks to the popularity of his show, so many TV’s were sold that that’s how he got the nick-name “Mr. Television.”

I had the honor of being sponsored in The Friars Club by Milton Berle who I also had the honor of writing jokes for, and who I considered a friend.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV in LA, with his friend and sponsor in The Friars Club, the legendary Milton Berle, circa 1984!

Before TV, in the 1930’s and 40’s, families would huddle around the radio to hear their favorite shows, and their favorite comedians like Fred Allen, Jack Benny, Victor Borge, Fanny Brice, Jimmy Durante, Phil Harris, Bob Hope, Groucho Marx, Red Skelton and Ed Wynn.

They also got to hear shows like Abbott and Costello, Amos ‘n’ Andy, Burns and Allen, Fibber McGee and Molly, The Goldbergs, The Great Gildersleeve, and Our Miss Brooks, which I know went on to become a TV show in the 1950’s.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with comedy icon George Burns, Catskill Mountains, circa 1983!

Radio comedy ran the gamut from small town humor like that of Herb Shriner and Minnie Pearl to the weekly “gag shows” like Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One and Can You Top This?, panel programs devoted to the art of telling jokes.

So Tom Papa had a rich history to compete with and from what I saw he’s doing it well. He was joined by comics Cynthia Koury, who doubled as the MC, Dan Soder, the same Kurt Metzger from the “Live at the Table” podcast, Rick Crom who used his deep resonant voice as the announcer, and I stayed long enough to see a mix of stand-up, and written sketches where the comics read from scripts, before I had to run and cover my next event.

Comic Cynthia Koury holding it down on the stage of The Village Underground on “Come to Papa!”

(L-R) Kurt Metzger, Dan Soder, Rick Crom, and Tom Papa onstage at The Village Underground!

The event was produced by Aaron Hodges from Sirius XM radio who was kind enough to tell me he enjoyed my performance on Kroll Show in Too Much Tuna with Nick Kroll and John Mulaney!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV playing himself on the set of Kroll Show with Nick Kroll, and John Mulaney as the “Oh, Hello” boys. After shooting the sketch “Too Much Tuna!”

The reaction of the audience and the strength of the performances I saw makes me want to attend regularly, and I can’t wait for the next one when I can stay for the entire show! Even better, Noam himself invited me back!



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Amy Schumer Tapes A Pilot For Comedy Central

Comedy Central loves Amy Schumer! Come to think of it, everyone loves Amy Schumer! But she can’t call her new pilot for Comedy Central “Everybody Loves Amy” cause it’s already been done by both Ray Romano and Chris Rock!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Amy Schumer at Gotham Comedy Club! All I needed was a jaunty Captain’s hat! ( Read further to get that one!)

Amy says that if people like her, it’s because she has a “cabbage patch” look, and we played with her when we were children!

A lot of Amy’s jokes are self-deprecating and about her appearance, and audiences love that. It makes them feel better about themselves which is why many female comics always downplayed their looks over the years. Unfortunately, some of them had no looks to downplay in the first place!

The Bowery Poetry Club is a very cool spot and where Amy Schumer taped material for hew new Comedy Central pilot!

Anyway, I went down to the Bowery Poetry Club in NYC, to see Amy tape some new material for the as yet unnamed pilot she’s doing for Comedy Central. The place was packed to overflowing. They were nice enough to hold two seats for me. Unfortunately they were on someone else’s lap, but we all got along, and it was fine! (LOLOL)

Amy only gets cuter and cuter as her career rises. She says about herself: “Right now, on the hotness scale, I’m right where everybody thinks they have a shot!”

She says, ” People think I’m from the Midwest. I think I look like I milked something recently.” All her jokes seem to have a little sexual edge to them and it works great for her!

She also talks a lot about her Mom, Sandy who was there. She took me backstage to meet her, and they look very much alike. Amy did her best not to call her Mom the “C” word, but she just couldn’t help it!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, having a blast backstage interviewing Amy Schumer, after the taping of material for hew new pilot on Comedy Central!

She says she doesn’t like when her Mom brags: ” I can still fit into my wedding dress.” Amy says, ” Who cares! She can still fit into a dress she wore when she was 8 months pregnant. Big deal!”

I always like to meet comic’s Mom’s, especially when they talk about them in their act. Sandy looked like she had a great sense of humor, and for a big career in comedy, you let your daughter call you the “C” word! (LOL)

When Lisa Lampanelli introduced me to HER Mom, she too said she didn’t care. And neither did her Dad who was there in the audience when she referred to him as an ” old, blind bastard!”. Wasn’t that a rapper??? Old Blind Bastard? OBD??? No???

The opening act was Kurt Metzger another comic that everyone loves, despite the fact that he looks nothing like Amy Schumer! Kurt is a wordsmith, and comes up with phrases you don’t hear too often but which are guaranteed to be funny, like when he commented on some guy in the audience sporting a “jaunty Captain’s hat”, which he deemed a real hipster look! ( Now you get the joke above! LOL )

Some words are just funny! They’re “comedy words”! Like, chances are that any joke you write with the words “divining rod” in it will get laughs!

I recently did a fun video interview with Kurt when he was on Anthony Anderson’s 3rd Anniversary Mixtape Comedy Show. You can check that out right here:

And after the taping, Amy was kind enough to spend a few minutes with me to tape a little exclusive video for Comedy Matters TV! And surprisingly enough, that’s right here:

Amy always told me she was grateful for my support and not more than a couple of months ago said to me, “Jeffrey, if I ever get my own show, … you can count on watching it from your living room!”

I know Amy’s show will be a big hit, and I can’t wait to start watching!

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Third Anniversary of Anthony Anderson’s Comedy Mixtape Show

Third Anniversary of Anthony Anderson’s Comedy Mixtape Show

Anthony Anderson’s third anniversary of his Mixtape Comedy Show was as good as I expected it to be. I just couldn’t believe it’s been 3 years already since he and his partner in crime Royale Watkins have been bringing the funny to Gotham Comedy Club, the third Sunday of each and every month.

Royale Watkins and Anthony Anderson bantering with each other onstage at the Mixtape Comedy Show at Gotham in NYC!

The show mixes comedy and hip-hop, most of the time with a great DJ, DJ Diamond, who really gets the crowd pumped up! Then there’s a freestyle rap battle which still amazes me how these street MC’s can spit beats on the spot like that. It’s such an incredible talent. Even the ones who lose are admirable just for being able to do it at all. I was glad to see that Royale is just as amazed by it as I am, which he says in the video below.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Tracy Morgan at a previous Mixtape Comedy Show!

You never know in advance who’s gonna be on the show, but it doesn’t matter cause I haven’t seen a weak show yet! The idea is that if you’re coming to see Mixtape Comedy, it doesn’t matter who’s advertised, because you’re coming for the brand. And the brand is hot!!! Plus you never know who’s gonna stop by to do a surprise guest spot. Tracy Morgan is a big fan of the show, and I’ve seen him perform, but this night he just came to watch!

It’s produced by Kristen J. Eddy and Byron Ward and the show is U-Streamed to people all over the United States, and internationally too! They don’t allow profanity which is a nice change. Some of the comics are taken by surprise by that rule. Kurt Metzger told me he was a little nervous that something inappropriate might slip out since he’s not used to working squeaky clean. Fortunately it didn’t and he killed it as he always does.

Because I knew it would be a special show, I came prepared to shoot a little video for Comedy Matters TV. Harris Stanton was the first comic to perform. Harris was also a good friend of Patrice Oneal, who we unfortunately lost very recently, at only 41 years old, due to an untimely stroke.

Harris Stanton, Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, and Patrice Oneal at the taping of Patrice’s last special for Comedy Central at The Skirball Center in NYC!

Harris is very funny and talks about having been a security guard, with nothing to protect himself but a piece of paper. Then he goes into what I would call “papercut” material, which I thought was very funny, and very true. You can get a nasty cut from a piece of paper, but if a guy had a knife, I wouldn’t want to have to defend myself with a piece of paper!

Harris Stanton doing his thing onstage at Mixtape Comedy Show at Gotham!

He does a really funny bit about a homeless guy who is missing the center part of his nose. The piece of skin that separates your two nostrils. He says in all seriousness, ” You’re never not supposed to have that part of your nose.”

In between acts, Anthony takes the stage to do some comedy, and often gets on Royale for not having things to his liking. They have a little “faux-argument”, and then he apologizes to the white people in the audience for having to witness something like that at a comedy show! (LOL)

Mark Viera was next on the bill and this man is a riot! I love seeing Mark perform, and was very glad to hear that he just signed a deal with Fox to develop his own show, cause he really deserves it! George Lopez is the Exec. Producer of the show, and you can hear the details in the video below. Of course I asked him if I could be on his show, and he of course agreed, … since we’re both from The Bronx and us Bronx boys have to stick together! (LOL)

Mark Viera showing the Mixtape audience why he deserves his own show on Fox!

Sherri Shepherd from “The View” was next and left the audience weak from laughing so hard.

Rising star Kurt Metzger onstage at Gotham for the 3rd anniversary of the Mixtape Comedy Show!

Then Kurt Metzger, who I think is hysterical talked about how every young Black person shot accidentally by stray bullets, is usually on their way to greatness before they were prematurely cut down. His advice is ” If you’re Black and have a scholarship of some kind, my advice is to buy a bulletproof vest. Gangs always shoot at other gangs and miss, killing some Black nerd who was on his way to a life of success.” Sad but true! You read it every day!

Tom Papa, host of The Marriage Ref on NBC, onstage for the Mixtape Comedy Show 3rd anniversary!

And then Tom Papa took the stage with his own particular brand of humor that is so relatable, and on the money, every word out of his mouth brought huge laughs from the audience. His comedy speaks to everyone, like when he marvels at children, ” Your hands are so little”, and wonders why they need pockets in their clothing. “What are you gonna put in there, … your marble??? Check out Tom in the video below as well.

We wish Anthony and Royale, ( and Kristen, and Byron of course!), many more years of success with Mixtape Comedy Show!

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Cringe Humor Tribute To Mike DeStefano

Sometimes people say the comedy world is a cold world filled with backbiting and people getting screwed over. Cris and Paul Italia, and Patrick Milligan of Cringe Humor proved that to be false. As part of the NY Comedy Festival, they held a tribute to Mike DeStefano, a talented comic they were working with who left us much too young.

The event was held at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, and it was a packed house. That was a tribute to them as well as to Mike, cause it’s not easy to get people to show up for anything in New York, when there are always so many other things to choose from.

Poster for the Cringe Humor Tribute to Mike DeStefano!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Mike DeStefano after one of his shows at Gotham!

Cringe was producing Mike’s one-man show originally called “Drugs, Disease, and Death, – A Comedy”, which got changed to be the more “user-friendly” name ” A Cherry Tree In The Bronx!” It was Mike’s story of living with HIV, losing his wife to AIDS, and carrying the message of recovery to sick and suffering alcoholics and drug addicts which was part of his past, and a very important focus of his life. Mike was about helping people, as well as making them laugh in the process!

It could have been a somber event, but thanks to MC Rich Vos, who can make any event funny, and a line-up that included Bonnie McFarlane,Eugene Mirman,Robert Kelly,Kurt Metzger, Mike Vecchione, and Colin Quinn, it was a raucous laughfest! Mike would have been happy. His look-alike brother Joe was there, and the likeness is astonishing.

(L-R) Rich Vos, Colin Quinn, and Richie Tienken at the Cringe Humor Tribute to Mike DeStefano!

Eugene Mirman onstage at the Cringe Humor Tribute to Mike DeStefano!

Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV with Robert Kelly at a previous comedy show!

I went with Richie Tienken, owner and founder of the legendary comedy club The Comic Strip where Mike was a regular, although it didn’t start out that way. When Mike’s Uncle Pete asked Richie to give Mike a shot, he did, but Mike was so dirty that Richie didn’t get it. Two years later, he came to perform for Richie again, and when Richie saw how much the audience liked Mike, he made him a regular. Mike hung out at The Strip a lot, before he did Last Comic Standing and afterwards as well.

So the comedy world may be a dysfunctional family, but it’s a family nevertheless!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Cris Italia of Cringe Humor and the producer of the Tribute to Mike DeStefano!

Check out the video below for an exclusive interview with Cris Italia from Cringe Humor!

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