Posts Tagged Larry David

My Synchronicitous Meeting With Larry David

People often tell me I know everyone in comedy.

If you watch this little video, you’ll hear Nick Kroll and Paul Provenza telling me exactly that, and until a few days ago my answer was always, ” Yeh, but I don’t know Larry David.”

For whatever reason, in all my years in the comedy world, our paths have never crossed, but I’m a huge fan and I always wanted to meet him.

So I’m at LaGuardia Airport , flying to Florida and who do I run into, … Larry David.  And he was alone.   And I was nervous to approach him, and I didn’t know what to say!

I turned into a little girl!   Only knowing his cantankerous ( I don’t think I’ve ever used that word before! LOL) character on Curb, I was reluctant to go over and introduce myself, not knowing what kind of response to expect.

I had been trying to reach him as recently as October 23rd to request a video message to Susie Essman, because I was producing a gala in her honor as part of the Gold Coast International Film Festival for which I was named “Head of Live Comedy Programming”,  and had gotten funny video messages from Richard Lewis, (which for a joke, we filmed in the Men’s Room of The Friars Club), Mario Cantone, and D.L. Hughley, but I couldn’t get to Larry.  I even have a friend who’s close to him but even he was reluctant to approach Larry, which made me even more nervous!

In D.L. Hughley’s interview, we made up to say something like, I tried to get J.B. Smoove and The Wayans Brothers but D.L. was the only one available.

Jeffrey Gurian with D.L. Hughely after D.L.'s show at Gotham Comedy Club!

Jeffrey Gurian with D.L. Hughely after D.L.’s show at Gotham Comedy Club!

 

Jeffrey Gurian with J.B. Smoove on the red carpet of Comedy Central's Night of Too Many Stars, holding Jeffrey's book ""Make 'Em Laugh" , with an intro by Chris Rock!

Jeffrey Gurian with J.B. Smoove on the red carpet of Comedy Central’s Night of Too Many Stars, holding Jeffrey’s book “”Make ‘Em Laugh” , with an intro by Chris Rock!

 

Jeffrey Gurian bacjstage with Jeff Garlin at Carolines Comedy Club in NYC!

Jeffrey Gurian backstage with Jeff Garlin at Carolines Comedy Club in NYC!

 

But I realized that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.    I had to do it despite my nervousness.  What’s the worst he could say?   It felt like an episode of “Curb!”

To add to the tension, I was running out of time because he was walking towards his gate, with papers in his hand.  There was a terrible fog and everyone’s flights had been delayed for several hours.  I could tell by the look on his face that he was troubled which added to the tension of me approaching him.

Do I tell him that Jerry Seinfeld is in my book “Make ‘Em Laugh” that has an intro by Chris Rock?

Do I tell him I’m friends with Susie Essman, Richard Lewis, Jeff Garlin and J.B. Smoove, or will I just look like a name-dropper?

I realized I would have to do what I had been doing for most of my life, …. confronting my fear and doing something I was nervous to do.  It’s how I finally got up on stage to perform.

I knew that if I waited too long debating on what to say, I might miss the opportunity all together and never forgive myself, so I tapped him on the shoulder, which for whatever reason is where most people usually tap each other, when they want to get another person’s attention, and I said ” Hey Larry, I’m Jeffrey Gurian a comedy writer from NY and we have a lot of mutual friends!”

He was very friendly, gracious, and open and went and sat down while I stood in front of him talking to him.  The whole entire time, I kept wondering whether I was overstaying my welcome.  I got to tell him about the gala I produced in honor of Susie Essman, the video with Richard Lewis, how J.B. Smoove took a photo holding my book, that Jerry Seinfeld gave me an interview for, and he took it all in.

Jeffrey Gurian, Jerry Seinfeld and Richie Tienken at The Comic Strip after Jerry's interview for the book "Make 'Em Laugh."

Jeffrey Gurian, Jerry Seinfeld and Richie Tienken at The Comic Strip after Jerry’s interview for the book “Make ‘Em Laugh.”

I told him the book has interviews with Seinfeld, Billy Crystal, Ray Romano, Colin Quinn, Lisa Lampanelli, Gilbert Gottfried, Chris Rock, Judah Friedlander, and about 50 more big stars that started  at The Comic Strip, several of whom talk about Larry!

And I told him the story that Comic Strip owner Richie Tienken always told me about Larry.  There were times in Larry’s early career when if he wasn’t happy on stage, either with his set or the audience, he’d throw the mic on the floor and storm off in the middle of his set.

Richie said that mics were expensive, so one night they played a trick on Larry, and glued the mic into the stand, and when he went to throw it he couldn’t get it out!  Larry smiled and said it was a good story, but he didn’t remember it.  Richie Tienken re-confirmed it for me when i got back to New York.

As I was about to leave, I thought of shaking his hand, but I had a feeling he wasn’t into shaking hands in general and to tell you the truth neither am I.  I actually wear a little bottle of Purell hanging from my belt at all times.   So I said to him, ” You don’t shake hands do you?  And he said, ” I prefer not to!”, at which point I pointed to my Purell and we had a good laugh.

I really wanted to ask for a photo but that’s where I drew the line.   Things were going so well I didn’t want to take the chance of him saying “No.”

However we did exchange contact info and I already sent him a copy of my book with a note that got delivered just yesterday, the date of  which will vary depending on when you read this Blog post! (LOL)

 

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Epix Presents: The Improv-Fifty Years Behind The Brick Wall

In 1963 a man named Budd Friedman changed the world.  And I’m not being over-dramatic.  He literally changed the world, and especially the world of entertainment, by opening what became the world’s first ever comedy club, The Improv.

Jeffrey Gurian with Budd Friedman in Montreal at the Just for Laughs Festival's celebration in honor of 50 years of The Improv., July 2013!

Jeffrey Gurian with Budd Friedman in Montreal at the Just for Laughs Festival’s celebration in honor of 50 years of The Improv., July 2013!

It was on 44th Street and 9th Avenue, in Manhattan, and it started out as a coffee house and a place for actors to come and hang out, and maybe get up on stage to perform after they got off stage at the nearby Broadway theatres.

At first it drew actors and singers, and then comedians began to come and perform.  Budd was the onstage host, and Danny Aiello was the door host/bouncer.   After a while more and more comics started showing up to hone their craft.

Before The Improv came along comics would perform only in nightclubs and theatres as part of variety shows, but there had never been an establishment that offered only stand-up comedy.

After a couple of years Budd noticed that the comics were predominating, and that the audiences loved it, so he started doing all comedy, hence the world’s first comedy club!

Fifty years later The Improv is still going strong on Melrose Avenue in LA.  I performed there a couple of times myself.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of The Improv, EPIX, the network that brings you the biggest movies including three of the biggest of 2012, like The Avengers, Skyfall, and The Hunger Games, is releasing “The Improv-Fifty Years Behind The Brick Wall” on Friday Dec. 6th, 2013.

Narrated by Adam Sandler and produced by Judy Pastore, Monica Bautista, Budd and his partner Mark Lonow, (who joined him in 1979), and Budd’s accomplished  daughter Zoe Friedman, who actually was the Exec. Producer, the film features footage with Judd Apatow, Lewis Black, Larry David, Jimmy Fallon, Sarah Silverman, Kathy Griffin, Jay Leno, Richard Lewis, Bill Maher, Ray Romano, Jerry Seinfeld, and Damon, Keenen, Marlon, and Shawn Wayans all in intimate sit-down recollections of their early days at The Improv. accompanied by archival video footage and rare photos.  Only a legend like Budd could assemble that many huge names!

And those are just some of the comedy stars he helped become household names.   Besides having Danny Aiello as his door host/bouncer, other workers went on to achieve greatness.

First there was Chris Albrecht who managed the club when Budd went to LA in 1975, and went on to become the Pres. of HBO, then Les Moonves, currently  the Pres. and CEO of CBS, who was a bartender.  There were the waitresses, like Karen Black, who I got to work with last year on Kroll Show, and who we just lost to cancer this past August, and cable TV’s pioneer female comic/legend Elayne Boosler,  who also toiled as a waitress, and then there were a couple of other door hosts you may have heard of including Keenen Ivory Wayans and Joe Piscopo.

Jeffrey Gurian, Nick Kroll as Gil Faison, Karen Black, and John Mulaney as George St. Geegland on the L.A. set of Kroll Show!

Jeffrey Gurian, Nick Kroll as Gil Faison, Karen Black, and John Mulaney as George St. Geegland on the L.A. set of Kroll Show!

Jeffrey Gurian with Keenen Ivory Wayans helping him cast the new "In Living Color".

Jeffrey Gurian with Keenen Ivory Wayans in NYC, helping him cast the new, but “ill-fated” “In Living Color”.

Jeffrey Gurian with Joe Piscopo at a fundraiser at Gotham Comedy Club!

Jeffrey Gurian with Joe Piscopo at a fundraiser at Gotham Comedy Club!

 

Jeffrey Gurian with comic extraordinaire Elayne Boosler at a Diabetes fundraiser she performed in produced by Jeffrey!

Jeffrey Gurian with comic extraordinaire Elayne Boosler at a Diabetes fundraiser she performed in produced by Jeffrey!

A&E immortalized Budd when they had him host “An Evening at The Improv” from his Hollywood club, which was a weekly series that ran from 1982 through 1996.  Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t performing in those days and never got to be on, but I watched the show religiously!

Over the years I got to know Budd and his partner Mark Lonow who joined him in 1979.  As a matter of fact, I wrote Budd and his lovely wife Alix into a feature film script I wrote in 1990 called Baby and Max, about a comic named Max Arnold who gets the worst gigs imaginable.  The film opens with Max trying to entertain a guy on Death Row.  He’s about to get the electric chair, and is already strapped in, and Max is in the execution room trying to tell him jokes.

On one of his other horrible gigs he’s trying to entertain passengers on a cross-country flight from NY to LA, by telling jokes in the main aisle of the plane, when he gets discovered by Budd Friedman who’s on the flight with his wife Alix. To find out what happens next you’ll have to come up with a budget to make the movie!

This past July at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, which is the biggest and oldest comedy festival in the world, Budd and Mark were honored with an award and the red carpet treatment.  I interviewed them both, once together on the red carpet and then separately!

Budd and I have history!  I recall many years ago he made a party in Montreal to honor Milton Berle who may have been the first honoree to be inducted into the Comedy Hall of Fame, and Milton invited me to attend as his guest.  He was also my sponsor in The Friars Club.  We sat at a long table, with Budd at the head, me on his right and Milton directly across from me.  Budd went to read the menu and put a monocle into his eye.  I had never seen that before and was kind of surprised.

Jeffrey Gurian and Milton Berle at the LA Friars in 1985!

Jeffrey Gurian and Milton Berle at the LA Friars in 1985!

Around 1970, I had created a character I called “Spoon-eye” who went around holding a spoon in his eye like  a monocle, as if he didn’t know it was there.  It sounds silly but at one point Conan O’Brien came out on his show with a spoon in his eye, and it took Cindy Adams to write that it was I who started that.  She wrote, “I don’t know who would even want to take credit for such a thing but it was Jeffrey Gurian who did it first.”   I actually showed it to Salvador Dali back around 1978, who was so intrigued he actually tried to put one of my spoons in his ear, instead of his eye.  I still have that spoon!

Jeffrey Gurian and his Spoon-Eye Club on an outing, circa 2003!

Jeffrey Gurian and his Spoon-Eye Club on an outing, circa 2003!

Anyway, when Budd put his monocle in I took out a spoon and put that it MY eye.  Budd looked at me like “What the heck are you doing?” and I made the mistake of trying to tell him it was very big on “The Coast.”  He said to me, “I live on The Coast and I NEVER saw anyone do that!”  Milton just sat there confused and I quickly changed the subject!

In 2007, Kent Emmons from All Comedy Radio made me a party in LA for my new book at the time based on my years of writing for the Friars Roasts. It was called “Filthy Funny, and Totally Offensive” and featured nasty jokes from over 250 celebs like Drew Carey, Jason Alexander, Chris Elliott, Jeff Garlin, the late Greg Giraldo, Colin Quinn, the late Patrice O’Neal, Artie Lange, Joan Rivers, Jason Alexander, and more than 200 more.  Budd was there as evidenced by the photo below!

Jeffrey Gurian with Budd Friedman in 2007 at Kent Emmons' party for Jeffrey's book "Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive."

Jeffrey Gurian with Budd Friedman in 2007 at Kent Emmons’ party for Jeffrey’s book “Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive.”

Budd is also in the recent documentary film I co-produced called “The Business of Comedy, with Exec. Producers Scott Sobel of Scott Entertainment and Gary Licker who also directed the film.  It features Budd along with Robert Klein, George Wallace, Tom Dreesen, Susie Essman, Shecky Greene, and comedy club owners who were inspired by Budd, Rick Newman and Richie Tienken.  In actuality all comedy club owners were inspired by Budd, which is why when I opened this post I said that Budd changed the world!  In the photo below, a young Budd Friedman with a goatee, is on the upper right corner!

The promo card for "The Business of Comedy" a doc film co-produced by Jeffrey Gurian featuring Budd Friedman, pictured on the upper right hand corner.

The promo card for “The Business of Comedy” a doc film co-produced by Jeffrey Gurian featuring Budd Friedman, pictured on the upper right hand corner.

This is the trailer for the doc.

So on Dec. 6th at 8 P.M. ET, make sure to watch “The Improv-Fifty Years Behind The Brick Wall” on Epix and Epix.com .  You’ll thank me for the tip!

Watch the Epix trailer in case you need convincing:

 

 

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Jeffrey Gurian Named Head of Live Comedy Programming for Third Annual Gold Coast International Film Festival

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When Peter Rosegarten from The Conversation Company called and asked me to get involved with the Gold Coast International Film Festival, on Long Island, I was open to it right away because of who the request came from.  Peter and Rory are legends in the comedy world, and I was proud that they thought to call me.

I met with Aviva Miller the head of events and planning and we decided to work together.  They wanted to honor a big comedy star with the Artist of Distinction Award in Comedy so I called my friend Susie Essman and she accepted the invitation to be honored.

Susie Essman and Jeffrey Gurian at Carolines Comedy Club in NYC.

Susie Essman and Jeffrey Gurian at Carolines Comedy Club in NYC.

 

We are holding the event in a gorgeous new theatre called “The Space at Westbury”, that can accommodate 800 people.

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Aviva Miller, Head of Events for  GCIFF, and Jeffrey Gurian in the lobby of the new "Space at Westbury."

Aviva Miller, Head of Events for GCIFF, and Jeffrey Gurian in the lobby of the new “Space at Westbury.”

Susie just got back from starring in 8 sold out shows in London’s famed Soho Theatre and headlines in major venues all across the country.

We will be showing a little video at the event where I got some funny video messages from friends of Susie like Mario Cantone, D.L. Hughley, and Richard Lewis, also from Curb, who shot his video in the Men’s Room of The Friars Club.

I knew he was in there but in my excitement in finding him, I couldn’t wait till he was finished doing his business. He didn’t seem all that happy to see me!

 

Richard Lewis on the toilet in the Men's Room of The Friars Club.

Richard Lewis on the toilet in the Men’s Room of The Friars Club.

I got him to calm down by showing him an article about myself in the Friars Club Epistle.

 

Jeffrey Gurian with Richard Lewis in the Men's Room of The Friars Club, reading an article about Jeffrey in the Friars Epistle.

Jeffrey Gurian with Richard Lewis in the Men’s Room of The Friars Club, reading an article about Jeffrey in the Friars Epistle.

 

This is a little video I shot with Susie recently when she hosted AXS-TV’s Gotham Comedy Live at the Gotham Comedy Club in NYC.

The evening will also be honoring actor Paul Sorvino with the Lifetime Achievement Award.  Paul has been in 140 movies, 6 television series, 2 operas, 3 Broadway plays, numerous musicals on Broadway and has performed at major theaters across the country … and that’s just a part of his tremendous resume.

The festival will be presenting  a special screening of his new film “How Sweet It Is,” followed by a Q&A with the legendary actor on Tuesday October 22 at the Soundview Theater in Port Washington.

 

Jeffrey Gurian, socialite/philanthropist Karen Koeningsberg, and Paul Sorvino celebrating Karen's birthday at The Dream Hotel PHD, Meatpacking District, NYC!

Jeffrey Gurian, socialite/philanthropist Karen Koeningsberg, and Paul Sorvino celebrating Karen’s birthday at The Dream Hotel PHD, Meatpacking District, NYC!

For tickets and information go to http://tinyurl.com/GCIFF-HowSweet.

For sponsorship information and tickets to the Gala, visit: http://www.goldcoastfilmfestival.org/gala

And finally the Mindel Family will be honored with the Honorary Founders Award.  They own several hotels through their company named  Samar Hospitality, which is a combination of the names Sam and Mary.

The Mindel Family has been a loyal supporter of the Great Neck Arts Center for many years, and through their company Samar Hospitality, they own and built The Inn At Great Neck, as well as other hotels like the Viana Hotel and Spa.

Sam and Mary Mindel were Holocaust Survivors that raised their children, Joseph, Marlene and Alan in Great Neck.  They believed strongly in supporting their community and instilled that in their children.

When they built the Inn at Great Neck, the realization of a long time family dream, incorporating an artistic touch was a must.  You can see their love of art throughout the Hotel; from the hand painted mural of the roaring 20’s to the gorgeous paintings in the restaurant.

Artistic design elements can also be found in the other Samar Hospitality hotels as well.

Most recently when the Viana Hotel and Spa was built, their son Alan incorporated the use of the ancient art of Feng Shui and specially commissioned art pieces to make the hotel a unique and stunning facility.

The Mindel Family has not only hosted many events for the Great Neck Arts Center at the Inn at Great Neck but has also catered events at the Center itself.  Alan and his wife Kara have brought their children there over the years to help continue their family legacy of love for the arts.

The Mindels are absolutely thrilled to be associated with and honored by the Great Neck Arts Center. 

We’ve done several media events leading up to the festival and all have been really fun!

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Sen. Alfonse Damato, Jeffrey Gurian and Aviva Miller at Oheka Castle in Hungtington, Long Island.

Jeffrey Gurian with Congressman Steve Israel in the Owner's Box at Citi Field.

Jeffrey Gurian with Congressman Steve Israel in the Owner’s Box at Citi Field.

 

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Producer Emily Conner, Jeffrey Gurian, and Jackie “The Jokeman” Martling at Citi Field.

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WPIX news anchor Tamsen Fadal with Jeffrey Gurian in the owner’s box at Citi Field.

Singer/entertainer Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin with Jeffrey Gurian at the GCIFF press conference in Manhasset, Long Island.

Singer/entertainer Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin with Jeffrey Gurian at the GCIFF press conference in Manhasset, Long Island.

Regina Gil founded the Great Neck Arts Center more than 20 years ago and has worked tirelessly with her team of Aviva, Gala Coordinator Ronni Berger, Assoc. Director Caroline Sorokoff, Coordinator of the Furman Film Series Katie Mancher, Gala Chair Bonnie Zarabi, and Honorary Gala Co-Chairs Jill and Michael T. Lamoretti to make this third annual film festival the great success it will be.

 

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Amy Poehler’s Parks and Recreation Wins For Best Comedy Series-Tonight at 9 on Comedy Central

I remember back around 1996, when UCB first came to New York, seeing them perform at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in the West Bank Cafe, on West 42nd Street, and it was Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh.

I understand the original group also included Ali Farahnakian, who went off on his own and opened The PIT, where my photo was hanging on the wall of the Men’s Room! One summer day, a guy who turned out to be Ali asked if he could take my photo, cause he thought I had “an interesting look!”

I didn’t think any more about it until one night I was at The PIT in the Men’s Room, standing there taking care of business, when all of a sudden I glanced to my right and saw myself smiling back at me! Right at eye level! It was shocking to say the least, … but funny!

It was the photo he had taken of me, in a line of other photos of people who he thought looked interesting, but mine was right in line with where I was standing, and it just struck me so funny.

The PIT has since moved to West 24th Street, and when I was there I forgot to check the Men’s Room to see if I was still up! (LOL)

Anyway, even in the earliest days, Amy Poehler stood out as a performer. Maybe it was because she was the only girl with three guys, and she was blonde, but I think it was something more than that. I think even in those earliest of days her talent stuck out. I think she may have even had a chipped front tooth in those days, (figures I’d notice that! LOL), but she went on to become one of the most successful women in TV, and that’s incredible. It makes the early memory that much more exciting!

Plus she married Will Arnett and looks fantastic now. Success tends to agree with people!

Anyway, her show, Parks and Recreation, was up for Best Comedy Series at the Comedy Central Comedy Awards 2012, airing tonight. Rob Riggle was the presenter, and it was up against 30 Rock, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Happy Endings, and Modern Family, … all heavy hitters, … and it won!

This little video clip is of the cast’s acceptance speech. Later in the week I’ll be posting more video of them in the press room, but it was Amy Poehler, creator Mike Schur, Adam Scott, Retta, and Jim O’Heir!

(L-R) Mike Schur, Amy Poehler, Retta, Adam Scott, Jim O’Heir accepting their award at Comedy Awards 2012!

Check it out right here and make sure to tune in tonight at 9 P.M. on Comedy Central to watch the show!

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Ricky Gervais at the 92nd Street Y

Bill Carter of the NY Times moderated a fascinating and highly entertaining conversation with multi-award winning Ricky Gervais, said by some to be the most influential British writer/comedian in the USA since Charlie Chaplin. Ricky of course created The Office which is now shown in 90 countries. Even China is considering creating a version, which should be especially funny,when they try and translate it into all of the dialects spoken in China.

Ricky has won three Golden Globes, two primetime Emmy’s, and seven BAFTAS. I’m not even sure what a BAFTA is, but I’m sure it’s something special since he admits to winning seven of them! (LOL)

As I walked into the 92nd Street Y, I ran into Caroline Hirsch, New York’s reigning Queen of Comedy, and the creator/producer of the NY Comedy Festival. This event is part of that festival and Caroline always brings in the biggest stars from the comedy world to play in special venues.

The event was opened by a man named Buddy Teich,who is described as the benefactor of the Y’s “Funny People” series. I know Buddy as the man who seconded my application to become an LA Friar, when Milton Berle sponsored me for membership many years ago. Uncle Miltie was a good friend of mine, and honored me by sponsoring me for membership while I was out in LA. I had been writing some material for him, and one day while I was at his house, he suggested bringing me into the LA Friars. He was the Pres. at the time.

When I asked him who would second me, he said his friend Buddy Teich. That was the last time I saw him until last night. I know he didn’t remember cause it was so long ago, but it was great to be able to see him again and reminded me of my friendship with the legend known as Mr. Television.

Ricky had lots to say about a lot of things. He started out by saying that just before he came over he ran into Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters on the street, and Dave had invited him to his show tonight. He was all excited about going, until his girlfriend reminded him he had to appear at the Y. So much for Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters!

A little known fact about Ricky is that in 1982, he and his friend Bill Macrae formed a British New Wave group called Seona ( Shawna) Dancing, with Gervais writing and singing the lyrics. In 1985, one of his songs became a #1 hit in The Philippines, which he still can’t understand.

On people being offended by the jokes he told while hosting The Golden Globes this past year: They should see my stand-up act! It’s not like I was playing to a roomful of wounded soldiers. In referring to his remarks about The Tourist starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, he described it as, ( and I’m paraphrasing ) “gently ribbing two of the most talented , … or did he say pampered,… people on the planet about one of their films.” The reason I’m paraphrasing is because just as he said two of the most … people my attention was drawn away and I only heard it subconsciously!

On the possibility of hosting The Oscars : ” They don’t want me. They want someone nice and pleasant! It’s a night of glamour. I’d be fired immediately!”

He had a lot to say about Karl Pilkington, from The Ricky Gervais Show, who Ricky and Stephen Merchant have made into sort of a cult celebrity. They met when Karl was producing a radio show for Ricky in 1997, and Ricky was struck not only by his unusual sense of humor, but also his directness, and his inability to be pretentious. That and the fact that “he has the roundest head Ricky Gervais had ever seen on a human being!”

Some of Ricky’s most important thoughts:

Ricky thinks it’s important to laugh every day, and that humor makes you bulletproof to the big and little miseries we all have to suffer!

In discussing the difference between British and American humor he said that in England, everyone wants you to be as miserable as they are.

In America, every kid grows up thinking that they can be President. In England the attitude is more like, ” Don’t bother trying. It won’t be you!” That’s why the character of David Brent is so perfectly British. He’s a man who thinks he’s above his own station in life.

He and Larry David create what might be seen as “comedy of embarrassment”, because an Englishman really tries his best to get to his grave without ever being embarrassed.

There’s nothing like doing your own thing, and not having to listen to anyone else!

They also showed clips from “Life’s Too Short”, a fake documentary from Gervais and Merchant starring actor Warwick Davis (Prof. Flitwick in the “Harry Potter” movies) that premieres on the BBC later this year and on HBO in 2012.

It was a packed crowd, and a fun and insightful look into the mind of Ricky Gervais!

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Susie Essman in Cindy Adams' Column-NY Post

Susie Essman got most of Cindy Adam’s column this past Tuesday, and she deserves it. Truth be told she deserves the whole, entire column! Everybody loves Susie as Susie Greene on HBO’s Larry David hit, “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” If I remember correctly, Larry saw Susie perform at the Friars Roast of Jerry Stiller and liked her so much, he cast her in “Curb.”

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Susie Essman at The Comic Strip!

I have the exact details of that story in the interview I did with Susie for the book I’m writing on the history of the legendary comedy club “The Comic Strip”, a club where she performed in her early days, but I’d have to look it up and I’m too lazy! I’m proud to say that Susie and I are friends for many years! We often joke that she and I have more photos together than she and her husband!

Jeffrey Gurian, Susie Essman, and Richie Tienken owner and founder of The Comic Strip after Susie's interview for the book on the 35 year history of The Strip!

I’m very happy for her that she and Jimmy Harder, a commercial real estate broker got married back in 2008. They got married at The Friars Club, and multiple Emmy-award winning writer/producer Tom Fontana who is one of the most talented and prolific TV writer/producers in the business, and who also happens to be a minister, officiated at the ceremony. Among other things, he wrote and produced such groundbreaking TV series as “Oz”, “St. Elsewhere”, and “Homicide: Life On The Street.” Tom is also an old friend, and was the Vice Pres. of the Writers Guild East where at least one of the photos below was taken!

Dean Winters, Jeffrey Gurian, and Tom Fontana at a party in NYC!

Jeffrey Gurian with Tom Fontana at the Writer's Guild Awards!

Susie’s TV husband Jeff Greene is played by the hysterically funny Jeff Garlin!

Jeffrey Gurian backstage at Carolines with Jeff Garlin from HBO's hot series, "Curb Your Enthusiasm."

I actually knew Susie’s Dad Leonard, who was a wonderful physician. He was an internist, ( which you would think all doctors were, since most of our organs are internal, right? LOL ), and he was partners with a doctor I went to. Once when my doctor was away, Susie’s Dad treated me, but in those days, I didn’t realize he was Susie’s Dad. He taught me something I never forgot. I had a pain in the back of my head, down into my neck, that wouldn’t go away, and he took his thumb and pressed really hard on something in the back of my head that made me see stars, but the pain went away. I have used that technique ever since!

Jeffrey Gurian with Susie Essman in Montreal at the Just for Laughs Festival posing with his book that she is in called "Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive."

Once when Susie was appearing at Carolines Comedy Club, she came down with some sort of eye infection and was afraid she’d have to cancel her gig. I wrote her a prescription for antibiotics, and according to her I saved the day, cause her eye cleared up right away and she was able to perform. How I was able to write her a prescription is a whole other story, but to keep it simple, I was and still am a doctor, and am licensed to write prescriptions!

Jeffrey Gurian and Susie Essman at an event at The Friars Club in NYC!

Susie will be headlining Carolines Comedy Club this coming week, and she doesn’t know it yet, but I’m planning on coming down to say “Hi!”. Please don’t tell her! I want it to be a surprise!

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Paul Reiser Hangs Out At The Comic Strip-New Show Debuts Tonight on NBC

Paul Reiser is one guy who doesn’t forget where he came from. As huge as he is, he’s still grateful for the people who helped him get there, so when he came to New York to promote his new TV show on NBC airing tonight at 8:30 P.M. with Paul playing himself, he came to visit Richie Tienken at The Comic Strip, the club where he started out so many years ago.

After taping Jimmy Fallon earlier, he came to the club, and did a spot at the 8:30 show, left and came back and did the 10:30 show and then came back the next night to do the 10:30 show, and even stayed to do the late show at 12:30, plus he stayed and mingled and took photos with anyone in the audience that wanted to meet him. That’s the essence of a nice guy who cares about the audience.

Paul onstage caught in a typical Paul Reiser expression, while performing at The Strip!

Richie Tienken, Paul Reiser, and Jeffrey Gurian at The Comic Strip after Paul's set.

Paul is one of the many Comic Strip alumni, who went on to become huge stars, and that I interviewed so far for the book Richie and I are doing on the history of the club, which opened on June 1, 1976. This June will be 35 years.

On June 17th Jerry Seinfeld walked in to audition and about a year later, Paul Reiser came on the scene, with other comics like Carol Liefer, Mark Schiff, Rich Hall, Larry Miller and a lesser-known comic named Michael Cain.( I think that’s how he spelled Cain. No one seems to know for sure, and unfortunately he’s long gone so no one can ask him!)

Paul told me great stories during the interview I did with him. One of them was how he got the movie “Diner” in April of 1982, a film role that really put him on the map! ( What kind of an expression is that? Who even came up with that? A cartographer back in Colonial days??? LOL )

Jeffrey Gurian, Paul Reiser, and Richie Tienken after Paul's interview for the book on the history of The Comic Strip.

It was February of 1981, and Paul had accompanied this friend comic Michael Cain, who was also a stand-up comic and a close friend, to an audition for this new Barry Levenson movie “Diner.” Paul was really on his way to go shopping at Macy’s for underwear and socks,because he had an upcoming gig at The Comic Strip in Ft. Lauderdale and rather than do laundry, he thought he’d just buy more underwear and socks.

That was his mission. So he accompanies Cain, who didn’t wind up getting the gig, but when the casting director saw Paul, she asked him for his headshot. He said he didn’t have one as he was only there with his friend and really just wanted underwear and socks.

She convinced him to come back the next day with his headshot, which he did and then he left for Ft. Lauderdale. He was down there two days when he got the call that he had gotten “Diner.”

His character’s name was Modell. There was no part actually written for Modell as Paul found out when they sent him the contract and the script. He gave the contract to Bob Wachs another founder of The Strip who happened to be a lawyer, and he gave the script to Richie Tienken to look at. Richie came back to Paul and said, ” Your character is Modell right?” Paul said ” Yes” to which Richie replied, ” Well, I don’t know how to break this to you buddy, but you ain’t in the script. Not even once.”

Tienken continued, ” They told you you gotta flesh out your part? Well, I sure hope you do cause you ain’t got any lines! “

Barry expected Paul to create his role on camera which he did. He improvised the whole thing and as he did he got more and more lines. Michael Cain became one of the inner circle of comics who met every New year’s Day for brunch, along with Paul, Jerry Seinfeld, Mark Schiff, and Larry Miller. After Michael passed away they kept doing it as a tradition, which they do to this day. They have brunch and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Jeffrey Gurian and Paul Reiser at The Comic Strip back in '09.

Well a lot has happened since then, and tonight is the debut of Paul’s new show on NBC called appropriately enough, The Paul Reiser Show. Watch this little video I shot with Paul to promote his show. We all wish him well and hope it will be a big hit. How can it not be? Paul Reiser is starring in it!

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