Posts Tagged “Make ‘Em Laugh”

Jeffrey Gurian’s Excellent Adventure with Keith and The Girl

If someone told you you had to go on the radio for an hour and 40 minutes straight you might wonder to yourself if you had enough to say. On today’s Keith and The Girl appearance after almost two hours we were just warming up! I swear we could have gone another two hours easy! The flow was amazing and they are extremely gracious hosts!

The very descriptive and accurate logo for “Keith and The Girl”, (whose name is Chemda, btw!) This happens to be exactly what they look like! (JK!)

My curiousity was piqued last month when I attended a couple of nights of their 8th anniversary celebration which they held out in Brooklyn at a performance space called White Wave. They literally had fans fly in from all over the world. Right around me were people from Australia, Toronto, Europe, Colorado, California, and all of them had gone to great trouble and expense to come in and celebrate with KATG!

Keith and Chemda in a very accurate portrayal of what they REALLY look like, during their 8th anniversary celebration!

People like Ted Alexandro say I know everyone in comedy.

So I was embarrassed to admit that KATG had escaped my comedy radar. And for eight years??? How could that even happen? That’s when I made it my business to find out more about KATG, and I’m so glad I did.

They have a super studio in Queens, whose exact location will not be divulged. Suffice it to say that it’s hidden inside of a mountain and when you approach and yell out a secret word, which they give you before you arrive, the mountain actually splits open, and you walk in, like Moses parting The Red Sea! It’s incredible.

A candid shot of Keith and Chemda in the studio, getting ready to do the KATG podcast and videocast as well!

I started out strong when they asked me my favorite movie and I said “The Sixth Sense.” It seems that was Keith’s favorite movie as well and no one else had ever said that. Then they were both ready to fall out of their chairs when I told them my favorite color was orange, which also happened to be Keith’s favorite color. And anyone who knows me knows that’s true. It’s the color of The Second Chakra and a very powerful color.

We went on to talk about everything. We talked about my new book, “Make ‘Em Laugh”, about the 35 year history of The Comic Strip, comedy legends like Andy Kaufman, Jack Rollins, and Milton Berle, young stars not with us anymore like Patrice O’Neal, Mitch Hedberg, Mike DeStefano, Greg Giraldo, movies, music, Healing which was an amazing discussion where we found out that Chemda has Healing energy, and she thinks she’d like to use it!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with his great friend, the late Patrice O’Neal!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with the late Mitch Hedberg at one of his last performances in NYC!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with the late Mike DeStefano after he was on Last Comic Standing!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with the late Greg Giraldo at a party at Comix in NYC!

We talked about the comedy clubs and gave shout-outs to The Comic Strip, Gotham Comedy Club, and The Comedy Cellar. We talked about high school, and about how and why kids are so mean to each other, dating, sexuality, and almost every subject on the planet, and we had lots of laughs and a really good time.

We even talked about You Pop the new social media craze that’s sweeping the country where creative people can get paid for making cool little videos on their cell phones and uploading them to the YouPop.com site to be offered to the world at large!

You Pop, the most exciting social media craze to come along since Facebook!

To show you just what a good time we had, I didn’t check my e-mail even once during the two hours! It flew by so fast, I couldn’t believe it when Chemda told me how much time had gone by. Then I got the tour of the premises and got to see Lauren again, Chemda’s significant other, plus I got to see the office where they keep their merch and it’s loaded with goodies, except it’s lighter now cause they gave me a whole bunch of presents.

Chemda and Lauren at the 8th anniversary of KATG!

They gave me audio books that you wear on your wrist like a bracelet. I never even saw something like that. I’m not Bill Gates but I’m familiar with lots of technology, and this was really cool. It’s like a thumb drive and you get the book as an MP3.

I got their books, “The Great American Novel” by Keith, and “What Do We Do Now” a modern advice book for modern couples written by both of them. And I had to once again give them props for having been a couple, broken up, and still working together with such a cool dynamic. They are truly good friends. It’s a testament to what people can accomplish if they really want to.

Chemda hiding behind one of the KATG T-shirts while Keith proudly displays his “State of the Union” DVD.

But that’s not all, I also got Keith’s “State of the Union” DVD, and the Keith and The Girl Roast, with cartoon drawings on the back of some of the comics who participated and who you can actually recognize! One I’m sure is Mike Lawrence because the character has a huge beard!

They called my segment ” Healing Hands”, and you can actually listen to the whole thing right here:

http://www.keithandthegirl.com/Show-Detail/2653/Healing-Hands.aspx#

I really hope they invite me back!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Keith Malley and Chemda Khalili of KATG!

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Robert Klein at The Friars Club for the Documentary "The Business of Comedy"

I get involved in so many interesting projects. Sometimes things just seem to come out of nowhere because life is magical like that. So I find myself as an Associate Producer on a wonderful documentary film slated for PBS called “The Business of Comedy” working with two great Exec. Producers Gary Licker and Scott Sobel.

(L-R) Scott Sobel, and Gary Licker with trusty camera in Jeffrey Gurian’s writing room, after his interview for “The Business of Comedy!”

They made a name for themselves with a successful documentary called “Selling Cars in America”, about the history of the American car dealership and a look at the players who set the tone in the modern day, 21st century showroom. Scott produced it and Gary Licker directed.

“The Business of Comedy” examines just what it says, the business of comedy. So they’re not only interviewing comedians, but they’re speaking to club owners, managers, agents and anybody who makes the comedy world tick. That’s where I came in. First they interviewed me in my home, in what I call my “comedy museum” packed with photos and nostalgia going back to the late 70’s and early 80’s, when I was writing for Rodney Dangerfield and many Friars Club Roasts at the behest of Friars producer Bob Saks, and my original sponsor in The Friars Club, Milton Berle.

We had so much fun on that interview and we all got along so well that we decided to progress together with me being an Associate Producer. Now as a co-producer I brought the project to Richie Tienken at The Comic Strip where we not only interviewed Richie on his vast experience as the owner and founder of The Strip, but also interviewed a bunch of comics both established and new who shared their feelings on the business of comedy.

Then we spoke to Chris Mazzilli at the Gotham Comedy Club, who offered his unique perspective and who I refer to as “the classiest man in comedy”, and Gabe Waldman owner of Stand-Up New York, who we also filmed performing on stage. Very soon we will be speaking on camera with my old friend comedy legend/icon Rick Newman who opened the legendary Catch A Rising Star at the end of 1972, which was the admitted inspiration for The Comic Strip.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Chris Mazzilli owner of Gotham Comedy Club at a Laugh For Sight charity event in 2011!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with comedy icon Rick Newman founder of Catch A Rising Star and current co-owner of Stage 72 in NYC!

But this week was something special for all of us. We got to interview Robert Klein at The Friars Club. Both Gary and Scott made no secret of the fact that they were both incredibly excited at the opportunity to speak to Robert who is himself an icon of comedy, and one of the enduring bright stars of his generation. Not only has he established himself onstage but he’s appeared in over 40 feature films.

I think it was Gary who said that he’s interviewed many celebs but that the excitement of knowing he was going to interview Robert Klein kept him up the night before the interview! We had intended to do the interview in the beautifully appointed Milton Berle Room but as were were setting up we ran into Peter Rosegarten, Robert’s manager from The Conversation Company who facilitated us moving to the gorgeous dining room to do our interview. It’s actually Peter’s brother Rory who works directly with Robert and has done so for the past maybe 30 years ever since Robert left Rollins and Joffe.

Exec. Producer Gary Licker adjusting the microphone for Robert Klein before his interview at The Friars Club!

That story is in my new book with Chris Rock called “Make ‘Em Laugh” in a great interview that Rory gave me. Rory and I go back many years and he represented me when I was writing for Joan Rivers.

Gary and Scott started out by playing a little audio recording of Budd Friedman founder of The Improv, which he opened in 1963, saying some very complimentary things about Robert Klein who was a regular there. Robert was very gracious and humbled by Budd’s statement, and said that as years go on, the more those kind of things mean to him. That kind of set the tone for what turned out to be a fantastic interview.

Exec. Producers Scott Sobel and Gary Licker interviewing Robert Klein at The Friars Club for their project “The Business of Comedy” on which I am Associate Producer!

Robert was so generous with his sharing of stories and his energy. I loved how he easily remembered the date of his first appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. I believe he said it was Jan. 9th, 1968. He remembered Johnny also as being “generous” with his laughter and support.

In 1970 Robert had his own summer replacement comedy/variety show called “Comedy Tonight”, which he hosted along with frequent guests Peter Boyle and Madeline Kahn. He has since done nine HBO comedy specials, and is still very active performing around the country at different venues.

Exec. Producer Scott Sobel with his notes asking questions of Robert Klein for the doc film for PBS, “The Business of Comedy”!

His original manager Jack Rollins who helped me greatly in my own career and who originally introduced me to his other clients at the time Billy Crystal and Robin Williams figured greatly in Robert’s early career. I was still a Cosmetic Dentist in those early days and Jack thought that Billy Crystal would be perfect to play me in a sit-com about a dentist who wanted to be in show biz. That’s why when I interviewed Billy for my book “Make ‘Em Laugh” in one of the photos we took he was pointing to his teeth!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Billy Crystal in Billy’s office in LA. Billy is pointing to his teeth referencing Jeffrey’s background as a Cosmetic Dentist!

Robert was inspired by Jonathan Winters, and Lenny Bruce who was persecuted, blacklisted and ultimately ruined for performing material that was considered obscene in those days, but would be considered tame by today’s standards, where literally anything goes. Robert spoke of comedy as a “craft” that used to have a certain “dignity”. I saw it that way as well.

I was also very glad to hear that Robert and I share the same sensitivity as to what is commonly referred to as “bathroom humor” and I can’t really grasp the fascination that many young comics seem to have with bodily functions that to me have no place in a show where men are taking women out for an evening of entertainment.

Neither Robert nor I are prudes in any sense of the word. I wrote filthy jokes for Friars Roasts for many years, but that wasn’t the material I chose to do when I went on stage, and neither did he. We just share the same dislike for unnecessary grossness which is all too common these days.

Robert literally gave us “gold” for the documentary with his honest evaluation of the comedy scene then and now, and he kept me on my toes by throwing questions at me, when certain names in comedy history didn’t quite come to him right away, like Dane Cook and Rosie O’Donnell! He also remembered many years ago when I approached him about writing some material for him. It’s amazing what sticks out in people’s minds that you would think they would never remember!

I was so happy I was able to give him a copy of “Make ‘Em Laugh” because it’s about everyone he knows!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Robert Klein at The Friars Club, holding Jeffrey’s book ” Make’Em Laugh!”

His spirit was youthful and engaging and I hope to see him again soon and maybe even work with him on something fun and meaningful.

Btw, in case you’re interested this is the very cool trailer for the documentary “The Business of Comedy!”

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Sherri Shepherd Kills It At Gotham

Most comics have to worry about winning the audience over. Sherri Shepherd is one of those rare comic performers that the audience likes so much, they’re already on her side when she hits the stage. Gotham Comedy is a big club and when I got there it was so crowded for Sherri that my usual table was gone.

Sherri Shepherd killing it onstage to a sold-out crowd at Gotham Comedy Club!

Fortunately I got an even better table since I need to sit way in the back so I can jump up to greet the performers and get my photos during the show without disturbing anyone. I wound up with the corner table that had good light and put me right next to the comics who were on the show.

Angelo Lozada was the host, and he’s great at warming up an audience, which is a lot harder than just coming out and performing. I should never use the word “just” because coming out and performing stand-up comedy is the hardest thing in the world, even though Joel McHale once told me that he thought that brain surgery might be more difficult! (LOL – Your cue to laugh!)

Angelo Lozada hosting the show at Gotham Comedy Club for Sherri Shepherd!

Angelo told about a homeless guy on the train, and imitated the usual spiel, “Good evening ladies and gentlemen, I don’t mean to disturb anyone. I’m just trying to get some money to get my son a tattoo, and to start a record label.”

First up was Harrison Greenbaum, a favorite of mine. Harrison’s killer theme is that people think he’s gay. And he explains it openly, “If you walked into a room and saw me kissing a guy, you’d immediately say, ‘That guy is definitely gay.’ But if you walked into a room and saw me kissing a woman, you’d immediately say, ” That guy … is fooling himself!”

Harrison Greenbaum, Harvard grad, who explains how having sex with another guy is the straightest thing you can do!

He embellished upon that by saying, ” How do you know you’re not gay unless you’ve had sex with another man? That’s the straightest thing you can do is to have sex with another man and then say you didn’t like it.” He explained it so well, it almost made sense! (LOL)

He’s also very clever with lines like,” My friend reads the Bible religiously, which is really the only way to read it!”

Next up was Brad Trackman who I think I know even before he married his lovely wife Christina, who used to book acts at Carolines. Brad is one of the few comics who is always a hit and works clean.

A photo of Brad Trackman and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV taken at The Comic Strip, circa 2002!

He’s done lots of national TV appearances like NBC’s “Later” and “Friday Night”, CBS’s “Star Search”, ABC’s “NY Comedy Festival”, MTV’s “The Buried Life” and had his own commercial campaign for Spike Television where he played the fictitious presidential elect Biff Wolinski.

One of his CD’s called “Safecracker” is based on a killer bit he does about women being like safes and men having to figure out the combination to get into the safe. A compliment like ” Of course you don’t look fat in those pants” is like 22 to the left, etc. knowing full well that men will say anything they have to to crack the combination to the safe!

I heard rumours that Brad may be in line for a show! More on that to follow. He said his wife has trust issues and he knows that for a fact because he read it in her journal! That is really funny! And when she asked him if he would still look for her if they were both in Heaven, he had to remind of of their marriage vows, ” Til death do us part!” It’s Heaven, and he’s not making any promises!

Then Sherri took the stage to thunderous applause. She’s one of those performers that people like before she even says a word. There’s not that many. I once saw Artie Lange get a standing ovation just by coming out on stage!

Sherri automatically endears herself to the audience, but don’t tell her she’s adorable, or you’ll never hear the end of it. She hates being called “adorable” and I understand it cause I always hated it when people said it about me too! “Adorable” is more for a pet or an infant, not a grown-ass adult! (LOL)

Sherri Shepherd in the midst of one of her funny stories onstage during her headlining gig at Gotham Comedy Club!

People love Sherri because not only is she funny, but she’s honest and self-effacing. In talking about her preparation for Hurricane Sandy she said she stocked up on lots of food, and then ate it all in one day!

She talks about washing her wig, and even warned her son Jeffrey, ” Don’t you lie to me. I got eyes in the back of my wig!” And if you ever saw Chris Rock’s documentary entitled “Good Hair” on the state of Black women and their hair, you know not to fool around with a Black woman and her hair! That’s serious bizness!

Sherri replaced Star Jones as a co-host on The View back in 2007, and has also appeared on 30 Rock, Entourage and Hot in Cleveland. She’s also landed supporting roles in a range of films, from the 2009 drama Precious to the 2012 action comedy One for the Money. Also in 2012, Shepherd did a stint on Dancing With the Stars, and had some really funny stories about that, and how she got eliminated from the show. Meanwhile, just being on it is an honor in itself.

Ask Jeffrey Ross who was on for only a short time when his dancing career got put on hold due to a finger in his eye! Very hard to dance with a finger in your eye!

Sherri claimed as she was running towards her partner for him to lift her up in the air she swore she heard Maksim Chmerkovskiy say ” Ohhhhhh Jesus!”

Sherri is a great story teller. Some comics just get up and tell jokes. Others are able to tell stories. She’s one of those. She talks a lot about her new husband who she calls “Sal”, who’s supposedly very tall.

Sherri Shepherd and husband Lamar Sally, otherwise known as “Sal”!

When I heard her call him “Sal” I thought she married some big Italian guy until out of curiousity I looked it up, and saw that her husband’s real name is Lamar Sally, “Sal” for short, which made a lot more sense to me! (LOL) Her son’s name is Jeffrey which I feel is one of the greatest names to come along in all of history! (LOLOL)

I recently ran into Sherri after a guest spot she did at The Comic Strip and was able to give her a copy of my new book with Chris Rock called “Make ‘Em Laugh” about the 35 year history of that legendary club! My co-author was owner/founder of the club Richie Tienken, who appears with us in the photo below.

Richie Tienken, Sherri Shepherd holding her copy of “Make ‘Em Laugh” and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV!

Sherri is really fun, and really funny, and I hope to be able to interview her soon for Comedy Matters TV!

Hypersmash.com

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Rita Cosby’s "Quiet Hero"; Bestseller and Masterpiece of Emotion

I go to a lot of events. Some stand out more than others. Such was the case with Rita Cosby’s event for her bestselling book “Quiet Hero”, the touching story of her Dad, Ryszard (Richard) Kossobudzki (Cosby), who had been a Polish Resistance Fighter during World War II against The Nazis.

It wasn’t just that he had been a resistance fighter, it was that Rita and her brother and Mom never knew the whole story of his painful background until recent years. It seems that her Dad left the family with no explanation, while she was just a teenager, and she hadn’t seen him for many years.

In the meantime she had grown up to become an award-winning journalist, known internationally for her work and her interviews with celebrities and Heads of State. Needless to say it had always bothered her, as it would any child, to have been estranged from a parent, and when her Mom passed away she was forced to go through her Mom’s personal belongings.

That’s when she discovered a long forgotten, battered old suitcase, that had belonged to her Dad. Upon opening it she made a discovery that would change all of their lives from that day on. The items in that suitcase identified her father as having been a prisoner of war in a Nazi dentention camp known as Stalag IV-B. That explained not only the obvious scars on his body, but the internal scars on his psyche and his spirit.

He had never been the kind of man who opened up. The family knew he had been through hard times, but they had no idea of the extent. Rita used her journalistic skills to track down her Dad to where he was living in Washington,D.C.

She called him up and began to re-establish a relationship with the man she missed so much. In time they traveled back to Poland together to work on this book and a documentary film, and as this progressed the ice around his heart began to melt. It was only there as a form of self-preservation, not because he lacked the capacity to love.

He went back to Poland with Rita, for the first time in 65 years, but he went back as the hero he was, and was welcomed by no less than the President of Poland. Several times during Rita’s presentation, I was moved to tears, as were others around me, thinking of her Dad as a young boy, risking his life to try and save his country, when so many of his friends had been killed by The Nazis.

Three million Polish Jews were killed along with 3 million non-Polish Jews. Growing up, that was a thought that haunted me. That so many people were killed solely for their belief. How could that happen? How could people be that cruel? How could the world just watch, and let that happen? I’ve never been totally comfortable in life since learning of The Holocaust as a child.

Just the thought of what happened haunts me, to know that people are capable of such extreme cruelty. Man’s inhumanity to man! I believe in G-d, but I could certainly understand how The Holocaust could make you question your Faith!

Thank G-d there were heroes like Riszard Kossobudzki who even as a child fought back against evil, and risked his life to save others. What a story.

The well-attended event was held at the Heyman Auditorium which turned out to be in a Synagogue on East 85th Street, where I ran into several people I knew including Dr. Shireen Fernandez and Alex Harris of Society’s Choice. There were also members of our Armed Forces present adding to the power of the evening.

Shu-Lan and Kyoko bonding at the “Quiet hero” event!

Dr. Shireen Fernandez and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV!

And to make the evening even more special, Rita’s husband Tomascek sang two beautiful patriotic songs, the national anthem and America The Beautiful, which if I remember correctly, he sang directly to the American flag. They both thanked me sincerely for coming but I felt honored to have been there!

Tomasczek performing for the “Quiet Hero” audience!

I had planned to give her a copy of my new book ” Make ‘Em Laugh” with Chris Rock, so we took a photo together of each of us holding the other’s book!

Award-winning journalist Rita Cosby with Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV each holding the other’s book in a show of mutual support! (LOL)

It was an incredibly moving and enlightening evening, and I can’t wait to read her book which is available at all bookstores and on Amazon.com!

HyperSmash

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T.J. Miller Kills It Hosting Gotham Comedy Live on AXS-TV

It makes perfect sense that Chris Mazzilli, who I affectionately call “The Classiest Man in Comedy” would be running the classiest comedy club in town! And not just ANY town, but NYC, which is really saying something!

The marquee outside of Gotham Comedy Club, with T.J. Miller hosting the AXS-TV special Gotham Comedy Live!

Plus he’s always on the cutting edge of entertainment. Whether they’re shooting the auditions for Last Comic Standing, or live streaming Anthony Anderson’s Comedy Mixtape Show, he’s always offering his audiences something really unique. Now he’s got Marc Cuban, and Ryan Seacrest’s AXS-TV shooting Gotham Comedy Live every Thursday at 10 P.M. for 11 weeks with fantastic guest hosts, and a great line-up of comics.

Helming the series are Exec. Producers Dave Goldberg and Rob Cea whose Killer Bunny Entertainment has created week after week of great shows, starting with host Orlando Jones a few weeks ago.

This week I went to see the great T.J. Miller who I had been wanting to interview for quite a while. We first met up in Montreal at the Just for Laughs Festival back around 2010, and have kept in touch, but weren’t able to set up a specific date to get together. So when I heard he was hosting this AXS-TV special I made sure to let him know I was coming.

T.J. Miller wiping his mouth with one of Jeffrey Gurian’s scarves in the green room of Gotham Comedy Club! Fortunately Gurian had at least three more with him, so it was no problem!

Let me first tell you a little about T.J. I could sum it up by saying he’s been in 12 movies in the last three years, but that wouldn’t be doing justice to his talent. He’s not only a talented actor, he’s also a great stand-up, and impressionist, PLUS he makes faces, which he has developed into an art form, starting with just the simplest face he made as a young boy, which was basically moving his mouth to the side like a Bell’s Palsy victim. All of this came out in the fantastic, funny, and generous 40 minute video interview he gave me, which you will be seeing soon right here!

Later on in his career, he graduated to making much more complicated faces, some of which I was able to capture in my interview and will share with you as soon as it’s finished being edited. I was able to capture a couple of them in still photos and as you can see he’s widely considered a master at face-making!

T.J. Miller making one of his more complicated faces for Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV! He claims to have worked on that particular “face” for two to three years!

Everyone has different talents, and different strengths. I for one am good at mentioning things to people! Sometimes I’ll just walk over to someone and take the opportunity to mention something, … but that’s just me!

T. J. was named one of Variety’s “Top 10 Comics to Watch,” as well as one of Entertainment Weekly’s “Next Big Things in Comedy.” Miller will soon be seen starring in the upcoming Fox comedy series “The Goodwin Games” opposite Becki Newton and Scott Foley. The show will be centered on three siblings who reconnect after the death of their father when he leaves them his fortune. Miller will play the youngest Goodwin sibling ‘Jimmy,’ who has just been released from jail.

He will also be seen this October hosting Comedy Central’s “Mash-Up,” a unique new half-hour series – an exciting mix of stand-up and sketch comedy. In addition to his work on TV, he has a popular podcast on nerdist.com “Cashing in with T.J. Miller” which turns the traditional interview comedy podcast on its head, as it’s an interview show, but host Cash Levy only has one guest: T.J. Miller.

He always plays fun, interesting and unusual characters like his recent role in the Focus Features comedy “Seeking A Friend For The End of the World” opposite Steve Carrell and Keira Knightly, and in the Warner Brothers 80’s rock musical feature “Rock of Ages”, opposite Tom Cruise.

He co-starred in The Weinstein Company’s “Our Idiot Brother”, along with Paul Rudd. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011 to rave reviews!(As opposed to regular every-day reviews!) He starred as ‘Ranger Jones’ in the Warner Brothers live-action/CGI feature film “Yogi Bear”, along with Dan Ayckroyd, Justin Timberlake and Anna Faris. He also appeared with Jack Black and Jason Segel in the 20th Century Fox 3D film “Gulliver’s Travels”, and in Tony Scott’s dramatic thriller “Unstoppable” with Denzel Washington and Chris Pine.

I really liked him in his co-starring role in the Paramount comedy, “She’s Out of My League”, opposite Jay Baruchel, a film which really brought him to the public eye. (Which begs the questions, ” Where is the public eye? Does the public only have one eye? And if so, does that make the public a Cyclops???)

He appeared with Jay Baruchel again in How To Train Your Dragon, a talent he promised to share with me, as I have a couple of small dragons at home on loan from HBO’s “Game of Thrones”, which were lent to me by Peter Dinklage, on the promise that no one could know. Fortunately no one reads this Blog so our secret is safe! (LOL)

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with an old friend, award-winning actor Peter Dinklage, star of HBO’s “Game of Thrones!”. Earlier in his career Peter starred in Jeffrey’s short film ” Men Who Dance Where They’re Not Supposed To” and wound up getting arrested for dancing in a “No Dancing” zone!

Dragon also starred Gerard Butler and Craig Ferguson, and T.J. will reprise his role, voicing the character of “Tuffnut” in the upcoming “How To Train Your Dragon 2”! Reprising roles is another thing that T.J. is good at! The man has innumerable talents!

He also worked with Russell Brand and Jonah Hill in Universal’s “Get Him To The Greek” and basically there’s almost no TV show or film that he HASN’T been in! (LOL)

T.J. has also had two short films at Sundance, once as writer and star of the short “Successful Alcoholics” which the NY Times referred to as “hilarious”, a term that goes much better with comedy than drama, and last year’s “I’m Having A Difficult Time Killing My Parents”, which he also stars in and wrote.

He chose his home-town of Denver to record his first hour long stand-up special for Comedy Central, and he also released a comedy oriented pop/hip-hop music album with Comedy Central Records. Whenever available, he performs with his sketch comedy group “Heavy Weight,” with Brady Novak, Mark Raterman and Nick Vatterott.

Comedy Central has featured him on their “Hot List” special which focused on the top 10 stand-up comedians of the moment, and even though that moment has passed, he’s still on that list, and will remain there for the forseeable future!

I have no idea how he had the time to give me the interview he gave me what with fielding all those projects. In the short space of time we spent together riffing on all kinds of things, some of which even made sense, and were actually very funny, he fielded three different offers for new films! (While his manager was standing in the corner!)

I left him to prepare for his hosting role, which is different than his bakery roll, and even spelled differently. But not before I gave him a copy of my new book “Make ‘Em Laugh” with Chris Rock, and signed it for him by his request saying “You can never have too many scarves!” It also gave me an opportunity to get yet another photo and experience more of the range of his face-making ability!

T.J. Miller holding a copy of Jeffrey Gurian’s book “Make ‘Em Laugh” in a humorous, and original way! Even holding a book this man is funny!

The line-up of the show was fantastic, with a real variety of different comedic styles, fortunately the one thing they all had in common was that they were all funny!

T.J. Miller onstage hosting AXS-TV’s Gotham Comedy Live, produced by Killer Bunny Entertainment!

I got there early to watch the rehearsal as I always like to see what goes on behind the scenes. That to me is where the magic is. So much goes into the making of a show. And this show goes out “LIVE”, so there’s little room for error! I went down to the green room to say “hi” to the cast.

It was Calise Hawkins, who as soon as she saw me started laughing about our interview last July in Montreal up at the Just for Laughs’ Festival where for some reason she felt she was slurring her words. There’s not much time to eat in Montreal during the festival so the drinks feel more potent!

Calise Hawkins of the wonderful, big hair, (which I totally respect! LOL) onstage at Gotham Comedy Live!

Then I turned around to see Keith Robinson, who also gave me a hysterically funny interview in Montreal. He happened to be sitting with the very funny Chelsea Peretti who you can see very often on Chelsea Handler’s show “Chelsea Lately”, and who recently did a star turn on “Kroll Show” playing an aspiring singer named Farley who wants Bobby Bottleservice to manage her!

Keith is a great guy and a real talent. The audience really responds well to him and his material. He had so many great lines, but one line that really stuck out for me was when he was talking about how people are offended so easily these days, because everything is so Politically Correct. But only people with good jobs can get fired for saying something seemingly offensive. You never hear anyone say, “What happened to Earl the dishwasher?” Oh, he got fired for his homophobic Tweets!”

(L-R) Yannis Pappas, Keith Robinson, T.J. MIller, Calise Hawkins, and Bill Dawes taking their bows onstage at Gotham Comedy Live!

And then in talking about gun control, he riffed on people saying that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Keith was like, “Guns do kill people. You never hear of a mass choking do you?”

Yannis Pappas was also on the bill. I always mean to ask him if his background is Greek! No one dresses up in the comedy world, and Yannis is no exception. He came out in like a sweatshirt and sneakers, and said to the audience, ” I don’t know if you can tell by my appearance, but this is what an adult looks like these days!”

Yannis Pappas at rehearsal waiting to be called onstage by host T.J. Miller!

Commenting on family, Yannis went on to say that our parents and grandparents worked so hard to make sure their kids had a better life than they did, and my generation doesn’t even want to have kids so they don’t ruin our lives!”

And Bill Dawes was an LA comic who I hadn’t seen before but I was really glad I got the chance. He said Latin women tend not to get drunk cause you can’t drink when you’re pregnant!

He also told about a threesome he was invited to join. Two guys and a girl. He said, that’s basically gay sex with a witness!” (I always felt the same way! Much too awkward!) But he showed up anyway, and said he was going hard for an hour when finally he said, “Hey, when’s that girl gonna show up?” That is HYSTERICAL!!!

Yannis Pappas, T.J. Miller, Calise Hawkins, and Bill Dawes. Keith Robinson was hiding in Calise Hawkins’ hair!

So afterwards when I went looking for him to congratulate him, I found him outside the Men’s Room, talking to two of his old friends, who had just seen the show, and I had to stand on the side awkwardly waiting for them to finish their conversation so I could congratulate him. I’m sure everyone has experienced something like that. You hope the conversation will go fast, but as it drags on you just finding yourself standing there like an eavesdropper! (LOL)

You don’t want to interrupt because no one knows who you are, but at some point you have to when it goes past ten minutes and you’re feeling like an idiot standing there listening to someone else’s conversation that you’re not a part of. It’s almost funny, but mostly in retrospect!(LOL)

Anyway, I finally interrupted and got to tell him how funny I thought he was, at which point he was joined by some of my old friends including Caron Bernstein the South African model, who was there with her husband. Caron and I go back a long way, and it was great to see her!

Caron Bernstein, with Noel Ashman looking on as Jeffrey Gurian does emergency “Healing” work on Caron’s sprained ankle!

A perfect end to a fun evening!

Anyway, T.J. Miller is actually headlining Gotham for another three shows tonight, so make sure you get out and see him. The snow wasn’t as bad as they predicted, so you really have no excuse not to go! And when you get there, … tell him I sent you!

www.HyperSmash.com

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Anthony Anderson’s Mixtape Comedy Show Celebrates Four Years at Gotham Comedy Club!

Anthony Anderson and Royale Watkins should be very proud. For the last four years, at the beautiful Gotham Comedy Club on West 23rd Street in NYC, on the third Sunday of every month, they have been putting on their Mixtape Comedy Show which is a very cool mix of Comedy and Hip-Hop, my two favorite things.

Anthony Anderson and Royale Watkins holding it down onstage at a previous Mixtape Comedy Show at Gotham Comedy Club!

To be able to sustain a show for fours years especially in New York City, where there is so much to choose from, is a major accomplishment. They never tell you who is appearing until you get there, but it’s always great talent. Two other people who should be very proud are Byron Ward and Kristen J. Eddy who produce the show.

Anthony flies in from LA whenever he can, and adds a little extra “Anthony Anderson flava” to the show. For the fourth anniversary “Bow-Legged Lou” from Full Force opened the show and introduced Royale Watkins to the stage. Royale warmed up the crowd as he usually does, and talked about being one of 14 kids in his family. Finally one day he had to take his mother aside and tell her, “You know, there ain’t much more room around here for any other people!”

Then he brought Nick Griffin to the stage.

Nick Griffin onstage at Gotham Comedy Club for the 4th anniversary of Mixtape Comedy!

Nick has a very interesting, low-key delivery and I notice things like that, because among other things, I also consider myself a student of comedy! He’s so relaxed it almost seems like he doesn’t care, which is part of the art.

Nick explains that guys want abs so that when we go to have sex and take off our shirts, the girl takes one look and we go, ” You made the right choice honey!”

He said he was married three years and got divorced. They were supposed to be together till one of them died. Nick says he never even had a fever!

In talking about how perfect Brad Pitt is he wondered, “What did he do, pull a thorn out of G-d’s paw?” What does he have left to pray for? Like Brad Pitt starts to pray and thinks about it for a minute and then goes, ” “Ohhh, no, forget it, I’m good!”

Wil Sylvince is always a crowd pleaser! His imitation of his Haitian father’s accent always brings down the house, and his father would complain if Wil got bad grades in English and demand to know why. Wil would say, “Well maybe the English I have at home is not the English I have at school” and use the example of his Dad questioning him about someone stealing the doors from their home, “Who took de door from de door?”

Wil Sylvince killing it as he always does at Mixtape Comedy!

Wil also said his rent was “$850. a month with utensils!” That’s hysterical!

One surprise guest was Sherri Shepherd from The View. I’ve been running into Sherri a lot recently and she’s always very funny. She’s newly married and was afraid to use her reading glasses in front of her husband because she didn’t want him to think she can’t see.

Mixtape producer Kristen J. Eddy with comedienne extraordinaire, and The View co-host Sherri Shepherd!

They did a fantasy thing where they checked into a hotel and made believe they didn’t know each other. Sherri acted like a hooker and her husband cheated on her with HER!

People in the hotel recognized her and said, ” Aren’t you Sherri Shepherd, and she said ” No, I’m Star Jones!”

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Richie Tienken owner/founder of The Comic Strip, Sherri Shepherd holding Jeffrey and Richie’s book ” Make ‘Em Laugh”!

The big surprise of the evening was when Chris Rock stopped by to do a set. That was really amazing. What a gift to have Chris come by and do a guest spot on your show.

Chris talked about so many things. For instance he said the new Freedom Tower should be called “The Never Going In There Tower”, cause I ain’t never going in there! I don’t care if Tyra Banks is in there naked with a plate of ribs. I ain’t goin’ in there!

Then he talked about the TV commercials on MLK weekend using slogans like, “These Toyotas are so low priced they’re practically “free at last”, … free at last!”

He said the first Black diver went underwater to escape racism, and went on to talk about how the first Black person to do anything never has any fun. Like the first Black gymnast, Gabby Douglas, when she became a star old Black ladies were crying, “Remember when we couldn’t flip?” That visual alone was hysterical!

Chris Rock onstage at Gotham for the 4th anniversary of the Mixtape Comedy Show!

And then Chris told the story of how he was at the White House and found himself alone talking to Michelle Obama, and something about it just felt wrong. He was like, “I shouldn’t be talking to Michelle Obama with nobody else around! She’s really the First Lady of The United States and I’m talking to her like she was one of the Atlanta Housewives! Suddenly she faked like she saw Oprah and took off, and he told her not to worry it was “Aiight!”

Then he felt he had to look for someone of his level of intelligence so he scouted out Charles Barkley and Jay-Z. And in talking about Stevie Wonder’s performance he said it was so good, he put some extra “blind” into that shit! Only Chris Rock could say that and make it so funny!

Chris wrote a hysterically funny introduction to my new book “Make ‘Em Laugh”, about the 35 year history of The Comic Strip, the club where he was discovered by Eddie Murphy back in 1986. It was great to see him again as always!

What a super show! Can’t wait for next month!

www.HyperSmash.com

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Jim Breuer Guests on VH1’s Big Morning Buzz with Carrie Keagan

Comic extraordinaire Jim Breuer, stopped by VH1’s Big Morning Buzz Live recently to add a little of his high energy to the show! The former SNL cast member, who made himself a household name with unforgettable characters like Goat Boy is also an incredible impressionist.

Jim Breuer and Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV at Gotham Comedy Club in NYC!

He shared some of his famous celebrity impressions with host Carrie Keagan, and talked about his upcoming tour, describing himself as “Bill Cosby in a Metallica shirt.” Breuer even revealed the funny story behind introducing his dad to Sylvester Stallone on ‘Saturday Night Live.’

Check out these two cool video clips of Breuer on the show.

Jim Breuer On Why He Doesn’t Swear On His New Comedy Tour

Jim Breuer On Introducing His Dad To Sylvester Stallone On ‘Saturday Night Live’

Jim also appears in a very funny interview he gave me for my new book “Make ‘Em Laugh” with Chris Rock. Chris wrote a special hysterically funny intro for the book, which is about the 35 year history of the legendary comedy club “The Comic Strip”, known as the home for huge stars like Jerry Seinfeld, Ray Romano, Lisa Lampanelli, Lewis Black, and Eddie Murphy, and the club where Eddie discovered Chris back in 1986.

(L-R) Richie Tienken, owner/founder of The Comic Strip, Jim Breuer, and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV after Jim’s interview for the book ” Make ‘Em Laugh”!

www.HyperSmash.com

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Chris Tucker In A Rare Appearance with Ron, from Ron and Fez On Sirius Radio

I got to see Ron Bennington’s talent up close and personal recently when he interviewed me for a segment on Ron and Fez, his long-running show on Sirius Radio.

Fez Whatley, Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, and Ron Bennington up at Sirius Radio for the Ron and Fez show!

He does his homework, and knows what to ask in a way that makes you feel really comfortable, plus it’s totally unrushed. So I understood why Chris Tucker, who rarely does any press, would agree to do an episode of “Unmasked”, an interview segment that Ron does with only the biggest comedy stars.

I was one of a small, select group who got invited to attend the interview up at the Sirius studios, where I’ve been spending a lot of time lately doing press for my new book ” Make ‘Em Laugh” with Chris Rock, and Richie Tienken the owner/founder of the legendary comedy club “The Comic Strip.”

Richie Tienken, Chris Rock, and Jeffrey Gurian at The Comic Strip, the club where Chris was discovered!

Richie discovered both Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock, and managed Eddie from his early days on SNL as a featured player though his starring role in Beverly Hills Cop 2, when he was arguably the biggest star in the world.

Anyway, Ron started off the interview by telling Chris how everyone loved him, which is true. He’s such a likeable guy, both onscreen and off. But he made his rise to the top sound too easy, and Ron got lots of laughs acknowledging that, and saying that it’s supposed to be much harder to make a name for yourself in comedy, than it was for Chris.

Chris started out as a class clown, which is a skill never truly acknowledged by anyone’s parents or teachers. As Ron said, no one says, ” Your child may only be in the 3rd grade but he’s funny at a 10th grade level!” Which is a great premise for a stand-up bit.

Chris grew up in Decatur, Georgia and made his comedy debut right there, even though he was underage. One of the headliners from a big club in Atlanta took a liking to Chris and said he wouldn’t perform if Chris wasn’t allowed to come in.

He moved to LA in 1992, and got picked for the 2nd season of Def Comedy Jam where he got to perform with Bernie Mac, and according to him, was the thing that really got him seen. Then in 1995 he got to do his first Friday film with Ice Cube. That really put him on the map.

Ron joked that every day Ice Cube wakes up asking if Chris Tucker called about being in his 4th Friday movie which he’s currently writing, and wants Chris to be in!

Chris’ role as Johnny Booze in Houseparty 3 was what got him an agent, and Ron also brought up his many faceted relationships with such major and varied people as Michael Jackson, Bill Clinton and Bono from U2. How many comics can lay claim to something like that??? (Redundant question, … no answer required!)

Heavy D had seen him performing at The Comedy Store and asked him to be in his video which is how ho got to meet Brett Ratner, and what eventually led him to be in Rush Hour with Jackie Chan.

His Mom was a missionary and his grandfather was a preacher, and Chris talked about tracing his African ancestry to both Cameroon and Angola, but when he went back there he said no one looked like him. There was no “tribe of Chris Tuckers!” (LOL)

These days he’s very particular about what films he appears in, and according to Ron has turned down over 100 million dollars worth of work, which he smilingly agreed with. And then afterwards seemed shocked as the reality hit him, of the enormity of what he had turned down!

One of the things that Chris Tucker said during his interview was that he was a big fan of Eddie Murphy, and that Eddie was a big influence on his career. So when the interview was over, Ron took me over to meet Chris and I was able to give him a copy of the book about the club where his idol Eddie Murphy started out.

He seemed really thrilled to get it and said he was looking forward to reading it, after I got the chance to tell him a few of the stories in the book, including how Eddie discovered Chris in 1986.

To tell you the truth, I was so excited to meet him I don’t remember what I wrote in it, but I do recall saying I was a huge fan of his. Then we posed for some photos, and I was out!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Chris Tucker, up at Sirius Radio with Ron and Fez, holding Jeffrey’s book with Chris Rock called “Make ‘Em Laugh”, about the 35 year history of The Comic Strip!

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Clayton Morris from Fox News Wins NY’s Funniest Reporter Contest

Seven years ago, Mark Goldman and Ryan McCormick of powerhouse PR firm Goldman/McCormick came up with a very unique, and surefire way to raise money for charity. For the 7th year in a row, they have produced New York’s Funniest Reporter Show and gotten some of New York’s top TV and print news people/personalities to risk, if not their physical lives, certainly their emotional lives, by getting up on stage and performing five minutes of stand-up comedy.

(L-R) Mark Goldman, and Ryan McCormick of Goldman/McCormick PR onstage at The Comic Strip for their NY’s Funniest Reporter event!

It usually takes place at the legendary comedy club The Comic Strip, the club that launched the careers of such superstars as Jerry Seinfeld, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, and Adam Sandler, and some of the powerful news names that have graced the stage were Ellis Henican, Courtney Friel, Lauren Sivan, Jane Velez-Mitchell, Rob Hoell, Cat Greenleaf, Taryn Winter-Brill, and so many more!

And each year they pick a different charity to benefit from the show. This year was The Humane Society, but the only dog to show up was Wendy Diamond’s dog “Baby Hope” who brought Wendy along with him/her! (I didn’t get a chance to check! LOL)

Judge Judith Regan, holding Baby Hope, with Judge Jeffrey Gurian holding his stomach in, at The Comic Strip!

Wendy, an animal advocate, and the founder of Animal Fair Magazine, comes out every year!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV capturing Wendy Diamond of Animal Fair Magazine in a bear hug, at NY’s Funniest Reporter Show in 2011!

The proceeds of the event will benefit the Lucky Diamond Critical Care Ward at The Humane Society of New York. Lucky Diamond was Wendy’s original dog, a little white Maltese, who unfortunately succumbed to cancer this past year! Wendy and I go back a long ways, as you can see in the photos below!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Wendy and Lucky Diamond back in ’06!

I was honored to be one of the two judges along with my friend, media powerhouse Judith Regan, who now has her own radio show on Sirius/XM radio. Thanks to Judith my book with Chris Rock called “Make ‘Em Laugh” about the 35 year history of The Comic Strip will be in stores as of this Monday, Oct 1, 2012. It was written with owner/founder of The Strip, Richie Tienken.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with his angel Judith Regan holding the book she made possible, “Make ‘Em Laugh”!

This time up they had Greg Kelly Fox 5 news anchor, Clayton Morris who is the co-host of FOX and Friends Weekend, Marianne Garvey from In Touch Weekly, who used to write for Page 6 in the NY Post, the most powerful gossip column in the world, Lauren Lyster from RTTV, Michele Steele, the sports anchor/reporter from ESPN, and Dr. Manny Alvarez, the Senior Managing Health Editor for FOX News Channel.

Marianne Garvey, who looked smoking hot by the way, opened the show with a very strong set about the guy she’s currently with. She got lots of laughs, and wound up coming in first runner up!

Marianne Garvey looking totally “hot” onstage at The Comic Strip! If we ever have a contest for NY’s Sexiest Reporter, she’ll def win!

Greg Kelly was next, because he had to anchor the 10 P.M. news broadcast, and it wouldn’t look good if he missed it because he was on stage doing stand-up comedy, … even at The Comic Strip! They would have sent his Dad, police commissioner Ray Kelly to arrest him! (LOL) So he had to leave before finding out he was the 2nd runner up!

Greg Kelly making ’em laugh right in front of the “Make ‘Em Laugh” poster onstage at The Comic Strip!

Greg had great stage presence and lots of confidence, which is just as important as the jokes sometimes! I told him I hope his Dad runs for Mayor. I think he’d be fantastic! He promised to tell him I said so! (LOL)

Michele Steele from ESPN was up next, and introduced herself as Ann Curry, since she says they are both half Filipino, and that people are always curious as to her ethnicity! Michele wasn’t taking any chances on forgetting her lines, and she openly referred to notes, which is usually only done by the biggest comics trying out new material who don’t particular care how it looks! Michele exuded the confidence of a well known comic and used her notes throughout her whole set!

Michele (Ann Curry) Steele confidently referring to her notes onstage at The Comic Strip!

Lauren Lyster came in all the way from Washington, DC for this contest and had the courage not only to get up and perform, but also to admit that she didn’t prepare anything. That takes real courage as it’s a lot different being funny at a party, or with your friends, than getting up on stage and trying to make strangers laugh with thoughts that YOU think are funny!

Lauren Lyster looking like she’s singing but in reality improv’ing onstage at The Comic Strip!

Dr. Manny Alvarez brought his best bedside manner to the stage and was dressed very casually in what he described as the outfit of a “Latino doctor”, which is very fitting (unlike his shirt! LOL) because he is Cuban! He wore a casual shirt out of his pants that he called his “Cuban-style shirt” and he definitely owned the stage for his set. I guess he gets that confidence from being a doctor.

A very animated Dr. Many Alvarez doing his thing onstage at The Comic Strip! Who says doctors aren’t funny???

Dr. Manny is an OB-GYN specialist, and he “brought it” to the point where his producers were yelling out for him to do a “vagina joke!” He didn’t, although he did make a reference to something called “Penis Soup”, which brings to mind a highly unusual and disturbing visual! (LOL)

I wanted to tell him that I was also a doctor, like I did at the end of my interview with Ken Jeong from the Hangover movies,( who is also a doctor!), but I didn’t get the chance. Hopefully, he’ll read about it here!

Clayton Miller went on last, and I guess it’s true when they say they saved the best for last, because he wound up winning! What Judith and I liked best about Clayton was that he did his homework and really came off as a stand-up. He structured his material the way a real comic would, talking about several things, and linking them together artfully, including being a new Dad, for the second time.

Clayton Morris, from FOX News Channel proudly displaying his award for Funniest Reporter, onstage at The Comic Strip with producers Ryan McCormick and Mark Goldman!

His beautiful wife was there cheering him on and she looked so slim, you’d never know she recently had a baby!

One of his observations was that babies are so small, you can put them anywhere! And then he added the killer tag, “As long as your wife isn’t home!” Then made some mention about balancing the baby on the mantle of the fireplace! That was hysterical!

There were two guest spots, one from last year’s winner Marlaina Schiavo, who showed why she won last year, and that she still had it this year, and WWE wrestling champion, 2 time best selling author, Mick Foley, who I had just seen in Montreal at the end of July, at the 30th annual Just for Laughs festival in Montreal! Mick is the proverbial “Gentle Giant”, and might be scary to face in the ring, but in person is the nicest guy in the world!

Marlaina Schiavo, winner from 2011, showing the audience she hasn’t lost it!

And funny too, which always helps if you wanna be in comedy! (LOL) What’s cool about Mick, (and I was glad I got a chance to say it on camera as the WWE Network was filming him that night for an upcoming special), is that one of the reasons that Mick is so likable on stage is that he’s not afraid to be vulnerable.

Mick Foley, man of many talents including comedy, “killing it” onstage at The Comic Strip!

As big and macho as he is, he’s not afraid to be self-deprecating or talk in a little voice that you wouldn’t even think would come out of a man that big. Add that to his humor and stage presence and you’ve got a budding comedy star. He’s also a favorite of Judith Regan who published both of his best-selling books!

I complimented him on being so comfortable onstage that he even sat down on the stool to talk to the packed crowd! He explained to me that it wasn’t confidence, but body pain that made him sit down! A very down-to-earth, humble guy!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with comedy/wrestling star Mick Foley, and a copy of “Make ‘Em Laugh” at The Comic Strip!

All in all, it was a wonderful night of entertainment thanks to Goldman/McCormick PR. They did it again!

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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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