Posts Tagged Mark Duplass

Steve Rannazzisi From "The League" at Gotham For Comedy Juice

You don’t need to be a fan of football to like FX’s The League. You just have to be a fan of good comedy shows! Comedy Juice at Gotham continues to draw the talent and last week I went down specifically to catch Steve Rannazzisi perform who plays Kevin on The League.

Steve Rannazzisi who plays “Kevin” on FX’s “The League” at Gotham Comedy Club!

Also because any friend of Nick Kroll’s is a friend of mine, .. whether they like it or not! (LOL) They have no choice. I LOVE Nick Kroll, and can’t wait for his new show on Comedy Central, which may or may not be called ” The Nick Show Kroll.”

Nick Kroll, Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, and John Mulaney at a comedy event!

Nick called me out to LA in March to appear in a couple of sketches with him and his good friend, ( and mine!), and writing partner John Mulaney, and when I got the e-mail asking me to be on the “Nick Show Kroll”, with “Nick Show Kroll” in the “Subject” line, I just assumed that whoever had written it had ADHD, and switched the words around, so of course I corrected it! I come from that kind of family where you politely correct other people’s mistakes! (LOL)

Nick Kroll as Gil Faizon on the set in LA with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, who came out to act in some sketches!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV on the Nick Kroll set in LA with John Mulaney in his character as George St. Geegland, an obviously Jewish name if I ever heard one!

But each time I got another e-mail and it said “The Nick Show Kroll” I eventually realized that I was the moron and that that was really the name of the show!

The League was created by the husband-and-wife team of Jeff Schaffer (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld) and Jackie Marcus Schaffer (Disturbia, Eurotrip) who serve as executive producers and directors, and it features an ensemble cast of young actors/comedians who seem to be in every cool project these days.

Mark Duplass (Humpday), for example, who seems to be in every movie and TV show that comes out, plays “Pete,” the perennial league champ who is really giving it his best effort to grow up. I just saw him in “Your Sister’s Sister” in which he was great, and had a cool love scene with his girlfriend’s (Emily Blunt) sister, who was a lesbian, played by Rosemarie DeWitt.

Stephen Rannazzisi (Paul Blart: Mall Cop) is “Kevin,” a happily married father, married to “Jenny,” played by the beautiful and talented Katie Aselton, who in real life is married to Mark Duplass. I told you he stars in EVERYTHING! Even in marrying Katie Aselton! (LOL)

I have a great video interview with both of them on the red carpet of the 2011 Comedy Awards, where they were up for several awards for the film ” Cyrus”, with Jonah Hill and Marisa Tomei, and a few months before Mark’s film ” Jeff Who Lives At Home” came out. They both promised me a role in that film even though it was shot and wrapped at the time! (LOL) Maybe because I’m, “Jeff”??? See it right here!

The fabulous couple of Katie Aselton and Mark Duplass on the red carpet of the Comedy Awards, laughing as they assure me I’d have a part in “Jeff Who Lives At Home” even though the movie was already finished and ready for release!(LOL)

Anyway, Steve as Kevin is also commissioner of the league.

Nick Kroll (Get Him to the Greek) plays Rodney “Ruxin,” a really funny character, who’s supposedly a product liability attorney married to a gorgeous wife “Sophia”, played by Nadine Velazquez. Ruxin believes he’s the smartest of the group, but is very paranoid and is always trying to figure out how the other guys are screwing him over.

Then there’s “Andre,” played by Paul Scheer (Human Giant), who is the brunt of many jokes by this group of friends, who have been friends since high school days, even though he is now a successful plastic surgeon.

And then there’s comic Jon Lajoie as “Taco,” Kevin’s little brother, who splits his time between being a musician and getting totally wasted, to the point where he doesn’t even remember who his friends are.

Anyway, the Comedy Juice show was hosted by Ross Gutin, who projects so well he didn’t need a mic, … and that’s a big room! He reminded me a little bit of a young Mario Cantone, and I mean that as a compliment!

I also got to see Louis Katz who’s had his own Comedy Central special, (as opposed to having someone else’s Comedy Central special, I guess! LOL) and he’s very funny in a way you don’t expect, judging by his outward personna, which is why they tell you not to judge a book by it’s bibliography! (I think that’s what they say!)

Louis Katz on stage at Gotham, telling about German traditions, for the Comedy Juice show with Steve Rannazzisi!

Louis commented that the tradition of the USA is to be ignorant of the traditions of other countries! For instance, he explained, in Germany it’s considered rude to leave your hat on while taking a dump on someone’s chest!

Steve Rannazzisi from “The League”, killing it onstage at Gotham for the Comedy Juice show!

Steve Rannazzisi had lots of memorable lines, but the one that stuck out for me was “the hardest part of leaving my family to go out on the road is not smiling while I’m packing!”

I was glad to see he drew such a big crowd, and I hope he remembers to give my regards to Nick Kroll, Katie Aselton, and Mark Duplass!

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Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Mike Birbiglia in "Your Sister’s Sister"

I get to see a lot of films before they hit the theatres and that is one of the perks of writing Comedy Matters for so many years. This week I had the pleasure of seeing Sundance award-winning filmmaker Lynn Shelton’s fourth feature film “Your Sister’s Sister”, and when I use the word “pleasure” I really mean it. The film was great!

Interestingly enough when I heard the title it reminded me of Mike Birbiglia’s My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, not knowing that he was even in this film. As the film opened on a group scene where friends gathered to remember their friend Tom who had passed away, it was all about Mike Birbiglia. He had the entire opening of the film, and it was great.

An unclear shot of Mike Birbiglia onscreen in “Your Sister’s Sister”, and I think he’s wearing his own clothes in this shot!

I tried shooting some screen shots but it didn’t work out that well, mostly because I was so startled to see him up there, I couldn’t stop watching to get a grip on my camera! (LOL)

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV backstage with Mike Birbiglia when he first did “Sleepwalk With Me” back in 2008.

Mike was recently in Sundance showing his own film “Sleepwalk With Me” which I saw when he did it live at the Bleecker Street Theatre. The New York Times called it “simply perfect”, and it was named “Comedy of the Year” by Time Out New York.

Richie Tienken, Mike Birbiglia, and Jeffrey Gurian at The Comic Strip after Mike filmed a scene for Sundance!

He came into The Comic Strip one night before he went to Sundance, to shoot a scene of him performing onstage to play over the credits of Sleepwalk With Me. That’s when I did this little video:

Mark Duplass is absolutely everywhere and for good reason. He’s incredibly talented, and he’s as nice as he is talented! The first time I met him was at a press junket for the film Cyrus which he wrote with his brother Jay, and which starred Marisa Tomei, John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill. It garnered well deserved rave reviews.

Jay Duplass with his arm around his brother Mark Duplass at the press conference for Cyrus their hit film starring Marisa Tomei, John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill!

I interviewed them both and then got to see Mark again on the red carpet of the First Annual Comedy Central Comedy Awards. He was with his beautiful wife Katie Aselton who is also an actor, co-stars with him in FX’s The League, and appeared in Cyrus as well. They assured me there was a part for me in their upcoming film “Jeff Who Lives At Home” even though it had already been shot and was ready to be released! (LOL)

Mark Duplass and his wife Katie Aselton from The League, on the red carpet of The Comedy Awards, holding up four fingers to show me how many awards they were up for!

You can see that right here in this red carpet video interview from my Comedy Matters TV channel:

When I was out in LA recently to shoot some sketches for Nick Kroll’s new show “The Nick Show Kroll” on Comedy Central, everyone on set was friends with Mark Duplass. Nick, as Ruxin, is one of the stars on FX’s hit show “The League”, and Mark and his wife Katie Aselton also star on that show as well. Mark is definitely everywhere you look these days, and deservedly so.

In “Your Sister’s Sister” Mark plays Jack, the brother of Tom who died recently. Tom’s girlfriend Iris, played by the fantastic Emily Blunt, is Jack’s best friend and because he is emotionally spent she offers him her family cabin on an island in the Pacific Northwest so that he can just chill and get back to himself.

Emily Blunt in a serious onscreen moment with Rosemarie DeWitt in “Your Sister’s Sister.”

Mark Duplass in an on-screen close-up from “Your Sister’s Sister” opening June 15th, 2012!

The cabin is supposedly empty, but when Jack arrives he finds Iris’s sister Hannah there, beautifully played by Rosemarie DeWitt, who just happens to be a Lesbian trying to get over the break-up of a 7 year relationship.

Rosemarie DeWitt in an onscreen moment, making a facial expression that makes her look like Diane Keaton in early Woody Allen movies. Tell me if you agree!

They proceed to get really drunk and despite the fact that she has no interest in men, they wind up in bed together, with some really unpredictable consequences. I really loved this scene because I have been friends with some women of that proclivity and I could swear we had an attraction to each other, which I found both very freeing and kind of exciting.

Things get even more complicated when Iris shows up unexpectedly the next day, and is thrilled to see her sister, but wonders how she and Jack spent the evening. I won’t tell you any more, because it’s too good, and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.

Iris ( Emily Blunt) and Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) having a sisterly talk in bed in “Your Sister’s Sister!”

I understand a lot of the movie was improv’ed which is incredible because that is just so hard to do, but it tends to give you more of a real feel as opposed to someone who memorized all of their lines. It must be very draining especially during the confrontational scenes which are very powerful in this film.

The film brought out some very interesting points to me, one of the most important being that you can have a terrible, all-out battle with someone you love, and if you step away from it for a few days, it tends to resolve itself. Sometimes distance is necessary to allow yourself to think clearly and to allow your heart to heal a little bit.

This is a heart-warming, thoughtful film that definitely needs to be seen, so go out and see it! It opens on Friday June 15th. Don’t even wait till then, go figure out a way to see it tonight!

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My Excellent LA Adventure With Nick Kroll and John Mulaney

Some years ago at one of the many Friars Roasts I had written for, someone told this joke, ” Someone broke into the William Morris office this past weekend and stole a million promises!” Now it didn’t necessarily have to be the William Morris office. It could have been any agency, or entertainment group. The point was that in “the biz” people make a lot of promises they don’t keep.

Nick Kroll, Jeffrey Gurian, and John Mulaney! What we look like when we’re not in character! (LOL)

Not so with Nick Kroll and John Mulaney. Both had been telling me for quite a while that they wanted me to be in their “Oh, Hello” sketches. These guys have been friends since college at Georgetown,when John who was a Freshman when Nick was a senior, had to audition for Nick to be in the campus Improv group. They’ve been friends and writing partners ever since. It would be hard to find two nicer and more talented guys!

So anyway, one day I’m at home working with my assistants when the phone rings and it’s Inman Young, the producer of Nick’s upcoming show on Comedy Central, “The Nick Show Kroll”, which is due to come out this summer. He says, Nick asked him to call me and invite me to be in some “Oh, Hello” sketches, and would I be interested! Of course I told him “No”,and that I was insulted that he asked! (LOL)

Producer Inman Young, with Jeffrey Gurian on the set of “The Nick Show Kroll!”

What I actually told him was that I’d pay HIM to do those sketches, and how soon did he need me to be out in LA???

The funny thing was when I started getting e-mails from the production people who were handling the details, the e-mails were labeled ” The Nick Show Kroll” and I corrected the first couple thinking the person just had A.D.H.D. and switched the words around. No one said anything, but when they kept coming like that, I checked and found out that I was the moron and that the show WAS actually called ” The Nick Show Kroll.”

First day on the set was very exciting. They were kind enough to send someone to pick me up which was very nice and took away the fear that I wouldn’t find the location and I’d miss the shoot! That someone turned out to be Peter Moses, a guy working his way up in production.

My guide and driver Peter Moses on the set of “The Nick Show Kroll!”

When I arrived Inman was there to greet me, and was very accommodating. He has a ton of credits in producing comedy, from Mad TV, to the new film High Road, with Lizzy Caplan, to The Comedians of Comedy with Zach Galifianakis, and Brian Posehn.

They took me to my trailer at the base camp, (Yes, I actually had a room in a trailer!) where I could change and relax while waiting to go on set. Stage Manager Toby Burge made sure I had everything I needed, including a made to order sandwich before it was officially time to eat!

And both Louis Tocchet the 1st A.D., and Giselle Gurza Junco, the 2nd A.D., went out of their way to make sure I was comfortable at all times! Thanks guys!!!

This was a huge, major production, with a tremendous crew, and tons of locations. Most projects are happy to have a director at all! This one had a 1st and 2nd A.D.! (LOL) It all spoke to how much Comedy Central thinks of Nick Kroll.

Nick has such a great team behind him. I got to meet producer John Levenstein, who had been a writer, consulting producer, and co-executive producer for the hit show Arrested Development.

Then the hair and make-up people came over to say hello, and quickly realized they had nothing to do. I did let one girl touch my hair a little bit, but when I told her she was making me nervous, she said she understood and left! (LOL)

Then wardrobe came over, looked at the clothing I had brought, and quickly agreed that I did not need their services! (LOL) After all I was playing myself, so it behooved me to look as much like myself as possible.

I had actually met myself once, ( many years before!), and kind of remembered what I looked like, so it was easier for me to try and re-create that look than it was for anyone else to attempt it!

At one point I told John I had to go to my trailer and get into costume, and he said, ” Aren’t you already in costume?” And I had to admit that I had something a little more fun in mind. A nice pink jacket I had brought from New York!

Nick is so talented, I would actually put him in the category of my old friend Phil Hartman who was one of the most respected character performers in the business. Everyone on SNL always respected Phil as one of the best. I think with characters like Bobby Bottleservice, Fabrice Fabrice, and Gil Faizon, Nick will be seen the same way.

Phil Hartman and Jeffrey Gurian at Jeffrey’s piano in his living room, circa 1992, The Year of the Moustache!

I can not divulge anything about what the sketches were about, except to say they were “Oh, Hello” sketches, but I was in them not only with Nick, (Gil Faizon), and John, (George St. Geegland), but also with celebrated actress Karen Black, who was once up for an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress. She was so much fun to work with as well, and as the Director Jon Krisel, who created and directs IFC’s Portlandia with SNL’s Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, allowed us to improvise a bit, she wound up calling me “Galvani”, and in doing so afforded me an extended bit in the sketch we were doing.

Jeffrey (Galvani) Gurian, Gil Faizon, Karen Black, and George St. Geegland on the set of The Nick Show Kroll!

Jeffrey Gurian with director Jon Krisel, who also co-created and directs Portlandia with Fred Armisen, on the IFC Channel!

The second day of the shoot, I got there in time for lunch and was pleasantly surprised to find myself in the company of Ed Helms, of The Hangover movies and his newest one just released, ” Jeff, Who Lives At Home”, by Mark and Jay Duplass. In an earlier Comedy Matters TV video,at Comedy Central’s First Annual Comedy Awards, Mark promised me a part in “Jeff” although it had already been shot, edited and wrapped! (LOL)

Also on set was Jason Mantzoukas, who plays Rafi in FX’s The League, and will soon be co-starring in the new Sacha Baron Cohen film “The Dictator” which everyone is excitedly waiting to see, Adam Pally who plays Adam Blum in ABC’s Happy Endings, Jon Daly from the UCB group Mr. A$$, who is also a producer on Nick’s show, and all around “macher”, ( which is a very technical term! LOL), Owen Burke from UCB, Seth Morris a comic/sketch guy from TV and films, who also writes for this new Nick Kroll show, and Brian Huskey who plays Chet on Adult Swim’s Children’s Hospital, and is a regular on the Onion News Network.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Ed Helms, from The Hangover movies and Jeff, Who Lives At Home!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Jason Mantzoukas of The Mantzoukas Brothers, and The League on FX! ( Wait till he hears about the battery-operated beard I invented! He’s gonna love it!) )

Most of these guys, ( if not all!), are UCB guys, who know and like each other and happen to be on the “hippest”, most cutting-edge shows on the air. It was quite a crew, and they all made me feel very at home. As a matter of fact, I can’t tell you how many people on Nick’s team did their homework on me, and were familiar with things I have done. Ed Helms in particular was very kind and generous, and shared a very cool story with me which will be for a future post.

The reason I say he was kind and generous is when we broke for lunch, the entire table was filled with all the guys, so I sat down at an adjoining table by myself, which happened to be in the direct sun! In LA that’s HOT!!!

It almost felt like high school again in the cafeteria when you were hoping to sit with the cool kids, but there was no room. I’m older now and more grounded,( hopefully! LOL) so it wasn’t exactly the same, but Ed looked over and said, ” Jeff, you’re gonna melt over there. Come and join us!”, and he moved over and made room for me next to him. That is the sign of a kind, caring, and gracious person! It may seem like a small thing but it was a HUGE kindness! Thank you Ed!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Ed Helms on the set of Nick Kroll’s new show on Comedy Central!

Seth Morris and Owen Burke on the set of The Nick Show Kroll!

Lunch with the boys, (L-R) Brian Huskey, John Mulaney, Adam Pally, Jon Daley, Joe Mande, Jeffrey Gurian, Jon Krisel, Nick Kroll, Jason Mantzoukas, and Owen Burke! Ed Helms had to take a call!

All I’ll say about the second day of shooting was that it involved a lot of tuna fish, and I personally came away smelling not too good, unless you’re the kind of guy who likes the scent of tuna fish!

In my sketch, I also had to try and keep up with Nick and John which was hard because they’ve been bouncing stuff off each other for years, and have so many inside jokes. We got good feedback from the people present, so I think, (and HOPE!) it came off well!

After the shoot, we shot a little video for Comedy Matters TV with Nick and John in character as Gil and George and it was HILARIOUS! It will be posted as soon as it’s edited, so stay tuned!

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Mark and Jay Duplass Score With "Jeff Who Lives At Home"

In 2002, Mark and Jay Duplass, writer/director brothers from New Orleans, were ready to pack it in. They hadn’t been having much success, until they decided to make one last try where Mark improvised a character having a breakdown while trying to record a message on an answering machine. This short film called ” This Is John” made it into Sundance, and got them representation, leading to two feature films.

(L-R) Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass, brother writer/directors at the press junket for Cyrus starring Jonah Hill, John C. Reilly, and Marisa Tomei!

Isn’t that the greatest story of synchronicity you ever heard? ( Well at least one of them??? LOL)

Just when you’re ready to give up, The Universe steps in and brings you the inspiration you need. They went on to make “The Puffy Chair” in 2005, followed by “Baghead” a horror/comedy which they made in 2008.

I met them at a press junket for their award winning film Cyrus which they made in 2010, with a fantastic cast, starring Jonah Hill, John C. Reilly, and Marisa Tomei, and got a really fun interview. Cyrus was the official selection at the SXSW Film Festival that year.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Academy Award winner Marisa Tomei!

A short time later, I ran into Mark and his beautiful actress wife Katie Aselton on the red carpet of the Comedy Central First Annual Comedy Awards, where Cyrus was up for four awards, Jonah Hill for Best Actor, Mark and Jay for Best Comedy Director, Best Comedy Film, and Best Writer.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing Mark Duplass and Katie Aselton on the red carpet of Comedy Central’s Comedy Awards!

Katie Aselton with husband Mark Duplass showing Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV how many awards Cyrus was up for!

During the interview which you can see below, they told me about their next film called “Jeff Who Lives At Home”, which I thought was going to be about me! At least Katie said it was! It also has a fantastic cast, starring Ed Helms, Susan Sarandon, Judy Greer, and Jason Segal, as the “Jeff” character, a 30 year old stoner who still lives at home with his Mom, and obsesses on the concept that our lives are controlled by fate. It’s a black comedy!

Mark assured me that even though it was wrapped and edited, he was still going to find a place for me in it! Maybe he meant in the audience! (LOL) You watch and see for yourselves!

Mark Duplass and Katie Aselton laughing assuring Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV that they would get him a part in “Jeff Who Lives At Home” despite the fact that the film was finished! (LOL)

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Look Who Reads Comedy Matters-Richard Lewis, Jon Stewart, Lisa Lampanelli & So Many More!!!

I’ve been doing so many red carpets lately and am thrilled to see how many big stars read “Comedy Matters.”  if you don’t believe me, watch for yourself, ( and then tell everyone you know!  Even if they’re sleeping.  Wake them up and tell them! Even if they’re very tired.  Trust me, they’ll be grateful!)

Lisa Lampanelli with Jeffrey at The Donald Trump Roast after telling Jeffrey she reads Comedy Matters every time she forgets to delete it! (LOLOLOL)

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