Posts Tagged “Michael Urie”

My Day with VIP Talent Connect

When I was just starting out as a comedy writer, I didn’t know one person in the entertainment business.  I had to go out and meet each and every person I ever met on my own.  If I had known of a company that could arrange for me to meet people in the entertainment business I would have jumped on it, but it didn’t exist.

Now it does.  Alycia Kaback’s V.I.P. Talent Connect, does just that, in a very helpful and professional way.  This past Saturday. Dec. 14th, 2013 I spent the entire day at Carolines on Broadway, addressing and meeting with young people who wanted to break into “the biz.”

The day starts around 8 A.M. and goes until 5 P.M. and the attendees get to hear presentations from people like 5-time Billboard Magazine Award winner, and #1 N.Y. radio personality Valerie Smaldone, award winning record producer Phil Nicolo, who has producued albums with stars ranging from Bob Dylan to Nine Inch Nails, and prolific Broadway and Off-Broadway Producer Pat Addiss, who has her name on so many shows including the longest running show in the world, “The Fantasticks”, as well as the new hit Off-Broadway show “Buyer & Cellar” starring the incredibly talented star from “Ugly Betty”, Michael Urie.

Jeffrey Gurian with radio personality/voice-over specialist Valerie Smaldone!

Jeffrey Gurian with radio personality/voice-over specialist Valerie Smaldone!

 

Broadway and Off-Broadway producer Pat Addiss onstage at Carolines on Broadway!

Broadway and Off-Broadway producer Pat Addiss onstage at Carolines on Broadway!

Michael was there as well to do a presentation, and I was so happy to see him again.  I had last seen him at the Friars Club Comedy Film Festival when he made his directorial feature debut with the indie film ” He’s Way More Famous Than You”, written by Halley Feiffer and Ryan Spahn, both of whom were there, and featuring Ben Stiller, Mamie Gummer, Ralph Maccio, Natasha Lyonne, Jesse Eisenberg, and of course Michael Urie who co-starred as well as directed the film.

The marquee for "He's Way More Famous Than You", Michael Urie's directorial debut!

The marquee for “He’s Way More Famous Than You”, Michael Urie’s directorial debut!

Michael Urie, Jeffrey Gurian, and Ryan Spahn at the Friars Club Comedy Film Festival premiere of "He's Way More Famous Than You", which was the opening night film!

Michael Urie, Jeffrey Gurian, and Ryan Spahn at the Friars Club Comedy Film Festival premiere of “He’s Way More Famous Than You”, which was the opening night film!

Each of the speakers gave a 15 minute presentation followed by a Q&A while onstage.

Michael came to VIP even though he had a performance that afternoon in his one-man hit show “Buyer and Cellar”, at the Barrow STreet Theatre.   I was called to go onstage to do my presentation right before he was, and because I was concerned about him getting out on time, I cut my Q&A a little bit short, because I knew I could stay all afternoon to answer questions, and he had to leave and fight traveling in the snow.

Jeffrey Gurian with Michael Urie at Carolines for the VIP Talent event!

Jeffrey Gurian with Michael Urie at Carolines for the VIP Talent event!

I will definitely be seeing “Buyer and Cellar” right after the holidays! But you shouldn’t wait and should probably go tonight, no matter what time it is when you read this!  Even if the theatre is already closed!   just go!

And tell them I sent you! (LOL)

The playbill ad for "Buyer and Cellar" the one man show starring the tour de force that is Michael Urie!

The playbill ad for “Buyer and Cellar” the one man show starring the tour de force that is Michael Urie!

Despite a freezing snowstorm, lots of people showed up for this event, and the attendees got more than their money’s worth.  Aspiring models like Nina Tang, Kristina Beepot, and Ann Sekyiwah got to meet Ryan Colby from Colby KMM Models, and everyone gets a photo shoot and 8×10’s with a resume and bio to hand out to the industry speakers.  I personally met many talented young people who I know will be some of tomorrow’s stars.

Jeffrey Gurian with Ann Sekyiwah at Carolines!

Jeffrey Gurian with Ann Sekyiwah at Carolines!

As I said, I wish I had a VIP Talent company when I was coming up, but what can you do?  I had to do it the hard way!

 

Posted in: Books, Broadway Show, Celeb Photos, Comedians In The News, Comedy Clubs, Comedy Events, Comedy Matters, Hot Models, Jeffrey Gurian News, Nightlife Events, Off-Broadway Show, Red Carpet Events

Leave a Comment (0) →

He’s Way More Famous Than You at AMC Loews

Most movies I don’t even see once, so it’s extremely rare that I see a movie twice. Halley Feiffer’s “He’s Way More Famous Than You” was the opening night film of this year’s Friars Club Comedy Film Festival, which was the first time I saw it, and I felt compelled to see it again.

Film poster for “He’s Way More Famous Than You!”, now playing at the AMC Loew’s in the East Village!

What’s so interesting about this film,… besides it being really funny,… is that some of it is based in truth with all of the characters playing themselves.

Halley Feiffer plays a sweet, sensitive alcoholic who had a small part in Noah Baumbach’s 2005 film “The Squid and the Whale.” In real life she played Jesse Eisenberg’s girlfriend in that very same film. In HWMFTY she finds herself struggling in life and her career. She loses her agent, her boyfriend, played by Michael Churnus, and what’s left of her career, and goes out to make a movie that will put her on top.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with the super-funny and talented Halley Feiffer, co-writer and star of “He’s Way More Famous Than You!” To Halley’s right you can see almost every part of Michael Churnus except his face! (LOL) 

Through many funny contrivances, and lots of begging, with a touch of synchronicity thrown in, she gets an amazing star-studded cast like Ben Stiller, Natasha Lyonne, Mamie Gummer, Ralph Maccio, Jesse Eisenberg, Tracee Chimo, Michael Chernus, Liz Holtan, Austin Pendleton, and Vanessa Williams to play the roles she created with her co-writer and co-star Ryan Spahn.

Michael Urie, Halley Feiffer, and Ryan Spahn on the red carpet at the Friars Club Comedy Film Festival!

Natasha Lyonne playing Halley Feiffer’s A.A. sponsor in “He’s Way More Famous Than You”!

And she gets Michael Urie who will forever be known as “the gay guy from Ugly Betty” to also co-star and direct.

Michael Urie and Ryan Spahn are together in real life but in the movie Ryan plays Halley’s brother!

Michael Urie, Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV and Ryan Spahn, the director and co-writer from “He’s Way More Famous Than You!”

Ralph Maccio and Mamie Gummer in a scene from “He’s Way More Famous Than You!”

Geoffrey Soffer is the producer of the film, who also has quite a history as a casting director! One of his accomplishments was casting the final two seasons of the hit TV show “Ugly Betty”, which is a show that quite a few people in this film are connected to as well.

From 2003 to 2008, Geoffrey was a casting director at ABC/ABC Studios where his credits include the original pilots of “Army Wives”. “Miss/Guided” produced by Ashton Kutcher, “Dirty Sexy Money”, and the Sam Raimi produced series, “Legend of the Seeker.”

This past Friday the film opened at AMC Loews Theatre on 11th Street and Third Avenue in Manhattan, and I knew I had to be there to support it. Seeing a film for the second time gives you so much more insight into the action and the characters. I can see why people go to see a movie they like several times. Every time you watch it you catch something you didn’t see before.

Step into Theatre 6 to see “He’s Way More Famous Than You!”

Ben Stiller and Halley Feiffer in a scene from “He’s Way More Famous Than You!”

I’ll tell you two inside facts. The amazing scene where Halley is bicycling through Times Square was shot by producer Geoffrey Soffer from the back of his “hatchback”, as he described it, and the “film-within-a-film” shooting scene where Ryan Spahn’s character gets abruptly replaced by Ralph Maccio because according to Halley’s character “he’s way more famous than you”, was shot on Vanessa Williams gorgeous estate!

This is a fun film you really need to see, and I’m even more impressed with Halley Feiffer’s comedic chops than I was when I saw it the first time!

Posted in: Celeb Photos, Comedians In The News, Comedy Events, Comedy Festivals, Comedy Matters, Entertainment News, Featured, Film Festivals, Film Review, Important News, New Films, Nightlife Events, Red Carpet Events

Leave a Comment (0) →

Halley Feiffer Scores at Opening of Friars Club Comedy Film Fest

Film festivals are fun. Even more when you have a film in one and I’ve had that experience a couple of times. A film I wrote with Scott Baio called “Face to Face” was chosen as the opening night film of the Taos Talking Picture Festival, so I know the excitement that brings.

Charlie Prince runs the Friars Club Comedy Film Festival and Eric Johnson is the Director of Programming, and they always pick a killer film for the opening. This year they did themselves proud by choosing Halley Feiffer and Eric Spahn’s “He’s Way More Famous Than You!”

The film poster for “He’s Way More Famous Than You!”

The film debuted at NYU’s Cantor Film Center and the place was packed!

It’s a wild story with a great cast where everyone is playing themselves, which is very unusual and where art and life can sometimes get confused. (Especially if you have ADD like me!)

I like that cause I usually wind up playing myself in things too, and it’s fun but again, can be confusing. Like when I’m interviewing Nick Kroll and John Mulaney in their trailer after our shoot, and they’re still in character as Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland, and I’m trying to talk to them like they’re Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, but they’re answering me as Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland!

Jeffrey Gurian on the LA set of Kroll Show with Nick (Gil Faizon) Kroll, and John (George St. Geegland) Mulaney

In the story, Halley, an up-and-coming film starlet loses her boyfriend, her agent, and her career all at the same time. In her attempt to recover from that huge loss she comes up with an idea to change her life my making a movie to become “way more famous!”

With the help of a stolen script and her brother, played by Ryan Spahn, who was also her co-writer, and his boyfriend, Michael Urie, from Ugly Betty, who is also his boyfriend in real life, they set out to make a film starring Halley that will take her to the levels of success she feels she deserves. Michael Urie’s character agrees to direct this project.

(L-R) Michael Urie, Halley Feiffer, and Ryan Spahn on the red carpet for opening night of the Friars Club Comedy Film Festival!

And Halley stops at nothing to get the film done. In the storyline of this film, in trying to get as many celebs in it as possible, they wind up kidnapping Ben Stiller. It also features stars like Jesse Eisenberg, Ralph Maccio, Mamie Gummer, and Natasha Lyonne.

The story is great, and funny but what stood out to me was the comedic talent of Halley Feiffer. Meeting her on the red carpet for a video interview which you will see shortly, I had no idea what to expect. She was funny and charming, but not to the extent of what she does in the film. She’s like a young Lucille Ball.

Jeffrey Gurian with Michael (Ugly Betty) Urie on the red carpet waiting for Halley Feiffer who’s behind on the step-and-repeat!

She’s energetic and so totally fun! You just wish you had a friend like that, and it makes you wanna hang out with her in real life!

During the Q&A after the film screened, I raised my hand to ask a question but prefaced it by saying how much I enjoyed the film and how Halley was a “comedic gem”! A very rare find. A performer like that makes directing easy because they take the words off the page to a whole different level.

(L-R) Ryan Spahn, Halley Feiffer, Michael Urie and Charlie Prince off the the side for the Q&A following “He’s Way More Famous Than You!”

I was really so impressed with her talent. I would love to work on something with her!

What I also liked was that almost everyone had some connection to the show Ugly Betty. To me that was awesome, that a group of friends got together to create a cool, really fun project! And Halley and Ben Stiller had worked together in their joint Broadway debut in the play “House of Blue Leaves”!

Following the film we all went back to The Friars Club for the opening night party and stand-up comedy show where Charlie Prince opened the show and introduced Harrison Greenbaum, who’s always hysterical and also did a set before the film came on at the Cantor Center.

Film festival director Charlie Prince on the mic at The Friars Club opening party!

Harrison Greenbaum the exceedingly “straight” comedian opening the film and show at The Friars Club!

Others on the show were Justin Williams, Bonnie McFarlane, and Rich Vos!

Bonnie McFarlane killing it as usual for the crowd at The Friars. Her film “Women Aren’t Funny” was also in the festival!

The film is having a theatrical release on May 10th. Make sure you go out and see it! And tell them I sent you! (LOL)

Posted in: Celeb Photos, Comedians In The News, Comedy Central, Comedy Events, Comedy Festivals, Comedy Matters, Film Festivals, Film Review, General Information, New Films, Nightlife Events, Red Carpet Events

Leave a Comment (0) →
close

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word by Subscribing :)