Posts Tagged “Nick Kroll”

Just for Laughs Video With Huge Stars-Montreal-30th Anniversary

Every July in Montreal, the city gets taken over by hundreds of thousands of comedy fans from all over the world, all wanting to see their favorite comedy stars. It’s the biggest comedy festival on the planet! (There may be bigger ones on other planets,but I’m not privy to that information! I no longer own the Hubble telescope!)

This year for the 30th anniversary I was an official videographer, and got to shoot around 40 interviews with some of the biggest stars in comedy as well as the up and comers! The huge stars of the future!

Chelsea Handler with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at the Just for Laughs Awards Luncheon where she won the award for “Comedy Person of the Year”!

Marc Maron of WTF fame with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV. Marc credits Jeffrey’s hair with making him feel safe during the “dark” times in his life!

I shot for four days straight and got some amazing interviews with people like Chelsea Handler, Bob Saget, Howie Mandel, JB Smoove, Marc Maron, Adam Carolla, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog, and his Dad Robert Smigel, Todd Barry, Joel McHale, and the Sklar Brothers.

Wayne Brady with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV backstage at the gala that Wayne hosted at JFL!

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog making nice to Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV after insulting him in every way he could think of! (But fortunately it was all in jest!)

Plus interviews with newer stars like Jay Pharaoh from SNL, who read an excerpt from Chris Rock’s intro to my new book “Make’Em Laugh”, in Chris Rock’s voice, Chelsea Peretti, Hannibal Buress who won for Rising Comedy Star of the Year, Myq Kaplan, Moshe Kasher, Jermaine Fowler and Lil Rel from the new In Living Color, Joe Mande, Grace Helbig from That Damn Channel’s “Daily Grace”, Kenny Hotz, the only Canadian to have two American TV shows on at the same time, “Kenny vs. Spenny”, and “Testees”, and Jessica Williams the newest correspondent on The Daily Show who let me swing her around like we were in the playground!

Jay Pharoah from SNL with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, who’s trying to learn how to hold his fingers like that!

Grace Helbig from My Damn Channel’s “Daily Grace” with Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV at the Comedy Conference on You Tubers at JFL!

All of this on camera! Check it out right here!

And a second shorter video with just the A-list stars and hosts of the galas, Chelsea Handler, Bob Saget, Howie Mandel, JB Smoove, Marc Maron, Adam Carolla, Joel McHale, Marc Maron, and Triumph The Insult Comic Dog, with his Dad Robert Smigel!

And for a longer, more in-depth article and photos check out the previous post:

http://wp.me/p1pHIm-192

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Just For Laughs Montreal- 30th Anniversary

I have been going up to the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival for more than 20 years. Maybe 25 years! It’s hard to imagine but it’s true. JFL is the biggest, most prestigious comedy festival in the world, and this year, thanks to Robbie Praw and “the powers that be”, I was given the honor of being one of the official videographers of the festival for my Comedy Matters TV channel.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Chelsea Handler at the JFL Awards Luncheon, who won for Comedy Person of the Year!

There was so much to see, so many shows, and so many comedians that it would literally be impossible to see all of them. Fortunately so many of the comics are friends that I was able to find them in the hotel lobby, at parties, in the elevator, on the streets, in the dining room, and just about everywhere you looked, and I got over 35 interviews with fun people like Bob Saget, Chelsea Handler, JB Smoove, Gina Yashere, Howie Mandel, Adam Carolla, Joel McHale, Jay Pharoah, Todd Barry, The Sklar Bothers, Marc Maron, Hannibal Buress, and even Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, and his owner Robert Smigel!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Wayne Brady who hosted a gala at JFL’s 30th Anniversary in Montreal!

I got there on a Wednesday, unpacked, got my “All Access” pass for me and my producer Rob Krieg, and went right off to Patton Oswalt’s show at The Metropolis. Patton was there with his manager Dave Rath from Generate,and it was a great show. Patton has enjoyed a high profile lately after having spent nine years as a regular on The King of Queens, his Comedians of Comedy tour, and his part in films like ” A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas”, and Steve Carell’s “Seeking A Friend for the End of the World!”

He also presented the Comedy Icon Award to Robin Williams at the Comedy Central Comedy Awards 2012,and delivered the Keynote Address to the attendees of this festival, of which there were many! It was nice to see Myq Kaplan opening for Patton. I’ve been a fan of Myq’s ever since I was a judge on the NY part of the auditions for the Boston Comedy Festival, a couple of years back, and Myq won.

After congratulating Patton and Myq backstage we ran over to catch “Best of the Fest” hosted by Jessica Kirson, featuring Key and Peele, John Heffron and Joe Mande who I met on the set of Nick Kroll’s new show, simply called “Kroll Show” out in LA. Nick called me out to do some sketches with him and John Mulaney and it was the best!

I’m still editing the over four hours of video I shot, but I wanted to present some of the highlights of the festival in this column and then follow it up with the videos.

When I reminded Chelsea Handler that the first time I saw her I knew she’d be HUGE cause she was doing “b.j. jokes” and her Dad was in the audience she said,” I take every opportunity I can to torture my father!”

Chelsea Handler with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV the first time they met back in 2005!

At the JFL Awards Luncheon, Chelsea received the award for Comedy Person of the Year that Louis CK received last year. Everyone was very excited to see her and people were amazed that I got my video interview. It’s all about timing.

I ran into her in the lobby the night before and told her I’d be looking forward to shooting something with her after the luncheon so she was prepared when she saw me. She even suggested we do it before the luncheon since it was less crazy than trying to do it afterwards. She was on her way to the Olympics in London and had gotten guest hosts for her TV show for the very first time. Needless to say she looked gorgeous, as usual, (and if it’s needless to say, then why did I say it? Because it’s my column and I can do anything I want! LOLOL)

Howie Mandel with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV who assured Howie that next year he would definitely get lunch!

Howie Mandel was “upset” that he didn’t get lunch at the awards luncheon. He felt bad that he didn’t get anything at all. Just as I suggested getting in touch with co-founder, and President of JFL Andy Nulman to complain, who should happen to come along but Andy Nulman in the company of the other co-founder Gilbert Rozon, and they joined my interview telling Howie that next year they’d make sure he got lunch. It gave him something to look forward to.

I hadn’t seem Howie since 2007 when he helped me promote my first book “Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive” while we were up in Montreal!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Howie Mandel at JFL in 2007, who was kind enough to help promote Jeffrey’s book “Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive!”

Andy Nulman and I also filmed a very funny video clip of us walking down the red carpet together to the Variety party for the Ten Comics To Watch, while he made my cameraguy/producer walk backwards to film us with no one guiding, or protecting him. Luckily he made it and it looked very funny!

I got to literally jump around with Jessica Williams from The Daily Show, who shared with me that she likes to play, and I taught her to spell it “pleigh” instead of “play.” I grabbed onto her and we just swung each other around, like a fast version of “Ring-A-Round-Of Rosie”! (I don’t think I ever wrote those words out before in my entire life!)

She just makes me feel like doing that when I see her so I did!

My old friend Marc Maron remembered that he never gave me the interview I wanted last year, but we did a great one this year to make up for it, and he even treated me to breakfast the next day! (No, … we didn’t spend the night together! LOL)

I found it interesting that he’d remember something like that, because I certainly did, but it just goes to show you that people do remember things, and if we were on WTF together that would probably be something we’d talk about. The awkwardness of wondering if someone remembers something like that. Every time we saw each other last year, I’d say,”Remember I wanna talk to you on camera”, and he’d say “Sure” but the whole festival went by and it didn’t happen.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Marc Maron at JFL in Montreal!

I happened to meet him in the elevator, and it was only the two of us, and it was that awkward moment where you don’t know if you should just say “Good seeing you” and walk away, or if you should continue walking with the person. So when we hit the dining room and were still talking he invited me to join him, and was kind enough to treat me.

We had a great talk about all kinds of things, and in the video interview he said that over the last 75 to 100 years in comedy, at every major comedy event, the only thing that was a constant was my hair! And in his deepest moments of despair he thought of my hair and it got him through!

I was glad I got to tell him how happy I was for him for all of his recent success with WTF. No one is honest like Marc Maron when it comes to sharing his feelings on stage. I still remember cringing at some of his revelations in “Scorching The Earth” his one man show about his break-up with his ex-wife.

I met his ex-wife many years ago through our mutual friend Ardie Fuqua, and it turns out that’s how Marc met her too!

Adam Carolla and I kicked it backstage after his podcast while David Alan Grier looked on with Rob Barnett from My Damn Channel, and Adam’s manager Mike August, who I also hadn’t seen in quite a while.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV backstage with Adam Carolla after Adam’s podcast with Howie Mandel!

I know Mike back from the days when he was an agent, I think at William Morris, but maybe not! In those days, he always hung out with James Dixon, now of Dixon Talent who handles Jon Stewart, John Oliver and stars of that magnitude.

I did a fun interview with Grace Helbig one of the stars of My Damn Channel for her show “Daily Grace.” She gets millions of hits and she’s so fun and adorable. I wanted to swing her around too, but I didn’t get the chance!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with the oh-so-fun Grace Helbig from My Damn Channel, at the Comedy Conference at JFL in Montreal! Next time I have to swing her around too!

Walking through the lobby at night I ran into Keith Robinson and Chelsea Peretti and we had a really fun interview. Then I interviewed Joe Mande who was one of the “Ten Comics To Watch At All Times, No Matter What Else You’re Doing”, and such a bizarre thing happened. I had already interviewed Chelsea, who was sitting next to me and Joe Mande sat next to her, and all of a sudden some girl comes over, kneels down and starts talking into my mic saying how some company is poisoning children in Africa.

Now I thought she was joking and was a friend of Chelsea’s. Chelsea thought she might be a friend of mine, and Joe didn’t know what to think, but after a few minutes of this girl ranting and raving we all realized she was nuts! I couldn’t get rid of her.

I went over to interview Tom Cotter about his upcoming appearance on America’s Got Talent, and she broke in screaming about children being poisoned. I was ready to poison HER, but instead I got security and they wound up having to physically remove her from the premises.

Turns out she was not a comedy person and didn’t even belong there. It was just funny that we all thought she was a friend of someone else’s so no one wanted to insult her! Chelsea made me promise to send her the video which I will as soon as we’re done with the rest!

Joel McHale, who hosted the closing gala, couldn’t get over my outfit. He wanted to know why I chose to wear a wifebeater under an open Hawaiian shirt plus a seersucker jacket with white shoes! He was just being Joel McHale.

He introduced a comic on the show by the wrong name and refused to correct it right away. He must have gone through 5 or 6 takes each time purposely messing up the comic’s name. So when he called me Perez Hilton I wasn’t totally surprised! Look what he does to Ryan Seacrest and he’s his friend!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with JB Smoove in character as Leon Black from HBO’s hit Curb Your Enthusiasm!

JB Smoove was hysterical as always. He was there with his manager Rick Dorfman and his beautiful wife Shahida Omar a singer, who couldn’t have been nicer. When JB thought he was too tired to do the interview after his show, (which he did as Leon Black from Curb Your Enthusiasm), she encouraged him to do it cause I had been waiting so long. I couldn’t have done that, but SHE did!

JB told me all about how he got started as a hip-hop dancer named J Smoove, which is why he moves so well, but the guy is just funny. He doesn’t even have to say anything. And his new DVD is killer, “This Is How I Dooz It”!

One of the other highlights for me was Jay Pharoah who was there with his manager/sister Shayna. Jay read an excerpt from Chris Rock’s introduction from my new book “Make’Em Laugh”, that I wrote with Richie Tienken about the 35 year history of The Comic Strip. But not only did he read it, he read it out loud in Chris Rock’s voice for JB Smoove and a bunch of other people hanging out in the lobby. I got it on video and trust me you’ll laugh your ass off. He does a great Chris Rock!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Jay Pharoah from SNL after Jay read Chris Rock’s intro in Chris Rock’s voice!

Robert Smigel woke Triumph The Insult Comic Dog out of a deep sleep in his backpack to do an interview with me backstage at Bob Saget’s “Triple X show”, which Bob said was more like ” Triple R”! It was really very kind of him despite the fact that Triumph roasted me, but that’s what he does. He’s an insult comic dog. He said I always looked hideous, but this time I really outdid myself.

A rare photo of Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Triumph The Insult Comic Dog and his owner Robert Smigel! The rare part is getting Robert and Triumph in the same photo! They don’t always get along!

And Robert did a great imitation of Jeff Singer, who booked him onto Saget’s show by telling him how perfect he’d be for it.

I’d have to say one of my most special interviews was with Bob Saget himself. I wasn’t sure I was going to get it, cause Bob has been working tirelessly to prepare for hosting his gala, and even his publicist, my old friend Michael O’Brien told me he couldn’t guarantee it.

So when I went backstage after the show and Bob saw me, he asked if I minded waiting a few minutes. For Bob Saget I’d wait months! (LOL) He’s that nice a guy.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Bob Saget backstage in Montreal after Bob hosted the Triple X show for JFL! According to Bob, he just couldn’t say “No!”

During the interview he said the kind of things to me that my parents would have said had I been interviewing them! He said on camera that he had to do the interview because ” No one says ‘No’ to Jeff Gurian!” And he went on to basically interview me, even asking me for my cell phone number on camera! I gave him my e-mail cause I knew I could trust him not to tell anyone! (LOL)

He ended the interview by saying “Be well” which he said is what one Jew wishes another. I added,”the real expression is ‘You should live and be well!” which he agreed with because he said, “You’re right! What good is it to be well if you’re dead?” And that interview with Bob is one I really can’t wait to put up!

Other interviews I got were with The Sklar Brothers for their show Sklarboro Country, Hannibal Buress who won for Breakout Comedy Star of the Year, someone else who won for the star whose face broke out the most last year, the great Kenny Hotz, the only Canadian comedy star to have three shows on American TV,Kenny vs. Spenny, Testees, and Triumph of the Will, (which had nothing to do with Triumph The Insult Comic Dog!), Nigerian comic Gina Yashere on her way to do a comedy special in San Francisco, L’il Rel and Jermainne Fowler who are two of the cast in the new “In Living Color” coming up soon, Todd Barry, Moshe Kasher, Godfrey, Paul Telner, Myq Kaplan, Lynn Koplitz, Jared Logan, Joe Machi, Mick Foley, Calise Hawkins, Alonzo Bodden who hosted the JFL Awards Luncheon, Andy Kindler who gave his usual SRO “State of the Industry Address”, which everyone waits to see, and his manager Bruce Smith from Omnipop films, and then I did some non-comics like Kimberly Hannwacker, Julie Lawless the comedy booker, (not hooker!) from Australia, Ben Relles from Barely Political, and The Key of Awesome fame who’s now with You Tube and Google, Lee Aronsohn the co-creator of Two and a Half Men, and Rob Barnett the head of My Damn Channel.

Whew, … that was a looooooong sentence! And a lot of interviews. The editing should be done very soon, and you guys will be the first to know!

Let me leave you with a few more fun photos until the videos are ready!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Todd Barry in the lobby of the Hyatt Hotel at JFL!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Mick Foley holding Jeffrey’s new book “Make ‘Em Laugh”!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with L’il Rel from the new “In Living Color”!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Alonzo Bodden who MC’ed the JFL Awards Luncheon and presented the awards to Chelsea Handler and Hannibal Buress!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Nigerian comic Gina Yashere at JFL, Montreal!

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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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Nick Kroll and John Mulaney Video as the "Oh, Hello" Boys in LA

At the request of Nick Kroll, I flew out to LA to be in some sketches with Nick and John Mulaney for Nick’s upcoming show on Comedy Central. For right now it’s being called “The Nick Show Kroll”, but according to Nick that could change. I brought my camera equipment with me, hoping I’d be able to film something fun on set for Comedy Matters TV.

Nick Kroll, Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, and John Mulaney the way they usually look!

But when I got there, it was such a busy set, with so much going on that I didn’t want to impose on anyone by asking. Frankly, I was just glad to be there. I thought about asking Inman Young the producer, but held off thinking that at some point, when the time was right I’d ask Nick myself, since he was already familiar with the fact that I document everything I do with photos and video for my Comedy Matters Vlog and my Comedy Matters TV channel.

Jeffrey Gurian on set in LA with Gil Faizon, one of the “Oh, Hello” boys!

I had already asked if I could take stills during the shoot, and got the ok from Nick, so every once in a while, when I felt sure I wouldn’t ruin a scene being shot, I whipped out my ever-present camera and took some shots.

I am the guy, by the way, who accidentally put my camera down on the doctor’s sterile instruments while one of my daughters was being born, accidentally breaking the sterile chain, and had everyone in the delivery room screaming at me, while they rushed to rectify the situation. They told me it was ok to take photos, and I was so engrossed that when the baby came out, I got so excited I put my camera down on their instruments!

So it wasn’t that far fetched for me to picture accidentally taking a flash photo on Nick’s set, and ruining a scene that was being shot! I live with that fear of always doing something stupid! (LOL) Anyone else relate???

So anyway, on the second day of the shoot, I asked Nick and he said it would be cool at the end of the shoot. The thing was that everyone’s on the clock so at the end of the shoot, he and John were still in costume, and it would have taken a while for them to have their make-up removed and all, so we went into Nick’s trailer, and shot it with them still in character.

George St. Geegland, Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, and Gil Faizon on the set of Nick Kroll’s show in LA!

I didn’t realize how confusing it would be for me since I had planned on interviewing Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, and thanking THEM for having me on the show, and here I was interviewing Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland. This fact hit me right after my intro when I said, ” Hey this is Jeffrey Gurian for Comedy Matters TV and I’m here with Nick Kroll, or should I say Gil Faizon, and then I didn’t even say “John Mulaney”, I just said “George St. Geegland”, cause I realized that that’s who I was with.

So I’m trying to interview them, and thank them as themselves while they’re staying in character. It actually turned out very funny! See for yourselves!

The previous post on my trip to LA is right here:

http://wp.me/p1pHIm-Ou

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Abel Ferrara, Shanyn Leigh, and Willem Dafoe in 4:44

The film poster for Abel Ferrara’s 4:44 in theatres near YOU!

I don’t usually like to do anything of consequence the day before I leave on a big trip, but the day before I was set to leave for LA, to shoot some sketches with Nick Kroll, and John Mulaney from SNL, for Nick’s new show on Comedy Central, I got the opportunity to interview famed director Abel Ferrara, and actors Shanyn Leigh, and Willem Dafoe for Abel’s new film 4:44, about the end of the earth.

I had to do it! First of all, Abel is an old friend and I hadn’t seen him in a while. And second of all I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to meet Willem Dafoe, whose work I’ve always respected.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with writer/director Abel Ferrara!

One of the last times I recall seeing Abel was at a great Italian restaurant called La Mela owned by a dear friend of Abel’s named Frankie C. I just happened to have a shot of us together that night, which is a cool reason to ALWAYS take photos wherever you go!

Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV with writer/director Abel Ferrara at La Mela!

Frankie C. has since passed on, but Abel, Shannyn, and I were there to celebrate some film event. Probably of Abel’s! (LOL) I think he was working on a project about The Chelsea Hotel at the time!

Abel always gets a strong cast of people. Good actors respect his work, and the list of his films is impressive, like “The Funeral”, “King of New York”, and “Bad Lieutenant.” He’s worked with Harvey Keitel, Christopher Walken, and Willem Dafoe just to name a few.

Natasha Lyonne was also in 4:44 and I was hoping to see her again since I did such a fun interview with her a few months ago. It was at a New Group event honoring Wallace Shawn, but I lost her contact information and was never able to send it to her! Unfortunately she was not able to attend this interview session.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing Natasha Lyonne at a New Group event in honor of actor/director Wallace Shawn!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with actor/director Wallace Shawn at a New Group event in Wallace’s honor.

I really liked 4:44, even though the concept was “scary”, to use a childish type of word! (LOL) The entire world has accepted that it will end at 4:44 A.M. the next day and that there’s nothing that anyone can do about it. It shows how people spend their last night alive, particularly a couple who live on the Lower East Side, played by Willem (Cisco) Dafoe and Shanyn (Skye) Leigh. It’s a very wild concept, and Abel’s take was very realistic. People are confused. They don’t know how to react because they’ve never had to face certain death before! (Who has??? LOL)

It doesn’t seem real. It’s all going to happen instantaneously, and as a director, I was fascinated by his creative choices, all of which I liked. He also showed some fantastic news-type footage of people gathering in places all over the world, in candle-lit ceremonies, very often to pray, as in the throngs that were shown in St. Peter’s Square.

It also examined the theme of sobriety, since Cisco has been clean for two years, but in the face of certain death contemplates “picking up” and actually goes to score some drugs. I won’t give away what happens, but it’s powerful.

Abel was surprised to see me, and after the press thing we got a chance to hang out and catch up. It was funny when I went to interview Shanyn who besides being a talented actress is also Abel’s girlfriend, she looked at me and said, “I know you!”, and I reminded her that I was an old friend of Abel’s and that we had met before socially!

Willem Dafoe is such a great actor and I was very glad to have the opportunity to meet him.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Willem Dafoe at The Regency Hotel for 4:44!

There will be a video interview to go with this as soon as I get it edited, but in the meantime, go see the film. It just came out, it’s in the theatres, and it got good reviews. I liked it a lot, and I’m sure you will too. It’s a reminder to treasure every moment!

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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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29th Annual Just For Laughs Festival In Montreal

It was the 29th annual Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal and as you might imagine, everyone in comedy was there. I literally shot 20 video interviews with people like Garry Shandling, Ken Jeong, Bo Burnham, Bill Burr, Paul Provenza, Kenny Hotz, Russell Peters, Steve Levitan who created Modern Family and won an award for Best Comedy Writer, Amy Schumer and Anthony Jeselnik and not only people LIKE those people, but the actual people themselves! ( LOL – Do I really need the LOL or would you have known??? )

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Ken Jeong from The Hangover movies, in Montreal at the Just For Laughs Festival. Ken had just won the award for Breakout Comedy Star of the Year, at the Comedy Confference!

I’ve been coming up to the festival probably for well over 20 years, and for many of those years there was absolutely nothing scheduled for during the day! In recent years they created something called The Comedy Conference which is FANTASTIC! It’s a chance to meet and interact with people doing things in comedy, on the internet making web series, short films, and attending conferences where people speak on their particular specialty. You get to listen to and meet the movers and shakers in the comedy world, including people from You Tube, Google, Barely Political,The Onion, and Rob Barnett’s “My Damn Channel.”

This year at a special luncheon, awards were given to Garry Shandling, Ken Jeong, Steve Levitan, and Louis CK among others. I interviewed several of them, which you can see right here.

I started meeting people the moment I got off the plane with my trusty DP Sean Mannion. We shared a shuttle to the Hyatt Regency Hotel, which is the home base of the festival, with Kurt Braunohler, (who I mistakenly wrote about previously as “Braunholer”, a great observation if I was Roasting him!), then walked into the hotel and ran right into Russell Peters, who finalized my plans to come and see him that night, then ran into Kenny Hotz on the way to my room, who is the only Canadian talent to have two shows on American TV at the same time, and as soon as I changed and got my camera ready I ran into Bo Burnham, and did my first interview of the weekend.

Jeffrey Gurian with Kurt Braunohler at the airport in Montreal on the way to the Hyatt Regency Hotel!

See Kenny Hotz’s video interview right here. Kenny is a great guy and has so many loyal fans. Whatever I post about him goes through the roof!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with a self-described "disheveled Bo Burnham" at the Just for Laughs Festival!

Everything Bo does goes viral. Bo is grateful that antibiotics have no effect on a virus, so there is virtually no cure for what he does! (LOL) He was performing on the Amp’ed show along with Reggie Watts and others who mix comedy and music, and we had a cool, fun interview. He introduced himself on camera as “the disheveled Bo Burnham” as is everyone in Montreal. There’s not much “stylin'” in the comedy world. People are just chillin’ and having a good time networking, and meeting their peers!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with a distinctly non-disheveled Reggie Watts!

At Russell’s show that night called “Best Night Ever” I went backstage with Russell for some exclusive footage, in which I actually got him dancing to some hip-hop beats, and he looked great in a custom gray striped suit and brand new white sneakers! That video is down towards the bottom of this column!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV backstage with Russell Peters, in his custom suit, at his show in Montreal!

I also got to interview Russell backstage at Paul Provenza’s taping of The Green Room for Showtime. Paul taped two shows for the second season of his hit show, and he and Barbara Romen his co-producer, along with Christopher Barrett made sure I got to see whoever I needed to see.

Jeffrey Gurian interviewing the legendary Tony Clifton and his date Felicia backstage at Paul Provenza's Green Room taping for Showtime!

We were in “the green room of The Green Room” and I interviewed the legendary Tony Clifton, Andy Kaufman’s best friend, who was kind enough to introduce me to his date’s breasts, and watched intently as I interviewed them. They were kind of quiet on camera, but off camera they wouldn’t shut up!

Tony Clifton introducing Jeffrey Gurian to his date's boobs!

I also spoke to Bill Burr, who laughingly chastised me for mentioning Tony Clifton and Bob Zmuda in the same sentence, and then I interviewed Colin Quinn, who was ticked off that they weren’t told what they were going to talk about so no one could prepare but Paul!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV on the receiving end of a bear-hug from an affectionate Bill Burr!

Watch all that in the Bill Burr video interview right here:

And then Colin Quinn’s interview right here:

I missed Eddie Izzard at The Green Room but caught up with him at the airport when we shared a flight back home to New York. He was doing a guest appearance on CBS’s The Good Wife!

Jeffrey Gurian and Eddie Izzard waiting to fly back to New York after the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal!

I caught up with SNL’s John Mulaney, who is also Nick Kroll’s writing partner, and we had a fun interview after the Variety party. I also got to see John taping his really funny Comedy Central special, “John Mulaney Live”, a short time afterwards back in New York at NYU’s Skirball Center, where Comedy Central tapes many of their specials.

Jeffrey Gurian with SNL's John Mulaney after the Variety party at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal!

Check out John Mulaney’s Comedy Matters interview right here:


John swears he and Nick Kroll will not make another “Oh Hello” video without having me in it. That probably means he’s not going to be making any more “Oh Hello” videos! (LOL)

Also caught up with two rising young stars Amy Schumer and Anthony Jeselnik, bot of whom you will see this Monday on Comedy Central’s Roast of Charlie Sheen!

But I would have to say my most fun and rewarding interview was with Andy Nulman, the head of Just For Laughs and one of the founders of the festival 29 years ago. He had left for a while to run his telecommunications company which he recently sold for about 15 or 20 dollars, ( add about a hundred million to that! ), and is now back running the show.

Jeffrey Gurian with an absolutely HUGE Andy Nulman who had to crouch down to even be seen in the photo!

I got a hold of him backstage at Russell Peters show where I also ran into my old friends Alan Schwartz, and “Big Bill” who run security for the festival, and who range in size from about 6’6” to somewhere near 7’ tall. I have an amazing photo of me somewhere suspended between them hanging from their shoulders. It’s really funny, and I just found it so here it is!

(L-R) Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV suspended between Alan Schwartz, and Bill Bill backstage at one of the galas of the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal! ( They both know they can call me in case anyone bothers them!)

This is the really fun video of Russell Peters getting down backstage at his show in Montreal!

Anyway, Andy gave me this fantastic interview in which he says, “ If I wanna know what went on at my own festival, I read Jeffrey Gurian’s Comedy Matters, because he knows everyone, he covers everything, plus he really gives a s**t! That’s why when I say ‘This is Andy Nulman and you’re watching Comedy Matters’, it really means something!”

The video you see here is a compilation of everything that went on at JFL 2011! It’s all right here in the video so check it out!!!

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