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Comedy Matters Is Back Bigger Than Ever

COMEDY MATTERS IS BACK

Due to popular request I am bringing back my Comedy Matters blog/vlog. It’s an inside look at The Comedy World letting you hang with the comedy peeps you love, and meeting them on a personal basis. In this first one I will be doing a short review of some cool things that have happened in the comedy world recently, including Nick Kroll and John Mulaney debuting Season 2 of Netflix’ Big Mouth at the 92Y, the NY Comedy Festival with Bert Kreischer, Mike Birbiglia and Lisa Lampanelli, Hasan Minhaj talking about his new show Patriot Act also on Netflix. Ray Romano, Bill Burr, Scott Rogowsky from HQ Trivia, D.L. Hughley and John Oliver plus lots more with photos and videos of and with your fave comedy stars. 

  • BIG MOUTH DEBUT AT 92Y

WITH NICK KROLL AND JOHN MULANEY

The 92 Y keeps bringing in the heavy hitters in comedy.  Nick Kroll, John Mulaney and Jason Mantzoukas came to the 92nd Street Y along with their whole team from their Netflix hit “Big Mouth” to kick off the new second season.  Exec. Producer Andrew Goldberg, a childhood friend of Nick’s was there and he and Nick were the ones who came up with the idea for the show.  They premiered episode three from this new second season, and needless to say it was HILARIOUS.

The event was moderated by LA Times editor Meredith Blake, and other Exec. Producers on the panel were Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett. For anyone who doesn’t know, the animated series follows a group of 7th graders through their experiences with puberty and sexual coming of age  including best friends Nick Birch played by Nick, Andrew Glouberman played by John Mulaney, and with Jason Mantzoukas voicing characters like Jay Bilzerian a guy who has sex with his pillow and with a character named Socrates.

WITH JASON MANTZOUKAS BACKSTAGE AT THE 92Y

 

Nick plays 12 different characters, including everyone’s favorite the Hormone Monster, plus the ghosts of Picasso and Richard Burton, while  Mulaney who’s plagued by the hormone monster who constantly makes him masturbate, plays at least three voices as well, as do Jordan Peele and Fred Armisen to name just two of the big stars whose voices recur on the show. Someone even plays Nick’s pubic hair, and Jessi Klein’s vagina.

During the Q&A a girl asked Jason Manztoukas if he wanted to “hang out”, and suggested that they meet at a Dunkin’ Donuts across the street.  He wasn’t taking any chances in this #MeToo age and invited everyone else there to join them.  And Jon Mulaney admitted that growing up his sexual fantasy was to be 40 and rich!  He must be very satisfied!

ACCIDENTALLY PERFORMING FOR JERRY SEINFELD

It all started on what was supposed to be a regular night at West Side Comedy Club.  I was scheduled to go on second around 8:30 or 8:45 when GM Gina Savage came in and said that Jerry Seinfeld had Tweeted that he’d be stopping by around 8:30.  That’s when people started streaming in.  And that’s what you call real live-streaming!  I happened to be sitting near the front door watching the MC warm up the ever growing crowd when I caught a glance of Jerry walking down the stairs.   He had his baseball cap pulled down low and was alone.  He greeted a few people and shook my hand as he walked by.

The comic scheduled to go on first had done 8 shows in the last couple of days, felt she was tired and decided to leave.  Gina asked Jerry if he wanted to go right up and he said he wanted to wait a minute so Gina looked at me and said “ Jeffrey, you’re up.”   Before I even had a chance to think about it or get nervous I was on stage while Jerry was in the room.  For whatever reason I felt calm, and was able to edit what I was doing while I was up there.  I often open with stuff about the weather, cell phones, and texting but for whatever reason I decided not to do any of that and went right into other material.

              WITH JERRY SEINFELD

Anyway Jerry went up after me to screaming and absolutely HUGE applause, and talked about many things including the weather, cell phones and texting, and it made me wonder what would have happened if I had actually done those same topics just moments before.  Might he have said, “ Well Jeffrey said all there is to say on these subjects!” LOL  I highly doubt it, but it made me think that at least I made good choices of topics to discuss. After I got off stage I totally re-thought all the stuff I could have done with Jerry in the room, which I think is pretty common for comics to do.

Needless to say Jerry killed with all of his new material, then did a Q&A with the audience which he likes to do.  One guy asked him what his favorite thing to do was and he said it was his show “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee” and doing stand-up.

When he finished he left as low key as when he arrived.  By himself with his hat down over his eyes.  It was a special experience, made even moreso by the fact that it wound up on Page 6 in the NY Post and also on Page 6 TV.

Jerry Seinfeld and Jeffrey Gurian on Page 6 TV

D.L. HUGHLEY DOES IT UP RIGHT

I went to see my good pal D.L. Hughley truly one of the official Kings of Comedy.  He was headlining at Carolines and there was not a seat to be had.  I was with him for all three nights and it was as much fun as you would have expected it to be.

As usual D.L. is very generous with his opening spots and gives stage time to comics on their way up.  Bo “Last Name” Dacious is one of his regular openers who is always a killer, and Clint Coley has such a unique stage persona, and is so funny that you gotta come away liking the guy.  He really takes command of the stage. Part of Bo’s merch is “Miss Hattie’s rag” which you have to see to understand but it’s a great gimmick and he said one of his best ideas ever!

BACKSTAGE WITH D.L. HUGHLEY AT CAROLINES ON BROADWAY

D.L. is one of the only comics I know who is confident and relaxed enough to either hang out with friends backstage until literally the moment he’s announced to go up, and I know this because I’m usually sitting right next to him when I’m there, and I walk with him to the showroom, or else he arrives at the club just minutes before he’s due to go on, and just goes right up.  That is amazing to me.  Many comics like to be alone before, and center themselves in some way.  Some are still looking over their material until right before they go up.

The girl I was with sparked a deep conversation about the power of women that D.L. and I will continue on his radio show very soon! His radio co-host Jasmine Sanders was backstage on the second night that I went.  Always so good to see Jaz!

D.L. hits the stage, always dressed to the nines with his unique style, and does a flawless hour plus with no stress.  He saves his crowd work for the end.  And he always proves why he’s one of the true Kings of Comedy. I made it back for Sunday night’s closing night hang, which is always fun with DL. The dressing room was just D.L., his two nephews, and his long-time friends and fellow comics Smokey Suarez, and George Willborn.

We laughed for about 2 hours after the show ended until we closed the place down.  It was just us and the help.  Then they went out to grab a bit to eat, and I uncharacteristically went to get some rest for what I knew would be a crazy week at the  NY Comedy Festival.

PLANNING A SCARF BUSINESS WITH BILL BURR

I kicked off New York Comedy Festival week with a kind of secret show from Bill Burr at West Side Comedy Club.  Secret only in terms of, … you had to know to know.  The room was packed to the proverbial gills. Joe Bartnick was the host and Mark Normand featured.

Unsurprisingly Bill did a flawless hour and has such a tremendous range of topics to talk about. He challenges people’s sensibilities which is such a good thing and he’s so smart that he presents things in a way that you have to see his point of view. Being that his wife is black he does a lot of very pertinent and necessary racial humor that everyone responded to very positively. He described himself as being so white he looks like a “bearded moon!”

He was gearing up for his headlining gig that Wed. at Madison Square Garden. He was there with “Late Night with David Letterman” legendary guitarist and Paul Shaffer staple Felicia Collins who happens to be an old friend of mine as well.  The room was so dark, and there were no seats, but thanks to owners Eugene and Nina Ashe they pulled me into a seat right next to Felicia, and she leaned over and said “ Jeffrey is that you?” After thoroughly checking, I came to the conclusion that it was me!

WITH BILL BURR AT WESTSIDE COMEDY CLUB

After the amazing show and huge applause that followed, Bill hung out to meet some fans, and take photos, and then Face Timed his wife Nia and their little daughter and he introduced us and we all got to say “hi” over his phone.  It was Felicia, GM Gina Savage, and manager Lori Sommer.

Bill’s got the third season of his hit show “F Is For Family” starting November 30th and besides Paul Virzi’s special that he just produced he has three more coming down the pike, if they still use that expression, all under the banner of his “All Things Comedy” network.  Next he was off to Chicago.

When I asked him what he had coming up the first thing he said was that he was designing a line of scarves, because he loves to joke about the way I dress, and some genius said he should call the line “Burrrrrr”, which would be incredibly perfect. We also had a long chat about fatherhood and how he felt when he first saw his daughter being born, because everyone told him it would bring tears to his eyes, but it didn’t.  I told him that when my daughters were born it brought tears to my eyes and he said that was because I was a wonderful person but that HE on the other hand was a German/Irish serial killer!

MIKE BIRBIGLIA’S NEW ONE 

Mike Birbiglia never disappoints.  His one man shows are always amazing and “The New One” at The Cort Theatre is no different.  I’ve seen them all starting with his first, “Sleepwalk With Me” and the man is a master story teller.  He opens the show and takes a minute to talk about his couch and you have no idea where he’s going with that, but he manages to weave it into a thread that carries throughout the entire show.

WITH MIKE BIRBIGLIA AT THE CORT THEATRE

It’s a wonderful story and again it’s a lot about becoming a Dad even though he had never planned on having children.  Mike paces the stage a lot during the show and sometimes walks in circles, and there’s one HUGE surprise that I promised I wouldn’t divulge.  It adds so much to the show and it’s something you’ve never seen before, and something that will totally surprise you.

After the show we went back to say hi and to congratulate him on his masterful performance, and ran into Nikki Glaser, Carmen Lynch and Myq Kaplan.

Then Mike and I shot a little funny Instagram video which you can see on my IG page @jeffreygurian  by clicking this link!   

The show will run for only 12 weeks so make sure you get out to see it.  You’ll hate yourself forever if you miss it!

BERT KREISCHER UNCUT AND UNDRESSED

Bert “The Machine” Kreischer was in town for the festival and had a show at Town Hall, which I knew for sure I had to attend.  I absolutely LOVE Bert Kreischer who like Mike Birbiglia, also happens to be a master story teller.  He’s just so unique, and when he came out on stage and immediately whipped off his shirt the crowd went insane.  It was non-stop laughs through the whole thing and he ended the show with his story of how “The Machine” came to be, and how he committed actual crimes with the Russian Mob.  His stories are so insane you know they have to be true.  No one could make that up!

SHIRT-SHOPPING WITH BERT KREISCHER AT TOWN HALL

After the show we went back to hang out and his Levity Entertainment crew was there to support, along with a bunch of industry people from different TV shows, with one Levity rep Bjorn Wentlandt having flown in from the UK.  Judy Marmel from Levity was there making sure that everything ran smoothly, and Bert greeted his friends still without his shirt.  We decided to shoot an Instagram video which seems to be the thing these days except that Bert took my phone from me and said “ Watch this”,  as he started filming from below his belly and up into his belly button to his chest while he addressed me and I talked about the show and the standing ovation he received when he was done.

It was a one minute masterpiece and again you can see it RIGHT HERE on my IG page.  (Please watch and follow!) Bert will be starting his world tour called “The Body Shots Tour” around January 9th with the kick-off in Portland, Oregon and hopefully ending in Moscow.  I’d give anything to travel with that tour!

 RAY ROMANO DOES CHARITY SHOW WITH NEW MOUSTACHE

Ray Romano came to The Cutting Room to do a charity spot for Bobby Collins’ Zeno Mountain Farm, a nationally acclaimed, ground-breaking camp for kids with disabilities.  They have facilities in Vermont, Los Angeles and Florida. It was a rare experience because it’s not often that you get to see Ray on stage in a smaller venue these days. He’s currently starring in “Get Shorty” a new series on Epix in which he plays a film producer.

Ray came out to tremendous applause and started out by apologizing for his moustache, which he said there was a reason for but didn’t explain.  He told great stories about getting older and about his family and especially his kids.  He’s got four, one daughter and three sons two of whom are twins.  He’s a real family guy and his stories are great.  I got to reminisce with him for a minute after his set about a time about 15 years ago when I brought Michael Bolton to the set of Everybody Loves Raymond so they could meet.
It seems they were mutual fans of each other but had never met.  I was out in LA talking to Michael about a potential TV show he wanted me to develop for him, and I had called Ray’s manager, and my longtime friend Rory Rosegarten, and so the three of us went over to the set to introduce Michael to Ray, and they were really excited to meet, which they did in front of the live audience, and we all had a great time.  Then Michael and I went back to his hotel and watched Ray on TV.  I brought the photo from that day of me, Michael and Ray, and Ray and I took a photo holding that old photo which is something I like to do.  Fortunately people indulge me! (LOL)

WITH RAY ROMANO AT THE CUTTING ROOM HOLDING A PHOTO OF ME, RAY ROMANO AND MICHAEL BOLTON

TEAM COCO PARTY WITH SCOTT ROGOWSKY AND JOHN OLIVER

Team Coco teamed up with TBS and took over SONY Hall on West 46th Street to create a pop-up comedy club called Team Coco House as part of this 15th annual New York Comedy Festival, which by the way gets bigger and better every year thanks to Caroline Hirsch and Louis Faranda the man who magically books all the shows.  Team Coco House lit up the street with it’s huge lighted signs and it featured shows, podcasts, musical acts, magicians, and all kinds of talent hand-picked by Team Coco and Conan himself.

Caroline and Louis were both at the huge party that took place on Thursday night after Bert’s show.  Louis doesn’t usually attend those things or stay out too late but he stayed at this one and everyone in comedy was there.  It would be impossible to name all the names but it was absolutely packed with comics and industry, and they served great drinks and passed hors d’oeuvres, and tons of desserts, and when I left around 1:30 A.M. it was still going strong.

One nice surprise was seeing my dear friend Countess LuAnn from the Real Housewives of New York come in with her super-agent Rich Super, and she told me that she’s with Live Nation now and will be going on a huge tour starting Dec. 19th at the Gramercy Theatre with Alexa Ray Joel, and comedian Murray Hill, and you can bet I’ll be there too. In the meantime she’s still filming for RHONY and I always tell her it’s so amazing watching her fulfill her dreams because this was what she always wanted, and she made it happen.  Most people don’t have the wherewithal, but she worked so hard and accomplished her dream.

WITH COUNTESS LUANN FROM RHONY

I was back there again to catch HQ Trivia star Scott Rogowsky do his long-running talk show Running Late this time starring John Oliver.  I walked in and the place was so packed there were literally no seats and then Matt Richards, who opened the show and is also an HQ Trivia host grabbed me and we hung out together at the bar with HQ Trivia producer Ellen Burke.

Scott wore a crazy jacket and joked with John about how long he had been trying to get him on as a guest.  John was his ever-pleasant self and told a lot of great stories and Scott had somehow found old video footage of John as a kid in some early TV show he did in England.  They showed the poster for the new season of Last Week Tonight and John had his face down on a desk which he explained by saying that he doesn’t like to see his face on posters.  For the last two seasons the poster didn’t show his face. But he showed his face in our photo below! (LOL)

WITH JOHN OLIVER

He talked about his wife who was a combat medic and his three year old son, and among other things told a funny story of how he had to interview the Dalai Lama and it dawned on him after he flew all the way to India that he was about to “fuck with the Dalai Lama.”  But he said thAt luckily the Dalai Lama was “a fan of fuckery” and they had a great time.

Backstage afterwards was a crazy scene and I got to see John and Scott and Matt, and Scott’s Dad who’s always on the show with him as well.

(L-R) MATT RICHARDS, JEFFREY, SCOTT ROGOWSKY, MARTY ROGOWSKY

 

LISA LAMPANELLI IS “LOSIN’ IT” – QUITS STAND-UP COMEDY

When Lisa Lampanelli told me she quit stand-up comedy I could almost hear the relief in her voice. I wasn’t really surprised.  I was actually surprised she was able to have kept doing it so long.  I think it’s very hard to create a persona that is opposite to who you really are and which can often be misunderstood, … especially these days, when there’s an entire segment of the population that can not WAIT to be offended by something.

There was a reason that Lisa had been known as not just The Queen of Mean, but as “The Lovable Queen of Mean.”  Anyone with an IQ over 11 knew she was always coming from a good place. She made fun of everyone starting with herself.  She probably made fun of gays the most and they were her biggest fans, as well as her main charity.

I know Lisa long before she became really famous, and saw her agonize more than once about whether the audience was truly getting what she was about. One particular time in Montreal at Just for Laughs was a particularly stressful time for her when the audience wasn’t sure how to take her “insult” comedy.  And it bothered her to the point where she said, “ I’m quitting comedy.”  I was there to hear her say that.  And then she went on to become a superstar, selling out Radio City and Carnegie Hall during her stand-up career.

Enough people “got her” to keep the venues packed where she performed. But around late 2013 when her beloved Dad got sick she started what I can only refer to as her Spiritual transformation which led to her having weight-loss surgery and losing 107 pounds, and going through what I can only describe as a “Spiritual divorce” in which she introduced  her ex-husband Jimmy Cannizzaro to his new wife Jenna, and made them part of her extended family.

Lisa has always had a good heart so when she announced her departure from stand-up comedy on Howard Stern recently, and said she was transitioning not sexually but to become a story-teller and Life Coach, it made perfect sense. She had been thinking about it for quite a while, and she tends to do these major things only after she has thoroughly thought them through.

WITH LISA LAMPANELLI BACKSTAGE AT THE GRAMERCY THEATRE

I had attended all of the incarnations of her one woman shows, where she started carrying her message of empowerment, and self-love. I was with her when she made her singing debut at The Friars Club.

When she did her AOL Build talk to announce her Grammy nominated album “Back to the Drawing Board” she honored me by having me moderate the four camera shoot and it was amazing.  We talked all about Spiritual principles, food, body-issues, self-empowerment and achieving your goals in life.

When Ron Bennington, king of Sirius XM radio helped me create a radio pilot called “The Happiness Show” to teach people how to bring Happiness into their lives, my first three guests were Colin Quinn, Susie Essman, and Lisa Lampanelli to talk about how they bring Happiness into their own lives. We have a long history.

So Lisa and I had made plans to meet up backstage at The Gramercy Theatre before she went onstage to perform her newest ensemble piece called “Losin’ It” as part of the New York Comedy Festival.  When I got there she was in her dressing room with her niece Christine Schiefer and Christine’s podcast partner Em Schulz, the hosts of “And That’s Why We Drink.” And typical of the new Lisa Lampanelli’s selflessness she wanted the focus to be on them.

I wound up shooting two separate videos with Lisa, one with her and the hosts of “And That’s Why We Drink”, and a separate one with just Lisa and I, with her talking about my best selling book on Happiness and how much she enjoyed it because of the principles that we share. The audiobook will be out next month sometime.
You can see the first video on my Comedy Matters TV channel on You Tube at www.youtube.com/guriannewsnetwork
This is the direct link :     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6F-iD4mslnc

“Losin’ It” was great and it had Lisa being just one of the ensemble of story-tellers, with her mainstay Frank DeCaro from Sirius XM, Lauren Ann Brickman from UCB and Lisa’s former play “Stuffed” and Eden Malyn from Orange is the New Black. It was about empowerment, body image, and learning to love yourself, and incorporated a game show and a Q&A with the audience. A really fun evening of entertainment with a very powerful message. Major congrats to Lisa on this major life choice.

HASAN MINHAJ FIRST INDIAN HOST OF MAJOR TV SHOW

I was excited to see huge billboards around town of my pal Hasan Minhaj announcing his new Sunday night Netflix show “Patriot Act” and even more excited to find out that he’d be appearing at the 92Y.  The 92Y has been outdoing itself lately bringing in major comedy figures for special events, and this was another great one.

Hasan got an unprecedented order of 32 episodes of the show which is a comedy series exploring “ the modern cultural and political landscape” one topic at a time.  Each of the episodes I saw is kind of like a short one-man show on pertinent topics like our dependence on oil, and the one they showed at the Y on “Affirmative Action.”

Hasan is very animated in his delivery and it’s a multi-media production which I always appreciate.  It adds so much when you do more than just talk.  The evening started out as a one to one interview moderated by Vinson Cunningham, a staff writer for The New Yorker, and then they were joined by Exec. Producers Jim Margolis and
Prasanth Venkataramanujam, which even Hasan didn’t dare try to pronounce, and which Prasanth joked about himself. I can only imagine how hard it must have been for him as a child to learn how to write his own name.

The episode they showed on “Affirmative Action” dealt with Asian students who feel discriminated against by Harvard admissions, where they’re only 22% of all students, while Hasan noted that Asian parents who emphasize education would probably only be happy with 100%.

WITH HASAN MINHAJ BACKSTAGE AT THE 92Y

After the event we went backstage to greet Hasan and congratulate him and we shot an Instagram video in which he laughingly described me as his “lucky charm”.  I’ve known him for several years having first met up in Montreal at JFL,  and have supported his talent ever since.  I was there at the Cherry Lane Theatre for the premiere of his hit show “Homecoming King” which as a Netflix special  won a 2018 Peabody Award.

The story was that he had asked a girl named Bethany to his high school prom and when he got to her house to pick her up she was getting ready to go with another guy, because her family was concerned that Hasan wouldn’t look right in the pictures they would inevitably be taking that night to send to their family. I had seen him do the story on earlier performances and was so moved by it that I told him it would make a great one-man show.

I shared the excitement with him when he became a correspondent on The Daily Show, which lasted four years, and then again when he hosted the White House correspondent’s dinner last year.

So it was a great feeling to see him now the master of his own show.  I never had any doubt that he would make it big.

I certainly hope you enjoyed this comedy review of recent events and hope you will subscribe for upcoming Comedy Matters blogs/vlogs! Please check out the website at www.comedymatterstv.com and subscribe to Comedy Matters TV on You Tube at www.youtune.com/guriannewsnetwork @jeffreygurian on Twitter and IG

With love to all,

Jeffrey
jeffrey@jeffreygurian.com

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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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Me and Arnold Schwartzenegger at SNL

I read an item about Arnold Schwartzenegger today on Page 6, something about him trying on a watch with a huge face, (which I’m sure he can handle),and then something about his recent shoulder surgery, but it made me think of one of the funniest stories of my career, when I met Arnold many years ago at SNL, and then wound up writing some jokes for him to do on the Mike Douglas show.

Growing up, I had always been a big fan of body building. I never had the genetics to succeed at it, but I read the magazines, and was fascinated by the sport. I was also fascinated by unusual names so when a friend told me about a young guy named Arnold Schwartzenegger, I thought it was a joke. I think his last name translates to mean something like ” Black-Black”!

I soon found out that it wasn’t a joke, and I became a big fan. He was absolutely immense and his nickname was “The Austrian Oak”! As time went on, I got married and I used to say to my wife, “Please don’t ever let Arnold Schwartzenegger insult you, because I’d hate to have to fight him.” It was kind of a standing joke between us.

A couple of years later, when SNL was new, I went to one of the early shows with a girl named Kathy Jonas, the daughter of famed comedy manager David Jonas, best known for managing Freddie Prinze Sr., and Alan Zweibel. As we walked in, in those days you had assigned seats. I don’t think they do that anymore. Anyway, we walked to our seats, and who was sitting in MY seat? None other than Arnold Schwartzenegger. I almost fell down. I was wishing my wife was there to share the experience with me. I recognized him from his photos in the magazines.

Anyway, I gathered up my courage, walked over to him and said ” Excuse me, aren’t you Arnold Schwartzenegger?” To which he said, “Yes.” I said, ” Well I’m sorry to tell you, but you’re in my seat!”

He jumped right up and was so apologetic. He was so kind and humble and apologized profusely. And I was thinking, “Life is so bizarre. (Or at least MY life is so bizarre!) I just asked Arnold Schwartzenegger to get out of my seat. And he did!!!

I told him I was a comedy writer and a big fan of his. I think Pumping Iron either just came out or was about to come out, and he said he needed some comedy material to do on the talk shows. We exchanged information, but didn’t connect for a while.

Then after Pumping Iron came out, I heard he was doing some kind of book signing at a bookstore in Westchester, not far from where I lived. I went over to see him, and we spoke again, and once again exchanged information, and this time I wound up writing for him for an appearance he did on the Mike Douglas Show.

Somewhere in my memorabilia, I still have a letter from him on his Golden Oak Productions letterhead. At least I think it was called Golden Oak. I have a feeling that was the precursor to Oak Productions which he created in 1985.

It’s going back a long ways! I wasn’t carrying a camera in those days like I do today, so I don’t have a photo of us together, because there was no such thing as small digital pocket cameras in those days. Cameras were huge, needed film, and lights, and definitely did not fit into anyone’s pocket. But even without a photo, it’s an experience I’ll never forget.

It makes me want to search my house to find it, but that’s probably just because I’m in the midst of a huge project and my ADHD is telling me to divert my attention to something less important! (LOL)

In more recent years, I had another connection to Arnold. Back in 2004, David Pecker, the billionaire who owns American Media and many magazines and newspapers under that vast umbrella, bought Muscle and Fitness and Flex magazines, and went into an association with Arnold, who was supposed to be an advisor, and editorial contributor. I was asked to write some humorous remarks for David to say at a big press event entitled “The Arnold Classic”, announcing their association, and this was part of what I wrote for David to say, in which he was comparing himself to Arnold:

“And in terms of comparing our experience in the world of fitness. Basically, I am to the world of bodybuilding what the legendary Luciano Pavarotti is to the world of pole-vaulting.

I am to the world of fitness, what the great Mike Tyson is to the world of speed-reading, … what George Bush is to the world of cliff-diving, what Al Sharpton is to the world of modern dance, and what the legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman is to the world of porno films.”

That’s all folks!

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Weinstein Company’s Dirty Girl Should Be A Big Hit-Opens Oct. 7th

One of the perks of doing what I do is that I get to see films before they come out, and often get to interview the stars. Yesterday I was lucky to see the new Weinstein Company film “Dirty Girl”, opening in theatres October 7th, starring two newcomers who won’t be newcomers for long.

The lovely and talented Juno Temple as Danielle in the Weinstein Company’s Dirty Girl!

As seen on today’s Page 6 in the New York Post, the “Dirty Girl” is played by Juno Temple an English actress, who does a fantastic job, as well as a fantastic American accent in this film. She actually has seven more films waiting to be released. This girl is going to be a big star! Weinstein Company seems to have good “star-radar”, and in this film they’re right on the money!

Juno plays Danielle, a very promiscuous high school teenager, “the dirty girl” of Norman High,in Norman, Oklahoma, circa 1987. She’s like the proverbial “hooker with a heart of gold”, who carries an underlying sadness due to the fact that she never knew her Dad. She didn’t even know his name!

Jeremy Dozier as Clarke, Juno Temple’s co-star in the Weinstein Company’s Dirty Girl!

When her overtly sexual, rebellious behavior lands her in a remedial class with a bunch of other “losers”, she reluctantly becomes friends with Clarke,( Jeremy Dozier, in his first major role), an over-weight closeted gay kid, who is also leading a sad, lonely existence. He is constantly abused by his father, Joseph, played by Dwight Yoakam, who is horrified that he’s gay, and not protected at all by his mother, a quiet, mousey woman, played perfectly by Mary Steenburgen!

Danielle and Clarke each rebelling in their own way in class in the new sure-to-be Weinstein hit “Dirty Girl”!

Mary Steenburgen as Peggy, and Dwight Yoakam as Joseph in the Weinstein Company’s guaranteed hit, “Dirty Girl”!

When the teacher pairs them up for an assignment, the two loners, lonely for different reasons, become unlikely friends. They wind up in an exciting road trip to find her birth father, Danny, who she never knew, and which is a source of great pain to her.

Danny is played by Tim McGraw, who gave a heartfelt performance as a guy who suddenly and shockingly finds out he has a grown daughter, in front of his wife and his own little daughter. The scene where Danielle sees him being affectionate to his little girl, knowing she was wishing her entire life for just one moment like that, was so powerful, it brought tears to my eyes. Having had two little girls of my own, I know what that means!

After yet one more abusive incident, Clarke steals his father’s car, and he and Danielle take off for California together, in the kind of touching, heart-felt alliance that only two desperate “misfits” could have. They are determined to track down the guy who impregnated her mother, and who it turns out never even knew she was born.

Danielle’s Mom, Sue-Ann, is played by the equally talented Milla Jovovich. Sue-Ann herself was a “reformed slut” gone straight, set on marrying a straight-laced,no-nonsense Mormon, Ray, who Danielle can’t stand the sight of. And Ray is played by the great, and wonderfully talented Bill Macy.

Milla Jovovich, who plays Sue-Ann, Danielle’s ex-slut Mom, in the Weinstein Company’s “Dirty Girl”!

This film was cast so well. Each person was just perfect in their part. I find many things interesting about this film. First of all, that three of it’s stars were stars in other fields besides acting.

Milla Jovovich is a Ukrainian-born supermodel and fashion designer as well as a singer, Dwight Yoakam is a singer-songwriter most famous for his work in country music, who has sold more than 25 million records, and Tim McGraw is also a country-western singer,who has sold more than 40 million albums. I love when people step out of themselves to become yet something else. Some people have a dream, and it’s nice when they pursue it successfully. Even more-so when they have already been successful doing something else!

What I think I like most about this film, is the underlying story of overcoming obstacles in your life. You get what you get, and then it’s up to you to do something with it. The Spiritual approach is that we’re born into the families that we’re born into, to learn lessons we didn’t get a chance to learn in a previous life.

In simpler terms, who didn’t feel like an outcast in high school? There was always an “in-crowd” but it was small and super exclusive, and most of those people lived in fear that they would someday be excluded from it. It’s interesting to see those same people many years later! I have had that experience. Let’s just say that if high school was the best time of your life, I feel very sorry for you!

I read the production notes from writer/director Abe Sylvia, who started out as that overweight closeted kid in Oklahoma and turned into a handsome, accomplished Broadway dancer, and now successful screenwriter. I had to laugh when reading the Producer Statement from Rob Paris of Paris Films. It took five years until this film got made, but in the beginning he didn’t even want to take a meeting with Abe Sylvia. Just the name Abe Sylvia conjured up the vision of two elderly Jewish people ” arguing over sunsets in Boca.” He was fully prepared not to like the script by an unknown writer, whose manager, fortunately for us, would not stop badgering him to read it.

Turns out he finally gave in for the meeting and like so many execs, didn’t bother reading the script until the night before the meeting. Instead of tossing it in the garbage after the first twenty pages as he had expected to do, he found himself ” devouring page after page, … laughing and crying in equal measure as he arrived at the triumphant finish!”

To top it off, he pictured an unstylish, nebbishy guy, and in walked this ” tall, handsome, actor-looking type” who turned out to be Abe Sylvia, and who exuded so much confidence that Paris decided to let him direct right then and there!

According to Paris, it took “five years, four different financiers, twelve different budgets, twenty different actors, and twenty-five disparate locations”, to make this film, which is a lesson to all perspective filmmakers out there, ( including myself! ) to never give up, and to always believe in yourself when you know in your heart you have something special to say!

I was also happy to see that my childhood camp friend, super-star Melissa Manchester wrote and performed some of the music,especially one song “Rainbird” that she wrote with Mary Steenburgen!

Go see “Dirty Girl”! You’ll love it!

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Page 6 Review-Kelly Cutrone To Replace Andre Leon-Talley as Judge on ANTM

Kelly Cutrone is a powerhouse! How do I know? Aside from the fact that I count her as a dear friend, and know her for many years, she managed to wind up on Page 6 two days in a row, about the same story. No one does that! (LOL) It’s hard enough to get on Page 6 at all, but to have two stories back to back? Only Kelly Cutrone could do that!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Kelly Cutrone at the Barnes and Noble book signing for her hit book ” If You Have To Cry, Go Outside.”

On Tuesday, 9/27/11 the first story ran, entitled “Diva Swap” saying that ” Sources close to the catwalk competition say Vogue editor-at-large André Leon Talley will exit Tyra Banks’ hit series America’s Next Top Model, after its 17th season wraps, and Kelly Cutrone may take his place.” Cutrone’s people had no comment on that, nor did Talley’s people, nor the CW’s people. Nobody’s people were talking!

Kelly is the head of the hot fashion P.R. firm People’s Revolution, and when she arranged for me to attend the shows at Fashion Week that she was in charge of, it was very clear that she runs everything with a tight fist! Kelly doesn’t mince words when she’s on the grind! And people jump to do her bidding.

She’s had a lot of TV experience, including her run on MTV’s The Hills which led to her starring in the spinoff, ” The City”, and finally as the star of her own show on Bravo, ” Kell On Earth”, which she also Exec. Produced!

The very next day, another Page 6 item came out entitled ” Andre’s All Good” in which Andre says there are ho hard feelings about him leaving the show, that it was mutual, and that he had a fabulous time while he was on. They like to refer to Kelly as “tough-talking” which fits her TV image, but she’s always been very kind to me.

I recall my first trip out to LA many years ago. Kelly made one phone call, and got me a super room at an even better price at the Sunset Marquis hotel in Hollywood. Then when I was out there she hooked me up with lots of fun events to make me feel at home, like I was in New York!

I remember the event she created that really put her in the public eye. Many years ago, she produced a show in NYC, in an art gallery, and the show was called ” Love, Spit, Love”. It was basically naked couples in various intimate poses within an art gallery setting. Live art, if you will! And lots of people did! I remember being there as her guest and there were tons of cops, and police barricades to try and control the huge crowds that had come to try and get in.

She mentions that event as a monumental event in her career in her hit Harper One book ” If You Have To Cry, Go Outside”, which chronicles how she overcame the often difficult and challenging events in her life that led up to the success she enjoys now.

Kelly Cutrone’s hit book, ” If You Have To Cry, Go Outside” published by Harper One!”

I was at the book signing for that event, and I came away with one of the most special pieces of memorabilia in my whole long career. When Kelly signed my book she wrote: “Dearest Jeffrey,
You are a legend! I worship you!

And under that was a big Heart, and then her name “Kelly.” And if you don’t believe me, here it is!

No caption is needed! This photo speaks for itself! (LOL)

So I along with millions of other people will be watching for Kelly on ANTM, and rooting for her continued success!

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Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake Back On Again?

Page 6 in the NY Post reported that Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake were spotted at the interactive play in Chelsea called “Sleep No More”, and then they were spotted riding bikes together. They had been together for 4 years before they broke up. It’s always nice to see people trying to make it work. We wish them well!

When I met Jessica at the press junket for Easy Virtue, a film she did with Academy Award winner Colin ( The King’s Speech) Firth,she was incredibly nice and forthcoming. She played the kind of role where you fall in love with her cause she was just so cool, and rebellious, and beautiful! Justin has good taste in women and is lucky to have her!

Jeffrey Gurian with Jessica Biel at the press conference for Easy Virtue with Colin Firth!

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Page 6 Review -Aesha Waks and Liam McMullen

In this week’s Page 6 in the New York Post they talked about actress Aesha Waks 34, and DJ and photographer Liam McMullen 23, planning their wedding for the Spring of 2012. They were originally supposed to be married last August, but decided to postpone it indefinitely. Liam is the son of celeb photographer Patrick McMullen whom I’ve known for many years. I clearly remember him bringing Liam with him to parties when Liam was only about 12 years old, so he’s been exposed to the New York nightlife scene for quite a while.

Actress Aesha Waks and her fiance DJ, photographer, and hopeful stand-up comic Liam McMullen partying at Pacha!

I’ve had the pleasure of being friends with Aesha for years now. As a matter of fact she was with me the one and only time I met Mick Jagger, who was on the short list, ( the very short list!) of people I had wanted to meet in this lifetime. No one can ever get old as long as Mick is around because he’s maybe 67 and still the hippest guy in the room. When he moves on stage it’s like he’s 27. I know young bands that are in awe of him still.

Aesha and I were having dinner at Lotus that night, at the time the hottest club in the Meatpacking District, and a place where my old friend nightlife guru Mark Baker was part owner. I’m pretty sure it was a party for something or other, as I recall being at a party once! (LOL) (And I swore I’d never do THAT again! LOLOLOL )

Anyway, they happened to seat us right next to Mick and Jann Wenner if I recall correctly. It also might have been Jason Binn. I know it was someone big in publishing. So I went over and told him that when my kids were little, and my hair was very long, they used to ask me why I didn’t look like the other Dads who were living in Scarsdale. My answer was, ” Well you’d understand if I was Mick Jagger.” Their answer was,
” Yeh Dad, … but you’re not! “

Another cute photo of lovebirds Aesha Waks and Liam McMullen taken by Jeffrey Gurian!

I thought he’d get a kick out of the story. Turns out I got more of a kick out of it than he did! (LOL) But at least I got to meet him. I didn’t have my camera with me in those days which is one of my regrets, but I also didn’t have it when I met Woody Allen for the first time, Salvador Dali, when we spent the evening together, or when I got to meet The Beach Boys, the only other people on that very short list!

Jeffrey Gurian and Lauren Francesca partying it up at Pacha with Aesha Waks and Liam McMullen!

The last time I was with Aesha and Liam was at a party at Pacha, Zev Norotsky’s place. I was with Lauren Francesca, the internet star, best known for playing Lady Gaga in the Key of Awesome parodies, and they were very romantic, and totally into each other. Aesha had called me not too long ago because Liam now wants to get into stand-up comedy, and I told her I would definitely help him. I offered to bring him to audition at The Comic Strip.

Lauren Francesca in a "swoon" with Jeffrey Gurian! Maybe it was his cologne!

They said the wedding will be an eclectic mix of people of all different ages and attachments to the couple. Who knows, maybe I’ll be invited! Maybe we’ll do a little Roast for the wedding???

Now Aesha Waks is in a "swoon", from Liam McMullen's kiss! Btw, what the heck is a swoon???

All I know is this time, I’ll make sure to bring my camera!

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Page 6 Review – Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and David Blaine

So as one of the new features of Comedy Matters I’m taking stories from Page 6 in the NY Post, the most powerful and influential page in the country, and adding some personal stories about the people I know who were mentioned on the page.

The top story this day was about Mick Jagger going into the studio with a new supergroup including Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics, Damian Marley, Joss Stone, and A.R. Rahman. And also about how pissed he was at Keith Richards for writing unkind things about him in his new book ” Life.”

I only met Jagger once but he has a very special place in my history. First of all, as far as I’m concerned, ( and no one actually knows how far that is! ) the man is a King. To me he’s the best of the best. No one has ever come close and his performance at The Grammy’s this year gave me the chills cause he’s 67, and rocks out better than most musicians in their 20’s. He’s thin and still has the moves that made him famous back in the 60’s.

The man is AMAZING. And thanks to Mick no one ever has to be old. Who ever heard of anyone being 67, and being so hip? Mick Jagger changed the world, and the world’s perception of getting old. Because if HE can do it, so can others. He’s an inspiration. As long as Mick is older than me, I can never get old. I look at him for inspiration.

Now when my kids were little, ( yes, … I have kids! LOL) and we lived in a fancy neighborhood in Westchester, they used to ask me why I couldn’t be like the other Dads. At the time, my hair was way, way below my shoulders, and I was driving a car that could only be described as a “pimp-mobile!” It was a Mandarin Orange Eldorado, with a white Cabriolet top, the big white wall tires, and I totally pimped it out with a Rolls Royce grille, just like the pimps did in the 70’s. The dealer where I bought it told me it had been made for one of the Eisley Brothers, and he decided not to take it, so I grabbed it.

My wife used to say to me, ” We’re Jewish and we live in Scarsdale. Why do I have to drive an orange Cadillac? All the women laugh at me! ” Obviously she didn’t get it! So when my kids said, ” How come you can’t look like the other Dads, my answer was, ” Well you’d understand if I was Mick Jagger!” And their answer was, ” Yeh Dad, but you’re not!”

In all my years of hanging out, I was sure I’d run into Mick, but it never happened until one night at a place called Lotus. I was at a private dinner party, with an actress named Aesha Waks, and right near us, seated with Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone fame was Mick Jagger. I couldn’t believe it. He was like two tables away from me. Because I was a guest at the same party I was able to walk over and introduce myself to him. I actually told him that story about my kids, thinking that he’d think it was really funny, but to be honest, he didn’t seem that amused. And he didn’t ask me for my number so we could keep in touch! (LOL) Maybe he had other things on his mind.

I also met Keith Richards once as well. This was at an event for the Songwriters Hall of Fame awards, and it was black tie and I was with a gorgeous singer I was dating at the time. We were seated at a main table and with my tux and long hair, everyone took it for granted that I was someone big in the music business. To this day when people meet me, many people still think I’m in the music business. ( Even my parents think I’m in the music business! )

Anyway, on this night, three superstars stopped off at my table specifically to say “Hello” to me even though they had never met me before. I guess I looked like the kind of guy you should know, and they didn’t want to slight me. It was Keith Richards, who was there with Patty Hansen, Paul Anka and Billy Joel. I swear to G-d, each one of them stopped by to say “Hi!” and ” Great to see you! It’s been a while.” The girl I was with was absolutely shocked, and said ” No one would believe this! “

Perception is everything in show biz! If you like look a certain way, and carry yourself a certain way, and have a gorgeous girl with you, interesting things can happen! Unfortunately in those days I wasn’t carrying a camera the way I do now. They didn’t have small cameras in those days, and certainly not digital ones.

I missed getting photos with Woody Allen, Salvador Dali, The Beach Boys, and the three musical superstars mentioned above.

Jeffrey Gurian and David Blaine at Denise Rich's Angel Ball!

David Blaine, was also in a Page 6 story the same day, about him hanging out with Ashton Kutcher, who is replacing Charlie Sheen in Two and a Half Men. They were at a restaurant in Manhattan called Indochine. The first time I met David Blaine was also in a restaurant. I don’t recall the name but I know it was on East 21st Street, and I was with the legendary music agent, and long time friend Jonny Podell.

Jeffrey Gurian with Jonny Podell at The Friars Club for the book party for Jeffrey's book, " Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive". The book was based on Jeffrey's writing for the famed Friars Roasts for many years and featured the favorite nastiest jokes from over 250 celebs.

Jonny Podell is known these days as the father of DJ Cassidy who spins at every hot hip-hop party on the planet, whether it’s for Russell Simmons, Jay-Z, or Oprah! He was actually flown to South Africa to spin for one of Oprah’s New Years Eve parties a few years back.
DJ Cassidy at Heffrey's book party at The Friars Club holding a copy of Jeffrey's book, Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive!

D J Cassidy looking at Jeffrey Gurian at a party in NYC, where Cassidy was spinning!

Both Jonny and Cassidy came to my sold-out totally packed, book party at The Friars Club for my book “Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive” and it was written up on Page 6.

Page 6 did a great write-up about Jeffrey Gurian's book party at The Friars Club, with all the names of the celebs that attended!

Anyway, Jonny was representing David Blaine at the time and was also like a mentor to him. We were sitting with Alan Grubman, the famous entertainment lawyer and father of P.R. queen Lizzie Grubman. Jonny asked David to show me some card tricks and the one I remember most is where he asked me to pick a card, look at it and put it back in the deck. Then he threw the entire deck at the window of the restaurant, and the card I picked was stuck to the glass outside of the restaurant looking in at us. I never saw anything like that in my entire life. Even if he would offer to tell me how he did it, I wouldn’t want to know. I prefer to think he has magical powers! He amazed us for quite some time with many different and amazing tricks, but that’s the trick that stands out to me.

I think it was shortly after that that Jonny got him his first huge TV deal for a special. It could have been for about a million bucks if I’m not mistaken. Since then I see David periodically, usually at some fun special event like Denise Rich’s Angel Ball, and he’s even a fan of my short comedy films “The Men Who Series”, about men who do very unusual things, like ” Men Who Take A Pitchfork To The Movies”, “Men Who Enjoy Latin Dancing With Tools”, and “Men Who Dance Alone In Gas Stations After They Close For The Evening.”

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Page 6 Review-LuAnn de Lesseps, Marisa Tomei, Frank Whaley, Nick Loeb

In a new feature on the Comedy Matters Vlog, I am reviewing items on Page 6, the most powerful gossip page in the country, specifically those pertaining to friends of mine, and people I know personally.

On Sat. May 21, 2011, the entire top of the page was about LuAnn de Lesseps, a close friend of mine since before she was a Countess.

Jeffrey Gurian with his dear friend LuAnn deLesseps, (AKA The Countess) at a party at La Pomme, for Real Housewives of New York City.

I know LuAnn from when she was a nurse.  She was beautiful then, and still is.  We ran around together and had some amazing and wild fun times!

LuAnn deLesseps interviewing Jeffrey Gurian back in '04 when he co-produced the Hamptons Comedy Festival!

When I co-produced the Hamptons Comedy Festival back in ’04, LuAnn was there to interview me for Plum TV, as one of their correspondents, and appears in the little doc. film made about me (below) as a promo real for a reality type TV show based on this column/Vlog.

LuAnn was ALWAYS very focussed on becoming successful in the entertainment industry, and had been hosting a TV show in Italy where she became fluent in Italian.  She’s also fluent in French which I’m sure helps her to communicate with her boyfriend Jacques Azoulay, whose English is perfect by the way.

Countess LuAnn and Jacques Azoulay at a Housewives party, shortly after they met!

He just has a nice accent!  But I can see them speaking French when they don’t want anyone else to understand what they’re saying.  I believe I first met him soon after he and LuAnn met.  She brought him to one of the premiere parties for the new season of Real Housewives of New York City, at a place called La Pomme, where I had the pleasure of meeting her Mom.

Countess LuAnn and her elegant Mom at a party for Housewives at La Pomme.

(L-R) Most of the cast of Real Housewives of NYC including Jill Zarin, LuAnn DeLesseps, Kelly Bensimon, Ramona Singer, and Sonja Morgan. Bethenny, and a couple of others didn't show up, and unfortunately I don't have time to find the first woman's name! (LOL)

This particular Page 6 item was about LuAnn’s daughter Victoria leaving the Ross School in The Hamptons, ostensibly after Housewife Ramona Singer,(who I find it hard to watch), went and posted a link to the You Tube video of Victoria engaging in some unseemly behavior.   What a nice thing for Ramona to have done!  Not exactly a surprise considering the venom these women have the ability to express!

She did however apologize which makes all the difference in the world, right???  If you accidentally stab someone and then apologize afterwards, it makes the wound heal up right away doesn’t it???

As a side note, LuAnn’s press rep says that Victoria leaving The Ross School, had nothing to do with the video clip, and that Victoria is looking forward to studying art in Paris this summer!  If she turns out like her Mom she’ll be just fine!

Both Marisa Tomei and Frank Whaley are mentioned in this Page 6, and were at the after-party for Knickerbocker, a play at The Public Theatre, directed by another old friend Pippin Parker, brother of none other than Sarah Jessica.

Jeffrey Gurian with Marisa Tomei at a press junket for her film "Before The Devil Knows You're Dead!"

Jeffrey Gurian interviewing Frank Whaley at a New Group event at Capitale honoring Wallace Shawn!

The party was held at the Knickerbocker Bar and Grill which according to Page 6, Chris Noth calls “downtown’s answer to Elaine’s.”

Pippin and Toby are the two Parker siblings I know best from my early days at Naked Angels, when I used to go down there with actor Federico Castelluccio and director Billy Goins, who at the time had been engaged to Claudia Schiffer.

Jeffrey Gurian and Toby Parker at a show after Toby's performance!

Jeffrey Gurian with Federico Castelluccio at an event at The Cutting Room!

I was one of the writers whose stuff got read by Naked Angels members at their weekly Tuesdays at Nine events where writers would bring in new works and ask resident actors to do a cold reading for the rest of the audience.

In those days it was run by a guy named Craig Carlisle, a great guy who I think may be in LA these days.  It was where I first met Ethan Hawke, when he came over and introduced himself to me after hearing the early version of a play I wrote called ” A Punch In The Face”, which he told me he liked and encouraged me to finish.

I did years later and wound up dedicating it to actor Chuck Zito after he punched out Jean Claude Van Damme at Scores one night and broke his knuckle on Van Damme’s head, a story told to me by Chuck himself! And if you look at the photo below and see the size of Chuck’s fist, you can only imagine what Van Damme’s head felt like when it got hit with it!

Jeffrey Gurian at the receiving end of Chuck Zito's massive fist at the premiere of a play written by Jeffrey in his honor called " A Punch In The Face", something at which Chuck is an expert!

I had first met Chuck through another old friend Charlie Sheen, when Charlie was in his prime.  He’s an amazing, brilliant guy and will be the subject of a separate post another day!

Marisa Tomei and Frank Whaley are currently starring on Broadway together in Wallace Shawn’s “Marie and Bruce”, which you’ll soon read about in a post I’m working on about the very recent New Group tribute to Wallace Shawn, which I attended and did interviews for on the red carpet.

The poster for Wallace Shawn's play "Marie and Bruce" starring Marisa Tomei and Frank Whaley at the Acorn Theatre on Theatre Row!

Last on Page 6 that day was Nick Loeb, recent Senate hopeful from Florida, and a good friend of mine and reader of Comedy Matters.  Nick is one of those guys where when you see him, even if you don’t know what he does, you know it’s something special.

Nick’s Dad is John L. Loeb former Ambassador to Denmark from 1981-1983, who was knighted by Queen Margrethe of Denmark after he left his post, and was also a Delegate to The United Nations. The Loeb family is one of the oldest, and most successful Jewish families dating back to Colonial times, and are also related to the Lehman family.

Nick is a film producer, though his company IPC ( International Production Company), and has worked with Exec. Producers like Quincy Jones and Barbara Streisand.

Jeffrey Gurian with the amazing Nick Loeb who was running for the Florida Senate at the time!

Nick was a candidate for the Florida State Senate, a possible Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate as the Republican Senator from Florida, but most important, he currently holds the position of being the boyfriend of Modern Family’s gorgeous, and funny Sofia Vergara! (LOL)  All the other stuff is certainly possible, but how does one accomplish that??? (LOLOL)

I was proud to support Nick in his run for Florida’s Senate, and the fundraiser was held in Manhattan at his father’s townhouse.  His father happened to be out of town that evening, and I asked Nick jokingly whether his father even knew he was using his home or did he just sneak the keys while his Dad wasn’t looking!

( I love to ask questions like that of powerful people!  Can you imagine what it must be like to grow up as an Ambassador’s son, with a family lineage like that?  Like when I asked Don Trump Jr. if his Dad would think it was funny if I tipped him a dollar for having me at one of his events.  Just fold a dollar into his palm when I was shaking hands with him.  Don suggested that I don’t do that, and I was glad I took his advice! LOL )  Personally I think Donald would have laughed, but you never know.

Jeffrey Gurian, at a Donald Trump event, surrounded by the gorgeous couple of Don and Vanessa Trump!

Nick is the consummate gentleman, and a guy with a great sense of humor. His taste in women is also excellent, and I’d love to see him hold a high office one of these days.  I think he’d make a great contribution to the country.  Plus then we could all get to meet Sofia Vergara! (LOLOLOL)

 

 

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Page 6 Review With Camille Grammer

I have been a fan of Page 6 in the New York Post for longer than I care to admit.  As far as I’m concerned it’s the most powerful and most influential “gossip page” in the country, and I’ve been honored to be on it maybe a dozen times over the years, if not more.

Page 6 with Jeffrey Gurian, Gilbert Gottfried, and Richie Tienken, owner and founder of the legendary comedy club The Comic Strip after Gilbert's interview for the book Jeffrey is writing for the 35th anniversary of the club.

Every day, it’s basically the first thing I read in the NY Post, and very often I know many of the people being written about, so as a new feature of this Vlog, I will be telling some personal anecdotes involving the people written about on Page 6.

Today’s column is headed with a huge story on Camille Grammer, Kelsey Grammer’s ex-wife who supposedly recently settled their divorce for about $50 million bucks.  Camille was one of Bravo’s “Housewives of Beverly Hills” and supposedly the producers of the show are concerned that she’s toning down her act so as not to stir up any trouble between her and Kelsey.

It seems that Kelsey is looking for custody of their kids, and she doesn’t want to give him any ammunition by acting out in any way on the show.  Meanwhile the producers want the cast to be more outrageous for Season 2.

Camille agreed to the divorce settlement about a day before Kelsey was to marry Kayte Walsh, supposedly as an accommodation to him, and she doesn’t want to jeopardize all she’s attained for a reality TV show.

Camille is often portrayed in a negative light, but I know her for many years, since we were both kids, and she’s a sweetheart, with a heart of gold! (LOL)

Jeffrey Gurian with his dear friend Camille Grammer on the red carpet of the Comedy Central Night of Too Many Stars!

When I first met Camille, it was before her Playboy days.  Her name was Camille Donatacci, and I cast her in two little comedy films that I wrote and co-produced, that just happened to be for Playboy TV.

Frank Chindamo Pres. and CEO of a company called “Fun Little Movies” which is now world known for creating video content for mobile phones, was in those days producing short films.  He came to me to create a series of short “futuristic” films for Playboy TV, and I got famous comics like Richard Belzer, Pat Cooper, and Gilbert Gottfried to star in them, which they did strictly as a favor to me.

Camille was in two of them.  In the one with Richard Belzer, called “The Bar Channel”, Belzer is at home watching “the bar channel”, where guys can scan girls from their homes.  ( remember this was futuristic, before the days of Skype, and videophones.)

So in the script, guys watch this channel at home, scan for hot girls, and then try and pick up girls via TV’s that are placed on the bar.  Phoebe Legere also starred in this one, and Belzer comes on the screen and offers her a drink.

She accepts and with that, another guy pops up on another screen and tries to muscle in on the first guy’s thing by belittling him.

Both guys are played by Belzer.  An argument breaks out between them, and a bouncer comes and throws both TV’s out of the bar.  Camille played a patron about whom Belzer says, ” That chick’s so hot she could set off the friggin’ sprinkler system.”

In the second film with Gilbert Gottfried called ” Seeing Is Believing”, Gilbert is in a club trying to pick up girls wearing glasses that can only be described as being kind of like microscopes.  He has to focus his lenses by hand.  His pick-up lines are the worst!  ” Would you like to see some pictures of my furniture?”

Needless to say he meets no one.  His friend tells him that maybe he needs to get new glasses, and for a few extra bucks he can get them with X-ray vision.  Gilbert thinks that means he can see through girls clothing.  He goes to the eye doctor and Camille is the sexy nurse.

Gilbert envisions seeing through her clothing, but after the surgery when the doctor gives him a remote control box to turn on the X-ray vision, he looks at Camille, presses the button, excitedly expecting to see her naked, but instead he sees her skeleton, and goes into seizures.

On the shoot, Camille looked gorgeous and every guy wanted to be with her, but she wouldn’t give anyone any play, hence instead of calling her Camille Donatacci, she got the nickname Camille “Don’t Touch Me.”  We all knew she’d wind up with someone famous and successful and she certainly did.
Jeffrey Gurian and Camille Grammer on the Comedy Central red carpet for Night of Too Many Stars!

Despite how they often portray her, she’s a great girl, with a good heart, and I wish her all the best!

 

 

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