Posts Tagged “Pete Davidson”

The King of Staten Island Rocks

PETE DAVIDSON/SCOTT CARLIN WITH HIS BOYS MOISES ARIAS, RICKY VELEZ AND LOU WILSON ON STATEN ISLAND

People who know me know I don’t do “review” reviews. I write about my experience seeing a show, or a film or any type of creative performance. I write about how it made me feel, and what the characters did. And if I don’t like it I don’t write about it at all.

WITH PETE DAVIDSON THE STAR OF KING OF STATEN ISLAND

Fortunately that’s not the case with The King of Staten Island because it would have been very difficult for me to ignore this project. It’s literally packed with comedian friends and people I know for a really long time.

Kudos first of all to director Judd Apatow, for bringing this amazing cast together, and creating cinematic magic. He produced, directed and co-wrote the script with Pete, and former SNL writer Dave Sirus who all did an amazing job telling this poignant story. When I spoke to Dave he said the experience working with Judd was surreal, and opening day was “a very weird day”, … in a good way!

WITH THE KING OF HOLLYWOOD COMEDY JUDD APATOW

Just to name the comedy people first, it’s Pete Davidson, Bill Burr, Ricky Velez, Lynn Koplitz, Derek Gaines, Keith Robinson, Pamela Adlon, Rich Vos and Bonnie Macfarlane, Liza Treyger, Mike Vecchione, Carly Aquilino, and Jessica Kirson.

 
I’m particularly happy for Pete Davidson, because I think he had a lot riding on this film personally. So many people including me were waiting excitedly for it to come out, and it would have been devastating if it had not turned out as well as it did. 

Pete gets so much press about so many different things, from all different angles, but he should be very proud of this project, which is loosely based on his own life.

And Judd must have been so proud that his daughter Maude was so great in the film playing Pete’s sister, who loves Pete/Scott in spite of himself.
I called Dave to congratulate him and he said it was a really crazy, “weird” day for him. I can only imagine. 

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film where I had a connection to so many people and even to a location in the film. I can’t do any spoilers so I’m going to keep this article limited mostly to the talent and the parts they played.

Pete, who stars in the film as Scott Carlin, and co-wrote it with Judd and Dave, plays a 24 year old Staten Island stoner who doesn’t have much direction, thanks to the confusion caused by his severe A.D.D.

He does have a dream though and that is to someday open a tattoo restaurant, which would be the first of it’s kind. Until that either happened or didn’t happen, he’d be just as comfortable hanging out in his basement with a few friends getting stoned.

He’s torn up about the death of his fireman Dad when he was only 7, but isn’t really in touch with that as the cause of his inner turmoil and emotional pain.

I happen to know Pete since he was about 17. He used to do my late night show at The Comic Strip. He’d come in late at night with Jordan Rock and was really shy and really funny. I had a feeling he was gonna do big things, but nobody could guess at the time where he would go, and the heights he would reach.

PETE DAVIDSON WITH JORDAN ROCK BACK IN 2011
WITH PETE DAVIDSON WHEN HE WAS 17

I shared the excitement with him when Nick Cannon took him under his wing and brought him out on the road, and Pete used to tell me how amazing it was being with Nick and Mariah.

And then some years later we shot some fun video interviews up in Montreal, when he was asked to perform at the Just for Laughs Festival two years in a row. I remember how excited he was about being up there.

Then one night at Gotham Comedy Club, where he performed pretty often, he introduced me to his girlfriend at the time, super funny comedian Carly Aquilino, and told her she could tell me anything because I was someone who could be trusted. That was very cool.

Carly also has a part in the movie as Tara, and I almost didn’t recognize her with her super blonde hair which has been many other colors including pink!

WITH CARLY AQUILINO OUTSIDE OF A COMEDY CLUB IN NYC

The last time I saw Pete was with Bill Burr when he and Bill produced Paul Virzi’s special and I drove up to watch the taping and hang out backstage with those guys.

Bill Burr, who is so great in this part, plays a fireman named Ray with a big caterpiller moustache, who winds up dating Pete’s Mom Margie, in the film played by my old friend, the incredibly talented Marisa Tomei.

WITH ACADEMY AWARD WINNER MARISA TOMEI

In 1995 I was working with the Audrey Hepburn Foundation and went to the first year of the Aspen Comedy Festival representing the foundation, whose goal was to help poor children all over the world. I knew Marisa from the Naked Angels theatre troupe, as she was one of the founding members, and I used to go every week as one of the writers whose work they’d read.

When I got back from Aspen the Hepburn foundation had a big event at Planet Hollywood and I asked Marisa to come and make a special appearance which she did as a favor. She had already won the Oscar for her performance in My Cousin Vinny, so it was a really big thing. And Bill Burr gets to kiss her in this film! #sojealous

BILL BURR WITH HIS BIG MOUSTACHE AND MARISA TOMEI

So many people had fun parts. Ricky Velez who’s one of Pete’s best friends in real life plays a best friend in the film as well, and is absolutely superb. He even gets to wear his favorite clothes, which is usually just jeans and a hoodie. He has a very big and important part in terms of what happens to him and to Pete/Scott during the film.

RICKY VELEZ JUST CHILLIN’ ON STATEN ISLAND

Derek Gaines from The Last O.G. plays a waiter in the Staten Island restaurant where Pete gets a job, and Derek is also a close friend and an old roommate of Pete’s. They actually lived together in real life and when I called him right after I saw the film to congratulate him he told me he was “so glad to work with a cast that knew how to play the line of comedy and drama together. Pete and Judd are a power collaboration that I’m so glad to be a part of.”

He went on to say ” Pete is my friend, we sorta grew up together in comedy. He was my roommate for Christ’s sake … I’m glad we stayed cool and he called me to do the part, .. and in the words of Lil Wayne, … it all worked out! (Tha Carter 5).”  In the film he even gets to show off his pop-and-lock skills!

WITH DEREK GAINES WHEN HE WAS MY GUEST ON SIRIUS XM RADIO

Keith Robinson has a funny scene playing a security guard, and Pamela Adlon who has a big part plays Bill Burr’s ex-wife, and the mother of their two adorable kids. Rich Vos and Bonnie Macfarlane have a cool scene in an Italian restaurant called Denino’s which happens to be owned by my dear friend Joe McBratney’s brother, Jimmy McBratney, and where I’ve actually eaten. Great food by the way!

WITH PAMELA ADLON STAR OF BETTER THINGS AT THE FRIARS CLUB

Lynne Koplitz has a very fun part and gets to let out her “inner Lynn” by playing a wise-cracking nurse and best friend to Marisa Tomei. All these people had a chance to act with Marisa Tomei! Amazing.

WITH LYNNE KOPLITZ BACKSTAGE AT SOME SHOW SOMEWHERE

And when I asked Lynne about working with Marisa she said, “ she was great to work with and needless to say so professional. It was very surreal at first being that it was my first role in a full length movie and there I was at rehearsal with this fantastic Oscar winning beauty, but she was very friendly and the entire environment of the movie was very family like which enabled me to get comfortable quickly.”

LYNNE KOPLITZ AND MARISA TOMEIE

She went on to say, “ I honestly can’t say enough nice things about working on this film. I adore Pete and always have and Ricky and Dave are just so generous, and fun and creative. And Judd, … well he just sets this confident and easy going collaborative tone that’s really great to work with.” Sounds like she liked it!

Liza Treyger plays a waitress in that same Italian restaurant where Pete’s character gets a job, Mike Vecchione doesn’t play a cop for which he’s so well suited, but he plays a fireman also with a moustache, and Jessica Kirson plays the owner of a pharmacy who has a very unusual interaction with Ricky Velez and his boys.

WITH STEVE BUSCEMI AT A FILM EVENT

And Steve Buscemi who has done some comedy parts in the past, like on Jim Gaffigan’s show, (where I accidentally walked onto the set while they were filming to say hello to Jim and ruined the take), plays a senior fireman as well, and adds his great talent to the already amazing cast.

But seeing Ray romance Margie stirred an emotional note with me because of all things, my parents were named Margie and Ray. That can’t even happen. When I told Bill Burr about it he said, “ What are the odds of that?” I was like “Basically zero.” And he also said he was glad I liked the film because he had a lot of fun doing it.

The film was very emotional in several spots, and ran the entire gamut of feelings. Some very funny parts and some very touching parts where Pete and I both had tears welling up in our eyes. Pete really showed that he had quite a range. He’s basically in every scene and it was very special to see him be so good and so believable in his role.

And I must give a special shout out to English actress Bel Powley who played Pete’s childhood friend and occasional hook-up in the film. She was just so good in her part as Kelsey, and she learned the Staten Island accent as if it was her own.

I read one review of the film where the writer used such big words and flowery expressions I couldn’t tell whether she liked it or not. I don’t even know how to write that way. I just write it simply the way I see it.

This is definitely a film you should see and I’m sure it will do great things for everyone who was involved in it. I sure wish I had been! (LOL)

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Young Talent At The Comic Strip

The Comic Strip is legendary for the people that came out of that club, like Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Ray Romano, and Eddie Murphy just to name a few. But the nice thing about The Strip is that it also develops young talent who are going to be the stars of tomorrow.

Two that come to mind right away are Pete Davidson who’s only 18 and Jordan Rock who just hit the magic age of 21!

Comedy buddies Pete Davidson and Jordan Rock backstage at The Comic Strip!

Pete is being mentored by Nick Cannon, who’s really taken him under his wing, which is such an incredible thing for a young performer, and Pete deserves it. He lost his Dad in 9/11, and turned his life to comedy. I’m sure his Dad is watching over him, cause he’s doing very well!

He has funny energy, meaning that when he hits the stage you WANT to laugh. He dresses kind of “gangsta” for a White kid, but he explains it by saying that all of his friends are Black. I get it! He’s authentic!

Pete was all excited ’cause he just got back from doing five shows in Miami with Nick, and Kase Glenn at The Miami Improv, while staying at The Mayfair Hotel. Pete opened the show. It was the first time that Pete had to fly to a gig and he told me a very funny story.

The day he was to leave, he had a 10 A.M. flight but didn’t wake up until 9. He threw his stuff together and tried to call a cab but they told him it would be an hour. He got the valet guy to drive him for double the regular price, and offered him an extra $20. if he could make it in ten minutes.

Meanwhile his Mom was calling and yelling at him for being late. He got to the airport at 9:40, ran to check in and found himself on a long line. Just as he was resigned to missing his flight, the Black security guard recognized him, and yelled out, “Hey, you’re that dude from the show!”

Pete said,”I guess he had attended one night, and fortunately I did well!” The guard let him right through and referred to him as “The White Hope!” The other passengers were already aboard, and Pete ran on as they were about to lock the doors. He said he made it by one minute!

I had that happen to me once after having been snowed in the first year of the Aspen Comedy Festival. I had been stuck there for five days, when they gave me less than 30 minutes to catch a plane. I was literally running down the runway with my bags to catch the plane, and everyone stared, and glared at me as I straggled on board loaded down with stuff, and then first had to try and get it in the overhead bins, while everyone waited and rolled their eyes. Very uncomfortable to say the least!

Jordan Rock works The Strip as conscientiously as both of his brothers did, Chris and Tony, and it shows in the quality of his work. Nothing replaces stage time in perfecting your performance. He also hosts the latenight shows on Wed, and Thursdays, and I host them on Sundays and Mondays.

I predict that you’ll be seeing lots of these guys in the future. I wish I had started that young, but if you get famous in your 20’s you gotta be funny for 60 maybe 70 years! That’s a long time. I only wanted to have to be famous for maybe 20, … 25 years tops! Needless to say, I’m still waiting! (LOL)

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Nick Cannon Stranded in Hospital In Aspen

Black Planet reports that Nick Cannon is recuperating from mild kidney failure in a hospital in Aspen. Fortunately his wife , Mariah Carey is at his side and not leaving, even when doctors asked her to. She said that Nick was there for HER when she was hospitalized while having twins Moroccan and Monroe, so now when the situation is reversed, she’s not leaving HIM! Good girl Mariah!

She tweeted this pic from Nick’s hospital room!

According to Black Planet, Mariah Carey tweeted this photo of her in hubby Nick Cannon’s hospital bed! What better nurse could he ask for???

I only had the pleasure of meeting Mariah once at a charity event at The Whitney Museum, to raise money for Operation Smile, a charity that provides poverty stricken children with facial defects like cleft lip and cleft palate, the opportunity of having corrective surgery.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, with Mariah Carey at a charity event for Operation Smile, at The Whitney Museum!

I know that Nick has a tour coming up on Jan. 12th, called the “Still Standing” Tour with Mike Epps and Nick’s new 18 year old protege Pete Davidson. It’s supposed to kick off at the San Manuel Casino in Highland, California.

So let’s keep Nick in our prayers, and hope that he has a speedy recovery. He’s one of the nicest guys in the biz and at 31 years old has lots of wonderful things to look forward to. Get well quick Nick!!!

A healthy Nick Cannon with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at Nick’s New Faces Show at Gotham Comedy Club.

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Pete Davidson Stops By The Comic Strip Before Touring With Nick Cannon

The first time I saw Pete Davidson he was auditioning for the lottery show, a show they do at The Strip every Tuesday night at 10:30 P.M. to find new performers for the club. I remember them saying he was only 18 years old, and just out of high school!

Pete Davdison onstage at Gotham Comedy Club during Nick Cannon’s New Faces show!

Just a couple of nights later, I’m at Nick Cannon’s New Faces Show at Gotham Comedy Club when who comes to the stage but Pete Davidson, and after Pete does a killer set, Nick announces that Pete is his protege. It couldn’t happen to a nicer kid.

Pete had no intention of going into comedy at such an early age. He lost his hero firefighter Dad Scott in the horror of 9/11. He had always been more interested in basketball, but in dealing with his loss, he went up on stage at a comedy contest on Staten Island, and hasn’t come back down since!

He came backstage at The Strip one night recently with his older buddy, comic Jordan Rock,(who’s 20!), while I was hosting Late Night, which I do on Sundays and Mondays, and told me he would be touring with Nick starting this month.

On January 12th, he, Nick, and Mike Epps will kick off the “Still Standing” tour at the San Manuel Casino in Highland, California. Nick is a quadruple threat performer and one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. Mike Epps is absolutely HILARIOUS! This should be some unbelievable show!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Nick Cannon at his New Faces show at Gotham Comedy Club!

Pete is so funny, and it’s great to see someone starting their career so young. For myself, I never wanted to get famous in my 20’s. That meant I’d have to try and be funny for 60 or 70 years! Too overwhelming! I only wanted to have to be funny for 15, 20 years tops!

18 year old comic Pete Davidson, with “36 year old” comic Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at The Comic Strip!

I like when he said he was looking for cougars in the audience and then asked if there were any 21 year old girls! Keep your eyes open for Pete Davidson. He’ll be doing some big things!!! One thing I know for sure, his Dad is definitely smiling down on him!

Also check Pete out in Nick Cannon’s blog at http://www.nickcannon.com/post/pete-davidson-911-laughter-best-medicine

 

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Nick Cannon Hosts New Faces Show at Gotham Comedy Club

Nick Cannon brought another great New Faces show to Gotham Comedy Club. Nick is the morning guy and host on 92.3 Now radio on “Rollin’ With Nick Cannon, Monday thru Friday from 6 A.M. till 10 A.M.,and the dude is funny in his own right. I’ve seen him do stand-up and he’s good. The coolest line for me was when he was talking about getting married and he said the day of his wedding all he could think about was, ” Wow, tonight I’m gonna have sex with Mariah Carey.” You HAVE to be cool to deliver a line like that!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Nick Cannon at Gotham Comedy Club after his New Faces show!

And he obviously did have sex with her, cause they recently had twins, Moroccan and Monroe! Nick claims he had to give them unusual names cause that’s what celebrities do!

Jeffrey Gurian with Mariah Carey at an Operation Smile charity event way before she had the twins! You can top that line any way you want!

Nick produces his comedy shows with his Program Director Rob Wagman, who he refers to as his boss. Rob is funny too, as I can attest to by having seen him perform on another of Nick’s shows.

Pete Davidson onstage at Gotham, for Nick Cannon's New Faces Show!

On this particular show he opened up with Pete Davidson who I think is only 17 years old and is the first comic signed to Nick’s entertainment company. Aside from being funny, what I recently learned about Pete was that his Dad was one of the heroic firefighters we lost during 9/11. I’m sure his Dad would be very proud of him seeing him on stage.

Also on the show was the very funny Andrew Schwartztol, who I’ve performed with several times, and who co-produces comedy shows with Madison Malloy.

Madison Malloy, Jeffrey Gurian, and Andrew Schwartztol at Gotham Comedy Club!

Then there was Mick Diflo, a more mature comic which gave ME hope for getting on Nick’s New Faces show.

Mick Diflo onstage at Gotham for Nick Cannon's New Faces show!

And then Nick had two of my favorites. First up was Ted Alexandro who kills wherever he performs. I’m fascinated by Ted’s delivery and recently asked him about it backstage at The Comic Strip after he came off and I was waiting to go on. Ted takes laid back to levels never seen before. Sometimes, he could almost lay down and take a nap between lines. And it works for him.

That is fascinating to me because I’m one of those comics who thinks you have to be saying something every moment you’re on stage. Joke, joke, joke. Laugh, laugh,laugh! Sometimes the magic is in the pauses! But I had a feeling that only comes through time. Ted confirmed that for me, and told me he evolved into that style only after many years of performing, which made me feel a lot better.

Ted Alexandro in an animated moment onstage at Gotham during Nick Cannon's show!

I saw him perform to a rowdy, boisterous crowd in a club not really set up for comedy and he spoke in such a soft voice, without trying to yell over the crowd, and they actually quieted down to hear him. He was like “The Lunatic Whisperer.” He could even quiet down lunatics, just by whispering his material, which is basically what he did. I had never seen anyone else do that before and it was magical.

And closing the show was the hysterical Jessica Kirson, who incorporated a new element into her act, talking to herself while on stage, having that conversation in her mind that we all have when deciding on a course of action. The only difference is that she verbalizes it. She may be doing that for a while but to me is was new, and I liked it.

Jessica Kirson closing the New Faces show for Nick Cannon at Gotham Comedy Club!

But then again I like everything she does. Jess is a sweetie and I’m happy to say we go way back!

I’m looking forward to Nick’s next show, which I think he’s doing monthly, and I’d like to do an interview with him like I recently did with Jimmy Fallon backstage at Gotham. Maybe if he reads this, I’ll have a better chance! (LOL) And when we took the photo together he told me he liked my pocket handkerchief, which was very cool, cause Nick definitely has style!

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