Posts Tagged Ray Ellin

35th Annual Holiday Party At The Comic Strip

35th Annual Holiday Party At The Comic Strip

It seems like just yesterday that we were at The Comic Strip 34th annual holiday party, and here it was again! Most people said this year’s was one of the most fun parties The Strip ever had. The food was great, the place was packed and the show ran like clockwork, except for one comedy video by Modi which we never got to see due to technological problems.

Jeffrey Gurian interviewing owner Richie Tienken at The Comic Strip Holiday party!

Jeffrey Gurian interviewing owner Bob Wachs at the 35th annual Holiday party at The Comic Strip!

I was proud to co-host the party along with owners Richie Tienken and Bob Wachs, and got lots of cool video interviews for Comedy Matters TV with people like Judah Friedlander, Kyle Grooms, Howard Feller who told about being Jon Stewart’s sidekick on an unsuccessful show before Jon got The Daily Show, Dante Nero, Diane Passage from the new reality show “Wall Street Wives”, one of my oldest and dearest friends High Voltage, who talked about her “Energy Up” nutritional/self-esteem program for inner city high school girls, Greer Barnes, Dan Naturman, Eddie Brill, Marina Franklin, Scott Blakeman, Kristen J. Eddy who produces Anthony Anderson’s Mixtape Show, Barry Weintraub, Sherrod Small, and so many more!

World Champion Judah Friedlander of 30 Rock, asking Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV to punch him in the fist as hard as he could to show how he’s impervious to pain! Gurian had to be rushed to the hospital. He said, ” It was like punching a brick wall!”

Howard Feller being interviewed by Jeffrey Gurian for Comedy Matters TV!

“Sexy Fairy” Marina Franklin sharing a laugh with Jeffrey Gurian for Comedy Matters TV!

Producer Kristen J. Eddy at The Comic Strip, talking to Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV about Anthony Anderson’s Mixtape Show!

The beautiful Diane Passage at The Comic Strip telling Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV about her new reality show, “Wall Street Wives.”

Energy Queen High Voltage at The Comic Strip reminiscing with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV!

The highlight of the party was the show. Shauna Lane opened and closed the show with a musical number. There were a couple of fun videos made by the comics, and then host Ray Ellin, introduced a take-off on Latenight, with a comic named Sean P. Darr playing me as the host, since I host Latenight on Sunday and Monday nights!

It was weird hearing Ray announce, ” And now the Late Show. Please put your hands together for your host Jeffrey Gurian”, … and then another guy came out!

Sean P. Darr as Jeffrey Gurian, onstage “hosting” The Late Show!

I had heard it was going to be done, and was nervous at first as to how I would be portrayed, but everyone told me it was an honor for people to imitate you. And then I realized that it’s also an honor to be Roasted, and this wasn’t going to necessarily be a Roast, just an impression.

Jeffrey Gurian and Richie Tienken interviewing Jeffrey’s doppelganger Sean P. Darr backstage at The Comic Strip!

Sean came out in this wild wig, and dark glasses, which he took off too quickly! But he left them on long enough for me to get a photo of him! He even wore a scarf and a sport jacket just like me! Most of the time I wear three scarves, but I wouldn’t expect him to do that, or even to have that many scarves! (LOL)

He opened with a bunch of my jokes and started out really strong, having memorized them pretty well! I thought it was HILARIOUS, as you’ll see in the video! One comic, Mark Thomas did a great imitation of Adam Cozens, one of the Strip regulars, Sean the bartender did a great Modi from “the hood” which was fantastic because Sean has a lot more pigment than Modi! No one knew that Sean could be so funny. I guess Modi’s act works no matter who does it! (LOL)

Then Jordan Rock came out doing his brother Chris and the audience absolutely loved it. He chose to do the thing about Black people being more racist than White people, because the things that White people don’t like about Black people, Black people don’t like either! And then he went on a diatribe about the difference between Black people and the plural of the “N” word! (LOLOL! You can say it in your mind, as long as you don’t repeat it to anyone!!!)

Jordan Rock capturing the essence of his brother Chris Rock during the Holiday show at The Comic Strip!

The highlight for me was when Andy Pitz came out as Rodney Dangerfield. That was a thrill for me because I loved Rodney and Andy looked and sounded just like him. Rodney was the first big star I ever wrote for and he used to do my jokes on the Tonight Show and in his act. One of the first jokes I ever wrote for him was on his album “No Respect.”

Andy Pitz killing it as Rodney Dangerfield during the holiday party at The Comic Strip!

He said, ” I only get ugly girls. I went out with one girl who was so ugly, I bent down to pet her cat, it was the hair on her legs! She was a very ugly girl.”

Then I wrote jokes for his act. “You know my doctor, Dr. Vinnie Boombotz! I told him my ankles were swollen. He told me to build up my calf muscles and no one would notice! “

“My brother was tough. He was so tough, he got a job in a gas station, … as a jack!”

I remember being so excited when he used one of my lines as his opener with Johnny Carson. His standard opening was ” I’m alright now but last week was rough. Then he followed it up with my line: “I bought one of those whirlpools for my bathtub! The first night I used it I lost three of my best ships!”

Writing for Rodney was one of the most fun times of my life. We used to hang out together in his dressing room at the club. He would usually be in his bathrobe and pajamas which is how he liked to hang out at the club. And not a particularly fancy bathrobe either! He’d say things to me like, ” Hey Jeff, you know the difference between Italians and Jews?” I’d be like, ” No Rodney, what’s the difference?” He said, ” They both take a leak in the sink, but the Jews take the dishes out first!” He was always so hysterical!

Anyway, Andy nailed it. If you closed your eyes, you would have thought Rodney was there. That’s how good he was! Ray Ellin told him to stop wasting his time doing his own act!

The videos I shot will also be used for the documentary film being made on The Strip! Watch the action right here!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV shooting a promo in front of The Comic Strip right before the 35th annual Holiday party!

Richie and Jeannie Tienken having the best time at The Comic Strip’s 35th annual Holiday party!

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Gilbert Gottfried Tsunami With AFLAC

Last night I was at a show produced by Scott Kluge for the Birthright Israel Foundation, a wonderful educational program that sends young Jewish adults on all expense paid trips to Israel, to diminish the growing division between Israel and Jewish communities around the world, and to strengthen the sense of solidarity among world Jewry.

It was a star-studded show with two of the funniest Jews I know, Gilbert Gottfried who was the host, and Dave Attell who performed along with an all star Broadway cast.  Associate Producer was my good pal comedian Ray Ellin and the hilarious Dan Naturman was a writer on the show.

(L-R) Ray Ellin, Scott Kluge, and Dan Naturman backstage at The Hudson Theatre.

Gilbert read the story of Purim putting in his own hilarious facts like Nebuchadnezzar not being able to get online, and change his status on his Facebook page.  In between he would introduce the next act, and then go back to his readings.  It looked like he was reading from The Torah.

Gilbert, in his best red shirt, looking like he was reading out of The Torah, onstage at The Hudson Theatre.

Dave Attell came out looking like a Russian peddler from the early 20th century, which is a look he pulls off well.  He was his usual hysterical self, and had lots of Jewish humor.  I wasn’t taking notes as I usually do but I believe when talking about brisket he said, ” I don’t think any kind of meat should be wetter than the front row of seats at a Justin Bieber concert.”

Dave Attell looking like he was auditioning for a part in Fiddler On The Roof

And then it got raunchier and the audience loved it!

In the all-star Broadway cast was Mitchell Jarvis, Nick Adams from the brand new Priscilla Queen of the Desert, (which I almost wrote as “Queen of the Dessert”, … which could be about Lisa Lampanelli before she lost all the weight!); Curtis Holbrook from West Side Story, Kelli Barrett from Baby It’s You, Garrett Long from South Pacific, Rachel Potter from The Addams Family, and my good friend, the beautiful and talented J.Elaine Marcos, also from the show opening next Sunday, Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

J.Elaine as she started out her number fully dressed!

J.Elaine came out on stage and did a number that was so sexy and adorable.  She sang in an accent, and danced around while taking off her clothes to the delight of the audience.  First her sweater, then her blouse, and just as she reached behind her to unclasp her bra, … the lights went out!

J.Elaine beginning to disrobe on stage during her number!

J. Elaine just about to undo the clasp of her pretty pink bra!

J. Elaine and I had met years before in a comedy class and she has always been very funny. Sexy and funny is a difficult mix but she manages to pull it off.  She’s also been in in Chorus Line,(which I saw and she was fantastic), The Wedding Singer, Sweet Charity, and Flower Drum Song, among others.

J.Elaine Marcos and Jeffrey Gurian both completely dressed backstage after the show!

She was as shocked to see me backstage as I was to see her onstage!

J. Elaine handling "the big pen" with great dexterity and ease!

Anyway,  I’m sitting enjoying the show when all of a sudden I get a text from my fabulous PR team Goldman-McCormick asking me if I could do a radio spot at 10:07 about Gilbert Gottfried being let go as the voice of the AFLAC duck, for what they felt were insensitive Tweets made regarding the devastation in Japan.

I was like,” I’m here with him now.”  Basically that can’t even happen!  What are the odds that someone would want to talk to you about someone you were with at the moment?

When the show ended I went backstage to see Gilbert, which I would have done anyway,because he has always been my favorite comedian, and he knows that.

I’ve been telling him that for years.  He was with his wife Dara, and I had just seen them last week at the taping of the Donald Trump Roast airing tonight at 10:30 on Comedy Central, btw!

I asked him if he wanted to come on the radio with me, but he told me that I could speak about it for him.  I could tell he felt badly about what happened.  Gilbert doesn’t have a mean bone in his body.  He might not offer to buy you a drink, but he would never purposely hurt anyone.

People who love Gilbert know what he does.  Not only does he push the envelope, he tears it to shreds.  Look at his performance in The Aristocrats. When Gilbert goes off the deep end, nobody can go any deeper.

Comedians see the world in a different way than most people.  That’s what allows them to see the humor that other people overlook.

Unless you’re there to see if for yourself, no one can possibly grasp the horror of a cataclysmic event like the one that happened in Japan.  You can’t really wrap your mind around it.  It’s too big.

Plus, people don’t have the capacity to feel other people’s pain.  It’s a blessing and a curse at the same time.  We would probably be incapacitated, and catatonic if we felt what other people were feeling.

It might also make for a kinder world, if people knew how their words affected others.  Children can be very cruel as we all remember from our early days in school.  They think it’s fun to single out one person and make their life utterly miserable.  I know I did it too, and I cringe today when I think about it.

Comics are very often extremely socially awkward and not well versed in social graces. They’re the first to admit that they were the guys, ( and girls!), who didn’t exactly fit in in high school.  Many were self-described nerds.  They used comedy to survive, and so their personalities only exist on stage.  Off stage they’re often very quiet, and even very shy, which is hard to believe when you see how animated and funny they are on stage.

They learn to say anything to get a laugh and often at other people’s expense. Shock value is getting harder to find because it’s all been said and done already.

Anyway, as of the time of the writing of this entry, I’ve already done two big radio shows about this today with two more scheduled.  I did the Bob Dutko Show on WMUZ coming out of Detroit, which is a Christian Radio station, and that was lots of fun.

The Bob Dutko Show WMUZ out of Detroit! Really fun show to do!!!

Until I told the producer Jan Foxx, that her last name was like a porn star! (LOL) When I realized that I had just said that to someone on Christian radio I felt very badly, and corrected myself.  I said Foxx with 2 “X’s” is like a rock star, like Nikki Sixx.  Foxxx with 3 “X’s” would be like a porn star!  She said I was very funny!  Thank G-d! (LOL)

The Big 810 show with Ed Tyll out of Orlando, Florida. Ed's a great host!

Then I did The Big 810 out of Orlando, Florida with Ed Tyll, on WEUS, and we spoke for quite a while on the mindset of comics and how they think.  Also, AFLAC has a tremendous business in Japan and for that reason alone could not take a chance and alienate anyone, despite the fact of how much they like Gilbert.

Gilbert has been open about his apologies and has posted them on Twitter, like the ones below.

“I meant no disrespect, and my thoughts are with the victims and their families.”6 hours ago · reply

“I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by my attempt at humor regarding the tragedy in Japan.”6 hours ago · reply

So all in all it was a busy day, and I’m learning to like this blogging thing. People have been telling me for years that I should be blogging, but I didn’t get the significance of it till last week!  Now I can’t stop.  It’s addicting!!!

Let me know your thoughts on the Gilbert/AFLAC Tsunami thing.  Curious to hear your take on it.

 

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