Posts Tagged “Reggie Watts”

7th Annual Andy Kaufman Awards At Gotham Comedy Club

7th Annual Andy Kaufman Awards At Gotham Comedy Club

Andy Kaufman was one of the most unusual, most talented, most creative comics ever to hit the stage. He left us too young, but his memory certainly lives on. Manager/producer Wayne Rada, produced the 7th Annual Andy Kaufman Awards at Gotham Comedy Club and I spent two nights there watching the semi-finals and then the finals.

Andy Kaufman performing on the Johnny Carson Tonight Show wearing a turban, while singing a Slim Whitman song, “My Rosemarie”!

Contestants are not supposed to try and copy Andy, as if anybody could, but they are supposed to try and capture the essence of his spirit and creativity. He had no fear in doing what he thought was funny, whether it was wrestling women, or real wrestlers, or coming out on the Carson show in a turban and diaper singing a Slim Whitman song.

Andy Kaufman had the courage to come out on stage dressed in a diaper and turban to perform on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson!

On the first night the judges were Rory Albanese, a very funny comic in his own right, but more importantly the producer of The Daily Show! To me, that’s more impressive than even being Jon Stewart! You get to produce one of the most popular shows on the air!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with comic/producer Rory Albanese, the producer of The Daily Show! How’s THAT for a credit?

I was so glad to see Rory. I had been waiting over a year to tell him how funny he was in the South Beach Comedy Festival last year. I had never seen him perform before and he was absolutely hilarious! I wasn’t able to find him after the show, but the good thing is that it’s never too late to give someone a compliment. He didn’t complain and say, ” Why did you wait more than a year to tell me?” He was a perfect gentleman and just said ” Thank you!”

Then there was Comedy Central executive Anne Harris, who always extends herself to come out and be helpful at these type of events, joined by previous Andy Kaufman winner and Comedy Central darling Kristen Schaal, and lastly Andy’s younger brother, ( by 2 years), Michael Kaufman.

(L-R) Judges Rory Albanese, Anne Harris, Kristen Schaal, and Michael Kaufman at the Andy Kaufman Award show at Gotham Comedy Club!

I remember going the year that Reggie Watts won and I actually met Andy’s Dad who was there with George Shapiro of Shapiro/West. ( Seinfeld’s manager! You knew it sounded familiar right??? LOL I have to find that video somewhere!) Reggie was actually the guest performer on the next night for the finals.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Reggie Watts at Gotham for the Andy Kaufman Awards!

The first night there must have been at least 15 semi-finalists. Some of them tried to reach Andy’s level of creativity by dressing very strange in outlandish costumes and several chose a stage personna. I snapped photos of a few I thought were funny and entertaining.

First there were the “Nice Brothers”, who both wore shades, and punctuated their repartee with the word “Nice” every so often. I liked them.

Nice!

Then there was Mike Amato who came out and sang a song like he was one of the Ratpack, or maybe Perry Como, if you even know who that was, then ripped of his clothes and became a stone cold rapper, with two hot dancing girls. I thought he was good.

Mike Amato and his dancing girls! I wish I knew their names but I don’t!

Then there was Dave Thunder who came out as a character named Jimmy DeLuca, a Lower East Side kind of kid who told a very scary story while eating a piece of cheese. And every so often he broke into that “scary” voice that camp counselors would use when telling a scary story to campers on an overnight in the woods. I thought he was funny too! I actually laughed out loud!

Dave Thunder as Jimmy DeLuca telling a very scary story about a guy named Frank Tanzarian!

It just goes to show you how subjective comedy is cause none of those people won. The next night for the finals, Harrison Greenbaum was the host. He’s always hilarious!

Harrison Greenbaum on stage at Gotham Comedy Club hosting the finals of the 7th Annual Andy Kaufman Awards!

The winner was a guy named Nick Vatterott, who must have gotten permission to have the longest set of anyone else on the show. Every other performer got about 5 minutes. Nick left the stage and kept coming back because his act consisted of screaming obscenities at the audience and threatening to never come back again, except he had to keep returning cause he forgot his keys, or a couple of milk containers, and each time he came back he’d “interrupt” the show, and scream again. He screamed right into the faces of people in the audience. And I mean SCREAMED! With all of his might!

I for one would not have been happy if that happened to me at a show, but the audience members he screamed at were either too embarrassed or too startled to respond, so they just laughed. And he won!

Wayne Rada is such an accommodating guy. He knew I had to leave early to host the late shows at The Comic Strip so he arranged for me to get photos with the judges and guest stars during the show. As a matter of fact, when Kristen Schaal got off the stage from doing her guest spot, she was kind enough to run out into the hallway so we could get our shots before the next act went on!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Kristen Schaal at the finals of the Andy Kaufman Awards! She is such a doll!

Wayne also books CB’s Comedy Club, a great little club downtown on MacDougal Street, with an amazing Italian restaurant attached to it, also owned by the fabulous CB. Check it out and tell Wayne and CB that I sent you!

Posted in: Celeb Photos, Comedians In The News, Comedy Events, Comedy Matters, General Information, Nightlife Events, Red Carpet Events

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Reel Works 10th Anniversary with Steve Buscemi, John Leguizamo, Fisher Stevens, Reggie Watts, Hannibal Buress

Comedy Central invited me to cover a very special event where several of the celebs just happened to be friends of mine, but that doesn’t make it any easier. It’s still always tense and exciting wondering what will go down on the red carpet, knowing you have to keep it flowing and keep it funny and interesting!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Steve Buscemi star of HBO's hit Boardwalk Empire and co-host of Reel Works 10th Anniversary celebration!

Reel Works is a youth-oriented filmmaking initiative that provides high school students with the mentoring, training, and support to finish high school and then go on to college, and find job training careers in NYC’s film and television industry.

The event was at the Prince George Ballroom on East 27th Street, and I was there with my assistant and DP Tristan Griffin. Reel Works is the only youth filmmaking program that matches each student one-on-one with a professional filmmaker mentor. I wish they had something like that when I went to school!

The event was MC’ed by the hilarious Hannibal Buress who was voted one of Variety’s 10 Top Comics To Watch in Montreal last year, 2010, at the Just For Laughs Festival, which is the biggest comedy festival in the world. Hannibal has also written for NBC’s 30 Rock and SNL!

Reggie Watts and Hannibal Buress at the Reel Works 10th Anniversary Celebration!

The co-hosts were Steve Buscemi, star of HBO’s hit show Boardwalk Empire and his filmmaker wife Jo Andres!

Steve Buscemi and his wife and co-host Jo Andres, for the event honoring the 10th anniversary of Reel Works, a youth filmmaking initiative!

The honoree was Fisher Stevens who won an Academy Award for his film “The Cove”,and is currently directing John Leguizamo in his latest hit Broadway show, Ghetto Clown, which Fisher told me is about to begin a world tour! Fisher was being presented with the award by John Leguizamo, who for whatever reason was not available to do any press that night, which is unusual for John because he always makes himself available, and is ALWAYS very gracious with his time!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with John Leguizamo at a press event for his film "The Babysitters."

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Academy Award winner Fisher Stevens, the honoree at the Reel Works 10th anniversary celebration!

Plus there was a very special musical/comedy performance by an incredibly talented guy and another friend of mine, Reggie Watts, who is the opening act for Conan O’Brien’s ” The Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour” and winner of the Andy Kaufman Award. I had just seen Reggie in Montreal at THIS year’s Just For Laughs Festival where he performed in a show with Bo Burnham!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Reggie Watts who was performing at the Reel Works 10th Anniversary celebration honoring Fisher Stevens! ( He makes my hair look normal! Actually he makes me look totally bald! )

These are just some stills from the event. Wait till you see the videos coming soon!

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29th Annual Just For Laughs Festival In Montreal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then Colin Quinn’s interview right here:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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