Posts Tagged “Ricky Gervais”

Stand-Up For Heroes at The Beacon Theatre

The NY Comedy Festival had so many star-studded shows, but the one that stuck out for me as being the most meaningful, besides being just entertaining was the Stand-Up For Heroes event, at The Beacon Theater on 75th and Broadway, produced in conjunction with the Bob Woodruff Foundation, honoring our brave servicemen and women who have been injured while serving our country overseas.

NY Comedy Festival poster highlighting all the big stars attending!

The line-up of talent was impressive including on the musical end John Mayer, Bruce Springsteen, and Roger Waters, and on the comedic end Ricky Gervais, Robin Williams, Jon Stewart, and Mike Birbiglia. Also on the style end were the two gorgeous style experts Ann Caruso and Mary Alice Stephenson, who you know from TV!

Stand-Up For Heroes Poster for event at The Beacon Theater on November 8, 2012!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV having a grand old time with two gorgeous style experts, Mary Alice Stephenson on the left, and Ann Caruso right in the middle! (LOL)

Covering a red carpet is difficult at times, because the huge TV networks tend to monopolize the stars as they make their way down the red carpet, so that by the time they get down to the independent press people like us, very often they’re out of time to speak, because the event is starting. And it’s difficult for the press people running the event to hurry everyone along.

Luckily I know a lot of the red carpet honorees so they stop off to say “Hi” even briefly. Besides getting to speak to Robin Williams and Ricky Gervais, who asked if I did my hair like that for him, (LOL), I got a very cool interview with Ann Caruso and Mary Alice Stephenson who styled the wives and female soldiers for this great event, and managed to get clothing donated from The Limited and even from Dior.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing Ricky Gervais on the red carpet of Stand-Up For Heroes!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing Style Experts Mary Alice Stephenson and Ann Caruso on the red carpet of “Stand-Up For Heroes!”

One of the biggest honors I had was getting to speak to some of the “wounded warriors” themselves. In the video accompanying this post you’ll see interviews with Lance Cpl. Michael Martinez, USMC who lost both of his legs in Afghanistan, but walks so well with his prosthetics that you wouldn’t even know. He walks with a limp, but walked the red carpet proudly with his girlfriend Megan Waters.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing hero /Wounded Warrior Lance Cpl. Michael Martinez of the US Marine Corps at Stand-Up For Heroes!

I also got to speak to Capt. Pat Horan, U.S. Army who was there with his wife Patty Horan. Capt. Pat had a bullet explode under his helmet, which within an hour destroyed his ability to walk, the coordination of his body, mouth, and his vestibular system which controls your balance. He lost all sensation on the right side of his body, and the ability to speak, read, and write, but as you’ll see in the video through lots of hard work in rehab has made an incredibly miraculous recovery.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviews Capt. Pat Horan, US Army on the red carpet of “Stand-Up For Heroes” at The Beacon Theater!

It was truly an honor to meet these brave men and women who sacrificed so much for our country, and who were escorted down the red carpet by various stars in attendance. You can see the video right here:

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New York Comedy Festival Packed With Stars-11/7-11/11

For the past 9 years Caroline Hirsch, owner and founder of Carolines Comedy Club has put together the NY Comedy Festival, a festival of gigantic talent and impressive proportions. I alternate between calling her “The Queen of NY Comedy” and the “First Lady of NY Comedy”, both titles of which she is deserving, for having Carolines Comedy Club thriving in NYC, and providing A-list entertainment for over 30 years.

The star-studded New York Comedy Festival takes over NYC for 5 days and nights!

The festival is made up of the biggest stars performing in the biggest venues, like Ricky Gervais at Town Hall,Kevin Hart at Madison Square Garden for two shows on Saturday, 11/10, Marlon and Shawn Wayans at Carolines for several shows throughout the festival, Denis Leary at the Paley Center for Media, Artie Lange at Town Hall in a show called ” Too Fat To Die”, Adam Carolla’s “Not Taco Bell Material” at Town Hall, and in a brilliant bit of casting, Jim Gaffigan, the whitest man in comedy, at The Apollo up in Harlem!

These are just some of the shows being offered. There are many more in many other venues, twenty-four altogether. I sat down with Caroline for a fun video interview which should be up very shortly, but we had a chance to reminisce about all of her clubs, which I’ve been going to since she opened in 1981. That club was in a small space on 26th Street and 8th Avenue, where she hired Jay Leno as the first comic to be booked there.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at Carolines on Broadway, with Caroline Hirsch, owner and founder of the NY Comedy Festival!

I don’t remember much of my life, but for some reason I remember very clearly seeing both Jerry Seinfeld and Paul Reiser there, before either of them were known, and being so impressed with them both, that I offered to introduce them to comedy manager David Jonas who at the time was managing Freddie Prinze, and went on to get him ” Chico and the Man!”

I had been introduced years earlier to David by award-winning writer/director/producer Alan Zweibel, when Alan and I first met up at SNL in the early days, although when I first met Alan he wasn’t any of those aforementioned things yet! But it was David that got me started as a comedy writer for great comics like Dick Capri and Freddie Roman.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Alan Zweibel and Jeffrey’s new book ” Make ‘Em Laugh” with Chris Rock!

Alan was a comedy writer on the show, and was playing handball on the walls of the SNL offices with Neil Levy, a cousin of Lorne Michaels, and Neil was also a producer on the show at the time!

Caroline closed her 26th Street location in 1987, when she opened her magnificent South Street Seaport location, and that’s where Jon Stewart got his start as an opening act. He even did children’s parties on Saturdays, and Caroline thinks she remembers him wearing a cape.

Then after five years at that location, in 1992 Caroline opened in her current location on 50th and Broadway, a beautiful room that probably holds 300 people or more, and is usually packed whenever I go. Now it’s called “Carolines on Broadway!”

And it’s run by old, old friend Louis Faranda, who I go back with to the days when he was a bartender at Catch A Rising Star. Louis and I also got a chance to reminisce about old times, and I got to tell him that he’s in my book ” Make ‘Em Laugh” in the Chris Rock story, of how he encouraged a 19 year old Chris to call Eddie Murphy after Eddie had given him his number. Chris was too nervous to call until he ran into Louis who said something to the effect, “Schmuck, if Eddie Murphy gives you his number call him!”

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV in a rare photo with old friend Louis Faranda at Carolines on Broadway, the club he runs so well!

That led to Chris calling Eddie, going out with him and his entourage that night to see Spike Lee’s “Do The Right Thing”, which led to a part in Beverly Hills Cop 2, which led to Chris Rock’s amazing career!

One NY Comedy Festival event in particular that I’m excited about is “Stand Up For Heroes” at The Beacon Theatre, whose red carpet I’ll be covering tonight. It’s a benefit for the Bob Woodruff Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to investing in national and community-based programs that connect our troops to the help they need— from individual needs like physical accommodations, job training, financial counseling, to larger social issues like homelessness and suicide prevention; educating the public about the needs of service members returning from war; and collaborating with key federal, state, and local experts to identify and solve issues related to the successful return of service members from combat to civilian life.

On that show and hopefully on the red carpet escorting injured servicemen will be Mike Birbiglia, (who kindly gave me a great blurb for the back cover of my new book with Chris Rock called “Make ‘Em Laugh”),Ricky Gervais, Patton Oswalt, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Stewart, Robin Williams, John Mayer and Roger Waters.

Sneak peek of Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing Ricky Gervais on the red carpet of Stand Up For Heroes at The Beacon Theatre!

I’m also excited about the prospect of seeing my good friend, style expert Ann Caruso, who worked with her best friend, and style expert Mary Alice Stephenson to style both the wives of the wounded warriors and some of the female warriors who were wounded as well and will be attending the event! It should be a spectacular evening!

For more info on the festival and the schedule of events please go to http://www.nycomedyfestival.com There’s almost 90 shows in 24 different venues!

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Ricky Gervais at the 92nd Street Y

Bill Carter of the NY Times moderated a fascinating and highly entertaining conversation with multi-award winning Ricky Gervais, said by some to be the most influential British writer/comedian in the USA since Charlie Chaplin. Ricky of course created The Office which is now shown in 90 countries. Even China is considering creating a version, which should be especially funny,when they try and translate it into all of the dialects spoken in China.

Ricky has won three Golden Globes, two primetime Emmy’s, and seven BAFTAS. I’m not even sure what a BAFTA is, but I’m sure it’s something special since he admits to winning seven of them! (LOL)

As I walked into the 92nd Street Y, I ran into Caroline Hirsch, New York’s reigning Queen of Comedy, and the creator/producer of the NY Comedy Festival. This event is part of that festival and Caroline always brings in the biggest stars from the comedy world to play in special venues.

The event was opened by a man named Buddy Teich,who is described as the benefactor of the Y’s “Funny People” series. I know Buddy as the man who seconded my application to become an LA Friar, when Milton Berle sponsored me for membership many years ago. Uncle Miltie was a good friend of mine, and honored me by sponsoring me for membership while I was out in LA. I had been writing some material for him, and one day while I was at his house, he suggested bringing me into the LA Friars. He was the Pres. at the time.

When I asked him who would second me, he said his friend Buddy Teich. That was the last time I saw him until last night. I know he didn’t remember cause it was so long ago, but it was great to be able to see him again and reminded me of my friendship with the legend known as Mr. Television.

Ricky had lots to say about a lot of things. He started out by saying that just before he came over he ran into Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters on the street, and Dave had invited him to his show tonight. He was all excited about going, until his girlfriend reminded him he had to appear at the Y. So much for Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters!

A little known fact about Ricky is that in 1982, he and his friend Bill Macrae formed a British New Wave group called Seona ( Shawna) Dancing, with Gervais writing and singing the lyrics. In 1985, one of his songs became a #1 hit in The Philippines, which he still can’t understand.

On people being offended by the jokes he told while hosting The Golden Globes this past year: They should see my stand-up act! It’s not like I was playing to a roomful of wounded soldiers. In referring to his remarks about The Tourist starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, he described it as, ( and I’m paraphrasing ) “gently ribbing two of the most talented , … or did he say pampered,… people on the planet about one of their films.” The reason I’m paraphrasing is because just as he said two of the most … people my attention was drawn away and I only heard it subconsciously!

On the possibility of hosting The Oscars : ” They don’t want me. They want someone nice and pleasant! It’s a night of glamour. I’d be fired immediately!”

He had a lot to say about Karl Pilkington, from The Ricky Gervais Show, who Ricky and Stephen Merchant have made into sort of a cult celebrity. They met when Karl was producing a radio show for Ricky in 1997, and Ricky was struck not only by his unusual sense of humor, but also his directness, and his inability to be pretentious. That and the fact that “he has the roundest head Ricky Gervais had ever seen on a human being!”

Some of Ricky’s most important thoughts:

Ricky thinks it’s important to laugh every day, and that humor makes you bulletproof to the big and little miseries we all have to suffer!

In discussing the difference between British and American humor he said that in England, everyone wants you to be as miserable as they are.

In America, every kid grows up thinking that they can be President. In England the attitude is more like, ” Don’t bother trying. It won’t be you!” That’s why the character of David Brent is so perfectly British. He’s a man who thinks he’s above his own station in life.

He and Larry David create what might be seen as “comedy of embarrassment”, because an Englishman really tries his best to get to his grave without ever being embarrassed.

There’s nothing like doing your own thing, and not having to listen to anyone else!

They also showed clips from “Life’s Too Short”, a fake documentary from Gervais and Merchant starring actor Warwick Davis (Prof. Flitwick in the “Harry Potter” movies) that premieres on the BBC later this year and on HBO in 2012.

It was a packed crowd, and a fun and insightful look into the mind of Ricky Gervais!

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