Posts Tagged Sarah Silverman

Epix Presents: The Improv-Fifty Years Behind The Brick Wall

In 1963 a man named Budd Friedman changed the world.  And I’m not being over-dramatic.  He literally changed the world, and especially the world of entertainment, by opening what became the world’s first ever comedy club, The Improv.

Jeffrey Gurian with Budd Friedman in Montreal at the Just for Laughs Festival's celebration in honor of 50 years of The Improv., July 2013!

Jeffrey Gurian with Budd Friedman in Montreal at the Just for Laughs Festival’s celebration in honor of 50 years of The Improv., July 2013!

It was on 44th Street and 9th Avenue, in Manhattan, and it started out as a coffee house and a place for actors to come and hang out, and maybe get up on stage to perform after they got off stage at the nearby Broadway theatres.

At first it drew actors and singers, and then comedians began to come and perform.  Budd was the onstage host, and Danny Aiello was the door host/bouncer.   After a while more and more comics started showing up to hone their craft.

Before The Improv came along comics would perform only in nightclubs and theatres as part of variety shows, but there had never been an establishment that offered only stand-up comedy.

After a couple of years Budd noticed that the comics were predominating, and that the audiences loved it, so he started doing all comedy, hence the world’s first comedy club!

Fifty years later The Improv is still going strong on Melrose Avenue in LA.  I performed there a couple of times myself.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of The Improv, EPIX, the network that brings you the biggest movies including three of the biggest of 2012, like The Avengers, Skyfall, and The Hunger Games, is releasing “The Improv-Fifty Years Behind The Brick Wall” on Friday Dec. 6th, 2013.

Narrated by Adam Sandler and produced by Judy Pastore, Monica Bautista, Budd and his partner Mark Lonow, (who joined him in 1979), and Budd’s accomplished  daughter Zoe Friedman, who actually was the Exec. Producer, the film features footage with Judd Apatow, Lewis Black, Larry David, Jimmy Fallon, Sarah Silverman, Kathy Griffin, Jay Leno, Richard Lewis, Bill Maher, Ray Romano, Jerry Seinfeld, and Damon, Keenen, Marlon, and Shawn Wayans all in intimate sit-down recollections of their early days at The Improv. accompanied by archival video footage and rare photos.  Only a legend like Budd could assemble that many huge names!

And those are just some of the comedy stars he helped become household names.   Besides having Danny Aiello as his door host/bouncer, other workers went on to achieve greatness.

First there was Chris Albrecht who managed the club when Budd went to LA in 1975, and went on to become the Pres. of HBO, then Les Moonves, currently  the Pres. and CEO of CBS, who was a bartender.  There were the waitresses, like Karen Black, who I got to work with last year on Kroll Show, and who we just lost to cancer this past August, and cable TV’s pioneer female comic/legend Elayne Boosler,  who also toiled as a waitress, and then there were a couple of other door hosts you may have heard of including Keenen Ivory Wayans and Joe Piscopo.

Jeffrey Gurian, Nick Kroll as Gil Faison, Karen Black, and John Mulaney as George St. Geegland on the L.A. set of Kroll Show!

Jeffrey Gurian, Nick Kroll as Gil Faison, Karen Black, and John Mulaney as George St. Geegland on the L.A. set of Kroll Show!

Jeffrey Gurian with Keenen Ivory Wayans helping him cast the new "In Living Color".

Jeffrey Gurian with Keenen Ivory Wayans in NYC, helping him cast the new, but “ill-fated” “In Living Color”.

Jeffrey Gurian with Joe Piscopo at a fundraiser at Gotham Comedy Club!

Jeffrey Gurian with Joe Piscopo at a fundraiser at Gotham Comedy Club!

 

Jeffrey Gurian with comic extraordinaire Elayne Boosler at a Diabetes fundraiser she performed in produced by Jeffrey!

Jeffrey Gurian with comic extraordinaire Elayne Boosler at a Diabetes fundraiser she performed in produced by Jeffrey!

A&E immortalized Budd when they had him host “An Evening at The Improv” from his Hollywood club, which was a weekly series that ran from 1982 through 1996.  Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t performing in those days and never got to be on, but I watched the show religiously!

Over the years I got to know Budd and his partner Mark Lonow who joined him in 1979.  As a matter of fact, I wrote Budd and his lovely wife Alix into a feature film script I wrote in 1990 called Baby and Max, about a comic named Max Arnold who gets the worst gigs imaginable.  The film opens with Max trying to entertain a guy on Death Row.  He’s about to get the electric chair, and is already strapped in, and Max is in the execution room trying to tell him jokes.

On one of his other horrible gigs he’s trying to entertain passengers on a cross-country flight from NY to LA, by telling jokes in the main aisle of the plane, when he gets discovered by Budd Friedman who’s on the flight with his wife Alix. To find out what happens next you’ll have to come up with a budget to make the movie!

This past July at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, which is the biggest and oldest comedy festival in the world, Budd and Mark were honored with an award and the red carpet treatment.  I interviewed them both, once together on the red carpet and then separately!

Budd and I have history!  I recall many years ago he made a party in Montreal to honor Milton Berle who may have been the first honoree to be inducted into the Comedy Hall of Fame, and Milton invited me to attend as his guest.  He was also my sponsor in The Friars Club.  We sat at a long table, with Budd at the head, me on his right and Milton directly across from me.  Budd went to read the menu and put a monocle into his eye.  I had never seen that before and was kind of surprised.

Jeffrey Gurian and Milton Berle at the LA Friars in 1985!

Jeffrey Gurian and Milton Berle at the LA Friars in 1985!

Around 1970, I had created a character I called “Spoon-eye” who went around holding a spoon in his eye like  a monocle, as if he didn’t know it was there.  It sounds silly but at one point Conan O’Brien came out on his show with a spoon in his eye, and it took Cindy Adams to write that it was I who started that.  She wrote, “I don’t know who would even want to take credit for such a thing but it was Jeffrey Gurian who did it first.”   I actually showed it to Salvador Dali back around 1978, who was so intrigued he actually tried to put one of my spoons in his ear, instead of his eye.  I still have that spoon!

Jeffrey Gurian and his Spoon-Eye Club on an outing, circa 2003!

Jeffrey Gurian and his Spoon-Eye Club on an outing, circa 2003!

Anyway, when Budd put his monocle in I took out a spoon and put that it MY eye.  Budd looked at me like “What the heck are you doing?” and I made the mistake of trying to tell him it was very big on “The Coast.”  He said to me, “I live on The Coast and I NEVER saw anyone do that!”  Milton just sat there confused and I quickly changed the subject!

In 2007, Kent Emmons from All Comedy Radio made me a party in LA for my new book at the time based on my years of writing for the Friars Roasts. It was called “Filthy Funny, and Totally Offensive” and featured nasty jokes from over 250 celebs like Drew Carey, Jason Alexander, Chris Elliott, Jeff Garlin, the late Greg Giraldo, Colin Quinn, the late Patrice O’Neal, Artie Lange, Joan Rivers, Jason Alexander, and more than 200 more.  Budd was there as evidenced by the photo below!

Jeffrey Gurian with Budd Friedman in 2007 at Kent Emmons' party for Jeffrey's book "Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive."

Jeffrey Gurian with Budd Friedman in 2007 at Kent Emmons’ party for Jeffrey’s book “Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive.”

Budd is also in the recent documentary film I co-produced called “The Business of Comedy, with Exec. Producers Scott Sobel of Scott Entertainment and Gary Licker who also directed the film.  It features Budd along with Robert Klein, George Wallace, Tom Dreesen, Susie Essman, Shecky Greene, and comedy club owners who were inspired by Budd, Rick Newman and Richie Tienken.  In actuality all comedy club owners were inspired by Budd, which is why when I opened this post I said that Budd changed the world!  In the photo below, a young Budd Friedman with a goatee, is on the upper right corner!

The promo card for "The Business of Comedy" a doc film co-produced by Jeffrey Gurian featuring Budd Friedman, pictured on the upper right hand corner.

The promo card for “The Business of Comedy” a doc film co-produced by Jeffrey Gurian featuring Budd Friedman, pictured on the upper right hand corner.

This is the trailer for the doc.

So on Dec. 6th at 8 P.M. ET, make sure to watch “The Improv-Fifty Years Behind The Brick Wall” on Epix and Epix.com .  You’ll thank me for the tip!

Watch the Epix trailer in case you need convincing:

 

 

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Amy Poehler, Nick Kroll, Michael Cera, Sarah Silverman and more at JFL Comedy Awards Show

Out of all the amazing shows and panels at this year’s 31st annual Just for Laughs Festival, I think the most exciting event was the JFL Awards Show.

The Awards Show poster showing recipients Amy Poehler, Edgar Wright, Mitch Hurwitz, Nick Kroll, Michael Cera, and Mark Lonow and Budd Friedman.

The line-up of talent was fantastic. And I would be remiss for not thanking certain people who made my attendance at this year’s festival even more meaningful than ever, so special thanks to Paul Ronca the Director of the Comedy Pro-Conference, Zoe Friedman the Artistic Director of The Awards Show, Olivia Benaroche the Industry Coordinator and my Guardian Angel, and Emily Shore my other Guardian Angel borrowed from Andy Nulman, Pres. of JFL. Thank you all sincerely!

So the Award Show was spectacular. Amy Poehler received the Comedy Person of the Year Award, presented to her by Seth Meyers. Interviews with both of them will follow very soon, in a separate Comedy Matters post.

Nick Kroll received the Breakout Comedy Star of the Year Award and it was presented to him by his old friend John Mulaney, which was a very meaningful experience for both of them.

Nick Kroll and John Mulaney in their personnaes as George St. Geegland (L) and Gil Faison!

Nick Kroll as Bobby Bottleservice.

Nick Kroll as Dr. Armond, eminent canine plastic surgeon!

In a later interview alone with Nick, outside of the Variety party for the Top 10 Comics To Watch, he said something to the effect that John was a funny guy with a lot of potential, as if he was a newcomer! Then he busted out laughing! You’ll see it in the video when it’s finished being edited.

The hilarious Michael Cera, who takes nerdiness to new heights in most of his Judd Apatow helmed films and who is back on TV in the resurrected Arrested Development now on Netflix, won an award for Best Comedic Short Film for his 16 minute short, Brazzaville Teen-Ager. It was presented to him by Sarah Silverman who did something so funny on the red carpet.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV on the red carpet of the JFL Awards with winner of Best Short Comedy Film, Michael Cera!

I was positioned at the end of the red carpet where I often prefer to be so that people have time to talk to me and no one else is waiting. That works except when the event is running behind and the PR people rush the celebs along. But in this case it worked out fine.

I was in the middle of interviewing Michael Cera, and discussing our mutual friendship with the wild and wooly Kenny Hotz, when Michael asked if Kenny was what he was smelling.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing Michael Cera on the red carpet discussing their mutual friend Kenny Hotz!

A few seconds later with no pre-planning, strictly by coincidence, Nick Kroll came over and started sniffing Michael. Nick asked him if he uses fabric softener because he told him he smelled great.

Nick Kroll sniffing Michael Cera and telling him he smelled great!

Michael left and I continued interviewing Nick, when right in the middle, one of my all time favorites, the incredibly talented and beautiful Sarah Silverman jumped in and said she had skipped all the other press people to come and talk to me. Sarah has the most amazing smile!

Sarah Silverman joins Nick Kroll in an interview by Jeffrey Gurian for Comedy Matters TV!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Sarah Silverman at the JFL Comedy Awards!

Then she and Nick double-teamed me, and wound up interviewing me, and evaluating my outfit! It was very funny because Sarah was wearing such an unusual outfit, like a hoodie on top with a T-shirt, and a very hot lingerie looking combo from the waist down, with boots!

Sarah Silverman and Nick Kroll evaluating the outfit worn by Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV on the red carpet of the JFL Comedy Awards!

Sarah Silverman presenting the award to Michael Cera in her sexy thigh highs and boots, topped off with a T-shirt and hoodie!

It was hysterical and you can see it right here!

I shot 32 interviews over the four days I was up there with people like Amy Poehler, Seth Myers, Judah Friedlander, Paul Provenza, Colin Quinn, Bo Burnham, about 26 more, and we’ll be rolling them out as they’re done, so keep your eyes on my Comedy Matters TV You Tube channel at http://www.youtube.com/guriannewsnetwork, and PLEASE SUBSCRIBE!

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Jack Black’s Friars Roast Red Carpet Coverage with Jeffrey Gurian

It’s a long-standing tradition that once a year The Friars Club raises money for charity by “Roasting” a huge star, where a couple of thousand people show up in the Grand Ballroom of The Hilton Hotel to hear other big stars say filthy things about the honoree. It’s been going on since 1950 when they Roasted Sam Levenson! Most of you will have absolutely no idea who that even was! (LOL)

More recently it’s been Donald Trump, Quentin Tarantino, Matt Lauer, Hugh Hefner, Kelsey Grammer, and on and on!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Friars Roastee Jack Black on the red carpet at the Hilton Hotel in NYC!

This year it was the multi-talented Jack Black star of stage and screen, who besides being an actor is also a producer, comedian, voice over artist, writer and musician. He’s best known for his film roles in High Fidelity, School of Rock, King Kong, Nacho Libre, Tropic Thunder, Bernie and Kung Fu Panda 1 and 2. He told me he’s working on Kung Fu Panda #3, which you can hear for yourself in the video right here:

He’s also a rock star with his comedy rock group Tenacious D which he formed back in 1991 with his friend Kyle Gass.

Jack Black on the red carpet of the Friars Roast in his honor being interviewed by Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV!

Bob Saget was the Roast Master and I hadn’t seen Bob since last July when he hosted one of the TV galas at the 30th annual Just for Laughs Festival, the biggest comedy festival in the world. He was hosting the “triple XXX” show, and I told him today that it seems that the raunchier the show, the more clean-cut his appearance. He agreed with me! He also reminded me that the last time he saw me in Montreal, he bumped his head!

Bob Saget with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV holding Jeffrey’s new book ” Make ‘Em Laugh” , for which Bob gave him a blurb that reads, “No matter how many years pass, I can never say “No” to Jeff Gurian. Hence this quote on his book’s back cover!”

Watch that video right here:

Bob gave me the nicest blurb for the back of my recent book “Make ‘Em Laugh” when he wrote “No matter how many years pass I can never say “No” to Jeff Gurian! Hence this quote on his book’s back cover!”

I was shooting video interviews on the red carpet and besides speaking with Jack and Bob, I also got some very cool interviews with Artie Lange, Amy Schumer, Gene Simmons of Kiss and his Family Jewels, The Beach Boys who I got to thank for saving my life in high school, Padma Lakshmi and more!

Gene Simmons was there with his wife Shannon Tweed and his son Nick, who’s really handsome and about 6’5″ at the very least! Gene is 6’2″ and Nick towered over him. When I told Gene that he was with his Family Jewels, Shannon corrected me and told me that Sophie wasn’t able to come and join them!

Amy Schumer and I talked a lot about her new show debuting very soon on Comedy Central called “Inside Amy Schumer” and about all the guest stars who have agreed to be on with her! She was very humbly amazed that they all said “Yes” to appearing!

I will be posting the video interviews as soon as I edit them! Stay tuned and please “Subscribe” to my Comedy Matters TV channel at http://www.youtube.com/guriannewsnetwork

Thanks and hope to see you soon at something fun!

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Artie Lange Serves Up Comedy Juice at Gotham

I had been hearing about Comedy Juice for a while. It’s one of the top live comedy brands in the world, producing hundreds of All-Star stand up comedy events each year, and run by a comic named Mark Serittella, who lives in LA. Comedy Juice has been called the best standup comedy show in the nation by sources ranging from Sirius Satellite radio to People magazine.

Comedy Juice has featured stars like Sarah Silverman, Daniel Tosh, Aziz Ansari, Dane Cook, and Marc Maron on a regular basis and has consistently been a place to discover new comedy stars before they blow up!

Now, every Tuesday night at 10 P.M. they’ll be at Gotham Comedy Club, so I went down to check it out, and was pleasantly surprised to run into my old pal Artie Lange who came in with a young comic named Chris DeStefano, who I know from performing on Yonah Grossman’s shows in the Vintage Lounge.

Helen Hong making people laugh during Comedy Juice at Gotham!

The show was hosted by Jared Logan who was very funny, and also on the show was Helen Hong who although she lives in LA now I seem to run into on either coast. Last week I was in LA and I ran into Helen, and then I’m back and she’s here too! And that’s a good thing. I love Helen Hong, or should I say “Herren?” LOL

Al Madrigal onstage at Gotham Comedy Club for Comedy Juice!

Besides Herren, they had Al Madrigal from The Daily Show, Rory Albanese, Chris DeStefano, and Donnell Rawlings. Unfortunately I missed Rory Albanese, the producer of The Daily Show, who is also a really funny comic. I first saw Rory perform at the South Beach Comedy Festival and he killed it. I was very impressed that a major producer was also so funny. When you have a serious job like that, the only reason you still do comedy is because you LOVE it! There’s no other reason to do it.

Donnell closed the show and was really strong. The audience loved him, especially Kristen J. Eddy ,the producer of Anthony Anderson’s Comedy Mixtape Show, who sat next to me and was laughing her little butt off!

Donnell Rawlings killing it onstage at Gotham Comedy Club!

Artie went up and destroyed the room. People love to see Artie Lange. He’s one of the only performers I’ve ever seen who got a standing ovation just by walking out on the stage. That was at Town Hall during the NY Comedy Festival.

Artie was very upfront about getting off heroin, and spoke about how different people try to give him advice. One guy suggested he start running to get a “runner’s high” which the guy claimed was better than heroin. Artie tried it and was like, ” I’m on my 8th mile. When does it start feeling like heroin?”

Then he convinced the guy to try heroin since he tried running and the guy got addicted to heroin, and wound up living under a bridge!

Artie said he used to be healthy, back around 1974. Now that he’s healthy again, he’s afraid he’ll die from an old time disease like Scurvy or something!”

Artie Lange dispensing laughter to the packed crowd at Gotham Comedy Club!

He did a lot of new material, which I never heard before like analyzing the lyrics to Biggie Small’s rap songs. And he also spoke to me about his new radio show with Nick DePaolo on Sirius Radio, weeknights at 10 P.M. on Extreme Talk XM 165. It’s a mix of sports and comedy.

The reason I missed Rory Albanese is because I was downstairs in the green room shooting a video with Artie. It was a rare opportunity and I couldn’t pass it up.

I really like Artie and I hadn’t seen him since he went to rehab so we had a lot to talk about, and we did it on camera. It was very cool, it ran about 20 minutes, and I’ll be posting it as soon as it’s edited. First I have to decide whether to keep it as one long film or divide it into two parts. People have such short attention spans these days, you may not even have read this post this far down!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV backstage at Gotham Comedy Club with Artie Lange!

Anyway, Comedy Juice was a great show and I plan to become a regular! Maybe I’ll even get to perform one week, … who knows???

Check out www.comedyjuice.com and come check out the show in person!

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Phil Rosenthal Brings Exporting Raymond To The Friars Club

Phil Rosenthal created and Exec. Produced one of the most successful sit-coms of all time, “Everybody Loves Raymond” starring Ray Romano, which ran on CBS from Sept. 13, 1996 until May 16, 2005.

Producer/Director Phil Rosenthal and Jeffrey Gurian on the "step and repeat" for "Exporting Raymond"!

It was a comedic masterpiece often based on true stories from both Ray and Phil’s own lives.  Then Phil got the call from Sony that Russia would be interested in doing it’s own version of “Raymond”, and wanted him to go over to Russia to make that happen. Most people plan to bring a camera with them when they travel. Phil had the presence of mind to bring a camera crew with him, and if nothing else it lead to this hysterically funny documentary called “Exporting Raymond” which opens in theatres nationally on April 29th, 2011.

It’s the story of Phil’s trials and tribulations in adapting “Raymond” for a Russian audience, and how he barely escaped with his sanity intact. Not knowing what to expect in preparing for his trip, he was a little disturbed when someone suggested he take out K&R insurance, especially when he found out that “K & R” stands for Kidnapping and Ransom. He was assigned a bodyguard named Eldar, who became a friend, and it was only at the end of his stay that Eldar admitted to him that Sony didn’t go for “the gun package.” In other words, Eldar was depending upon his hand-to-hand skills to keep Phil out of harm’s way.

At the screening, I asked Phil, how much could the gun package have cost that Sony decided to pass on it? He himself was stymied by that question, and I am stymied as to why I used the word “stymied.” It’s such a weird, almost frightening word!

Phil and I discussed whether they may have looked into the knife package or maybe the brass knuckle package, or did they just decide that Phil wasn’t worth any package at all??? Phil said after meeting his Russian counterparts, the fear of being kidnapped was replaced by the fear of what they might do to his show! One woman, the costume designer was intent on turning it into a fashion show with the actors wearing evening clothes you’d wear for a night out on the town, as if anyone, especially a blue-collar family, would lounge around the house dressed like that.

They also tried to convince Phil that men were more manly over in Russia, and wouldn’t be so concerned about pleasing their wives, like Ray Barone was in the USA version of the show. The Russians also felt that Russian men would not relate to the way Ray was treated by both his wife and his mother and that it made him look like a weakling. Phil didn’t go for it because he said that he doesn’t believe that men are the boss in their homes anywhere in the world.

Despite the Russian’s best efforts, Phil’s adaptation was successful, and he was able to help cast it and make it funny. So not only did he escape from Russia with his sanity, he wound up with a funny, entertaining and fascinating film, which just happens to be his film directing debut. I’m sure it will be the first of many.

However he did have the sense to turn down the “opportunity” to bring “Raymond” to Poland and Egypt! (LOL)

Here in New York it will be opening at the Angelika and at the Loew’s Lincoln Square theatre on Broadway and 68th Street. This is a movie you have to see.

Charlie Prince is the force behind the Friars Club Film Festival, and once a month, he brings great films to be viewed at special Friars Club screenings. Recently he brought the very funny “Peep World” starring Sarah Silverman, Rainn Wilson and Ben Schwartz, that I wrote about in a previous blog. Both Sarah and Ben showed up at The Friars to do a Q&A.

Ben Schwartz and Sarah Silverman at the Q&A for Peep World at The Friars Club.

This time, for “Exporting Raymond” there was such a big crowd that the club had to show it across the street in the beautiful screening room of The Core Club, another very exclusive club with which The Friars has an arrangement. I wound up walking in with the General Manager of The Friars Club Michael Caputo, who is always on hand to make sure everything goes smoothly.

(L-R) Charlie Prince, John Woldenberg, and Phil Rosenthal at the Friars Club screening of Exporting Raymond!

As I mentioned, Phil Rosenthal was there of course, along with his Executive Producer John F. Woldenberg, a really nice guy, who was very accommodating in the writing of this story.

When Phil was introduced after the film ended, I was sitting in the front row with an old friend, legendary film animator Bill Plympton, who has an animated film coming out called “Idiots and Angels”, a black comedy that he did with Terry Gilliam of Monty Python fame.

Phil who happens to be very funny, (which helps if you’re creating and producing comedies), didn’t notice me sitting there, until someone asked him if he ever did stand-up. He said he tried it years ago, and then asked if there were any stand-ups in the audience. When I raised my hand and he saw me he was surprised he hadn’t noticed me, and gave me a gracious hello.

The last time I had seen him was last summer in Montreal when he was showing “Exporting Raymond” at the Just For Laughs Festival, and I was showing the trailer for “Eat, Drink. Laugh” the documentary Richie Tienken and I were working on about the 35 year history of his comedy club “The Comic Strip,” Exec. Produced by Chris Rock.

The film poster for Exporting Raymond that was in the street in Montreal, where it was shown in the Just For Laughs Festival in 2010!

It was a chance meeting in the street when Phil was on his way to his showing, with John Woldenberg, and I was on my way to mine. I had also happened to have the photo with me of Ray Romano, myself and Michael Bolton from when I brought Michael to the set of “Everybody Loves Raymond” several years back, maybe 1998, courtesy of the other Exec. Producer of Raymond and Ray Romano’s manager, Rory Rosegarten.

When I interviewed Ray for the book and the film we’re doing, I brought that old photo to remind him and we took another photo of us holding it.

Ray Romano and Jeffrey Gurian at The Comic Strip holding the photo of Ray, Jeffrey and Michael Botlon taken when Jeffrey brought Michael Bolton to the set of Everybody Loves Raymond to meet Ray Romano!.

Screenshot from "Eat, Drink, Laugh" of Jeffrey Gurian and Richie Tienken interviewing Ray Romano at The Comic Strip!

Phil was kind enough to sit with me for a while to do this great little interview for my readers of Comedy Matters. Check it out right here! And go see the film on April 29th! I would tell you to go even before April 29th, but you wouldn’t get to see anything, so wait till April 29th and run out and see it immediately!

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Jeffrey Gurian Documentary Reel with A-List Comics and Film Stars

This documentary reel about me was shot as a pre-cursor to a proposed TV project that I would host, taking the viewers “behind the scenes” in the comedy world, the film world and behind the velvet ropes of New York nightlife, all places where I have strong connections.

In this reel you will see great comics from late night TV like Ted Alexandro from Comedy Central, Letterman, Conan O’Brien, & Jimmy Kimmel, Jon Fisch from Last Comic Standing, VH1 and Comedy Central, Macio from The Chapelle Show, Uptown Comedy Club, & Comedy Central, Goumba Johnny, afternoon host  from WKTU, 103.5 FM, film stars Marisa Tomei, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Jason Statham, John Leguizamo, Vincent Pastore, Chris Meloni, Kal Penn, Sidney Lumet, Guy Ritchie, nightlife and TV legends Wass, Noel Ashman, and Countess LuAnn DeLesseps from Real Housewives of New York City, and Camille Grammer from Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Please watch and feel free to leave a comment, and/or share it with your friends.  Thanks!!!

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Sarah Silverman Snaps Photo of Jeffrey Gurian at Friars Club

The film poster for Peep World, an IFC film opening March 25th.

So I went to The Friars Club to see the new film “Peep World” starring Sarah Silverman, Michael C. Hall, Rainn Wilson, Taraji P. Henson, Leslie Ann Warren, Ron Rivkin, and Ben Schwartz. It was presented as part of the new film program created by Charlie Prince who also produces the very successful Friars Club Film Festival. Assistant Executive Director of The Friars, Michael Caputo made sure things ran smoothly as he always does.

Sarah Silverman and Ben Schwartz at the Q&A at The Friars Club for Peep World

Sarah attended with Ben Schwartz to do the Q&A and was accompanied by her close friend comic Todd Barry, one of the few who makes me laugh out loud!  I don’t even make ME laugh out loud, but he does!

Todd Barry and Jeffrey Gurian at Comix, BEFORE it went out of business!

I went with singer/composer Rosa Gudmundsdottir, who’s a big star in Iceland. That sounds like a strange credit unless you know that she’s actually from Iceland, because if you were from America and were only a star in Iceland, that could be a problem.  Agents might look at that as a red flag of some kind! (LOL)

Rosa may be from Iceland… but she’s a very warm person!  Iceland sounds like such a strange place to be from! I want to know things like, ” Is it ever warm in Iceland?” Is it dark there like 24 hours a day in Iceland? Can you only get cold drinks in Iceland?”

Rosa Gudmundsdottir and Jeffrey Raymondsson( my Icelandic name!) on the "step and repeat" at The Friars Club

Rosa is a very talented performer, as you can see if you go to her site http://rosagudmundsdottir.com/ She’s an exotic mix of Icelandic and Thai, and if the word gets out that that mix works, expect to see lots more of them! (LOLOL)

Knowing her makes me want to say, ” Meet me in Reykjavik honey, we have some serious partying to do!” Has that phrase ever been used by anyone in the world??? Even in Iceland???

Ron Rivkin as patriarch Meyerowitz and Alicia Witt playing his girlfriend Amy

Anyway, the movie was very funny. It’s actually a family comedy that stars the great Ron Rivkin as the head of the highly dysfunctional Meyerowitz family. Sarah plays Cheri, the only sister to three brothers, pursued for 8 years by a funny Orthodox Jewish character played by Stephen Tobolofsky.

Stephen Tobolofsky and Sarah Silverman onscreen in Peep World

Ben Schwartz plays Nathan the youngest brother who destroyed the family by writing a tell-all about their lives. Cheri is suing Nathan for ruining her life. They all get together once a year for their father’s birthday and they all seem to hate each other.

Rainn Wilson looks totally different with a beard, and plays a total loser who’s being hounded by loan sharks for money he owes them. He’s dating Taraji P. Henson, who’s totally hot and looks nothing like the old woman she played in Benjamin Button. I really thought she was an old woman! Shows you how much I know!!!

Siblings played by Sarah Silverman, Michael C. Hall, Ben Schwartz, and Rainn Wilson

Alicia Witt who I had met in New York some years ago, plays Amy, Ron Rivkin’s young girlfriend who defends him to his family.  She was so striking and so dedicated to her craft that I always knew she’d be successful, so I’m never surprised when I see her in something big.

One funny scene is when for some unknown reason, on his way to a book signing, Ben stops off for a Viagra-type injection and winds up with an erection that won’t go away. He has to show up and try to face an audience while hiding it as best he can, but he’s in agony, and his portrayal is hysterical. Fortunately in a fantasty-like solution, his ultra-hot P.R. assistant played by Kate Mara offers to help him get rid of it the “old-fashioned” way, … and it works!

She even offers to attend the father’s birthday party with him, as long as he doesn’t introduce her as his girlfriend. Very empowering to women! She helped him out, strictly out of the kindness of her heart!

The film screened at the Toronto and Austin film fests last fall, and IFC Films will release it March 25. So Ben and Sarah showed up at The Friars to do a Q&A after the film. Sarah’s so above all that. She never seems comfortable with that kind of stuff.

Sarah Silverman holding the i-Phone with which she proceeded to take my picture!

But while they were in front of the room answering questions, and people were snapping photos of her, she took out her camera and said, ” I’m gonna take a picture of Jeffrey Gurian”, and snapped a photo of me sitting up front. It was very unexpected, and very funny. I hope somebody was shooting video so I can get a copy!  Michael Caputo, I’m calling you about this!!! (LOL)

Then I decided to ask my own question for the Q&A, so I asked Ben how he prepared for the erection scene, and he said he was very proud of his erection work, and tried to stay hard for a few weeks in order to prepare.

It was a fun evening and I look forward to attending the next film that Charlie has coming up.

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