In the ever-increasing entertainment empire that is under the guidance/ownership/leadership of king-maker Lorne Michaels, Seth Meyers will take over the reins of Late Night tonight, a week after his friend and former SNL cast-mate Jimmy Fallon replaced Jay Leno on The Tonight Show.
Jeffrey Gurian of ComedyMattersTV.com interviewing Seth Meyers on the red carpet of the Just for Laughs Awards luncheon!
Jeffrey Gurian with Lorne Michaels at a Writers Guild Awards event!
Lorne created Saturday Night Live in 1975 and the show has gone on to provide some of the biggest stars we know today like Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Will Ferrell, TIna Fey, Amy Poehler, Eddie Murphy, Jimmy Fallon and on and on!
It’s a huge amount of pressure to do a show five nights a week where you have to interview A-list celebs every night, and keep it fresh and hip! He’ll be in the same 30 Rock building he’s called home, since 2001 when he joined the cast of SNL. Within a period of two years he went from writing supervisor to head writer, and then to Weekend Update co-anchor with Amy Poehler.
He, like Jimmy Fallon has been doing test shows during the week with guest celebs like Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb of “Today”, and a few guest comics as well. His bandleader is also an interesting choice, former SNL star and current star of IFC’s Portlandia, Fred Armisen.
Interesting fact: Portlandia was created by Jonathan Krisel who also directs Kroll Show on Comedy Central, and during the last NY Comedy Festival, when Nick Kroll did a panel at The Paley Center, ( formerly the Museum of TV and Radio), Seth was the moderator, and Jon Krisel was on the panel, along with Nick Kroll and Exec. Producer of Kroll Show and sometime actor on the show, John Levenstein.
(L-R) Jon Krisel, John Levenstein, Nick Kroll, and Seth Meyers at The Paley Center in a panel on Kroll Show!
Jeffrey Gurian with Laura Dern, as C-Czar’s mom. on the LA set of Comedy Central’s hit Kroll Show!
Jeffrey Gurian with Amy Poehler on the LA set of Kroll Show in a sketch that will air in the new 2nd season!
Amy and Seth are very close as they shared the Weekend Update desk for two years from 2006-2008. This past summer in Montreal at The Just for Laughs Festival which is the biggest comedy festival in the world, Seth presented Amy with the Breakout Comedy Star of the Year Award at a huge awards luncheon.
Seth Meyers at the podium at the Just for Laughs Festival presenting Amy Poehler with the Comedy Person of the Year Award! Amy is partly shown sitting behind where he’s standing!
She will be his first guest tonight along with VP Joe Biden. Interesting mix! Later in the week he’ll have Kanye West, and Patrick Stewart!
Seth is such a charming, humble, and likable guy, he’s a natural for the spot and people will love him. Just last year he got married to human rights lawyer Alexi Ashe and he says his new schedule will allow him to start a family! ( Not by himself, with Alexi’s cooperation, of course! LOL)
Between Seth, Jimmy, and David Letterman, they’ll be bringing major entertainment back to New York in a very big way. So many more stars from LA will be here to do the shows! Very exciting.
We’ll all be watching you tonight Seth, and we know you’ll totally kill it! Below you can see my little interview with Seth in Montreal just before he presented Amy with her award!
Sasheer Zamata is so funny, so pretty, and so talented, and she will be the first Black female comic to be on SNL since Maya Rudolph left 6 years ago. I feel so proud of her, and FOR her!
Jeffrey Gurian with new SNL cast member Sasheer Zamata in his apartment, during the shoot for the documentary film she was featured in and that he co-produced and appeared in called “The Business of Comedy”!
The first time I saw her perform was in a show out in Brooklyn. I rarely go to Brooklyn because there are so many things for me to see right here in Manhattan, but I went out to Union Hall for what I thought was a party. It was an invite from a young comic named Lisa Delarios, who is hilarious, (which sounds a lot like Delarios! LOL) and it invited me to The Party Machine’s Yacht Party on a Saturday night in April, and that sounded good to me.
I thought everyone would be dressed in white, and pictured a scene from The Hamptons. I drove out with my assistant at the time, funny, funny girl Corinne Fisher from the comedy duo with Krystyna Hutchinson called “Sorry About Last Night”, to find a packed room, with everyone in black, not a white outfit in sight, and a very Brooklyn hipster crowd. Most of the men had unibomber-type beards, and looked like they lived in a cabin in the woods! Lots of flannel! (LOL) I fit right in, and blended in with the crowd as I always do! (LOL)
To make matters worse because I thought it was a party, we showed up fashionably late and missed part of the show! The show was produced by Arden Myrin from Mad TV, and the aforementioned Lisa Delarios, who also produces shows around town, as well as producer Emily Kindler, related to the great comic Andy Kindler, known for his incredible “State of the Industry” speeches every year in Montreal at the Just for Laughs Festival, which everyone in the industry looks forward to and attends.
The invite also advertised “Yacht Passengers” Jessi Klein (SNL), Team Submarine (Just For Laughs, NPR) , Ben Kronberg (Jimmy Kimmel Live), Sara Schaefer (Jimmy Fallon), who went on to star in The Nikki and Sara Show on MTV, which I went to a couple of times, Lukas Kaiser (Spike TV), and Adira Amram (ECNY WINNER) so I thought it was a combination show and party and that they’d all be mingling in the crowd at the party! (LOL)
The promo card for “The Business of Comedy” a doc film co-produced by Jeffrey Gurian featuring Sasheer Zamata, pictured in the box right next to the producing credits.
She talked about how much fun it is to get paid for doing comedy even though she’d do it for free just because she loves it so much. She also lamented that she doesn’t see a lot of people who “look like her” doing comedy! Maybe that’s because no one else looks like her! (LOL)
She has her own very unique look and it’s awesome! Her eyes sparkle and her smile lights up a room!
And lots and lots of people will get to see her now, and all of her hard work will pay off. And if being paid for doing comedy is fun, Sasheer should be having lots and lots of fun this year!
Congratulations Sasheer, can’t wait to see you on the show!
Jeffrey Gurian and Sasheer Zamata after the shoot for The Business of Comedy, shot in his “comedy museum”!
Every Thursday night for about the last three months, Killer Bunny Entertainment has been filming a live comedy show at Gotham Comedy Club for Mark Cuban and Ryan Seacrest’s AXS TV channel!
Every week they have a great host and I’ve been down there to shoot videos for Comedy Matters TV with several of them like T.J. Miller, Susie Essman, and Carlos Mencia, but when I heard that Jim Norton would be hosting the last show of the season I was determined to get down there to see him!
Not only because he’s so funny but because I had been trying to set up an interview with Jim since the previous July when his last CD “Please Be Offended” first came out.
Jim Norton the final host of the first season on Gotham Comedy Live onstage at Gotham Comedy Club!
Jonathan Brandstein’s office and I were working together to set it up, but Jim was so busy that it never happened. And then I ran into Jim in Montreal at the 30th annual Just for Laughs Festival where I was actually shooting for the festival, and it still didn’t happen. We ran past each other in the lobby where I was just able to yell out a quick “hello” and that I had been trying to get a hold of him. I shot 40 video interviews over those three days, but no Jim Norton.
Jim did a great show at Gotham, and the fun thing is that it’s live. For some comics that might be daunting, but Jim’s been on the radio with Opie and Anthony so long doing live stuff every day, that for him it’s nothing.
It’s also no holds barred. Anything goes. So Jim got to talk about one of his favorite subjects, … hookers! And how in Vegas when he called for a hooker they told him it would cost $3,000. And he was wondering how long she stayed for that, … forever? For three thousand dollars, does he get to cut off her head and keep it?
The always funny Jim Norton hosting the AXS TV special Gotham Comedy Live!
I don’t think that was really a desire of his, just a thought that briefly ran through his mind.
Jim’s observations are also right on, like when he said if you’re clearing your throat you sound like a liar. No matter what you’re saying, once you clear your throat in the middle of saying it, you automatically sound like a liar. In a way, and I mean this only as a compliment, he and Colin Quinn work very similarly. He actually imitated Colin’s voice and sounded just like him.
Drew Fraser warmed up the crowd and the man has a way of getting the audience really pumped. It’s a special talent to be able to host a show, and Drew’s got it!
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Drew Fraser who not only warmed up the crowd, but heated them up to a boil! (LOL)
Louis Katz was first up on the show and was his usual funny self. He said he spent most of the day balding. He then went on to explain to the audience that with his look he can’t wear a hat, because with his glasses and a hat he’s a fake moustache away from looking like he’s in disguise!
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Louis Katz right after he killed it on Gotham Comedy Live!
He talked about someone who had such bad breath he wanted to tell them, “You know there’s no such thing as street chocolate. You’ve been eating dog shit!”
Marina Franklin was up next and I love seeing Marina perform. Especially when she talks about coming from Chicago and wonders if she and not Michelle could have been The First Lady. But then reality kicks in and she realizes she ain’t no lady! She could have been the “First Ho!”
In talking about her dating life and her recent white boyfriend she said she doesn’t just date white guys exclusively, but the economy was bad!
Colin Jost, one of the head writers up at SNL was next, and he too is reliably funny. I always enjoy his performance and the tone with which he delivers his material, which is so important to a comic. He talked about song lyrics and how in one popular song they changed the lyrics to make them family friendly and have a guy apologizing to a girl by saying, ” I don’t mean to be rude but tonight I’m loving you!” He went on to explain that that’s nothing to apologize for. It’s one of the nicest things you can say to a person.
He also advised couples that if one of you loses a ton of weight you both better lose a ton of weight because it’s very awkward to see them and say, ” Mark, you look great, you must have lost 50 pounds! And Janet, ……………”
And closing the show was the always funny and sexy Lynne Koplitz, who openly says she’s 45 years old and it’s over! She calls herself Auntie Lynne and gives advice to the younger women in the audience like not to smile too much or you get laugh lines. Twenty years from now you’ll be asking yourself, what was so fuckin’ funny?
She goes for younger guys who she can control, and ruled out dating one older guy by saying ” You’re cute, but you probably have opinions!”
After the show, which got picked up for a second season, and which will be starting in May, I went down to the green room to have a long awaited chat with Jim Norton. It was well worth the wait, and here it is:
This Sunday night,11/18, at 8:30 P.M. cast members from SNL plus Judah Friedlander from 30 Rock will be performing at The Comic Strip on 81st and 2nd to raise money to benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
The show will feature Saturday Night Live’s castmembers Jay Pharoah, Vanessa Bayer, Tim Robinson, and John Mulaney and writers Colin Jost (head writer) and Mike O’Brien. 30 Rock’s Judah Friedlander will also be performing.
(L-R) Jeffrey Gurian, Shayna Farrow, Richie Tienken, Jay Pharoah at The Strip!
Vanessa Bayer on stage at The Strip!
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with John Mulaney of SNL after taping his comedy special at The Skirball Center!
Judah Friedlander of 30 Rock holding the book “Make ‘Em Laugh” on the history of The Comic Strip, with author Jeffrey Gurian!
Admission proceeds will be donated to New York Cares to help further the work they have done to aid victims in areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy and the subsequent Nor’easter.
RAFFLE: We’ve received great product donations that will be raffled off to attendees at the benefit. Prizes include: Tickets to Late Night with David Letterman; Personal Training Sessions at Equinox; Restaurant Gift Cards; Beauty Makeover and Consultation with Celebrity Makeup Artist; Free Night at The Comic Strip, an autographed copy of “Make ‘Em Laugh” the new book by me and Richie Tienken on the 35 year history of The Strip, with an intro by Chris Rock, and more.
In case you haven’t already seen it, this is a video of Jay Pharoah reading Chris Rock’s introduction in Chris Rock’s voice for JB Smoove and others at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal this past July.
Admission price is $50 plus a two-drink minimum per person. Reservations are required 212-861-9386. Tickets may be purchased at http://comicstriplive.com/
Let’s all come out for this fabulous show and opportunity to help out! This storm affected all of us whether directly or indirectly.
***If you are unable to attend the show, please consider donating: http://www.crowdrise.com/comicstriplive ***
I read an item about Arnold Schwartzenegger today on Page 6, something about him trying on a watch with a huge face, (which I’m sure he can handle),and then something about his recent shoulder surgery, but it made me think of one of the funniest stories of my career, when I met Arnold many years ago at SNL, and then wound up writing some jokes for him to do on the Mike Douglas show.
Growing up, I had always been a big fan of body building. I never had the genetics to succeed at it, but I read the magazines, and was fascinated by the sport. I was also fascinated by unusual names so when a friend told me about a young guy named Arnold Schwartzenegger, I thought it was a joke. I think his last name translates to mean something like ” Black-Black”!
I soon found out that it wasn’t a joke, and I became a big fan. He was absolutely immense and his nickname was “The Austrian Oak”! As time went on, I got married and I used to say to my wife, “Please don’t ever let Arnold Schwartzenegger insult you, because I’d hate to have to fight him.” It was kind of a standing joke between us.
A couple of years later, when SNL was new, I went to one of the early shows with a girl named Kathy Jonas, the daughter of famed comedy manager David Jonas, best known for managing Freddie Prinze Sr., and Alan Zweibel. As we walked in, in those days you had assigned seats. I don’t think they do that anymore. Anyway, we walked to our seats, and who was sitting in MY seat? None other than Arnold Schwartzenegger. I almost fell down. I was wishing my wife was there to share the experience with me. I recognized him from his photos in the magazines.
Anyway, I gathered up my courage, walked over to him and said ” Excuse me, aren’t you Arnold Schwartzenegger?” To which he said, “Yes.” I said, ” Well I’m sorry to tell you, but you’re in my seat!”
He jumped right up and was so apologetic. He was so kind and humble and apologized profusely. And I was thinking, “Life is so bizarre. (Or at least MY life is so bizarre!) I just asked Arnold Schwartzenegger to get out of my seat. And he did!!!
I told him I was a comedy writer and a big fan of his. I think Pumping Iron either just came out or was about to come out, and he said he needed some comedy material to do on the talk shows. We exchanged information, but didn’t connect for a while.
Then after Pumping Iron came out, I heard he was doing some kind of book signing at a bookstore in Westchester, not far from where I lived. I went over to see him, and we spoke again, and once again exchanged information, and this time I wound up writing for him for an appearance he did on the Mike Douglas Show.
Somewhere in my memorabilia, I still have a letter from him on his Golden Oak Productions letterhead. At least I think it was called Golden Oak. I have a feeling that was the precursor to Oak Productions which he created in 1985.
It’s going back a long ways! I wasn’t carrying a camera in those days like I do today, so I don’t have a photo of us together, because there was no such thing as small digital pocket cameras in those days. Cameras were huge, needed film, and lights, and definitely did not fit into anyone’s pocket. But even without a photo, it’s an experience I’ll never forget.
It makes me want to search my house to find it, but that’s probably just because I’m in the midst of a huge project and my ADHD is telling me to divert my attention to something less important! (LOL)
In more recent years, I had another connection to Arnold. Back in 2004, David Pecker, the billionaire who owns American Media and many magazines and newspapers under that vast umbrella, bought Muscle and Fitness and Flex magazines, and went into an association with Arnold, who was supposed to be an advisor, and editorial contributor. I was asked to write some humorous remarks for David to say at a big press event entitled “The Arnold Classic”, announcing their association, and this was part of what I wrote for David to say, in which he was comparing himself to Arnold:
“And in terms of comparing our experience in the world of fitness. Basically, I am to the world of bodybuilding what the legendary Luciano Pavarotti is to the world of pole-vaulting.
I am to the world of fitness, what the great Mike Tyson is to the world of speed-reading, … what George Bush is to the world of cliff-diving, what Al Sharpton is to the world of modern dance, and what the legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman is to the world of porno films.”
It goes without saying that if you’re a cast member of SNL that you have to be great at doing characters, but Jay Pharoah is in a class by himself. And he stopped by The Comic Strip to prove it! He came in with Colin Jost, who’s a writer on SNL and is a regular performer at The Strip. I would think that all young Black comics would want to perform on the stage that launched Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock.
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, Shayna Farrow, owner Richie Tienken and Jay Pharoah at The Comic Strip!
Jay came in with his manager/sister Shayna,(I hope that’s how she spells it! LOL), and his agent and we all sat up in the balcony with owner Richie Tienken to enjoy Jay’s set. The packed audience was surprised and thrilled, and Jay did about 30 minutes.
Jay Pharoah from SNL onstage at The Comic Strip!
His impersonations of Obama, Will Smith, and Denzel Washington absolutely killed. Shayna kept the family name Farrow, but I like the way Jay spells it, cause it carries the power of ancient Egypt.
The cool thing about Jay is that he’s as humble as he is talented. I hope to be shooting a video with him real soon for Comedy Matters TV! Stay tuned!
Jay Pharoah from SNL with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV trading gang signs at The Comic Strip!
When I heard that Steve Byrne would be performing at Gotham Comedy Club I made sure to get over there and catch his show. He was always a favorite of mine and I was wondering why I hadn’t run into him for a while. When he told me he had moved to LA back in 2004, it all made sense to me! (LOL) That must have been the last time I saw him!
Jefrfey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Steve Byrne at Luna Lounge back in 2004, before his move to LA!
Steve has an interesting background, being half Korean and half Irish. I want to say I first met him when I was judging an Asian comedy contest, many years back, but that could be wrong. All I know is that he endeared himself to me because when I saw him at Gotham he told me I hadn’t changed a bit from the last time we saw each other, and that was seven years ago! (LOL)
Steve now performs all over the world, and has even opened for musical superstars like Kanye West and Mariah Carey.
One of his half-hour Comedy Central Presents specials was voted as one of the best specials of all time in the Comedy Central Standup Showdown. His hilarious standup has been seen on NBC’s The Tonight Show, The Jay Leno Show, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, CBS’s The Late Late Show and BET’s Comic View.
As a big supporter of the US troops, Steve also headlined several USO tours in Afghanistan, Iraq, Japan and Guam. On the big screen, Byrne appeared in the recent hit comedy blockbuster Couples Retreat, which I absolutely MUST see because I understand my dear friend, gorgeous Kali Hawk is one of the stars in that film as well, plus Steve was in Four Christmases opposite Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon, and The Goods: The Don Ready Story alongside Jeremy Piven.
This night at Gotham, Steve had one of the strongest closes of any comic I’ve seen. He chose five guys from the audience to be a “boy band” and dance for one girl who he also chose from the audience. He gave them each very bizarre names which they had to answer to, and they each had to give the chosen woman kind of a lap dance. It was HYSTERICAL and the audience loved it.
Steve Byrne coaching his “boy-band” on stage at Gotham Comedy Club! Colin Jost, whose boy-band name I can’t recall, is 2nd from right!
One of the five guys happened to be talented comic Colin Jost who was one of Steve’s opening acts, and who writes for SNL, and also appears a lot at The Comic Strip.
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Colin Jost of SNL fame, who opened for Steve Byrne, and wound up as part of his “close” as well!
I hope it isn’t as long before I get to see Steve Byrne again. He’s a real crowd pleaser, and a heck of a nice guy!
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Steve Byrne at Gotham Comedy Club for one of Steve’s sold-out shows!
Eddie Murphy receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award in Comedy from Tracy Morgan at the Comedy Central First Annual Comedy Award show!
Eddie left the show in 1984, and rumour has it that he had a feud with producer Lorne Michaels over an on-air joke made about Murphy by David Spade, back around 1989, concerning Eddie’s faltering career. Spade has always been known for his snarky remarks! It’s part of who he is, and what people expect of him!
Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV with Lorne Michaels at the Writers Guild Awards!
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with David Spade at a comedy club in NYC!
According to Page 6, sources said that Murphy demanded an apology from Michaels which was not forthcoming since Michaels felt he had to give his writers “creative freedom.” Now with Ratner producing The Oscars, and Murphy hosting, it’s felt that Ratner has orchestrated a detente between Michaels and Murphy so we’ll all have to tune in on Saturday night to see what happens.
In the meantime, I have a Murphy/SNL story that you probably don’t know. I know it because I’m writing the book on the 35 year history of the legendary comedy club “The Comic Strip”, the club that brought Eddie to world-wide stardom, thanks mainly to it’s owners and founders Richie Tienken and Bob Wachs, who still own and run the place today!
(L-R) Bob Wachs, and Richie Tienken, owners and founders of the legendary comedy club The Comic Strip opened on June 1, 1976, and still going strong!
Richie was Eddie’s day to day manager. Eddie had been performing as part of an ensemble known as “The Identical Triplets”, two white guys and him! The other two guys were Rob Bartlett and Bob Nelson two respected comics in their own right! Nelson is out in Branson, Missouri, and Bartlett is Don Imus’ sidekick for many years, doing characters on the radio.
Nelson and Bartlett had been performing at The Comic Strip, and they called up Tienken asking him to take a look at Murphy to see if he could audition there. Murphy was supposed to come in on a Monday night which was audition night, but instead of coming in on the night when Tienken was there, he came in when Bob Wachs was there, who had no idea that Eddie was coming, and didn’t go out of his way to accommodate him. When Eddie got a little testy, expecting to go right up on stage, Wachs basically threw him out.
Eddie’s partners called up to find out what happened and Tienken told him to come back on a night he was there. Eddie came back all contrite and acting very polite. Richie told him he wouldn’t go against his partner but told Murphy to go up on stage and if he was good, he’d talk to Wachs. Needless to say, Eddie killed it, and Tienken smoothed it over with Wachs.
In 1980, after Tienken and Wachs were managing him, Eddie was added as a featured player on the sixth season of SNL. The producer that year was Jean Doumanian,who went on to co-produce movies with life-long friend Woody Allen. Her ex-husband John is still Woody’s close friend and was with him when I last saw Woody at the Carlisle Hotel this past April.
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Woody Allen at The Carlyle Hotel in NYC!
One night he called Tienken in a panic. The show was running short, and Doumanian asked him to do five minutes of comedy to stretch the show. She had originally asked Joe Piscopo to do it, but he liked Eddie and suggested him instead. When Tienken asked what the problem was, Eddie said ” I’m nervous to do it cause I curse!” So Tienken advised, “Then don’t curse.” Eddie wound up doing it and saved the show.
When it came time for contract renewal, Tienken went up to meet with Doumanian who assured him that Murphy would be re-signed, … as a featured player again. Tienken, as a good manager said, ” He saved your show! Don’t you think he deserves to be a regular cast member?” Fortunately she agreed, and Eddie went immediately from $750. a week to $3,000. a week, and Tienken proved his worth as a great manager.
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Bob Wachs and Richie Tienken at the Friars Club Film Festival where they were showing the trailer for their documentary film on The Comic Strip!
If Eddie is in New York this weekend, they would love to have him drop by The Strip!
The sold-out crowd at Gotham got themselves a real treat, … 2 headliners for the price of one! Bobby Slayton, known as “the pitbull of comedy”, (for good reason), packs them in on his own, but combined with Jimmy Fallon opening the show, it was a guaranteed sell-out!
I had just seen Bobby in Montreal the week before at the Just For Laughs Festival, where he also performed. It’s the biggest comedy festival in the world, and needless to say a very prestigious place to perform.
(So if it’s needless to say, then why did I say it??? LOL )
Bobby Slayton, the "pitbull of comedy", on stage at Gotham Comedy Club!
Even he was excited about performing with Jimmy, and he was the one who told me they’d be on the same bill. Turns out Jimmy was excited to perform with Bobby as well, plus crowd pleaser Buddy Fitzpatrick was the MC, so it was really a guaranteed success.
As soon as I got back to New York, I called Chris Mazzilli the owner of Gotham, and told him to please save me my usual table. Chris advised that I get there early because everyone knew it would be packed.
It’s been 2 1/2 years since Jimmy took over Late Night from Conan O’Brien, and the show is up for 3 Emmy’s. Jimmy is ecstatic, but one of the most humble guys you could ever meet. As well as one of the most talented. He not only does stand-up, and plays the guitar and harmonica, but his characters are amazing, as are his impressions. It’s no wonder that he got SNL when he did. He’s one of those rare “triple-threat plus” guys, ( more like quintuple plus! ) but he cautioned me that he doesn’t dance. I’m pretty sure he could if he tried!
He does singing impressions of Neil Young and Bob Dylan that are so good you really think it was them. And then he did an impression of every comic who ever performed at Gotham starting with Jerry Seinfeld, who he once had to follow as a young comedian.
I went to both the Friday night and Saturday night shows. That wasn’t the original plan. I was originally supposed to interview him after his Friday night set, but he had to leave immediately after the show, so we decided to do it on Saturday night instead. I got the unexpected benefit of being able to see him twice! And Robin Williams showed up at the Saturday show, came down to visit Jimmy, and then saw Jimmy do an impression of him.
At the last minute my DP Sean Mannion wasn’t able to show up, so I was left to my own devices in terms of filming. Everyone I called was busy, so I wound up at the show myself with my camera equipment, wondering how it would all work out.
Jeffrey Gurian and Jimmy Fallon backstage after Jimmy's killer set at Gotham Comedy Club on West 23rd Street, in NYC.
After Jimmy’s set he invited me down to the Green Room backstage, where he introduced me to his lovely wife Nancy, who just happens to be a TV producer. Problem solved! Nancy was kind enough to film our interview.
Jimmy was so gracious. I only expected to do about 5 minutes and he gave me 22. Foolishly I was using a tape that only had 23 minutes left on it, so The Universe was watching over me, because when we finished, the camera was blinking on 0:01 minutes.
He shared some great stories with me which you’ll see in the upcoming video, and they included how he auditioned for Lorne Michaels for SNL, and was told by everyone there from the make-up person to the director, not to worry because Lorne never laughs. But when Jimmy did his Adam Sandler impression, Lorne laughed and put his head in his hands. I told Jimmy, he was probably trying to hide the fact that he was laughing or it would spoil his reputation! Then Jimmy and I laughed! (LOL)
I’ve ALWAYS been a fan of Liv Tyler. She’s elegant, great to look at, really talented, and even more impressive, exceptionally sweet and down to earth. If you want to fall in love with her immediately, watch her in Bernardo Bertolucci’s “Stealing Beauty,” which was her first lead role, back in 1996. Her character, an American teenager named Lucy Harmon loses her Mom to suicide, and she goes to Italy to connect with people who knew her Mom, and also to lose her virginity.
The film poster for "The Ledge" starring Liv Tyler, Patrick Wilson, Charlie Hunnam, and Terrence Howard, written and directed by Matthew Chapman!
The last time I was in her company was when she was a teenager. I thought she was 16, but she says she could actually have been 13! Don’t get nervous, it was at a party in honor of Peter Max, the world-famous artist, who is a very dear friend of mine for many years. Peter actually once “psychedelicized” ( if there even IS such a word! LOL) the outside of an entire airplane with his artwork, was the foremost psychedelic artist of the 60’s, and has had his work exhibited at the White House.
Jeffrey Gurian, at a party for Peter Max, with a young, and lovely Liv Tyler who claims she might have only been 13 at the time! Jeffrey thinks she was 16. Either way she was already a knockout! (LOL)
I have an original Peter Max that he drew for me on a dinner napkin many years ago when he attended a party for a film I wrote, with Michael Ian Black of “Ed” fame, and Ben Garant from MTV’s The State, and Reno 911. It was the first interactive film ever made, by Sony, where the audience pressed buttons that were installed at their seats to change the course of the movie. It was called “I’m Your Man”, and was shown at the Sony Theatre on 19th Street and Broadway in Manhattan.
Jeffrey Gurian with Michael Ian Black at a black tie affair, where Black was wearing a red tie!!! (LOL)
So at the party where I first met Liv, I remember being there with Jon Lovitz, who was probably still on SNL in those years, and someone brought me over to meet Liv.
As you can see in the photo above, I was in my Elton John stage at the time, complete with flowered glasses! I even had my 80’s moustache, which I now keep in my wallet just in case I ever need it! (LOL)
It wasn’t until the writing of this post that I realized that I also had a photo of Peter Max and I from that same night, which you can see below. Same outfit, same flowered glasses, and same moustache!
Jeffrey Gurian with the world-famous artist Peter Max at the party where he first met Liv Tyler!
Some time after, Peter attended a party in my honor for the “I’m Your Man” film I mentioned above. The party was also attended by celebs like Robin Leach, energy/exercise guru High Voltage, legendary music producer Nile Rogers, and baseball legend Keith Hernandez.
I can’t believe I found that photo of me with Peter as well. I had progressed to red glasses from the flowered glasses but I still insisted on having that moustache.
In this photo it looks like I was in good company since both Peter and Nile brought their moustaches out for the evening as well! (LOL)
(L-R) Peter Max, Jeffrey Gurian, and Nile Rogers at the party for Jeffrey's film "I'm Your Man" at Country Club, many years ago! All sporting very hip moustaches for the time!
So anyway, when I got invited to interview Liv for her new film “The Ledge” written and directed by Matthew Chapman, and co-starring award-winning actor Patrick Wilson, who will be starring in a new TV show on CBS, a drama called ” A Gifted Man”, Charlie ( Sons of Anarchy) Hunnam who reminds me somewhat of Brad Pitt, and Terrence (Hustle and Flow) Howard, I jumped at the chance.
Jeffrey Gurian with the amazingly talented Liv Tyler, ( in her 6 inch heels) at The Crosby Hotel for her new film "The Ledge"!
The movie, which created a lot of buzz at Sundance this year, is a thriller/love triangle, and starts out with Charlie Hunnam whose character is named Gavin, riding to work on the bus when he spots a beautiful young girl (Tyler) and they exchange smiles. Imagine his surprise when he shows up at work as the manager of a hotel, and she comes in to apply for a job. Her character’s name is Shana, which is very fitting, as I told Liv during the interview because Shana means “Beautiful” in Yiddish. Of course Gavin hires her immediately, but gives her a job as a chambermaid.
They even live in the same building. Lots of coincidences here. As a writer myself, I might have questioned that as I wrote it, but it just shows you that when you have a good script, the audience goes with the story and doesn’t get hung up on little things like that. Liv (Shana) is married to Patrick’s character Joe, who we soon find out is a Bible-thumping evangelical nut.
He and Shana knock on Gavin’s door so he can meet his wife’s new boss, and after meeting Gavin and his gay roommate Chris and inviting them both in for dinner, he begins berating them both for being gay. Shana is hiding a secret past and is in a loveless marriage out of gratitude for having been saved. As a matter of fact, all three of these main characters have had some serious personal trauma that they’re dealing with.
Gavin lost his little girl in a car accident, and thinks he is an atheist. I say it that way for a reason! It’s inevitable that he and Shana are drawn to each other. It’s done in such a subtle way that there are really no explicit sex scenes. It just shows that you don’t need that kind of stuff to have a great film. However, if I was Charlie Hunnam, I would have been disappointed! (LOL)
When Gavin winds up on a ledge high above the city and says he must jump off at noon in order to save Shana’s life, Terrence Howard, as “Hollis”, is the cop who tries to talk him down. He is also dealing with the trauma of finding out accidentally that very same day, that his kids were not his kids.
I got to interview not only Liv, but also Patrick and Matthew Chapman. I had to tell Patrick how relieved I was to see what a nice, normal looking guy he was because he played such a scary looking guy in the film. He really captured the intensity of his character’s insanity, and when I asked him if he carried that character with him when he left the set, he told me that having his wife and kids on set with him, helped him remain sane, and leave the “Joe” character behind.
Jeffrey Gurian with a very handsome and sane looking Patrick Wilson at The Crosby Hotel for The Ledge press event!
And Liv was so excited about seeing her old photo with me that we took a new one holding the old one, and she made me promise to send it to her which I’m doing right after I post this! (LOL)
She insists she was only 13 which is a scary thought when you see how beautiful and mature she looks! ( I know I remember being told she was 16, but she should know better! She probably remembers the outfit! LOL) What’s amazing is that she remembers that night at all. It’s funny what sticks out in people’s minds.
An excited Liv Tyler pointing to her old self in a photo with Jeffrey Gurian taken when she was just a teen!
Check out the clip of Liv, Patrick and Matthew right here!