Posts Tagged “stand-up comedy”

COMEDY MATTERS ROUND-UP-WEST SIDE OWNER EUGENE ASHE AT SUNDANCE, EDDIE MURPHY HOSTS SNL, CHAPELLE AT THE CELLAR, THE SULTAN ROOM, MARINA FRANKLIN BIRTHDAY AND MORE!!!

SYLVIE’S LOVE PREMIERES AT SUNDANCE

WITH WRITER/DIRECTOR EUGENE ASHE AT WEST SIDE COMEDY CLUB
(I’M THE GUY ON THE RIGHT!!!)

I dropped by West Side Comedy Club to wish everyone a Happy Holiday and ran into owner Eugene Ashe. Always good to see Gene but he’s not there as much as he used to be because he’s also a writer/director/filmmaker and travels quite a bit.

He had great and exciting news for me. A film he wrote and directed called Sylvie’s Love, will have its world premiere at Sundance on Jan. 27, 2020, less than a month from when you read this.

It’s a period piece set in 1957, with a star studded cast, including Tessa Thompson,and Eva Longoria. Tessa Thompson plays Sylvie a young woman fighting to stay loyal to her fiancee who’s off fighting in the Korean War. She’s an aspiring film producer working in her father’s record store in Harlem when she falls for Robert, a talented saxophonist played by Nnamdi Asomugha, and try saying THAT 3 times fast.

Nnamdi Asomugha is a Nigerian-American actor, producer and former American football cornerback who’s married to Kerry Washington, and played for the Oakland Raiders, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the San Francisco 49’ers.A

Years pass, the world changes, and their lives take different paths — but fate brings them together again, and they discover that their feelings for each other remain. Now both must decide what they truly want.

It’s Gene’s 2nd feature and took him about five years to write. Many good scripts take that long and longer. In an exclusive interview while sitting in a booth at West Side, Gene told me they originally wanted to shoot in New York, but because of the weather and the schedules of the actors they used they had to shoot in LA. They basically shot around Tessa Thompson’s schedule because the girl is so crazy busy.

But he said it was so cool to shoot on the classic backlots like at Warner Brothers, Paramount, and Disney, and “we kind of leaned into the fact that we were shooting on these incredible historical backlots and created this fantastical Hollywood love story.”

He continued, “The film’s period ranged from 1957 into 1962-63 so it went into like the Mad Men/Breakfast at Tiffany’s era, and people compare it to The Notebook, or The Way We Were, or Mahogany with Diana Ross.”

I asked him if it was a problem getting the cars and clothing for a period piece like that and he said it was “but one thing about that was that we got gowns donated to us from Chanel, so we have about 11 gowns that Tessa Thompson wears, and all from that era.”

“Tessa had about three to four weeks available in February, between shooting Marvel movies, Westworld, and Lady and the Tramp for Disney and we just decided to shoot it then in Los Angeles and just followed her wherever we could, because she was just such a perfect lead for our movie.”

I wish him so much luck, but even more I wish I could be there with him in Sundance to actually see the premiere!

EDDIE MURPHY HOSTS SNL

They say if you wait long enough everything will happen. Well if you were willing to wait 35 years you got to see Eddie Murphy come back to host Saturday Night Live.

I actually stayed home to watch it and it was worth the wait. In the middle of Eddie’s opening monologue he was first joined by Tracy Morgan, then by Dave Chappelle, who I ran into the very next night but that’s a story for a few paragraphs down, and then by Chris Rock who he discovered at The Comic Strip back in 1985. Each one of them asked Eddie if he looked at the sketch they supposedly sent him.

WITH CHRIS ROCK, AND RICHIE TIENKEN AT THE COMIC STRIP AFTER CHRIS’ INTERVIEW FOR THE BOOK “MAKE ‘EM LAUhGH

Chris wrote the intro to my book “Make ‘Em Laugh” which is about the history of The Comic Strip and features interviews with all the big stars who came out of that club like Jerry Seinfeld, Ray Romano, Colin Quinn, George Wallace, Billy Crystal, Jim Gaffigan, Susie Essman, Lisa Lampanelli and more.

Eddie was being managed by Comic Strip founder/owner Richie Tienken, whose son Richie Jr. now works at SNL and introduced himself to Eddie after the show. Eddie remarked that Richie Jr. has the same cleft in his chin as Richie Sr.

TRACY MORGAN, DAVE CHAPPELLE, EDDIE MURPHY, AND CHRIS ROCK

Eddie himself is not in the book as we were told that he often doesn’t like to relive the past. However he did shout out Richie on a comedy awards show in recent years.

DAVE CHAPPELLE READING MY BOOK AT THE BAR OF THE COMIC STRIP

DAVE CHAPPELLE AT THE CELLAR

When you walk into the Olive Tree Cafe which is the restaurant connected to the original Comedy Cellar on Macdougal Street you never know who you’re going to see there.

I walked in on the Sunday night after Eddie hosted SNL and it was so crowded, you would have thought they were giving away money. “The table” where the Cellar comics sit was packed into two rows, and was headed by Dave Chappelle himself. Also around the table were Keith Robinson, Rachel Feinstein, Michelle Wolf, Mark Normand, Sam Morril, club manager Liz Furiati, and several more!

INTERVIEWING DAVE CHAPPELLE AT THE JUST FOR LAUGHS FESTIVAL IN MONTREAL IN A RARE RED CARPET APPEARANCE

I joined a friend at the bar and sat across from Eagle Witt, Neko White and Rafi Bastos the 6’7″ Brazilian comedian, actor, journalist and TV personality with literally millions of followers on social media, who I’ve profiled in the past and who came to the Comedy Matters TV offices to shoot a video interview.

AT GOTHAM COMEDY CLUB WITH RAFI BASTOS, WHO FORTUNATELY WAS SITTING DOWN AT THE TIME!

Rafi told me he moved here permanently after living in LA for a very short time. He said he was thrilled to be passed at The Cellar right away after auditioning for Estee!

Anyway Dave held court as comics came and went to say hello and pay their respects, and as he turned, saw me, and waved, I went over to exchange holiday hugs and tell him how cool it was to see him with Eddie on SNL.

Sometime after 1 A.M. as I was leaving I saw him go downstairs with Wil Sylvince and take the stage to the delight of the crowd. That’s how it is at The Cellar!

NEW COMIC MEZZY AT BROADWAY COMEDY

Every once in a while I’ll go check out a new comic which I did recently because I had met her years before while doing a radio show with L’il Nat. Her name is Mezzy Desravines and I took her to some comedy shows, and now years later she’s performing. She says I’m her mentor and I’m good with that because she’s a natural. She’s got great stage presence and was born to do comedy!

MEZZY ON STAGE AT BROADWAY COMEDY

BRETT DAVIS AT THE SULTAN ROOM

Brett Davis is an Andy Kaufman award winning comedian, known for doing some pretty cool and unique shows. He took over Chris Gethard’s space at MNN to produce The Special Without Brett Davis which I attended, and was a guest on more than once, as well as his Podcast for Laundry, and now he’s one of the creators on Evan Shapiro’s new National Lampoon Radio Hour.

So when he invited me to be the special guest to be interviewed on his new variety show at a place called “The Sultan Room” I immediately said “yes” even though it was out in Brooklyn. I packed a beard and headed out there. It was a real variety show with comics, sketches, character pieces, music, and surprise audience interaction!

The Sultan Room lived up to it’s name, and I was so impressed with the decor. I don’t think you could have a place like that in Manhattan. Maybe on West Broadway, but it was perfect Brooklyn vibe. The theme was New Year’s Eve 1970 and I might have been the only one there who actually remembered it! (LOL)

BRETT DAVIS CAME OUT WEARING A CROWN AND HUGE WINGS

Brett produced the show with a band called Tredici Bacci and had a cast of interesting and very talented characters like Dougie Poole, Colin Burgess, Caroline Yost, and Sally Burtnick. I had such a great time. It was a real experience and I was sorry when the night ended with the entire room dancing and swaying to the tune of Auld Lang Zyne!

BRETT DAVIS GETTING READY TO RING IN THE NEW YEAR OF 1970

MARINA FRANKLIN BIRTHDAY PARTY

Before I hit The Cellar and ran into Dave Chappelle I stopped off at Fat Black Pussycat bar which is also part of The Cellar to wish Marina Franklin a Happy Birthday!

When I walked in the party was in full swing with Yamaneika Saunders, Matteo Lane, Keith Robinson, Vondecarlo and Marina singing along to hot songs that the DJ was playing. They all had great voices. At one point Keith shouted me out on the mic.

(L-R) MATTEO LANE, YAMANEIKA, (BACK) MARINA, KEITH ROBINSON, AND VONDECARLO

There were all kinds of snacks, like fries, cupcakes, chicken wings and other good stuff and I sat down with my man Derek Gaines until he got up to dance with Marina.

Marina complained that not enough people were dancing, so the highlight of the evening was when Keith Robinson, despite having had a stroke, ripped off his jacket and got down with Marina, and she said ” If Keith can do it, the rest of you can too!” Keith is a perfect example of not letting obstacles stand in your way.

MARINA FRANKLIN’S BIRTHDAY PARTY AT FAT BLACK

At one point Marina made a very heartfelt speech thanking everyone for coming and alluding to people we lost recently. It was a very special evening.

There’s probably more but I’m tired, so tune in soon for the next edition of Comedy Matters! And please subscribe to Comedy Matters TV with over 2.1 million views at https://www.youtube.com/guriannewsnetwork

AND HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL MY COMEDY MATTERS PEEPS!!!

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Comedy Matters TV On The Scene with National Lampoon, Chris Distefano at Gotham, The Irishman, and more!!!

National Lampoon Back on the Scene!

National Lampoon which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2020, just launched a new comedy space and weekly stand-up series, “LIC Comedy,” in Long Island City thanks to Lampoon Pres. Evan Shapiro, and Exec. V.P. of Digital Media Gian Hunjan, along with Creative Associate Claudia Barran. They acquired the brand back in 2017 but just partnered with LIC Artists and The Plaxall Gallery to do a series of comedy shows, besides bringing back the beloved and iconic National Lampoon Radio hour.

Premiering December 19, the new, 11-episode podcast, in partnership with Forever Dog Podcast Network and available on iTunesSpotify and other podcasting platforms will feature a collection of National Lampoon comedy sketches, characters, music and more, thanks to lead writers Cole Escola (Emmy-nominated “At Home with Amy Sedaris,” “Difficult People”) and Jo Firestone (Adult Swim, “The Tonight Show”).  

I went out there for the inaugural show and the place is amazing. It’s a huge 12,000 square foot community center/art gallery, with many rooms, and fortunately I got there early enough that Gian found me wandering in the street, greeted me and guided me in, and then Evan gave me the tour including an outdoor space right on some kind of waterway that will be amazing for parties during the nice weather. That’s THEIR plan not mine! Those who know me know that I LOVE parties! (LOL)

The plan is to have a show every Friday night in perpetuity. The inaugural show was well attended by an interesting and upscale, handpicked group of people, in a very relaxed setting and each of the comics commented on the unusual setting, … performing in a spacious art gallery, with a slide of a huge frame on the wall behind them.

First up was Pat Burtscher, who was originally from Toronto, then lived in London and moved here to NY as of last May. He stuck out to me because he had such unusual and unique premises, which I love and respect. Things like, ” We’re the only animals that give ourselves jobs” which is a great premise and then he expanded upon it, which is how I learned to do comedy, from some of the greats. You get a strong premise and build a bunch of jokes around it. That’s the essence of writing comedy. Or at least it should be!

PAT BURTSCHER TALKING TO HIS LIVER

When I went up to him after the show to compliment him he reminded me that we had already met back in August when we were on the same show at the Fairfield Comedy Club, and I drove him and two other comics, Beecher and Jason Salmon back to New York. Pat was sitting in the back seat so I didn’t get to learn his face! (LOL) I love unique because it’s so hard to find!

Also on the show was Ali Kolbert who talks a lot about being 27 but looking much younger, which is true. Ali had been an NBC page and wound up making her late night debut on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

And the always funny Ricky Velez came on next. Ricky’s part of the Fat Baby crew with Giulio Gallarotti, Josh Wesson and Benny Demarco and I love the energy that those guys bring wherever they go. Ricky is also tight with Pete Davidson and performs on shows with him on the road.

Ricky talked a lot about his baby, being a Dad, his own Dad, and how his wife comes from money and wears pajamas, which to paraphrase him is a rich person’s game!

RICKY VELEZ HOLDING IT DOWN, IN THE TIGHTEST SAGGIEST PANTS EVER- – – BUT SOMEHOW HE MAKES THEM LOOK GOOD!

Dave Merheje followed and I had seen Dave this past summer on the Ronnie Chieng TV gala when he surprised me by performing in shorts and a T-shirt for television, while Ronnie was in a beautiful suit.

Dave’s background is Lebanese and it was funny hearing him tell the story of how his uncle once came to the door for Christmas proclaiming that he was Santa Claus, without a costume, just a beard, yelled out “Ha, Ha, Ha” instead of “Ho, Ho, Ho”, and the kids were scared that Santa Claus had an Arabic accent! Btw, he didn’t wear shorts this time, he wore bright red sweats pants!

Giulio Gallarotti came out and closed the show with a strong set, talking about how he doesn’t like to smoke weed and gave a strong reason why, and I was hoping he’d do a song as Lil Young Big his rapper alter-ego. Maybe next time.

But it was a very cool event, and when I asked Evan what he wanted people to know about it he said to tell you guys that the show will run every Friday at 10, part of the ticket sales go to support local artists, the tickets are 15 bucks and they have the least expensive drinks of any comedy club in the five boroughs!

Chris Distefano Uses Family As Inspiration for Jokes

I’ve known Chris Distefano since the beginning when we used to do open mic shows at Gotham Comedy Club and he was honing bits like “Tell me no”, and talking about his Mom dating a guy named Phineas with polio, and he was always hilarious. So it was great to see him headlining Gotham with sold out shows. The place was so packed they threatened to put strangers with me at my table! (LOL)

I was seated right next to Chris’ manager comedy heavyweight Rick Dorfman of Authentic Talent and Literary Agency, who jokingly asked me if I didn’t have anything better to do than go to a comedy show!

BACKSTAGE WITH CHRIS DISTEFANO AT GOTHAM COMEDY CLUB AFTER HIS SOLD OUT SHOW!

He held it down for an hour with non-stop laughs and his very unique delivery. That’s a very rare thing to have and I was glad to tell him that after the show. It’s very hard to have a unique delivery. Gilbert Gottfried does it, Judah Friedlander does it, and Chris does it too.

He makes it sound like he doesn’t know what he’s going to say next in that very kind of staccato way he has of speaking, jumping from one thing to another. To the audience it sounds like he’s saying it all for the very first time. He hits on very current topics like memes, peanut allergies, cancel culture etc.

And he kept his jacket on the whole time too, but took it off for the VIP meet and greet after the show. Almost the whole audience signed up for it and lined up to buy merch and take photos.

A lot of his merch was about History Hyenas the podcast he does with his comedy bro’ Yannis Pappas. Both of these guys were my guests on Sirius XM’s Bennington Show. After the Gotham show I went backstage to ask him a couple of questions.

THE INTERVIEW

JG: So tell me about History Hyenas.
CD – History Hyenas is a podcast I do with Yannis Pappas, it’s been going on about 18 months now, we just sold out The Gramercy Theatre a couple of weeks ago and we’re gonna do another show , actually a residency there throughout 2020, and we’ve had Jim Gaffigan on, Bill Burr, Andrew Schulz, and all the episodes are available on i-Tunes…
JG – But what’s the concept of the show?

CD – The concept of the show is it’s a history show but it’s comedy first, so you’ll learn but you’ll laugh first and foremost, it’s always comedy and then we’ll throw in some history stuff that you can regurgitate at a party and sound and look cool!

JG – Do the comics have to study history before they come on?

CD – No, we don’t require comics to study at all. They come on and if they are passionate about it, like Jim Gaffigan came on and did a whole episode about the Samurai culture in Japan because he had just come from there and he loved it. Bill Burr came on and did a whole history tour of Boston because he knows all about it, and that works but we’ve had other episodes where we just had Michael Kosta on or Sam Morril and just shoot the shit just being three comics in a room.

JG – I just got back from Japan and it’s crazy over there. I did a couple of shows there and it’s insane.
CD – Yeh, I would love to go to Japan.

JG – It’s a long fucking trip!

CD – Yeh, I’ll take an edible.

JG – You better bring more than one for 14 hours. What else do you have that people should know about, … your special 38 Waist?

CD – Well my special 38 Waist is on Comedy Central, but I’m gonna do a second special Size 36 Waist, that comes out on Comedy Central in August of 2021.
JG- Really? Or are you just fuckin’ with me?

CD – No I swear. Cause I’ve been on Keto, and I have a good boxing trainer Paulie, who’s here tonight that feeds me oregano pills, he’s here in the green room, I have a cartoon in development with Comedy Central, and of course I hope that all those things go, but my real passion right now is the podcast Hisstory Hyenas. That’s why the shows were sold out at Gotham this weekend, and why shows in general are selling out for me now is because of that podcast.

JG – Where do you tape it from?

CD – We tape it from The Comedy Cellar, RiotCast Studios, Bobby Kelly’s podcast network, and we tape anywhere from 4 hours a week to 8 hours a week depending on how much coffee Yannis has had.

JG – Tell me about the cartoon.

CD – It’s slated to come out hopefully some time in 2020, and I also have a non-scripted show in development with Comedy Central. The cartoon’s about my life. it’s about being a single Dad, with a bi-racial kid, and a father who’s in the Mafia. ( Lots of laughter)

JG – That’s a hilarious story. It’s gotta be a hit.

CD – So it’s me and my Dad raising this Puerto Rican kid doing the best we can.

JG – Is there anything you’d like to do that you haven’t done yet?

CD – Well in 2020, I moved up in certain markets to theaters, so I’m hoping to go from the comedy clubs to the theaters, and start selling theaters out, that’s really my main goal for 2020.

JG – Well I just have to say that I’ve seen you from the beginning and you’ve always been funny so I’m not surprised that you’re doing so well because you deserve it because you worked really hard.

CD – Thank you Jeff I really appreciate that. Thank you brother. Always a pleasure to see you!

John Belushi on Saint Marks

Thanks to long-time comedy manager Jason Steinberg of Steinberg Talent, I got to see this play. It’s called “With A Little Help – It’s John Belushi” and it’s at Theatre 80 on St. Marks Place, and owner Lorcan Otway told me his family has been in the theatre business for over 300 years! That’s longer than I’ve been in comedy!!! And the theatre is beautiful by the way filled with show biz memorabilia including some rare posters!

The award winning play is an ensemble piece with about 8 characters all of whom playing two or three parts except for Jack Zullo who wrote the show and plays a very spirited John Belushi. He definitely brings John’s energy level to the stage.

All good actors and very entertaining, but if I had to say anything at all in a positive yet constructive manner, 90 minutes into it they hadn’t gotten to the SNL years yet, and John’s discovery by Lorne Michaels. Otherwise as I said, … very entertaining. They mentioned National Lampoon a lot, so it was very fitting that when I left I ran out to LIC to catch the inaugural National Lampoon show mentioned above.

Jason by the way. who has been instrumental in the careers of many big stars handles Tony Woods who just had a big thing in the New York Times, and Donnell Rawlings who just launched a new podcast, The Donnell Rawlings Show. He announced it on Joe Rogan’s podcast that for the very first time he spoke by himself, all alone for 44 minutes! Joe had been encouraging him to do it for months, and he didn’t wanna show up on the show again without having done it, … so he finally did it!

KRYSTYNA HUTCHINSON GOES SOLO

I caught up with my girl Krystyna Hutchinson at Stand Up New York, and we hadn’t seen each other in too long so we took a moment to catch up. She was hanging with Justin Silver and she just did her first time solo headlining gig at American Comedy Company in San Diego and brought Justin to open for her.

She said that 4 out of 5 shows were sold out and she did 45 minutes for the first time and found it very draining, but lots of fun.

KRYSTYNA HUTCHINSON AND JUSTIN SILVER AT STAND UP NEW YORK

GM Jon Borromeo told me the club is focussing on discovering and promoting young talent, that hadn’t been able to get stage time at other clubs, and he named Zach Zimmerman as an example, who just happened to be standing next to him at the time, and said he did his one man show at the club!

COMEDIANS IN “THE IRISHMAN”

If you’re willing to sit through 3 hours of Martin Scorcese’s new hit “The Irishman” which I did because it’s on Netflix and I could get up, walk around, get a snack and pause it when I wanted to you’d see a bunch of comedians in roles, and I personally counted about 18 people I knew personally from the comedy and acting world.

Ray Romano has a big part as Bill Bufalino, the attorney who repped Teamster leader Jimmy Hoffa and was the cousin of mob boss Russell Bufalino played by Joe Pesci.

WITH RAY ROMANO AT THE COMIC STRIP

In an example of perfect casting, Jim Norton had a nightclub scene where he portrayed the late legendary Don Rickles, and Sebastian Maniscalco who’s always hilarious had a great serious role playing the part of “Crazy Joe” Gallo, which he did so well.

WITH SEBASTIAN AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN AFTER HIS SOLD OUT SHOW

Bobby Funaro who started out working the door at Carolines on Broadway and went on to be in The Sopranos played a character named Johnny, Paulie Herman who used to own Columbus Cafe and is in just about every mob movie played Whispers DiTullio, the late Vinny Vella played a meat company manager and others I’ve known and/or worked with or interviewed in different projects over the years were the amazingly talented Bobby Cannavale who played a crazy character named Skinny Razor, Bo Dietl, legendary detective who recently ran for Mayor and unfortunately did not win, Kathrine Narducci who played Russell Bufalino’s wife Carrie, as well as Artie Bucco’s wife in The Sopranos, and attended my play “A Punch In The Face” dedicated to actor/martial artist/Hells Angel Chuck Zito who also attended, Stevie Van Zandt from E-Street who played Jerry Vale in this movie, and Silvio Dante in The Sopranos, my old friend Danny Abeckaser who went from a club promoter/owner to movie actor and producer, Garry Pastore who played Albert Anastasia, and most recently played a gangster named Matty ” The Horse” in HBO’s The Deuce and is the cousin of another old friend of mine, Vinny “Big Pussy” Pastore, and there were more!

BACKSTAGE WITH BOBBY CANNAVALE AND CHRIS ROCK AND THE CAST ON BROADWAY WHEN COMIC STRIP OWNER RICHIE TIENKEN AND I WENT TO SEE “THE M-F’ER WITH THE HAT”

LOVE FOR PATRICE GOES ON

So I’m walking down St. Marks Place the other night on my way to the John Belushi play when I hear someone yelling out to me. At first I didn’t turn around cause I’m from New York, but then he said “Mr. Gurian”, so I turned and looked.

It was this nice young musician named Supremo Massiv who happened to have a gig right across the street but ran out and had to tell me what a big fan he was of the work I did with Patrice O’Neal on the Black Phillip Show and how much the show meant to him.

It happens wherever I go, most recently in Japan, but in Boston, at Skankfest, at a Syndicate event, and with people from all over the world, the love for Patrice lives on. And a few months ago I started taking a photo with each and every one of them.

WITH “BLACK PHILLIP” FAN SUPREMO MASSIV ON ST. MARKS PLACE IN NYC

MEDERI CENTER BENEFIT

The Mederi Center located in Ashland, Oregon was founded by a master nutritionist named Donnie Yance, who specializes in treating cancer and other serious illnesses with herbs and nutrition in conjunction with traditional medicine.

Some friends of his, including consciousness guru Alan Steinfeld of New Realities, saw me performing at West Side Comedy Club one night and the next thing I knew I was the MC at a big fundraiser they held on 11/22 at the Warehouse of the Fairfield Theatre Company in Fairfield, CT starring pop star and cross over artist Gino Vannelli and jazz singer Grammy nominee Roberta Gambarini. It was a fabulous night, well attended and raised a lot of money!

WITH JENNIFER YANCE, GINO VANNELLI AND DONNIE YANCE AT THE WAREHOUSE OF THE FAIRFIELD THEATRE COMPANY

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Samuel J. Comroe, A Man of Inspiration

Every single one of us has some kind of obstacle to face in our lives. Some people allow it to overcome them and never accomplish anything. Others rise above it. Samuel J. Comroe is one who rose above it, and in a hilarious way.

Sam developed Tourette’s Syndrome at 6 years old. It’s a neurological condition characterized by repetitive, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. It was named for Dr. Georges Gilles de la Tourette, a French neurologist who first described the condition back in 1885 before many of you were born!

Sam describes it more as a “twitch”, which can be embarrassing to people who have the condition, but Sam decided to take it and use it to create a successful comedy career. He took what could have been considered as a negative and turning it into a positive. As he says, ” I got 99 problems, but a twitch ain’t one!”

He made his TV debut on Conan, appeared on BET’s Real Husbands of Hollywood with Kevin Hart, and became nationally known for his appearance on America’s Got Talent where he totally wowed Howie Mandel, and the other judges. He said that show changed the game for him.

He also won Ricky Gervais’ “San Francisco Comedy Competition” and has a huge following on social media. So when I heard he was headlining at Gotham Comedy Club I made sure to make it down there to see him.

Good thing I have my own table cause the place was so packed people had to pull in their stomachs and hold their breath to squeeze in and get a seat. Sam is pure high energy, and speaks so quickly it’s amazing. He spits jokes like rappers spit beats. Like a machine gun!

His positive energy is contagious and spreads to the audience who absolutely loved him and kept interrupting him with applause breaks. He brings a real likability to the stage as he talks about life with Tourette’s and a whole host of other things, like when his parents sent him to Tourettes camp.

He also does a Q&A with the audience towards the end and answers questions like ” What’s it like having sex with Tourette’s?”

In my recent best seller on Happiness I write a lot about the concept of “acceptance” and how there are certain things about ourselves that we must accept or else it will drive you crazy. Then there are things you can change. It’s the basis for what’s known as The Serenity Prayer, … “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

That last line is the most important as far as I’m concerned, … the wisdom to know the difference. In my case my own major obstacle was that I stuttered very badly starting around age 7 or 8, continuing well into my 20’s and beyond. If I had “accepted” that I would still be stuttering today, but I consider it Grace that I realized one day that I didn’t stutter when I was alone. I only stuttered when trying to talk to somebody else which told me that there was really nothing wrong with me, because you can’t have a disability based on your location.

A man with a limp limps in every room of his house. He can’t go into a room alone and walk perfectly. But if I could speak perfectly when I was alone then theoretically I could speak perfectly all the time. I used that fact to help me work on myself for the next few years.

I had no one to help me. I basically took my mind apart and examined all of my thoughts and identified thoughts I was holding that were not valid for me and were negative against myself. I was obsessed with getting better and after much hard work I was able to free myself from the bondage of stuttering.

Now as an avocation I work with stutterers to teach them how not to stutter. And I use my voice in everything I do whether it’s on the phone, on stage, on the radio or on TV.

I look at Sam Comroe as an example of what you can accomplish if you refuse to let your particular obstacle define you. Make sure you go see Sam when he’s performing in your town, … and tell him I sent you! (LOL)

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The Virzi Effect Live For The First Time

Paul Virzi is killing it! He’s having a really great year and it’s well deserved. He often opens for Bill Burr when Bill is on tour.

When I go to Gotham Comedy Club, as I do almost every night, I usually go backstage first to say hello to whoever is performing and wish him luck.

Paul was celebrating the 400th episode of his podcast “The Virzi Effect” but doing it live for the first time, and he chose The Impractical Jokers own Sal Vulcano to be his special guest.

The Virzi Effect is a really fun show. I have had the honor of being on the podcast and we did it from my place in the city. Paul was nice enough to bring his equipment and we did it from my “comedy museum”! (LOL) I knew that Paul would appreciate seeing all the photos of many of the greats in comedy going back to The Golden Age.

This night I opened the backstage door expecting to find Paul, and instead was greeted by a mob scene. A whole bunch of guys standing and chatting in a circle, and when that happens, and you realize that you know everyone, you don’t know who to say hello to first! (LOL) It’s awkward!

I tried saying hello to all of them at once. It was co-owner Steve Mazzilli, uber-agent and producer Rory Rosegarten who had just produced the huge Garden of Laughs event, and he was there with his son Ryan, Paul Virzi of course, Sal Vulcano and a close friend of Paul’s Sam Jackalow, who just happened to know my daughter Liz. Then Jon Fisch came in and he was doing another show upstairs and he and Sal realized that they had the exact same Members Only jacket that they bonded over!

We hung out and shared stories and laughed until it was time to start the show. Paul brought up Sal to huge applause from the audience.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FS5tH4oOH8

They are very close friends and it was obvious the affection that they had for each other. Paul gave Sal a gift of some very expensive alcoholic beverage, which as a non-drinker I was not familiar with, but Sal was very touched.

They talked about all kinds of fun stuff, and Sal was comfortable enough to admit to being very sensitive. He said he once cried at a Pep Boys commercial. I totally relate and have gotten emotional about songs, movies TV shows, and when talking about my daughters. I have to censor everything I watch, or watch it alone so I don’t have to feel embarrassed! (LOL)

Paul always does an “Unacceptable” segment where the guest and then members of the audience share experiences they had that they deem unacceptable.

I asked Rory Rosegarten if he thought I should share my experience of showing up at Madison Square Garden to do interviews for the Garden of Laughs event with Bill Burr, Tracy Morgan, Jon Oliver, John Mulaney, and a bunch of famous actors, and realizing that I had no microphone with me because my video assistant had forgotten to pack it. I would call that quite unacceptable and Rory agreed but Paul and Sal had already moved on, so I’m sharing it right here.

Luckily my assistant slightly redeemed himself by getting this little snippet from John Mulaney while I had to run home like a maniac through rush hour traffic to get my mic!

Bill Burr had his own take on the situation after I nearly killed myself to run home and get my mic!

Sal talked a lot about the new 8th season of his tru TV hit Impractical Jokers and told some funny stories, including the times when the guys almost got assaulted by people who were pranked.

Fans of Paul and Sal traveled from all over to attend this live show, so they saved a few minutes for a Q&A during which time I raised my hand to ask if they were still entertaining “Unacceptable” stories, which I was informed they were not!

Good thing I have this platform! (LOL) At one point Paul was trying to tell a story while Sal hummed ” I Believe I Can Fly” in the background, until Paul found it too distracting.

It was a really fun hour and even ran long because Paul wanted to get in some other things. He invited anyone who wanted to to hang out at Jake’s Tavern which is basically next door, to grab a drink and a snack, and he gave all of his guests special posters he had made up to commemorate his 400th episode and first live show.

I’m really glad I was there to celebrate this with them!

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Weekly Humorist Up For Webby Award

A Webby Award is an award for excellence on the Internet and it’s presented annually by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a judging body composed of over two thousand industry experts and technology innovators. It’s a big honor to be nominated for a Webby and Marty Dundics’ Weekly Humorist is in line to win one for Best Humor Site, in the upcoming 23rd annual Webby Awards contest.

The event itself will be held on Monday, May 13th at Cipriani Wall Street in lower Manhattan, and will be hosted by everyone’s favorite Jenny Slate, so memorable from Kroll Show on Comedy Central. Jenny played many characters especially “niece Denise” and Liz from Publizity which was a sketch I got to be in.

Marty himself describes his recent comedy startup as an “underdog”,  but people love underdogs and they’re only up against College Humor, Funny or Die, The Daily Show and Cards Against Humanity which bills itself as a game for horrible people.

Marty, who’s the CEO and Editor-In-Chief of Weekly Humorist birthed this babe and is basically a one man band. He has an office on Wall Street wHere he hosts the popular comedy podcast Talkward, and produces “Guaranteed Delivery” a monthly standup show at The Mailroom lounge, a very cool space in the same building. I’ve been on it and he gets great talent. This was a flier from his recent show in April.

He’s also the founder of Humorist Media, which develops comedy media programming and publishing.  Despite having a long history with comedy, having worked at National Lampoon, and The Late Show with David Letterman, he’s funny but he’s never performed himself.

Voting ends this Thursday April 18th with the winner to be announced on Tuesday April 23rd, and you can vote by going to this site, …but do it now while you’re thinking about it, because voting ends on Thursday :  

https://vote.webbyawards.com/PublicVoting#/2019/websites/general-websites/humor

 

WITH MARTY DUNDICS DOWN AT THE WEEKLY HUMORIST OFFICE

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Comedy In An Alley

If you’ve been to any upscale, fancy Manhattan event chances are you’ve seen Francesco Belcaro. He’s hard to miss. Tall, handsome and stylish with 46 thousand followers on Instagram, and usually surrounded by models, chances are good he had something to do with making the event successful.

As a matter of fact I’ll be attending a black tie affair of his tomorrow night called The Venetian Carnival which will be held at The Top of the Standard. You can see him greeting me at a fashion party he arranged in a cool beautique, where the champagne was flowing freely in the  video below.

Pinko fashion Brand and Valdo Prosecco event.

Posted by Francesco Belcaro on Tuesday, October 23, 2018

A force in marketing, promotion, and real estate you can imagine my surprise when he invited me to a comedy event.

And then I saw that Mehul Patel was involved and I know that he does comedy shows in upscale venues to try and create a party kind of atmosphere where the audience hangs out afterwards to keep the show/party feeling going. There was no question that I would attend. It was a concerted effort between those guys as well as Rick Rosa and Maria Ton.

This show was called Laughter at Alley Cat and was held at a place called “Alley Cat” on a street I didn’t even know existed in New York. Theatre Alley. I had no idea what to expect when I drove down there, but it was a good sign that Waze knew just where to take me.

Luckily I was able to find a parking spot where Waze said it was, but when I got out of my car I didn’t  know where to go. I was parked right across from this narrow alley and Waze said I had arrived so I tentatively walked into this alley. Late at night in New York you don’t just walk into any alley, but I didn’t know where else to go. When I first walked in all I saw was this.

I ventured further and suddenly saw velvet ropes which in New York is always a good sign.

As I got even closer I saw the logo of the Alley Cat and felt relieved that I was in the right place.

Right away it had a cool vibe. Security guided me downstairs and then upstairs into a showroom that was packed with people already drinking and having a good time. Francesco spotted me and took me to the VIP room where I saw the other comics, host Rashad Bashir who I had just met recently at a show at Alex Carabano’s V-Spot restaurant and comedy club, Kendall Ketchum representing those with two X chromosomes, Shawn Jackson, Elon Altman, the afore-mentioned Mehul Patel, and Matt Pavich.

Front Row: Shawn Jackson and Yours Truly, Rear )L-R) Elon Altman, Kendall Ketchum, Matt Pavich, Rashad Bashir, and Mehul Patel.

Rashad Bashir was a great host who really got the energy pumping, and one by one all the comics brought their A-game which wasn’t always easy because of the noise from the bar. That’s the only problem with doing comedy from a “hip” venue that is not a traditional comedy club, trying to control the noise from the bar, and from people who may have drank enough to forget their manners and that a show is going on.

Mehul Patel onstage

Fortunately the host reprimanded them and most of the comics projected loudly on the mic to overcome the background noise. Matt Pavich had a different approach which I really respected because it’s hard to do. Rather than yell, he took a chance and spoke quietly, and the audience in turn quieted down to hear him. I’ve seen it done before but it takes courage because if it doesn’t work you’re in worse shape than you were in the first place. I gave him props for that after the show because it was a choice he made that worked.

All in all it was a very strong show, and I hope to go back and perform on it myself one month.

That’s all for me. Just remember that Comedy Matters, … and with that I’m OUT!!!

And please go to my Comedy Matters TV You Tube channel to see fun video interviews with all your favorite stars, and follow me on Twitter and IG at @jeffreygurian

 

 

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Kenny Warren and Gabe Dorado Do Magic

Kenny Warren and Gabe Dorado Do Magic

Magic is the only word that came to mind when I got to the Grisly Pear at 107 Macdougal Street. I had performed there many times when it was a bar upfront with almost kind of a comedy space in the back. Now it’s a legitimate comedy club in the back with a bar up front! And it’s all thanks to the hard work and dedication of comic/producers Kenny Warren and Gabe Dorado.

You may know Kenny from his show “Comics Cutting Comics” in which he cuts comic’s hair before they get up to perform, which would be horrifying if he wasn’t a legit barber. Fortunately he is, and works out of a shop up in Harlem called Levels. I’ve been there for a shoot we did together called ” Comics Cutting Comics Live” where I had the chance to perform in the barber shop, which was scary to me. Those who know me know I do not frequent barber shops! (LOL) Just the thought freaks me out, but for Kenny I show up! (LOL)

(L-R) Matt Pavich, Norlex Belma, Kenny Warren, Pat Brown, Larry Beyah, Barry Ribs, Jeffrey Gurian

And to show you the kind of guy  he is, he was nice enough not to insist on cutting my hair. Even when we did the show out at the Creek and the Cave, he let me slide on the cutting part, and he still let me perform.

When I got to The Pear, the first thing I happened to notice was a big poster like art thing of AMarie Castillo mounted on the wall.

It caught my attention, and then as I looked around I saw Kenny Babbitt, Napoleon Emil and Mallory Bryant up there too. And then I noticed that the walls of the entire place were covered with beautiful graphics of all the comics who performed there, with their social media tags.

Kenny is very big on giving up-and-comers a place to work out and feel at home. He even refers to the place as “the dojo.” He understands the struggle and what it takes to try and get known in this crazy business, and let me tell you it’s a very big thing to come into a club and see your very own picture up on the wall.

He’s doing six shows a week there, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, including three on Friday alone, 8, 10, and 12, and he gets a packed house most of the time, unlike when the space was shared by other producers. He’s basically doing it on his own with people like Kathryn Henson producing their own shows, like her show “Late Night at The Pear” on Thursdays at midnight. Gabe Dorado runs the shows on Thursday at 10 P.M., Friday 6 and 8 P.M. and Saturday’s 10 P.M. and 12 A.M. slots.

The show I was on had a great line-up with the very funny Phil Duckett bringing it as the host. He really got the energy flowing, and then there was K.C. Arora, the aforementioned Katharyn Henson, Kareem Green who brought down the house with a very funny “choking” routine, a young funny comic named Marcello Hernandez, Onika McClean and just as I was leaving Neko White dropped by to do a set!

Kenny will be out in LA this month appearing at the clubs, and we wish him lots of luck! As for me, I hope to be doing more sets at the new Grisly Pear Comedy Club! Thanks Kenny!!!

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Breaking Down The Breakdown

The Red Room is a very cool space in the KGB Bar on East 4th Street, coincidentally right next door to the new New York Comedy Club. And once a month comic/actor Boris Khaykin puts on a really unique variety-type show called The Breakdown with Boris Khaykin, with the help of producer Jeremy Moses.

I got invited to be a guest and went down the month before to check it out and needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway, I was duly impressed. Boris and his co-host Jawnee Conroy also a talented comedian and actor have created a very unique format, along with Boris’ co-writer and co-producer of the show Alex Estrada!

The audience warm up was not a stand-up comedian but a musical improviser named Rebecca Vigil. A great song came out of absolutely nowhere. Amazing. Then Boris and Jawnee took the stage and worked off each other for about 10 minutes or so, and then Exacto an amazing beatboxer did a solo performance that blew everyone away. It sounded like he swallowed a drum kit!

Then the first guest was called which happened to be me! I made a point of thanking Ethan “Exacto” Scott for his incredible performance and remarked that his teachers must have hated him because I’m sure he disrupted every class he was ever in.

I got to talk about my Amazon Best Seller book on Happiness, “Healing Your Heart, By Changing Your Mind – A Spiritual and Humorous Approach To Achieving Happiness”, a subject I felt the audience could relate to, and they did. We spoke about changing negative thoughts we were holding onto that were not working for us, and in doing so raising our self-esteem, and self-confidence and conquering the fear that tells us we can’t do something we’d like to accomplish. Fear is a bully and we have to stand up to it.

Speaking of fear, I even got to talk about how I cured myself of stuttering, and how people can overcome obstacles in their lives. I feel like it went well and the audience feedback was very positive.

We also discussed my hair and decided it was the exact opposite of Boris’ beard. If I turned my head upside down, I’d have something close to Boris’ beard, which is real by the way, and is what to aim for if you want to grow a beard.

Not everyone has the genetics for it, so don’t feel compelled to grow a beard if you can’t because believe me, no one is interested in your INTERPRETATION of a beard! You either have one or you don’t. There’s a big difference between having a beard, and just having hair on your face! None of that patchy shit! (LOL)

I talked about hair establishing your identity which is why in the Army they shave off your hair right away to make everyone the same and take away your own personal identity. I also said that “Most men wear their hair like they’re embarrassed for having any” and someone in the audience created an immediate meme for Instagram which I thought was very cool!

Then after my interview segment some talented improv artists, Nick Carillo, Katie Hartman, got up and did a sketch using the facts from my interview as inspiration, and that’s always fascinating to me that someone can remember so much of what somebody else said. I have a hard time remembering someone’s name immediately after being introduced to them! (LOL) And then there was a sketch in which Lauren Kahn played Jawnee’s ex-girlfriend.

Next up as a guest was Jamilah Lemieux named in 2015 to The Root’s (the magazine, not Jimmy Fallon’s band) Root 100 list of the nation’s most influential African-American citizens.

She’s a journalist, columnist, cultural critic and editor and afterwards told me she’ll be moving to L.A. to try and get into writing for TV. She’s already got an idea for a script and she wants to do stand-up comedy.

Speaking of stand-up comedy, Emmy Blotnick was the purely stand-up comedy segment of the show and I was glad to finally meet her. Of all things she did some “dental humor” and joked about having to wear a nightguard to protect against the damage caused by grinding and clenching the teeth. How could she have known that was my specialty? Anyway it gave us something to bond over! ( Bonding, … get it? LOL)

And then there was the big close with Boris and Jawnee back on stage, and lots of people hung out to just party because it’s that kind of a hang. Next month’s show will feature Richard Kind, and I’m sure it will be hilarious so make sure to go check it out. I had a BLAST!!!

So until next time we meet please remember that COMEDY MATTERS!!!

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Ashley Madison – Not What You Think

Ashley Madison – Not What You Think

Most of the time when you hear the names Ashley and Madison together the website for people who cheat on their spouses pops into mind. Now there’s a whole new affiliation since two talented comedians Ashley Austin Morris and Madison Malloy got together to create the Ashley and Madison Podcast.

And I got the honor of being their first guest! At least that’s what they told me! (LOL) Besides being a stand-up comic Ashley, originally from Texas, is also an accomplished actress who you may know from her role as Francine Carruthers in the  revival of the PBS Kids children’s series The Electric Company, or from her appearances on The Big Bang Theory and Desperate Housewives.

Madison Malloy has been a staple of the stand-up comedy scene for a while, and has performed all over the country, in clubs, at festivals, and on radio and TV as well. The two of them together are a dynamite combination, and prove that you can be funny and still be beautiful! Many legendary women in comedy’s past like Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, and Phyllis Diller have had to downplay their looks to make themselves palatable for the public to laugh at, because as a society despite what some may think, we’re trained to treat women respectfully which makes it harder to laugh “at them.”

These days women own their power and come out on stage looking any way they choose. Our podcast day started with them offering to travel on the subway with me to Brooklyn so I could find the studio more easily. I had a better idea and offered to drive, which they liked, so the day started with them meeting me at my home, which is like a comedy museum, with photos going back decades.  In many of the photos I actually let someone else be in there with me! (LOL) Some people say I have more on my walls than some comedy clubs! (LOL)

                                         Such a fun day!

They asked for the tour and what impressed Ashley the most was that I had a phone mounted in one bathroom right next to the commode. I had seen this at The Four Seasons hotel and decided that “hotel chic” was for me. She asked if she could try it out and was so excited she forgot to pull down her pants! Ooops!!!

I got so excited with this phone, I can’t believe I forgot to pull down my pants! Good thing I’m wearing black!

And then just like that, we were on our way to their studio, The Brooklyn Podcasting Studio, in Park Slope, Brooklyn. When we got there our parking karma was right on the money and we got a great spot.  Then they led me to a garage. And I thought, is this gonna be like a Marc Maron thing where he does WTF from his garage?

But no it was more like a hidden speakeasy kind of thing where you had to walk through a garage and go up a couple of flights of stairs to get to this really cool studio. I thought we were gonna have to give some guy a password.

The studio had a big beautiful wooden round table/console set  up with a bunch of mics, in a very cool room with lots of snacks, and it was run by a great guy named Josh Wilcox, the manager and lead engineer who was very helpful and made sure that the sound was perfect and that everything went smoothly.

He also was kind enough to take some photos while everything was going on.

                           Jeffrey making a point!

They wanted to talk about my new book on Happiness called “Healing Your Heart, By Changing Your Mind – A Spiritual and Humorous Approach To Achieving Happiness” which hit Best Seller status on Amazon, and how I used the concept of changing your thoughts to cure myself of a severe stutter that plagued me well into my 20’s and beyond.

In reality it’s more about overcoming obstacles in our lives, which we all face. The concept is that we’re all holding thoughts that are not valid for us. Most of the time they are negative thoughts about ourselves, given to us by people who did not have our best interests at heart.

Sometimes it was our parents.  Other times bullies, school “friends”, people we dated, worked with or were married to. Those negative thoughts hold us back. They affect our self-esteem, our self-confidence and every decision we make in our lives. Every time you have to decide what to do you use your thoughts to decide but if your thoughts are faulty your decisions won’t work out for you.

 

                  You understand, … don’t you? 

In order to be Happy, you literally have to “change your mind.” Anyway even though this stuff sounds kind of serious we had a lot of laughs along the way, and the three of us had a great connection. The girls are so funny, and we were all on the same wavelength. It just flowed.

                Jeffrey making another point!

Then we had a fun ride back to the city trading stories, and we all made plans to do something cool together. More on that to come!

In the meantime the podcast officially launches this Monday Feb. 4th wherever you can listen to a podcast. My episode probably won’t air till March, but that’s ok.  Good things are worth waiting for!

                              See how Happy we look?

Until then remember, … COMEDY MATTERS!!!

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The Phenomenon Known As Sebastian

There’s only a handful of comedians that can fill an arena like Madison Square Garden with 20,000 seats, much less four shows over one weekend!  That’s 80,000 people who came out in the cold and pouring rain to see Sebastian Maniscalco do his thing on his Stay Hungry Tour.

There’s also very few performers who only need one name to identify them. Oprah, Cher, Elvis! Nobody ever said Elvis who? And now there’s Sebastian, holding it down in the comedy world!

I who drive everywhere had a feeling that wouldn’t be a good idea this night so I called for an Uber. I’m basically right across town from MSG, so theoretically it should take a good 15-20 minutes to get there.

The VIP meet and greet was set for 9-10 P.M. between his last two shows. I was told to go to the 8 Penn Plaza entrance which is for employees and media, and make my way to the 5th floor and then down to the third floor for the party.

The car picked me and my date up at 8:15, and I arrived at 8 Penn Plaza just past 9:30 after having to get out and walk the last four blocks in the pouring rain which had been predicted to be snow. For whatever reason traffic was INSANE. Much worse than usual. Every block, every avenue backed up! So lucky I didn’t drive.

As we walked over  we saw huge billboards with Sebastian’s face on them announcing his show. I got excited just by seeing them. Most comics have the experience of seeing their face on a flier, but to see your entire being on a billboard in Times Square has to be beyond belief.

And in the Garden he and Pete Correale were up on the Jumbotron for their podcast “The Pete and Sebastian Show”!

The lines outside of MSG were crazy but I thought we’d have an easier time at the 8 Penn Plaza entrance. WRONG!!! The line was out through the door and into the street. We managed to get inside where it seemed like nobody was moving. They had metal detectors and heavy security but nobody was moving.

I called upstairs to let Sebastian’s Levity Live people know I was finally there, but it was so noisy it was hard to hear anyone. They had my tickets and VIP party passes at a special table, and we just missed an elevator because they said there was no more room. The guards made us put on our VIP passes. We weren’t allowed to just hold them, we had to WEAR them!

We finally got an elevator and the first guy that got in said, ” Hey I know you. Aren’t you the “Master Panelist” from Comics Watching Comics on Amazon Prime?” I admitted that I was, and then another guy got in who referenced me from “Too Much Tuna” with Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, and even the elevator operator said he knew me. That was kind of crazy! Obviously I’m very well known in elevators throughout the land!

When we finally got to the fifth floor, we were ushered vaguely to another place that wasn’t clear but some nice guy said, ” Don’t worry I’ll show you where to go.”

And we finally got there around 9:40 just in time to see Levity’s Alex Goodman standing with Sebastian’s opening act Pat McGann. Alex kindly showed me into the room where Sebastian was mingling and taking photos with the crowd, directed by Levity honcho Judy Marmel.

We got to exchange pleasantries with Sebastian, and I was amazed how calm he was knowing he was about to face 20,000 people in a few minutes, but I guess once you do it three times before, the fourth time feels like “old hat”, as they used to say in 1810!

When we took our seats, in the third row with a great view, I just sat there trying to take in the aura of 20,000 people. As a comic, if a club is full depending on the club there’s maybe 300 people. Lots of clubs have 125. Twenty thousand people is unimaginable, and you really have to put in years of stage time to be able to handle that and not go insane with fear!

You also have to hope they don’t all want to come over your house for a drink afterwards! That call to your wife would be crazy! Honey some people are dropping by. How many? About 20,000!

Pat McGann showed why he was chosen as Sebastian’s opener by doing a strong opening set with great stories about his wife, kids and family in general.

And then it was time for Sebastian, who hit the stage like a rockstar in a sparkly, multi-colored jacket that was the first thing he mentioned.

Then he discussed the fact that people had been wondering whether they’d have to cancel the show because of the weather. He laughingly said something to the effect of,  “Hey this is not a brunch where you can just go, ” The  weather’s not so great. We’ll do it next Thursday! This is Madison Square Garden.  It took me two years to plan this thing. It’s not being cancelled for a little rain.”

He got thunderous applause from the time he came out till the time he left the stage. It’s not only his stage presence, it’s his physicality that always amazes me.  He acts out almost every joke he does and contorts his body so it looks like the people he’s talking about.

He’s married to a Jewish woman which gave him the ability to compare Jews and Italians in talking about his wife’s upbringing as compared to his, and people were absolutely hysterical. A guy near me almost fell out of his seat!

He told great stories too like the time his wife made a one year old birthday party for his daughter and ordered an alpaca to make an appearance. He needed to get a permit for the alpaca and the story was hilarious. He even walked and made faces and noises like an alpaca. That’s not easy to do!

Talking about the condition his wife was in after she gave birth, he said she looked like she had been thrown out of an airplane, and that made me laugh out loud which like many people in comedy I don’t usually do.

I had to learn that early on when writing for very famous comedians who would look at the jokes I wrote and with a very serious face say, ” Oh that’s funny.  And THAT one’s VERY funny. I’m hysterical!”, without even cracking a smile.

He announced the good news that he has a son on the way. Very exciting. He certainly proved why he was worthy of the respect of 80,000 people who braved the freezing cold and rain to come out and join him. I’m sure he could have done at least two more shows.

I really look forward to seeing him again!

 

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