Posts Tagged Todd Barry

Just for Laughs Video With Huge Stars-Montreal-30th Anniversary

Every July in Montreal, the city gets taken over by hundreds of thousands of comedy fans from all over the world, all wanting to see their favorite comedy stars. It’s the biggest comedy festival on the planet! (There may be bigger ones on other planets,but I’m not privy to that information! I no longer own the Hubble telescope!)

This year for the 30th anniversary I was an official videographer, and got to shoot around 40 interviews with some of the biggest stars in comedy as well as the up and comers! The huge stars of the future!

Chelsea Handler with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at the Just for Laughs Awards Luncheon where she won the award for “Comedy Person of the Year”!

Marc Maron of WTF fame with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV. Marc credits Jeffrey’s hair with making him feel safe during the “dark” times in his life!

I shot for four days straight and got some amazing interviews with people like Chelsea Handler, Bob Saget, Howie Mandel, JB Smoove, Marc Maron, Adam Carolla, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog, and his Dad Robert Smigel, Todd Barry, Joel McHale, and the Sklar Brothers.

Wayne Brady with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV backstage at the gala that Wayne hosted at JFL!

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog making nice to Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV after insulting him in every way he could think of! (But fortunately it was all in jest!)

Plus interviews with newer stars like Jay Pharaoh from SNL, who read an excerpt from Chris Rock’s intro to my new book “Make’Em Laugh”, in Chris Rock’s voice, Chelsea Peretti, Hannibal Buress who won for Rising Comedy Star of the Year, Myq Kaplan, Moshe Kasher, Jermaine Fowler and Lil Rel from the new In Living Color, Joe Mande, Grace Helbig from That Damn Channel’s “Daily Grace”, Kenny Hotz, the only Canadian to have two American TV shows on at the same time, “Kenny vs. Spenny”, and “Testees”, and Jessica Williams the newest correspondent on The Daily Show who let me swing her around like we were in the playground!

Jay Pharoah from SNL with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, who’s trying to learn how to hold his fingers like that!

Grace Helbig from My Damn Channel’s “Daily Grace” with Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV at the Comedy Conference on You Tubers at JFL!

All of this on camera! Check it out right here!

And a second shorter video with just the A-list stars and hosts of the galas, Chelsea Handler, Bob Saget, Howie Mandel, JB Smoove, Marc Maron, Adam Carolla, Joel McHale, Marc Maron, and Triumph The Insult Comic Dog, with his Dad Robert Smigel!

And for a longer, more in-depth article and photos check out the previous post:

http://wp.me/p1pHIm-192

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Just For Laughs Montreal- 30th Anniversary

I have been going up to the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival for more than 20 years. Maybe 25 years! It’s hard to imagine but it’s true. JFL is the biggest, most prestigious comedy festival in the world, and this year, thanks to Robbie Praw and “the powers that be”, I was given the honor of being one of the official videographers of the festival for my Comedy Matters TV channel.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Chelsea Handler at the JFL Awards Luncheon, who won for Comedy Person of the Year!

There was so much to see, so many shows, and so many comedians that it would literally be impossible to see all of them. Fortunately so many of the comics are friends that I was able to find them in the hotel lobby, at parties, in the elevator, on the streets, in the dining room, and just about everywhere you looked, and I got over 35 interviews with fun people like Bob Saget, Chelsea Handler, JB Smoove, Gina Yashere, Howie Mandel, Adam Carolla, Joel McHale, Jay Pharoah, Todd Barry, The Sklar Bothers, Marc Maron, Hannibal Buress, and even Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, and his owner Robert Smigel!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Wayne Brady who hosted a gala at JFL’s 30th Anniversary in Montreal!

I got there on a Wednesday, unpacked, got my “All Access” pass for me and my producer Rob Krieg, and went right off to Patton Oswalt’s show at The Metropolis. Patton was there with his manager Dave Rath from Generate,and it was a great show. Patton has enjoyed a high profile lately after having spent nine years as a regular on The King of Queens, his Comedians of Comedy tour, and his part in films like ” A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas”, and Steve Carell’s “Seeking A Friend for the End of the World!”

He also presented the Comedy Icon Award to Robin Williams at the Comedy Central Comedy Awards 2012,and delivered the Keynote Address to the attendees of this festival, of which there were many! It was nice to see Myq Kaplan opening for Patton. I’ve been a fan of Myq’s ever since I was a judge on the NY part of the auditions for the Boston Comedy Festival, a couple of years back, and Myq won.

After congratulating Patton and Myq backstage we ran over to catch “Best of the Fest” hosted by Jessica Kirson, featuring Key and Peele, John Heffron and Joe Mande who I met on the set of Nick Kroll’s new show, simply called “Kroll Show” out in LA. Nick called me out to do some sketches with him and John Mulaney and it was the best!

I’m still editing the over four hours of video I shot, but I wanted to present some of the highlights of the festival in this column and then follow it up with the videos.

When I reminded Chelsea Handler that the first time I saw her I knew she’d be HUGE cause she was doing “b.j. jokes” and her Dad was in the audience she said,” I take every opportunity I can to torture my father!”

Chelsea Handler with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV the first time they met back in 2005!

At the JFL Awards Luncheon, Chelsea received the award for Comedy Person of the Year that Louis CK received last year. Everyone was very excited to see her and people were amazed that I got my video interview. It’s all about timing.

I ran into her in the lobby the night before and told her I’d be looking forward to shooting something with her after the luncheon so she was prepared when she saw me. She even suggested we do it before the luncheon since it was less crazy than trying to do it afterwards. She was on her way to the Olympics in London and had gotten guest hosts for her TV show for the very first time. Needless to say she looked gorgeous, as usual, (and if it’s needless to say, then why did I say it? Because it’s my column and I can do anything I want! LOLOL)

Howie Mandel with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV who assured Howie that next year he would definitely get lunch!

Howie Mandel was “upset” that he didn’t get lunch at the awards luncheon. He felt bad that he didn’t get anything at all. Just as I suggested getting in touch with co-founder, and President of JFL Andy Nulman to complain, who should happen to come along but Andy Nulman in the company of the other co-founder Gilbert Rozon, and they joined my interview telling Howie that next year they’d make sure he got lunch. It gave him something to look forward to.

I hadn’t seem Howie since 2007 when he helped me promote my first book “Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive” while we were up in Montreal!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Howie Mandel at JFL in 2007, who was kind enough to help promote Jeffrey’s book “Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive!”

Andy Nulman and I also filmed a very funny video clip of us walking down the red carpet together to the Variety party for the Ten Comics To Watch, while he made my cameraguy/producer walk backwards to film us with no one guiding, or protecting him. Luckily he made it and it looked very funny!

I got to literally jump around with Jessica Williams from The Daily Show, who shared with me that she likes to play, and I taught her to spell it “pleigh” instead of “play.” I grabbed onto her and we just swung each other around, like a fast version of “Ring-A-Round-Of Rosie”! (I don’t think I ever wrote those words out before in my entire life!)

She just makes me feel like doing that when I see her so I did!

My old friend Marc Maron remembered that he never gave me the interview I wanted last year, but we did a great one this year to make up for it, and he even treated me to breakfast the next day! (No, … we didn’t spend the night together! LOL)

I found it interesting that he’d remember something like that, because I certainly did, but it just goes to show you that people do remember things, and if we were on WTF together that would probably be something we’d talk about. The awkwardness of wondering if someone remembers something like that. Every time we saw each other last year, I’d say,”Remember I wanna talk to you on camera”, and he’d say “Sure” but the whole festival went by and it didn’t happen.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Marc Maron at JFL in Montreal!

I happened to meet him in the elevator, and it was only the two of us, and it was that awkward moment where you don’t know if you should just say “Good seeing you” and walk away, or if you should continue walking with the person. So when we hit the dining room and were still talking he invited me to join him, and was kind enough to treat me.

We had a great talk about all kinds of things, and in the video interview he said that over the last 75 to 100 years in comedy, at every major comedy event, the only thing that was a constant was my hair! And in his deepest moments of despair he thought of my hair and it got him through!

I was glad I got to tell him how happy I was for him for all of his recent success with WTF. No one is honest like Marc Maron when it comes to sharing his feelings on stage. I still remember cringing at some of his revelations in “Scorching The Earth” his one man show about his break-up with his ex-wife.

I met his ex-wife many years ago through our mutual friend Ardie Fuqua, and it turns out that’s how Marc met her too!

Adam Carolla and I kicked it backstage after his podcast while David Alan Grier looked on with Rob Barnett from My Damn Channel, and Adam’s manager Mike August, who I also hadn’t seen in quite a while.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV backstage with Adam Carolla after Adam’s podcast with Howie Mandel!

I know Mike back from the days when he was an agent, I think at William Morris, but maybe not! In those days, he always hung out with James Dixon, now of Dixon Talent who handles Jon Stewart, John Oliver and stars of that magnitude.

I did a fun interview with Grace Helbig one of the stars of My Damn Channel for her show “Daily Grace.” She gets millions of hits and she’s so fun and adorable. I wanted to swing her around too, but I didn’t get the chance!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with the oh-so-fun Grace Helbig from My Damn Channel, at the Comedy Conference at JFL in Montreal! Next time I have to swing her around too!

Walking through the lobby at night I ran into Keith Robinson and Chelsea Peretti and we had a really fun interview. Then I interviewed Joe Mande who was one of the “Ten Comics To Watch At All Times, No Matter What Else You’re Doing”, and such a bizarre thing happened. I had already interviewed Chelsea, who was sitting next to me and Joe Mande sat next to her, and all of a sudden some girl comes over, kneels down and starts talking into my mic saying how some company is poisoning children in Africa.

Now I thought she was joking and was a friend of Chelsea’s. Chelsea thought she might be a friend of mine, and Joe didn’t know what to think, but after a few minutes of this girl ranting and raving we all realized she was nuts! I couldn’t get rid of her.

I went over to interview Tom Cotter about his upcoming appearance on America’s Got Talent, and she broke in screaming about children being poisoned. I was ready to poison HER, but instead I got security and they wound up having to physically remove her from the premises.

Turns out she was not a comedy person and didn’t even belong there. It was just funny that we all thought she was a friend of someone else’s so no one wanted to insult her! Chelsea made me promise to send her the video which I will as soon as we’re done with the rest!

Joel McHale, who hosted the closing gala, couldn’t get over my outfit. He wanted to know why I chose to wear a wifebeater under an open Hawaiian shirt plus a seersucker jacket with white shoes! He was just being Joel McHale.

He introduced a comic on the show by the wrong name and refused to correct it right away. He must have gone through 5 or 6 takes each time purposely messing up the comic’s name. So when he called me Perez Hilton I wasn’t totally surprised! Look what he does to Ryan Seacrest and he’s his friend!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with JB Smoove in character as Leon Black from HBO’s hit Curb Your Enthusiasm!

JB Smoove was hysterical as always. He was there with his manager Rick Dorfman and his beautiful wife Shahida Omar a singer, who couldn’t have been nicer. When JB thought he was too tired to do the interview after his show, (which he did as Leon Black from Curb Your Enthusiasm), she encouraged him to do it cause I had been waiting so long. I couldn’t have done that, but SHE did!

JB told me all about how he got started as a hip-hop dancer named J Smoove, which is why he moves so well, but the guy is just funny. He doesn’t even have to say anything. And his new DVD is killer, “This Is How I Dooz It”!

One of the other highlights for me was Jay Pharoah who was there with his manager/sister Shayna. Jay read an excerpt from Chris Rock’s introduction from my new book “Make’Em Laugh”, that I wrote with Richie Tienken about the 35 year history of The Comic Strip. But not only did he read it, he read it out loud in Chris Rock’s voice for JB Smoove and a bunch of other people hanging out in the lobby. I got it on video and trust me you’ll laugh your ass off. He does a great Chris Rock!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Jay Pharoah from SNL after Jay read Chris Rock’s intro in Chris Rock’s voice!

Robert Smigel woke Triumph The Insult Comic Dog out of a deep sleep in his backpack to do an interview with me backstage at Bob Saget’s “Triple X show”, which Bob said was more like ” Triple R”! It was really very kind of him despite the fact that Triumph roasted me, but that’s what he does. He’s an insult comic dog. He said I always looked hideous, but this time I really outdid myself.

A rare photo of Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Triumph The Insult Comic Dog and his owner Robert Smigel! The rare part is getting Robert and Triumph in the same photo! They don’t always get along!

And Robert did a great imitation of Jeff Singer, who booked him onto Saget’s show by telling him how perfect he’d be for it.

I’d have to say one of my most special interviews was with Bob Saget himself. I wasn’t sure I was going to get it, cause Bob has been working tirelessly to prepare for hosting his gala, and even his publicist, my old friend Michael O’Brien told me he couldn’t guarantee it.

So when I went backstage after the show and Bob saw me, he asked if I minded waiting a few minutes. For Bob Saget I’d wait months! (LOL) He’s that nice a guy.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Bob Saget backstage in Montreal after Bob hosted the Triple X show for JFL! According to Bob, he just couldn’t say “No!”

During the interview he said the kind of things to me that my parents would have said had I been interviewing them! He said on camera that he had to do the interview because ” No one says ‘No’ to Jeff Gurian!” And he went on to basically interview me, even asking me for my cell phone number on camera! I gave him my e-mail cause I knew I could trust him not to tell anyone! (LOL)

He ended the interview by saying “Be well” which he said is what one Jew wishes another. I added,”the real expression is ‘You should live and be well!” which he agreed with because he said, “You’re right! What good is it to be well if you’re dead?” And that interview with Bob is one I really can’t wait to put up!

Other interviews I got were with The Sklar Brothers for their show Sklarboro Country, Hannibal Buress who won for Breakout Comedy Star of the Year, someone else who won for the star whose face broke out the most last year, the great Kenny Hotz, the only Canadian comedy star to have three shows on American TV,Kenny vs. Spenny, Testees, and Triumph of the Will, (which had nothing to do with Triumph The Insult Comic Dog!), Nigerian comic Gina Yashere on her way to do a comedy special in San Francisco, L’il Rel and Jermainne Fowler who are two of the cast in the new “In Living Color” coming up soon, Todd Barry, Moshe Kasher, Godfrey, Paul Telner, Myq Kaplan, Lynn Koplitz, Jared Logan, Joe Machi, Mick Foley, Calise Hawkins, Alonzo Bodden who hosted the JFL Awards Luncheon, Andy Kindler who gave his usual SRO “State of the Industry Address”, which everyone waits to see, and his manager Bruce Smith from Omnipop films, and then I did some non-comics like Kimberly Hannwacker, Julie Lawless the comedy booker, (not hooker!) from Australia, Ben Relles from Barely Political, and The Key of Awesome fame who’s now with You Tube and Google, Lee Aronsohn the co-creator of Two and a Half Men, and Rob Barnett the head of My Damn Channel.

Whew, … that was a looooooong sentence! And a lot of interviews. The editing should be done very soon, and you guys will be the first to know!

Let me leave you with a few more fun photos until the videos are ready!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Todd Barry in the lobby of the Hyatt Hotel at JFL!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Mick Foley holding Jeffrey’s new book “Make ‘Em Laugh”!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with L’il Rel from the new “In Living Color”!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Alonzo Bodden who MC’ed the JFL Awards Luncheon and presented the awards to Chelsea Handler and Hannibal Buress!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Nigerian comic Gina Yashere at JFL, Montreal!

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Todd Barry, Kurt Braunholer at Broadway Comedy

On any night at Broadway Comedy you’re liable to be surprised as to who drops in to perform. Recently both David Spade and Steven Wright stopped by and thrilled the audience with a surprise performance.

Dan Soder hosting the show at Broadway Comedy!

On the recent night I stopped by, the very funny Dan Soder was hosting, and had a line-up of funny local comics like Orlando Baxter who I had never seen before but offered his opinion on fire drills in schools. How often does it happen that there’s a fire in a school. He thinks it would be better to have “Hey, that M-F’er’s got a dun drill.” That would probably be more effective!

Orlando Baxter telling the audience about fire drills and what other things strike him funny!

Or Jeff Wesselschmidt, who once he got over his obsession with what I refer to as bathroom type material, had this comment on girls with big butts: “If a girl has a big butt, ,she has to know it cause guys who like big butts are generally not stingy with compliments!”

Jeff Wesselschmidt onstage at Broadway Comedy!

The always popular Jon Fisch came out and killed it for the crowd, but it felt like he was doing a longer set than usual, and it turned out that he was. Whoever was supposed to light him seems to have gone on vacation in the middle of Jon’s set, so being the pro that he is, he just kept coming up with more material, until finally someone noticed, and brought up the next comic! The audience had no idea, but Jon and I had a good laugh about it!

Jon Fisch killing it onstage at Broadway Comedy in a “hyper-extended” set! (LOL)

What Jon didn’t realize was that I caught him standing in what I can only describe as some sort of “ballet position”, which is something I have to ask him about! He seemed very comfortable in that position, so maybe he studied ballet at some point in his past!

Jon Fisch in “resting position”, or some sort of ballet stance onstage at Broadway Comedy! Nice going Jon! (LOL)

Kurt Braunholer, who teaches improv at The Pit, which is also where he co-hosted Hot Tub Variety Show, is another crowd pleaser who still performs with Kristen Schaal, a talented comic and Daily Show correspondent! They host a show together out in Brooklyn, and also do a show together on Sirus Radio called “High Five With Kurt and Kristen.”

Kurt Braunholer performing directly into the mic at Broadway Comedy Club!

The highlight for me was seeing Todd Barry who I don’t get to see perform all that often, but who I always enjoy. His laid-back understated delivery just makes me laugh out loud, which I don’t often do. If most comics had to face an audience filled with people like me, they’d be very unhappy.

I do a lot of smiling, but it takes a lot to make me laugh out loud. Not because I don’t want to, but I like to let it just happen because I can’t help it!

Todd Barry in a surprise guest spot at Broadway Comedy Club!

Todd makes me laugh out loud! His combination of sarcasm, and clever punchlines do it for me.

You’ve seen Todd in Louie, on Sarah Silverman, (not exactly on HER, but on her show!), in the 2nd season of Adult Swim’s “Delocated”, and in films like “The Wrestler.” I try and see him whenever I can. I think he tours a lot and appears in festivals occasionally!

But it was a great night at Broadway Comedy, and it just shows that you never know who’s liable to pop in!

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Gotham Holiday Party A Smash

Gotham Comedy Club keeps the holiday season alive by always having it’s holiday party after the holidays, which is a very cool idea. Like every year, it was packed with who’s who in comedy. Chris and Steve Mazzilli the owners of Gotham, and two of the nicest guys in the biz, threw this great party, and were actually dressed very casually which is rare for them, especially Chris who’s been known to wear a suit and tie on the beach! (LOL)

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Chris Mazzilli of Gotham Comedy Club at the Laugh For Sight charity event, one of the many charity events that Chris holds throughout the year!

There was a real assortment of new and established entertainers, with a live band, plenty of good food, and a dance thing downstairs where the DJ was none other than Jim David. I asked him for some hip-hop and he looked at me like I had insulted his parents! (LOL)

I managed to dance anyway, but missed my chance to dance with Marina Franklin, who was occupied dancing with someone else! Some of the people there were Jordan Rock, who came with his Mom, Rose Rock, the matriarch of the Rock comedy dynasty, featuring brothers Chris, Tony, and now young Jordan, who was just 21.

Jordan Rock with his young-looking Mom Rose, the matriarch of the Rock comedy clan, that spawned Chris, Tony, and now Jordan! And no surprise, she has a great sense of humor!

I also saw Todd Barry, Ted Alexandro, Mike Yard, Carmen Lynch, Helen Hong, or was it Herren Hong, (both of whom are moving to LA very shortly), Angelo Lozada, Dan Naturman, Kyle Grooms, Greer Barnes, Yonah Grossman who runs the open mics with Jessica Kirson, Marion Grodin, Madison Malloy, Andrew Schwartztol, Jordan Ferber, Jamie Rosen, Mike Vecchione, and so many more that it was probably a silly idea for me to try and name them since I probably left out hundreds of people I was talking to.

“Brothas” in comedy Angelo Lozada and Mike Yard jus’ chillin’ at the Gotham Comedy Holiday party!

Brothers in comedy, Todd Barry and Ted Alexandro just chilling, at the Gotham Comedy Holiday party! (Get it??? Compare this photo caption to the one above, and let me know if you get it! LOLOL )

The people from The Syndicate, Matt Kleinschmidt, Chris Elles, and Tracey Zucatti, were there too, which was very cool, since it’s always nice to meet people in person who you talk to online. The Syndicate reps some very heavy hitters.

When I left by around 10:30 to host the Monday night show at The Comic Strip, the party was still going strong! Good job Chris and Steve, … as always!!!

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Sarah Silverman Snaps Photo of Jeffrey Gurian at Friars Club

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stephen Tobolofsky and Sarah Silverman onscreen in Peep World

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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