Posts Tagged “Tom Fontana”

Tracy Morgan Gives Young Comic Nore Davis A Shot

Tracy Morgan Gives Young Comic Nore Davis A Shot

Nore Davis is a funny young dude. We perform a lot together at The Comic Strip. I even did a cool interview with him in the Comic Strip 35th Annual Holiday Party film which you can see right here in this previous blog post!

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So when Nore told me that Tracy Morgan himself, one of the funniest dudes on the planet, asked him to be his “middle” at Carolines, I knew I had to stop by and check it out! I’ve seen Carolines crowded before, but not like this. If they could have stacked tables like bunk beds, they could have filled the place twice. (Bunk tables? I wonder if that would even work? LOL)

Nore Davis facing a packed house and then some for Tracy Morgan’s show at Carolines!

I got there in time to see Nore hit the stage, and he hit it really hard! Huge laughs and the audience absolutely loved him. For a young comic, he has great stage presence. I recently also saw him perform at Russell Simmons’ new stand-up TV show, “Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus”, which will be airing in February, with J.B. Smoove as the host, and he killed there too! It’s really something exciting to watch, when a big star gives a young comic a shot, and they do well!

Tracy Morgan doing what he does best, … making people laugh, … onstage at Carolines!

Needless to say, ( so if it’s needless to say, then why am I saying it??? LOL) Tracy gave everyone what they were looking for. An hour of hilarity of the kind that only Tracy can bring! Not necessarily the show you’d want to bring your parents to, but a show you’d definitely want to bring your friend or significant other to! They laughed from beginning to end!

Great to see Tracy back in good health again, and engaged to be married to Megan Wallover. We wish them all the best, and a lifetime of Happiness!

He’s definitely a family kind of guy and loves to talk about his kids. I think the first time I met him was back in 2002 up in Montreal at the Just For Laughs Festival.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with a moustachioed Tracy Morgan back in 2002 at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal!

I once went to visit him on the set of 30 Rock, during an episode where he was co-starring with a horse (LOL) and we had a great talk about the importance of family and kids!

Tracy Morgan on the set of 30 Rock, back in ’07, with a guest-starring horse!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Tracy Morgan in his dressing room on the set of 30 Rock!

I was with him at the Writers Guild Awards one year –

Tracy Morgan, with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at the Writers Guild Awards!

And then again more recently, after he had his kidney surgery, at Anthony Anderson’s Mixtape show at Gotham, where Tracy was a surprise performer!

Tracy Morgan and Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV at Anthony Anderson’s Mixtape Comedy Show at Gotham!

Last year I wanted to get him for the Diabetes comedy fund raiser I produced with a killer line-up at The Comic Strip. For whatever reason it didn’t work out, but there’s always this year! Are you listening Tracy!!!

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Tracy Morgan In A Serious Role – The Son Of No One

Most people in entertainment acknowledge that it’s harder to do comedy than drama. But when you’re used to being funny, sometimes it’s hard to be serious, or to be taken seriously. Richard Belzer crossed over successfully in his work on TV as Det. John Munch, a role he first brought to life on Tom Fontana’s “Homicide: Life On The Street”, and then carried over to Law and Order: Special Victim’s Unit, where he recently did his 300th episode.

Tracy Morgan does it in this Dito Montiel film, “The Son Of No One”, an exciting police drama with an all-star cast including Al Pacino, Channing Tatum, Katie Holmes, Ray Liotta, and Juliette Binoche, that opened this past Friday, November 4th.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Tracy Morgan on the set of 30 Rock!

Channing Tatum plays a cop named Jon White, with a secret in his past that’s threatening to ruin his life. As a young kid of maybe 10 or 12 years old, he accidentally killed two low-life drug dealers in separate incidents. One incident was to save his own life, and the other looked to be just an accident in trying to save the life of his dog Charlie. But someone knew and waited all these years to expose him.

Now he gets transferred to a precinct in Staten Island to re-open this long closed “double murder” case, basically investigating his own crime. Someone is writing letters to a newspaper threatening to expose the killer. The columnist of the local paper who’s printing the letters is played by French actress Juliet Binoche.

Jon suspects his emotionally and mentally challenged childhood friend from the projects in which he lived, Vincent Carter, played as an adult by Tracy Morgan. Vincent had made a solemn promise never to tell what he had seen. The dynamic between the two old friends is very powerful, as is what transpires, leading to the ending of the film.

I obviously do not think like a critic since this movie was not reviewed well by Lou Lumenick of the NY Post. I don’t claim to be a critic, but I can say I thought the movie was riveting, and one that I enjoyed, if you can call being “nervous” for 90 minutes, enjoyable. I empathized with the lead character for having had such a rough childhood, and then having to face this ordeal. But that’s what a movie like this is meant to do. It’s meant to make you feel something, and I did. It’s also meant to be entertaining, and it is.

I often wonder if most critics have ever set foot on a stage or tried to entertain anyone. As a writer and entertainer myself, I give HUGE props to anyone who has the courage to create a piece of work, or put their “lives” on the line by stepping on to a stage to perform. (Especially with stand-up comedy which I consider to be the hardest thing to do in the world of entertainment, and which Tracy Morgan has mastered!)

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with his buddy Tracy Morgan at Anthony Anderson’s Mixtape Show at Gotham Comedy Club!

That being said, it doesn’t mean that I think that every performance is good, or entertaining. I’ve seen performances where I had to walk out because I just couldn’t take it anymore. But the way some critics pick apart a film, makes me wonder what credentials you have to have to be a critic??? It’s very easy to find fault with everything, and everyone, but I think you have to look at the overall effect of the project! I really enjoyed this film, and Tracy’s work in it, and I can’t wait to see him so I can tell him.
(He even got one of the few positive comments from Lou Lumenick in the NY Post!)

So go and see this film and decide for yourself! I think you’ll like it!

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Susie Essman in Cindy Adams' Column-NY Post

Susie Essman got most of Cindy Adam’s column this past Tuesday, and she deserves it. Truth be told she deserves the whole, entire column! Everybody loves Susie as Susie Greene on HBO’s Larry David hit, “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” If I remember correctly, Larry saw Susie perform at the Friars Roast of Jerry Stiller and liked her so much, he cast her in “Curb.”

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Susie Essman at The Comic Strip!

I have the exact details of that story in the interview I did with Susie for the book I’m writing on the history of the legendary comedy club “The Comic Strip”, a club where she performed in her early days, but I’d have to look it up and I’m too lazy! I’m proud to say that Susie and I are friends for many years! We often joke that she and I have more photos together than she and her husband!

Jeffrey Gurian, Susie Essman, and Richie Tienken owner and founder of The Comic Strip after Susie's interview for the book on the 35 year history of The Strip!

I’m very happy for her that she and Jimmy Harder, a commercial real estate broker got married back in 2008. They got married at The Friars Club, and multiple Emmy-award winning writer/producer Tom Fontana who is one of the most talented and prolific TV writer/producers in the business, and who also happens to be a minister, officiated at the ceremony. Among other things, he wrote and produced such groundbreaking TV series as “Oz”, “St. Elsewhere”, and “Homicide: Life On The Street.” Tom is also an old friend, and was the Vice Pres. of the Writers Guild East where at least one of the photos below was taken!

Dean Winters, Jeffrey Gurian, and Tom Fontana at a party in NYC!

Jeffrey Gurian with Tom Fontana at the Writer's Guild Awards!

Susie’s TV husband Jeff Greene is played by the hysterically funny Jeff Garlin!

Jeffrey Gurian backstage at Carolines with Jeff Garlin from HBO's hot series, "Curb Your Enthusiasm."

I actually knew Susie’s Dad Leonard, who was a wonderful physician. He was an internist, ( which you would think all doctors were, since most of our organs are internal, right? LOL ), and he was partners with a doctor I went to. Once when my doctor was away, Susie’s Dad treated me, but in those days, I didn’t realize he was Susie’s Dad. He taught me something I never forgot. I had a pain in the back of my head, down into my neck, that wouldn’t go away, and he took his thumb and pressed really hard on something in the back of my head that made me see stars, but the pain went away. I have used that technique ever since!

Jeffrey Gurian with Susie Essman in Montreal at the Just for Laughs Festival posing with his book that she is in called "Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive."

Once when Susie was appearing at Carolines Comedy Club, she came down with some sort of eye infection and was afraid she’d have to cancel her gig. I wrote her a prescription for antibiotics, and according to her I saved the day, cause her eye cleared up right away and she was able to perform. How I was able to write her a prescription is a whole other story, but to keep it simple, I was and still am a doctor, and am licensed to write prescriptions!

Jeffrey Gurian and Susie Essman at an event at The Friars Club in NYC!

Susie will be headlining Carolines Comedy Club this coming week, and she doesn’t know it yet, but I’m planning on coming down to say “Hi!”. Please don’t tell her! I want it to be a surprise!

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