Posts Tagged Tony Clifton

29th Annual Just For Laughs Festival In Montreal

It was the 29th annual Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal and as you might imagine, everyone in comedy was there. I literally shot 20 video interviews with people like Garry Shandling, Ken Jeong, Bo Burnham, Bill Burr, Paul Provenza, Kenny Hotz, Russell Peters, Steve Levitan who created Modern Family and won an award for Best Comedy Writer, Amy Schumer and Anthony Jeselnik and not only people LIKE those people, but the actual people themselves! ( LOL – Do I really need the LOL or would you have known??? )

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Ken Jeong from The Hangover movies, in Montreal at the Just For Laughs Festival. Ken had just won the award for Breakout Comedy Star of the Year, at the Comedy Confference!

I’ve been coming up to the festival probably for well over 20 years, and for many of those years there was absolutely nothing scheduled for during the day! In recent years they created something called The Comedy Conference which is FANTASTIC! It’s a chance to meet and interact with people doing things in comedy, on the internet making web series, short films, and attending conferences where people speak on their particular specialty. You get to listen to and meet the movers and shakers in the comedy world, including people from You Tube, Google, Barely Political,The Onion, and Rob Barnett’s “My Damn Channel.”

This year at a special luncheon, awards were given to Garry Shandling, Ken Jeong, Steve Levitan, and Louis CK among others. I interviewed several of them, which you can see right here.

I started meeting people the moment I got off the plane with my trusty DP Sean Mannion. We shared a shuttle to the Hyatt Regency Hotel, which is the home base of the festival, with Kurt Braunohler, (who I mistakenly wrote about previously as “Braunholer”, a great observation if I was Roasting him!), then walked into the hotel and ran right into Russell Peters, who finalized my plans to come and see him that night, then ran into Kenny Hotz on the way to my room, who is the only Canadian talent to have two shows on American TV at the same time, and as soon as I changed and got my camera ready I ran into Bo Burnham, and did my first interview of the weekend.

Jeffrey Gurian with Kurt Braunohler at the airport in Montreal on the way to the Hyatt Regency Hotel!

See Kenny Hotz’s video interview right here. Kenny is a great guy and has so many loyal fans. Whatever I post about him goes through the roof!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with a self-described "disheveled Bo Burnham" at the Just for Laughs Festival!

Everything Bo does goes viral. Bo is grateful that antibiotics have no effect on a virus, so there is virtually no cure for what he does! (LOL) He was performing on the Amp’ed show along with Reggie Watts and others who mix comedy and music, and we had a cool, fun interview. He introduced himself on camera as “the disheveled Bo Burnham” as is everyone in Montreal. There’s not much “stylin'” in the comedy world. People are just chillin’ and having a good time networking, and meeting their peers!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with a distinctly non-disheveled Reggie Watts!

At Russell’s show that night called “Best Night Ever” I went backstage with Russell for some exclusive footage, in which I actually got him dancing to some hip-hop beats, and he looked great in a custom gray striped suit and brand new white sneakers! That video is down towards the bottom of this column!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV backstage with Russell Peters, in his custom suit, at his show in Montreal!

I also got to interview Russell backstage at Paul Provenza’s taping of The Green Room for Showtime. Paul taped two shows for the second season of his hit show, and he and Barbara Romen his co-producer, along with Christopher Barrett made sure I got to see whoever I needed to see.

Jeffrey Gurian interviewing the legendary Tony Clifton and his date Felicia backstage at Paul Provenza's Green Room taping for Showtime!

We were in “the green room of The Green Room” and I interviewed the legendary Tony Clifton, Andy Kaufman’s best friend, who was kind enough to introduce me to his date’s breasts, and watched intently as I interviewed them. They were kind of quiet on camera, but off camera they wouldn’t shut up!

Tony Clifton introducing Jeffrey Gurian to his date's boobs!

I also spoke to Bill Burr, who laughingly chastised me for mentioning Tony Clifton and Bob Zmuda in the same sentence, and then I interviewed Colin Quinn, who was ticked off that they weren’t told what they were going to talk about so no one could prepare but Paul!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV on the receiving end of a bear-hug from an affectionate Bill Burr!

Watch all that in the Bill Burr video interview right here:

And then Colin Quinn’s interview right here:

I missed Eddie Izzard at The Green Room but caught up with him at the airport when we shared a flight back home to New York. He was doing a guest appearance on CBS’s The Good Wife!

Jeffrey Gurian and Eddie Izzard waiting to fly back to New York after the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal!

I caught up with SNL’s John Mulaney, who is also Nick Kroll’s writing partner, and we had a fun interview after the Variety party. I also got to see John taping his really funny Comedy Central special, “John Mulaney Live”, a short time afterwards back in New York at NYU’s Skirball Center, where Comedy Central tapes many of their specials.

Jeffrey Gurian with SNL's John Mulaney after the Variety party at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal!

Check out John Mulaney’s Comedy Matters interview right here:


John swears he and Nick Kroll will not make another “Oh Hello” video without having me in it. That probably means he’s not going to be making any more “Oh Hello” videos! (LOL)

Also caught up with two rising young stars Amy Schumer and Anthony Jeselnik, bot of whom you will see this Monday on Comedy Central’s Roast of Charlie Sheen!

But I would have to say my most fun and rewarding interview was with Andy Nulman, the head of Just For Laughs and one of the founders of the festival 29 years ago. He had left for a while to run his telecommunications company which he recently sold for about 15 or 20 dollars, ( add about a hundred million to that! ), and is now back running the show.

Jeffrey Gurian with an absolutely HUGE Andy Nulman who had to crouch down to even be seen in the photo!

I got a hold of him backstage at Russell Peters show where I also ran into my old friends Alan Schwartz, and “Big Bill” who run security for the festival, and who range in size from about 6’6” to somewhere near 7’ tall. I have an amazing photo of me somewhere suspended between them hanging from their shoulders. It’s really funny, and I just found it so here it is!

(L-R) Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV suspended between Alan Schwartz, and Bill Bill backstage at one of the galas of the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal! ( They both know they can call me in case anyone bothers them!)

This is the really fun video of Russell Peters getting down backstage at his show in Montreal!

Anyway, Andy gave me this fantastic interview in which he says, “ If I wanna know what went on at my own festival, I read Jeffrey Gurian’s Comedy Matters, because he knows everyone, he covers everything, plus he really gives a s**t! That’s why when I say ‘This is Andy Nulman and you’re watching Comedy Matters’, it really means something!”

The video you see here is a compilation of everything that went on at JFL 2011! It’s all right here in the video so check it out!!!

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Bill Burr on Comedy Matters TV at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal

I caught up with Bill Burr backstage at the Showtime taping of Paul Provenza’s second season of The Green Room, a show where Paul gathers famous comics like Garry Shandling, Russell Peters, Caroline Rhea, Colin Quinn, ( and Bill Burr! ) and they just hang out and talk in a very real, unscripted, unedited way about very real things. Paul has that magical ability to bring that comfort level out in people.

The poster for Paul Provenza's hit Showtime show, "The Green Room!"

Paul Provenza applying the Krav Maga technique, otherwise known as "The Jewish Death Squeeze" to the face of Jeffrey Gurian, for no particular reason other than that he was happy to see him!

Fortunately for me, he says the same thing about me, in remarking how many huge stars appear in my column and Vlog! (LOL)

Jeffrey Gurian holding Paul Provenza's book Satiristas, and Paul Provenza holding Jeffrey Gurian's book for which he wrote the foreward, "Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive!"

Paul wrote the forward to my book, ” Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive” which was a book of celebs favorite filthy jokes, based on my years of writing for the famed Friars Roasts. I had jokes from over 250 celebs including Drew Carey, Jason Alexander, Richard Belzer, Chris Elliott, Jeff Garlin, Susie Essman, Gilbert Gottfried, Robert Smigel and Triumph The Insult Comic Dog, and about 240 others.

Paul Provenza showing Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV some love, while Jamie Kilstein looks on bravely trying to ignore the situation!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with an exuberant Bill Burr backstage at The Green Room taping in Montreal!

So I got to go backstage and get exclusive footage of the stars and guests on Paul’s show like Bill Burr, Russell Peters, Colin Quinn, Tony Clifton, Greg Proops, and even producers Barbara Romen, and Christopher Barrett.

Bill Burr tours all over the country and is a regular on the hit radio show Opie and Anthony, on Sirius Satellite Radio. He and comic Joe DeRosa (another favorite of mine), have their own show on XM radio called “Uninformed.”

Bill also did a one hour special for Comedy Central entitled “Why Do I Do This” a question that many, if not most comedians ask themselves at least once a week! Bill is one of the few white comedians often featured on “urban” shows, since his days as a regular on the second season of the Chapelle show. Bill makes being white hip again! (LOL)

He’s also a regular on Letterman, and had his own half hour special on HBO, ( as opposed to having someone else’s half hour! LOL )

You can read more about Bill on his website at http://www.billburr.com which is a very appropriate name for his website. The next time I see him I must remember to ask him how he chose that name!

This little video is of me interviewing Bill Burr in the green room of “The Green Room.” Check it out here!

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Flying With Eddie Izzard

I was in Montreal last weekend for the 29th annual Just For Laughs Festival, the biggest comedy festival in the world. One of the special events was the debut of Paul Provenza’s great show on Showtime, The Green Room. Paul is a good friend and hooked me up with an “All Access” backstage pass so I could interview everyone for my Comedy Matters Vlog and column. I was the only one back there shooting video and I got some great stuff, which you will see in an upcoming post.

Paul Provenza earlier this month in NYC kissing Jeffrey Gurian shamelessly while Jamie Kilstein looks on casually, as if nothing unusual was happening!

Paul produces the show with Barbara Romen, and gets tons of huge comedy stars to appear on it with him. It’s a totally unplanned, unscripted, unprepared talk show. As Colin Quinn told me backstage, the only one who knows what’s going on is Paul. He said ” Paul looks good and we all look like schmucks!”

Jeffrey Gurian and Colin Quinn on Broadway at Colin's Show "Long Story Short" directed by Jerry Seinfeld!

Paul was taping the last two shows of the season at the Mainline Theatre on St. Laurent Street as part of the festival. The first show had Colin Quinn, Russell Peters, Paul of course as host, Caroline Rhea, Lizz Winstead, and Bill Burr on the panel, and in the audience was Greg Proops, and Vegas lounge singer Tony Clifton who some of you may recall was Andy Kaufman’s best friend!

Bill Burr showing Jeffrey Gurian some love backstage at the taping of The Green Room in Montreal at The Just For Laughs Festival!

Jeffrey Gurian, with Greg Proops and a moose at the taping of Paul Provenza's Green Room in Montreal. The Moose used Greg's name to get in, although he claimed they had never met before!

Things got hot and heavy when Tony began yelling out very inappropriate remarks even for cable, and at first people thought it was a joke, but he wouldn’t stop and kept interrupting the comedians while they were speaking. Paul eventually had to have security throw him out. No one knew if it was real or not, but it was.

I even thought it was planned until the security team literally wrestled Tony to the ground and he fell on the glass table where Paul and the panel were sitting. They wouldn’t have done that for a joke. I have it on video which I will post in a separate Vlog. He just got carried away. I had interviewed him and his lady friend before the show and he had me do a separate interview with her boobs. That’s on the video too!

The second show included Eddie Izzard who I also wanted to film, but the show started late and I still had to pack and get up very early to fly back to The States the next day. While I was waiting for Eddie to arrive, I was warned that he often didn’t like to be interviewed and that I should definitely ask first. That seemed strange to me since that’s the only way I work. I would never just start filming someone without their permission. But I recalled hearing that Eddie could be touchy at times. The truth is, who isn’t???

Anyway, I had to leave before I got to see him or I would have had to stay until the show was over about 2 A.M. Next day on the plane back to New York, who’s sitting right near me but Eddie Izzard. I’m two rows in front of him. I went to say hello and told him that I had just missed him last night, and went back to my seat.

Suddenly a guy comes over to him and asks him if he would change seats with him so he could sit with his girlfriend. I was expecting a scene, but Eddie couldn’t have been nicer and more accomodating. As a matter of fact, he was the one who went over to the girl, tapped her on the shoulder and said, ” Either that guy is your boyfriend, or he’s got a great pick-up line.” So now he wound up two rows in front of me.

When the plane landed in NYC, for some reason his overhead bag was right above me, and mine was right above him, because the overhead space above my seat had been filled, so I put it two rows in front. I gave him his bag and he gave me mine.

Turned out he was in New York to do an episode of CBS’s “The Good Wife” with Julianna Margulies and Chris Noth. He’s playing Abbott Thrush, an English barrister, … or a lawyer to those who have no idea what a “barrister” is!
Jeffrey Gurian and Eddie Izzard waiting for their bags at baggage claim at La Guardia airport in NYC!

The end result of this story is that Eddie Izzard is a heck of a nice guy. I saw how he treated the people on the plane when they asked him to move his seat, and I saw how he treated me. I didn’t get to do my video interview but we did take a couple of stills at baggage claim while waiting for our bags to come around.

And next time I see him we’ll get the video, and I do have a feeling I’ll be seeing him again!

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