Posts Tagged Wallace Shawn

Lisa Lampanelli Previews New Show with The New Group

Lisa Lampanelli has been working on her one woman show for a long time now, and it shows. In collaboration with the hot theatre troupe “The New Group” she work-shopped four performances at The Acorn Theatre on Theatre Row, which is on 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues, right in the heart of Times Square! Very prestigious!

A row of posters for Theatre Row showing that Lisa is in good company!

The poster for the show says “The Untitled Lisa Lampanelli Project” underneath which it says, ” This ain’t stand-up bitches!” And she’s right. It’s not. It’s a proper one woman show, with lots of humor thrown in, but also some serious stuff as well.

The cool poster for Lisa Lampanelli’s as yet “unnamed” show!

I can’t tell you anything about it since it’s still in development, except to say that Lisa talks about her life and her transformation from being “the fat chick” to “the skinny bitch” she is now! Her words, not mine! (LOL)

In her early days she honed her insult skills to get even with any audience members who might heckle her about her appearance. After a while she began attacking first, with lines like “Hey one-tooth, with you here who’s running the tilt-a-wheel?”

She said she flew in from out of town, but she didn’t sit next to her husband Jimmy cause she flies first class! Jimmy would laugh harder than anyone else at that joke. He’s a great guy and I see him all the time! We always have a lot of laughs!

The newly “svelte” couple Lisa Lampanelli and Jimmy BB backstage at Westbury Theatre!

No one in Lisa’s audience is shocked by anything she says. She’s well known enough now that she draws an audience that demands she be who she is. She’s even made the “C” word acceptable! She says it so much you actually get used to it after a while.

She talks about many topics and about her gastric sleeve surgery that allowed her to lose 100 pounds and become the “skinny bitch” she jokes about. They take out 85% of your stomach. She truly is skinny, but it certainly hasn’t hurt her sense of humor. If anything she’s funnier than she ever was!

A rear view of the new and slender Lisa Lampanelli taken at her recent show at Westbury! She’s really a skinny bitch!

I saw her recently out at Westbury where she packed the place, and went backstage afterwards to congratulate her and say “Hi”! We had a chuckle about my new book “Make ‘Em Laugh” about the history of The Comic Strip that she is in with a very funny interview! So we took a photo with the book!

Lisa Lampanelli holding my book “Make “Em Laugh” that she was kind enough to appear in with a really cool interview! I look pretty good in this photo, dontcha think???!

But at The Acorn, there were so many people waiting to see her backstage after the show, that I just left and sent her a text message how much I enjoyed it. I think maybe I’ll Tweet this post out to the Universe and see if she RT’s it!

Can’t wait till the show opens for real!

Posted in: Broadway Show, Celeb Photos, Comedians In The News, Comedy Central, Comedy Clubs, Comedy Events, Comedy Matters, Featured, Nightlife Events, Off-Broadway Show

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Abel Ferrara, Shanyn Leigh, and Willem Dafoe in 4:44

The film poster for Abel Ferrara’s 4:44 in theatres near YOU!

I don’t usually like to do anything of consequence the day before I leave on a big trip, but the day before I was set to leave for LA, to shoot some sketches with Nick Kroll, and John Mulaney from SNL, for Nick’s new show on Comedy Central, I got the opportunity to interview famed director Abel Ferrara, and actors Shanyn Leigh, and Willem Dafoe for Abel’s new film 4:44, about the end of the earth.

I had to do it! First of all, Abel is an old friend and I hadn’t seen him in a while. And second of all I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to meet Willem Dafoe, whose work I’ve always respected.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with writer/director Abel Ferrara!

One of the last times I recall seeing Abel was at a great Italian restaurant called La Mela owned by a dear friend of Abel’s named Frankie C. I just happened to have a shot of us together that night, which is a cool reason to ALWAYS take photos wherever you go!

Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV with writer/director Abel Ferrara at La Mela!

Frankie C. has since passed on, but Abel, Shannyn, and I were there to celebrate some film event. Probably of Abel’s! (LOL) I think he was working on a project about The Chelsea Hotel at the time!

Abel always gets a strong cast of people. Good actors respect his work, and the list of his films is impressive, like “The Funeral”, “King of New York”, and “Bad Lieutenant.” He’s worked with Harvey Keitel, Christopher Walken, and Willem Dafoe just to name a few.

Natasha Lyonne was also in 4:44 and I was hoping to see her again since I did such a fun interview with her a few months ago. It was at a New Group event honoring Wallace Shawn, but I lost her contact information and was never able to send it to her! Unfortunately she was not able to attend this interview session.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing Natasha Lyonne at a New Group event in honor of actor/director Wallace Shawn!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with actor/director Wallace Shawn at a New Group event in Wallace’s honor.

I really liked 4:44, even though the concept was “scary”, to use a childish type of word! (LOL) The entire world has accepted that it will end at 4:44 A.M. the next day and that there’s nothing that anyone can do about it. It shows how people spend their last night alive, particularly a couple who live on the Lower East Side, played by Willem (Cisco) Dafoe and Shanyn (Skye) Leigh. It’s a very wild concept, and Abel’s take was very realistic. People are confused. They don’t know how to react because they’ve never had to face certain death before! (Who has??? LOL)

It doesn’t seem real. It’s all going to happen instantaneously, and as a director, I was fascinated by his creative choices, all of which I liked. He also showed some fantastic news-type footage of people gathering in places all over the world, in candle-lit ceremonies, very often to pray, as in the throngs that were shown in St. Peter’s Square.

It also examined the theme of sobriety, since Cisco has been clean for two years, but in the face of certain death contemplates “picking up” and actually goes to score some drugs. I won’t give away what happens, but it’s powerful.

Abel was surprised to see me, and after the press thing we got a chance to hang out and catch up. It was funny when I went to interview Shanyn who besides being a talented actress is also Abel’s girlfriend, she looked at me and said, “I know you!”, and I reminded her that I was an old friend of Abel’s and that we had met before socially!

Willem Dafoe is such a great actor and I was very glad to have the opportunity to meet him.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Willem Dafoe at The Regency Hotel for 4:44!

There will be a video interview to go with this as soon as I get it edited, but in the meantime, go see the film. It just came out, it’s in the theatres, and it got good reviews. I liked it a lot, and I’m sure you will too. It’s a reminder to treasure every moment!

Posted in: Celeb Photos, Comedians In The News, Comedy Events, Comedy Matters, Comedy Videos, Film Review, New Films, Nightlife Events, Red Carpet Events

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Bobby Cannavale in the New York Post

In today’s NY Post, Michael Riedel writes about Bobby Cannavale, who is as humble as he is talented. He was up for a Best Actor Tony Award for his role in the recent Broadway hit, ” The Motherf**ker With The Hat”, and according to Michael will most likely be in the upcoming Gershwin show ” Nice Work If You Can Get It”, in his first singing role on Broadway.

The Marquis on Broadway showing Bobby Cannavale as one of the stars of The Motherf**ker With The Hat!

He’s taking singing lessons and his girlfriend, Broadway’s Sutton Foster, currently in The Roundabout’s “Anything Goes”, will also be able to help him pull that off. Personally, I think Bobby can do anything he wants, because he has the drive and the power to back it up.

I saw him most recently backstage at “The Motherf**ker With The Hat”, and then again shortly afterwards at an event honoring Wallace Shawn where I was able to do a more in depth video interview with him.

(L-R) Annabella Sciorra, Chris Rock, Jeffrey Gurian, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Richie Tienken, Bobby Cannavale

The M-F’er With The Hat proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that a playwright can call his play anything he wants, and if an audience wants to see it, they will have to say that name. I’m sure more than one person felt awkward calling TicketMaster and asking for 2 seats to “The Motherf**ker With The Hat” because it’s hard to put symbols in when you’re speaking. You either say it or you don’t. At least it’s better than the original name which was supposed to be, ” The C**ksucker With The Coat.”

What if that trend catches on and some guy writes a play called ” My Hand On Your D**k”. How are girls going to be able to invite a guy to see that? What girl is gonna call up a guy and say, ” If you have some free time next week, would you like to see “My Hand On Your D**k”? He’d probably be like, ” Yeh, I’d love to see that. When can we make that happen???” if names like that catch on, it could mean the end of Broadway, because if ” Hand” takes off, some other guy is bound to write ” My Lips On Your C**k”, and then Broadway would be finished, not only because of the marquis, but how is a girl gonna call a guy and say, ” By any chance, have you seen “My Lips On Your C**k”? Maybe on the other hand it would turn out to be GOOD for business, because every guy would be like, ” No, but I’ve been wanting to see that for years! ” LOLOLOL

Here’s the Bobby Cannavale video interview! Feel free to leave a comment!

Posted in: Celeb Photos, Comedians In The News, Comedy Events, Comedy Matters, Comedy Videos, Featured, Hot Models, Nightlife Events, Page 6 Review, Red Carpet Events

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Page 6 Review-LuAnn de Lesseps, Marisa Tomei, Frank Whaley, Nick Loeb

In a new feature on the Comedy Matters Vlog, I am reviewing items on Page 6, the most powerful gossip page in the country, specifically those pertaining to friends of mine, and people I know personally.

On Sat. May 21, 2011, the entire top of the page was about LuAnn de Lesseps, a close friend of mine since before she was a Countess.

Jeffrey Gurian with his dear friend LuAnn deLesseps, (AKA The Countess) at a party at La Pomme, for Real Housewives of New York City.

I know LuAnn from when she was a nurse.  She was beautiful then, and still is.  We ran around together and had some amazing and wild fun times!

LuAnn deLesseps interviewing Jeffrey Gurian back in '04 when he co-produced the Hamptons Comedy Festival!

When I co-produced the Hamptons Comedy Festival back in ’04, LuAnn was there to interview me for Plum TV, as one of their correspondents, and appears in the little doc. film made about me (below) as a promo real for a reality type TV show based on this column/Vlog.

LuAnn was ALWAYS very focussed on becoming successful in the entertainment industry, and had been hosting a TV show in Italy where she became fluent in Italian.  She’s also fluent in French which I’m sure helps her to communicate with her boyfriend Jacques Azoulay, whose English is perfect by the way.

Countess LuAnn and Jacques Azoulay at a Housewives party, shortly after they met!

He just has a nice accent!  But I can see them speaking French when they don’t want anyone else to understand what they’re saying.  I believe I first met him soon after he and LuAnn met.  She brought him to one of the premiere parties for the new season of Real Housewives of New York City, at a place called La Pomme, where I had the pleasure of meeting her Mom.

Countess LuAnn and her elegant Mom at a party for Housewives at La Pomme.

(L-R) Most of the cast of Real Housewives of NYC including Jill Zarin, LuAnn DeLesseps, Kelly Bensimon, Ramona Singer, and Sonja Morgan. Bethenny, and a couple of others didn't show up, and unfortunately I don't have time to find the first woman's name! (LOL)

This particular Page 6 item was about LuAnn’s daughter Victoria leaving the Ross School in The Hamptons, ostensibly after Housewife Ramona Singer,(who I find it hard to watch), went and posted a link to the You Tube video of Victoria engaging in some unseemly behavior.   What a nice thing for Ramona to have done!  Not exactly a surprise considering the venom these women have the ability to express!

She did however apologize which makes all the difference in the world, right???  If you accidentally stab someone and then apologize afterwards, it makes the wound heal up right away doesn’t it???

As a side note, LuAnn’s press rep says that Victoria leaving The Ross School, had nothing to do with the video clip, and that Victoria is looking forward to studying art in Paris this summer!  If she turns out like her Mom she’ll be just fine!

Both Marisa Tomei and Frank Whaley are mentioned in this Page 6, and were at the after-party for Knickerbocker, a play at The Public Theatre, directed by another old friend Pippin Parker, brother of none other than Sarah Jessica.

Jeffrey Gurian with Marisa Tomei at a press junket for her film "Before The Devil Knows You're Dead!"

Jeffrey Gurian interviewing Frank Whaley at a New Group event at Capitale honoring Wallace Shawn!

The party was held at the Knickerbocker Bar and Grill which according to Page 6, Chris Noth calls “downtown’s answer to Elaine’s.”

Pippin and Toby are the two Parker siblings I know best from my early days at Naked Angels, when I used to go down there with actor Federico Castelluccio and director Billy Goins, who at the time had been engaged to Claudia Schiffer.

Jeffrey Gurian and Toby Parker at a show after Toby's performance!

Jeffrey Gurian with Federico Castelluccio at an event at The Cutting Room!

I was one of the writers whose stuff got read by Naked Angels members at their weekly Tuesdays at Nine events where writers would bring in new works and ask resident actors to do a cold reading for the rest of the audience.

In those days it was run by a guy named Craig Carlisle, a great guy who I think may be in LA these days.  It was where I first met Ethan Hawke, when he came over and introduced himself to me after hearing the early version of a play I wrote called ” A Punch In The Face”, which he told me he liked and encouraged me to finish.

I did years later and wound up dedicating it to actor Chuck Zito after he punched out Jean Claude Van Damme at Scores one night and broke his knuckle on Van Damme’s head, a story told to me by Chuck himself! And if you look at the photo below and see the size of Chuck’s fist, you can only imagine what Van Damme’s head felt like when it got hit with it!

Jeffrey Gurian at the receiving end of Chuck Zito's massive fist at the premiere of a play written by Jeffrey in his honor called " A Punch In The Face", something at which Chuck is an expert!

I had first met Chuck through another old friend Charlie Sheen, when Charlie was in his prime.  He’s an amazing, brilliant guy and will be the subject of a separate post another day!

Marisa Tomei and Frank Whaley are currently starring on Broadway together in Wallace Shawn’s “Marie and Bruce”, which you’ll soon read about in a post I’m working on about the very recent New Group tribute to Wallace Shawn, which I attended and did interviews for on the red carpet.

The poster for Wallace Shawn's play "Marie and Bruce" starring Marisa Tomei and Frank Whaley at the Acorn Theatre on Theatre Row!

Last on Page 6 that day was Nick Loeb, recent Senate hopeful from Florida, and a good friend of mine and reader of Comedy Matters.  Nick is one of those guys where when you see him, even if you don’t know what he does, you know it’s something special.

Nick’s Dad is John L. Loeb former Ambassador to Denmark from 1981-1983, who was knighted by Queen Margrethe of Denmark after he left his post, and was also a Delegate to The United Nations. The Loeb family is one of the oldest, and most successful Jewish families dating back to Colonial times, and are also related to the Lehman family.

Nick is a film producer, though his company IPC ( International Production Company), and has worked with Exec. Producers like Quincy Jones and Barbara Streisand.

Jeffrey Gurian with the amazing Nick Loeb who was running for the Florida Senate at the time!

Nick was a candidate for the Florida State Senate, a possible Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate as the Republican Senator from Florida, but most important, he currently holds the position of being the boyfriend of Modern Family’s gorgeous, and funny Sofia Vergara! (LOL)  All the other stuff is certainly possible, but how does one accomplish that??? (LOLOL)

I was proud to support Nick in his run for Florida’s Senate, and the fundraiser was held in Manhattan at his father’s townhouse.  His father happened to be out of town that evening, and I asked Nick jokingly whether his father even knew he was using his home or did he just sneak the keys while his Dad wasn’t looking!

( I love to ask questions like that of powerful people!  Can you imagine what it must be like to grow up as an Ambassador’s son, with a family lineage like that?  Like when I asked Don Trump Jr. if his Dad would think it was funny if I tipped him a dollar for having me at one of his events.  Just fold a dollar into his palm when I was shaking hands with him.  Don suggested that I don’t do that, and I was glad I took his advice! LOL )  Personally I think Donald would have laughed, but you never know.

Jeffrey Gurian, at a Donald Trump event, surrounded by the gorgeous couple of Don and Vanessa Trump!

Nick is the consummate gentleman, and a guy with a great sense of humor. His taste in women is also excellent, and I’d love to see him hold a high office one of these days.  I think he’d make a great contribution to the country.  Plus then we could all get to meet Sofia Vergara! (LOLOLOL)

 

 

Posted in: Celeb Photos, Comedians In The News, Comedy Events, Comedy Matters, Comedy Videos, Featured, Hot Models, Nightlife Events, Page 6 Review, Press Junkets, Red Carpet Events

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