Call the New York Comedy World Hotline at 212-501-3766 for the latest open mic, new talent and industry showcase news! Updated daily!

Breaking News

The Making of “Make ‘Em Laugh”- 35 Years of The Comic Strip

Friday, May 1st, 2015

On June 15, 2008, I was at The Comic Strip with Ann Curry, and Gilbert Gottfried and we were giving Ann tips on how to do stand-up comedy for some kind of event she was preparing for. And despite the fact that I had been there for so many years, and had seen the walls before, I found myself transfixed by all the amazing memorabilia that I noticed that day.

Jeffrey Gurian, Ann Curry, Gilbert Gottfried, and Richie Tienken on the day that Jeffrey suggested doing a book on the iconic Comic Strip!

So I said to Richie Tienken, owner and founder of the club, “You know we should do a book on this club!”

I didn’t know that other people had suggested that to him before but for some reason he wound up not doing it with them. He came to my home for a meeting and ended by saying “You have more photos on your walls than I have at the club”, and he decided to trust me with telling his story, and the stories of all the huge stars that came out of the club.

Jeffrey Gurian and Richie Tienken in the lobby of Jeffrey’s building after their meeting to agree on doing the book!

The club officially opened on June 1, 1976 with Billy Crystal as the opening act. On JUne 17th a young, and unknown Jerry Seinfeld walked in to audition. In those days people were graded on their auditions. Jerry was graded “Good”, and then someone wrote on his sheet, “Definitely put on Mon. 6/21!” Whoever that person was had a good eye for comedy! Jerry stayed at The Strip for four years until he left for LA in 1980. It was his home club.

Jeffrey Gurian, Jerry Seinfeld, and Richie Tienken on the day of Jerry’s interview for the book!

In the book Jerry said he felt like he was born in 1976, because that’s when he began working at The Strip and that felt like the start of his life!

Eddie Murphy spent his early years at the club, and Richie Tienken was his manager for the years when Eddie was the biggest star in the world. That period of time spanned his days on SNL through Beverly Hills Cop 2.

The one night in 1986 Eddie came into The Strip and asked to see a Black comic. The only one around was a 19 year old Chris Rock who was setting up chairs in exchange for stage time, and had only performed for very small audiences at 2 or 3 A.M. Not wanting to disappoint Eddie, they put Chris up in front of a packed house on a Friday night, and Chris killed it in front of his idol.

Richie Tienken, Chris Rock, and Jeffrey Gurian at The Strip on the day we did Chris’ interview for the book!

That was the start of Chris’s rise to stardom. He hasn’t lost his gratitude for all that Richie did for him and wrote a fantastic, and funny introduction to the book.

He also came into the club and gave Richie and I a really super interview. Most of the big stars came into the club for their interviews because Richie and I felt that being surrounded by those four walls would bring back memories, and we were right.

Alan Colmes who many people don’t even know started his career as a stand-up comic came in wearing his 30 year old Comic Strip jacket that looked as if it was brand new.

Jeffrey Gurian with Alan Colmes wearing his original 30 year old Comic Strip jacket, which looked brand new!

In the middle of Paul Reiser’s interview he suddenly recalled what started the annual New Years Day brunch attended every Jan. 1, by himself, Jerry Seinfeld, Larry Miller and Mark Schiff. There had even been a fifth member of the group, a friend named Michael Cain but he passed away very young.

Gilbert Gottfried and Lisa Lampanelli got interviewed outside the club, and Jeffrey Ross got interviewed inside the club with a dual book/documentary film video interview at the same time. That experience taught us never to do that again! (LOL)

Jeffrey Gurian, Gilbert Gottfried and Richie Tienken at lunch at Pastis where GIlbert spent most of his interview denying he had ever been at The Comic Strip. He did say they had good electricity though!

Lisa Lampanelli and Jeffrey Gurian,(hidden behind the book! LOL) backstage at Westbury for Lisa’s recent sold-out performance

And then I flew out to LA to get an in office interview with Billy Crystal the first comic to hit the stage on opening night, back in 1976.

Other comics interviewed were Ray Romano, Susie Essman, Jim Gaffigan, Judah Friedlander, Larry Miller, George Wallace, Rick Overton, who has also gone on to have a very successful acting/film career, Jim Breuer, Tony Rock, Adam Ferrara, plus newer stars who frequent the club like Colin Jost and Jay Pharaoah from SNL.

Thanks to our agent J.L. Stermer from N.S. Bienstock, we got a deal with Skyhorse Publishing and the book is 250 pages down from the 500 I started out with. It took three years to get all of the interviews done and transcribed, because I did it myself by hand just by playing the interviews over and over again, and the fourth year was about editing and getting it down from 500 pages to the 250 that was needed. It was often a grueling process, but always a labor of love!

Since it came out, it’s gotten great reviews, tons of press, and lots of celeb attention as you can tell from the following photos.

The post The Making of "Make ‘Em Laugh"- 35 Years of The Comic Strip appeared first on Jeffrey Gurian.

Edgar Wright’s “The World’s End” Opens Friday, Aug. 23rd

Friday, August 16th, 2013

Edgar Wright looks like a rock star. He also has the “energy” of a rock star. By energy, I don’t mean that he can drop to the ground and knock out a hundred push-ups or sprint a mile without breaking a sweat. (And maybe he can!) I mean the “energy” he puts out to The Universe. Edgar Wright is a happy, fun, wonderful guy! And he has the most wonderful accent, which he brought with him from the U.K.

Jeffrey Gurian with director Edgar Wright at the Just for Laughs Award Show. Edgar won for Best Comedy Director!

On Friday, August 23rd he will unveil his new feature film, “The World’s End” his third in what has been referred to as “genre-bending black comedies.” New York Magazine called it “the year’s most entertaining movie.” That’s really saying something!

Focus Features presents Edgar Wright's "The World's End."

Not to be confused with a disaster movie, The World’s End is the name of a pub, and the final destination of a group of five friends who take on the task of finishing something they started 20 plus years before, a pub-crawl to 12 different pubs, downing a pint in each club, ending their odyssey at the eponymous World’s End.

The five friends are Gary, played by Simon Pegg also the co-writer of this film, Andy (Nick Frost), Steven (Paddy Considine), Oliver (Martin Freeman), and Peter (Eddie Marsan). The lives of all but Gary have progressed to having families and careers, but Gary is trying to hold onto his youth by taking his alcoholism to higher and higher levels.

Therefore he has to convince them to join him in this raucous escapade, and Edgar takes what could be a pitiable soul and makes him into something hilarious! All the reviews I’ve read so far have been very positive.

But my experience with Edgar Wright was really something special, and quite a HUGE surprise. Last month I was out in LA shooting my third guest spot for Comedy Central’s hit Kroll Show, renewed for a second season after only three episodes of the first season. A very rare occurrence!

At the request of Nick Kroll, I was out there playing myself in a red carpet sketch with Amy Poehler and two other huge stars whose names will remain a secret until Nick tells me I can reveal them! That could be years from now, long after the sketch airs, but I’m loyal! They asked me not to tell and I don’t tell! (LOL)

(L-R) Amy Poehler, Jeffrey Gurian, Liz G. on the set of Kroll Show!

So I’m up at the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal which is the biggest comedy festival in the world, and I’m outside of the Variety party for the Top Ten Comics To Watch. I run into my old friend Zoe Friedman, who was running the red carpet for the Just for Laughs Awards gala. She knew I had just done the red carpet sketch with Nick Kroll and Amy Poehler and both of them were receiving awards, Nick for Breakout Comedy Star of the Year,and Amy for Comedy Person of the Year.

Next thing I knew I was on the red carpet with my D.P. waiting for them to walk the carpet to surprise them. I always like to stand at the end because it gives people a chance to relax and hang out with me for a minute. When Amy saw me she gave me the nicest greeting which you can see right here in this video:

And then Nick came along and did an interview, and right in the middle Sarah Silverman did me the honor of joining us. She skipped the whole line of journalists because she said she wanted to join me, and then she and Nick evaluated my entire outfit piece by piece. They even inquired about my Healing symbol, that I wear around my neck, and Sarah asked if it was a part of “Witchery!” LOLOL You can see that right here:

But then Edgar Wright came along and I was looking forward to meeting him as I’ve been a fan of his work for a while now. He won the award for Best Comedy Director and winning an award at JFL is a very prestigious thing.

Edgar Wright wins for Comedy Director of the Year! What an amazing feat!

But before I could congratulate him he looked at me and said “Too Much Tuna” and bowed in that “We’re not worthy” manner. I got so shook up that he knew who I was that I started holding my mic up to my own mouth when HE spoke and to HIS mouth when I spoke. I was discombobulated! (LOL) Not only that, he also knew I had just gone out to LA to do another spot!

He said he was a big fan of Kroll Show and Too Much Tuna, which turned out to be a very popular sketch. It’s an ” Oh, Hello” sketch where Nick and John Mulaney are dressed respectively as Gil Faison and George St. Geegland,and they try and prank me with a huge tuna sandwich.

The original tuna sandwich from "Too Much Tuna" on Kroll Show! I would have saved it but the smell, .......

(L-R) Jeffrey Gurian as Jeffrey Gurian, John Mulaney as George St. Geegland, and Nick Kroll as Gil Faison in a diner waiting for Too Much Tuna to arrive!

Only I refuse to be pranked. I tell them I like my tuna sandwich that way, and that it’s perfect. They are disturbed and keep insisting that I’ve been pranked, but I refuse to even look at the cameras they say are all around us. It ends with Nick saying, “You’re being pranked whether you like it or not”, and me saying, “I am not!” It got a lot of hits, and the truth is wherever I go, people yell out a Too Much Tuna reference.

But coming from Edgar Wright it was totally unexpected. You can see it right here:

So anyway, no matter what you’re doing on Friday Aug. 23rd, just drop it and run to the theatre screaming “I must see The World’s End” then go to your wallet and take out those green papers, or a plastic card that represents money, and buy yourself several tickets for this hysterically funny movie! Just make sure the theatre is actually showing that film or else you’ll make a tremendous fool of yourself!

My Day With Karen Black on Kroll Show

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Award-winning actress Karen Black succumbed to cancer yesterday at the age of 74. She had appeared in over 100 movies including the iconic film that gave her her big break, 1969′s “Easy Rider” with Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper in which she played a hooker named Karen.

Karen Black as a sex symbol in the early days! And she definitely was!!!

.

She was also in “Five Easy Pieces” with Jack Nicholson,in 1970, for which she won an Oscar nomination, and a Golden Globe Award, and then Nashville in 1975 with Keith Carradine, and Lily Tomlin which got her a Grammy nomination for songs she composed and performed.

I was lucky enough to not only meet her but to work with her in a sketch on Kroll Show on Comedy Central with Nick Kroll, and John Mulaney in one of their iconic “OH, Hello” sketches. Even at 73, she was still so pretty and vivacious! She looked and acted so much younger than her years! And she told me she was really psyched about doing Kroll Show!

Karen Black with John Mulaney in character as George St. Geegland, of the " Oh, Hello" St. Geeglands!

Jeffrey Gurian on set of Kroll Show with Karen Black, both in costume, but Jeffrey's wearing his own clothes!

We met in a car that was taking us to the location for the shoot. We were at a base camp and when it was time for the shoot, Karen and I were taken in the same car so I got the chance to meet her. She was very sweet and I recall that as we pulled up to the location, I got out and helped her out of the car. Not because she needed any help. Just because my parents raised me to be a gentleman! (LOL)

Growing up I held the door for everyone. I held the door for people who weren’t even going out. I forced them to go out just so I could hold the door for them. I was known as “the gentleman of my building!” I was about 10 years old when I got that nick-name! The little gentleman! And I spent many years trying my best to lose it!

Anyway, Nick was playing the part of Gil Faison and John was George St. Geegland. It was a Woody Allen type parody with an “Upper West Side” party scene. I was one of the guests and was asked to ad-lib some party conversation to the woman I was talking to. I said to her, ” I did my thesis on the history of the turtleneck sweater, and surprisingly the first one was made out of wood.” They kept that in.

Karen Black on set with Nick Kroll as Gil Faison!

That scene was set in the kitchen during a cocktail party, where Gil and George were making Clamhattans. Karen interacts with Gil and reminds him that his “loving son Joel” is performing that night in a club downtown. Gil and his son seem to be estranged but he winds up going to see him with George and asking his son for a handout. The way we shot it originally, Karen Black’s character comes into the kitchen, sees me, and acts as if we’re longtime friends who haven’t seen each other in a long time.

On the spot she named me ” Galvani”, which I thought was a funny name for me, and when she tells Gil and George that she’s leaving she asks me to leave with her, takes me by the hand and we run out of the scene together on our way to have a fabulous night on the town! I ad-libbed some kind of line, and that whole part got cut from the final sketch.

(L-R) Jeffrey (Galvani) Gurian, Nick (Gil Faison) Kroll, Karen Black, and John (George St. Geegland) Mulaney on the set of Kroll Show!

After the sketch was wrapped Karen and I met on the lot since her trailer was near mine and we chatted for quite a while about all kinds of things. We talked about Spirituality and Healing, and esoteric stuff like that, but also about her plans for an upcoming one woman show in NYC. She asked if she could send me the script and I told her I’d be happy to look at it, and do whatever she needed to help punch it up.

When I got back to New York we corresponded by e-mail and she told me she had decided to do her show at The Players Club, a place I perform at quite regularly. It’s one of those classy old-school private clubs for show biz types! I sent her photos that I took on the set because I’m never without my camera, (which I think is a source of amusement to Nick Kroll and lots of other people!) As a matter of fact in my “Too Much Tuna” sketch on Kroll Show’s first season, I take out my camera and snap two photos of Gil and George which I thought was done after the sketch was over, but they included it in the sketch.

Jeffrey Gurian, George St. Geegland and Gil Faison in the "Too Much Tuna" sketch on Kroll Show!

I’m always taking pictures, mostly because my life never seems real to me, and I love to capture the moment, especially when I’m with someone whose talent I enjoy and admire.

I explained that to Nick recently in an interview we did in Montreal right after he won the Just for Laughs Comedy Award for Breakout Comedy Star of the Year, a well deserved award if there ever was one!

This was Karen’s last message to me after I sent her the photos from the set:

Hey Jeff,

THANK YOU SO MUCH! This is so great as i had no pictures of that day.
What a help!!!
Kisses,
Karen
p.s. think i’ve decided to do the one woman late in the year in nyc, the Player’s club.

She also sent me a You Tube clip I had requested which was a compilation of all of her 100 films:

I never heard from her again. Now I know why! R.I.P. Karen Black! Kisses!

Lovelace Starring Amanda Seyfried Opens in NYC

Friday, August 9th, 2013

At the risk of dating myself, ( which I always find to be a funny expression!), I remember when Deep Throat was originally released. It created a huge uproar by being the first porno flick to try and go mainstream. It came out in 1972 and was banned in 22 states.

Lovelace poster, starring Amanda Seyfried as Linda Lovelace!

Linda Lovelace was the star of the movie and had a very unusual talent which led to an “artform” named after the movie. It wasn’t until many years later, when Linda finally went public with her experience, that we learned that she had been forced to do that movie and others like it by her abuser of a husband Chuck Traynor.

Academy Award-winning Directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, ( Howl, The Celluloid Closet) assembled an all-star cast including Sharon Stone, Amanda Seyfried, James Franco, Emmy Award winner Hank Azaria, Debi Mazar, Adam Brody, Wes Bentley, Chris Noth, Robert Patrick, Eric Roberts, Chloe Sevigny, Juno Temple, and Bobby Cannavale to tell this story in a very sensitive, compassionate way, with many of the sex scenes left to the imagination.

In the screenplay written by Andy Bellin, Amanda Seyfried plays the part of Linda Lovelace, and she does it in a way that makes you really care about Linda. Linda was a big part of the sexual revolution of the 1970′s as well as a forerunner in the rise of feminism!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Amanda Seyfried, the star of Lovelace!

Amanda said that this was the first time that she completely stepped out of her comfort zone, which is probably the goal of any good actor, because as people we tend to create a box that we function out of and the box represents our comfort zone.

Challenging that comfort zone and expanding the box is key to rising to higher levels of consciousness and being real in a difficult part. Playing someone who actually existed makes it even more difficult and Amanda was incredible in the role.

At the press conference for the film last week I complimented her on her range of acting from “Les Miz” to ” Lay Everyone”, which got a big laugh from the crowd and the assembled stars including Amanda, Sharon Stone, Peter Sarsgaard, Hank Azaria, Adam Brody, Debi Mazar and Chris Noth. ( See video at the end for proof! LOL)

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Peter Sarsgaard, who played Chuck Traynor in Lovelace!

She got her big break in Lorne Michaels/Tina Fey’s 2004 film “Mean Girls” with Lindsay Lohan, and Rachel McAdams. They won the Best On-Screen Team Award at the MTV Movie Awards.

Peter Sarsgaard plays the role of her abusive husband, and he was almost reluctant to take the part until his pregnant wife encouraged him to do so. He said it was a very cathartic role, and he and Amanda had great chemistry onscreen even though they only had one week of rehearsal together.

Four time Emmy Award-winner Hank Azaria played Gerry Damiano the director of Deep Throat and was committed enough to wear one of the worst toupees in movie history, which he joked about at the press conference. He said they didn’t have enough money in the budget for a good hairpiece so they made it themselves.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Hank Azaria at the Lovelace press junket!

My good friend Bobby Cannavale one of the most talented actors around was not there, but he played the part of Butchie Peraino, the guy who financed the original Deep Throat, by taking a loan from some questionable people for $22,500. He returned an enormous profit.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV laughing and interviewing Bobby Cannavale at a New Group event for Wallace Shawn!

Chris Noth played Anthony Romano who was Butchie’s partner in financing the film, but I was most excited about Sharon Stone who played Dorothy Boreman, Linda’s mother, who came from a very religious, conservative background. Sharon is a true movie star of the old kind, and I mean that in the best way. She is such an elegant woman and I was excited to meet her and be able to tell her that at the press conference. She seemed very humble and genuinely appreciated my remarks.

Sharon Stone, a true movie star who looks elegant even when not posing for a photo!

The great Debi Mazar played Dolly Sharp a friend of Linda’s and a co-star in Deep Throat.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Debi Mazar who played porno star Dolly Sharp in Lovelace!

Everyone loves Debi from so many projects especially her long reign as PR queen Shauna Roberts, on HBO’s Entourage. Debbie recalled our previous meeting at the premiere of MTV’s “Good Times” an animated series for television where she gave me some hair tips!

And I was very happy to see that my old friend Hollywood powerhouse Jason Weinberg of Untitled Entertainment was one of the producers!

Jason Weinberg of Untitled Entertainment was one of the producers of Lovelace!

You can see some of the highlights of the press conference right here:

John Catsimatidis: Republican Hope for Mayor on Sept. 10th

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Anyone who knows me knows I’m not particularly political. I’m more of a common sense guy. I like to think I’m independent, and a guy who votes for someone based on their platform, not on their label. I recently attended a luncheon for John Catsimatidis, which is not an easy name to spell and the reason he’s often referred to as John CATS. His name may be difficult but his message is clear.

John Catsimatidis, New Yorker's choice for a safe city!

As one who lived through New York’s crime wave I recall what it was like in the bad old days. John is committed to not allowing that to happen again by keeping our streets safe and our police strong. The other candidates seem to be going in reverse.

As a man who came from humble beginnings and grew that into immeasurable success John knows how to create jobs. Starting as a local grocer, he now employs over 8,000 people as the head of Red Apple Group and the owner of the Gristedes chain of supermarkets! I’m guessing that “Gristedes” was easier to pronounce than Catsimatidis! (LOL) I’ll have to ask him about that next time I see him!

Jeffrey Gurian with Republican Mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis!

He has worked with law enforcement to develop programs designed to combat crime, including helping youth to find meaningful employment. Guys with good jobs don’t have the time to commit crimes!

And he has lots of ideas about improving our education system. He was recently endorsed by former Gov. Pataki, and the Liberal Party. The great thing about John, as Gov. Pataki emphasized is that John’s not a career politician and owes no one any favors.

This day John addressed a packed room of ardent supporters and was accompanied by his lovely wife Margo who is his constant companion every time I’ve seen him, and his son John Jr.

Republican Mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis at the podium addressing his supporters!

The room was overflowing with supporters for John Catsimatidis, Republican candidate for Mayor!

John Catsimatidis pointing to his wife Margo who is about to take the podium and address the crowd!

John Catsimatidis Sr. and Jr. applauding one of the other speakers at the luncheon.

I also got to meet John at a performance of my buddy Tony LoBianco’s hit off-Broadway one-man show, “The Little Flower” about our previous Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia who presided over this city from 1934-1945 and who some felt was the best Mayor we ever had. John sponsors Tony’s performances and makes tickets available for anyone who would like to come.

It’s a very generous, and ingenious way to combine getting people to come out and have a wonderful evening and also have an opportunity to meet the candidate.

And he has some really great commercials that point out all that I’ve said:

So on Sept. 10th, when they hold the Republican primary, I think the choice is pretty clear, John Catsimatidis for the next Mayor of NYC.

Amy Poehler, Nick Kroll, Michael Cera, Sarah Silverman and more at JFL Comedy Awards Show

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Out of all the amazing shows and panels at this year’s 31st annual Just for Laughs Festival, I think the most exciting event was the JFL Awards Show.

The Awards Show poster showing recipients Amy Poehler, Edgar Wright, Mitch Hurwitz, Nick Kroll, Michael Cera, and Mark Lonow and Budd Friedman.

The line-up of talent was fantastic. And I would be remiss for not thanking certain people who made my attendance at this year’s festival even more meaningful than ever, so special thanks to Paul Ronca the Director of the Comedy Pro-Conference, Zoe Friedman the Artistic Director of The Awards Show, Olivia Benaroche the Industry Coordinator and my Guardian Angel, and Emily Shore my other Guardian Angel borrowed from Andy Nulman, Pres. of JFL. Thank you all sincerely!

So the Award Show was spectacular. Amy Poehler received the Comedy Person of the Year Award, presented to her by Seth Meyers. This is the really fun interview I did with Amy, and Seth Meyers’ will be coming along soon!

Nick Kroll received the Breakout Comedy Star of the Year Award and it was presented to him by his old friend John Mulaney, which was a very meaningful experience for both of them, since they’re so close, and go back so far!

Nick Kroll and John Mulaney in their personnaes as George St. Geegland (L) and Gil Faison!

Nick Kroll as Bobby Bottleservice.

Nick Kroll as Dr. Armond, eminent canine plastic surgeon!

In a later interview alone with Nick, outside of the Variety party for the Top 10 Comics To Watch, he said something to the effect that John was a funny “new face” with a lot of potential, as if he was a newcomer! Then he busted out laughing! You’ll see it in the video when it’s finished being edited.

The hilarious Michael Cera, who takes nerdiness to new heights in most of his Judd Apatow helmed films and who is back on TV in the resurrected Arrested Development now on Netflix, won an award for Best Comedic Short Film for his 16 minute short, Brazzaville Teen-Ager. It was presented to him by Sarah Silverman who did something so funny on the red carpet.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV on the red carpet of the JFL Awards with winner of Best Short Comedy Film, Michael Cera!

I was positioned at the end of the red carpet where I often prefer to be so that people have time to talk to me and no one else is waiting. That works except when the event is running behind and the PR people rush the celebs along. But in this case it worked out fine.

I was in the middle of interviewing Michael Cera, and discussing our mutual friendship with the wild and wooly Kenny Hotz, when Michael asked if Kenny was what he was smelling.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing Michael Cera on the red carpet discussing their mutual friend Kenny Hotz!

A few seconds later with no pre-planning, strictly by coincidence, Nick Kroll came over and started sniffing Michael. Nick asked him if he uses fabric softener because he told him he smelled great.

Nick Kroll sniffing Michael Cera and telling him he smelled great!

Michael left and I continued interviewing Nick, when right in the middle, one of my all time favorites, the incredibly talented and beautiful Sarah Silverman jumped in and said she had skipped all the other press people to come and talk to me. Sarah has the most amazing smile!

Sarah Silverman joins Nick Kroll in an interview by Jeffrey Gurian for Comedy Matters TV!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Sarah Silverman at the JFL Comedy Awards!

Then she and Nick double-teamed me, and wound up interviewing me, and evaluating my outfit! It was very funny because Sarah was wearing such an unusual outfit, like a hoodie on top with a T-shirt, and a very hot lingerie looking combo from the waist down, with boots!

Sarah Silverman and Nick Kroll evaluating the outfit worn by Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV on the red carpet of the JFL Comedy Awards!

Sarah Silverman presenting the award to Michael Cera in her sexy thigh highs and boots, topped off with a T-shirt and hoodie!

It was hysterical and you can see it right here!

I shot 32 interviews over the four days I was up there with people like Amy Poehler, Seth Myers, Judah Friedlander, Paul Provenza, Colin Quinn, Bo Burnham, about 26 more, and we’ll be rolling them out as they’re done, so keep your eyes on my Comedy Matters TV You Tube channel at http://www.youtube.com/guriannewsnetwork, and PLEASE SUBSCRIBE!

Jimmy Fallon Visits Brute Force’s Show at The Players Club

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Once a month a talented musician, songwriter, comic and avant garde talent by the name of Brute Force produces a variety show at the esteemed Players Club in Manhattan on East 20th Street!

Brute Force at the mic in the library of The Players Club where his monthly shows are held!

Believe it or not, Brute Force was not the name his parents intended him to have. He started out in life as Stephen Friedland, and took the name Brute Force in 1964. He wrote and performed with The Tokens in the 1960s and wrote songs for Peggy March, Del Shannon, The Chiffons and The Cyrkle.

I believe The Cyrkle sang a song called ” Red Rubber Ball” which was one of my favorites!

Brute also recorded an album in 1967 called ‘I Brute Force: Confections of Love.’ But I think his most enduring credit is the song he recorded on Apple Records, ( Yes, … The Beatles label!) called “King of Fuh.”

Brute Force at the keyboard performing his hit on Apple Records, " King of Fuh"!

A friend of Brute’s who was in The Cyrkle, played the song for Beatles manager Brian Epstein who then played it for George Harrison. Harrison, and John Lennon both wanted to release the song but Capitol/EMI blocked it because of the lyrics which in the 6o’s were considered too outrageous. Today they would be nothing!

Similar to the way that Lenny Bruce was pilloried for things he said that were considered obscene in his day, that today would make him like just another stand-up comic. It was a different world.

It took 40 years for Brute’s song to finally be officially released on a compilation album from Capitol/EMI called ‘Come and Get It: The Best of Apple Records,’ a compilation of music recorded by Apple artists such as James Taylor, Billy Preston, Badfinger and Mary Hopkin. Also on the collection is ‘King of Fuh,’ marking the first time it got an official major label release.

Brute like so many who are ahead of their time, is so unique that he doesn’t fall into a category. I had that for so many years in my early career. I had such high level meetings with everyone important in comedy who said things like, ” Your stuff is really funny, but it’s so different we don’t know where to put it!” It makes you wanna say, “Well, how about putting it on it’s own show???

Brute plays the chair like no one else I ever saw who plays furniture, and he also plays a fantastic violin solo on the elongated hair from his eyebrows, … eyebrows that even George Whipple would envy!

Brute Force performing a classical violin concerto on the hair from his eyebrow! He can actually play it on both sides and it sounds like it's in stereo!

Anyway, somewhere during the show Jimmy Fallon popped into the room, and then hung out afterwards for about an hour with his new producer Amy Ozols who will be producing The Tonight Show when Jimmy brings it back to New York starting in February, 2014.

(L-R) Jimmy Fallon, Jeffrey Gurian and group watching Brute Force perform after his regular show at The Players Club!

Jimmy will be bringing his unique voice to a legendary show and I can only imagine how exciting this must be for him. He’s so much more than just a comedian. He’s a multi-talented guy who sings, plays instruments, does impressions, … you name it he does it!

Jimmy Fallon with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at a comedy event back in 2006!

He was telling Amy about my Comedy Matters TV channel, and we reminisced about the time I interviewed him at Gotham Comedy Club and his wife Nancy shot the interview for me because my DP wasn’t able to show up. It’s in two parts, and I’ll show one here!

Jimmy stopped by to give Brute his support and was very surprised to see me there too! I told him I had just gotten back from LA from doing a guest spot on Kroll Show on Comedy Central playing myself in a red carpet sketch, as an interviewer for Comedy Matters TV.

He kept saying “Jeffrey, what are you doing here? I explained that I’m a regular performer on Brute’s shows, which are always fun and different! You can always count on Brute to do something fun and outrageous. Like a yoga position he named something to do with a dog, … not Downward Facing Dog, but his own version where suddenly he’s on the floor on his back with his legs up in the air panting like a dog!

Brute Force in his original "doggy style" yoga posture!

Brute played King of Fuh for Jimmy at his request, and then Jimmy surprisingly turned the piano over to me, not aware that I was actually able to play. I don’t know who was more surprised, he or I that I knocked out a couple of songs off the top of my head!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, JImmy Fallon, and Brute Force at The Players Club in NYC!

I took lessons for ten years from the time I was 7 until I was 17, but I don’t get to play as much as I’d like to. Just recently I played in a comedy video I shot with this great comedy troupe called “Cult Comedy Pictures” where I played myself interviewing a hack comic named “Count Hackula.”

Hackula dresses like a vampire and hasn’t changed his act in hundreds of years! I confront him on that on Comedy Matters TV!

Jeffrey Gurian interviewing the legendary Count Hackula in his Comedy Matters TV home studio!

Anyway, it was great to see Jimmy and we’re all so excited for him to take over The Tonight Show, and bring it back to New York! One thing I know for sure, it’s going to change a lot of things around here, … and all for the good!

You can subscribe to Comedy Matters TV right here at this link, and you should to get regular backstage and inside interviews with the comedians and film stars you love!

Third Time’s A Charm On Comedy Central’s Hit Kroll Show

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

When I got the call to come back on Kroll Show for my third sketch in two seasons I was ecstatic! When I found out I’d be playing myself in a red carpet sketch I was beyond words! I just made signs to people but I couldn’t actually speak!

When it comes to doing characters, Nick Kroll is in a class of his own, which may sound lonely, but it’s not because the class is full! It’s populated with such diverse characters as Dr. Armond, C-Czar, Bobby Bottleservice, Liz G., Fabrice Fabrice, Ref Jeff, Gil Faizon, … the list is endless! And to be in his presence and see him BECOME the character is even more amazing.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Nick Kroll as Bobby Bottleservice, one of the most amazing characters he does!

When he is Dr. Armond, canine plastic surgeon, the stare that inhabits his face is uncanny! For the period of time that he’s in that character Dr. Armond truly exists. Nick makes him real. The same with all the myriad of characters he does!

When I got my script I was a little nervous because my name wasn’t really in it in any meaningful way, and it reminded me of the story that Paul Reiser once told me about when he got his career-making part in Barry Levinson’s iconic movie “Diner.”

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Paul Reiser in New York City!

They sent the script to The Comic Strip in NYC which was his home club at the time, and owner Richie Tienken read it and said, ” Is your character’s name Modell?” And Reiser said it was. Then Richie said, ” Well I don’t know how to break this to you , but you ain’t in here! You’re not even mentioned in the script!”

Reiser showed up on the set anyway as he was asked to do and when they broke for lunch he said he didn’t know where to sit, with the cast or the crew because since he had no lines, he didn’t know if he was entitled to sit with the cast!

Turns out that Barry Levinson created his part for him while he was there, and that was his foray into the big time world of movies. They improv’ed it, and that was it! That’s what wound up happening with me on Kroll Show!

When I got to the set, 2nd 2nd AD Toby Burge showed me to my trailer exactly like he did last year, and I felt like I was home again! This year instead of it being labeled “Tuna Jeff” for my stint in “Too Much Tuna” it was simply labeled “Gurian” since I was playing myself, a part I feel I was born to play!

Imagine how I would have felt if they had someone else play me because I wasn’t enough like myself! (LOL)

Then producer Inman Young came by to welcome me back to the set. It’s such a friendly place, and everyone was so gracious. I went to lunch, and joined Exec. Producer John Levenstein and we were soon joined by Exec. Producer/Director Jon Krisel, of Portlandia fame, and the three of us had a lot of laughs over lunch.

(L-R) Exec. Producer/Director Jon Krisel, Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, and Exec. Producer John Levenstein at lunch on Kroll Show!

Once again they thought the outfit I was wearing was what I had brought to wear on the show, but I explained that I always dress that way, and that I had something special and very happy looking in mind for the red carpet.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV in his original daytime outfit he wore to lunch on Kroll Show with Co-Exec. Producer/Actor Jon Daly in the wig he'll be wearing later on in the sketch!

Since I got the call to come out to LA I had the feeling that I wanted to wear white suede shoes on the red carpet with a bright colored jacket. I had a royal blue jacket all picked out with a matching shirt and scarf, white jeans and two tone shoes, white and blue, but I really wanted white suede shoes. I looked all over and couldn’t find any.

The choice of colorful, fun outfits and scarves I brought for the red carpet scene on Kroll Show!

I’m shopping on Melrose Avenue two days before the shoot, find a spot in front of an Aldo shoe store, walk in and what do you know, … they have white suede shoes! But not in my size! And the girl says they don’t make them any more. They’re discontinued!

I guess I looked very sad so she was nice enough to call another store, and they had one pair left that just happened to be in my size! But they were an hour away, and one shoe was very discolored due to being left out in the sun on display.

The white suede shoes in the "pre" state with one very discolored shoe! Not anymore!!!

However the manager said if I was willing to drive out there he’d give them to me for 10 bucks! Ten bucks for $200. shoes I couldn’t pass up, so I drove out there, got the shoes, and the guy told me he thought that if I brought it to a shoe repair shop they could probably get the color back. I figured the most I could lose was ten bucks. Why not?

The next day was Sunday and I walked into an H&M store in Santa Monica, and found a killer pinkish/red jacket, only one left and it was my size. Matched a shirt I brought exactly! Only the sleeves were too long. Being the OCD kind of guy I am I thought I’d have it fixed when I got back to New York and take it to my tailor in Scarsdale where I’ve been going for the last 25 years. Then the bright thought came to me, why wait??? There must be custom tailors in California who can do something as complicated as shortening the sleeves on a sport jacket! (LOL)

That’s like going to a neurosurgeon and asking him to cut your nails! Sure enough the next day on Monday, I found a tailor near my hotel who fixed the sleeves for me the same day so I could have them for the shoot, and when he found out I was in the comedy world he asked me if I knew Kevin Hart.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Kevin Hart at a promo event for the show they were doing together at Westbury Theatre!

I told him I co-produced a huge comedy show starring Kevin back in 2010, and he told me that Kevin comes in almost every week to have his clothes fixed.

Then I found a shoe repair shop, also very close by and for a grand total of 15 bucks the guy made them look like new. And he did it the same day! So for 25 bucks I got my dream shoes for Kroll Show that I actually showed on camera when Nick interviewed me after the shoot for an OTF (on the fly!)

OTF reminds me of an old joke I wrote about a girl I dated who hated insects so much that every time she saw me she rolled up a magazine and hit me on the fly! (LOL- I hope!)

So one day before the shoot I got both the shoes and the jacket that I wore on set. Then Jon Krisel decided to put me in every scene, only made more special by the fact that there were HUGE stars on set that day.

I’m sworn to secrecy about who they were until the show comes out, but trust me, they were huge in music, film and comedy! EVERYBODY wants to be on Kroll Show! And I got to interact with each one of them on the red carpet! And this is where I would place a photo of them if I was allowed to, so just picture in your mind the biggest stars you can think of and that’s what goes here!

Picture the biggest stars you can think of and place them right here!

BLANK SPACE FOR HUGE STARS!!!

A full view of Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with his white suede shoes, and Jon Daly on the red carpet!

My opening line was, “Hi, I’m Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV!” I even had my own dedicated camera! Jon Krisel said, ” Give Gurian his own camera”, and it was done! Thank you Nick Kroll, and Jon Krisel!

All I can tell you is that it was a Pub-LIZ-ity sketch with Nick in character as Liz G. and Jon Daly, as a country bumpkin named “Don” who was dressed as if he was attending a prom in Civil War times! I haven’t seen a beard like that since the War of 1812!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV on the red carpet for the Pub-Liz-Ity sketch with Jon Daly looking like he's going to a prom in 1865, during the Civil War! Check out the reddish/pink jacket, with matching shirt and scarf! (LOL)

Jon, one of the many Jons/Johns on the show is also a co-Exec. Producer besides being an actor on the show, who plays Wendy Shawn in Rich Dicks and Peter Papparazzo, in the Ed Hardy Boyz sketch.

Jon and I had a blast! He addressed me as “Weirdo” in the sketch and asked me afterwards if I minded. I was like, ” Jon, you can call me anything you want!” LOL

After it was all over, Nick turned the tables on me and interviewed ME in the make-up trailer as he removed his Liz G. makeup. He was so tired from a full day of shooting that I didn’t even ask if I could shoot something with him on my own camera. I love to capture special moments like that, but it would have been too much, and between you and I, I was just so honored to be there!

I felt like it went really well and I got great reviews from the powers that be. It really meant a lot to me.

And just today I got an invite to the wrap party for the cast and crew of Season 2! I’m almost tempted to fly out there for it! I’m sure it’ll be a blast!

Anyway, from what I understand my sketch is in the finale of Season 2, … and I’m hoping to be back for what I know will be Season 3! If I could only think of a recurring character for myself! Maybe as the guy who interrupts every sketch by suddenly walking in and saying, ” Hi, I’m Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV!”

George Wallace Visits The Comic Strip

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

Whenever George Wallace comes to New York, he always comes back to his “home” to visit Richie Tienken and The Comic Strip. That’s the place where he started back in 1976, before the place was even finished.

Before The Strip opened it’s doors on June 1, 1976 George came by selling bus advertising and convinced owner Richie Tienken to buy advertising that appeared on the back of buses going up 1st and 2nd Avenues that said ” Eat, Drink, and Laugh at The Comic Strip.”

(L-R) J.R. Ravitz, Marina Franklin, Jeffrey Gurian, and Richie Tienken, and holding down the back row by himself, is George Wallace! George is so big, he's his own row!


It was the reason when Richie and I did the book on the 35 year history of the legendary club, we were originally planning to call it “Eat, Drink and Laugh”.

George and Jerry Seinfeld were and still are best friends. They were roommates in the early days and shared an apartment on West 71st Street. When Jerry left for LA, George kept the apartment and roomed with Paul Provenza.

George has been in Las Vegas for the last ten years with the highest rated 10 P.M. show on The Strip. He came into The Strip to do a set recently, which thrilled the crowd, and told me he’s thinking of moving back to New York.

George was the second interview I did for the book “Make ‘Em Laugh”, up in Montreal during the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, the summer of 2008.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with George Wallace backstage during rehearsal at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, 2008!

He was hosting one of the huge galas that gets televised, and right before he went out on stage he asked me what I thought he should say! I had to laugh to myself that here was a guy, so accomplished that he didn’t even have to prepare to host a major comedy gala and would decide what he was going to say when he got out there!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV backstage with "All Star Gala" host George Wallace just before he took the stage!

Needless to say he killed it and after the show he took me out for a late dinner, where I did my interview, and we got to know each other. We’ve stayed in touch ever since.

I’m one of the producers of a new comedy documentary film called “The Business of Comedy” Exec. Produced by two great guys Gary Licker and Scott Sobel of Scott Entertainment. They went out to Vegas to interview George, and I gave them a signed copy of the book to bring George as I knew he hadn’t seen it yet. They were thrilled to do it and they said that George was thrilled to get it.

Scott Sobel and Gary Licker, Exec. Producers of the doc. film "The Business of Comedy" at the home of Jeffrey Gurian, filming him for the doc., on which he is also a co-producer!

One of the first things he said when he saw me was how much he loved the book!

So I was backstage with him this time too, and don’t you think that right before he went out to perform he asked me what I thought he should do! (LOL) I reminded him of the incident in Montreal and told him that whatever he chose would be perfect. The audience was already his!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with George Wallace at The Comic Strip!

He talked about going to Oprah’s party, and talked about getting parking tickets. He said he got so many parking tickets he was thinking of removing his windshield. That’s hysterical! He also told of the dyslexic cop who gave him an IUD, instead of a DUI!

He talked about his poor childhood and how in his day kids only got measles, mumps and chickenpox. It was all they could afford!

He said to some guy in the audience who was making remarks, “Where were you when your mind got up and walked away?”

Then he said he didn’t want to get racial, but advised white people to stop looking for ghosts! And then he did one of his classic bits which he calls “I Be Thinkin’” where he comes out with lines like, ” I saw a can that said “Evaporated Milk” and I thought to myself, then what’s in the can?” I told him he should do a CD by that name and he said he was already planning on doing that! Great minds think alike! (LOL)

He also said, ” You never see a homeless Mexican!” And it’s true. They’re like baby pigeons. You know they must exist, but you never actually see one! He said you give a Mexican 8 bricks and 3 packs of chewing gum and a week later you got a housing development!”

George hung out after his killer set, and took photos with his fans and with Richie and I. It was very cool night and if he does move back to New York, you can bet he’ll be a regular at his old home, The Comic Strip!

(L-R) Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, George Wallace and Richie Tienken at The Comic Strip, holding the book " Make "Em Laugh" about the 35 year history of the club written by Jeffrey Gurian and Richie Tienken! George is featured prominently in the book as one of the originals from The Strip!

Amy Schumer’s New Show on Comedy Central Debuts April 30th

Friday, April 26th, 2013

Amy Schumer is the new Amy Schumer! If that sounds confusing, it’s because there’s no one around or preceding her to compare her to. Maybe Sarah Silverman? In terms of being open, funny, sexy, and being able to say anything at all without flinching!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Amy Schumer at a comedy event in NYC!

Her new show “Inside Amy Schumer” debuts this coming Tuesday, April 30th, on Comedy Central and you can see the first episode right here:

http://on.cc.com/ZKPhH3

I caught up with Amy recently at the Jack Black Roast and did a little Comedy Matters TV interview with her on the red carpet. On camera, she asked people to subscribe to Comedy Matters TV as a personal favor to her, which was very kind of her to do! I’ve been supporting Amy for years and always knew she’d make it big.

Comedy Central loves her and the public loves her as evidenced by the fact that every video I post of her gets tons of views. I’m sure her show will be a big hit. Check out my red carpet Jack Black Roast video right here:

Yesterday I was a guest with the great radio talent Ron Bennington, on the Ron and Fez Show on Sirius XM radio, a huge national show, and we started talking about Amy and how she was his featured guest on his special interview show called “Unmasked”!

“Unmasked” is where Ron sits down with a big comedy star for an hour and does a really in-depth interview. I was there for his Chris Tucker interview and it was really great!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Chris Tucker up at Sirius XM Radio for Ron Bennington's "Unmasked" interview! They're holding Jeffrey's new book " Make 'Em Laugh" with an intro by Chris Rock!

I mentioned I had seen Amy sell out Gotham Comedy Club recently for all of her shows, with Mark Normand as her opening act. Mark’s really funny, and told me he travels with Amy on the road which must be a fun gig. It’s also a great opportunity for him, and don’t be surprised if he turns up on her show! (LOL)

(I hope she sees how good I did on Kroll Show and invites me on her show too!!!!!!!)

Mark talked about guys complaining about having to wear condoms. He was like, “How can you complain about having to need a layer of something between you?” ” Hey Dad, give me a hug! OK but take off that shirt first! I don’t wanna feel anything between us!”

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Mark Normand at Stand Up New York!

He also said that being a vegan is like being a Black guy in the 1950′s. You can only eat in certain restaurants! He got huge laughs and endeared himself to the audience by saying, ” I think this might be the best I’ve ever done!”

Amy took the stage and had some great lines like, ” I used to date Hispanic guys, but now I prefer consensual!” She said most girls work on a sliding rape scale.

She said she dated a wrestler who went down on her right away because he was raised well. But she said he gave up after a while because he could see that she was texting!

She asked who was still in their 20′s and encouraged them by telling them they still had hope! She also said that nothing good ever happens in an alcoholic blackout! You never wake up and find a Pilates mat.

And she said her friends are all getting married and incredibly they keep all of their kids! She got huge love from the crowd!

Ron Bennington was commenting on how likeable Amy is, and how popular she is, and they actually showed my red carpet clip on the show over the internet. (I almost wrote “likable” instead of “likeable”, but Amy could also be “likable”! LOL)

“Inside Amy Schumer” is an all around comedy show with sketch, stand-up, man-on-the street, and everything else comedic you can think of! I told her it was like the Amy Schumer version of SNL! She got a good laugh out of that!

Make sure to tune in to Comedy Central on Tues. April 30th 10:30E/9:30 Central, and I’m sure you’ll get a good laugh out of THAT!

Mission Statement

New York Comedy World strives to be a one stop show for everything in the New York Comedy scene…It is a site where you can purchase tickets to some of New York’s best Stand Up venues…We also sell tickets to New York’s best Improv, Sketch and One-Person shows…

There is a Comedian Resource section…This is a place where comics may be able to see choices in Comedy Schools, Seminars, Open Mics, New Talent Showcase & Industry Showcases…It also features Gigmomma, a new and innovative site that matches performers with people looking for talent…

It is also filled with additional content…You will find info on stand up comedy festivals, great podcasts, featured articles by great columnists about the comedy business. And some very funny videos…We hope you enjoy!