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Comedy Clubs

Jeffrey Gurian’s Excellent Adventure with Keith and The Girl

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

If someone told you you had to go on the radio for an hour and 40 minutes straight you might wonder to yourself if you had enough to say. On today’s Keith and The Girl appearance after almost two hours we were just warming up! I swear we could have gone another two hours easy! The flow was amazing and they are extremely gracious hosts!

The very descriptive and accurate logo for "Keith and The Girl", (whose name is Chemda, btw!) This happens to be exactly what they look like! (JK!)

My curiousity was piqued last month when I attended a couple of nights of their 8th anniversary celebration which they held out in Brooklyn at a performance space called White Wave. They literally had fans fly in from all over the world. Right around me were people from Australia, Toronto, Europe, Colorado, California, and all of them had gone to great trouble and expense to come in and celebrate with KATG!

Keith and Chemda in a very accurate portrayal of what they REALLY look like, during their 8th anniversary celebration!

People like Ted Alexandro say I know everyone in comedy.

So I was embarrassed to admit that KATG had escaped my comedy radar. And for eight years??? How could that even happen? That’s when I made it my business to find out more about KATG, and I’m so glad I did.

They have a super studio in Queens, whose exact location will not be divulged. Suffice it to say that it’s hidden inside of a mountain and when you approach and yell out a secret word, which they give you before you arrive, the mountain actually splits open, and you walk in, like Moses parting The Red Sea! It’s incredible.

A candid shot of Keith and Chemda in the studio, getting ready to do the KATG podcast and videocast as well!

I started out strong when they asked me my favorite movie and I said “The Sixth Sense.” It seems that was Keith’s favorite movie as well and no one else had ever said that. Then they were both ready to fall out of their chairs when I told them my favorite color was orange, which also happened to be Keith’s favorite color. And anyone who knows me knows that’s true. It’s the color of The Second Chakra and a very powerful color.

We went on to talk about everything. We talked about my new book, “Make ‘Em Laugh”, about the 35 year history of The Comic Strip, comedy legends like Andy Kaufman, Jack Rollins, and Milton Berle, young stars not with us anymore like Patrice O’Neal, Mitch Hedberg, Mike DeStefano, Greg Giraldo, movies, music, Healing which was an amazing discussion where we found out that Chemda has Healing energy, and she thinks she’d like to use it!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with his great friend, the late Patrice O'Neal!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with the late Mitch Hedberg at one of his last performances in NYC!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with the late Mike DeStefano after he was on Last Comic Standing!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with the late Greg Giraldo at a party at Comix in NYC!

We talked about the comedy clubs and gave shout-outs to The Comic Strip, Gotham Comedy Club, and The Comedy Cellar. We talked about high school, and about how and why kids are so mean to each other, dating, sexuality, and almost every subject on the planet, and we had lots of laughs and a really good time.

We even talked about You Pop the new social media craze that’s sweeping the country where creative people can get paid for making cool little videos on their cell phones and uploading them to the YouPop.com site to be offered to the world at large!

You Pop, the most exciting social media craze to come along since Facebook!

To show you just what a good time we had, I didn’t check my e-mail even once during the two hours! It flew by so fast, I couldn’t believe it when Chemda told me how much time had gone by. Then I got the tour of the premises and got to see Lauren again, Chemda’s significant other, plus I got to see the office where they keep their merch and it’s loaded with goodies, except it’s lighter now cause they gave me a whole bunch of presents.

Chemda and Lauren at the 8th anniversary of KATG!

They gave me audio books that you wear on your wrist like a bracelet. I never even saw something like that. I’m not Bill Gates but I’m familiar with lots of technology, and this was really cool. It’s like a thumb drive and you get the book as an MP3.

I got their books, “The Great American Novel” by Keith, and “What Do We Do Now” a modern advice book for modern couples written by both of them. And I had to once again give them props for having been a couple, broken up, and still working together with such a cool dynamic. They are truly good friends. It’s a testament to what people can accomplish if they really want to.

Chemda hiding behind one of the KATG T-shirts while Keith proudly displays his "State of the Union" DVD.

But that’s not all, I also got Keith’s “State of the Union” DVD, and the Keith and The Girl Roast, with cartoon drawings on the back of some of the comics who participated and who you can actually recognize! One I’m sure is Mike Lawrence because the character has a huge beard!

They called my segment ” Healing Hands”, and you can actually listen to the whole thing right here:

http://www.keithandthegirl.com/Show-Detail/2653/Healing-Hands.aspx#

I really hope they invite me back!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Keith Malley and Chemda Khalili of KATG!

Come to Papa at The Village Underground

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Making a purposeful effort to make a home for myself at The Comedy Cellar, the legendary club owned by Noam Dworman and frequented by every major comedy star who hits New York, I went down on a Tuesday to catch their weekly podcast, “Live From The Table”, which this week featured the always hysterical Kurt Metzger and Dan Naturman. I was a guest a few weeks ago and had a blast!

The welcoming sign of "The Comedy Cellar" on MacDougal Street in NYC!

The logo from "Live From The Table" the weekly Comedy Cellar podcast!

Sitting at the bar chatting with Marina Franklin, we were soon joined by Tom (The Marriage Ref) Papa who invited me to stop by his monthly Sirius XM radio show which started right after the podcast at the Comedy Cellar’s other space, The Village Underground, conveniently located literally right around the corner.

"Come to Papa" poster at The Village Underground for Tom's Sirius XM radio show!

Sexy fairy Marina Franklin onstage at The Village Underground for Tom Papa's "Come to Papa" on Sirius XM radio!

What a beautiful space! A really nicely appointed room with lots of tables, dim lighting, big screen TV’s to be able to see well from all over the room, and for the last month or so, comedy as well. Tom hosts a show appropriately called “Come To Papa” which is kind of a throwback to something I had never really seen but only heard of, “scripted radio.” Before TV was invented in this country and even afterwards when people started to buy them thanks to Mr. Television himself, the legendary Milton Berle, most people listened to scripted radio shows for entertainment.

Tom Papa on one of the big screen viewers at The Village Underground, making it easy for everyone to see the show!

It’s hard to believe there was actually a time before TV, but when Milton Berle had his Texaco Star Theatre, people would gather in the streets to watch TV through the store windows of appliance stores selling TV’s, and thanks to the popularity of his show, so many TV’s were sold that that’s how he got the nick-name “Mr. Television.”

I had the honor of being sponsored in The Friars Club by Milton Berle who I also had the honor of writing jokes for, and who I considered a friend.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV in LA, with his friend and sponsor in The Friars Club, the legendary Milton Berle, circa 1984!

Before TV, in the 1930′s and 40′s, families would huddle around the radio to hear their favorite shows, and their favorite comedians like Fred Allen, Jack Benny, Victor Borge, Fanny Brice, Jimmy Durante, Phil Harris, Bob Hope, Groucho Marx, Red Skelton and Ed Wynn.

They also got to hear shows like Abbott and Costello, Amos ‘n’ Andy, Burns and Allen, Fibber McGee and Molly, The Goldbergs, The Great Gildersleeve, and Our Miss Brooks, which I know went on to become a TV show in the 1950′s.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with comedy icon George Burns, Catskill Mountains, circa 1983!

Radio comedy ran the gamut from small town humor like that of Herb Shriner and Minnie Pearl to the weekly “gag shows” like Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One and Can You Top This?, panel programs devoted to the art of telling jokes.

So Tom Papa had a rich history to compete with and from what I saw he’s doing it well. He was joined by comics Cynthia Koury, who doubled as the MC, Dan Soder, the same Kurt Metzger from the “Live at the Table” podcast, Rick Crom who used his deep resonant voice as the announcer, and I stayed long enough to see a mix of stand-up, and written sketches where the comics read from scripts, before I had to run and cover my next event.

Comic Cynthia Koury holding it down on the stage of The Village Underground on "Come to Papa!"

(L-R) Kurt Metzger, Dan Soder, Rick Crom, and Tom Papa onstage at The Village Underground!

The event was produced by Aaron Hodges from Sirius XM radio who was kind enough to tell me he enjoyed my performance on Kroll Show in Too Much Tuna with Nick Kroll and John Mulaney!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV playing himself on the set of Kroll Show with Nick Kroll, and John Mulaney as the "Oh, Hello" boys. After shooting the sketch "Too Much Tuna!"

The reaction of the audience and the strength of the performances I saw makes me want to attend regularly, and I can’t wait for the next one when I can stay for the entire show! Even better, Noam himself invited me back!






Evolve or Die

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
Image courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net I got a chance many years ago to work with one of my favorite political comedians, Barry Crimmins. It was an honor. I had gotten...

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!

Jim Norton Closes Out Gotham Comedy Live’s First Season

Friday, April 26th, 2013

Every Thursday night for about the last three months, Killer Bunny Entertainment has been filming a live comedy show at Gotham Comedy Club for Mark Cuban and Ryan Seacrest’s AXS TV channel!

Every week they have a great host and I’ve been down there to shoot videos for Comedy Matters TV with several of them like T.J. Miller, Susie Essman, and Carlos Mencia, but when I heard that Jim Norton would be hosting the last show of the season I was determined to get down there to see him!

Not only because he’s so funny but because I had been trying to set up an interview with Jim since the previous July when his last CD “Please Be Offended” first came out.

Jim Norton the final host of the first season on Gotham Comedy Live onstage at Gotham Comedy Club!

Jonathan Brandstein’s office and I were working together to set it up, but Jim was so busy that it never happened. And then I ran into Jim in Montreal at the 30th annual Just for Laughs Festival where I was actually shooting for the festival, and it still didn’t happen. We ran past each other in the lobby where I was just able to yell out a quick “hello” and that I had been trying to get a hold of him. I shot 40 video interviews over those three days, but no Jim Norton.

Jim did a great show at Gotham, and the fun thing is that it’s live. For some comics that might be daunting, but Jim’s been on the radio with Opie and Anthony so long doing live stuff every day, that for him it’s nothing.

It’s also no holds barred. Anything goes. So Jim got to talk about one of his favorite subjects, … hookers! And how in Vegas when he called for a hooker they told him it would cost $3,000. And he was wondering how long she stayed for that, … forever? For three thousand dollars, does he get to cut off her head and keep it?

The always funny Jim Norton hosting the AXS TV special Gotham Comedy Live!

I don’t think that was really a desire of his, just a thought that briefly ran through his mind.

Jim’s observations are also right on, like when he said if you’re clearing your throat you sound like a liar. No matter what you’re saying, once you clear your throat in the middle of saying it, you automatically sound like a liar. In a way, and I mean this only as a compliment, he and Colin Quinn work very similarly. He actually imitated Colin’s voice and sounded just like him.

Drew Fraser warmed up the crowd and the man has a way of getting the audience really pumped. It’s a special talent to be able to host a show, and Drew’s got it!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Drew Fraser who not only warmed up the crowd, but heated them up to a boil! (LOL)

Louis Katz was first up on the show and was his usual funny self. He said he spent most of the day balding. He then went on to explain to the audience that with his look he can’t wear a hat, because with his glasses and a hat he’s a fake moustache away from looking like he’s in disguise!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Louis Katz right after he killed it on Gotham Comedy Live!

He talked about someone who had such bad breath he wanted to tell them, “You know there’s no such thing as street chocolate. You’ve been eating dog shit!”

Marina Franklin was up next and I love seeing Marina perform. Especially when she talks about coming from Chicago and wonders if she and not Michelle could have been The First Lady. But then reality kicks in and she realizes she ain’t no lady! She could have been the “First Ho!”

In talking about her dating life and her recent white boyfriend she said she doesn’t just date white guys exclusively, but the economy was bad!

Colin Jost, one of the head writers up at SNL was next, and he too is reliably funny. I always enjoy his performance and the tone with which he delivers his material, which is so important to a comic. He talked about song lyrics and how in one popular song they changed the lyrics to make them family friendly and have a guy apologizing to a girl by saying, ” I don’t mean to be rude but tonight I’m loving you!” He went on to explain that that’s nothing to apologize for. It’s one of the nicest things you can say to a person.

He also advised couples that if one of you loses a ton of weight you both better lose a ton of weight because it’s very awkward to see them and say, ” Mark, you look great, you must have lost 50 pounds! And Janet, ……………”

And closing the show was the always funny and sexy Lynne Koplitz, who openly says she’s 45 years old and it’s over! She calls herself Auntie Lynne and gives advice to the younger women in the audience like not to smile too much or you get laugh lines. Twenty years from now you’ll be asking yourself, what was so fuckin’ funny?

She goes for younger guys who she can control, and ruled out dating one older guy by saying ” You’re cute, but you probably have opinions!”

After the show, which got picked up for a second season, and which will be starting in May, I went down to the green room to have a long awaited chat with Jim Norton. It was well worth the wait, and here it is:

The Comedy Cellar’s Live From The Table

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

I had a really great experience as a guest on the Comedy Cellar podcast called “Live From The Table.” Noam Dworman the owner of The Cellar is such a kind and hospitable guy, and I’ll tell you why I say so!

The inviting look of the outside of The Comedy Cellar! Makes you wanna go in and have some laughs!

First let me tell you about The Cellar. It’s a magical place where every single big star likes to hang out and perform. On any given night you’ll see Louis CK, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Attell, Jim Gaffigan, Ray Romano, Colin Quinn, and anyone who happens to be in town from LA hanging out there or getting up to do a set. It’s not that the 150 seat room is so overpoweringly beautiful, because it literally is in a cellar, but I think it’s kind of an energy thing.

Rooms take on the energy of the people who own them and hang out in them, and I think it’s the positive energy that pervades the place that draws the big names. That and the Olive Tree Cafe that’s part of it with the VIP table in the back!

The VIP table in the back of the Olive Tree Cafe where all the stars hang out while waiting to go on! Here it's set up for the weekly podcast on Tuesday nights!

The club at 117 MacDougal Street, was originally owned by Noam’s Dad, the beloved Manny Dworman, who opened it in 1980 as Cafe Feenjon, a coffeehouse that was a serious hang for musicians. I remember seeing that name as a kid hanging out in The Village. It always stood out to me because “Feenjon” was such an unusual name.

Manny was not only a nightclub owner, but also a talented musician who appeared as himself in the Seinfeld documentary film “Comedian” in 2002. The Cellar was renowned for its postperformance roundtable discussions with comedians in the audience about political issues, and it was these very exchanges that were the inspiration for ”Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn” on Comedy Central.

When Manny left us in 2004, Noam took over the helm of the club! And he hosts the Comedy Cellar podcast called “Live From The Table” which is done from the VIP table in the back of the club where the comics who are performing in that night’s show can be found along with the comics that just come to schmooze or hang out with their friends.

Noam had me on as a guest and made me comfortable right away. I got there early as I always do so I can just chill and be ready to go on the air. I had a bite to eat and even got to meet his beautiful little daughter Mila!

Noam Dworman, owner of The Comedy Cellar, holding his 15 month old daughter Mila, with comedy writer/comic Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV!

One of the things we were going to talk about was my book called “Make ‘Em Laugh” which is about the 35 year history of The Comic Strip, the comedy club on 81st and 2nd. Chris Rock wrote an amazing introduction to the book and I interviewed comics that started out there like Seinfeld, Chris, Larry Miller, George Wallace, Billy Crystal, and several that frequent The Cellar like Ray Romano, Jim Gaffigan, Jim Breuer, Judah Friedlander, and Colin Quinn who was a bartender at The Strip until he quit to start performing stand-up.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with old friend Colin Quinn holding Jeffrey's book " Make 'Em Laugh" which he is in!

I was on the podcast with Jim Norton who I had just interviewed a few days before for my Comedy Matters TV channel, when he hosted the last show of the first season of AXS TV’s Gotham Comedy Live at the Gotham Comedy Club.

Promo for the Comedy Cellar podcast announcing Jeffrey Gurian as a guest, and coincidentally it's #54 which is Jeffrey Gurian's lucky number! He even lives on 54th Street and graduated #54 in his class!

This was Jim’s fun interview:

Then it was also Lynne Koplitz who I love, and she had also just been on that same show with Norton, and then it was Dan Naturman who I know for many years and have always enjoyed his comedy.

Noam Dworman, Lynne Koplitz, and Dan Naturman on "Live From The Table" at The Comedy Cellar!

Noam was such a gentleman to have me on to talk about another comedy club, but I liken that to a beautiful woman who’s secure enough in herself to acknowledge the beauty of another woman without feeling threatened. Noam has nothing to be threatened about. He is the owner of a truly legendary venue that the biggest stars in the business call “home” today.

Not only did he help promote my book but he himself was kind enough to buy a copy and said on the air that he really enjoyed it. That’s not a just a gentleman, it’s the definition of a “Mensch” a word you may not find in your dictionary, … unless your dictionary was printed in Tel Aviv! (LOL)

Noam began by trying to give me a compliment by telling people that they should read about me, because I had an interesting background and an interesting look, and that I looked like a star, but Dan Naturman couldn’t bear to let him finish. He couldn’t wait to interrupt with an attempt to sabotage the compliment by yelling out “No, he looks more like a 70′s style producer” or something to that effect, but I stopped him in mid sentence.

I said, ” Why do you say “No’? Why can’t you let Noam finish saying something nice about me? Why do you have to jump in and try and say something negative?” Noam immediately agreed and stated that Dan was known for being negative, and Dan backpedaled by saying that what he meant to say was that I looked like a successful producer or someone who worked behind the scenes.

That led us into a discussion of “cock-blocking”, which that was a form of, where people try and block someone else from succeeding in some way. For whatever reason they can’t bear for someone else to receive something good. It kind of became the theme of the show, as you’ll see on the promo!

Now Dan is always a nice, mild-mannered kind of guy, and I don’t even think he realized he was doing that. It’s probably just second nature for him as it is for many comics.

Guys grow up being used to cutting each other down. It’s not necessary. Every meeting doesn’t have to be a rite of passage. Guys can support each other. For a lot of comics every casual meeting turns into a Roast. It’s why a lot of guys are not comfortable hanging out with other guys. Patrice O’Neal was supposedly famous for putting other comics in their place, or making remarks about them, but he never did it to me. It’s basically high school behavior!

Patrice and I had a closer relationship, and we really “got” each other. I would go so far as to say we had mad respect for each other.

(L-R) My special girl Jacqui B., Patrice O'Neal, Jeffrey Gurian, and Dante Nero at The Black Phillip Show!

Many people still don’t know that I was his co-host on The Black Phillip Show on Sirius, along with his original co-host Dante Nero. And if he hadn’t left us when he did, so prematurely, we would have probably had our own show together. Listen to a phone call he left me one night after we did our first show together. It’s something I treasure:

Patrice-Our Own Show

Anyway, I stayed on the podcast for the whole hour and when it was over, Noam invited me back, not only to the podcast but to hang in the club more often which I totally intend to do. It’s a rare magical place and he’s a rare magical guy! I can’t wait to go back! Here’s the link to the podcast:

http://www.riotcast.com/thecomedycellar/

The Phenomenon Known as “Keith and the Girl”

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Ted Alexandro says I know everyone in comedy and that everyone knows me.

Richie Tienken owner and founder of The Comic Strip says I’m like the James Lipton of comedy. So imagine how embarrassed I felt not to be familiar with a comedy podcast phenomenon known as Keith and the Girl, currently celebrating 8 years of longevity!

Keith Malley and Chemda, better known as "Keith and The Girl!"

Keith and The Girl, began on March 7, 2005, and is made up of comedian Keith Malley and “The Girl”, who is Chemda Khalili. Chemda told me she doesn’t mind being referred to as “The Girl” since “Chemda” is a hard name for some people to say! (Not for me cause I’m one of “the tribe!” LOL)

Luckily their publicist Meredith Trotter thought to invite me to this weeklong 8th anniversary celebration of their podcast which gets over 1 million dowmloads a month and has an international following. (I’m not exaggerating about that!)

I hardly ever leave Manhattan with all the shows there are here to write about, but for KATG I drove out to White Wave, a very cool space on Jay Street in Brooklyn just to experience what KATG was all about. And I’m really glad I did!

I didn’t get to see the actual podcast but I attended two of the shows that made up their weeklong celebration, and then went to an after-party that they had for their fans in a special KATG space in a huge building across the street.

The last show was very special because it was Keith’s birthday and every year he records a new DVD of his comedy material. This year he did a compilation set of what he considered to be his best material culled from the last ten years of performing, but he attempted to do it all “clean” which he managed to do, … 99%! (LOL)

Keith in an animated pose during his stand-up set onstage at White Wave in Brooklyn!

Plus it was Chemda’s actual stand-up debut and I didn’t want to miss that.

Chemda making her stand-up comedy debut at the final show of the 8th anniversary celebration of "Keith and The Girl"!

A very funny guy named Tim Dimond (pronounced “Diamond”) was the MC and everyone seemed to know him so I guess he’s a regular part of the show. He has a deep, resonant voice which he claimed did not go with his “anorexic-looking” body! Only in comedy do we have the benefit of using self-deprecating humor. We say things about ourselves before other people do!

Tim Dimond, the very funny MC for last night's KATG show!

Dan Soder was up next, and he’s always sharp and creative. I related to his line, “You can tell by my lack of facial hair that I’m from Queens!” Because everyone from Brooklyn looks like a farmer from the 1800′s with a full brush beard. They all look like “The Unibomber”. Like a guy who lives alone in a cabin in the woods and just cones out once in a while to tell a few jokes and then goes right back in to his cabin!

A clean shaven Dan Soder killing it for the KATG crowd!

They would all be perfect for my “Beard Painting” story in Weekly World News, ” Man Paints Replica of the Cistine Chapel With His Beard!” You need a Mike Lawrence type of beard for that. A Myq Kaplan kind of beard just won’t cut it! (Myq and John F. O’Donnell were two of the very funny comics I caught on the KATG show the night before, and I got there late, but I did happen to see Mike Lawrence in the background somewhere.)

Myq Kaplan at KATG, with a beard fit for many things but not "beard painting!"

John F. O'Donnell onstage at KATG with his own version of hipster facial hair, but not enough to actually paint with!

Dan also talked about how the current generation of kids would be when they take over the army. Everyone is allergic to Gluten! In 20 years he predicts our army will be in bad shape. “I WOULD storm the beach, but I have an allergy to shellfish!” (LOL)

So I drove out to Brooklyn two nights in a row and it was really worth it to me. I found it very exciting to see what was going on that I didn’t know about and how people actually traveled in from all over the world to celebrate with Keith and Chemda.

I spoke to one girl from Toronto named Mia who credited Chemda for giving her the courage to come out about her sexuality, and another girl and guy who traveled in from Colorado who are also rabid fans of the show. But that’s nothing. People actually traveled in all the way from Australia, and several other countries to attend and hang out with Keith and Chemda because they are totally accessible to their fans and audience.

That was one of the things that people said that I spoke to. They were not elitist and were very real, and made themselves accessible to their fans.

Chemda told me they have their own studio and record five days a week. Their next episode is this coming Wednessday, 4/17/13 at 2 P.M. You can find them on i-Tunes.

In the show, usually lasting an hour or more, Keith and Chemda discuss their lives and current events in a humorous and very honest, upfront, unedited fashion. The show’s tagline is “Keith and his ex-girlfriend talk shit”. They were once in a relationship which I think says a lot about them, that they could continue to work together after no longer being involved.

Keith now has a “fiance”, who Chemda told me had been a fan of the show, and Chemda introduced me to her significant other, a girl named Lauren who identifies herself proudly as a “transgender” individual. She was even kind enough to explain the difference to me between transgender and transsexual!

Chemda and her significan other Lauren! (I don't know whether she identifies as bf or gf, and I forgot to ask!! LOL)

Keith and The Girl has consistently ranked in the top ten podcasts at Podcast Alley, and has also received multiple podcast-specific awards. The hosts have been interviewed by other popular podcasts such as WTF with Marc Maron, Never Not Funny, and many others, and I am excited to say that I have been asked to come on as a guest.

Keith Malley, Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, and Chemda at the KATG anniversary show!

I’ll let you all know when that’s scheduled to happen! In the meantime tune in to Keith and The Girl just like I’m gonna do! I’m already a fan!

Peter Dinklage of “Game of Thrones” in Early Comedy Film

Monday, April 1st, 2013

I first met Peter Dinklage more than 20 years ago, and I’m pretty sure it was through Ethan Hawke. I had been hanging out at the Naked Angels Theatre bringing my early work to be read, which is how I first met Ethan.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Ethan Hawke back in 2005 during his performance in Hurly-Burly!

I had written a play called “A Punch In The Face”, and was going to their Monday night reading series where you could get up and coming actors to read your stuff out loud. The purpose was for writers to evaluate their writing and make changes after hearing it read.

I was doing readings of ” A Punch In The Face” and a young actor who introduced himself as Ethan Hawke came over to tell me he really liked my piece. I had just read about him that very week in people Magazine about a movie he starred in called ” Alive” about people who survived a plane crash.

The Naked Angels was made up of Marisa Tomei, Matthew Broderick, Kenny Lonergan, Fisher Stevens, Sarah Jessica Parker, her brothers Toby and Pippin, and a host of others that have become household names. Somewhere along the way Ethan introduced me to Peter.

I was offered the opportunity to make some short comedy films for the Toyota Comedy Festival, and had about two weeks to get them done from start to finish, and I created what came to be known as The “Men Who” Series, based on a series of ideas I had told to Woody Allen many years before when I was still in Dental School. It was about men who did very unusual things, like ” Men Who Take A Pitchfork To The Movies”, “Men Who Enjoy Latin Dancing With Tools”, and “Men Who Dance Where They’re Not Supposed To”!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Woody Allen many years later in 2011!

In recent years when I re-connected with Woody Allen, as I was about to be re-introduced, I actually made him bust out laughing by saying, “Hi Woody, I’m a very close friend of yours!”

Anyway, back to The “Men Who” Series, … I cast them myself and when it came time to cast “Men Who Dance Where They’re Not Supposed To” I went to Peter Dinklage who kindly agreed to be in the film. He was one of three men who danced in the street wherever they wanted to, despite the fact that there were “No Dancing” signs posted everywhere.

I had my artist make up a perfect “No Dancing” sign that looked just like a “No Parking” sign and even had hours on it. I think it said, ” No Dancing Tues, and Thursdays or any other time!” We shot it on Broadway and 28th Street, where I also shot ” Men Who Dance In Traffic With The Sunday Edition of The New York Times!”

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Peter Dinklage currently starring in HBO's "Game of Thrones!"

When the shoot was over, we accidentally left the sign up, and it created quite a traffic jam for a few days, because even then parking was very difficult in the city and drivers who were looking for a place to park found it very confusing to come up against a “No Dancing” sign. It even wound up as a Page 6 item in the NY Post!

Anyway, Peter was always a very talented actor so I’m not really surprised that he went on to become such a big star. I loved him in the award-winning film “The Station Agent” in which he starred with his good friend, the amazingly talented Bobby Cannavale from Boardwalk Empire, and in about 15 minutes the new season of “Game of Thrones” is coming on and I’m running to watch.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Bobby Cannavale at The Acorn Theatre on Theatre Row in NYC!

Check out below to see Peter dance where he’s not supposed to, … in a “No Dancing” zone!

Lisa Lampanelli Previews New Show with The New Group

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

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!

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