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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!

D.L. Hughley Man of Many Talents to Host Gotham Comedy Live

Saturday, August 10th, 2013

When I heard that my man D.L. Hughley would be headlining Gotham I knew I’d be in for a treat so I made sure to get my butt down there to see him, in a joint interview not only for my Comedy Matters TV but also for Frank Holder’s amazing Humor Mill Magazine based out in LA, bringing you all the up-to-the minute news about the urban comedy/entertainment scene! (www.humormillmag.com)

The last time I saw D.L. was when we shot a little backstage interview at The Comic Strip, when he was there taping a Comedy Central special called “D.L. Hughley’s Endangered Species” about having the Black man added to the endangered species list! ( Sounds like Schindler’s List for Black folks? LOL)

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV backstage at The Comic Strip with D.L. Hughley, after the taping of his Comedy Central special!

During the interview you’ll see below he told me that when he won the Peabody Award this past year they actually used my interview with him on the show! I had no idea but that is AMAZING! At the time we did it, his publicist said it was one of the best interviews she’s seen! I’ll let you guys judge!

D.L. is one of those multi-talented performers who does more things than a human being theoretically should be able to do! And he does them well! When I say something like that I always think of Sammy Davis Jr. who was always described as a “triple threat” performer, meaning he was accomplished at many things, like singing, dancing and acting.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with the late, great Sammy Davis Jr. at a dinner in honor of Milton Berle, circa 1985!

D.L. is an actor, a stand-up comic, an author, and a political commentator to start, and was one of the four comedians featured in Spike Lee’s film “The Original Kings of Comedy”, along with Steve Harvey, Cedric The Entertainer, and the late Bernie Mac, for whom he performed a touching eulogy at his funeral. Hard to believe that film was back in 2000.

D.L. wrote, produced, and starred in his eponymously named ABC/UPN show “The Hughleys” from 1996 through 2002, hosted Comic View on BET,and had roles on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and Scrubs. He served as the guest moderator on The View for one day, was a correspondent for Jay Leno, and even competed on Dancing With the Stars, dancing with show regular Cheryl Burke!

When I saw him last year he had just come out with a book from Crown Archetype Press called ” I Want You To Shut The Fuck Up: How The Audacity of Dopes is Ruining America”. He has so much to say which is one of the reasons I enjoy talking to him so much.

I always respect intelligence and a point of view, which is also why I’m looking forward to his new radio show debuting later this month on 50 stations nationwide. Radio is a such a great medium to work in because you have time to develop your point of view and have a meaningful discussion. I absolutely LOVE radio and have had lots of experience as a guest on so many shows, so D.L.’s show is one show in particular that I can’t wait to appear on!

Needless to say he killed it at Gotham and I attended two shows cause I didn’t feel that one was enough! Steve Wilson a very funny comic out of LA opened for him, and then D.L. came up and hit it out of the park! ( Funny that I use a baseball reference when I’m not even a sports fan! LOL)

I went down with Evie Liu who’s starring my my new video ” Women Who Massage Fruit” divulging the ancient Chinese art of fruit massage. Many people don’t know that fruit is basically nervous and needs to be calmed down. That’s what she does! I’ll be posting that video very soon on my Comedy Matters TV channel.

Jeffrey and Evie at Gotham Comedy Club to see D.L. Hughley do this thing!

On the Friday night show D.L. wore a bright red jacket that matched the power of his personality and stage presence!

Jeffrey Gurian and D.L. Hughley in a candid shot at Gotham Comedy Club!

So the second night, I wore a jacket that he said outdid his. He was just being kind. The man has style. I came across a photo of us from back in 2009 when he was wearing such a beautiful scarf, that it stuck out in my mind all this time!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with D.L. Hughley at Comix back in 2009. Awesome scarf! A man of style and grace!

Anyone who knows me knows that I love scarves. It just adds that little flair to whatever you’re wearing, and I’ve been wearing them for about 20 years cause once I start to do something I like, I don’t know how to stop!

The second night I was excited to be able to give him a copy of my new book “Make ‘Em Laugh” with a hilarious introduction by Chris Rock, about the 35 year history of the legendary comedy club “The Comic Strip” written with owner/founder Richie Tienken.

Jeffrey Gurian with D.L. Hughley holding Jeffrey's book "Make 'Em Laugh" with a great intro by Chris Rock!

After the second show we went outside to hang with D.L. and Jimmy Cannizzaro, who just happens to be married to Lisa Lampanelli, and since his weightloss surgery looks more and more like a movie star every time I see him. He and D.L. smoked a couple of special cigars, while D.L. alternated in accomodating every single fan who asked him for a photo.

Jeffrey Gurian, Jimmy Cannizzaro, and Evelyn Liu outside of Gotham Comedy Club!

Then owner Chris Mazzilli came out and asked D.L. to host one of the upcoming AXS TV specials, which they do every Thursday night. They’re shooting the second season now and I’m sure they’ll get picked up for a third season. It was just me, D.L. and Chris and it was exciting to hear D.L. both get offered and accept the hosting gig!

Then we went downstairs and just before he had to go back and do his third show of the night, we shot the fun interview you can see right here:

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!!!

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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!

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 Up For An Emmy

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

The exciting news just came out that Jimmy Fallon is up for an Emmy. While exciting, it comes as no surprise because it’s so well deserved. That’s why he was chosen to replace Jay Leno.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV backstage with Jimmy Fallon at Gotham Comedy Club!

He’s perfect to be next in line for the late night throne. I see him more in the vein of Johnny Carson. And not just because his suits fit so well. It’s the confidence with which he carries himself.

I also don’t know of any other talk show host who is as multi-talented as Jimmy. In Part 1 of the two part video interview I did with him, he claims the only thing he doesn’t do is dance, which is belied by his recent dance-off with Sam Rockwell, where he played a game of improv dancing and totally held his own, against the talented, footloose Rockwell.

Jimmy, by the way is in great shape. He’s really strong and I know cause he picked me up recently! Not that I’m that heavy, but I felt his arms while trying to get him to put me down! (LOL) He was just excited to see me, and decided to pick me up. It’s not something I encourage people to do! It feels weird being a man and being held in the air! (LOL) At least he didn’t hold me like a baby!

A few nights later he also danced with Nick Cannon who’s no slouch in the dance department either, by the way! He didn’t pick him up, but he did dance next to him!

Nick Cannon and Jimmy Fallon busting a move on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon!

It was so funny because earlier that same evening, Nick was spinning at a pre-All Star party honoring Darryl Strawberry thrown by Junebug at a cool place called Slate in midtown Manhattan.

I went down there to see Nick cause I hadn’t seen him in a while, kind of hoping to shoot a little video with him, even though I knew that he’d probably be stuck behind the decks. In the VIP room I happened to run into my old buddy Tony Orlando who was also there with Darryl Strawberry for the All Star party and was attending the game the next day, and Tony and I shot this little interview while I was waiting for Nick to come offstage.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with pal Nick Cannon at Nick's comedy show!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with old pal Tony Orlando at the pre-All Star party at Slate!

Nick was so into spinning that all I could do was shake hands with him, but wasn’t able to tell him I wanted to shoot something when he was done. It was too noisy and tumultuous plus he had his headphones on. I happened to be in the street when he came out and was able to give him a copy of my new book “Make ‘Em Laugh” with a great intro by Chris Rock, and Nick was so happy to get it that we shot this little video promo in his car before he drove away.

Then I ran home to download the video, turned on my TV to watch Jimmy and heard him announce that Nick Cannon was his guest! I guess he ran right from the party right over to Jimmy’s studio.

Nick Cannon and Jimmy Fallon having a ball on Late Night!

Fallon’s guests run the gamut from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who did an amazing appearance recently, and who will probably be running for President in 2016, to ex-Governor Elliot Spitzer, who was on last night, to stars like Ryan Reynolds, Colin Quinn and Bob Saget who was also on recently promoting his new killer DVD/CD called “That’s What I’m Talkin’ About.”

Bob Saget and Jimmy Fallon discussing Bob's new DVD "That's What I'm Talking About!"

Bob chose Seattle to shoot that special and in a quote from the CD cover writes, ” And there’s a lovely old school hotel behind the theater with what looked like old school prostitutes, and people on leave from The Ukraine that we got to watch on the loading dock as we went through the production of this show.” Then he says after they finished “my friends Tim, Michael and I went to the Palace Kitchen Restaurant”, Tim being Tim Sarkes his long time manager, and Michael being Michael O’Brien his long time publicist and long time friend of mine!

Close up of Bob Saget's new DVD/CD "That's What I'm Talkin' About!"

Bob is the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet and on the back of my new book with Chris Rock called ” Make ‘Em Laugh” his blurb said “No matter how many years pass I can never say no to Jeff Gurian. Hence this quote on his book’s back cover!”

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Bob Saget and Jeffrey's book with Chris Rock, whose back cover has a blurb from Bob!

Within a few nights Jimmy also had on Colin Quinn, and Ryan Reynolds. Colin came on to talk about his new one man show called “Unconstitutional” which I’m hoping to see when I go up to Montreal this week for the Just for Laughs Festival, the biggest comedy festival in the world. Colin will be performing his show there a few times during the festival.

Colin Quinn holding Jeffrey Gurian's book " Make 'Em Laugh" which he just happens to be in!

Ryan Reynolds came on for a water fight with Jimmy. They absolutely soaked each other, and looked like they were having the best time ever! That’s the cool thing about Jimmy, he’s all in. Not only does he participate, but he does so so willingly that you just know he’s having a blast. I don’t know if he comes up with these ideas or if his head writer A.D. Miles does, or maybe they collaborate, but they must be very in synch cause the show’s a winner night after night!

A soaking wet Jimmy Fallon dumping a glass of water in Ryan Reynolds' lap!

Needless to say, no one will be surprised when Jimmmy wins an Emmy, because every once The Universe comes together, and the right thing happens. Watch him every night on NBC at 12:30, until February when he switches to the 11:30 slot!

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!”

My Friend Kali Hawk, The Movie Star

Monday, May 20th, 2013

I just went to see Tyler Perry’s “Peeples”, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It had quite a cast with Kerry Washington, David Alan Grier, Craig Robinson, S. Epatha Merkerson, Melvin Van Peebles, (who I almost called “Van Peeples!” LOL), Diahann Carrol, Ana Gasteyer and my old friend, the beautiful, and talented Kali Hawk.

One of the posters portraying the star-studded cast of Tyler Perry's "Peeples"!

It’s not too often that you get to have a friend who’s a legitimate movie star,… especially one that you’ve known for many years. It’s a really nice feeling to be proud of someone’s accomplishments, and Kali has worked very hard to achieve what she’s gotten. Considering how young she still is, I’m almost afraid to think of how young she must have been when I first met her! (LOL)

(L-R) David Alan Grier, Kerry Washington, Tyler James Williams, Kali Hawk, and Kimrie Lewis-Davis in Peeples!

I remember her as a teenager, and how excited she’d be about watching stand-up comedy. I have this vague memory of standing with her at The Comic Strip, in the doorway to the showroom, watching the acts, while she wondered if she could do comedy. I recall going to see her perform in plays at the Theatre for the New City on the Lower East Side.

She was in high school by the tender age of 12 and in college before she was even 16. She started out doing commercials, but as gorgeous as she was, didn’t begin modeling until she moved out to LA, where she booked magazine ads and commercials for KFC, Clorox2, MTV Europe and was in several music videos for rock band Korn, Rob Zombie, Norah Jones, T.I., and Usher. It was only a matter of time until Kali made her way to the big screen.

Some years passed between the time we spoke and then in 2007, I was out in LA for a party made by Kent Emmons for a book I wrote called “Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive” based on my writings for the Friars Roasts, which are notoriously raunchy, and Kali came to support me.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Kali Hawk in LA, for a book party in his honor, in 2007!

She looked so amazing I couldn’t stop taking pictures of her! She has grown into such an elegant woman!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Kali Hawk, who's holding Jeffrey's book "Filthy, Funny and Totally Offensive" but he didn't let her look inside!

Before “Peeples”, she was seen in the Lion’s Gate thriller ‘Holla’, alongside actor Michael Bergin. She would follow that project with a supporting role in the Spike Lee comedy “Lovers & Haters”, playing a scathing Hollywood diva opposite singer/superstar Mariah Carey, I saw her in “Get Him To The Greek” with Russell Brand, and Jonah Hill, and she played Trudy in “Couples Retreat,” another star-studded movie written by Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau.

On TV, she has also appeared on the hit CW sitcom ‘The Game’, executive produced by Kelsey Grammer, was accepted as a cast member for the ill-fated remake of “In Living Color” that unfortunately did not come to fruition, and worked with my boy Tony Rock, on a TV project he was starring in. Tony was the featured performer in a sold out show at the Westbury Theatre on Long Island, that I co-produced starring the one and only Kevin Hart!

(L-R) Jordan Rock, Jeffrey Gurian, Tony Rock, Richie Tienken and down in front Sherrod Small backstage at Westbury with Kevin Hart!

Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV with Kevin Hart at a promo event for their concert at Westbury!

Tony is also the new host of the Jamie Foxx remake of “Live At The Apollo”, aptly named “Apollo Live” shooting right here in Harlem, NYC! I went to the opening of the first season to cheer him on. Tony is amazingly funny, and the nicest guy you’d ever wanna meet!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, Tony Roberts, Tony Rock, and Jordan Rock backstage at The Apollo!

So “Peeples” was exciting to me because Kali had so much screen time. She plays Gloria Peeples the lesbian daughter of Virgil Peeples played so well by David Alan Grier.

A cast shot of "Peeples" with Kali Hawk's name on the big screen! Go Kali!

I hadn’t seen David since last summer in Montreal during the Just for Laughs Festival when he came in to kibbitz with Adam Carolla right in the middle of my interview with him. It was actually funny, because the door was closed, and we were backstage after Adam’s show, but nobody’s gonna tell David that he can’t come in, so he did! (LOL) And it turned out very funny, because as I recall he was trying to distract me, and we all had a good laugh!

Craig Robinson is also a great guy, and we did a cool interview together on the red carpet of the Comedy Central Comedy Awards.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Craig Robinson at a Comedy Central event at The Monkey Bar in NYC!

I’m heading out to LA in about ten days to shoot my third appearance on Comedy Central’s hit “Kroll Show” and I really hope to be able to get the chance to congratulate Kali in person!

He’s Way More Famous Than You at AMC Loews

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Most movies I don’t even see once, so it’s extremely rare that I see a movie twice. Halley Feiffer’s “He’s Way More Famous Than You” was the opening night film of this year’s Friars Club Comedy Film Festival, which was the first time I saw it, and I felt compelled to see it again.

Film poster for "He's Way More Famous Than You!", now playing at the AMC Loew's in the East Village!

What’s so interesting about this film,… besides it being really funny,… is that some of it is based in truth with all of the characters playing themselves.

Halley Feiffer plays a sweet, sensitive alcoholic who had a small part in Noah Baumbach’s 2005 film “The Squid and the Whale.” In real life she played Jesse Eisenberg’s girlfriend in that very same film. In HWMFTY she finds herself struggling in life and her career. She loses her agent, her boyfriend, played by Michael Churnus, and what’s left of her career, and goes out to make a movie that will put her on top.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with the super-funny and talented Halley Feiffer, co-writer and star of "He's Way More Famous Than You!" To Halley's right you can see almost every part of Michael Churnus except his face! (LOL)

Through many funny contrivances, and lots of begging, with a touch of synchronicity thrown in, she gets an amazing star-studded cast like Ben Stiller, Natasha Lyonne, Mamie Gummer, Ralph Maccio, Jesse Eisenberg, Tracee Chimo, Michael Chernus, Liz Holtan, Austin Pendleton, and Vanessa Williams to play the roles she created with her co-writer and co-star Ryan Spahn.

Michael Urie, Halley Feiffer, and Ryan Spahn on the red carpet at the Friars Club Comedy Film Festival!

Natasha Lyonne playing Halley Feiffer's A.A. sponsor in "He's Way More Famous Than You"!

And she gets Michael Urie who will forever be known as “the gay guy from Ugly Betty” to also co-star and direct.

Michael Urie and Ryan Spahn are together in real life but in the movie Ryan plays Halley’s brother!

Michael Urie, Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV and Ryan Spahn, the director and co-writer from "He's Way More Famous Than You!"

Ralph Maccio and Mamie Gummer in a scene from "He's Way More Famous Than You!"

Geoffrey Soffer is the producer of the film, who also has quite a history as a casting director! One of his accomplishments was casting the final two seasons of the hit TV show “Ugly Betty”, which is a show that quite a few people in this film are connected to as well.

From 2003 to 2008, Geoffrey was a casting director at ABC/ABC Studios where his credits include the original pilots of “Army Wives”. “Miss/Guided” produced by Ashton Kutcher, “Dirty Sexy Money”, and the Sam Raimi produced series, “Legend of the Seeker.”

This past Friday the film opened at AMC Loews Theatre on 11th Street and Third Avenue in Manhattan, and I knew I had to be there to support it. Seeing a film for the second time gives you so much more insight into the action and the characters. I can see why people go to see a movie they like several times. Every time you watch it you catch something you didn’t see before.

Step into Theatre 6 to see "He's Way More Famous Than You!"

Ben Stiller and Halley Feiffer in a scene from "He's Way More Famous Than You!"

I’ll tell you two inside facts. The amazing scene where Halley is bicycling through Times Square was shot by producer Geoffrey Soffer from the back of his “hatchback”, as he described it, and the “film-within-a-film” shooting scene where Ryan Spahn’s character gets abruptly replaced by Ralph Maccio because according to Halley’s character “he’s way more famous than you”, was shot on Vanessa Williams gorgeous estate!

This is a fun film you really need to see, and I’m even more impressed with Halley Feiffer’s comedic chops than I was when I saw it the first time!

He’s Way More Famous Than You at AMC Loews

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Most movies I don’t even see once, so it’s extremely rare that I see a movie twice. Halley Feiffer’s “He’s Way More Famous Than You” was the opening night film of this year’s Friars Club Comedy Film Festival, which was the first time I saw it, and I felt compelled to see it again.

Film poster for "He's Way More Famous Than You!", now playing at the AMC Loew's in the East Village!

What’s so interesting about this film,… besides it being really funny,… is that some of it is based in truth with all of the characters playing themselves.

Halley Feiffer plays a sweet, sensitive alcoholic who had a small part in Noah Baumbach’s 2005 film “The Squid and the Whale.” In real life she played Jesse Eisenberg’s girlfriend in that very same film. In HWMFTY she finds herself struggling in life and her career. She loses her agent, her boyfriend, played by Michael Churnus, and what’s left of her career, and goes out to make a movie that will put her on top.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with the super-funny and talented Halley Feiffer, co-writer and star of "He's Way More Famous Than You!" To Halley's right you can see almost every part of Michael Churnus except his face! (LOL)

Through many funny contrivances, and lots of begging, with a touch of synchronicity thrown in, she gets an amazing star-studded cast like Ben Stiller, Natasha Lyonne, Mamie Gummer, Ralph Maccio, Jesse Eisenberg, Tracee Chimo, Michael Chernus, Liz Holtan, Austin Pendleton, and Vanessa Williams to play the roles she created with her co-writer and co-star Ryan Spahn.

Michael Urie, Halley Feiffer, and Ryan Spahn on the red carpet at the Friars Club Comedy Film Festival!

Natasha Lyonne playing Halley Feiffer's A.A. sponsor in "He's Way More Famous Than You"!

And she gets Michael Urie who will forever be known as “the gay guy from Ugly Betty” to also co-star and direct.

Michael Urie and Ryan Spahn are together in real life but in the movie Ryan plays Halley’s brother!

Michael Urie, Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV and Ryan Spahn, the director and co-writer from "He's Way More Famous Than You!"

Ralph Maccio and Mamie Gummer in a scene from "He's Way More Famous Than You!"

Geoffrey Soffer is the producer of the film, who also has quite a history as a casting director! One of his accomplishments was casting the final two seasons of the hit TV show “Ugly Betty”, which is a show that quite a few people in this film are connected to as well.

From 2003 to 2008, Geoffrey was a casting director at ABC/ABC Studios where his credits include the original pilots of “Army Wives”. “Miss/Guided” produced by Ashton Kutcher, “Dirty Sexy Money”, and the Sam Raimi produced series, “Legend of the Seeker.”

This past Friday the film opened at AMC Loews Theatre on 11th Street and Third Avenue in Manhattan, and I knew I had to be there to support it. Seeing a film for the second time gives you so much more insight into the action and the characters. I can see why people go to see a movie they like several times. Every time you watch it you catch something you didn’t see before.

Step into Theatre 6 to see "He's Way More Famous Than You!"

Ben Stiller and Halley Feiffer in a scene from "He's Way More Famous Than You!"

I’ll tell you two inside facts. The amazing scene where Halley is bicycling through Times Square was shot by producer Geoffrey Soffer from the back of his “hatchback”, as he described it, and the “film-within-a-film” shooting scene where Ryan Spahn’s character gets abruptly replaced by Ralph Maccio because according to Halley’s character “he’s way more famous than you”, was shot on Vanessa Williams gorgeous estate!

This is a fun film you really need to see, and I’m even more impressed with Halley Feiffer’s comedic chops than I was when I saw it the first time!

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