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

"Comedy Matters TV"

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.

Jimmy “J.J.” Walker at Broadway Comedy Club

Friday, May 1st, 2015

If you were around in the 70’s, 1973-1979 to be exact, then you were aware of Jimmy “J.J.” Walker who played J.J. Evans in the Norman Lear, CBS hit “Good Times”, with Esther Rolle who played JJ’s mom Florida Evans, and John Amos who played his dad Michael Evans.

Interestingly enough, Good Times was a spin-off of Maude, which was itself a spin-off of All in the Family along with The Jeffersons. And it was co-created by Mike Evans, who portrayed Lionel Jefferson on the Norman Lear-produced series All in the Family and The Jeffersons.

JImmy “J.J” Walker onstage at Broadway Comedy Club without a floppy hat, but making one of his signature faces!

At the time that JJ was on the show he played so much younger than he actually was that John Amos who played his Dad was only 8 years older than him!

JJ’s signature phrase was “Dyn-O-Mite!” which follows him to this day. And in my interview with him recently at Broadway Comedy Club where he showed up with his agent and my old friend Roger Paul, he said he was grateful for that tag, “Dyn-O-Mite”! Very few performers have something that sticks for so long. Like Rodney Dangerfield will always be associated with the phrase “No Respect.” In comedy having an identity like that is magical!

The main room downstairs was packed, wall to wall, and JJ went up on stage and knocked it out of the park. He talked about the economy being so bad that when you rent an apartment they want the first month’s rent and the last month’s rent. JJ was like, ” I wasn’t even here last month! Why do I gotta pay that guy’s rent?”

Jimmy “J.J.” Walker killing it onstage at Broadway Comedy Club! The audience loved him!

In talking about doing drug testing of post office employees, he said, “The one drug you won’t find is speed!”

And in talking about crime, he told of a 21 year old man who tried to rob a Toys ‘R Us with a toy gun. He was shot by a 5 year old with a real gun!

And he said, ” As crowded as jails are these days, they always seem to have room for Black people!”

He was just filled with funny lines. He said that Kim Kardashian is like Kryptonite for Black men, and that they tried to do a Real Housewives of San Francisco, but they couldn’t find any.

He even acted out scenes from a fictional Maury Povich show where the Black characters were named what sounded to me like Aquaneshia and Tyquarius, and he called “Cops” a Black reality show with a three tattoo minimum and a 4 tooth maximum.

I was so glad to see him being so funny after all these years. And he was so kind to his audience. He stayed afterwards to greet people who wanted to take photos and buy his merchandise.

Jimmy “J.J.” Walker and Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV at Al Martin’s Broadway Comedy Club!

It just goes to show you that being funny is like riding a bike. You never lose it, and if you fall off the end of the stage you get right back up and start telling jokes again!

Check out the cool video interview we did after the show!

The post Jimmy "J.J." Walker at Broadway Comedy Club appeared first on Jeffrey Gurian.

Marriage Proposal At Comedy Juice

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Mark Serritella is an interesting guy. He’s a comic/actor/writer/producer who runs the Comedy Juice shows that appear weekly at Gotham Comedy Club in NYC as well as The Hollywood Improv, The Irvine Improv, The Ice House in Pasadena and The Mad House Comedy Club in Downtown San Diego. He also has a show called Top Secret Comedy, which is at the Hollywood Improv once a month.

Mark Serritella producer of Comedy Juice on stage at Gotham Comedy Club!

That’s a lot to do, and anyone who’s produced even one show can attest to that. I’ve attended many of his CJ shows at Gotham but never had the chance to meet him. So when I heard he was in town I made sure to get over there to catch the show.

Even though he produces it he didn’t host it. He came on like just one of the other comics. The very funny Gibran Saleem hosted the show. I had just interviewed Gibran up in Montreal at the Just for Laughs Festival and since then I seem to run into him every few minutes at all the fun events in New York, like Wil Sylvince’s short comedy film festival “Short Cuts” which just took place a few days ago.

Gibran Saleem the Orthodox-Jewish Muslim onstage at Gotham Comedy Club!

Gibran identified himself as a progressive Muslim. As a matter of fact he said he’s so progressive, he’s Jewish! That’s the kind of comedy that brings people together!

Todd Barry was the first up and he even commented that he was too famous to go on first, but he had to be someplace so he did it. Todd can actually make me laugh out loud, against my will! People in comedy have the ability to hear funny jokes and just say, ” That’s funny! That’s very funny! I’m actually hysterical!” without even smiling. It’s very bizarre. Although when a friend is onstage we do have the ability to laugh very loudly as a sign of support!

The extremely funny and laid back Todd Barry onstage at Gotham for Comedy Juice!

Mark Serritella came on third, and was very funny. He did lines I would do myself, like referencing a baby in a full business suit, and other babies would say, ” Wow, what a successful baby!” I love stuff like that. It reminded me of a film I wrote and shot many years ago called ” Children Who Disguise Themselves as Businesssmen”, and it starred my three year old daughter Elizabeth who came to the door wearing one of my suits, which needless to say did not fit her very well! ( And if it’s needless to say, why did I say it? LOL) I asked for a moment of her time and she said, ” Call me at the office!” and slammed the door in my face! Only she pronounced it ” Call me OUT the office!” It was very cute.

Mark Serritella who runs Comedy Juice shows out of L.A., onstage at Gotham.

It was followed by an expose of a woman who refused to admit that her husband, supposedly a well-known businessman was in fact a new born infant. I rang the bell, and my wife came to the door holding an infant wearing a tie. That infant was my second daughter Kathryn, who played a man in this scene. I said, ” Does your husband happen to be home? And she said, ” This IS my husband.” And when I tried to convince her that it was just an infant wearing a tie, she got angry and said, ” When a man marries a woman a little younger than himself no one says anything! I don’t understand what all the fuss is about!” And she too slammed the door in my face!

Mark was also great in interacting with the audience. He spoke to a couple who said they met in the first grade and have only been dating for 9 months and Mark looked right at them and exclaimed, ” You guys are HUGE for first graders!” He also does impressions which people always love.

He’s been on lots of popular podcasts, Byron Allen’s Entertainers, Who Wants to Date A Comedian?, Comedy Central’s Open Mic Fight, The ‘About Last Night Podcast’ with Sean Astin, featured in the Huffington Post, the front page of Funny or Die and Business Weekly… and he’s been part of The Boston Comedy Festival 5 times. He’s toured all over Europe and The Middle East entertaining the troops, and has three CDs, which are played on SIRIUS/XM Satellite Radio. His 4th will be out this coming hear. You can see more on his website http://www.markserritella.com

Pete Davidson was also on the show. Pete’s about 21 and has been performing for years already. He was inspired to perform by the loss of his firefighter Dad on 9/11. He’s Nick Cannon’s protege, and I also interviewed him in Montreal recently. We had a blast at some of the big parties and whenever I looked over at him he was dancing his butt off, so I know he had a lot of fun.

Pete Davidson onstage at Gotham Comedy Club!, claiming womanhood!

He’s about 6’3″ and very, very thin and when he came out on stage he said, ” Hi, I’m a woman!” And then went on to explain that he had no Dad and was raised by all women so he thinks like a woman! The crowd loved him.

Then a guy named Adam Ray came up and I had never seen him before. He was great! A good looking guy with a really resonant voice. He said the way he wears his hair makes him look like he should be fist pumping all the time. Even at the bank.

Adam Ray from L.A. at Gotham Comedy Club for Comedy Juice!

He’s in the recent film “The Heat” with Sandra Bullock and Melissa Mccarthy and I predict you’ll be seeing a lot of him. He’s very funny!

And Elliot Chang was the closer, and he’s also a NY transplant living in LA.

Elliot Chang looking very wistful onstage at Gotham Comedy Club in Manhattan!

Elliot is reliably funny and did a super job, but when the show was over it wasn’t really over. During the show Gibran and other comics had been having a kind of “back and forth” with a guy and girl in the audience. After the show he called them both up on stage for a little surprise, and asked the girl to turn around.

The proposal! A guy in the audience proposed to his girlfriend during Comedy Juice!

She's shocked but said "Yes!"

The audience went wild as they hugged it out, and all thanks to Comedy Juice!

The guy got down on one knee and proposed and she accepted. The crowd went wild! So Comedy Juice led to a wedding! Very rare in the comedy business. Most shows lend themselves more to divorce! (LOL)

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

Friday, August 16th, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Day With Karen Black on Kroll Show

Friday, August 9th, 2013

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

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

.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Karen Black on set with Nick Kroll as Gil Faison!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hey Jeff,

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

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

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

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!

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

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BLANK SPACE FOR HUGE STARS!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cult Comedy Pictures Is On The Move!!!

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Every so often I come across someone who’s doing something really different or has what I consider to be extraordinary talent. Such is the case with a group called “Cult Comedy Pictures.”

It’s a whole gang of guys, who mix their skills both behind and in front of the camera to come up with some very funny short videos!

And if you don’t believe me see for yourself!

Cult Comedy Pictures has a channel on you Tube!

The troupe is made up of Lance Rizzo, George Gaffney, Jake Hart, Brent Katz, Justin Williams, Jackie Brown, Mark Baker, Jose Vega, Akash Bhasin, Patrick Kendall, Albert Elmazovski, and Michael Huss, and they call in other actors (male and female) to play parts in scripts that they write.

Lance Rizzo helping Akash Bhasin as Count Hackula put on his make-up and fangs! You can figure out for yourselves which one is Lance Rizzo! (LOL)

I had the good fortune to be in one of them, and playing myself again as I’ve been doing a lot lately on things like Comedy Central’s hit “Kroll Show” in a sketch with Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, and in a red carpet scene in John Gallagher’s new film called “Act, Naturally.”

I’m actually heading out to LA next week to shoot yet another Kroll Show episode where I will also be playing myself on the red carpet***. (***Note that I said “playing myself” not “playing WITH myself!” LOLOL)

The Cult Comedy Pictures video was kind of a faux documentary, written by George Gaffney, about a hack comic who goes by the name of “Count Hackula” played perfectly by Akash Bhasin, a comedian of Indian descent, who really nailed the Transylvanian accent of Count Hackula. He had a fantastic costume complete with fangs, one of which kept slipping off during the shooting and made for a lot of laughs!

Akash Bhasin in character as Count Hackula, unable to hide his fangs as he sings his cover of the old Bob Hope favorite, " Fangs For The Memories!"

Hackula’s been around for centuries and never bothered to even write one new line. My job was to interview him as I do for Comedy Matters TV and we shot the thing in my place in Manhattan. My “main squeeze” was with me and was played by the lovely and talented Brianna Dunphy who is also an accomplished burlesque dancer!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with his Cult Comedy Pictures "girlfriend" Brianna Hurley on the set of " Count Hackula!"

They shot us on the couch and then lounging in bed, which is where I do some of my best work! (LOL)

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Brianna Hurley "in bed" under a photo of Jeffrey!

When I asked Count Hackula if in all the centuries that’s he’s been performing he ever even had representation, he laughed and said ” Agents and managers, … they’re all bloodsuckers!”

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing hack comic known as Count Hackula at the piano where Hackula was tickling the ivories!

Cult Comedy came in with a crew and very sophisticated equipment, by the standards of most of the shoots I’ve seen. Everyone was very dedicated to their craft, and George Gaffney who is also a performer, wrote the script, but was very cool about letting the actors improvise, which often makes for a better product.

This day he spent lots of time on the computer writing and re-writing to get the script just where we wanted it.

Co-founder of Cult Comedy Pictures George Gaffney who's often "on the mic" but this time is "on the Mac!"

Albert Elmazovski and Brent Katz working hard to line up a shot, so as not to have to move my piano!

Albert using his own special technique for lining up a shot through the palm of his hand while semi-propped up on the floor!

Akash Bhasin showing his dedication to Cult Comedy Pictures by shaving off his beard for the role of Count Hackula, without even knowing where he could get another one! Now that's dedication!

Everyone had patience galore which is what you need on one of these things, and we shot from morning to night so that we could get it all done in time for the live show coming up at The Duplex on Saturday, June 8th at 7 P.M.

Using the downtime wisely, George Gaffney writing and re-writing, Lance Rizzo checking out the location and Albert Elmazovski trying out his new "lying under the tripod technique" to get better sound!

I’m proud to say I will also be in that show, and am coming back from LA early just to be in it! I believe in these guys, and think they have something very cool, very different, and very hip to offer! Plus we had a blast as you might be able to tell from some of these photos.

Special thanks to Albert and Brent for their spectacular audio and visual work!

Brent Katz chillin' on the couch between takes!

I can’t wait to see the finished product and also to attend and perform in the live show coming up on Saturday, June 8th, at 7 P.M. at The Duplex on Christopher Street, (http://www.theduplex.com)

Invite for live show on Saturday, June 8th at The Duplex! Come on down and join us!

To purchase tickets click on this link!

David Cross and Arrested Development Returns Sunday May 26th, 2013

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Netflix, the world’s leading Internet television network with more than 36 million members in 40 countries, is going all out to promote the fact that it’s bringing back the highly anticipated return of the hit show “Arrested Development”, with a fourth season this coming Sunday, May 26th.

Starting in London, they are launching the Bluth’s Original Frozen Banana Stand Worldwide Tour. As of May 8th, Bluth’s Original Frozen Banana Stand will pop up in different locations around London on May 8th, 9th, 15th and the 21st. The banana stand will then come to the US and appear in different cities leading up to the show’s debut on May 26th.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters Tv with David Cross in Montreal at The Just for Laughs Festival where David is doing his best to cover up Jeffrey's first book "Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive!"

The series was created by it’s Exec Producer Mitch Hurwitz, and all 15 new episodes of the Emmy® Award-winning comedy will be available for Netflix members to watch instantly at launch in all territories where Netflix is available – U.S., Canada, the UK, Ireland, Latin America, Brazil and the Nordics. The first three seasons of “Arrested Development” are currently available to stream in all Netflix territories.

The storyline of “Arrested Development” centers around Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) and his eccentric family comprised of his son George Michael (Michael Cera), his father George Bluth Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor), his mother Lucille (Jessica Walter), his brothers George Oscar Bluth II, known as Gob (pronounced Jobe) played by (Will Arnett), Buster Bluth (Tony Hale) and sister Lindsay Funke (Portia de Rossi), Lindsay’s husband Tobias (David Cross) and their daughter Maeby (Alia Shawkat). Ron Howard, another one of the the Exec Producers is the offscreen narrator.

Other Exec Producers besides Hurwitz are Brian Grazer, Jim Vallely and Troy Miller, and it is produced by Imagine TV and 20th Century Fox Television for Netflix. Some pretty heavyweight names!

The hit series originally aired on FOX from 2003-2006, but in this new season each episode will be told from the point of view of a different character, which Hurwitz said made it easier to get the original stars to return. There’s also been rumours of a possible Arrested Development movie.

Details on the banana stand’s location and other activities can be found on Twitter at @ArrestedDev

David Cross is best known for his stand-up, and for his HBO hit show “Mr. Show” that ran from 1995-1998 and co-starred Bob Odenkirk. Bob recently did a very serious role on HBO’s hit show “Breaking Bad” where he played a sleazy lawyer, and did it very well I might add!

David Cross with king of comedy Louis CK in Montreal at the Just for Laughs Festival!

I recently interviewed David, who plays Tobias Funke, (two dots over the “u”, which I’m not sure how to do so just try and picture that in your mind! LOL), at an event at The Friars Club:

Mission Statement

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

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

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