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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!

Lovelace Starring Amanda Seyfried Opens in NYC

Friday, August 9th, 2013

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

Lovelace poster, starring Amanda Seyfried as Linda Lovelace!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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!

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:

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!

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