It’s a long-standing tradition that once a year The Friars Club raises money for charity by “Roasting” a huge star, where a couple of thousand people show up in the Grand Ballroom of The Hilton Hotel to hear other big stars say filthy things about the honoree. It’s been going on since 1950 when they Roasted Sam Levenson! Most of you will have absolutely no idea who that even was! (LOL)
More recently it’s been Donald Trump, Quentin Tarantino, Matt Lauer, Hugh Hefner, Kelsey Grammer, and on and on!
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Friars Roastee Jack Black on the red carpet at the Hilton Hotel in NYC!
This year it was the multi-talented Jack Black star of stage and screen, who besides being an actor is also a producer, comedian, voice over artist, writer and musician. He’s best known for his film roles in High Fidelity, School of Rock, King Kong, Nacho Libre, Tropic Thunder, Bernie and Kung Fu Panda 1 and 2. He told me he’s working on Kung Fu Panda #3, which you can hear for yourself in the video right here:
He’s also a rock star with his comedy rock group Tenacious D which he formed back in 1991 with his friend Kyle Gass.
Jack Black on the red carpet of the Friars Roast in his honor being interviewed by Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV!
Bob Saget was the Roast Master and I hadn’t seen Bob since last July when he hosted one of the TV galas at the 30th annual Just for Laughs Festival, the biggest comedy festival in the world. He was hosting the “triple XXX” show, and I told him today that it seems that the raunchier the show, the more clean-cut his appearance. He agreed with me! He also reminded me that the last time he saw me in Montreal, he bumped his head!
Bob Saget with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV holding Jeffrey's new book " Make 'Em Laugh" , for which Bob gave him a blurb that reads, "No matter how many years pass, I can never say "No" to Jeff Gurian. Hence this quote on his book's back cover!"
Watch that video right here:
Bob gave me the nicest blurb for the back of my recent book “Make ‘Em Laugh” when he wrote “No matter how many years pass I can never say “No” to Jeff Gurian! Hence this quote on his book’s back cover!”
I was shooting video interviews on the red carpet and besides speaking with Jack and Bob, I also got some very cool interviews with Artie Lange, Amy Schumer, Gene Simmons of Kiss and his Family Jewels, The Beach Boys who I got to thank for saving my life in high school, Padma Lakshmi and more!
Gene Simmons was there with his wife Shannon Tweed and his son Nick, who’s really handsome and about 6’5″ at the very least! Gene is 6’2″ and Nick towered over him. When I told Gene that he was with his Family Jewels, Shannon corrected me and told me that Sophie wasn’t able to come and join them!
Amy Schumer and I talked a lot about her new show debuting very soon on Comedy Central called “Inside Amy Schumer” and about all the guest stars who have agreed to be on with her! She was very humbly amazed that they all said “Yes” to appearing!
I will be posting the video interviews as soon as I edit them! Stay tuned and please “Subscribe” to my Comedy Matters TV channel at http://www.youtube.com/guriannewsnetwork
After four years of work, my book “Make ‘Em Laugh” with Richie Tienken, owner/founder of the legendary comedy club The Comic Strip finally came out, and is in bookstores all across the country.
The front cover of "Make 'Em Laugh" with an intro. by Chris Rock, and interviews with Seinfeld, Ray Romano, Billy Crystal, Lisa Lampanelli, Gilbert Gottfried, Susie Essman and tons more!
It’s about the 35 year history of the club which Richie opened on June 1, 1976, and which is still going strong. I got the idea for it back in 2008 while at the club one afternoon with Ann Curry and Gilbert Gottfried, coaching Ann on how to do stand-up comedy for some event she was doing, and I suggested to Richie that we do a book on the club.
(L-R) Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, Ann Curry, PR guru Ryan McCormick, Gilbert Gottfried, and Richie Tienken, owner/founder of The Strip!
It took three years to get all the interviews and transcribe them from the digital audio recordings, because I did it all by myself. Every word. Every single word. It takes a long time to listen to an hour long conversation, which most of them were, if not longer, and transcribe every single word, by constantly pressing “Repeat” and playing each sentence over and over again to make sure you got it correctly.
That first summer, I went up to the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal and got the first three interviews with Larry Miller, George Wallace and Paul Provenza.
Larry Miller with Jeffrey Gurian at The Comic Strip!
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV backstage with George Wallace at Just for Laughs in Montreal, the biggest comedy festival in the world!
At the end besides having a killer, hilarious introduction from Chris Rock, I had interviews with Jerry Seinfeld, Billy Crystal, Ray Romano, Paul Reiser, Gilbert Gottfried, Susie Essman, Colin Quinn, Paul Provenza, Jim Gaffigan, Lewis Black, Judah Friedlander, Lisa Lampanelli and many more! A book filled with stories from comedy legends on how they got their start and wound up at The Comic Strip.
Jeffrey Gurian, Jerry Seinfeld and Richie Tienken at The Comic Strip after Jerry's interview for the book!
Richie Tienken, Ray Romano, and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at The Comic Strip after Ray's interview for the book " Make 'Em Laugh!"
Although Gilbert Gottfried claimed he had never actually been there and just showed up to the interview for a free lunch! He did admit to having heard rumours around 1974 that a club would be opening so he stood in that spot for years waiting for it to open, and he heard it did eventually open and had electricity. He also heard that many comics came there for dessert, at which point he started yelling out to no one in particular that he wanted a Peach Melba!
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, Gilbert Gottfried, and Richie Tienken trying to get Gilbert to admit he had ever performed at The Comic Strip!
This was as Richie Tienken was getting nauseous after having paid $50. to park, and was picking up the tab for lunch, to hear Gilbert say he had never been to the club. Needless to say, the interview was pure Gilbert, and hysterically funny.
I flew to LA to interview Billy Crystal, and that was really a treat. I hadn’t seen him in many years, and we got to reminisce about the days when I was a dentist and his manager at the time, the legendary Jack Rollins, who also managed Woody Allen and Robin Williams, wanted him to play me in a sit-com about a dentist in show biz.
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Billy Crystal in his offices in Beverly Hills! Billy is pointing to his teeth referencing Jeffrey's former life as a dentist!
Most of the interviews were done at The Comic Strip because Richie and I felt it would be advantageous for the comics to be in that environment because it would help to bring back memories and it did.
We got to hear great stories like how Chris Rock was discovered by Eddie Murphy in 1986 when Eddie was considered the biggest star in the world and was being managed by Richie at the time. Or how Ray Romano started his career under the name “Jackie Roberts” for the first two or three months.
Then he “bombed” one night and experienced stage fright, so he quit and went back to selling futons for his best friend, which became an episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond!” Two years later he returned to comedy at The Comic Strip under the name Ray Romano and the rest is history!
Richie Tienken, Chris Rock, and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at The Comic Strip after Chris' interview for the book " Make 'Em Laugh!"
Interestingly enough, he even delivered a futon to Larry David who was already well known and true to character, was not happy with the futon, and made Ray take it back.
We have Jerry Seinfeld’s first sign-up sheet on the night he auditioned to perform at The Strip on June 17th, 1976. In those days you were rated, and Jerry was rated “Good” and then someone wrote, ” Definitely put on Monday, 6/21.” That person was smart!
And blurbs! You wanna see blurbs? I got so many celeb blurbs they almost had to use a separate page. I got blurbs from Judd Apatow the king of Hollywood comedies, Richard Lewis, Charles Grodin, Nick Kroll, (whose new “Kroll Show” comes out on Comedy Central in January with me on it!), Bob Saget, (who was kind enough to write: “No matter how many years pass, I can never say no to Jeff Gurian. Hence this quote on his book’s back cover!”) Plus Tom Papa, Danny Aiello, Mike Birbiglia, DJ Cassidy and more!
Back cover of "Make 'Em Laugh" with blurbs from Judd Apatow, Richard Lewis, Tom Papa. Nick Kroll, Mike Birbiglia, Bob Saget and more!!!
Since the book came out we’ve been getting a lot of attention. Tons of press. A great review from Larry Getlen in the NY Post, an interview on NBC TV, Channel 4, 7 P.M. news with Roseanne Coletti, an interview with WPIX TV, Channel 11 with reporter Dan Mannarino, which will be airing the week of Dec. 10th, radio interviews with Judith Regan, and Ron Bennington of “Ron and Fez” on Sirius Radio, plus radio shows all over the country.
And the book is in the hands of lots of huge comedy stars like Chris Tucker, JB Smoove, Artie Lange, Colin Quinn, and Judah Friedlander to name a few!
Chris Tucker and Jeffrey Gurian up at Sirius Radio with Chris' copy of the book " Make 'Em Laugh"!
Jeffrey Gurian with Artie Lange at The Comic Strip with Artie's copy of the book " Make 'Em Laugh!"
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Richard Belzer at The Friars Club. Jeffrey is holding Richard's book, and Richard is holding his copy of Jeffrey's book "Make 'Em Laugh!"
The book is available in all Barnes and Noble stores in NYC, and on Amazon.com
Coming up, I’ll be doing a guest spot on Artie Lange’s new podcast with Nick DePaolo, talking about the book and all things comedy!
The Comic Strip opened on June 1st of 1976. It’s an iconic comedy club on the Upper East Side of NYC, that launched the careers of stars like Jerry Seinfeld, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Ray Romano, Paul Reiser, George Wallace, Gilbert Gottfried, Jim Gaffigan, Lewis Black, Lisa Lampanelli, and many more.
Richie Tienken, Chris Rock, and Jeffrey Gurian at The Comic Strip after Chris' interview for the book "Make 'Em Laugh" for which Chris also write the hilarious intro!
One day,on June 16th of 2008 I was at The Strip with Ann Curry, Gilbert Gottfried, and PR powerhouse Ryan McCormick of Goldman/McCormick PR, and after looking at all the talent on the walls, I suggested to owner/founder Richie Tienken that we do a book on the history of the club. He came to my house to talk about it, and saw even more photos than HE had in the club (LOL), and decided to trust me to tell his story. That was the long and the short of it.
(L-R) Jeffrey Gurian, Ann Curry, Ryan McCormick, Gilbert Gottfried, and Richie Tienken all trying to figure out why Ann looks so surprised! Maybe she heard it would take four years to do the book, and couldn't believe it!
The front cover of "Make 'Em Laugh" by Jeffrey Gurian and Richie Tienken with an intro. by Chris Rock!
That July, of 2008 I went up to the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, which is the biggest comedy festival in the world, and did my first three digital audio interviews. First was with Larry Miller at his hotel, then George Wallace in a restaurant, and then Paul Provenza at the main hotel where the festival was being held.
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Larry Miller at The Strip! Larry was the very first comic interviewed for the book!
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV backstage with George Wallace at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, 2008. George was the 2nd comic to be interviewed for the book!
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Paul Provenza, at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, 2008. Paul was the the 3rd comic to be interviewed for the book!
From that point on, it took the next four years to see this book on a shelf in Barnes and Noble. I was on a quest to get every big star I could, who had come out of The Strip, to be interviewed for the book. And most of them came into the club to do it during the afternoon when we wouldn’t be disturbed. Richie and I would meet them there and sit casually in the showroom while we reminisced about the old days, into my recorder.
Jeffrey Gurian and Richie Tienken at The Comic Strip with Jerry Seinfeld after his interview for the book "Make 'Em Laugh"!
We felt it was helpful to do it in the club, because we thought, and rightly so, that being in the club would help bring back memories, and it did. During Paul Reiser’s interview, he claims to have suddenly remembered for the first time ever, what started the annual New Year’s day brunch that he has attended every year for the last 30 years or more with Jerry Seinfeld, Larry Miller, and Mark Schiff. There was originally a fifth guy named Michael Cain, but unfortunately he passed away many years ago, way before his time.
(L-R) Richie Tienken, Ray Romano, and Jeffrey Gurian at The Comic Strip after Ray's interview for the book, " Make 'Em Laugh"!
So the book has cool stories from Jerry Seinfeld, Ray Romano, who came in with his long-time manager Rory Rosegarten who he had met at The Strip, Jim Gaffigan, Susie Essman, Lisa Lampanelli, Gilbert Gottfried, Paul Provenza, Lewis Black, Judah Friedlander, Jeffrey Ross, Tony Rock, Adam Ferrara, and so many more!
I even flew out to LA to interview Billy Crystal which was a very special one to me, since during the middle of the interview he realized he knew me from the legendary Jack Rollins, who managed him, Robin Williams, and Woody Allen, back in the day!
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Billy Crystal in his Beverly Hills office! Billy is pointing to his teeth referencing Jeffrey's rumored history as a former dentist! (LOL)
I wanted to do all the interviews before looking for an agent and a book deal, because I knew that agents would be skeptical of someone saying they could get this many interviews, with such big stars, and I wanted to be able to walk in with them already done.
After three painstaking years of doing interviews, and transcribing them by hand, my pal media powerhouse Judith Regan, introduced me to her agent at N.S. Bienstock, because she said for a celeb-filled book like this I need a powerful agent, and I spent most of the fourth year editing it down to the length that Skyhorse Publishing wanted it to be.
Media heavyweight Judith Regan and Jeffrey Gurian holding the book that she made possible, "Make 'Em Laugh"!
I started with about 500 pages, and had to whittle it down to about 250 pages. I have all the stories digitally recorded on a disk, so our next project will probably be a CD of the stories that didn’t make it into the book!
Then I had to get blurbs for the book’s back cover, so I went to some of my famous friends and contacts and asked them to read the galleys and to provide meaningful blurbs and I got amazing stuff from ten people; Barry Katz, co-creator of Last Comic Standing, Judd Apatow, the king of Hollywood comedies, Richard Lewis, Mike Birbiglia, Charles Grodin, Elayne Boosler the first woman ever to have a cable TV special, Danny Aiello, Michael Imperioli, Nick Kroll star of the upcoming The Kroll Show, on Comedy Central, Tom Papa, and even DJ Cassidy, the world famous DJ who is also the DJ for Russell Simmons’ show “The Ruckus” hosted by JB Smoove!
The back cover of "Make 'Em Laugh" with blurbs from Barry Katz, Richard Lewis, Mike Birbiglia, Charles Grodin, Elayne Boosler, Danny Aiello, Michael Imperioli, Nick Kroll, Tom Papa, Bob Saget, and DJ Cassidy!
Speaking of JB Smoove, this summer in Montreal, I was the official celeb interviewer and shot 40 interviews with stars like Chelsea Handler,Bob Saget, Joel McHale, JB Smoove, Marc Maron, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, Adam Carolla, and Howie Mandel, …
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Chelsea Handler at Just for Laughs in Montreal!
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Bob Saget backstage at Bob's gala at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal!
… and one night I got Jay Pharoah from SNL reading Chris Rock’s intro from my book, in Chris Rock’s voice, to entertain JB Smoove and a bunch of comedy execs that were hanging out in the lobby! That you must see, and it’s right here:
For the past 15 years Rob Goldstone and David Wilson founders of Oui 2 Public Relations have been creating HUGE events and representing even bigger stars! They have a national and international network of connections.
Even in his early days, Rob was a force to be reckoned with. Originally from the U.K., (which is where he got that great accent! LOL) he traveled with Michael Jackson, as the only journalist personally chosen by Michael to cover his “down under” tour in Australia, and was chosen to accompany Bob Geldof to Ethiopia for his Band Aid Relief Fund concert back in 1985.
While living in Australia Rob represented almost every major international artist touring that country; from Cyndi Lauper to Julio Iglesias, James Taylor, Tracy Chapman, BB King, Marianne Faithful and Poison! Among his corporate clients were Saatchi and Saatchi, The Hard Rock Cafe, Chess: The Musical, Richard Branson’s Virgin Megastores, and HMV Music Stores.
After returning to England in 1991, he moved to The States the following year as the Head of International Marketing for HMV Group, (part of EMI Records)- a position he held until 1998. In this capacity, he oversaw the international marketing for the world’s largest music retail corporation, from the U.S. and Canada, to the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Japan, and Australia. His work led to close working relationships with artists, managers, and record labels across the globe.
David Wilson made similar moves, starting out in Northern California where he grew up, and winding up in Sydney, Australia, where he began his PR career at Rob Goldstone’s company, Crawford Goldstone Corporation, which at the time was one of the leading entertainment/lifestyle PR firms in the country. He moved first to London and then to NYC where he worked with a cross section of both music and entertainment heavyweights including Joe Cocker, Lisa Stansfield, Warner Bros. TV, Atlantic Records, HMV Records, and the New York Friars Club.
Which brings me to the purpose of this post. Yesterday I personally witnessed the talent of these two Oui 2 guys as they pulled off two HUGE events in the same day! I first attended the red carpet event for the Friars Club Roast of Betty White, and finished off the day by covering the red carpet for the Caron Foundation event at Cipriani’s on 42nd STreet, in honor of Clive Davis and Judy Collins.
Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV with Gilbert Gottfried at the Betty White Roast!
Needless to say, (then why am I saying it? LOL) both were star-studded events, and packed with press. David and Rob made sure that everything ran smoothly, and you could see how hard David was working by how wet his shirt was! LOL Despite the tremendous pressure, and various demands made on him, he was still very accomodating.
The actual red carpet was so crowded with photogs and press, that David was kind enough to set me up with a spot at the end, so I could get some great video interviews for Comedy Matters TV with legends like Dick Cavett, Larry King, and Abe Vigoda, as well as Prior of The Friars Club Stewie Stone.
Larry King, making a point to both Uggie from The Artist, and Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV at the Betty White Roast!
Old friends Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV and actor/singer Dominic Chianese at the Friars Roast for Betty White!
Although I didn’t get to talk to Betty White or some of my old pals like Norm Crosby,(who just didn’t hear me when I called out to him! LOL), and Liza Minelli, I did get to talk to Donny Deutsch, who was shocked that I had met his parents at a comedy event I produced at the Westbury Country Club, Dominic Chianese who was shocked that we hadn’t seen each other in so long, and legendary talent agent Don Buchwald who was just plain shocked that I wanted to do an interview with him, (he’s just very humble!LOL)
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Donny Deutsch at the Friars Club Roast of Betty White!
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with the legendary Liza Minelli at an earlier event! I missed her at both the Roast and the Caron event!
After the Roast, I went home to change my clothes so I wouldn’t be dressed the same in both events, got hold of a second DP to shoot the Clive Davis/Judy Collins event, and headed over to Cipriani’s where I got to interview not only Clive, and reminisce with him about the time I got him invited to his first Friars Roast, but also Laurie Dhue the MC for the evening, my old friend Chris Lawford, Geraldo Rivera, and Judy Collins, who pleasantly surprised both Geraldo and I by coming over to join us during our red carpet interview. It turned into a fantastic three-way, you should excuse the expression!
Patrick McMullen's photo of Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing both Geraldo Rivera and Judy Collins at the same time!
MC Laurie Dhue with Stephanie Seymour on the red carpet for the Caron Foundation event honoring Clive Davis and Judy Collins!
Geraldo Rivera with his wife Erica at the Caron event honoring Clive Davis and Judy Collins!
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with honoree Clive Davis at the Caron event at Cipriani's!
I also got to reminisce with Geraldo about an evening we spent with Salvador Dali many years before at the St. Regis Hotel in the King Cole Lounge where Dali held court whenever he was in New York!
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV reminiscing with Geraldo Rivera at Cipriani's about an evening long ago with Salvador Dali!
You’ll see lots more when the video is posted, in the meantime I just wanted to give props to Oui 2, and Rob and David, for their amazing accomplishment!
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