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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!

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:

John Catsimatidis: Republican Hope for Mayor on Sept. 10th

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Anyone who knows me knows I’m not particularly political. I’m more of a common sense guy. I like to think I’m independent, and a guy who votes for someone based on their platform, not on their label. I recently attended a luncheon for John Catsimatidis, which is not an easy name to spell and the reason he’s often referred to as John CATS. His name may be difficult but his message is clear.

John Catsimatidis, New Yorker's choice for a safe city!

As one who lived through New York’s crime wave I recall what it was like in the bad old days. John is committed to not allowing that to happen again by keeping our streets safe and our police strong. The other candidates seem to be going in reverse.

As a man who came from humble beginnings and grew that into immeasurable success John knows how to create jobs. Starting as a local grocer, he now employs over 8,000 people as the head of Red Apple Group and the owner of the Gristedes chain of supermarkets! I’m guessing that “Gristedes” was easier to pronounce than Catsimatidis! (LOL) I’ll have to ask him about that next time I see him!

Jeffrey Gurian with Republican Mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis!

He has worked with law enforcement to develop programs designed to combat crime, including helping youth to find meaningful employment. Guys with good jobs don’t have the time to commit crimes!

And he has lots of ideas about improving our education system. He was recently endorsed by former Gov. Pataki, and the Liberal Party. The great thing about John, as Gov. Pataki emphasized is that John’s not a career politician and owes no one any favors.

This day John addressed a packed room of ardent supporters and was accompanied by his lovely wife Margo who is his constant companion every time I’ve seen him, and his son John Jr.

Republican Mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis at the podium addressing his supporters!

The room was overflowing with supporters for John Catsimatidis, Republican candidate for Mayor!

John Catsimatidis pointing to his wife Margo who is about to take the podium and address the crowd!

John Catsimatidis Sr. and Jr. applauding one of the other speakers at the luncheon.

I also got to meet John at a performance of my buddy Tony LoBianco’s hit off-Broadway one-man show, “The Little Flower” about our previous Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia who presided over this city from 1934-1945 and who some felt was the best Mayor we ever had. John sponsors Tony’s performances and makes tickets available for anyone who would like to come.

It’s a very generous, and ingenious way to combine getting people to come out and have a wonderful evening and also have an opportunity to meet the candidate.

And he has some really great commercials that point out all that I’ve said:

So on Sept. 10th, when they hold the Republican primary, I think the choice is pretty clear, John Catsimatidis for the next Mayor of NYC.

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!

“In The Life” with Steve Stanulis

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Steve Stanulis is one of those guys who does a lot of things. He’s an actor/writer/producer/director, and I met him originally through accomplished film director John Gallagher.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with actor/writer/producer Steve Stanulis at The DL, for Steve's show " In The Life"!

Both of us recently shot scenes for John’s new film called ” Act, Naturally” with his hilarious and talented co-stars Mia Pinchoff and Samantha Scaffidi.

(L-R) Mia Pinchoff with the lucky Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, and Samantha Scaffidi on the red carpet of the shoot for the John Gallagher directed film "Act, Naturally!"

Steve has a very interesting and eclectic history. At 18 years of age he was a Chippendales dancer, who worked under the name Steve Savage at the popular Manhattan club on East 61st Street.

At 20 years of age he entered the NYPD as a police officer, and worked in police precincts in Manhattan before being assigned to the 120th Precinct on Staten Island.

During the day he chased perps and at night he chased other things, as he strutted his stuff at Chippendales. He retired from the force in 2002 to pursue his goals in show biz.

I recently got to interview him on the red carpet of the Soho International Film Festival, an interview you will be seeing very soon, and I also went to see him perform in a play he wrote called “Stripped : The Play” about his days as a male stripper.

He co-wrote the script with the director Geoffrey Cantor, and in it he plays a character named Brock Hammer!

He took it to Las Vegas and now it’s in it’s second incarnation.

Every Thursday he tapes a show called ” In The Life” at the nightlife hotspot DL on Delancey Street in Lower Manhattan, and I was on as a guest.

It was a really fun show to do, and the guest who was on before me was Jake Robinson, one of the stars of the CW hit “The Carrie Diaries”, which is supposedly the prequel to “Sex and the City.”

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Jake Robinson of "The Carrie Diaries" at The DL!

And in the final segment Steve interviewed the five new guys who will be in the new incarnation of “Stripped”, Steve’s hot play about male strippers. Only Brian, who admits to being 50, but is in killer shape, has been in it before!

I actually saw it and it was really good. I can’t wait to see the new incarnation!

(L-R) Brenton Duplessie, Brett Zarfit, Darnell, Brian, Steve Stanulis, and in the back Alejandro!,

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