Posts Tagged Comedy Central

The Making of "Make ‘Em Laugh"- 35 Years of The Comic Strip

On June 15, 2008, I was at The Comic Strip with Ann Curry, and Gilbert Gottfried and we were giving Ann tips on how to do stand-up comedy for some kind of event she was preparing for. And despite the fact that I had been there for so many years, and had seen the walls before, I found myself transfixed by all the amazing memorabilia that I noticed that day.

Jeffrey Gurian, Ann Curry, Gilbert Gottfried, and Richie Tienken on the day that Jeffrey suggested doing a book on the iconic Comic Strip!

So I said to Richie Tienken, owner and founder of the club, “You know we should do a book on this club!”

I didn’t know that other people had suggested that to him before but for some reason he wound up not doing it with them. He came to my home for a meeting and ended by saying “You have more photos on your walls than I have at the club”, and he decided to trust me with telling his story, and the stories of all the huge stars that came out of the club.

Jeffrey Gurian and Richie Tienken in the lobby of Jeffrey’s building after their meeting to agree on doing the book!

The club officially opened on June 1, 1976 with Billy Crystal as the opening act. On JUne 17th a young, and unknown Jerry Seinfeld walked in to audition. In those days people were graded on their auditions. Jerry was graded “Good”, and then someone wrote on his sheet, “Definitely put on Mon. 6/21!” Whoever that person was had a good eye for comedy! Jerry stayed at The Strip for four years until he left for LA in 1980. It was his home club.

Jeffrey Gurian, Jerry Seinfeld, and Richie Tienken on the day of Jerry’s interview for the book!

In the book Jerry said he felt like he was born in 1976, because that’s when he began working at The Strip and that felt like the start of his life!

Eddie Murphy spent his early years at the club, and Richie Tienken was his manager for the years when Eddie was the biggest star in the world. That period of time spanned his days on SNL through Beverly Hills Cop 2.

The one night in 1986 Eddie came into The Strip and asked to see a Black comic. The only one around was a 19 year old Chris Rock who was setting up chairs in exchange for stage time, and had only performed for very small audiences at 2 or 3 A.M. Not wanting to disappoint Eddie, they put Chris up in front of a packed house on a Friday night, and Chris killed it in front of his idol.

Richie Tienken, Chris Rock, and Jeffrey Gurian at The Strip on the day we did Chris’ interview for the book!

That was the start of Chris’s rise to stardom. He hasn’t lost his gratitude for all that Richie did for him and wrote a fantastic, and funny introduction to the book.

He also came into the club and gave Richie and I a really super interview. Most of the big stars came into the club for their interviews because Richie and I felt that being surrounded by those four walls would bring back memories, and we were right.

Alan Colmes who many people don’t even know started his career as a stand-up comic came in wearing his 30 year old Comic Strip jacket that looked as if it was brand new.

Jeffrey Gurian with Alan Colmes wearing his original 30 year old Comic Strip jacket, which looked brand new!

In the middle of Paul Reiser’s interview he suddenly recalled what started the annual New Years Day brunch attended every Jan. 1, by himself, Jerry Seinfeld, Larry Miller and Mark Schiff. There had even been a fifth member of the group, a friend named Michael Cain but he passed away very young.

Gilbert Gottfried and Lisa Lampanelli got interviewed outside the club, and Jeffrey Ross got interviewed inside the club with a dual book/documentary film video interview at the same time. That experience taught us never to do that again! (LOL)

Jeffrey Gurian, Gilbert Gottfried and Richie Tienken at lunch at Pastis where GIlbert spent most of his interview denying he had ever been at The Comic Strip. He did say they had good electricity though!

Lisa Lampanelli and Jeffrey Gurian,(hidden behind the book! LOL) backstage at Westbury for Lisa’s recent sold-out performance

And then I flew out to LA to get an in office interview with Billy Crystal the first comic to hit the stage on opening night, back in 1976.

Other comics interviewed were Ray Romano, Susie Essman, Jim Gaffigan, Judah Friedlander, Larry Miller, George Wallace, Rick Overton, who has also gone on to have a very successful acting/film career, Jim Breuer, Tony Rock, Adam Ferrara, plus newer stars who frequent the club like Colin Jost and Jay Pharaoah from SNL.

Thanks to our agent J.L. Stermer from N.S. Bienstock, we got a deal with Skyhorse Publishing and the book is 250 pages down from the 500 I started out with. It took three years to get all of the interviews done and transcribed, because I did it myself by hand just by playing the interviews over and over again, and the fourth year was about editing and getting it down from 500 pages to the 250 that was needed. It was often a grueling process, but always a labor of love!

Since it came out, it’s gotten great reviews, tons of press, and lots of celeb attention as you can tell from the following photos.

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Comedy Matters Radio Launches on Sirius XM with Ron and Fez on Raw Dog

Many people have dreams that don’t get realized.  Every once in a while someone’s dream comes true!

One of my dreams has always to be a presence on the radio, and thanks to Ron and Fez that dream is being realized!

(L-R) Fez Whately, Jeffrey Gurian, and Ron Bennington in the Sirius XM studio on the next to last show before they moved to Raw Dog!

(L-R) Fez Whately, Jeffrey Gurian, and Ron Bennington in the Sirius XM studio on the next to last show before they moved to Raw Dog!

Over the years I’ve guested on many, many radio shows talking about my books, my comedy writing, and other assorted things, but this time is very special as I get to bring on well known comedians that I love and am friendly with.

I also get to cover the comedy scene in both New York and LA talking about what’s going on in the clubs, who got a spot on what show, and who’s doing what with whom, … comedy wise that is!!!

For instance my first promos were about NY comic Michele Buteau getting a spot in the FOX sit-com Enlisted, every Friday night at 9:30 P.M., and then the personally exciting news that Sasheer Zamata was chosen as a regular cast member of SNL, the first African-American female to be on the show as a regular in six years, since Maya Rudolph left, and the reason that’s so exciting to me is that she is featured in my new documentary film ” The Business of Comedy” which was on WNET, Channel 11 this past New years Eve at midnight!

And I was the one who brought her in to be in it.  We shot her interview at my apartment which is kind of like a comedy museum!

Jeffrey Gurian with new SNL cast member Sasheer Zamata in his apartment, during the shoot for the documentary film he co-produced and appeared in called "The Business of Comedy"!

Jeffrey Gurian with new SNL cast member Sasheer Zamata in his apartment, during the shoot for the documentary film he co-produced and appeared in called “The Business of Comedy”!

Lastly I promo’ed a story about LA comic Mark Schiff going on tour with Jerry Seinfeld.

They’ve been friends since the mid 70’s when they first started out, and Mark is one of the original  five guys who meet every year since 1980 in New York, for a New Years Day brunch and then walk across The Brooklyn Bridge. It’s Mark, Jerry Seinfeld, Larry Miller, and George Wallace.  Originally there was a fifth guy named Michael Cain but he passed away very young.

My first guest on Comedy Matters Radio was Colin Quinn.  I started with Colin for several reasons.  First I know him for many years, but mostly because I’m in awe of his talent.  He is the ultimate wordsmith, and has had four one-man shows which is an amazing feat.  I recall his first one, “An Irish Wake.”  I told him on air that I had gone to every one of his shows and he said he took it for granted that I was there because I’m EVERYWHERE!

His show Long Story Short which was directed by Jerry Seinfeld told the history of the entire world in 75 minutes.   It was an amazing accomplishment.  His new show Unconstitutional, is about the Constitution of the United States, a daunting topic to tackle comedically, and Colin worked for a year with a lot of that time dedicated to studying the Constitution and reading things like The Federalist Papers, in order to be able to handle questions from the “Constitution geeks” that would show up at his shows.

Colin is also interviewed in my book “Make ‘Em Laugh”, about the history of The Comic Strip, featuring a foreword by Chris Rock!

Jeffrey Gurian with Colin Quinn holding Jeffrey's book "Make 'Em Laugh" featuring an introduction with Chris Rock!

Jeffrey Gurian with Colin Quinn holding Jeffrey’s book “Make ‘Em Laugh” featuring an introduction with Chris Rock!

I saw Colin perform Unconstitutional this past summer at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, and it got amazing reviews.   I did a little interview with him for Comedy Matters TV:

He’s actually on tour with his show right now, but was kind enough to take time out to come in and inaugurate Comedy Matters Radio.  The next night he was in New Orleans at the Joy Theatre and the following night in Dallas at the Wyly Theatre.  He was in such a hurry that he forgot to plug his shows, but I did it for him after he left.

Next up is Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling, probably best known for his years on Howard Stern as Howard’s main writer.   He’s also been in several movies and performs all around the country in major venues.  Jackie knows more jokes than any other human being alive, and he’s been creating product like albums, books, toys, and in more recent years CD’s  for as long as I know him.

Jeffrey Gurian, Jackie Martling and Regina Gil head of the Gold Coast International Film Festival!

Jeffrey Gurian, Jackie  “The Joke Man” Martling and Regina Gil head of the Gold Coast International Film Festival!

Very recently we both participated in the Gold Coast International Film Festival.  I was the Head of Live Comedy Programming and produced a gala in honor of Susie Essman, and Jackie kicked off the festival with a pre-show that drew a full house.  I hosted that show and had the pleasure of opening for him, and also went on his radio show, Jackie’s Joke Hunt, to promote the festival, and to tell some nasty jokes!  He was also in one of the films called “Send No Flowers” with Sean Young!

I did this little Comedy Matters TV interview with him on the red carpet of the Gold Coast Festival:

I’m very much looking forward to his appearance on Comedy Matters Radio with Ron and Fez.  That’s this Tuesday, 1/14/14 at 2 P.M.

Jeffrey Gurian with Jackie Martling at the Gold Coast International Film Festival!

Jeffrey Gurian with Jackie (The Joke Man) Martling at the Gold Coast International Film Festival!

Please remember to follow me on Twitter at @jeffreygurian and please subscribe to Comedy Matters TV at http://www.comedymatterstv.com

 

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Tina Fey and Amy Poehler Host Golden Globes Again-Tonight on NBC

Last year when Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosted the Golden Globes, they both looked gorgeous and sexy, and viewership went up 17% over the year before, to almost 20 million people.  That’s a lot of people! Especially if you invite them all back to your house for a post-show snack!

I’m one of the lucky 20 million who got to tell Amy Poehler personally how much I enjoyed their performance.   It was on the set of Kroll Show, Comedy Central’s hit show starring Nick Kroll the man of a million characters, all of them funny, this past June.

Amy Poehler, Jeffrey Gurian, and Nick Kroll as Liz G. on the set of Comedy Central's hit Kroll Show!

Amy Poehler, Jeffrey Gurian, and Nick Kroll as Liz G. on the set of Comedy Central’s hit Kroll Show!

Nick had brought me out to LA to be in a sketch playing myself in a red carpet scene where I had to interact with Nick in character as Liz G., Laura Dern, Golden Globe-Award-winning actress, who played C-Czar’s mother, ( C-Czar is the toilet baby dating Pretty Liz!), internationally known singing sensation Katy Perry, and the super-talented UCB co-founder Amy Poehler!

Jeffrey Gurian with Laura Dern, as C-Czar's mom. on the LA set of Comedy Central's hit Kroll Show!

Jeffrey Gurian with Laura Dern, as C-Czar’s mom. on the LA set of Comedy Central’s hit Kroll Show!

Jeffrey Gurian with international singing star Katy Perry on the set of Kroll Show in LA!

Jeffrey Gurian with international singing star Katy Perry on the set of Kroll Show in LA!

What a thrill for me.  It’s enough to be on any show but when you get the opportunity to be on a show you absolutely LOVE it makes all the difference in the world.   Anyway after the shoot I got to tell Amy that she and Tina were incredible as hosts, and that I hoped they do it again.

Jeffrey Gurian with Amy Poehler on the LA set of Kroll Show in a sketch that will air in the new 2nd season!

Jeffrey Gurian with Amy Poehler on the LA set of Kroll Show in a sketch that will air in the new 2nd season!

When I think of comedy teams I think of the old greats Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, The Marx Brothers.  Comedy like that no longer exists.  It’s not hip enough.   Those guys probably couldn’t even get representation today.

Yet many young people still love the old comedies.

But there haven’t been any two women teams in comedy that I can think of and Tina and Amy  would be perfect to be the first ones to do it.  I told her that too! (LOL)

In their one co-starring movie, “Baby Mama” the film grossed more than $17 million in it’s opening weekend.

About a month or so later I saw Amy again in Montreal at The Just for Laughs Festival, and shot a little video with her again on the red carpet of the Just for Laughs Comedy Awards where she won for Comedy Person of the Year, in which she gave me the unexpected  honor of referring to me as her “co-star.”

Nick Kroll won for Breakout Comedy Star, even though he broke out a long time ago!  And John Mulaney who was recently written up in the NY Post as the next Jerry Seinfeld was there to present him with the award.

John also gave me a very unexpected shout-out in front of the entire comedy industry as he was introducing Andy Kindler to give his annual State of the Industry speech.  You can see it at the end of this little 3 minute video entitled “Who The F*@k is Jeffrey Gurian.”

I got to see Tina work in person when Tracy Morgan brought me to the set of 30 Rock where he was doing a scene with a horse.  I sat in the control booth with Tina’s husband Jeff Richmond and needless to say it was a really fun day! ( And if it was needless to say then why did I say it?)

Tina Fey, Jeffrey Gurian and Rachel Dratch at an Animal Fair event in NYC!

Tina Fey, Jeffrey Gurian and Rachel Dratch at an Animal Fair event in NYC!

Jeffrey Gurian with Tracy Morgan on the set of 30 Rock!

Jeffrey Gurian with Tracy Morgan on the set of 30 Rock!

Tracy Morgan and the horse he co-starred with in a scene from 30 Rock! I keep in touch with that horse!

Tracy Morgan and the horse he co-starred with in a scene from 30 Rock! I still keep in touch with that horse!

Tina and Amy have been friends for more than 20 years, as you can tell by the chemistry they have together.

Tina got SNL in 1997 and Amy came on in 2001 and since then they’ve become super-powers in Hollywood.  They both have 4 year deals with NBC, with Tina doing a new as yet unnamed series she’s writing with Robert Carlock the showrunner of 30 Rock, (how’s that for a credit on your resume?) , and Amy  has a new sit-com as well written with her brother Greg called ” Welcome to Sweden”, set to air this coming summer!

So tonight at 8 on NBC, I will be watching and cheering them on, and I’m sure you will too!

 

 

 

 

 

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Epix Presents: The Improv-Fifty Years Behind The Brick Wall

In 1963 a man named Budd Friedman changed the world.  And I’m not being over-dramatic.  He literally changed the world, and especially the world of entertainment, by opening what became the world’s first ever comedy club, The Improv.

Jeffrey Gurian with Budd Friedman in Montreal at the Just for Laughs Festival's celebration in honor of 50 years of The Improv., July 2013!

Jeffrey Gurian with Budd Friedman in Montreal at the Just for Laughs Festival’s celebration in honor of 50 years of The Improv., July 2013!

It was on 44th Street and 9th Avenue, in Manhattan, and it started out as a coffee house and a place for actors to come and hang out, and maybe get up on stage to perform after they got off stage at the nearby Broadway theatres.

At first it drew actors and singers, and then comedians began to come and perform.  Budd was the onstage host, and Danny Aiello was the door host/bouncer.   After a while more and more comics started showing up to hone their craft.

Before The Improv came along comics would perform only in nightclubs and theatres as part of variety shows, but there had never been an establishment that offered only stand-up comedy.

After a couple of years Budd noticed that the comics were predominating, and that the audiences loved it, so he started doing all comedy, hence the world’s first comedy club!

Fifty years later The Improv is still going strong on Melrose Avenue in LA.  I performed there a couple of times myself.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of The Improv, EPIX, the network that brings you the biggest movies including three of the biggest of 2012, like The Avengers, Skyfall, and The Hunger Games, is releasing “The Improv-Fifty Years Behind The Brick Wall” on Friday Dec. 6th, 2013.

Narrated by Adam Sandler and produced by Judy Pastore, Monica Bautista, Budd and his partner Mark Lonow, (who joined him in 1979), and Budd’s accomplished  daughter Zoe Friedman, who actually was the Exec. Producer, the film features footage with Judd Apatow, Lewis Black, Larry David, Jimmy Fallon, Sarah Silverman, Kathy Griffin, Jay Leno, Richard Lewis, Bill Maher, Ray Romano, Jerry Seinfeld, and Damon, Keenen, Marlon, and Shawn Wayans all in intimate sit-down recollections of their early days at The Improv. accompanied by archival video footage and rare photos.  Only a legend like Budd could assemble that many huge names!

And those are just some of the comedy stars he helped become household names.   Besides having Danny Aiello as his door host/bouncer, other workers went on to achieve greatness.

First there was Chris Albrecht who managed the club when Budd went to LA in 1975, and went on to become the Pres. of HBO, then Les Moonves, currently  the Pres. and CEO of CBS, who was a bartender.  There were the waitresses, like Karen Black, who I got to work with last year on Kroll Show, and who we just lost to cancer this past August, and cable TV’s pioneer female comic/legend Elayne Boosler,  who also toiled as a waitress, and then there were a couple of other door hosts you may have heard of including Keenen Ivory Wayans and Joe Piscopo.

Jeffrey Gurian, Nick Kroll as Gil Faison, Karen Black, and John Mulaney as George St. Geegland on the L.A. set of Kroll Show!

Jeffrey Gurian, Nick Kroll as Gil Faison, Karen Black, and John Mulaney as George St. Geegland on the L.A. set of Kroll Show!

Jeffrey Gurian with Keenen Ivory Wayans helping him cast the new "In Living Color".

Jeffrey Gurian with Keenen Ivory Wayans in NYC, helping him cast the new, but “ill-fated” “In Living Color”.

Jeffrey Gurian with Joe Piscopo at a fundraiser at Gotham Comedy Club!

Jeffrey Gurian with Joe Piscopo at a fundraiser at Gotham Comedy Club!

 

Jeffrey Gurian with comic extraordinaire Elayne Boosler at a Diabetes fundraiser she performed in produced by Jeffrey!

Jeffrey Gurian with comic extraordinaire Elayne Boosler at a Diabetes fundraiser she performed in produced by Jeffrey!

A&E immortalized Budd when they had him host “An Evening at The Improv” from his Hollywood club, which was a weekly series that ran from 1982 through 1996.  Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t performing in those days and never got to be on, but I watched the show religiously!

Over the years I got to know Budd and his partner Mark Lonow who joined him in 1979.  As a matter of fact, I wrote Budd and his lovely wife Alix into a feature film script I wrote in 1990 called Baby and Max, about a comic named Max Arnold who gets the worst gigs imaginable.  The film opens with Max trying to entertain a guy on Death Row.  He’s about to get the electric chair, and is already strapped in, and Max is in the execution room trying to tell him jokes.

On one of his other horrible gigs he’s trying to entertain passengers on a cross-country flight from NY to LA, by telling jokes in the main aisle of the plane, when he gets discovered by Budd Friedman who’s on the flight with his wife Alix. To find out what happens next you’ll have to come up with a budget to make the movie!

This past July at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, which is the biggest and oldest comedy festival in the world, Budd and Mark were honored with an award and the red carpet treatment.  I interviewed them both, once together on the red carpet and then separately!

Budd and I have history!  I recall many years ago he made a party in Montreal to honor Milton Berle who may have been the first honoree to be inducted into the Comedy Hall of Fame, and Milton invited me to attend as his guest.  He was also my sponsor in The Friars Club.  We sat at a long table, with Budd at the head, me on his right and Milton directly across from me.  Budd went to read the menu and put a monocle into his eye.  I had never seen that before and was kind of surprised.

Jeffrey Gurian and Milton Berle at the LA Friars in 1985!

Jeffrey Gurian and Milton Berle at the LA Friars in 1985!

Around 1970, I had created a character I called “Spoon-eye” who went around holding a spoon in his eye like  a monocle, as if he didn’t know it was there.  It sounds silly but at one point Conan O’Brien came out on his show with a spoon in his eye, and it took Cindy Adams to write that it was I who started that.  She wrote, “I don’t know who would even want to take credit for such a thing but it was Jeffrey Gurian who did it first.”   I actually showed it to Salvador Dali back around 1978, who was so intrigued he actually tried to put one of my spoons in his ear, instead of his eye.  I still have that spoon!

Jeffrey Gurian and his Spoon-Eye Club on an outing, circa 2003!

Jeffrey Gurian and his Spoon-Eye Club on an outing, circa 2003!

Anyway, when Budd put his monocle in I took out a spoon and put that it MY eye.  Budd looked at me like “What the heck are you doing?” and I made the mistake of trying to tell him it was very big on “The Coast.”  He said to me, “I live on The Coast and I NEVER saw anyone do that!”  Milton just sat there confused and I quickly changed the subject!

In 2007, Kent Emmons from All Comedy Radio made me a party in LA for my new book at the time based on my years of writing for the Friars Roasts. It was called “Filthy Funny, and Totally Offensive” and featured nasty jokes from over 250 celebs like Drew Carey, Jason Alexander, Chris Elliott, Jeff Garlin, the late Greg Giraldo, Colin Quinn, the late Patrice O’Neal, Artie Lange, Joan Rivers, Jason Alexander, and more than 200 more.  Budd was there as evidenced by the photo below!

Jeffrey Gurian with Budd Friedman in 2007 at Kent Emmons' party for Jeffrey's book "Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive."

Jeffrey Gurian with Budd Friedman in 2007 at Kent Emmons’ party for Jeffrey’s book “Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive.”

Budd is also in the recent documentary film I co-produced called “The Business of Comedy, with Exec. Producers Scott Sobel of Scott Entertainment and Gary Licker who also directed the film.  It features Budd along with Robert Klein, George Wallace, Tom Dreesen, Susie Essman, Shecky Greene, and comedy club owners who were inspired by Budd, Rick Newman and Richie Tienken.  In actuality all comedy club owners were inspired by Budd, which is why when I opened this post I said that Budd changed the world!  In the photo below, a young Budd Friedman with a goatee, is on the upper right corner!

The promo card for "The Business of Comedy" a doc film co-produced by Jeffrey Gurian featuring Budd Friedman, pictured on the upper right hand corner.

The promo card for “The Business of Comedy” a doc film co-produced by Jeffrey Gurian featuring Budd Friedman, pictured on the upper right hand corner.

This is the trailer for the doc.

So on Dec. 6th at 8 P.M. ET, make sure to watch “The Improv-Fifty Years Behind The Brick Wall” on Epix and Epix.com .  You’ll thank me for the tip!

Watch the Epix trailer in case you need convincing:

 

 

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Amy Poehler, Nick Kroll, Michael Cera, Sarah Silverman and more at JFL Comedy Awards Show

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. Interviews with both of them will follow very soon, in a separate Comedy Matters post.

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.

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 guy 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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BLANK SPACE FOR HUGE STARS!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Amy Schumer’s New Show on Comedy Central Debuts April 30th

Amy Schumer is the new Amy Schumer! If that sounds confusing, it’s because there’s no one around or preceding her to compare her to. Maybe Sarah Silverman? In terms of being open, funny, sexy, and being able to say anything at all without flinching!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Amy Schumer at a comedy event in NYC!

Her new show “Inside Amy Schumer” debuts this coming Tuesday, April 30th, on Comedy Central and you can see the first episode right here:

http://on.cc.com/ZKPhH3

I caught up with Amy recently at the Jack Black Roast and did a little Comedy Matters TV interview with her on the red carpet. On camera, she asked people to subscribe to Comedy Matters TV as a personal favor to her, which was very kind of her to do! I’ve been supporting Amy for years and always knew she’d make it big.

Comedy Central loves her and the public loves her as evidenced by the fact that every video I post of her gets tons of views. I’m sure her show will be a big hit. Check out my red carpet Jack Black Roast video right here:

Yesterday I was a guest with the great radio talent Ron Bennington, on the Ron and Fez Show on Sirius XM radio, a huge national show, and we started talking about Amy and how she was his featured guest on his special interview show called “Unmasked”!

“Unmasked” is where Ron sits down with a big comedy star for an hour and does a really in-depth interview. I was there for his Chris Tucker interview and it was really great!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Chris Tucker up at Sirius XM Radio for Ron Bennington’s “Unmasked” interview! They’re holding Jeffrey’s new book ” Make ‘Em Laugh” with an intro by Chris Rock!

I mentioned I had seen Amy sell out Gotham Comedy Club recently for all of her shows, with Mark Normand as her opening act. Mark’s really funny, and told me he travels with Amy on the road which must be a fun gig. It’s also a great opportunity for him, and don’t be surprised if he turns up on her show! (LOL)

(I hope she sees how good I did on Kroll Show and invites me on her show too!!!!!!!)

Mark talked about guys complaining about having to wear condoms. He was like, “How can you complain about having to need a layer of something between you?” ” Hey Dad, give me a hug! OK but take off that shirt first! I don’t wanna feel anything between us!”

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Mark Normand at Stand Up New York!

He also said that being a vegan is like being a Black guy in the 1950’s. You can only eat in certain restaurants! He got huge laughs and endeared himself to the audience by saying, ” I think this might be the best I’ve ever done!”

Amy took the stage and had some great lines like, ” I used to date Hispanic guys, but now I prefer consensual!” She said most girls work on a sliding rape scale.

She said she dated a wrestler who went down on her right away because he was raised well. But she said he gave up after a while because he could see that she was texting!

She asked who was still in their 20’s and encouraged them by telling them they still had hope! She also said that nothing good ever happens in an alcoholic blackout! You never wake up and find a Pilates mat.

And she said her friends are all getting married and incredibly they keep all of their kids! She got huge love from the crowd!

Ron Bennington was commenting on how likeable Amy is, and how popular she is, and they actually showed my red carpet clip on the show over the internet. (I almost wrote “likable” instead of “likeable”, but Amy could also be “likable”! LOL)

“Inside Amy Schumer” is an all around comedy show with sketch, stand-up, man-on-the street, and everything else comedic you can think of! I told her it was like the Amy Schumer version of SNL! She got a good laugh out of that!

Make sure to tune in to Comedy Central on Tues. April 30th 10:30E/9:30 Central, and I’m sure you’ll get a good laugh out of THAT!

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The Phenomenon That Is Nick Kroll

Papi Steenbergen, Aspen Bruckheimer, Gil Faizon, Fabrice Fabrice, C-Czar, Dr. Armond, Bobby Bottleservice, AKA Bobby Bruschia, AKA Bobby B., … these are only a handful of the many colorful characters emanating from the mind and talent of what I call “The Phenomenon that is Nick Kroll.”

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Bobby Bottleservice, AKA Bobby Bruschia, AKA Bobby B at a promotional event at The Hundreds in NYC, back in 2011!

And what I think is most amazing is that when I see him inhabiting the body of all of these characters there are times I can not tell you who the real Nick Kroll is. I’ll try and explain that.

To the best of my ability I would identify the guy on my right, (your left) as Nick Kroll, and the guy on the other side of me as John Mulaney, but who really knows??? It could be Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland posing as them!

When Nick is in character as Gil Faizon it’s obvious that he’s in costume, but his body language and facial features seem to actually change along with the character he’s doing to the point where I no longer can tell what he really looks like. At the beginning of each episode he seems to appear as himself, in a Nick Kroll type of monologue, but even knowing him as I do, I’m still not 100% sure that’s him without any make-up. I couldn’t really tell you how he wears his hair.

And my background as a former cosmetic dentist made me very observant of detail. He so becomes the character he’s doing that he truly gets lost in it. When he’s Gil Faizon or Bobby B. it seems effortless to him to inhabit the facial movements, the tone of voice, the cadence of speech. It’s truly amazing. In all my years of comedy I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone with the ability to do so many characters, and do them well.

Quite a few years ago, around 1990, the first time we at The Friars Club roasted Chevy Chase, I was working with the producer of the Roasts at the time, as kind of the official writer for The Friars Club, and wound up working with the SNL crew who was going to appear at a Roast for the first time.

Most young guys had never done a Roast in those days, so it was up to me to guide them through the process. I had been writing for the Roasts for 12 years previously with legends like Milton Berle, Henny Youngman, and Pat Cooper, and became kind of a liaison between the older comics and the younger comics, since I was friendly with both. In those days a Roast was kind of a secret art form.

Jeffrey Gurian, now of Comedy Matters TV and Phil Hartman in Jeffrey’s apartment rehearsing for the first Chevy Chase Roast, Oct. 1990!

As I recall I had to work with my old friend Phil Hartman, who I’m pretty sure appeared as Donald Trump, Kevin Nealon, who I think appeared as Mr. Subliminal, and who I recently saw when I appeared on his show at The Laugh Factory in LA, and Dana Carvey who may or may not have appeared as Church Lady. I saw first hand how hard it is to be able to stay in character for an entire set. Nick makes it look effortless.

Dana Carvey, Jeffrey Gurian, and Phil Hartman after a rehearsal up at SNL, circa 1990!

Needless to say, people were very excited about the prospect of “Kroll Show” before it came out. A year ago February, I got a call from Inman Young, Nick’s producer in LA, asking if I’d like to come out to LA to be in some sketches with Nick. I packed my bags when I got off the phone even though I wasn’t going until the next month. That’s how excited I was to do it! (LOL)

I went out last March and shot two sketches. One was with Nick, and his writing partner and friend John Mulaney another super talent loved by all who know him, in an “Oh, Hello” sketch, and another in a Woody Allen like party scene with Nick, John, and award-winning actress Karen Black.

On the Kroll Show set with Jeffrey Gurian, Gil Faizon, Karen Black, and George St. Geegland! They were all wearing costumes! (LOL)

I had the time of my life out there with Nick and his friends like Ed Helms, Jason Mantzoukas, Joe Mande, and Jon Daly, who is not only a producer on the show but also an actor who also does several characters like Wendy Shawn, Nick’s partner in Rich Dicks.

The show is literally filled with Jons/Johns including Jon Krisel the director also co-creator of Portlandia starring Fred Armisen, and producer John Levenstein, previously from Arrested Development.

I often say there’s no more two man teams out there like you used to see with Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, or Jackie Gleason and Ed Norton who were hysterical together, but Nick and John Mulaney, or Nick and Jon Daly are two teams that could wind up in that category.

The lunch table on set was representative of the level of talent that Nick brings in. All of his friends were on other shows as well.

Nick Kroll and friends from Kroll Show on lunch break. They’re all there except for Ed Helms who had to make a call! He’s in the next photo!

Jeffrey Gurian on the set of Kroll Show in LA with Ed Helms!

Jeffrey Gurian on the set of Kroll Show in LA with Jason Mantzoukas!

In the Comedy Matters TV interview I did with Nick and John after the shoot they were still in character and I made the mistake of trying to interview them as Nick and John because it’s confusing sitting with people in character as to how to address them, … as themselves or as their character. Well, let me clarify that. It was confusing to ME, not to them as you’ll see in this video!

George St. Geegland as he really looks when he’s not playing John Mulaney, Jeffrey Gurian as he looks when he is and is not playing himself, and Gil Faizon as he looks when he’s not playing Nick Kroll!

Months before the show came out as “Kroll Show” people were already excited to see it, and buzz was building for what was originally going to be called “The Nick Show Kroll”. As a matter of fact in the early e-mails I received from the LA office, the “Subject” line all said ” Nick Show Kroll” which I promptly corrected, thinking I was being helpful, to “Nick Kroll Show.” After about the third one, I realized that it was I who was the moron, and that no one on the staff was making a consistent typo, but that it was meant to be called “The Nick Show Kroll”!

In the intervening months while people were anxiously awaiting the arrival of the show, the public had to be satisfied for their Kroll fix by enjoying Nick as Ruxin on FX’s “The League” with his pals Paul Sheer, Jon Lajoie, Stephen Rannazzisi, Mark Duplass and Katie Aselton, (husband and wife in real life!), and in his other personal appearances.

By the time it came out in January simply as “Kroll Show” the buzz was loud and Nick knocked it out of the proverbial park. The show got renewed on Comedy Central after only the first three episodes. My first sketch was in Too Much Tuna, where Nick and John do their best to prank me with a much too large tuna sandwich, but as you’ll see in this clip, I wasn’t having any part of it!

The extremely large tuna fish sandwich meant to prank Jeffrey Gurian on “Kroll Show”!

 

They told me if the show got picked up they’d ask me back for the 2nd season. As a precautionary measure, I’m not leaving the house until they do, just in case my voicemail doesn’t work when they call!

Check out Kroll Show, every Wednesday night at 10:30 ET/9C on Comedy Central, and be ready to laugh your ass off! And don’t forget to tell Nick I sent you!

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Sklar Brothers in National Commercial for Time Warner Cable

I happen to know the Sklar brothers for a long time. Still can’t tell them apart. I interviewed them in Montreal this past summer at the Just for Laughs Festival, for Comedy Matters TV and embarrassed myself on camera by getting their names wrong, or at least that’s what they told me.

(L-R) Randy Sklar. Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, and Jason Sklar (correct me if I’m wrong! LOL) at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal!

See for yourself:

But anyway, they have a hot podcast called “Sklarbro Country” which I hope some day to be on, and I was really happy to open the Sunday paper and find the ad they’re doing for Time Warner Business Cable! Maybe they can find out why I always lose my internet connection??? Huh guys??? Hook me up!

Jason and Randy Sklar in their national Time Warner Cable ad! Good for them!

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Kroll Show Gets Renewed After Three Episodes, … and I’m On It!!!

Nick Kroll is a comedic genius. It’s just that simple. He’s a master of character work as evidenced by the way a ” nice Jewish boy” like Nick manages to morph into a Jersey-shore type “Bobby Bottleservice”, the upper West-side, … I don’t even know what to call him Gil Faizon, or the flamboyant Fabrice Fabrice, craft services coordinator for a show called “That’s So Raven.”

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Bobby Bottleservice at a social event with lots of internet ladies!

Nick brought me out to LA last year to be in some sketches with him and his writing partner John Mulaney from SNL. It was easily one of the most fun times of my life and I have had A LOT of fun times! One sketch was with Nick and John as the “Oh Hello” boys with Nick playing Gil Faizon and John playing George St. Geegland. It takes place in a diner where they spot me and say, “Oh look, it’s our dear, dear friend Jeffrey Gurian!” I actually get to play myself, which is beyond cool!

They even did a promo shot of my GNN site, Gurian News Network, your source for “All The News That’s Fit To Dance To!”

Jeffrey Gurian playing himself with George St. Geegland and Gil Faizon having lunch in a diner! Jeffrey doesn’t know it, but he’s about to be pranked with a HUGE tuna fish sandwich!

I remember when I got to the set they sent someone over from hair and make-up and she tried to touch my hair. I recoiled and she realized that she better let me do it myself!

Nick once signed a Bobby Bottleservice poster for me and wrote: ” To Jeffrey, you are the only person with better hair than me!” Bobby B.

They try and prank me with a HUGE tuna fish sandwich in a sketch they call “Too Much Tuna!” As a matter of fact the name on my trailer door said “Tuna Jeff!” I won’t tell you what happens but hopefully you’ll tune in tonight and watch. It’s on Comedy Central at 10:30/9:30 Central time.

The HUGE tuna fish sandwich that they use to try and prank Jeffrey Gurian!

Does anyone actually know anyone who goes by Central Time??? I don’t even know where that is!!!

“Kroll Show” is so popular that it already got picked up for a second season after only three episodes. That is a rarity but Comedy Central knows a hit when it sees one!

I will also be on again on Wed., Feb. 27th with Karen Black in a parody of a Woody Allen movie scene! I’m think I’m bound to get at least ten new followers on Twitter from that alone!!!

Jeffrey Gurian, Gil Faizon, Karen Black, and George St. Geegland on the L.A. set of Kroll Show!

And make sure to check out Nick and Jon Daly as “Rich Dicks” in the show. Jon is a powerhouse of comedy energy and he and Nick are the funniest duo to come down the pike in a long time! (Did I really just say ” Come down the pike??? What am I living in 1810??? Pioneers thought that expression was old-school! LOL)

(L-R) Jon Daly, Jeffrey Gurian, Nick Kroll( holding Jeffrey’s book “Make ‘Em Laugh”, and Kroll Show producer John Levenstein at Comic Con 2012!

Anyway, make sure to watch Kroll Show every Wed. night at 10:30, and in LA I think it’s at 10:30 as well! But better yet, you can watch my Too Much Tuna scene right here, right now!

Let me know what you think! And as a special treat for being so nice, here’s another fun video for you to see!

www.HyperSmash.com

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