Posts Tagged Comedy Matters

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.

Posted in: Book Reviews, Books, Breaking News, Celeb Photos, Comedians In The News, Comedy Central, Comedy Clubs, Comedy Events, Comedy Festivals, Comedy Matters

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Jimmy "J.J." Walker at Broadway Comedy Club

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Win $1000. as Funniest Professional at Gotham Comedy Club!

Andy Engel, long-time producer from Gotham Comedy Club, who also runs the Manhattan Comedy School, is running a really fun, exciting contest for professionals in many fields, searching for “New York’s Funniest Professional!”    The GRAND PRIZE will be $1000. , a guest spot on Gotham’s “New Talent” Show, and a guest spot on Gotham’s “All Star” showcase, as well as additional gifts from sponsors.

So all of you people out there laboring in different professions, knowing you can be as funny as the comics you see on TV or on stage who are already doing it, this is your big chance to show us what you’ve got.  Bring your “A” game!

Submissions must be in by May 4th and contestants will be announced on May 5th.  Each profession will have different nights to perform, and that info is listed below.

There will be prizes in 8 categories, so even if you don’t take 1st place you can still win in 7 other places!

For the preliminary rounds every comic will receive two tickets to a future Gotham show and anyone that knows Gotham knows they get the best talent to perform there!  Plus each comic will receive a FREE  HD video download of their performance! 

Go to this link IMMEDIATELY and download the submission information   http://www.manhattancomedyschool.com/new-yorks-funniest-professional/

The final show will have a celebrity host, so no matter what you’re doing when you read this, jump up from your desk right now and get ready to enter!  And make sure to tell Andy Engel that I sent you, and that Comedy Matters!!!

(Details below!!!)

Gotham Comedy Club &Manhattan Comedy School Present: “NEW YORK’S FUNNIEST PROFESSIONAL”Grand Prize of $1,000

Are you the funniest person in your workplace? Prove it! Compete against hilarious workers to find out which profession is the funniest, win big prizes, and become New York’s Funniest Professional in the largest amateur comedy competition in New York.

 

RULES

·         The competition will be two rounds. Each comedian will perform in one of the ten (+) preliminary rounds according to his/her field of work.

·         12 contestants will be accepted for each industry

·         One comic from each preliminary round will move onto the finale.

·         On each night, two judges will score comics on stage presence, originality, and most importantly, audience reaction.

·         Each comedian will get a 5 minute set.

 

Submission DeadlineMay 4th

Contestants AnnouncedMay 5th

 

COMPETITION BREAKDOWN

·         Advertising/Marketing/Digital Market – May 19th 7pm

·         Food Industry (Waiters / Bartenders/ etc.) – May 19th 9:30pm

·         Actors – May 20th 7pm

·         Lawyers – May 28th 9:30pm

·         Teachers – June 2nd 7pm

·         Housewives/Husbands – June 2nd 9:30pm

·         Real Estate – June 3rd 7pm

·         Sales Rep/Retail – June 11th 7pm

·         College Students – June 11th 9:30pm

·         Tradesman (Mechanics, Plumbers, Electricians, Construction, etc) – June 17th7pm

·         Journalists / On-air TV Reporters / Bloggers – June 24th 9:30pm

·         Finals – July 15th 7pm

There will be a celebrity host for the final show.

———————————————————————————–

 

SUBMISSIONS:

Follow this link and fill out the entire submission form.

Submit here: New York’s Funniest Submission Form

 

 

*Filling out a submission form does not guarantee admission into the contest. There are a limited number of spots for each industry. We will contact people with a confirmation if they have been accepted or not. All accepted contestants will be announced May 5th.

 

*There is NO entry fee for this competition.

However, there is a bringer requirement of 15 guests per round (2 rounds total). The shows have a $12 cover + 2 drink minimum.

 

 

PRIZES:

·         Preliminary Round

o    Every comic receives two tickets to Gotham Comedy Club to be used on future shows

o    Every comic receives a free high definition video download of their performance

 

Finals

First Place –  $1000 cash

·         Meet and greet with the Owner of Gotham Comedy Club Chris Mazzilli

·         One guest spot on Gotham’s “New Talent” and one guest spot on Gotham’s “All Star” Showcases

·         Additional gifts from our sponsors

Second Place –  $500 cash 

·         1 Guest spot on a Gotham “All-Star” showcase

·         1 Guest spot on a Gotham New Talent show

 

Third Place

Free class at The Manhattan Comedy School ($400 value)

 

 

4th – 8th place

Gift from our Sponsors ($250 Restaurant Gift Certificates)

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Jimmy Fallon Up For An Emmy

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!

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

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!

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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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Cult Comedy Pictures Is On The Move!!!

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

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

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

Cult Comedy Pictures has a channel on you Tube!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brent Katz chillin’ on the couch between takes!

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

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

To purchase tickets click on this link!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jeffrey Gurian’s Excellent Adventure with Keith and The Girl

If someone told you you had to go on the radio for an hour and 40 minutes straight you might wonder to yourself if you had enough to say. On today’s Keith and The Girl appearance after almost two hours we were just warming up! I swear we could have gone another two hours easy! The flow was amazing and they are extremely gracious hosts!

The very descriptive and accurate logo for “Keith and The Girl”, (whose name is Chemda, btw!) This happens to be exactly what they look like! (JK!)

My curiousity was piqued last month when I attended a couple of nights of their 8th anniversary celebration which they held out in Brooklyn at a performance space called White Wave. They literally had fans fly in from all over the world. Right around me were people from Australia, Toronto, Europe, Colorado, California, and all of them had gone to great trouble and expense to come in and celebrate with KATG!

Keith and Chemda in a very accurate portrayal of what they REALLY look like, during their 8th anniversary celebration!

People like Ted Alexandro say I know everyone in comedy.

So I was embarrassed to admit that KATG had escaped my comedy radar. And for eight years??? How could that even happen? That’s when I made it my business to find out more about KATG, and I’m so glad I did.

They have a super studio in Queens, whose exact location will not be divulged. Suffice it to say that it’s hidden inside of a mountain and when you approach and yell out a secret word, which they give you before you arrive, the mountain actually splits open, and you walk in, like Moses parting The Red Sea! It’s incredible.

A candid shot of Keith and Chemda in the studio, getting ready to do the KATG podcast and videocast as well!

I started out strong when they asked me my favorite movie and I said “The Sixth Sense.” It seems that was Keith’s favorite movie as well and no one else had ever said that. Then they were both ready to fall out of their chairs when I told them my favorite color was orange, which also happened to be Keith’s favorite color. And anyone who knows me knows that’s true. It’s the color of The Second Chakra and a very powerful color.

We went on to talk about everything. We talked about my new book, “Make ‘Em Laugh”, about the 35 year history of The Comic Strip, comedy legends like Andy Kaufman, Jack Rollins, and Milton Berle, young stars not with us anymore like Patrice O’Neal, Mitch Hedberg, Mike DeStefano, Greg Giraldo, movies, music, Healing which was an amazing discussion where we found out that Chemda has Healing energy, and she thinks she’d like to use it!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with his great friend, the late Patrice O’Neal!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with the late Mitch Hedberg at one of his last performances in NYC!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with the late Mike DeStefano after he was on Last Comic Standing!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with the late Greg Giraldo at a party at Comix in NYC!

We talked about the comedy clubs and gave shout-outs to The Comic Strip, Gotham Comedy Club, and The Comedy Cellar. We talked about high school, and about how and why kids are so mean to each other, dating, sexuality, and almost every subject on the planet, and we had lots of laughs and a really good time.

We even talked about You Pop the new social media craze that’s sweeping the country where creative people can get paid for making cool little videos on their cell phones and uploading them to the YouPop.com site to be offered to the world at large!

You Pop, the most exciting social media craze to come along since Facebook!

To show you just what a good time we had, I didn’t check my e-mail even once during the two hours! It flew by so fast, I couldn’t believe it when Chemda told me how much time had gone by. Then I got the tour of the premises and got to see Lauren again, Chemda’s significant other, plus I got to see the office where they keep their merch and it’s loaded with goodies, except it’s lighter now cause they gave me a whole bunch of presents.

Chemda and Lauren at the 8th anniversary of KATG!

They gave me audio books that you wear on your wrist like a bracelet. I never even saw something like that. I’m not Bill Gates but I’m familiar with lots of technology, and this was really cool. It’s like a thumb drive and you get the book as an MP3.

I got their books, “The Great American Novel” by Keith, and “What Do We Do Now” a modern advice book for modern couples written by both of them. And I had to once again give them props for having been a couple, broken up, and still working together with such a cool dynamic. They are truly good friends. It’s a testament to what people can accomplish if they really want to.

Chemda hiding behind one of the KATG T-shirts while Keith proudly displays his “State of the Union” DVD.

But that’s not all, I also got Keith’s “State of the Union” DVD, and the Keith and The Girl Roast, with cartoon drawings on the back of some of the comics who participated and who you can actually recognize! One I’m sure is Mike Lawrence because the character has a huge beard!

They called my segment ” Healing Hands”, and you can actually listen to the whole thing right here:

http://www.keithandthegirl.com/Show-Detail/2653/Healing-Hands.aspx#

I really hope they invite me back!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Keith Malley and Chemda Khalili of KATG!

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You Pop New Social Media Craze

There’s a new social media game in town and it’s name is You Pop. I broke the news recently on Sirius XM during my one-on-one interview with Ron Bennington of Ron and Fez fame!

YouPop, the new social media craze that will soon sweep the nation! Sign up early! Not only is it free, but you can get paid to sign up!

Created by Darin Myman of WallyWorld Inc., the company’s logo is “Hire Anyone To Do Anything, … Well Almost!”

It’s a way for any creative or talented person in the world to make money over their Smart Phones and become a You Pop star! It’s good for comedians, actors, musicians, models, dancers, magicians, and any other creative person! And I have the honor of being the Chief Creative Officer!

Based on the concept of “Crowd Sourced” entertainment, it allows creative people to offer their specialized services and funny video greetings over their Smart Phones for a price of their choosing. The feeling is the lower the price the more traffic and the more money you can expect to make. The cool thing is that you can make money just for signing up!

The first thing to do is to “Register” at http://www.youpop.com. Once you click “Register” you’ll come to a page that asks for a User Name and PassWord, and then a “Referral/Promo Code.”

This is the page where you register for YouPop!

The “Referral/Promo Code” for Comedy Matters people is JG20. Putting in that code will allow you to register early under my name as this won’t be launched nationally to the public for another 30 days. Then there will be a national ad campaign. Once that happens you can get lost in the shuffle so it’s best to sign up now!

Get a cash bonus of anywhere from $20 to $60. and possibly even more for coming up with a fun, interesting concept! Anything in the “Sexy” category,(PG-13), will get paid $75. if accepted!

It’s as easy as signing up for Facebook, except here you can make money and have lots of fun doing it!

You’ll come to a page that has a few options, one of which says ” I Will Do”. That is where you post things you are willing to do and videotape yourself doing them on your Smart Phone, (i-Phones and Droids). You fill out a simple profile and explain what you will offer. They can fall into different categories like custom video greetings with you dressed up as a Biblical character, a comic book character, (great for Comic Con fans), any kind of Cosplay character, movie characters, old man/old lady, Anime, or anything else you can think of.

Examples of “Sports Stars” posting services they are willing to do under the ” I Will Do” category!

You may also respond to people requesting video greetings where You Pop customers tell you what they want you to say, (PG-13) … nothing you’d find offensive. Offers get screened by the company! These would be found under the heading of ” I Need” and would be great for people who like to make viral comedy videos, and do pranks and dares!

Situations that people request that would lead to viral comedy videos, pranks and dares, and lots of fun!

Or you might find people posting a service like this one where the offer is to design a custom dress for a woman for $250.00. It’s like a multi-media CraigsList!

This is for people who want to offer a particular service!

It’s all PG-13, but there will also be a fun “Sexy” category for models and “hot” girls who may want to write messages on their bodies, wearing a bikini, or lingerie or other interesting attire! Signing up for this category and posting an idea the You Pop people like will get you $75. just for signing up!

Some examples of possible offers could be:

1. I will say anything to anyone for $10.

2. I will break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend for you for $15.

3. I will drive a store clerk crazy by asking non-stop questions for $20.

4. I will quit your job for you for $25.

5. I will tell off someone in your office for $10.

HOW AND WHAT TO DO :

1. Register using my Promo/Referral Code of JG20

2. Send an e-mail to Jo@YouPop.com, with a CC to me at jeffrey@jeffreygurian.com with the category and character you plan to portray for the video greeting cards, along with your idea. Like a birthday greeting dressed as Batman, Spiderman, or a character you make up! Comedians may want to offer a one minute Roast! BE CREATIVE!!!

3. You Pop will notify you if your offer has been accepted, and you will be paid anywhere from $20 to $60. or more depending on how unusual and fun your suggestion is. As I said earlier, people in the “Sexy” category, (but still PG-13!) will receive $75. YOU CAN EVEN BE YOURSELF, BUT HAVING A CHARACTER OR SPECIAL GIMMICK (SUCH AS WRITING A MESSAGE ON YOUR BODY WEARING A BATHING SUIT OR COSTUME), WILL GET YOU MORE ORDERS! All sign-up payments will be received in a week.

REVIEW OF COMPENSATION:

IF YOUR SUGGESTION IS APPROVED BY YOU POP, YOU WILL RECEIVE $50. FOR YOUR IDEA, FOR SETTING UP YOUR PROFILE AND YOUR “I WILL DO” VIDEO OFFER. THEY WILL PAY AN ADDITIONAL $10. FOR COSTUMES, CELEBRITY IMPERSONATORS OR UNIQUE CHARACTERS.

MODELS: THEY WILL PAY $75. TO SET UP A PROFILE UNDER THE CATEGORY OF “SEXY”, AS LONG AS IT’S STILL PG-13!

YOU WILL RECEIVE PAYMENT WITHIN 7 DAYS VIA PAYPAL OR CHECK! YOU CAN OFFER TO POST AN AD IN MORE THAN ONE CATEGORY, AND YOU CAN ADD ON CERTAIN SERVICES FOR ADDITIONAL FEES, BUT YOU WILL ONLY BE PAID A SIGN-UP BONUS FOR YOUR FIRST ACCEPTED PROPOSAL!

YOU ALSO GET PAID 85% OF MONIES THAT COME IN FOR YOUR SERVICE WHEN YOU POP PUTS IT OUT TO THE WORLD AT LARGE!

SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR??? GET CREATIVE AND SEND IN YOUR IDEAS RIGHT NOW TO JO@YOUPOP.COM WITH A CC TO JEFFREY@JEFFREYGURIAN.COM, AND DON’T FORGET TO USE THE COMEDY MATTERS PROMO CODE OF JG20!

SEE YOU ON YOU POP!!!

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