Posts Tagged John Mulaney

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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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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Kroll Show Debuts on Comedy Central-Wed. 1/16/13-10:30 E/T

Nick Kroll is a master of characters. He’s a chameleon. (And by comparing him to a lizard, I mean that only in the best sense! LOL)

When he’s in his Gil Faizon mode as you’ll see in the accompanying video, I can not see Nick Kroll. His facial expressions don’t look like they even belong to him. Same with Bobby Bottleservice, or Fabrice Fabrice. And putting him together with his longtime friend, writing partner, and SNL staple John Mulaney, the other half of the “Oh, Hello” boys, creates comedy energy on a level you could only describe as “nuclear”!

Bobby Bottleservice may be my favorite character because I’ve known so many guys like that. And he nails it 1,000 percent. I have my Bobby Bottleservice poster hanging prominently in my writing room from the time I went down to see Bobby at a special event in a clothing store,(it could have been Ed Hardy! LOL) where he was making a personal appearance as Bobby B, and signing posters. On mine he wrote. ” To Jeff, You are the only person with better hair than me!”

Bobby Bottleservice and Jeffrey Gurian at a promo event in NYC, where Bobby was making a personal appearance!

I was good friends with the late Phil Hartman who was also greatly respected for his amazing character work, and I hope Nick doesn’t mind the comparison, because I don’t like to compare talents, but I think Nick is the new Phil Hartman. The great thing is that if Nick was on an ensemble show like SNL he’d only get to show his talent sporadically throughout the show. By having his own show,he can really shine by being in every single sketch, which I hope he is!

Phil Hartman and Jeffrey Gurian at the piano in Jeffrey’s living room after a writing session, Oct., 1990!

And all of his friends are involved as well, like Ed Helms, Jason Mantzoukas, Jon Daly, and Paul Scheer, which adds to the level of performance because they know each other so well. Jon Daly functions as talent and also as a producer on the show. I could watch Nick and Jon in Rich Dicks all night, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that sketch turns into a spin-off show on it’s own.

Nick Kroll and his friends breaking for lunch on the set of Kroll Show in LA, 3-20-12!

Ed Helms and Jeffrey Gurian on the LA set of Kroll Show. Ed had gotten up to take a call and was not part of the previous lunch scene photo, but he was there!

Jason Mantzoukas who plays Rafi in FX’s The League, with Jeffrey Gurian on the LA set of Kroll Show. This was just before Jason co-starred with Sacha Baron Cohen in The Dictator!

Comic Joe Mande is on the show, and you’ll see him in the video above as well. When Nick brought me out to LA last March to tape some sketches with him and John Mulaney, I got to meet Joe Mande and like me, he wound up also making his Kroll Show debut by doing a sketch involving tuna fish. The door to my trailer actually had me listed as “Tuna Jeff”, a name I have worn proudly ever since! (LOL)

Jeffrey Gurian’s trailer door on the LA set of “Kroll Show”, clearly identifying him as ” Tuna Jeff”!

On the set of Kroll Show during the “Woody Allen party sketch” with Jeffrey Gurian, Gil Faizon, Karen Black, and George St. Geegland!

One of my faves is when Bobby Bottleservice is talking on the phone with sexy aspiring singer, (not perspiring, … aspiring!) Farley, played magnificently by Chelsea Peretti. Bobby is trying to sweet talk Farley as a “record producer” who wants to work with her, and Farley entices him further by saying ” A lot of people say I have a real cute laugh!” And then she does it!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at The Comedy Store in LA. with the funny and sexy Chelsea Peretti, aka Farley on the new Kroll Show!

I don’t know why girls like that are still sexy to me, but they are! (LOL) Suddenly his mother, who even the thought of always brings tears to his eyes, interrupts their video chat, and he tries to pass off his Mom as his secretary.

She calls him down for dinner telling him his food would get cold, and he responds all choked up, ” I would never let a meal go cold on you Ma!” Unbelievably funny!

This sketch is a “must see” as far as I’m concerned! (No one knows exactly how far that is, but it’s pretty far!)

All you need to do is look at Nick’s Twitter page to see the multitude of characters that he’s capable of.

A couple of months back Nick, Jon Daly and producer John Levenstein, a great guy who is also involved in the hit show Arrested Development with David Cross, debuted some of Kroll Show at Comic Con 2012, and I was there to interview them. So many Johns! John Mulaney, John Levenstein, and Jon Daly, who somehow genetically seems to have lost the “H” in his name. And the show is directed by yet another Jon, the amazing Jon Krisel also known for creating Portlandia for Fred Armisen.

Jeffrey Gurian with director Jon Krisel, one of the many “Johns” that populate the L.A, set of Kroll Show!

Rumour has it that some men NOT named John, or any variation there-of are also involved with the show!

Kroll Show is a fantastic piece of work, and I know it will be a HUGE hit! I wish them all luck, and can’t wait to see it, … and be on it!

www.HyperSmash.com

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SNL Show to Benefit Victims of Sandy at The Comic Strip

This Sunday night,11/18, at 8:30 P.M. cast members from SNL plus Judah Friedlander from 30 Rock will be performing at The Comic Strip on 81st and 2nd to raise money to benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

The show will feature Saturday Night Live’s castmembers Jay Pharoah, Vanessa Bayer, Tim Robinson, and John Mulaney and writers Colin Jost (head writer) and Mike O’Brien. 30 Rock’s Judah Friedlander will also be performing.

(L-R) Jeffrey Gurian, Shayna Farrow, Richie Tienken, Jay Pharoah at The Strip!

Vanessa Bayer on stage at The Strip!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with John Mulaney of SNL after taping his comedy special at The Skirball Center!

Judah Friedlander of 30 Rock holding the book “Make ‘Em Laugh” on the history of The Comic Strip, with author Jeffrey Gurian!

Admission proceeds will be donated to New York Cares to help further the work they have done to aid victims in areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy and the subsequent Nor’easter.

RAFFLE: We’ve received great product donations that will be raffled off to attendees at the benefit. Prizes include: Tickets to Late Night with David Letterman; Personal Training Sessions at Equinox; Restaurant Gift Cards; Beauty Makeover and Consultation with Celebrity Makeup Artist; Free Night at The Comic Strip, an autographed copy of “Make ‘Em Laugh” the new book by me and Richie Tienken on the 35 year history of The Strip, with an intro by Chris Rock, and more.

In case you haven’t already seen it, this is a video of Jay Pharoah reading Chris Rock’s introduction in Chris Rock’s voice for JB Smoove and others at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal this past July.

Admission price is $50 plus a two-drink minimum per person. Reservations are required 212-861-9386. Tickets may be purchased at http://comicstriplive.com/

Let’s all come out for this fabulous show and opportunity to help out! This storm affected all of us whether directly or indirectly.

***If you are unable to attend the show, please consider donating: http://www.crowdrise.com/comicstriplive ***

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Nick Kroll, Jon Daly, and John Levenstein at Comic Con 2012 for Kroll Show

Comic Con New York is such a huge event it’s hard to describe unless you’ve actually experienced it. Literally thousands upon thousands of people show up, many in costume, dressed like their favorite comic book characters. But it’s not only about comics and comic books, it’s also about new TV shows, and tons of celebs show up to meet their fans.

Comedy Central was debuting three new shows, one of them being “Kroll Show” starring Nick Kroll, debuting Jan. 30th, 2013, so I knew I had to cover that press conference for Comedy Matters TV.

Nick Kroll, star of “Kroll Show” coming up on Comedy Central 1/30/13, at Comic Con!

I’m not big on comparing people to others, because Nick is his own man, but in a sense I think Nick is the Phil Hartman of his generation. Phil was a very dear friend of mine, and so respected in “the business” for his amazing character work on SNL. Nick exhibits that kind of diversity going from a flamboyant (code for “gay”! LOL) character like “Fabrice Fabrice” Craft Services Coordinator for the sitcom ” That’s So Raven”, to Bobby Bottleservice a guy who out-Jersey-Shores, the Jersey Shore guys! When he addresses all the beautiful internet ladies out there in his perfect Bobby Bottleservice voice,by saying ” Do you date me?”, and ” No offense, but you’re very beautiful”, I need oxygen from laughing so hard!

When I showed up at the press conference I got an unexpected treat. Not only was it Nick, but also Jon Daly, who is an actor and supervising producer on the show,along with John Levenstein, an executive producer and writer on the show! The whole triumvirate was there! The only one missing was Jon Krisel who’s directing the show and created Fred Armisen’s Portlandia!

I think it helps to be named some form of “Jon” to get involved with the show. Maybe just the letter “J” is what they’re looking for, cause that would explain how I got on! LOL

I got to know Jon and John, and Jon when Nick called me out to be in some sketches for the new “Kroll Show”, which I shot last March. I got to do one sketch with Nick and John Mulaney, Nick’s pal from SNL, who is one of the hottest stand-ups on the scene today, and one sketch which was like a Woody Allen parody, with famed actress Karen Black, who gave me the onscreen name of Galvani, in an on-the-spot inspiration! I’ve been calling myself that ever since! (LOL) Galvani Gurian! It has quite a ring to it!

Jeffrey Gurian, Nick (Gil Faison) Kroll, Karen Black, and John (George St. Geegland) Mulaney on the set of “Kroll Show” in LA. I’m the only one wearing my own clothes!

I had such a good time on that set, and was there for the filming of another sketch called “Sex and The City For Dudes” which involved so many of Nick’s friends who are on TV shows, it was crazy. It was Ed Helms, Jason Mantzoukas, Owen Burke, Jon Daly, Seth Morris, John Mulaney, Joe Mande, and everyone you see seated at the table below where we were having lunch.

Nick Kroll’s TV star friends on the set of “Kroll Show” to film “Sex In The City For Dudes”!

Seth Morris and Owen Burke on the set of Kroll Show in LA for the sketch “Sex In The City For Dudes”!

That’s where I got to see what a great guy Ed Helms was. I got to lunch late and everyone was already eating at a packed table so I just said ” Hi” to everyone and sat down at another table by myself, which didn’t bother me. But it was in the hot LA sun, and the next thing I knew, Ed called me over and moved people’s chairs to make room for me to sit next to him, and I thought that was such a nice gesture. Everyone on the set made me feel so at home.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Ed (Hangover) Helms on the LA set of Kroll Show, which at the time had the working title of “The Nick Show Kroll”!

I think John Levenstein may have been the first person I met after I got to my trailer. John is known for his work on the hit show Arrested Development, where he wrote 6 episodes, and acted as consulting and co-executive producer for 39 episodes. That’s a pretty cool credit for your resume! John is the nicest guy and made me feel “part of” right away, so I was really glad to see him at Comic Con.

Jon Daly from “Happy Endings” and “Nick Swardson’s Pretend Time” is Nick’s partner in crime in sketches like “The Ed Hardy Boyz” where he plays a character known as Peter Paparazzo to Nick Kroll’s Bobby Bottleservice, and they solve mysteries for Christian Audigier, king of the Ed Hardy fashion empire.

He’s also the other half of “Rich Dicks” two rich and wild guys. Nick plays Aspen Bruckheimer, son of Jerry, and Jon plays a guy named Wendy (short for Wendell). Both are rich and act like dicks! When they get kidnapped by Mexican gangsters, … you just gotta see it for yourselves!

These guys are so funny together in a time where comedy teams are extremely rare. (I wanted to say ” rare as hen’s teeth”, but I suddenly became overwhelmed with sadness at the realization that I even knew that expression, so I changed my mind!)

I remember teams like Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy, and The Marx Brothers, who are still hysterical today, but probably couldn’t get representation! But that’s a whole other story!

Again in my reluctance to compare, they kind of remind me of Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd’s two wild and crazy guys, in the sense that the way Martin/Aykroyd became a phenomenon, or Belushi and Aykroyd became the phenomenon known as “The Blues Brothers”, that’s what I think will happen with Nick and Jon. I think as long as you’re comparing people favorably with legends, they won’t mind!

Watch the video. Nick and Jon give me props for my performance!

And we also took photos with my new book “Make ‘Em Laugh” with Chris Rock, and Nick was kind enough to write a blurb on the back cover!

(L-R) Jon Daly, Jeffrey Gurian, Nick Kroll holding Jeffrey’s book “Make ‘Em Laugh” with an intro by Chris Rock, and blurb from Nick Kroll,(LOL), and John Leventstein at Comic Con 2012!

And then tune in for Jan. 30th. I don’t care if it’s only October! Set your TIVO’s in advance. You’re not gonna wanna miss this! Kroll Show! It rocks!!!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV on set in LA with Nick Kroll in character as Gil Faison, of the “Oh Hello” boys!

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Comedy Juice with Tom Papa and John Mulaney

Comedy Juice regularly puts on a great line-up every Tuesday night at Gotham, at 10:00 P.M. I’ve become kind of a regular because it’s a reliably good show, and I always write about it! I just wish Mark Serittella would re-post it somewhere! (LOL)

Jared Logan is often the host and he’s always funny. He’s great with crowd work and very quick, and he comes up with appropriate references, like when speaking to audience members from Australia he not only referenced the Duckbilled Platypus, but kangaroos, and boomerangs as well!

He’s from West Virginia and hates when people don’t know it’s it’s own state. It’s not just the Western part of Virginia.

And I liked his bit on the fact that 90 countries have a national bird. That’s something I would definitely talk about, because it’s true and it’s so absurd. Not even one bird knows to be proud of such a thing! Even if they did, birds don’t usually brag anyway!

Tom Papa just being very funny at the Comedy Juice show at Gotham!

I was glad to see Tom Papa there. Not only because I enjoy his work, but I wanted to send him an advance copy of my book “Make ‘Em Laugh” and we wound up sitting next to each other so it was a perfect opportunity to broach the subject. Chris Rock wrote the intro besides being in the book with his own interview, and Tom’s best bud Jerry Seinfeld is in it too!

Tom has the ability to make anything funny. His comedy is very relatable to everyone, and he’s always a crowd pleaser!

John Mulaney is also always a treat to watch. Lots of comics try and describe themselves to the audience. Show business and comedy specifically is the only area in life where you WANT people to laugh at your appearance. Comics do very self-deprecating material.

No one wants to laugh at someone who’s perfect or looks like they’re doing too well in life. They don’t relate. Like I tell the audience I’m a mix between Phil Spector and Elton John and they love it. If someone said that to me in real life, I’d probably be pissed!

John Mulaney, onstage, killing it at the Comedy Juice show at Gotham Comedy Club!

John describes himself as looking like a very tall child. He also says he has a girlfriend which is weird since he’s probably gay, based upon the way he’s acted for the past 29 years. He says that having a girlfriend is like having a lawyer in every day life. Before his girlfriend, he had no idea of how he should be treated in his life. She gets offended FOR him, and tells him when and how he should respond, like, ” You ordered your food an hour ago. It should be here already”, and that way he knows to complain to the waiter.

I can’t wait to see the sketches I did with John and Nick Kroll out in LA for Nick’s new show coming up on Comedy Central, tentatively called “The Nick Show Kroll” (until further notice!)

George St. Geeland (John Mulaney), Jeffrey Gurian, and Gil Faizon (Nick Kroll) on set in LA for the taping of Nick’s new show on Comedy Central!

And then I got to see Nick Griffin who I had heard of but not seen before. It always amazes me when someone escapes my comedy radar! I also liked the way he wears his hair. From the front. I don’t know how he did it, but he managed to have two different hairstyles at the same time. From the front it looks spiky and hip. From the side it looks like a totally different guy. See if you can tell what I mean from the photos.

Nick Griffin from the front, very hip spiky hairdo!

Nick Griffin from the side. Totally different hair attitude!

I like guys who take the time to choose a hairstyle. Most men wear their hair like they’re embarrassed for having any. Almost like an apology. “I’m sorry I have hair. I’ll try and wear it in a non-descript, inoffensive way so you won’t notice!” And they do!

Nick was very funny. He said somebody told him that there’s always somebody worse off than you, and now he’s worried about that other guy!

He also said, ” You know you’re getting older when your favorite thing is not to be awake.”

Also on the show was Mara Merrick and the very funny Dan St. Germaine who also brought his beard with him.

The very funny Dan St. Germaine accompanied onstage by his beard!

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Nick Kroll and John Mulaney Video as the "Oh, Hello" Boys in LA

At the request of Nick Kroll, I flew out to LA to be in some sketches with Nick and John Mulaney for Nick’s upcoming show on Comedy Central. For right now it’s being called “The Nick Show Kroll”, but according to Nick that could change. I brought my camera equipment with me, hoping I’d be able to film something fun on set for Comedy Matters TV.

Nick Kroll, Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, and John Mulaney the way they usually look!

But when I got there, it was such a busy set, with so much going on that I didn’t want to impose on anyone by asking. Frankly, I was just glad to be there. I thought about asking Inman Young the producer, but held off thinking that at some point, when the time was right I’d ask Nick myself, since he was already familiar with the fact that I document everything I do with photos and video for my Comedy Matters Vlog and my Comedy Matters TV channel.

Jeffrey Gurian on set in LA with Gil Faizon, one of the “Oh, Hello” boys!

I had already asked if I could take stills during the shoot, and got the ok from Nick, so every once in a while, when I felt sure I wouldn’t ruin a scene being shot, I whipped out my ever-present camera and took some shots.

I am the guy, by the way, who accidentally put my camera down on the doctor’s sterile instruments while one of my daughters was being born, accidentally breaking the sterile chain, and had everyone in the delivery room screaming at me, while they rushed to rectify the situation. They told me it was ok to take photos, and I was so engrossed that when the baby came out, I got so excited I put my camera down on their instruments!

So it wasn’t that far fetched for me to picture accidentally taking a flash photo on Nick’s set, and ruining a scene that was being shot! I live with that fear of always doing something stupid! (LOL) Anyone else relate???

So anyway, on the second day of the shoot, I asked Nick and he said it would be cool at the end of the shoot. The thing was that everyone’s on the clock so at the end of the shoot, he and John were still in costume, and it would have taken a while for them to have their make-up removed and all, so we went into Nick’s trailer, and shot it with them still in character.

George St. Geegland, Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, and Gil Faizon on the set of Nick Kroll’s show in LA!

I didn’t realize how confusing it would be for me since I had planned on interviewing Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, and thanking THEM for having me on the show, and here I was interviewing Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland. This fact hit me right after my intro when I said, ” Hey this is Jeffrey Gurian for Comedy Matters TV and I’m here with Nick Kroll, or should I say Gil Faizon, and then I didn’t even say “John Mulaney”, I just said “George St. Geegland”, cause I realized that that’s who I was with.

So I’m trying to interview them, and thank them as themselves while they’re staying in character. It actually turned out very funny! See for yourselves!

The previous post on my trip to LA is right here:

http://wp.me/p1pHIm-Ou

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Abel Ferrara, Shanyn Leigh, and Willem Dafoe in 4:44

The film poster for Abel Ferrara’s 4:44 in theatres near YOU!

I don’t usually like to do anything of consequence the day before I leave on a big trip, but the day before I was set to leave for LA, to shoot some sketches with Nick Kroll, and John Mulaney from SNL, for Nick’s new show on Comedy Central, I got the opportunity to interview famed director Abel Ferrara, and actors Shanyn Leigh, and Willem Dafoe for Abel’s new film 4:44, about the end of the earth.

I had to do it! First of all, Abel is an old friend and I hadn’t seen him in a while. And second of all I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to meet Willem Dafoe, whose work I’ve always respected.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with writer/director Abel Ferrara!

One of the last times I recall seeing Abel was at a great Italian restaurant called La Mela owned by a dear friend of Abel’s named Frankie C. I just happened to have a shot of us together that night, which is a cool reason to ALWAYS take photos wherever you go!

Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV with writer/director Abel Ferrara at La Mela!

Frankie C. has since passed on, but Abel, Shannyn, and I were there to celebrate some film event. Probably of Abel’s! (LOL) I think he was working on a project about The Chelsea Hotel at the time!

Abel always gets a strong cast of people. Good actors respect his work, and the list of his films is impressive, like “The Funeral”, “King of New York”, and “Bad Lieutenant.” He’s worked with Harvey Keitel, Christopher Walken, and Willem Dafoe just to name a few.

Natasha Lyonne was also in 4:44 and I was hoping to see her again since I did such a fun interview with her a few months ago. It was at a New Group event honoring Wallace Shawn, but I lost her contact information and was never able to send it to her! Unfortunately she was not able to attend this interview session.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing Natasha Lyonne at a New Group event in honor of actor/director Wallace Shawn!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with actor/director Wallace Shawn at a New Group event in Wallace’s honor.

I really liked 4:44, even though the concept was “scary”, to use a childish type of word! (LOL) The entire world has accepted that it will end at 4:44 A.M. the next day and that there’s nothing that anyone can do about it. It shows how people spend their last night alive, particularly a couple who live on the Lower East Side, played by Willem (Cisco) Dafoe and Shanyn (Skye) Leigh. It’s a very wild concept, and Abel’s take was very realistic. People are confused. They don’t know how to react because they’ve never had to face certain death before! (Who has??? LOL)

It doesn’t seem real. It’s all going to happen instantaneously, and as a director, I was fascinated by his creative choices, all of which I liked. He also showed some fantastic news-type footage of people gathering in places all over the world, in candle-lit ceremonies, very often to pray, as in the throngs that were shown in St. Peter’s Square.

It also examined the theme of sobriety, since Cisco has been clean for two years, but in the face of certain death contemplates “picking up” and actually goes to score some drugs. I won’t give away what happens, but it’s powerful.

Abel was surprised to see me, and after the press thing we got a chance to hang out and catch up. It was funny when I went to interview Shanyn who besides being a talented actress is also Abel’s girlfriend, she looked at me and said, “I know you!”, and I reminded her that I was an old friend of Abel’s and that we had met before socially!

Willem Dafoe is such a great actor and I was very glad to have the opportunity to meet him.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Willem Dafoe at The Regency Hotel for 4:44!

There will be a video interview to go with this as soon as I get it edited, but in the meantime, go see the film. It just came out, it’s in the theatres, and it got good reviews. I liked it a lot, and I’m sure you will too. It’s a reminder to treasure every moment!

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My Excellent LA Adventure With Nick Kroll and John Mulaney

Some years ago at one of the many Friars Roasts I had written for, someone told this joke, ” Someone broke into the William Morris office this past weekend and stole a million promises!” Now it didn’t necessarily have to be the William Morris office. It could have been any agency, or entertainment group. The point was that in “the biz” people make a lot of promises they don’t keep.

Nick Kroll, Jeffrey Gurian, and John Mulaney! What we look like when we’re not in character! (LOL)

Not so with Nick Kroll and John Mulaney. Both had been telling me for quite a while that they wanted me to be in their “Oh, Hello” sketches. These guys have been friends since college at Georgetown,when John who was a Freshman when Nick was a senior, had to audition for Nick to be in the campus Improv group. They’ve been friends and writing partners ever since. It would be hard to find two nicer and more talented guys!

So anyway, one day I’m at home working with my assistants when the phone rings and it’s Inman Young, the producer of Nick’s upcoming show on Comedy Central, “The Nick Show Kroll”, which is due to come out this summer. He says, Nick asked him to call me and invite me to be in some “Oh, Hello” sketches, and would I be interested! Of course I told him “No”,and that I was insulted that he asked! (LOL)

Producer Inman Young, with Jeffrey Gurian on the set of “The Nick Show Kroll!”

What I actually told him was that I’d pay HIM to do those sketches, and how soon did he need me to be out in LA???

The funny thing was when I started getting e-mails from the production people who were handling the details, the e-mails were labeled ” The Nick Show Kroll” and I corrected the first couple thinking the person just had A.D.H.D. and switched the words around. No one said anything, but when they kept coming like that, I checked and found out that I was the moron and that the show WAS actually called ” The Nick Show Kroll.”

First day on the set was very exciting. They were kind enough to send someone to pick me up which was very nice and took away the fear that I wouldn’t find the location and I’d miss the shoot! That someone turned out to be Peter Moses, a guy working his way up in production.

My guide and driver Peter Moses on the set of “The Nick Show Kroll!”

When I arrived Inman was there to greet me, and was very accommodating. He has a ton of credits in producing comedy, from Mad TV, to the new film High Road, with Lizzy Caplan, to The Comedians of Comedy with Zach Galifianakis, and Brian Posehn.

They took me to my trailer at the base camp, (Yes, I actually had a room in a trailer!) where I could change and relax while waiting to go on set. Stage Manager Toby Burge made sure I had everything I needed, including a made to order sandwich before it was officially time to eat!

And both Louis Tocchet the 1st A.D., and Giselle Gurza Junco, the 2nd A.D., went out of their way to make sure I was comfortable at all times! Thanks guys!!!

This was a huge, major production, with a tremendous crew, and tons of locations. Most projects are happy to have a director at all! This one had a 1st and 2nd A.D.! (LOL) It all spoke to how much Comedy Central thinks of Nick Kroll.

Nick has such a great team behind him. I got to meet producer John Levenstein, who had been a writer, consulting producer, and co-executive producer for the hit show Arrested Development.

Then the hair and make-up people came over to say hello, and quickly realized they had nothing to do. I did let one girl touch my hair a little bit, but when I told her she was making me nervous, she said she understood and left! (LOL)

Then wardrobe came over, looked at the clothing I had brought, and quickly agreed that I did not need their services! (LOL) After all I was playing myself, so it behooved me to look as much like myself as possible.

I had actually met myself once, ( many years before!), and kind of remembered what I looked like, so it was easier for me to try and re-create that look than it was for anyone else to attempt it!

At one point I told John I had to go to my trailer and get into costume, and he said, ” Aren’t you already in costume?” And I had to admit that I had something a little more fun in mind. A nice pink jacket I had brought from New York!

Nick is so talented, I would actually put him in the category of my old friend Phil Hartman who was one of the most respected character performers in the business. Everyone on SNL always respected Phil as one of the best. I think with characters like Bobby Bottleservice, Fabrice Fabrice, and Gil Faizon, Nick will be seen the same way.

Phil Hartman and Jeffrey Gurian at Jeffrey’s piano in his living room, circa 1992, The Year of the Moustache!

I can not divulge anything about what the sketches were about, except to say they were “Oh, Hello” sketches, but I was in them not only with Nick, (Gil Faizon), and John, (George St. Geegland), but also with celebrated actress Karen Black, who was once up for an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress. She was so much fun to work with as well, and as the Director Jon Krisel, who created and directs IFC’s Portlandia with SNL’s Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, allowed us to improvise a bit, she wound up calling me “Galvani”, and in doing so afforded me an extended bit in the sketch we were doing.

Jeffrey (Galvani) Gurian, Gil Faizon, Karen Black, and George St. Geegland on the set of The Nick Show Kroll!

Jeffrey Gurian with director Jon Krisel, who also co-created and directs Portlandia with Fred Armisen, on the IFC Channel!

The second day of the shoot, I got there in time for lunch and was pleasantly surprised to find myself in the company of Ed Helms, of The Hangover movies and his newest one just released, ” Jeff, Who Lives At Home”, by Mark and Jay Duplass. In an earlier Comedy Matters TV video,at Comedy Central’s First Annual Comedy Awards, Mark promised me a part in “Jeff” although it had already been shot, edited and wrapped! (LOL)

Also on set was Jason Mantzoukas, who plays Rafi in FX’s The League, and will soon be co-starring in the new Sacha Baron Cohen film “The Dictator” which everyone is excitedly waiting to see, Adam Pally who plays Adam Blum in ABC’s Happy Endings, Jon Daly from the UCB group Mr. A$$, who is also a producer on Nick’s show, and all around “macher”, ( which is a very technical term! LOL), Owen Burke from UCB, Seth Morris a comic/sketch guy from TV and films, who also writes for this new Nick Kroll show, and Brian Huskey who plays Chet on Adult Swim’s Children’s Hospital, and is a regular on the Onion News Network.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Ed Helms, from The Hangover movies and Jeff, Who Lives At Home!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Jason Mantzoukas of The Mantzoukas Brothers, and The League on FX! ( Wait till he hears about the battery-operated beard I invented! He’s gonna love it!) )

Most of these guys, ( if not all!), are UCB guys, who know and like each other and happen to be on the “hippest”, most cutting-edge shows on the air. It was quite a crew, and they all made me feel very at home. As a matter of fact, I can’t tell you how many people on Nick’s team did their homework on me, and were familiar with things I have done. Ed Helms in particular was very kind and generous, and shared a very cool story with me which will be for a future post.

The reason I say he was kind and generous is when we broke for lunch, the entire table was filled with all the guys, so I sat down at an adjoining table by myself, which happened to be in the direct sun! In LA that’s HOT!!!

It almost felt like high school again in the cafeteria when you were hoping to sit with the cool kids, but there was no room. I’m older now and more grounded,( hopefully! LOL) so it wasn’t exactly the same, but Ed looked over and said, ” Jeff, you’re gonna melt over there. Come and join us!”, and he moved over and made room for me next to him. That is the sign of a kind, caring, and gracious person! It may seem like a small thing but it was a HUGE kindness! Thank you Ed!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Ed Helms on the set of Nick Kroll’s new show on Comedy Central!

Seth Morris and Owen Burke on the set of The Nick Show Kroll!

Lunch with the boys, (L-R) Brian Huskey, John Mulaney, Adam Pally, Jon Daley, Joe Mande, Jeffrey Gurian, Jon Krisel, Nick Kroll, Jason Mantzoukas, and Owen Burke! Ed Helms had to take a call!

All I’ll say about the second day of shooting was that it involved a lot of tuna fish, and I personally came away smelling not too good, unless you’re the kind of guy who likes the scent of tuna fish!

In my sketch, I also had to try and keep up with Nick and John which was hard because they’ve been bouncing stuff off each other for years, and have so many inside jokes. We got good feedback from the people present, so I think, (and HOPE!) it came off well!

After the shoot, we shot a little video for Comedy Matters TV with Nick and John in character as Gil and George and it was HILARIOUS! It will be posted as soon as it’s edited, so stay tuned!

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29th Annual Just For Laughs Festival In Montreal

It was the 29th annual Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal and as you might imagine, everyone in comedy was there. I literally shot 20 video interviews with people like Garry Shandling, Ken Jeong, Bo Burnham, Bill Burr, Paul Provenza, Kenny Hotz, Russell Peters, Steve Levitan who created Modern Family and won an award for Best Comedy Writer, Amy Schumer and Anthony Jeselnik and not only people LIKE those people, but the actual people themselves! ( LOL – Do I really need the LOL or would you have known??? )

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Ken Jeong from The Hangover movies, in Montreal at the Just For Laughs Festival. Ken had just won the award for Breakout Comedy Star of the Year, at the Comedy Confference!

I’ve been coming up to the festival probably for well over 20 years, and for many of those years there was absolutely nothing scheduled for during the day! In recent years they created something called The Comedy Conference which is FANTASTIC! It’s a chance to meet and interact with people doing things in comedy, on the internet making web series, short films, and attending conferences where people speak on their particular specialty. You get to listen to and meet the movers and shakers in the comedy world, including people from You Tube, Google, Barely Political,The Onion, and Rob Barnett’s “My Damn Channel.”

This year at a special luncheon, awards were given to Garry Shandling, Ken Jeong, Steve Levitan, and Louis CK among others. I interviewed several of them, which you can see right here.

I started meeting people the moment I got off the plane with my trusty DP Sean Mannion. We shared a shuttle to the Hyatt Regency Hotel, which is the home base of the festival, with Kurt Braunohler, (who I mistakenly wrote about previously as “Braunholer”, a great observation if I was Roasting him!), then walked into the hotel and ran right into Russell Peters, who finalized my plans to come and see him that night, then ran into Kenny Hotz on the way to my room, who is the only Canadian talent to have two shows on American TV at the same time, and as soon as I changed and got my camera ready I ran into Bo Burnham, and did my first interview of the weekend.

Jeffrey Gurian with Kurt Braunohler at the airport in Montreal on the way to the Hyatt Regency Hotel!

See Kenny Hotz’s video interview right here. Kenny is a great guy and has so many loyal fans. Whatever I post about him goes through the roof!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with a self-described "disheveled Bo Burnham" at the Just for Laughs Festival!

Everything Bo does goes viral. Bo is grateful that antibiotics have no effect on a virus, so there is virtually no cure for what he does! (LOL) He was performing on the Amp’ed show along with Reggie Watts and others who mix comedy and music, and we had a cool, fun interview. He introduced himself on camera as “the disheveled Bo Burnham” as is everyone in Montreal. There’s not much “stylin'” in the comedy world. People are just chillin’ and having a good time networking, and meeting their peers!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with a distinctly non-disheveled Reggie Watts!

At Russell’s show that night called “Best Night Ever” I went backstage with Russell for some exclusive footage, in which I actually got him dancing to some hip-hop beats, and he looked great in a custom gray striped suit and brand new white sneakers! That video is down towards the bottom of this column!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV backstage with Russell Peters, in his custom suit, at his show in Montreal!

I also got to interview Russell backstage at Paul Provenza’s taping of The Green Room for Showtime. Paul taped two shows for the second season of his hit show, and he and Barbara Romen his co-producer, along with Christopher Barrett made sure I got to see whoever I needed to see.

Jeffrey Gurian interviewing the legendary Tony Clifton and his date Felicia backstage at Paul Provenza's Green Room taping for Showtime!

We were in “the green room of The Green Room” and I interviewed the legendary Tony Clifton, Andy Kaufman’s best friend, who was kind enough to introduce me to his date’s breasts, and watched intently as I interviewed them. They were kind of quiet on camera, but off camera they wouldn’t shut up!

Tony Clifton introducing Jeffrey Gurian to his date's boobs!

I also spoke to Bill Burr, who laughingly chastised me for mentioning Tony Clifton and Bob Zmuda in the same sentence, and then I interviewed Colin Quinn, who was ticked off that they weren’t told what they were going to talk about so no one could prepare but Paul!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV on the receiving end of a bear-hug from an affectionate Bill Burr!

Watch all that in the Bill Burr video interview right here:

And then Colin Quinn’s interview right here:

I missed Eddie Izzard at The Green Room but caught up with him at the airport when we shared a flight back home to New York. He was doing a guest appearance on CBS’s The Good Wife!

Jeffrey Gurian and Eddie Izzard waiting to fly back to New York after the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal!

I caught up with SNL’s John Mulaney, who is also Nick Kroll’s writing partner, and we had a fun interview after the Variety party. I also got to see John taping his really funny Comedy Central special, “John Mulaney Live”, a short time afterwards back in New York at NYU’s Skirball Center, where Comedy Central tapes many of their specials.

Jeffrey Gurian with SNL's John Mulaney after the Variety party at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal!

Check out John Mulaney’s Comedy Matters interview right here:


John swears he and Nick Kroll will not make another “Oh Hello” video without having me in it. That probably means he’s not going to be making any more “Oh Hello” videos! (LOL)

Also caught up with two rising young stars Amy Schumer and Anthony Jeselnik, bot of whom you will see this Monday on Comedy Central’s Roast of Charlie Sheen!

But I would have to say my most fun and rewarding interview was with Andy Nulman, the head of Just For Laughs and one of the founders of the festival 29 years ago. He had left for a while to run his telecommunications company which he recently sold for about 15 or 20 dollars, ( add about a hundred million to that! ), and is now back running the show.

Jeffrey Gurian with an absolutely HUGE Andy Nulman who had to crouch down to even be seen in the photo!

I got a hold of him backstage at Russell Peters show where I also ran into my old friends Alan Schwartz, and “Big Bill” who run security for the festival, and who range in size from about 6’6” to somewhere near 7’ tall. I have an amazing photo of me somewhere suspended between them hanging from their shoulders. It’s really funny, and I just found it so here it is!

(L-R) Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV suspended between Alan Schwartz, and Bill Bill backstage at one of the galas of the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal! ( They both know they can call me in case anyone bothers them!)

This is the really fun video of Russell Peters getting down backstage at his show in Montreal!

Anyway, Andy gave me this fantastic interview in which he says, “ If I wanna know what went on at my own festival, I read Jeffrey Gurian’s Comedy Matters, because he knows everyone, he covers everything, plus he really gives a s**t! That’s why when I say ‘This is Andy Nulman and you’re watching Comedy Matters’, it really means something!”

The video you see here is a compilation of everything that went on at JFL 2011! It’s all right here in the video so check it out!!!

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