Posts Tagged NBC

Seth Meyers Takes Over Late Night Tonight

In the ever-increasing entertainment empire that is under the guidance/ownership/leadership of king-maker Lorne Michaels, Seth Meyers will take over the reins of Late Night tonight, a week after his friend and former SNL cast-mate Jimmy Fallon replaced Jay Leno on The Tonight Show.

 

Jeffrey Gurian of ComedyMattersTV.com interviewing Seth Meyers on the red carpet of the Just for Laughs Awards luncheon!

Jeffrey Gurian of ComedyMattersTV.com interviewing Seth Meyers on the red carpet of the Just for Laughs Awards luncheon!

In a NY Post article, Seth credits the confidence needed to make such a move to Lorne’s support in suggesting him for the gig.  It’s such a HUGE thing to have someone like that behind you.  It makes all the difference in the world, when someone with that much power believes in you!

Jeffrey Gurian with Lorne Michaels at a Writers Guild Awards event!

Jeffrey Gurian with Lorne Michaels at a Writers Guild Awards event!

Lorne created Saturday Night Live in 1975 and the show has gone on to provide some of the biggest stars we know today like Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Will Ferrell, TIna Fey, Amy Poehler, Eddie Murphy, Jimmy Fallon and on and on!

It’s a huge amount of pressure to do a show five nights a week where you have to interview A-list celebs every night, and keep it fresh and hip!  He’ll be in the same 30 Rock building  he’s called home, since 2001 when he joined the cast of SNL.  Within a period of two years he went from writing supervisor to head writer, and then to Weekend Update co-anchor with Amy Poehler.

He, like Jimmy Fallon has been doing test shows during the week with guest celebs like Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb of “Today”, and a few guest comics as well.  His bandleader is also an interesting choice, former SNL star and current star of IFC’s Portlandia, Fred Armisen.

Interesting fact: Portlandia was created by Jonathan Krisel who also directs Kroll Show on Comedy Central, and during the last NY Comedy Festival, when Nick Kroll did a panel at The Paley Center, ( formerly the Museum of TV and Radio), Seth was the moderator, and Jon Krisel was on the panel, along with Nick Kroll and Exec. Producer of Kroll Show and sometime actor on the show, John Levenstein.

KrollShowGraphic_PaleyCenter_SetyhMeyers_11_9_13

(L-R) Jon Krisel, John Levenstein, Nick Kroll, and Seth Meyers at The Paley Center in a panel on Kroll Show!

(L-R) Jon Krisel, John Levenstein, Nick Kroll, and Seth Meyers at The Paley Center in a panel on Kroll Show!

It happened to be during that panel that I got a great surprise.  Not only did Nick give me a shout out from the stage, before showing my ” Too Much Tuna” sketch with him and John Mulaney, but they also showed the upcoming sketch I’m in, which I understand will be the finale of the 2nd season, with me playing myself in a sketch with Laura Dern, Amy Poehler, and Katy Perry!

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 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!

Amy and Seth are very close as they shared the Weekend Update desk for two years from 2006-2008.  This past summer in Montreal at The Just for Laughs Festival which is the biggest comedy festival in the world, Seth presented Amy with the Breakout Comedy Star of the Year Award at a huge awards luncheon.

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Seth Meyers at the podium at the Just for Laughs Festival presenting Amy Poehler with the Comedy Person of the Year Award!

Seth Meyers at the podium at the Just for Laughs Festival presenting Amy Poehler with the Comedy Person of the Year Award!  Amy is partly shown sitting behind where he’s standing!

She will be his first guest tonight along with VP Joe Biden.  Interesting mix!  Later in the week he’ll have Kanye West, and Patrick Stewart!

Seth is such a charming, humble, and likable guy, he’s a natural for the spot and people will love him.   Just last year he got married to human rights lawyer Alexi Ashe and he says his new schedule will allow him to start a family!  ( Not by himself, with Alexi’s cooperation, of course! LOL)

Between Seth, Jimmy, and David Letterman, they’ll be bringing major entertainment back to New York in a very big way.  So many more stars from LA will be here to do the shows!  Very exciting.

We’ll all be watching you tonight Seth, and we know you’ll totally kill it!  Below you can see my little interview with Seth in Montreal just before he presented Amy with her award!

 

 

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Jimmy Fallon Brings The Tonight Show Tonight!

Today is the day we’ve all been waiting for.  You’d basically have to be from a small village in Bulgaria, living next to a stream not to know that Jimmy Fallon is bringing The Tonight Show back to New York, starting tonight and it will change entertainment completely!

For the first time in 42 years since Johnny Carson took the show out to Burbank, The Tonight Show will have it’s home at 30 Rock, along with SNL and Late Night with Seth Meyers, who is replacing Jimmy Fallon in that spot.  Jimmy’s last night on Late Night was Feb. 7th.

Jimmy Fallon and Will Ferrell doing a song about their tight pants!

Jimmy Fallon and Will Ferrell doing a song about their tight pants!

Never before has there been a late night host as talented as Jimmy.  Many were funny, and many did characters and different types of “shtick”, but NOBODY does as many things as Jimmy Fallon.  First he’s only 39 and appeals to a younger demographic.  But besides doing stand-up, he also sings, dances, (which he claimed in an interview he did with me that he doesn’t dance, but anyone who’s seen him move on the show will beg to differ), plays instruments, (especially the guitar!), does impressions, and is the right age to bond with most of his popular guests like Justin Timberlake, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt with whom he yodeled in a video, and Bruce Springsteen who he dressed up as and sang a duet with.  He even  got Jerry Seinfeld and Billy Crystal to dress up as old time baseball players!

 

Jimmy Fallon and guest Justin Timberlake in conversation!

Jimmy Fallon and guest Justin Timberlake in conversation!

Tom Cruise crushing raw eggs on his head after losing a bet to Jimmy Fallon!

Tom Cruise crushing raw eggs on his head after losing in Egg Russian Roulette, to Jimmy Fallon!  Hysterical bit!

Jerry Seinfeld, not sure who this guy is, and Billy Crystal as old time baseball players

Jerry Seinfeld, not sure who this guy is, and Billy Crystal as old time baseball players

Jimmy’s “Tonight Show  starring Jimmy Fallon”, will be broadcast from Studio 6B in 30 Rock, Monday through Friday at 11:34, except for tonight when it will start a few minutes later due to The Olympics! Among his first guests will be Will Smith and U2.  Can’t wait to hear U2 jamming with The Roots!

Later on in the week he’s planning on having Justin Timberlake who was on his recent “Best Of” special on NBC doing a “History of Rap” duet with Jimmy, Lady Gaga, and Michelle Obama, who also appeared in that special.  And what a special it was.  Not only does he have the hugest guests in the world, but he does fun things with them.

Like when he got Pres. Obama to actually do “Slow Jam the News”, a bit he does where they do the news to Barry White-like music in the background.  C’mon, … getting the President of the United States on your show doing comedy?  Talk about “beyond your wildest dreams!”  Who gets the Pres. to do comedy on their show?  Only Jimmy Fallon!

Pres. Barack Obama "slow-jamming the news" with Jimmy Fallon, and The Roots!

Pres. Barack Obama “slow-jamming the news” with Jimmy Fallon, and The Roots!

He’s had Mick Jagger, Mariah Carey, and Robin Thicke, he’s come out dressed as David Bowie, and Bob Dylan  and imitated both, (his Dylan is better than Dylan, and he did it during an interview he did with me as well!), he’s arm-wrestled with Jason Statham, he had Tom Cruise crack eggs on his own head, and dressed up like Bruce Springsteen and actually did a duet with the real Springsteen, side by side on his show.

Jimmy Fallon on stage with Mick Jagger!

Jimmy Fallon on stage with Mick Jagger!

Jimmy Fallon having fun with Robin Thicke!

Jimmy Fallon having fun with Robin Thicke!

Jimmy Fallon arm-wrestling with action star Jason Statham!

Jimmy Fallon arm-wrestling with action star Jason Statham!

And as far as arm-wrestling with Jason Statham goes, I can attest to how strong Jimmy is physically.   One night when we were hanging out he insisted on picking me up, and not that I’m so heavy, but when I resisted as I tend to do when people try and lift me off the ground, I could feel the strength in his arms. The dude works out!

Having Jimmy in New York will give New York’s comedic talent more of a shot at getting on the show and many more big stars from LA will be coming to New York to be on the show.

What’s also special about Jimmy is that he’s not out to make his guests uncomfortable or as was said in a recent New York Mag article  of 2/10/14, ” he doesn’t try to expose his guests’ hypocrisy like Stewart or Colbert, and in contrast to Letterman, he actually watches his guests’ movies, listens to their music and geeks out endearingly in front of them.”

That “niceness” comes easily for Jimmy.  He’s a genuinely nice guy!  I remember when I was shooting an interview with him backstage at Gotham Comedy Club, and my D.P wasn’t able to make it.  I was so nervous to tell him I didn’t have anyone to work my camera, and when I finally got up the nerve to tell him as we sat in the green room, he said ” Don’t worry about it, my wife Nancy is a producer and she’ll shoot it for us”, … and she did!

Jeffrey Gurian with Jimmy Fallon backstage at Gotham Comedy Club after Jeffrey interviewed Jimmy for Comedy Matters TV! (with the help of Jimmy's wife Nancy!)

Jeffrey Gurian with Jimmy Fallon backstage at Gotham Comedy Club after Jeffrey interviewed Jimmy for Comedy Matters TV! (with the help of Jimmy’s wife Nancy!)

The last time I saw Jimmy I was performing in a show at The Players Club, hosted by the inimitable Brute Force who hosts a monthly show there, and Jimmy dropped by to see Brute.  He was shocked to see me, and we all hung out at the bar after the show.  I think he was playing a song on the piano and then turned to me and asked me to play something!

Jeffrey Gurian, Jimmy Fallon and Brute Force hanging out at The Players Club!

Jeffrey Gurian, Jimmy Fallon and Brute Force hanging out at The Players Club!

I think I surprised him by playing a little something I remembered from my 10 years of taking lessons when I was a kid.   Jimmy sat on the pool table behind me and just listened.  Then we all just hung out and had fun for the next couple of hours.

Jimmy Fallon hanging out with Jeffrey Gurian, and a whole group of people at The Players Club, June 2013!

Jimmy Fallon hanging out with Jeffrey Gurian, and a whole group of people at The Players Club, June 2013!

Anyway, I’ll be staying home tonight to watch Jimmy inaugurate his show.  I could TIVO it, but that wouldn’t be as fun as seeing it live and in person.  I’ve never really had the time to watch late night TV, but I plan to be watching Jimmy on a constant basis!  I hope you will too!

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Hail (Sid) Caesar! There’ll Never Be Another!

When I heard the sad news that Sid Caesar passed away this week at 91 years old, I was very moved.  He’s one of the last of his generation of comedians from what has been referred to as The Golden Age of Television.  I think I first got to meet him when I wrote for his Friars Roast in 1983.  Every big star was there, and I was writing for the Roasts at the time and at that Roast I wrote for five different performers including Dick Shawn, Jan Murray, and Joey Travolta, John Travolta’s older brother, and the son-in-law of Dick Shawn, one of my very favorite comedians, and a friend.

(L-R) Bobby Shields, Norm Crosby, Gene Baylos, Sid Caesar, and Jeffrey Gurian at the Friars Roast for Sid Caesar, 1983.

(L-R) Bobby Shields, Norm Crosby, Gene Baylos, Sid Caesar, and Jeffrey Gurian at the Friars Roast for Sid Caesar, 1983.

Joey Travolta, Jeffrey Gurian, and Jack Carter at the Friars Roast for Sid Caesar!

Joey Travolta, Jeffrey Gurian, and Jack Carter at the Friars Roast for Sid Caesar!

Sid was the star of NBC’s “Your Show of Shows” from 1950-1954, and “Caesar’s Hour” from 1954-57, and created sketches with his co-star comedienne Imogene Coca that are funny to this very day.  Sid was a genius in what you might call “dialect comedy.”  He could make believe he was speaking almost any language, from German, French, Italian, Russian, or Japanese, and with the help of writers like Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Carl Reiner, and Woody Allen created many memorable characters.

He was also known for being incredibly strong physically, and supposedly once pulled a sink out of a wall in anger, and held Mel Brooks out of a window by his feet!  After we met, we stayed in touch for a while and I remmber going to see him in a theatre in NYC, and when I went backstage after the show to say “Hi” it looked like an underground bunker or construction site.

Jeffrey Gurian visiting Sid Caesar backstage in what looks like a construction site!

Jeffrey Gurian visiting Sid Caesar backstage in what looks like a construction site!

A different grouping at the Sid Caesar Roast, (L-R) Henny Youngman, Sid Caesar, Gene Baylos, Jan Murray, Norm Crosby, and Jeffrey Gurian!

A different grouping at the Sid Caesar Roast, (L-R) Henny Youngman, Sid Caesar, Gene Baylos, Jan Murray, Norm Crosby, and Jeffrey Gurian!

 

So many of the greats of that generation lived to ripe old ages. Milton Berle lived to be 93 or 94.  He was my original sponsor in The Friars Club and brought me into the LA club first where he was the President.   I was out there in 1985, which was where we took the photo below.

Jeffrey Gurian with Milton Berle at the LA Friars Club in 1985.  Milton was the Pres. of The Friars Club and was Jeffrey's sponsor!

Jeffrey Gurian with Milton Berle at the LA Friars Club in 1985. Milton was the Pres. of The Friars Club and was Jeffrey’s sponsor!

And in all the years I knew Milton I was always in awe of him.  I’d be on the phone with him and all I’d be thinking was, ” Holy s**t, I’m on the phone with Milton Berle!”.  Mr. Television.  The reason he was called “Mr. Television” was because people in this country bought TV’s just to watch him on Texaco Star Theatre.

He was the host on the show that ran from 1948 until 1956, eventually called “The MIlton Berle Show”, and people would crowd around in the streets watching his show through the windows of the television stores.  TV had only been around since 1941, and thanks to Milton TV ownership went from about 500,000 TV’s to over 30 million.

Milton was like a mentor to me, and we’d have lunch at The Friars Club in NY, just the two of us, and he’d tell me wonderful show biz stories and about things like “spitballing” where two comics run ideas back and forth to create new material.    He took me to his home in Beverly Hills, and showed me  his archives of kinescopes and jokes, and even showed me the thing he was most famous for in terms of his physical endowment! (LOL)  Not that I asked to see it, but I think he was so proud of it, that he showed it to people he trusted!

Jeffrey Gurian and Milton Berle at an event where Milton was performing! Circa mid-80's.

Jeffrey Gurian and Milton Berle at an event where Milton was performing! Circa mid-80’s.

I recall one instance where I felt he really came to my rescue.  It was 1985, and I was in a very down place emotionally.  It was a freezing cold winter day, and I got to the door of my 2nd floor studio apartment, just in time to hear the phone ringing.  I remember fumbling with my keys, hoping to get the call before they hung up.  I raced to the phone and picked it up just in time and who was it, … Milton Berle.  He had called to see how I was doing.   To this day I still can’t believe that.  If I had been one minute later, I might have missed it because who knows if Milton Berle would have left a message on my answering machine.

He wound up inviting me to a Friars Tribute in his honor.  I think he was named “Man of the Year”, and that’s where he introduced me to Sammy Davis Jr., who actually kidded me about the amount of jewelry I was wearing.  He who wore more gold than an Aztec god! (LOL)

Jeffrey Gurian with Sammy Davis Jr. at a Friars Club tribute to Milton Berle.

Jeffrey Gurian with Sammy Davis Jr. at a Friars Club tribute to Milton Berle. 1985

Some years later, I also attended a special event in Milton’s honor in Montreal hosted by the legendary Budd Friedman, owner and founder of The Improv, the very first comedy club in the world.  Budd sat at the head of the table, Milton sat next to him, and I sat next to Budd directly across from Milton.    When Budd inserted his monacle into his eye, I took a plastic spoon out of my pocket, ( I’ve been carrying at least one spoon since the early 80’s and no one knows why! LOL) and inserted that into my eye to “look at the menu.”

Jeffrey Gurian with Budd Friedman at the 89th Birthday Roast of Henny Youngman, for TV!

Jeffrey Gurian with Budd Friedman at the 89th Birthday Roast of Henny Youngman, for TV!

It was a character I created back in the 70’s which I called “Spoon-eye”, and which was copied many years later by Conan O’Brien, and written about in Cindy Adam’s column in the NY Post.  I provided photos of myself “with spoon” from back in the 70’s, and Cindy wrote, ” I don’t know why anyone would want to take credit for something like this, but Jeffrey  Gurian definitely did it first!

Anyway, Budd looked at me like  “What the F**K are you doing?”  And I simply said, ” It’s very big out on the coast”, not thinking that HE lived out on “the coast.”  He looked at me and said, ” I live out there and I have NEVER seen anyone do that.”  In the meantine, Milton was looking at me in disbelief, and I decided to take out the spoon and just change the subject.  I don’t think it ever came up again!

On May 14, 1998, when Frank Sinatra passed away, I happened to be out in LA.  I remember very clearly calling Milton from a pay phone. I guess my StarTAC clamshell cell phone was on “Roam”!  He took the call and told me that he wasn’t taking calls from anyone else because the press was calling him non-stop for quotes on Frank Sinatra’s passing, but he said when he heard it was me he took the call.  Another amazing moment for me.

Jeffrey Gurian with Milton Berle at the LA Friars Club in 1985.

Jeffrey Gurian with Milton Berle at the LA Friars Club in 1985.

He brought me to his home in Beverly Hills, and showed me his kinescopes and the 6 million jokes he had compiled over the years that he kept in a separate little house.  He also showed me the body part he was known for, … without me asking, … which is a whole other story for another time! (LOL)

I remember the first time he let me write for him.  It was for an event honoring Buddy Hackett.  I was supposed to go to Atlantic City to meet with Milton where he was performing, and I was bringing my wife at the time, as Milton’s guests, and a couple of days before we were scheduled to come, he called me at home and asked me to give him an example of the jokes I was writing about Buddy.  If they were funny I could come, if not, I guess he would withdraw the offer.  Now I was in the position of having to impress Milton Berle with my jokes, the man who heard every joke ever told.

Jeffrey Gurian with Buddy Hackett at a Friars Roast, mid-80's.

Jeffrey Gurian with Buddy Hackett at a Friars Roast, mid-80’s.

I recall saying to him, ” Clean or dirty?”  He said, ” One of each.”  My clean joke was, ” Buddy’s not a good looking man.  It took him a long time to get used to the fact that girls are supposed to close their eyes when they KISS you, not when they’re introduced!”  My “dirty” one was, ” A lot of people like to think of Buddy Hackett as a little man with a rubber face.  I prefer to think of him as a little rubber, with a man’s face!”  Milton laughed, and told me to pack my bags cause he was expecting us in AC!  AMAZING!!!

Through Milton I also got to meet George Burns who was performing at one of the grand hotels in The Catskills.  In those days all the big TV stars still performed at the hotels, like The Concord, Grossingers, Kutschers, and The Nevele. George lived to be 100 years old.

Jeffrey Gurian with George (God) Burns backstage at a hotel in The Catskills! Mid-80's.

Jeffrey Gurian with George (God) Burns backstage at a hotel in The Catskills! Mid-80’s.

I got to know Red Buttons very well, who lived to be 87, as well as Norm Crosby, “The Master of Malaprop” who fortunately is still with us, and is in his mid-80’s, as is Jerry Lewis who’s 87 and who I had the honor of writing for and working alone with, when he was Roasted by The Friars, back in 1986.

Jeffrey Gurian with Red Buttons at a comedy event, mid-80's.

Jeffrey Gurian with Red Buttons at a comedy event, mid-80’s.

Jeffrey Gurian with Norm Crosby at The Friars Roast of Don King, 2005.

Jeffrey Gurian with Norm Crosby at The Friars Roast of Don King, 2005.

And then there was Henny Youngman who lived to be 91 and who I knew well from The Friars Club and from Milton.  He and Milton once headlined together at Westbury Music Fair and when Milton saw me, he gave ma a shout-out from the stage.  It was one of the proudest moments of my life.  He would always kid Youngman with lines like, ” Nice suit Youngman, who shines it for you?”  And lines like that would crack me up, cause I love that kind of humor!

Jeffrey Gurian with Henny Youngman at a comedy event, Oct. 1990.

Jeffrey Gurian with Henny Youngman at a comedy event, Oct. 1990.

I got to work with Henny for his 89th birthday roast which was televised and which I wrote with Bill Persky, the genius who wrote and created “That Girl” for Marlo Thomas, Danny Thomas’s daughter, and was also known for “Kate and Allie” and for his writing on the Dick Van Dyke Show.

I consider myself Blessed that I got to meet so many of the legends I watched growing up, and I think it’s safe to say that no matter how talented the stars of today are, there’ll never be any others like Sid Caesar, Milton Berle, and the others I mentioned.  And the fact that they all had such longevity adds strength to the concept that laughing keeps you young!  In any case, I certainly hope so!  As a matter of fact, I’m counting on it! (LOL)

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yet many young people still love the old comedies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

Out of all the amazing shows and panels at this year’s 31st annual Just for Laughs Festival, I think the most exciting event was the JFL Awards Show.

The Awards Show poster showing recipients Amy Poehler, Edgar Wright, Mitch Hurwitz, Nick Kroll, Michael Cera, and Mark Lonow and Budd Friedman.

The line-up of talent was fantastic. And I would be remiss for not thanking certain people who made my attendance at this year’s festival even more meaningful than ever, so special thanks to Paul Ronca the Director of the Comedy Pro-Conference, Zoe Friedman the Artistic Director of The Awards Show, Olivia Benaroche the Industry Coordinator and my Guardian Angel, and Emily Shore my other Guardian Angel borrowed from Andy Nulman, Pres. of JFL. Thank you all sincerely!

So the Award Show was spectacular. Amy Poehler received the Comedy Person of the Year Award, presented to her by Seth Meyers. Interviews with both of them will follow very soon, in a separate Comedy Matters post.

Nick Kroll received the Breakout Comedy Star of the Year Award and it was presented to him by his old friend John Mulaney, which was a very meaningful experience for both of them.

Nick Kroll and John Mulaney in their personnaes as George St. Geegland (L) and Gil Faison!

Nick Kroll as Bobby Bottleservice.

Nick Kroll as Dr. Armond, eminent canine plastic surgeon!

In a later interview alone with Nick, outside of the Variety party for the Top 10 Comics To Watch, he said something to the effect that John was a funny guy with a lot of potential, as if he was a newcomer! Then he busted out laughing! You’ll see it in the video when it’s finished being edited.

The hilarious Michael Cera, who takes nerdiness to new heights in most of his Judd Apatow helmed films and who is back on TV in the resurrected Arrested Development now on Netflix, won an award for Best Comedic Short Film for his 16 minute short, Brazzaville Teen-Ager. It was presented to him by Sarah Silverman who did something so funny on the red carpet.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV on the red carpet of the JFL Awards with winner of Best Short Comedy Film, Michael Cera!

I was positioned at the end of the red carpet where I often prefer to be so that people have time to talk to me and no one else is waiting. That works except when the event is running behind and the PR people rush the celebs along. But in this case it worked out fine.

I was in the middle of interviewing Michael Cera, and discussing our mutual friendship with the wild and wooly Kenny Hotz, when Michael asked if Kenny was what he was smelling.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing Michael Cera on the red carpet discussing their mutual friend Kenny Hotz!

A few seconds later with no pre-planning, strictly by coincidence, Nick Kroll came over and started sniffing Michael. Nick asked him if he uses fabric softener because he told him he smelled great.

Nick Kroll sniffing Michael Cera and telling him he smelled great!

Michael left and I continued interviewing Nick, when right in the middle, one of my all time favorites, the incredibly talented and beautiful Sarah Silverman jumped in and said she had skipped all the other press people to come and talk to me. Sarah has the most amazing smile!

Sarah Silverman joins Nick Kroll in an interview by Jeffrey Gurian for Comedy Matters TV!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Sarah Silverman at the JFL Comedy Awards!

Then she and Nick double-teamed me, and wound up interviewing me, and evaluating my outfit! It was very funny because Sarah was wearing such an unusual outfit, like a hoodie on top with a T-shirt, and a very hot lingerie looking combo from the waist down, with boots!

Sarah Silverman and Nick Kroll evaluating the outfit worn by Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV on the red carpet of the JFL Comedy Awards!

Sarah Silverman presenting the award to Michael Cera in her sexy thigh highs and boots, topped off with a T-shirt and hoodie!

It was hysterical and you can see it right here!

I shot 32 interviews over the four days I was up there with people like Amy Poehler, Seth Myers, Judah Friedlander, Paul Provenza, Colin Quinn, Bo Burnham, about 26 more, and we’ll be rolling them out as they’re done, so keep your eyes on my Comedy Matters TV You Tube channel at http://www.youtube.com/guriannewsnetwork, and PLEASE SUBSCRIBE!

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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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Come to Papa at The Village Underground

Making a purposeful effort to make a home for myself at The Comedy Cellar, the legendary club owned by Noam Dworman and frequented by every major comedy star who hits New York, I went down on a Tuesday to catch their weekly podcast, “Live From The Table”, which this week featured the always hysterical Kurt Metzger and Dan Naturman. I was a guest a few weeks ago and had a blast!

The welcoming sign of “The Comedy Cellar” on MacDougal Street in NYC!

The logo from “Live From The Table” the weekly Comedy Cellar podcast!

Sitting at the bar chatting with Marina Franklin, we were soon joined by Tom (The Marriage Ref) Papa who invited me to stop by his monthly Sirius XM radio show which started right after the podcast at the Comedy Cellar’s other space, The Village Underground, conveniently located literally right around the corner.

“Come to Papa” poster at The Village Underground for Tom’s Sirius XM radio show!

Sexy fairy Marina Franklin onstage at The Village Underground for Tom Papa’s “Come to Papa” on Sirius XM radio!

What a beautiful space! A really nicely appointed room with lots of tables, dim lighting, big screen TV’s to be able to see well from all over the room, and for the last month or so, comedy as well. Tom hosts a show appropriately called “Come To Papa” which is kind of a throwback to something I had never really seen but only heard of, “scripted radio.” Before TV was invented in this country and even afterwards when people started to buy them thanks to Mr. Television himself, the legendary Milton Berle, most people listened to scripted radio shows for entertainment.

Tom Papa on one of the big screen viewers at The Village Underground, making it easy for everyone to see the show!

It’s hard to believe there was actually a time before TV, but when Milton Berle had his Texaco Star Theatre, people would gather in the streets to watch TV through the store windows of appliance stores selling TV’s, and thanks to the popularity of his show, so many TV’s were sold that that’s how he got the nick-name “Mr. Television.”

I had the honor of being sponsored in The Friars Club by Milton Berle who I also had the honor of writing jokes for, and who I considered a friend.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV in LA, with his friend and sponsor in The Friars Club, the legendary Milton Berle, circa 1984!

Before TV, in the 1930’s and 40’s, families would huddle around the radio to hear their favorite shows, and their favorite comedians like Fred Allen, Jack Benny, Victor Borge, Fanny Brice, Jimmy Durante, Phil Harris, Bob Hope, Groucho Marx, Red Skelton and Ed Wynn.

They also got to hear shows like Abbott and Costello, Amos ‘n’ Andy, Burns and Allen, Fibber McGee and Molly, The Goldbergs, The Great Gildersleeve, and Our Miss Brooks, which I know went on to become a TV show in the 1950’s.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with comedy icon George Burns, Catskill Mountains, circa 1983!

Radio comedy ran the gamut from small town humor like that of Herb Shriner and Minnie Pearl to the weekly “gag shows” like Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One and Can You Top This?, panel programs devoted to the art of telling jokes.

So Tom Papa had a rich history to compete with and from what I saw he’s doing it well. He was joined by comics Cynthia Koury, who doubled as the MC, Dan Soder, the same Kurt Metzger from the “Live at the Table” podcast, Rick Crom who used his deep resonant voice as the announcer, and I stayed long enough to see a mix of stand-up, and written sketches where the comics read from scripts, before I had to run and cover my next event.

Comic Cynthia Koury holding it down on the stage of The Village Underground on “Come to Papa!”

(L-R) Kurt Metzger, Dan Soder, Rick Crom, and Tom Papa onstage at The Village Underground!

The event was produced by Aaron Hodges from Sirius XM radio who was kind enough to tell me he enjoyed my performance on Kroll Show in Too Much Tuna with Nick Kroll and John Mulaney!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV playing himself on the set of Kroll Show with Nick Kroll, and John Mulaney as the “Oh, Hello” boys. After shooting the sketch “Too Much Tuna!”

The reaction of the audience and the strength of the performances I saw makes me want to attend regularly, and I can’t wait for the next one when I can stay for the entire show! Even better, Noam himself invited me back!



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Help Tom Cotter Win "America’s Got Talent"

I’ve known Tom Cotter for a long time and always admired his work. Not only his performance but especially his writing. It’s just so sharp and clever, and he works really clean, which in a business where so many comics are obsessed with “bathroom related material”, is a breath of fresh air, (not usually found in most bathrooms! LOLOL)

Tom Cotter with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at The Comic Strip in 2003!

With all the times I’ve seen Tom perform, I still run into the room to catch his set if I know he’s going up. He’s a reliable crowd-pleaser! His lines like, ” I was the youngest in the family, but I was always beaten up by the two oldest, … Mom and Dad!” ” I used to get smacked around by these green berets in my neighborhood. Some people call them “girl scouts”, … whatever!” “The morning of my 16th birthday, the whole family tried to surprise me with a car, … but they missed!”, … make me laugh every time I hear them!(Which is not to say he’s not adding new lines all the time! Try giving a woman a compliment like that, and she’ll KILL you! “Every time I see you in that dress you look fantastic”!)

Those are just three of Tom’s jokes that helped him impress Howard Stern, Sharon Osbourne, and Howie Mandel, and pass the audition for the 7th season of the show. His material really lends itself to doing 90 second bits which is basically what you get on the show. Most comics are still adjusting the mic stand and asking people where they’re from for the first 90 seconds. Tom doesn’t fool around. He gets one laugh after the next. You can see it right here:

http://youtu.be/ug4ju_jFs70

As a long time writer, I appreciate people who punch out the jokes. One after the other. That’s why you’re out there to tell jokes and make the audience laugh, and Tom is a master at that.

Howie Mandel gave him two “thumbs up” on camera right after his audition set, told Tom he had just become a big fan of his, and that he was confident, polished and very funny. Sharon said Tom’s performance was one laugh after the next, and “really, really spot on!”, and Howard not only thanked him for being on the show but used the word “excellent” to describe his performance!

Since that time, they have grown to love him as has the audience, and you can see they’re really rooting for him to win.

Tom is married to the very funny, and very pretty comic Kerri Louise and they have 3 little kids. I remember when they were shooting their show for the WE Channel called “Two Funny” about the lives of two married stand-up comics who have baby twins. They were shooting an episode at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, which is the biggest comedy festival in the world. (I just got back from there last month, where I shot 40 interviews for Comedy Matters TV, including one with Tom Cotter which you can see below!)

Anyway, I was chasing them all over to get a photo with the help of their manager Peter Rosegarten from The Conversation Company, but I could never get the two of them together in the same place at the same time! Finally I just gave up, and as I was leaving, and waiting for my car to take me to the airport, who pulls up in their car but Tom, Kerri, and the twins Cameron and Harrison. They got out of the car and I got my photo, and I just spent the last two hours searching for it on my computer to no avail!

I found the column from September of ’05, but I can’t find the photo! However I do have the video I just shot with Tom up in Montreal where I was the official videographer this year for my Comedy Matters TV! Check it out right here:

Those twins are 7 years old now and they need their Dad to win America’s Got Talent, so he can keep them in the style they need to be kept! And that goes for Kerri Louise as well, whose nick-name according to Tom used to be “Comic Relief”! (LOL)

Tom Cotter and the lovely Kerri Louise at Danny Aiello’s comedy room Danny’s Upstairs, back in 2007! You’d never know she had 3 kids, right?

In order to get into the finals, Tom took the “ballsy” move of letting Howie Mandel choose the category of his material from a list. Howie chose “College” and Tom went on to destroy the crowd with his killer set!

So the finals begin this Wednesday, Sept. 12th, on NBC, at 9 P.M. New York time, 8 P.M. Central time(whatever that is! LOL), and the results show is the next night on Thursday, 9/13. So make sure to vote for Tom, and let a true comedic talent win. He’s not only funny, but the nicest guy you’d ever wanna meet!

The world needs more laughs and Tom is the guy that can bring it!

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Thank G-d For Lisa Lampanelli! (Explanation to Follow!)

Lest my title sound a tad dramatic, let me explain! In a day when the NY Post, ( Monday March 26th, 2012, p. 5) runs a story about political correctness running wild in our city schools, which have banned mentioning references to seemingly harmless words like “wealth” “dinosaurs”, “birthdays”, and even “Halloween”, on city-issued tests, you have to be grateful that there’s someone like Lisa Lampanelli who has the courage to challenge this type of B.S.

Lisa Lampanelli entertaining the folks at Gotham Comedy Club!

You can’t even mention “swimming pools” or “computers” because kids who can’t afford those things might feel bad. Did they ever think that it might also encourage them to work hard so that someday that CAN afford those things?

They refer to it as “economic sensitivities.” This kind of so-called “correctness” sounded like a joke when they first started, and can be great fodder for comedians, but it affects our lives greatly. And NOT in a positive way!

Soon everyone will be absolutely silent. No one will be able to speak at all for fear of offending someone in some way, or possibly bringing some uncomfortable thought to mind! As long as you don’t dare offend criminals or terrorists. That is a high priority, because most criminals and terrorists are very sensitive people, and could be easily hurt by the wrong word or phrase!

One of the beautiful things about comedy is that it has the power to bring people together. People laughing at themselves first, allows them to be able to laugh at each other. It’s all in good fun. Lisa has made even the “C” word acceptable, and I’ve heard her use it to refer to her own mother, … while her mother was present! Lisa not only talks the talk she walks the walk!

Lisa Lampanelli with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV after her killer performance at Gotham Comedy Club!

Political correctness is killing us. It divides us and makes us hyper-sensitive to almost anything people say. There’s a great saying I once read somewhere, (and I wish I remembered where! LOL) that states, “Your ego always wants you to be offended. It actually demands that you’re offended. And when you live your life that way, you’re at the mercy of every stranger that crosses your path!”

You give every person the power over you to make you feel insulted or uncomfortable. That’s too much power to give away. People can tell when something is meant as a joke or comes from hate. All you have to do is see Lisa to know that she comes from a good place. She makes fun of herself as much as she makes fun of anyone else. So when she calls an Asian guy “Ching-Ping”, or every Spanish guy “Hector”, or makes fun of the gays, who she raises money for constantly, and who love her, the audience howls with laughter because she does it with love. She comes from a good place.

We need more like her, not necessarily that everyone has to use the “C” word, but she makes people laugh at themselves and not take things so seriously. No one of us chose our race, or ethnicity, any more than we chose our genetics. It was given to us. You get what you get, and that’s it! With so much hatred in the world, we need to break down the barriers, not create more of them.

Go to any of Russell Peters’ shows and see how multi-cultural his audience is. I call him “The Messiah of Comedy” because he makes every ethnic group laugh at each other and he does it by imitating them perfectly.

When did it become an insult, or racist to imitate an accent? Accents are real. People have them. We hear them. Do we have to make believe that we don’t? Therefore, talented people who can imitate them do. I wish I could. I talk about accents in my act. Especially the Chinese accent, which to me has to be one of the most unusual and non-sexy accents in the world.

You will never hear a woman say, ” When he speaks to me in that Chinese accent, I can’t control myself!” You could live to be a thousand, and you will NEVER hear that!

Anyway, when I heard that Lisa would be making a guest appearance at Gotham Comedy Club in a fundraiser for a Manhattan school P.S. 11, I knew I had to show up. P.S. 11, also known as The William T. Harris School, is a public elementary school located in the heart of Chelsea at 320 West 21st Street, known for it’s diversity. They should probably come to Lisa to make up the test questions! (LOL)

Barry Weintraub was the MC which was a great choice since Barry is one of the best. Wali Collins killed it especially when he went into how Black people name their children. He himself once dated a girl named La-ah, which he was shocked to find out she pronounced Ladasha!

Wali Collins onstage for the benefit for P.S. 11 in Chelsea!

Aside from making appearances all over the country, Lisa is also currently being seen on NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice, where she always tells it like it is, no matter who gets in her face. She claims to have gained 2o pounds on the show, and said she’s a five o’clock shadow away from looking like Chaz Bono! Although I can tell you that Lisa looks more elegant than ever, and I know her a long time! Success does wonders for people!

She kids her husband Jimmy Cannizzaro a lot, but he has a great sense of humor and takes it like a man! She said she flew in for this gig, but couldn’t sit next to Jimmy cause she flies first class! Everyone should fly with Jimmy. You’d definitely feel safe! The man is his own private plane! (LOL)

Lisa is loved on the show as was evidenced by the fact that sitting with her and her husband Jimmy, were Donald Trump Jr. and his wife Vanessa.

Vanessa trump, Don Trump Jr., Lisa Lampanelli and her husband Jimmy!

If there was a magazine called “Perfect Gorgeous Couples” they would be on the cover. The two of them absolutely shine, in a very humble unassuming way. I was so glad to see them cause I hadn’t seen them in a while. I first met them when they were engaged, and Vanessa told me they just had their third child 5 months ago. You’d never know it to look at her. Don looked trim and tan, which I guess works well since he’s on TV every week as one of the advisors and boardroom judges on Celebrity Apprentice along with his Dad, and sister Ivanka. Brother Eric also takes part from time to time as a task advisor or boardroom judge.

Vanessa Trump, Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, and Don Trump Jr. at Gotham Comedy Club!

Don also writes a very detailed Blog post on what went on on Celebrity Apprentice called ” In The Boardroom” on the NBC.com website. I’ve been telling him for years he should get into comedy, when I wanted to write his material for the Friars Roast of his Dad, back in 2004, which preceded the Comedy Central Roast. So when I saw him with Lisa I said, ” You see, I told you you’d eventually be involved in the comedy world, … in one way or another!” And we all had a big laugh!

I had met Don Jr. and Vanessa originally when they were Ambassadors for Operation Smile, a fantastic charity that brings plastic surgery for cleft palates and cleft lips to poor children all over the world. Don has been on the Board since 2007. I was a guest at an event they were at, we struck up an acquaintance, and have stayed in touch. I’m happy to say that he reads Comedy Matters and I’m planning to do a video interview with him and Vanessa sometime in the near future.

Comics like to follow a comic who does well, but not too well! How anyone can follow Lisa Lampanelli onstage is a miracle, because Lisa destroyed the audience, but Mike Vecchione managed to do it. He is just so funny and really one of my favorites. I often have to follow him onstage at The Comic Strip, and I say to him, ” Did you have to be THAT funny? Was it really necessary to be THAT funny? How am I supposed to follow that???”

Mike Vecchione making people laugh as usual at Gotham Comedy Club!

Mike, who says he looks like a nasty Staten Island, racial-profiling kind of cop, ( and he does) talks about his inability to work as an undercover cop. ” Well, if I LOOK like a cop, then chances are I won’t be that effective as an undercover cop.” On being tased : A taser is a weird weapon. Kind of like a mixture of a weapon and an energy drink. When you first get tased, you think you’re gonna get a lot done today, but then it hurts a lot!( Sorry Mike for the para-phrasing! LOL)

Mike’s soft low-key delivery, combined with his fantastic writing is what really makes him special. He will definitely be very big in the business!

In line with Lisa’s type of material he asked the Asian people in the crowd, “Who do you like better, Jeremy Lin, or General Tso? Both are number 17!” That is hysterical! I think it’s funny that his own people can’t say his name. They call him Jelemy Rin!

Most comics try to end on a strong joke. Every time I thought Mike was ready to end, he topped that strong joke with an even stronger joke. He’s really such a great performer, and the nicest guy!

It was an AMAZING show, which raised a lot of money for the school. I had hoped to shoot a little video with Lisa afterwards, but she had to run, so we will definitely do that soon. Jimmy said he’ll be in it too! She also has a one woman show coming up that we have to talk about as well! ( Lisa, Tweet the shit out of this Blog post! LOLOLOL )

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