The Red Room is a very cool space in the KGB Bar on East 4th Street, coincidentally right next door to the new New York Comedy Club. And once a month comic/actor Boris Khaykin puts on a really unique variety-type show called The Breakdown with Boris Khaykin, with the help of producer Jeremy Moses.
I got invited to be a guest and went down the month before to check it out and needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway, I was duly impressed. Boris and his co-host Jawnee Conroy also a talented comedian and actor have created a very unique format, along with Boris’ co-writer and co-producer of the show Alex Estrada!
The audience warm up was not a stand-up comedian but a musical improviser named Rebecca Vigil. A great song came out of absolutely nowhere. Amazing. Then Boris and Jawnee took the stage and worked off each other for about 10 minutes or so, and then Exacto an amazing beatboxer did a solo performance that blew everyone away. It sounded like he swallowed a drum kit!
Then the first guest was called which happened to be me! I made a point of thanking Ethan “Exacto” Scott for his incredible performance and remarked that his teachers must have hated him because I’m sure he disrupted every class he was ever in.
I got to talk about my Amazon Best Seller book on Happiness, “Healing Your Heart, By Changing Your Mind – A Spiritual and Humorous Approach To Achieving Happiness”, a subject I felt the audience could relate to, and they did. We spoke about changing negative thoughts we were holding onto that were not working for us, and in doing so raising our self-esteem, and self-confidence and conquering the fear that tells us we can’t do something we’d like to accomplish. Fear is a bully and we have to stand up to it.
Speaking of fear, I even got to talk about how I cured myself of stuttering, and how people can overcome obstacles in their lives. I feel like it went well and the audience feedback was very positive.
We also discussed my hair and decided it was the exact opposite of Boris’ beard. If I turned my head upside down, I’d have something close to Boris’ beard, which is real by the way, and is what to aim for if you want to grow a beard.
Not everyone has the genetics for it, so don’t feel compelled to grow a beard if you can’t because believe me, no one is interested in your INTERPRETATION of a beard! You either have one or you don’t. There’s a big difference between having a beard, and just having hair on your face! None of that patchy shit! (LOL)
I talked about hair establishing your identity which is why in the Army they shave off your hair right away to make everyone the same and take away your own personal identity. I also said that “Most men wear their hair like they’re embarrassed for having any” and someone in the audience created an immediate meme for Instagram which I thought was very cool!
Then after my interview segment some talented improv artists, Nick Carillo, Katie Hartman, got up and did a sketch using the facts from my interview as inspiration, and that’s always fascinating to me that someone can remember so much of what somebody else said. I have a hard time remembering someone’s name immediately after being introduced to them! (LOL) And then there was a sketch in which Lauren Kahn played Jawnee’s ex-girlfriend.
Next up as a guest was Jamilah Lemieux named in 2015 to The Root’s (the magazine, not Jimmy Fallon’s band) Root 100 list of the nation’s most influential African-American citizens.
She’s a journalist, columnist, cultural critic and editor and afterwards told me she’ll be moving to L.A. to try and get into writing for TV. She’s already got an idea for a script and she wants to do stand-up comedy.
Speaking of stand-up comedy, Emmy Blotnick was the purely stand-up comedy segment of the show and I was glad to finally meet her. Of all things she did some “dental humor” and joked about having to wear a nightguard to protect against the damage caused by grinding and clenching the teeth. How could she have known that was my specialty? Anyway it gave us something to bond over! ( Bonding, … get it? LOL)
And then there was the big close with Boris and Jawnee back on stage, and lots of people hung out to just party because it’s that kind of a hang. Next month’s show will feature Richard Kind, and I’m sure it will be hilarious so make sure to go check it out. I had a BLAST!!!
So until next time we meet please remember that COMEDY MATTERS!!!
Please like, comment and SUBSCRIBE to my Comedy Matters TV YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/guriannewsnetwork and follow me on Twitter and IG at @jeffreygurian
Most of the time when you hear the names Ashley and Madison together the website for people who cheat on their spouses pops into mind. Now there’s a whole new affiliation since two talented comedians Ashley Austin Morris and Madison Malloy got together to create the Ashley and Madison Podcast.
And I got the honor of being their first guest! At least that’s what they told me! (LOL) Besides being a stand-up comic Ashley, originally from Texas, is also an accomplished actress who you may know from her role as Francine Carruthers in the revival of the PBS Kids children’s series The Electric Company, or from her appearances on The Big Bang Theory and Desperate Housewives.
Madison Malloy has been a staple of the stand-up comedy scene for a while, and has performed all over the country, in clubs, at festivals, and on radio and TV as well. The two of them together are a dynamite combination, and prove that you can be funny and still be beautiful! Many legendary women in comedy’s past like Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, and Phyllis Diller have had to downplay their looks to make themselves palatable for the public to laugh at, because as a society despite what some may think, we’re trained to treat women respectfully which makes it harder to laugh “at them.”
These days women own their power and come out on stage looking any way they choose. Our podcast day started with them offering to travel on the subway with me to Brooklyn so I could find the studio more easily. I had a better idea and offered to drive, which they liked, so the day started with them meeting me at my home, which is like a comedy museum, with photos going back decades. In many of the photos I actually let someone else be in there with me! (LOL) Some people say I have more on my walls than some comedy clubs! (LOL)
Such a fun day!
They asked for the tour and what impressed Ashley the most was that I had a phone mounted in one bathroom right next to the commode. I had seen this at The Four Seasons hotel and decided that “hotel chic” was for me. She asked if she could try it out and was so excited she forgot to pull down her pants! Ooops!!!
I got so excited with this phone, I can’t believe I forgot to pull down my pants! Good thing I’m wearing black!
And then just like that, we were on our way to their studio, The Brooklyn Podcasting Studio, in Park Slope, Brooklyn. When we got there our parking karma was right on the money and we got a great spot. Then they led me to a garage. And I thought, is this gonna be like a Marc Maron thing where he does WTF from his garage?
But no it was more like a hidden speakeasy kind of thing where you had to walk through a garage and go up a couple of flights of stairs to get to this really cool studio. I thought we were gonna have to give some guy a password.
The studio had a big beautiful wooden round table/console set up with a bunch of mics, in a very cool room with lots of snacks, and it was run by a great guy named Josh Wilcox, the manager and lead engineer who was very helpful and made sure that the sound was perfect and that everything went smoothly.
He also was kind enough to take some photos while everything was going on.
Jeffrey making a point!
They wanted to talk about my new book on Happiness called “Healing Your Heart, By Changing Your Mind – A Spiritual and Humorous Approach To Achieving Happiness” which hit Best Seller status on Amazon, and how I used the concept of changing your thoughts to cure myself of a severe stutter that plagued me well into my 20’s and beyond.
In reality it’s more about overcoming obstacles in our lives, which we all face. The concept is that we’re all holding thoughts that are not valid for us. Most of the time they are negative thoughts about ourselves, given to us by people who did not have our best interests at heart.
Sometimes it was our parents. Other times bullies, school “friends”, people we dated, worked with or were married to. Those negative thoughts hold us back. They affect our self-esteem, our self-confidence and every decision we make in our lives. Every time you have to decide what to do you use your thoughts to decide but if your thoughts are faulty your decisions won’t work out for you.
You understand, … don’t you?
In order to be Happy, you literally have to “change your mind.” Anyway even though this stuff sounds kind of serious we had a lot of laughs along the way, and the three of us had a great connection. The girls are so funny, and we were all on the same wavelength. It just flowed.
Jeffrey making another point!
Then we had a fun ride back to the city trading stories, and we all made plans to do something cool together. More on that to come!
In the meantime the podcast officially launches this Monday Feb. 4th wherever you can listen to a podcast. My episode probably won’t air till March, but that’s ok. Good things are worth waiting for!
See how Happy we look?
Until then remember, … COMEDY MATTERS!!!
Please subscribe to Comedy Matters TV on You Tube at https://www.youtube.com/guriannewsnetwork and follow Jeffrey on Twitter and IG at @jeffreygurian
I’m proud to say that Tom and I go way back. Back to when he was doing small shows with an ensemble group. I always knew he’d do big things. Now he’s got his own show three hours a day on Fox News Radio. I was thrilled to be asked to appear.
I went on with fellow comic and friend Jimmy Failla in the third hour and we had a blast!
WITH JIMMY FAILLA AND TOM SHILLUE
Tom had just finished taking calls on “The Wall.” My point if I had been asked to make it, was that you could be the greatest humanitarian in the world, and care with all your heart for everyone, but would you ever leave the front door to your home wide open for just anyone to enter? Our border is the door to America which is our home. You always have to be careful who you let in.
We had to discuss stories from the news like:
People going crazy while waiting on extremely long lines for salads, because people’s New Year’s resolutions were to lose weight, so salad bars were overrun. People are INSANE! Plus there is an undercurrent of anger in our society today and it’s palpable. Everyone is angry at something!
Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s dance video – we all agreed that she was an energetic and spirited dancer which is basically everything you’d want in a representative.
3. Ellen Degeneres facing backlash after defending Kevin Hart – she put him in an awkward situation where he could do nothing else but agree that he’d “evaluate” reprising his role as host of The Oscars. Basically no one wants to host the show and risk their career by possibly offending the group of people sitting at home waiting to be offended by something.
4. The Bachelor contestant who pretended to be Australian by using an Aussie accent- and when asked where she was from replied, ” The accent, it’s Australian” never saying that SHE was Australian, just the accent. I thought she did quite a good job. It’s not that easy to imitate an accent!
5. And one story we didn’t get to was that bathrooms which have been getting lots of press lately, in particular Men’s Rooms, will soon be equipped with changing tables so that Dad’s taking care of their infants won’t have to crouch down and change them on the floor anymore. They will have the same facilities as Ladies’ Rooms, which actually makes sense!
Tom is performing in a series of live shows around the country with Greg Gutfeld former host of “Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld” on the Fox News Channel who Tom replaced back in 2015, and who is one of five co-hosts on the Fox News political talk show The Five.
It’s the Gutfeld Monologues Tour and they will be in Tampa on March 2nd and W. Palm Beach on March 3rd.Tom will be doing some stand-up and then introducing and interviewing Greg, and in some way it kind of reminds me of the kind of shows that Dave Chappelle who does with John Mayer, combining both of their talents.
Tom has a hit book called “Mean Dads For A Better America” and we even got to plug MY two new books, the audio version of my Amazon Best Seller on Happiness “Healing Your Heart, By Changing Your Mind – A Spiritual and Humorous Approach To Achieving Happiness” with great reviews from M.D.’s, psychiatrists, psychologists, and people who run recovery centers,
Order on Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/y86edojd
and my newest book with the comedy lowdown on 13 of our biggest holidays called “Holiday Hilarity- A Humorous History of Celebration” which also recently hit Best Seller status on Amazon, and has fun reviews from international comedy star Gad Elmaleh, Bert Kreischer, Andrew “Dice” Clay, The Lucas Brothers, and even Countess LuAnn from the Real Housewives of New York!
I think that everyone agrees that Leslie Jones is funny. Not just because she’s on SNL but because she’s genuinely funny. So when Comic Strip owner Richie Tienken told me she’d be appearing at The Strip I changed my plans and made it over there to catch her. It was a 10:30 show, and when I arrived at 10:30 the line was so long and the entrance was so packed I could barely make it to the little office where Richie lives.
Richie Tienken and Leslie Jones in “the office”
That little office was at one time the coat room, but since I know it everyone in comedy has been in there, like Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, Jim Gaffigan, and one time we had Ray Romano in there with five other guys and I think we stretched out the room to it’s capacity. It really only accommodates approximately 2 people, and probably about a hundred something coats.
I fought my way to the office but Richie wasn’t in there and I was trapped by myself for a while until the crowd was seated. Then I found Richie and he told me to come outside with him where I found him standing with manager Tom-E and Leslie Jones. It was raining and she had a hood on and I couldn’t see her hair and for a minute I wasn’t sure it was her. It was definitely her!
Leslie, Richie and I went back into that little office to chat before her set. Ruperto Vanderpool was hosting and I was thrilled to see the club so packed. There was literally not a seat to be had. It was like when Jerry Seinfeld taped his Netflix special this past year. That kind of crowded. As a matter of fact that’s what rejuvenated the club. Ever since that time, and then when Adam Sandler followed up taping his Netflix special there, the club has found a new life.
Jerry decided to come back to his original home where he spent the first four years of his career, from 1976-1980, and where he achieved the rank of permanent MC faster than anyone else had ever done. Adam’s taping was a secret kept from Richie until he arrived at the club that same night! Nice surprise!!!
The club had been Jerry’s home and where he met his best friend George Wallace who happened to be in town this week and was hanging out with Jerry. I know this because I ran into them the night before this all went down.
Anyway there’s only room for two chairs in the office so Leslie sat, and I stood and we all took turns regaling each other with stories from the past about the club, about Eddie, and how he discovered Chris Rock one night around 1986, and how Leslie started out as a short order cook, and waitress, and started doing stand-up in a place in LA that Eddie used to frequent.
She recalled a story of seeing him years later and humbly telling him she never thought she did that well when he came in, and he told her that he thought she was ALWAYS funny!
Leslie told great stories of how she’s gotten everything she wanted. Through a lot of hard work! She also shared stories of how she got SNL, got to be a regular cast member, and how much fun she has doing the show.
She prayed for the manager she wanted and got him and she prayed for a writer and got Lenny Marcus who she’s thrilled with. She and Lenny met down at The Comedy Cellar and she thought he was funny, so she invited him out to a baseball game, and then REALLY thought he was funny. Then he started giving her detailed notes on her act that made sense to her, and now they work together on the regular.
They just did a big outdoor gig together in Times Square for New Year’s Eve. We also talked about how you can be doing stand-up for many years and still feel nervous before going out there, especially if you’re not on stage every night. Leslie’s duties on SNL take up so much time that she doesn’t get a chance to perform that much and she LOVES doing stand-up. I shared the story that Jim Gaffigan shared with me that for the first 6-8 years of his career he got physically sick every time before he went on stage. Finally it went away.
So when Leslie went up to HUGE applause, (the room really went nuts), she went out there with some notes, and did her thing. She started out using some 20 year olds sitting in front as her foils, and worked into a smooth half hour of material. Great physicality. She moves and jumps around the stage which really builds the energy in the room. She keeps a towel handy to wipe off the sweat that builds up from the energy she puts out. She said she had only planned on doing 20 minutes but once you’re up there and it’s flowing and the audience is loving it, it’s hard to stop yourself.
At the end she closed with a new bit about a Time Machine, and how she wishes she could go back and talk to her 20 year old self, and how her 80 year old self would come back and talk to her 51 year old self, and it may have been new but it was masterful. Most comics like to leave the stage with a big laugh. This was more powerful than just a big laugh. She left the audience laughing but with a very positive message about appreciating and enjoying whereever you are in life, and the applause she got validated that they got it and appreciated it.
Afterwards we got to hang out a bit at the bar and she and Ruperto reminisced about all the gigs they had played together in different places around the country. It was a very special night and she’ll be back next week before SNL goes back on the air.
I told her I’d bring her a copy of the book I wrote with Richie on the history of the club. The latest version is called “Laughing Legends” and it features a foreword by Chris Rock, lots of cool photos from the past, and interviews with Seinfeld, Ray Romano, Colin Quinn, Jeffrey Ross, Jim Gaffigan, Susie Essman, Lisa Lampanelli, and so many more of the big stars that came out of this iconic club.
On June 15, 2008, I was at The Comic Strip with Ann Curry, and Gilbert Gottfried and we were giving Ann tips on how to do stand-up comedy for some kind of event she was preparing for. And despite the fact that I had been there for so many years, and had seen the walls before, I found myself transfixed by all the amazing memorabilia that I noticed that day.
Jeffrey Gurian, Ann Curry, Gilbert Gottfried, and Richie Tienken on the day that Jeffrey suggested doing a book on the iconic Comic Strip!
So I said to Richie Tienken, owner and founder of the club, “You know we should do a book on this club!”
I didn’t know that other people had suggested that to him before but for some reason he wound up not doing it with them. He came to my home for a meeting and ended by saying “You have more photos on your walls than I have at the club”, and he decided to trust me with telling his story, and the stories of all the huge stars that came out of the club.
Jeffrey Gurian and Richie Tienken in the lobby of Jeffrey’s building after their meeting to agree on doing the book!
The club officially opened on June 1, 1976 with Billy Crystal as the opening act. On JUne 17th a young, and unknown Jerry Seinfeld walked in to audition. In those days people were graded on their auditions. Jerry was graded “Good”, and then someone wrote on his sheet, “Definitely put on Mon. 6/21!” Whoever that person was had a good eye for comedy! Jerry stayed at The Strip for four years until he left for LA in 1980. It was his home club.
Jeffrey Gurian, Jerry Seinfeld, and Richie Tienken on the day of Jerry’s interview for the book!
In the book Jerry said he felt like he was born in 1976, because that’s when he began working at The Strip and that felt like the start of his life!
Eddie Murphy spent his early years at the club, and Richie Tienken was his manager for the years when Eddie was the biggest star in the world. That period of time spanned his days on SNL through Beverly Hills Cop 2.
The one night in 1986 Eddie came into The Strip and asked to see a Black comic. The only one around was a 19 year old Chris Rock who was setting up chairs in exchange for stage time, and had only performed for very small audiences at 2 or 3 A.M. Not wanting to disappoint Eddie, they put Chris up in front of a packed house on a Friday night, and Chris killed it in front of his idol.
Richie Tienken, Chris Rock, and Jeffrey Gurian at The Strip on the day we did Chris’ interview for the book!
That was the start of Chris’s rise to stardom. He hasn’t lost his gratitude for all that Richie did for him and wrote a fantastic, and funny introduction to the book.
He also came into the club and gave Richie and I a really super interview. Most of the big stars came into the club for their interviews because Richie and I felt that being surrounded by those four walls would bring back memories, and we were right.
Alan Colmes who many people don’t even know started his career as a stand-up comic came in wearing his 30 year old Comic Strip jacket that looked as if it was brand new.
Jeffrey Gurian with Alan Colmes wearing his original 30 year old Comic Strip jacket, which looked brand new!
In the middle of Paul Reiser’s interview he suddenly recalled what started the annual New Years Day brunch attended every Jan. 1, by himself, Jerry Seinfeld, Larry Miller and Mark Schiff. There had even been a fifth member of the group, a friend named Michael Cain but he passed away very young.
Gilbert Gottfried and Lisa Lampanelli got interviewed outside the club, and Jeffrey Ross got interviewed inside the club with a dual book/documentary film video interview at the same time. That experience taught us never to do that again! (LOL)
Jeffrey Gurian, Gilbert Gottfried and Richie Tienken at lunch at Pastis where GIlbert spent most of his interview denying he had ever been at The Comic Strip. He did say they had good electricity though!
Lisa Lampanelli and Jeffrey Gurian,(hidden behind the book! LOL) backstage at Westbury for Lisa’s recent sold-out performance
And then I flew out to LA to get an in office interview with Billy Crystal the first comic to hit the stage on opening night, back in 1976.
Other comics interviewed were Ray Romano, Susie Essman, Jim Gaffigan, Judah Friedlander, Larry Miller, George Wallace, Rick Overton, who has also gone on to have a very successful acting/film career, Jim Breuer, Tony Rock, Adam Ferrara, plus newer stars who frequent the club like Colin Jost and Jay Pharaoah from SNL.
Thanks to our agent J.L. Stermer from N.S. Bienstock, we got a deal with Skyhorse Publishing and the book is 250 pages down from the 500 I started out with. It took three years to get all of the interviews done and transcribed, because I did it myself by hand just by playing the interviews over and over again, and the fourth year was about editing and getting it down from 500 pages to the 250 that was needed. It was often a grueling process, but always a labor of love!
Since it came out, it’s gotten great reviews, tons of press, and lots of celeb attention as you can tell from the following photos.
I get to meet lots of fun people within the confines of what I casually refer to as “my life”, (LOL) but I have to honestly say that one of the most fun people I’ve met in a long time is Carole Radziwill, who just happens to be a real live Princess. Fortunately, … although she’s elegant, she doesn’t act like a Princess,(in a GOOD way!)
Jeffrey Gurian with Princess Carole Radziwill, who only dressed like a Princess because Jeffrey begged her to!
She became a Princess by way of marriage to Anthony Radziwill, who was the son of socialite Lee Radziwill, (younger sister of Jacqueline Bouvier, better known as Jackie Kennedy, wife of JFK), and his father Polish Prince Stanislaw Radziwill, which was how he came by the title he never used.
He passed away in August of 1999 after a five year bout with cancer during which time his wife Carole was his primary care-giver, which right away shows you a rare level of character. Anthony was a cousin to JFK Jr. who with his wife Carolyn, and her sister Lauren, all perished in a plane crash that very same summer, while on their way to a wedding and a visit to Anthony.
The pain of those multiple overwhelming losses led to Carole’s first book in 2005, a memoir, and the NY Times bestseller, “What Remains ; A Memoir of Fate, Friendship and Love (Scribner)
That’s the Barnes and Noble at 2289 Broadway for you New Yorkers, between 82nd and 83rd streets, on the ultra-hip Upper West Side. When you really think about it, almost every part of NYC these days can be considered “ultra-hip!”
I’ve had women show up hours late for a date who were meeting me at my home, and several times I didn’t want to be there or answer the door when they finally arrived. On more than one occasion I told the doorman not to ring me, but then felt guilty about it later!
It’s the height of disrespect to show up so late, but values these days seem to have changed. It’s probably my own fault for dating out of my generation! (LOL)
In another tip she advises women not to have sex with a man until he THINKS he’s in love with you! Not necessarily when he KNOWS he’s in love with you, but when he THINKS he’s in love with you. However she admits that sometimes that can happen for men before they even meet a woman. If so, does that means sex on the first date? I’ll have to ask her that when I see her!
I’m looking forward to the new season of Real Housewives of NY, which premieres on Tuesday March 11th on Bravo, not only to see what Carole and the girls are up to, but also because I’m going to appear in a few episodes this season. I got to know Carole personally when I created a comedy sketch for her and LuAnn DeLesseps to perform in.
LuAnn DeLesseps and Jeffrey Gurian at a gala Jeffrey produced in honor of Susie Essman!
LuAnn and I have been friends for more than 20 years, and she had always told me she wanted to do comedy. Last June I was out in LA shooting an episode of Kroll Show for Comedy Central and LuAnn was out there shooting a show for the Oxygen network and playing a character named “Donna” that she loved.
I went over to join her on set and she was having a blast and told me she definitely wanted to do something comedic with me. I told her to call me when we got back to New York, and she did. She said that she and Carole wanted to make fun of their “royal” titles, which was very “hip” of them to do! LuAnn is a legitimate Countess, and Carole is a legit Princess. Both of them received their titles the same way, … by way of marriage.
My writing partner Lance Rizzo, and I created a sketch for them that they loved, and that Bravo loved as well and it will be on the new season. I brought them to The PIT, ( People’s Improv Theatre) founded by my friend Ali Farahnakian, who was one of the original founding members of UCB, and he graciously offered us the use of his theatre to participate in an improv class just to get the girls feet wet. Bravo filmed us in that class.
(L-R) Improv teacher Richard Hollman from The PIT, Carole Radziwill, Jeffrey Gurian, and LuAnn DeLesseps after their improv class!
Then Bravo came to my home and filmed me, LuAnn and Carole in a planning session about the script. I though it would be best to film the sketch as a video and show it as part of a live “improv” show at The PIT, which is what we did.
Jeffrey Gurian, Carole Radziwill, and LuAnn DeLesseps in Jeffrey’s apartment rehearsing the sketch for RHONY!
I brought in the hysterical Cult Comedy Picture Show group which I am proud to be a part of, and they filmed the sketch also at The PIT, and some of them participated in the acting as well. The founding members are George Gaffney, Brent Katz, and Lance Rizzo, along with Jake Hart who was our main host and voice over guy for the sketch.
The cast of Cult Comedy Pictures at The PIT for the RHONY shoot!
Then we filmed the actual live show at The PIT where we showed our video sketch, the details of which must remain secret until the show airs. And then after we wrapped the season, Carole had a surprise 50th birthday party which I was invited to and that got filmed for the show as well.
Jeffrey Gurian with Carole Radziwill at her 50th birthday party!
So I can personally attest to the fact that Carole is a spectacular and fascinating person, who is so funny and delightful, (much funnier than she even realizes!), and I hope you’ll join me at her book signing where I plan to buy the book and report back to you!
I go to a lot of events. Some stand out more than others. Such was the case with Rita Cosby’s event for her bestselling book “Quiet Hero”, the touching story of her Dad, Ryszard (Richard) Kossobudzki (Cosby), who had been a Polish Resistance Fighter during World War II against The Nazis.
It wasn’t just that he had been a resistance fighter, it was that Rita and her brother and Mom never knew the whole story of his painful background until recent years. It seems that her Dad left the family with no explanation, while she was just a teenager, and she hadn’t seen him for many years.
In the meantime she had grown up to become an award-winning journalist, known internationally for her work and her interviews with celebrities and Heads of State. Needless to say it had always bothered her, as it would any child, to have been estranged from a parent, and when her Mom passed away she was forced to go through her Mom’s personal belongings.
That’s when she discovered a long forgotten, battered old suitcase, that had belonged to her Dad. Upon opening it she made a discovery that would change all of their lives from that day on. The items in that suitcase identified her father as having been a prisoner of war in a Nazi dentention camp known as Stalag IV-B. That explained not only the obvious scars on his body, but the internal scars on his psyche and his spirit.
He had never been the kind of man who opened up. The family knew he had been through hard times, but they had no idea of the extent. Rita used her journalistic skills to track down her Dad to where he was living in Washington,D.C.
She called him up and began to re-establish a relationship with the man she missed so much. In time they traveled back to Poland together to work on this book and a documentary film, and as this progressed the ice around his heart began to melt. It was only there as a form of self-preservation, not because he lacked the capacity to love.
He went back to Poland with Rita, for the first time in 65 years, but he went back as the hero he was, and was welcomed by no less than the President of Poland. Several times during Rita’s presentation, I was moved to tears, as were others around me, thinking of her Dad as a young boy, risking his life to try and save his country, when so many of his friends had been killed by The Nazis.
Three million Polish Jews were killed along with 3 million non-Polish Jews. Growing up, that was a thought that haunted me. That so many people were killed solely for their belief. How could that happen? How could people be that cruel? How could the world just watch, and let that happen? I’ve never been totally comfortable in life since learning of The Holocaust as a child.
Just the thought of what happened haunts me, to know that people are capable of such extreme cruelty. Man’s inhumanity to man! I believe in G-d, but I could certainly understand how The Holocaust could make you question your Faith!
Thank G-d there were heroes like Riszard Kossobudzki who even as a child fought back against evil, and risked his life to save others. What a story.
The well-attended event was held at the Heyman Auditorium which turned out to be in a Synagogue on East 85th Street, where I ran into several people I knew including Dr. Shireen Fernandez and Alex Harris of Society’s Choice. There were also members of our Armed Forces present adding to the power of the evening.
Shu-Lan and Kyoko bonding at the “Quiet hero” event!
Dr. Shireen Fernandez and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV!
And to make the evening even more special, Rita’s husband Tomascek sang two beautiful patriotic songs, the national anthem and America The Beautiful, which if I remember correctly, he sang directly to the American flag. They both thanked me sincerely for coming but I felt honored to have been there!
Tomasczek performing for the “Quiet Hero” audience!
I had planned to give her a copy of my new book ” Make ‘Em Laugh” with Chris Rock, so we took a photo together of each of us holding the other’s book!
Award-winning journalist Rita Cosby with Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV each holding the other’s book in a show of mutual support! (LOL)
The logo and opening shot of “Nick and Artie”, seen nightly Mon-Fri, 10 P.M. to 1 A.M.on Sirius Radio and DirecTV!
I was really psyched to do the “Nick and Artie” Show and talk about my new book “Make ‘Em Laugh” with Chris Rock, after Artie invited me to come on one night when he was judging The Lottery Show at The Comic Strip. The book is about the 35 year history of The Strip and is written with Richie Tienken the owner and founder of the club.
The promo for Jeffrey Gurian on the “Nick and Artie Show”!
Then I ran into Artie a few days later when he performed at a memorial show for Patrice O’Neal at Gotham Comedy Club, and he invited me again.
Patrice and I were very close and he honored me my making me his co-host along with Dante Nero, when he hosted The Black Phillip Show on Sirius Radio. We always had fun, and I always made sure to bring lots of hot models with me, cause nothing is more fun than mixing comedy with beautiful girls!
This is a phone call from Patrice that I will always treasure, inviting me to do our own show together! Unfortunately that never came to fruition, and will always be one of the great disappointments of my life!
(L-R) Dante Nero, Drew Boogie, Jeffrey Gurian, Carlotta Butler, Patrice Oneal, and in back Kathy and Dawn Leak, AKA “The Leak Sisters!”
So I make my arrangements to come on the show with Liz Canavan of “Twinsanity”, and I went down there with my buddy from L.A. Nathan Oventhal who starred in my film “Men Who Take A Fish To Work”, the newest addition of The “Men Who Series!”
Nathan Oventhal holding a fish with nightlife impresario Wass Stevens on the set of ” Men Who Take A Fish To Work”!
Liz greeted us and brought us to the green room, where I see that Richard Lewis is a guest on the show. Richard is not only a dear friend, but he also wrote a blurb that’s on the back cover if “Make ‘Em Laugh” and I hadn’t had the chance yet to give him a copy.
Luckily I had an extra one with me, so I told Liz to tell Richard I was here. Next thing I know I hear someone calling my name, and it was him. I hadn’t seen him since the year before when we did a private Comedy Matters TV interview at The Friars Club, and it was so great to see him again!
Richard Lewis being interviewed by Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at The Friars Club in NYC!
He said he was really excited about the book, and congratulated me on bringing it to life after four years of work. And the timing was so cool that I had one to sign and to give him. He wrote a hilarious blurb that said:
The hilarious blurb sent to me my my great pal Richard Lewis!
Richard has always been a favorite of mine in many ways. To my detriment I relate so much to his personna!(LOL) Back around 1997 when he was starring in the movie “Drunks”, I got the bright idea that I should be writing for him, although I knew he always writes his own stuff. But it was my dream, like when I got a chance to show my earliest material to Woody Allen, expecting him to leave what he was doing and run off and write films with me! (LOL)
That didn’t happen by the way! This is as close as I got to that!
The night I made Woody Allen laugh by saying, ” Hi Woody, I’m a very close friend of yours!” You can see how absolutely hysterical he is in this photo!
I did however make some films he encouraged me to make called “The ‘Men Who’ Series” about men who do very unusual things, like “Men Who Take A Pitchfork To The Movies”, “Men Who Enjoy Latin Dancing With Tools”, and one special one in particular called “Men Who Swim To Work” starring Mike Bochetti, currently the side-kick on Nick and Artie, which airs on both Sirius radio and DirecTV!
Mike Bochetti as he appears today in 2012, with Jeffrey Guiran on the set of “Nick and Artie” where he is a regular!
And if you watch ” Men Who Dance Where They’re Not Supposed To” you’ll see award winning actor Peter Dinklage, star of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” getting arrested for dancing in a “No Dancing” zone!
So I wrote up some material for Richard which I called his “Born To Be Nervous” Tour, and brought it with me to the theatre. For whatever reason I arrived late, and tried to bypass a long line of people waiting to get in, by running down a staircase which turned out to be leading to the Men’s Room! And who comes out walking towards me but Richard himself and he says, “What are you doing here?” To which I responded my handing him a manila envelope filled with neatly typed jokes.
These were some of them: My family are firm believers in the power of negative thinking. They feel you can ruin almost anything, if you really put your mind to it.
Low self esteem goes back in my family to the beginning of time. I actually had an uncle who was supposedly the first man to walk erect. But he couldn’t hold it. He’d take a few steps, and just slump over.
ALTERNATIVE – …. I actually had an uncle who was supposedly the first man to walk erect, but nobody noticed.
My shrink was also treating me for feelings of loneliness. At one point, I was so lonely, I tried to develop a split personality, just for the company.
I once knew a guy from group therapy who had a split personality. He dated a girl who also had a split personality. They used to double date.
He fell in love with her other personality, and she fell in love with his other personality. They got married, accused each other of cheating with themselves, and the marriage fell apart.
Anyway less than an hour after I got home, I got this message from Richard on my answering machine. Another message that I treasure:
So as I reminisced with Richard about the video we shot at The Friars, Richard commented that it was a great interview but that he thought he looked like Lon Chaney’s undertaker, which we all thought was hysterical! I think he looked great! See what you think! (This is part 1. Part 2 is on the Comedy Matters You Tube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/guriannewsnetwork)
Richard is in town headlining Carolines on Broadway this weekend through Sunday night. If you can still get a seat, go down and see him. It’s always a treat to see Richard perform.
So going on the show with Nick and Artie was exciting and they made me feel right at home. Appearing with two powerhouse comics like that can be intimidating, but they were very generous, and made it easy for me to tell my stories about the history of The Comic Strip and all the huge stars that came out of there, … although I really wanted to have time to do my one of my special GNN news reports which I often do on radio.
GNN (Gurian News Network) are unusual stories missed by mainstream media, like “Man Robs Bank With His Chin”, “College Professor Fired For Casually Removing His Spine in Class”, and “Hunter Lost in Wilderness Saved By His Moustache!”. These are the kind of stories I wrote for the legendary Weekly World News in my own column called “Gurian’s World of the Bizarre!”
There was the story ” Rare Virus Sweeps Japan, Victims Too Weak To Bow” about two men hurt in a bowing accident, and “Man Impaled On Spike, Still Shows Up For Work On Time!”, which is kind of self-explanatory! Hence GNN is known as your source for ” All The News That’s Fit To Dance To!”
Four of the stories, including “Man With Infant’s Head Sues For Discrimination”, and “George Washington Wore Wooden Pants” got made into animated films and wound up in the Cannes Film Festival in 2009.
But with Nick and Artie, I got to tell some cool stories from Seinfeld, Paul Reiser, Gilbert Gottfried, Chris Rock and also got to discuss my days writing for Rodney and some other fun people.
We also talked about the synchronicity of events in life and Artie told me that two days after getting out of rehab, during a quite stressful and confusing time of his life, Nick called and asked him to be his co-host on the show. Talk about synchronicity. I hope Artie knows how much he is loved,by his fans and the public in general.
I’ll never forget the reaction to Artie when he came out onstage one night at Town Hall, I think it was, to a standing ovation before he even said a word. I had never remembered seeing a reaction like that to any comic before. And he gave Mike Bochetti the great opportunity to open for him. That’s the kind of great guy that Artie is. I remember very clearly going backstage to congratulate him. I don’t recall 100% where it was, but it was a huge venue and it was sold out!
So I’m so happy for him that he gets to do this great show five nights a week with his good friend Nick!
Nick DiPaolo on camera on his fantastic “Nick and Artie” show!
Their set is also incredible. It’s like the ultimate man-cave, complete with Foosball, ping-pong, big screen TV’s all over, a photo booth, a full size kitchen and as they pointed out to me, pull out beds. Ohhh, and I forgot to mention two beautiful blonde twins Liz and Marie Canavan known as “Twinsanity”!
Artie Lange onscreen during the broadcast of the Nick and Artie Show, on Sirius and DirecTV, Mon-Fri. from 10 P.M. till 1 A.M.
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV in a “Twinsanity” sandwich with Liz on the left, and Marie on the right! (If you’re facing the screen!)
Part of the great “Nick and Artie” set where guests come to chat!
The photo booth on the set of “Nick and Artie” where I came out looking like Lon Chaney’s undertaker!” Only models who are already gorgeous come out good in those photos! (LOL)
It’s a total party, I had a great time, and I really hope they ask me back!
Nick DiPaolo, Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV and Artie Lange on the set of “Nick and Artie” , on Mon-Friday from 10 P.M. until 1 A.M.! Make sure to tune in!
After four years of work, my book “Make ‘Em Laugh” with Richie Tienken, owner/founder of the legendary comedy club The Comic Strip finally came out, and is in bookstores all across the country.
The front cover of “Make ‘Em Laugh” with an intro. by Chris Rock, and interviews with Seinfeld, Ray Romano, Billy Crystal, Lisa Lampanelli, Gilbert Gottfried, Susie Essman and tons more!
It’s about the 35 year history of the club which Richie opened on June 1, 1976, and which is still going strong. I got the idea for it back in 2008 while at the club one afternoon with Ann Curry and Gilbert Gottfried, coaching Ann on how to do stand-up comedy for some event she was doing, and I suggested to Richie that we do a book on the club.
(L-R) Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, Ann Curry, PR guru Ryan McCormick, Gilbert Gottfried, and Richie Tienken, owner/founder of The Strip!
It took three years to get all the interviews and transcribe them from the digital audio recordings, because I did it all by myself. Every word. Every single word. It takes a long time to listen to an hour long conversation, which most of them were, if not longer, and transcribe every single word, by constantly pressing “Repeat” and playing each sentence over and over again to make sure you got it correctly.
That first summer, I went up to the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal and got the first three interviews with Larry Miller, George Wallace and Paul Provenza.
Larry Miller with Jeffrey Gurian at The Comic Strip!
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV backstage with George Wallace at Just for Laughs in Montreal, the biggest comedy festival in the world!
At the end besides having a killer, hilarious introduction from Chris Rock, I had interviews with Jerry Seinfeld, Billy Crystal, Ray Romano, Paul Reiser, Gilbert Gottfried, Susie Essman, Colin Quinn, Paul Provenza, Jim Gaffigan, Lewis Black, Judah Friedlander, Lisa Lampanelli and many more! A book filled with stories from comedy legends on how they got their start and wound up at The Comic Strip.
Jeffrey Gurian, Jerry Seinfeld and Richie Tienken at The Comic Strip after Jerry’s interview for the book!
Richie Tienken, Ray Romano, and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at The Comic Strip after Ray’s interview for the book ” Make ‘Em Laugh!”
Although Gilbert Gottfried claimed he had never actually been there and just showed up to the interview for a free lunch! He did admit to having heard rumours around 1974 that a club would be opening so he stood in that spot for years waiting for it to open, and he heard it did eventually open and had electricity. He also heard that many comics came there for dessert, at which point he started yelling out to no one in particular that he wanted a Peach Melba!
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, Gilbert Gottfried, and Richie Tienken trying to get Gilbert to admit he had ever performed at The Comic Strip!
This was as Richie Tienken was getting nauseous after having paid $50. to park, and was picking up the tab for lunch, to hear Gilbert say he had never been to the club. Needless to say, the interview was pure Gilbert, and hysterically funny.
I flew to LA to interview Billy Crystal, and that was really a treat. I hadn’t seen him in many years, and we got to reminisce about the days when I was a dentist and his manager at the time, the legendary Jack Rollins, who also managed Woody Allen and Robin Williams, wanted him to play me in a sit-com about a dentist in show biz.
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Billy Crystal in his offices in Beverly Hills! Billy is pointing to his teeth referencing Jeffrey’s former life as a dentist!
Most of the interviews were done at The Comic Strip because Richie and I felt it would be advantageous for the comics to be in that environment because it would help to bring back memories and it did.
We got to hear great stories like how Chris Rock was discovered by Eddie Murphy in 1986 when Eddie was considered the biggest star in the world and was being managed by Richie at the time. Or how Ray Romano started his career under the name “Jackie Roberts” for the first two or three months.
Then he “bombed” one night and experienced stage fright, so he quit and went back to selling futons for his best friend, which became an episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond!” Two years later he returned to comedy at The Comic Strip under the name Ray Romano and the rest is history!
Richie Tienken, Chris Rock, and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at The Comic Strip after Chris’ interview for the book ” Make ‘Em Laugh!”
Interestingly enough, he even delivered a futon to Larry David who was already well known and true to character, was not happy with the futon, and made Ray take it back.
We have Jerry Seinfeld’s first sign-up sheet on the night he auditioned to perform at The Strip on June 17th, 1976. In those days you were rated, and Jerry was rated “Good” and then someone wrote, ” Definitely put on Monday, 6/21.” That person was smart!
And blurbs! You wanna see blurbs? I got so many celeb blurbs they almost had to use a separate page. I got blurbs from Judd Apatow the king of Hollywood comedies, Richard Lewis, Charles Grodin, Nick Kroll, (whose new “Kroll Show” comes out on Comedy Central in January with me on it!), Bob Saget, (who was kind enough to write: “No matter how many years pass, I can never say no to Jeff Gurian. Hence this quote on his book’s back cover!”) Plus Tom Papa, Danny Aiello, Mike Birbiglia, DJ Cassidy and more!
Back cover of “Make ‘Em Laugh” with blurbs from Judd Apatow, Richard Lewis, Tom Papa. Nick Kroll, Mike Birbiglia, Bob Saget and more!!!
Since the book came out we’ve been getting a lot of attention. Tons of press. A great review from Larry Getlen in the NY Post, an interview on NBC TV, Channel 4, 7 P.M. news with Roseanne Coletti, an interview with WPIX TV, Channel 11 with reporter Dan Mannarino, which will be airing the week of Dec. 10th, radio interviews with Judith Regan, and Ron Bennington of “Ron and Fez” on Sirius Radio, plus radio shows all over the country.
And the book is in the hands of lots of huge comedy stars like Chris Tucker, JB Smoove, Artie Lange, Colin Quinn, and Judah Friedlander to name a few!
Chris Tucker and Jeffrey Gurian up at Sirius Radio with Chris’ copy of the book ” Make ‘Em Laugh”!
Jeffrey Gurian with Artie Lange at The Comic Strip with Artie’s copy of the book ” Make ‘Em Laugh!”
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Richard Belzer at The Friars Club. Jeffrey is holding Richard’s book, and Richard is holding his copy of Jeffrey’s book “Make ‘Em Laugh!”
The book is available in all Barnes and Noble stores in NYC, and on Amazon.com
Coming up, I’ll be doing a guest spot on Artie Lange’s new podcast with Nick DePaolo, talking about the book and all things comedy!
Mark Malkoff’s Bill Murray Show on My Damn Channel!
Up in Montreal, at the very end of July, at the Just for Laughs Festival, (the biggest comedy festival in the world), where I was honored to have been chosen as the official celeb interviewer this year, I shot 40 interviews, some of which are still being edited, as we speak! Two of them were with Rob Barnett and one of his MDC stars, Grace Helbig who does the “Daily Grace” Show and has become an internationally known internet star as a result!
The whole concept behind Mark’s show is that he wants to get Bill Murray to come to his house in Queens to have dinner with he and his wife Christine! It would be like me wanting to have Woody Allen over to my house for dinner. All I’d need to do is find out his favorite food, and then get a wife for myself! It would be too awkward if it were just me and Woody, and on top of that I served something he didn’t like!
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with his idol and inspiration, Woody Allen!
Mark reveres Bill Murray not only as a comedy icon, but I think also as a unique guy who can be counted on to do the unexpected.
Someone might ask for an autograph, and Bill might say “No” but instead will allow them to film him doing a “slow walk”! I get it! I used to travel around holding an iron, (for no particular reason, except that it’s easier to carry than a large appliance!), and sometimes during a conversation with a stranger, I’d ask them to hold my iron.
When I first started performing my comedy news broadcast, with my beautiful model co-anchor Sonya Gignac, I sat behind an ironing board instead of a desk, and I just noticed the connection as I’m writing this between the iron and the ironing board! Fascinating! They were years apart,that I did those things, and I never even realized it until this moment!
Jeffrey Gurian and his co-anchor Sonya Gignac seated behind an ironing board to do a Monty-Pythonesque news broadcast!
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV and Mark Malkoff of My Damn Channel both holding Jeffrey’s book ” Make ‘Em Laugh”!
At the same time I got the message that I was on The Bill Murray Show, I also got a message that my interview with Ron Bennington of the famous, long-running Ron and Fez Show on Sirius Radio was airing today at 1 P.M. Ron is a real student of comedy, and a student of human psychology. He’s a really smart, and intuitive guy! He interviewed me about my new book with Chris Rock called ” Make ‘Em Laugh” about the 35 year history of the legendary comedy club “The Comic Strip”, written with owner/founder Richie Tienken!
(L-R) Fez Whatley, Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV holding his new book “Make ‘Em Laugh” with Chris Rock, and Ron Bennington up at Sirius XM Radio!
Ron asked me questions with great understanding and insight into the human psyche, and I was so glad he brought up my friendship with the late Patrice O’Neal. Patrice and I had a very special friendship. He had been doing The Black Phillip Show with Dante Nero as his co-host, and when we met and connected on so many levels he honored me by asking me to join them as his third co-host, something that really thrilled me. It was truly one of the great honors of my career to get that respect from Patrice.
Patrice Oneal and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at an event Jeffrey produced at Gotham Comedy Club. Patrice was his featured speaker!
And this afternoon I got a message from his wife Von who happened to be in her car, turned on the radio and heard me being interviewed and speaking about Patrice. She thanked me for the way I described him as a “comedy philosopher” and for way I spoke about him. When I saw Patrice I would always smile, and we hugged each other, and it was real. There was no BS with Patrice. If he didn’t like you, you knew it, but if he did like you, he made it obvious!
(L-R) Jacqueline Beaulieu, Patrice O’Neal, Jeffrey Gurian, and Dante Nero up at Sirius Radio for the Black Phillip Show!
I’m waiting for the MP3 of the show and when I get it I’ll post it so you can hear it for yourselves! I did however also receive an MP3 of my appearance on the Curtis Sliwa radio show that I did last Friday.
Back when I was a dentist, I was the dentist for The Guardian Angels, and Curtis used to come up to my office. We always had the best time, while I was putting him back together, since he was always getting punched in the face, while making our city safe!
Recently I ran into him in the street, at a street fair, and when he heard about my new book he said he wanted me to come on the show one day to talk about it. Well the day after the Vice-Presidential debates when everyone was talking about Joe Biden’s whiter than white teeth, and his inability to control his laugh response, Curtis thought “teeth” and “laughing”, and the only person he thought could put those two things together was me. So we did a fun interview about my book and analyzing the debate, and Joe Biden’s teeth, and it was very cool!
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with his old pal Curtis Sliwa, founder of The Guardian Angels!
So today was a special day, … not just for the non-stop press, but for the fact that it feels good to be acknowledged in a positive way, for trying to put positive energy out into The Universe, ’cause that’s what Comedy Matters is about! Putting out positive vibes!
If I see a show I don’t like, or someone’s set that didn’t go particularly well, I don’t write about it. I don’t write that I didn’t like it. I’m not a critic. I have an opinion, and if it’s good I’m willing to share it, but if it’s not, I keep it to myself.
I don’t put negative stuff out there, because I respect what it takes to get out on any stage and try to entertain people. It’s the hardest thing in the world, so I try and give props to the people who deserve it!