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Fourth Annual Friars Club Comedy Film Festival

The most frustrating thing about attending any film festival is not being able to see all the films you’d like to see, because there’s just too many good ones to choose from. That was the case at the Friars Club’s Fourth Annual Comedy Film Festival.

The schedule for the 4th Annual Friars Club Comedy Film Festival!

Back in 2009, Friar Charlie Prince, an entertainment lawyer in Manhattan realized the lack of a film festival geared towards comedy. He suggested it to the Board of Governors at The Friars Club, and they agreed to give him the green light, so the festival was born. The second year they had 8 films in competition. This year they had over 40.

Charlie as the Exec. Director of the festival is aided by his indefatigable team, including Eric Johnson, head of Programming, Susanna Gora the Director of the festival, and Sue Constantine, Director of Communications. There are others as well not named “Sue”, whose names I don’t recall, but they all work tirelessly to make this festival the success that it is.

Films, (features and shorts) were shown over four nights, to packed audiences, in six different venues: the Cantor Film Center at NYU, The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, The Core Club, the SVA Theatre, The HBO Theater, and The PIT.

Opening night was fun with a film titled ” It’s A Disaster” starring America Ferrera, Julia Stiles and David Cross, which could possibly be described as an apocalyptic comedy if there is such a thing! It was directed by Todd Berger, and Todd, America, and David, along with a couple of funny actors named Jeff Grace, and Kevin Brennan, were at the Q&A that followed as well as the kick-ass opening party at the legendary Friars Club, a gorgeous mansion on East 55th Street in midtowm Manhattan.

(L-R) Moderator Charlie Prince, with America Ferrera, Jeff Grace, Kevin Brennan, and director Todd Berger from ” It’s A Disaster”!

I shot some very cool video interviews with Charlie Prince, David Cross and some of the comics at The Friars CLub which you will see as soon as it’s edited!

Other highlights of the festival for me, and there were several, were seeing my old friend, widely-loved comic Eddie Pepitone immortalized in a film about him,called “The Bitter Buddha”, as well as seeing the film “Price Check” with one of my favorite actresses, indie-queen Parker Posey, and actor Brian Berebbi, who was also there for the Q&A and for the after-party, along with director Mike Walker.

Actor/improv comic Brian (30 Rock) Berebbi, at the premiere of Price Check at the HBO Theater!

Brian played a fun role in the film and as I left the theatre, because my life usually turns into a Woody Allen movie, I fell down in the darkness, and unknowingly cut my hand. As I walked outside with my producer Rob Krieg, I saw Brian who called me over to introduce me to the film’s director Mike Walker, and producer Dolly Hall, and as I extended my hand to shake it was dripping blood.

(L-R_ Charlie Prince, Mike Walker, Dolly Hall, and Brian Berebbi on stage at the HBO Theater, for the Q&A for Price Check!

We all had a good laugh as I made my way to the Men’s Room to clean up. Fortunately it was a minor injury, but a funny visual for a film, trying to shake hands with people while you’re bleeding but trying to act very casual!

The Bitter Buddha was made by Steven Feinartz,(pronounced Fine Arts, which is about as good a name for a director as you can get! LOL.) The title is how Feinartz describes Eddie, who is often called ” the comedian’s comedian” meaning someone that other comics like to watch perform, and it was a great look into his life and what makes him tick.

Eddie Pepitone fielding questions during the Q&A for the film about him “The Bitter Buddha”!

The scenes of Eddie with his Dad, who doesn’t get to attend many of Eddie’s shows, but who unexpectedly came out to Gotham Comedy Club to support his headlining performance there were particularly heart-warming. You could see how proud he was of his son!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV in the audience with Eddie Pepitone after his performance in “The Bitter Buddha” a doc on his life. I couldn’t resist holding up my book ” Make ‘Em Laugh” with a great intro by Chris Rock!

And it was particularly gratifying to me to see the turnout for the afterparties at The Friars CLub, and to see the club packed with so many young, creative people. That’s how it’s supposed to be. I’ve been involved with the club for so many years, and it’s great seeing the energy that Charlie and his team bring to the club.

I attended the closing party with Shoko Tamai, a very talented, and super-creative ballet dancer originally from Japan, but who performs all over the world, and is also surprisingly very funny! I’m excited that she will be doing some comedy work with me, and we are planning some fun and unusual things together!

Friar Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, with internationally known ballet dancer Shoko Tamei, on the Step and Repeat at The Friars Club!

It was thrilling for me to be able to show her around the club, and watch her amazement at the show business history that is obvious everywhere you look in the club. There’s really no other place like The Friars Club, and it always feels good to be there.

Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV, with international ballet star Shoko Tamei, in the Milton Berle room at the legendary Friars Club in NYC. Milton Berle was Jeffrey’s original sponsor in the Friars Club!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Comedy Central’s Night of Too Many Stars, 2012

Every two years Comedy Central puts on a spectacular event to raise money to cure Autism and create programs to help autistic children. The evening, called “Night of Too Many Stars – America Comes Together For Autism Programs”, which will air Sunday, Oct. 21st, 2012, from The Beacon Theatre is produced in conjunction with Jon Stewart’s production company “Busboy Productions”.

The spectacular event ” Night of Too Many Stars” definitely lives up to it’s name!

The event is in honor of writer/performer/filmmaker Robert Smigel who is universally loved throughout the entertainment business, and also happens not only to be the father of Triumph The Insult Comic Dog, but also the father of Daniel Smigel, who is autistic.

Robert Smigel making a heartfelt thank you speech to the attendees, and explaining why Triumph couldn’t make an appearance!

Jon Stewart is the host of the show and everyone in comedy comes out for it. In the video that follows you’ll see many of the stars and VIP’s that attended ranging from Doug Herzog, Pres. of MTV Networks, to Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Tracy Morgan, Tom Morello, Carly Rae Jepsen, Ben Stiller, Katy Perry, Louis CK, and Seth Rogen.

Jon Stewart of The Daily Show who hosts and produces this Autism event every two years!

Lots more people were there, including stars you wouldn’t expect to see like Harvey Keitel, Steve Schirripa, Tommy Hilfiger, and Sting. Hannibal Buress and Bill Burr both performed great stand-up sets. Ben Stiller did a funny sketch in his character as Derek Zoolander, with Tommy Hilfiger, and Sting did an amazing musical number where someone bid about 25 G’s to have his name in an original song to be sung on air, and then gave the honor as a present to a guy named Paul Repps.

Sting singing to Paul Repps with Harvey Keitel and JB Smoove as back-up singers!

Sting sang “Paul Repps” to the tune of “Roxanne” and the name fit perfectly into the timing. The entire cast joined in as background singers, including Louis CK, (not usually known for his singing ability, Seth Rogen, Steve Schirripa, Harvey Keitel, Katy Perry (usually known for HER singing ability!) and all the rest!

The entire cast from Louis CK on down joined Sting in singing back-up for Paul Repps!

Aileen Budow and Eve Kenny ran the red carpet and did an amazing job as they always do. There’s almost as much press as audience, because of the caliber of talent that shows up, but sometimes the major TV networks keep the celebs talking so long they have no time to speak to the other people waiting to interview them, because the show has to start on time.

I got to speak to Hannibal Buress,JB Smoove, and Tom Morello, and that was very cool! I was anxious to hear Tom’s take on “Laughing Joe Biden” who laughed his way through the Vice Presidential debate. My point to Tom was that my opinion had nothing to do with politics or who you support in the election, but that it was a very childish, rude and arrogant thing to laugh like an idiot every time your opponent tries to make a point about something serious.

You can listen to those interviews here on Comedy Matters TV:

It was so beneath what you would expect from the second in command of the most powerful country in the world, that watching it alone, I found myself wondering whether it was just me who felt that way, or whether others agreed with me. I was so astonished by his behavior, that I went to the internet for validation of my feelings, and found out how many other people agreed with me. One night later, I got to talk on air about it to Curtis Sliwa, who asked me to come on and comment on the whiteness of Joe Biden’s teeth, and his propensity towards hysterical laughter!

Tom said he “would have slapped them both!” (LOL)

There were some really funny and different moments to this show and comedy is one force that can make people put their personal feelings aside for a moment and come together for one common puroise, as was the case of liberal Chris Matthews, participating in a debate with conservative Bill O’Reilly while both had to inhale helium from balloons before speaking. It was hysterical, and amazing to see the two of them laughing together like little boys, while still giving each other digs, and talking in helium-pitched tones!

(L-R)- Chris Matthews, moderator John King, and Bill O’Reilly surrounded by helium balloons! Very funny and creative gag!

Then Kevin Bacon came out dressed as “Butter” and Liev Schreiber came out dressed as “Broccoli” for a fun sketch with Paula Deen.

Kevin Bacon as “Butter” and Liev Schreiber as “Broccoli” arguing over who Paul Deen liked better!

During the live auction we got to see very creative bits like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler auctioning off their friendship for which two women each paid something like $36,000. each! The show did a very smart thing by letting two people win who were tied in a bid, thereby getting twice the money!

There was a very moving duet with Katy Perry and 11 year old autistic singer/pianist Jodi DiPiazza whose parents must have been “kvelling”, as they sang “Firework” together!

Katy Perry singing “Firework” in a duet with 11 year old Jodi DiPiazza, who is autistic and very talented!!

And Donny Deutsch wound up spending around 20 grand to take a pee with Seth Rogen, and two other guys who also paid the same amount. It was a group pee, and very original programming, I must say. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it before!

Donny Deutsch, laughing hysterically with Seth Rogen in the Men’s Room where they relieved themselves together for Autism!

The broadcast, Sunday night at 8 Eastern, 7 Central will feature a live phone bank with celebs taking donations, including Ed Asner, Samantha Bee, Dane Cook, Bill Hader, Tom Hanks, Jason Jones, Hoda Kotb, Seth Meyers, John Oliver, Al Pacino, Lara Spencer,Kenan Thompson, Allison Williams and Wendy Williams.
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There will be LIVE Video Chats with Phone Bank Celebrities including Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, Bob Saget and Jason Sudeikis which will be offered to donors, and donor participation will determine the outcome of special stunts featuring Conan O’Brien getting a spray tan and Nick Offerman doing a striptease!
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All Donations of $100 or More Will Receive a DVD Featuring Tracy Morgan and JB Smoove giving audio commentary on “Game of Thrones”, and I got to see some of this and it’s hysterical so get out your Benjamins, and get a couple of these as give-aways!

This will be one heck of a show, and they already raised hundreds of thousands of dollars at the taping, so I can only imagine what they’ll bring in from the broadcast! Here’s hoping it’s millions!

And as a special treat, I even got to talk about my new book “Make ‘Em Laugh” with Chris Rock, to Hannibal Buress, Tom Morello, and JB Smoove!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with rock legend Tom Morello holding Jeffrey’s new book ” Make ‘Em Laugh” with an intro by Chris Rock!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Hannibal Buress who looks happy to be holding”Make ‘Em Laugh!”

JB Smoove flashing gang signs while helping Jeffrey Gurian to promote his new book ” Make ‘Em Laugh” with Chris Rock!

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The Mark Malkoff’s Bill Murray Show, Ron and Fez, Patrice O’Neal, Curtis Sliwa Connection

I woke up to a message that my appearance on the Bill Murray Show with Mark Malkoff, on My Damn Channel was up! That was exciting in itself. It was accompanied by messages that people liked the Blog post I wrote about Rob Barnett’s My Damn Channel and the amazing amount of entertainment they provide.

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!

So I did the Bill Murray Show with Mark and it was complete and total fun! Check it out right here!

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!

I’m out!

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Mark Malkoff’s Bill Murray Show

When I first met Mark Malkoff I had no idea how much we’d have in common. He’s a very interesting guy! (That’s not what we have in common! LOL) He sets himself a difficult goal and then puts all his energy into making that happen.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Mark Malkoff of The Bill Murray Show on My Damn Channel!

Mark hosts The Bill Murray Show on My Damn Channel, and the sole purpose of the show is to get Bill Murray to come to Mark’s house in Queens and have dinner with him and his beautiful wife Christine. If I was Bill I’d go. When I went for the taping, Christine made me a great meal, and the two of them were so nice, and really fun!

So when I was asked to appear and talk about my new book “Make ‘Em Laugh” with Chris Rock, and my experiences with Bill Murray of which I had four to speak of, I was very excited to do so! Also because I love My Damn Channel and Rob Barnett rocks! (He’s the guy who created My Damn Channel, just so you know I’m not giving a shout-out to some random guy! LOL)

Grace Helbig’s “Daily Grace” on MDC is amazing and she gets millions, and millions of hits! I just saw her doing her version of “Gangnam Style” and she’s adorable, and does it so well. She must have gone to dancing school as a little girl in Korea!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with the ebullient Grace Helbig from “Daily Grace” on My Damn Channel at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal!

I actually got to interview both Grace and Rob up at Montreal this past July during the Just for Laughs Festival! ( See Grace’s interview above, and Rob’s interview right here!)

So basically all the My Damn Channel stuff is super and I was psyched to be on.

The reason I relate so much to Mark is that Mark sets out to do things that appeal to him, even if they’re unusual. When I looked him up, I realized I had read about some of his exploits without realizing it had been him.

He’s a former “Colbert Report” staffer, who also visited 171 Starbucks locations in Manhattan in less than 24 hours, moved into a Paramus, N.J., IKEA for a week, and convinced New Yorkers to carry him 9.4 miles.

If I had known that I would have told him about my film I made years ago as part of the “Men Who” Series. It was part of a series of short films about men who go to work in unusual ways entitled “Men Who Insist On Being Carried To Work”! You can actually see it on my website at http://www.jeffreygurian.com, where you will also see Peter Dinklage star of HBO’s hit “Game of Thrones” starring in a film called ” Men Who Dance Where They’re Not Supposed To” and he gets arrested for dancing in a “No Dancing” zone!

So the Bill Murray thing really resonated with me because when I was in my 20’s, before I knew anyone in show biz, there were only three people I ever wanted to meet, and they were Salvador Dali, Woody Allen, and The Beach Boys, and I got to meet and spend an evening with each one of them. I actually made that happen!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Woody Allen in a much more recent photo than when I first met him! I made him laugh by saying, ” Hi Woody, I’m a very close friend of yours!”

And that’s when I realized that if I could lose my self-consciousness, expand my comfort zone, and not be embarrassed to go out and try things, I could basically accomplish anything I wanted, and meet whoever I set out to meet!

Each of those three events is a story in it’s own, but when I realize what I was able to manifest in those days, it’s not unlike what Mark has set out to do. And if you want something bad enough there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.

I live in Manhattan and Mark lives in Queens so ordinarily I would drive, but just that day Pres. Obama came to town, specifically to mess up traffic, so I did something I never did before! I went to Queens by train! Mark gave me great directions and it wasn’t even that bad.

We had a great time and Mark speaks comedy! The guy is a fund of knowledge about comedy and was able to speak to me knowledgeably about people that were way before his time, and people that I knew well like Milton Berle, who was was my original sponsor in the LA Friars Club, Henny Youngman,Jack Rollins, Charlie Joffe, and Alan Zweibel to name just a few!

Also there was My Damn Channel’s Jesse Cowell, the Exec. Director of Original Content, who oversees 30 new series, ( not 10, or 20, but THIRTY!) that will be debuting on My Damn Channel.

Jesse was very low key but is also a lightweight karate champ and when I watched his You Tube videos of him kicking butt, I was like, … this guy’s no lightweight! (LOL) When you’re that well versed in martial arts, you can afford to be low key. It takes great discipline to get that far, and it was always one of my dreams to be that accomplished in Tae Kwon Do. One of my very few unrealized dreams!

In my interview which will air tomorrow, Tuesday Oct. 16, 2012 and will be posted on the My Damn Channel website (http://www.mydamnchannel.com), besides talking about my new book with Chris Rock called “Make ‘Em Laugh”, you’ll hear me telling my stories of my experiences with Bill Murray:

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Bill Murray at The Four Seasons Hotel in NYC! ( No, we weren’t staying there together! LOL)

1. How we originally met up at SNL in the early years!
2. How Bill Murray tried to repair my car one night during the 90’s.
3. Me and Bill Murray at a press conference for his film “Get Low”.
4. A screenplay I wrote, with Bill Murray specifically in mind for the lead called “Searching For Ed Zintz”, where as the result of a practical joke gone wrong, Hollywood winds up honoring a guy who doesn’t exist, it becomes the hottest ticket in town, people are fighting for tickets, and Bill Murray, a failed comedian, gets hired to play the guy “Ed Zintz”! But because of my ADD, I got so confused that while I was with Bill Murray, in his company, alone and right next to him, I forgot to tell him about it!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV in yet a second photo with Bill Murray just to prove to myself I was actually there!

Well, if he comes to Mark’s house for dinner, maybe Mark or Christine would be kind enough to mention it, and then we can all make the movie together!

And then I think my next goal after that is to get my own show on My Damn Channel, and have Rob Barnett come to MY house for dinner!

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Joe De Rosa Takes On A "Friendly" Heckler at Broadway Comedy Club

Sometimes in the middle of a set, if a comic doesn’t think the joke they just told got enough of a response they mention it to the audience. Personally, I try and avoid it although I have been known to say, ” Thank you for obeying the “No Laughing” signs!”

Joe De Rosa on-stage at Broadway Comedy Club!

Joe De Rosa who is always funny and proved that long ago, was doing a bit in the main room of Broadway Comedy the other night about nurses, and about how some of them are not that attentive when you’re in the hospital. He was using his Mom’s recent hospital stay as a reference, and he happened to comment to the audience something along the lines of he felt he was losing them over this nursing material, when one woman in the audience became quite vocal in her response, that she wasn’t feeling the nurse material and said something to the effect, “I’m feeling your pain but you’re not rocking it right now!” Which was a strange remark on many levels.

Mostly I wondered where she had learned the term “rocking it”, and I pictured her just waiting for any opportunity to use it. Here was her chance so she yelled it out right in the middle of Joe’s set. Granted he basically asked the audience for their opinion of the nurse material, but not all questions have to be answered. You take a chance when you do that. People mixed with alcohol, can lead to a noisy result, which is what happened here.

Joe had also wondered where the concept of “hot nurses” came from, as they are often portrayed mostly in porn films, because the nurses he saw did not quite fit that bill. One of them said to him, ” Anything I can do for your Mom Mr. De Rosa?” And he said, ” Yeh, stay away from her wallet! You got a spider tattoo on your neck and I don’t trust you!”

Because Joe has so much stage experience he chose to engage her, and she kept insisting that she was a “friend”, and “fan” of Joe’s, hence the “Friendly Heckler” title, and she said she liked him as a comic but felt the need to stand up for nurses. All this while the show was going on, … or not going on!

Joe handled it well, but a lesser comic wouldn’t have been able to. He also said ” The President did badly in the debate because he ran out of lies. Politicians promise you things you like. You like water slides? If I’m elected, everyone will have a water slide!” It can’t be done. They know it but they promise it to you anyway!

Joe’s got a new book out called Cheat: A Man’s Guide to Infidelity, from Simon and Schuster, that he wrote with Bill Burr, and Robert Kelly, and the book is a hit! You can get it on Amazon!

Leah Bonnema was the host and she’s great at that.

Funny lady Leah Bonnema hosting the show at Broadway Comedy!

I also got to see Jason Salman who I had only seen doing five minute sets on some of my late night shows before that, but this night he did a 20 minute set and got lots of laughs with things like ” In Texas, ( where he’s from), we believe you can kill any animal for food, except a stork, because we consider that an abortion!”

Jason Salman, accompanied by his ever-present moustache onstage at Broadway Comedy!

And growing up in Texas, he thought vegans and French people were fictional characters from literature!

Neko White closed the show. Neko is very funny, and is only 19 years old, which is such a great time to be performing. I’ve performed with him many times and I see great things ahead for him. He’s one of those performers that the audience just loves to laugh at. He brings a strong comedic presence to the stage.

He questions some of the things that Black people fought for in the past, for instance not having to sit in the back of the bus. He feels that’s the most comfortable place to sit on the bus, and he’s right! It’s less crowded, and the seats are bigger, but thankfully you won’t find Rosa Parks there!

Nineteen year old Neko White killing it onstage at Broadway Comedy!

He talked about why he can’t be with “big girls”, cause he’s too thin and his bone density is not what it’s supposed to be. If a big girl layed down on him, he’s afraid his chest would pop like bubble wrap!

It was an entertaining show just like always at Broadway Comedy!

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"Make ‘Em Laugh" with Chris Rock Finally Hits The Bookstores

The Comic Strip opened on June 1st of 1976. It’s an iconic comedy club on the Upper East Side of NYC, that launched the careers of stars like Jerry Seinfeld, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Ray Romano, Paul Reiser, George Wallace, Gilbert Gottfried, Jim Gaffigan, Lewis Black, Lisa Lampanelli, and many more.

Richie Tienken, Chris Rock, and Jeffrey Gurian at The Comic Strip after Chris’ interview for the book “Make ‘Em Laugh” for which Chris also write the hilarious intro!

One day,on June 16th of 2008 I was at The Strip with Ann Curry, Gilbert Gottfried, and PR powerhouse Ryan McCormick of Goldman/McCormick PR, and after looking at all the talent on the walls, I suggested to owner/founder Richie Tienken that we do a book on the history of the club. He came to my house to talk about it, and saw even more photos than HE had in the club (LOL), and decided to trust me to tell his story. That was the long and the short of it.

(L-R) Jeffrey Gurian, Ann Curry, Ryan McCormick, Gilbert Gottfried, and Richie Tienken all trying to figure out why Ann looks so surprised! Maybe she heard it would take four years to do the book, and couldn’t believe it!

The front cover of “Make ‘Em Laugh” by Jeffrey Gurian and Richie Tienken with an intro. by Chris Rock!

That July, of 2008 I went up to the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, which is the biggest comedy festival in the world, and did my first three digital audio interviews. First was with Larry Miller at his hotel, then George Wallace in a restaurant, and then Paul Provenza at the main hotel where the festival was being held.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Larry Miller at The Strip! Larry was the very first comic interviewed for the book!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV backstage with George Wallace at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, 2008. George was the 2nd comic to be interviewed for the book!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Paul Provenza, at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, 2008. Paul was the the 3rd comic to be interviewed for the book!

From that point on, it took the next four years to see this book on a shelf in Barnes and Noble. I was on a quest to get every big star I could, who had come out of The Strip, to be interviewed for the book. And most of them came into the club to do it during the afternoon when we wouldn’t be disturbed. Richie and I would meet them there and sit casually in the showroom while we reminisced about the old days, into my recorder.

Jeffrey Gurian and Richie Tienken at The Comic Strip with Jerry Seinfeld after his interview for the book “Make ‘Em Laugh”!

We felt it was helpful to do it in the club, because we thought, and rightly so, that being in the club would help bring back memories, and it did. During Paul Reiser’s interview, he claims to have suddenly remembered for the first time ever, what started the annual New Year’s day brunch that he has attended every year for the last 30 years or more with Jerry Seinfeld, Larry Miller, and Mark Schiff. There was originally a fifth guy named Michael Cain, but unfortunately he passed away many years ago, way before his time.

(L-R) Richie Tienken, Ray Romano, and Jeffrey Gurian at The Comic Strip after Ray’s interview for the book, ” Make ‘Em Laugh”!

So the book has cool stories from Jerry Seinfeld, Ray Romano, who came in with his long-time manager Rory Rosegarten who he had met at The Strip, Jim Gaffigan, Susie Essman, Lisa Lampanelli, Gilbert Gottfried, Paul Provenza, Lewis Black, Judah Friedlander, Jeffrey Ross, Tony Rock, Adam Ferrara, and so many more!

I even flew out to LA to interview Billy Crystal which was a very special one to me, since during the middle of the interview he realized he knew me from the legendary Jack Rollins, who managed him, Robin Williams, and Woody Allen, back in the day!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Billy Crystal in his Beverly Hills office! Billy is pointing to his teeth referencing Jeffrey’s rumored history as a former dentist! (LOL)

I wanted to do all the interviews before looking for an agent and a book deal, because I knew that agents would be skeptical of someone saying they could get this many interviews, with such big stars, and I wanted to be able to walk in with them already done.

After three painstaking years of doing interviews, and transcribing them by hand, my pal media powerhouse Judith Regan, introduced me to her agent at N.S. Bienstock, because she said for a celeb-filled book like this I need a powerful agent, and I spent most of the fourth year editing it down to the length that Skyhorse Publishing wanted it to be.

Media heavyweight Judith Regan and Jeffrey Gurian holding the book that she made possible, “Make ‘Em Laugh”!

I started with about 500 pages, and had to whittle it down to about 250 pages. I have all the stories digitally recorded on a disk, so our next project will probably be a CD of the stories that didn’t make it into the book!

Then I had to get blurbs for the book’s back cover, so I went to some of my famous friends and contacts and asked them to read the galleys and to provide meaningful blurbs and I got amazing stuff from ten people; Barry Katz, co-creator of Last Comic Standing, Judd Apatow, the king of Hollywood comedies, Richard Lewis, Mike Birbiglia, Charles Grodin, Elayne Boosler the first woman ever to have a cable TV special, Danny Aiello, Michael Imperioli, Nick Kroll star of the upcoming The Kroll Show, on Comedy Central, Tom Papa, and even DJ Cassidy, the world famous DJ who is also the DJ for Russell Simmons’ show “The Ruckus” hosted by JB Smoove!

The back cover of “Make ‘Em Laugh” with blurbs from Barry Katz, Richard Lewis, Mike Birbiglia, Charles Grodin, Elayne Boosler, Danny Aiello, Michael Imperioli, Nick Kroll, Tom Papa, Bob Saget, and DJ Cassidy!

Speaking of JB Smoove, this summer in Montreal, I was the official celeb interviewer and shot 40 interviews with stars like Chelsea Handler,Bob Saget, Joel McHale, JB Smoove, Marc Maron, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, Adam Carolla, and Howie Mandel, …

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Chelsea Handler at Just for Laughs in Montreal!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Bob Saget backstage at Bob’s gala at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal!

… and one night I got Jay Pharoah from SNL reading Chris Rock’s intro from my book, in Chris Rock’s voice, to entertain JB Smoove and a bunch of comedy execs that were hanging out in the lobby! That you must see, and it’s right here:

So as of Monday, 10/1/12 the book is in Barnes and Noble and is available on their site and on Amazon.com All the stars in the book are helping to get the word out and even stars not in the book like Dave Chappelle are posing with the book!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Colin Quinn holding “Make ‘Em Laugh”, which Colin is in!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Judah Friedlander holding a copy of “Make ‘Em Laugh” which he is in!

Dave Chappelle chillin’ at the bar at The Comic Strip reading “Make ‘Em Laugh” about the 35 year history of the club!

I hope you’ll all read it, enjoy it, and leave a positive comment somewhere where other people will see it! (LOLOL)

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