Archive for New TV Show

Steve Rannazzisi From "The League" at Gotham For Comedy Juice

You don’t need to be a fan of football to like FX’s The League. You just have to be a fan of good comedy shows! Comedy Juice at Gotham continues to draw the talent and last week I went down specifically to catch Steve Rannazzisi perform who plays Kevin on The League.

Steve Rannazzisi who plays “Kevin” on FX’s “The League” at Gotham Comedy Club!

Also because any friend of Nick Kroll’s is a friend of mine, .. whether they like it or not! (LOL) They have no choice. I LOVE Nick Kroll, and can’t wait for his new show on Comedy Central, which may or may not be called ” The Nick Show Kroll.”

Nick Kroll, Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, and John Mulaney at a comedy event!

Nick called me out to LA in March to appear in a couple of sketches with him and his good friend, ( and mine!), and writing partner John Mulaney, and when I got the e-mail asking me to be on the “Nick Show Kroll”, with “Nick Show Kroll” in the “Subject” line, I just assumed that whoever had written it had ADHD, and switched the words around, so of course I corrected it! I come from that kind of family where you politely correct other people’s mistakes! (LOL)

Nick Kroll as Gil Faizon on the set in LA with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, who came out to act in some sketches!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV on the Nick Kroll set in LA with John Mulaney in his character as George St. Geegland, an obviously Jewish name if I ever heard one!

But each time I got another e-mail and it said “The Nick Show Kroll” I eventually realized that I was the moron and that that was really the name of the show!

The League was created by the husband-and-wife team of Jeff Schaffer (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld) and Jackie Marcus Schaffer (Disturbia, Eurotrip) who serve as executive producers and directors, and it features an ensemble cast of young actors/comedians who seem to be in every cool project these days.

Mark Duplass (Humpday), for example, who seems to be in every movie and TV show that comes out, plays “Pete,” the perennial league champ who is really giving it his best effort to grow up. I just saw him in “Your Sister’s Sister” in which he was great, and had a cool love scene with his girlfriend’s (Emily Blunt) sister, who was a lesbian, played by Rosemarie DeWitt.

Stephen Rannazzisi (Paul Blart: Mall Cop) is “Kevin,” a happily married father, married to “Jenny,” played by the beautiful and talented Katie Aselton, who in real life is married to Mark Duplass. I told you he stars in EVERYTHING! Even in marrying Katie Aselton! (LOL)

I have a great video interview with both of them on the red carpet of the 2011 Comedy Awards, where they were up for several awards for the film ” Cyrus”, with Jonah Hill and Marisa Tomei, and a few months before Mark’s film ” Jeff Who Lives At Home” came out. They both promised me a role in that film even though it was shot and wrapped at the time! (LOL) Maybe because I’m, “Jeff”??? See it right here!

The fabulous couple of Katie Aselton and Mark Duplass on the red carpet of the Comedy Awards, laughing as they assure me I’d have a part in “Jeff Who Lives At Home” even though the movie was already finished and ready for release!(LOL)

Anyway, Steve as Kevin is also commissioner of the league.

Nick Kroll (Get Him to the Greek) plays Rodney “Ruxin,” a really funny character, who’s supposedly a product liability attorney married to a gorgeous wife “Sophia”, played by Nadine Velazquez. Ruxin believes he’s the smartest of the group, but is very paranoid and is always trying to figure out how the other guys are screwing him over.

Then there’s “Andre,” played by Paul Scheer (Human Giant), who is the brunt of many jokes by this group of friends, who have been friends since high school days, even though he is now a successful plastic surgeon.

And then there’s comic Jon Lajoie as “Taco,” Kevin’s little brother, who splits his time between being a musician and getting totally wasted, to the point where he doesn’t even remember who his friends are.

Anyway, the Comedy Juice show was hosted by Ross Gutin, who projects so well he didn’t need a mic, … and that’s a big room! He reminded me a little bit of a young Mario Cantone, and I mean that as a compliment!

I also got to see Louis Katz who’s had his own Comedy Central special, (as opposed to having someone else’s Comedy Central special, I guess! LOL) and he’s very funny in a way you don’t expect, judging by his outward personna, which is why they tell you not to judge a book by it’s bibliography! (I think that’s what they say!)

Louis Katz on stage at Gotham, telling about German traditions, for the Comedy Juice show with Steve Rannazzisi!

Louis commented that the tradition of the USA is to be ignorant of the traditions of other countries! For instance, he explained, in Germany it’s considered rude to leave your hat on while taking a dump on someone’s chest!

Steve Rannazzisi from “The League”, killing it onstage at Gotham for the Comedy Juice show!

Steve Rannazzisi had lots of memorable lines, but the one that stuck out for me was “the hardest part of leaving my family to go out on the road is not smiling while I’m packing!”

I was glad to see he drew such a big crowd, and I hope he remembers to give my regards to Nick Kroll, Katie Aselton, and Mark Duplass!

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Tony Rock Hosts New Apollo Live on Centric

The Apollo Theatre, on West 125th Street in NYC is a legendary venue known for “breaking” lots of huge talent over the years. It started as “Apollo Hall” in the mid 1800’s.

The new stage of Apollo Live at The Apollo Theatre in Harlem!

It was always the pre-emiment showcase for African-American talent, which was definitely not a term that was used back in the 1930’s!

The great Ella Fitzgerald made her singing debut there at 17 on November 21, 1934, which was the year it introduced it’s regular Amateur Night shows hosted by a performer named Ralph Cooper.

Other stars that graced that stage at the beginning of their careers, as well as after they had made it, were Billie Holiday, James Brown, Diana Ross & The Supremes, Gladys Knight & the Pips, The Jackson 5, Patti LaBelle, Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Ben E. King, Mariah Carey, The Isley Brothers, Lauryn Hill, Sarah Vaughan, and Machine Gun Kelly (rapper).

Comedy was also a big feature at The Apollo, and it spotlighted the performances of old-time vaudeville favorites like Tim Moore, Stepin Fetchit, Dewey “Pigmeat” Markham, and younger comics like Godfrey Cambridge, who some of my readers may never have even heard of. Jimi Hendrix won the first place prize in an amateur musician contest at the Apollo in 1964, but one thing The Apollo was always known for was how they rated the talent.

In the early days, they had a guy they called “the executioner”. Audiences were encouraged to let the performers know how they felt about their performance either by applause or by the loudest booing you ever heard. If it was boos, the executioner would come on stage with a broom, and literally sweep the performers off their feet.

Things haven’t changed much over the years. This Monday, July 9th was the debut of Apollo Live, Jamie Foxx’s remake of “Showtime At The Apollo” where aspiring singers put their self-esteem on the line, and come out to perform for audiences that have no qualms in standing up and booing, effectively drowning out the performance, while waving their arms motioning the performer to get off stage.

The sign on Tony Rock’s dressing room door, backstage at The Apollo!

Tony Rock was chosen personally by Jamie Foxx as the host of this new show, to air on Centric, which is a spin-off cable TV channel of BET (Black Entertainment Television). I wanted to be at the first one, cause generally I like to go to the first one and the last one and see how it changes during that timespan. They will be shooting for two weeks.

At this first show, Rob Stapleton was the warm-up comic and he is always great. Warming up the crowd is a specific talent in itself. Not every comic can do it. You not only need material, but you have to be really personable, and excellent at crowd work, which Rob is. I’ve seen him host several shows already and he’s always strong.

The very funny Rob Stapleton warming up the crowd at The Apollo before Tony Rock came out to host the show!

The judges were also fantastic and very right on the money with their decisions, even though the final decisions were left up to the audience. Michael Bivins from Bell, Biv, Devoe was one judge, Doug E. Fresh the rapper/beatboxer and inventor of “The Dougie” was a second judge, and the third judge, Gladys Knight, (without her “Pips”), got a standing ovation when she came into the theatre. She sat right near me and waved hello, ’cause everyone always thinks I’m in the music business.

Many years ago, I attended a black tie event in the music business with a girl I was dating at the time who was a singer, and one after the other, Billy Joel, Paul Anka and then Keith Richards all stopped off at my table to say hello to me personally, and shake my hand, to the great astonishment of the other people at my table, and the girl I was with, but no one was more astonished than ME! I guess they thought I was some music executive, and they didn’t want to take a chance and “brush me”!! (LOL)

Anyway, Apollo Live is a really fun show. The audience was out for blood, and started booing some singers almost as soon as they started. Some of them made it through their song anyway. The guy who won for the evening was really the best, and Gladys Knight for one said he touched her heart with his voice.

For a comedy break they had another Tony, Tony Roberts who I had seen recently with Cipha Sounds. Hot 97 was in the house, and after Tony’s spot he came backstage to shoot a promo for them. Seeing me in the dressing room, he pulled me on camera and introduced me as his real Dad! It was hilarious! Here’s the clip!

Jeffrey Gurian and Tony Roberts backstage at Cipha Sounds’ show at Carolines!

Tony Rock was a fantastic host. He looked slim and trim in a suit, and the crowd loved him. I went backstage afterwards with his youngest brother Jordan, who’s 21, and also a comic. Jordan performs at The Comic Strip the same way that Tony Rock, and Chris Rock did all those years ago.

Jeffrey Gurian, Tony Roberts, Tony Rock, and Jordan Rock backstage in Tony Rock’s dressing room at The Apollo!

When Tony Roberts came back to say hi to Tony Rock he was shocked to see me there. He was like, “Dude,you’re everywhere!” I was like, and when you get home, I’ll be waiting in your apartment! I think he was afraid to go home! (LOL)

I was excited for Tony, but almost even more excited for comic/actor Sherrod Small because he and Tony are like brothers, … even closer. They’ve been friends since early childhood, and started performing on the exact same night in July of 1998. And when they passed at The Comic Strip on the exact same night they hugged each other and cried on the corner, because they were so happy. It was great to see the honest joy that Sherrod had seeing Tony onstage hosting a major show like Apollo Live.

Tony Rock and his cousin and closest friend Sherrod Small backstage at The Apollo!

I think this show will be a hit. Make sure to tune in, and check it out!

Tony Rock and Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV backstage in Tony’s dressing room at The Apollo Theatre in NYC!

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Tony Rock Home At The Strip

When Tony Rock comes to town he always makes sure to hang out at The Comic Strip. He comes in to visit Richie Tienken, the owner and founder of the club, who was his first manager.

Tony Rock with his first manager Richie Tienken, owner and founder of The Comic Strip!

It’s where he got started, back in 1998 with his cousin Sherrod Small. They started performing the exact same day, and when I did their interviews for the book “Make ‘Em Laugh- 35 Years of The Comic Strip, The Greatest Comedy Club Of All Time”, they both answered all their questions in the “we” form. It was both funny and touching at the same time.

Tony stops by and usually surprises the audience by doing a guest spot, and then hangs out to check up on the progress of his little brother Jordan Rock who hosts the latenight shows on Wed. and Thursday evenings. It’s really great to see how the audience responds to Tony. They really love him.

A fun night at The Strip when Tony Rock comes to visit! (L-R) Jeffrey Gurian, Jordan Rock being held in place by Richie Tienken, and in the back Sherrod Small and Tony Rock!

When I co-produced a show starring Kevin Hart back in 2010, Tony was the featured performer. Needless to say it was an amazing show! (And if it’s needless to say, then why did I say it???)

Richie Tienken, Kevin Hart, and Jeffrey Gurian at The Comic Strip!

Tony’s been in quite a few films lately, the most recent being Think Like A Man, with Steve Harvey, Kevin Hart, and Taraji P. Henson, but the real excitement is coming up for Tony on July 9th when he kicks off hosting the new Jamie Foxx produced show ” Apollo Live” on Centric, which is an updated version of “Showtime At The Apollo”!

Everyone’s excited about that, and Comedy Matters TV will be there for sure to get a fun interview with Tony, and hopefully Jamie as well!

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Amy Poehler’s Parks and Recreation Wins For Best Comedy Series-Tonight at 9 on Comedy Central

I remember back around 1996, when UCB first came to New York, seeing them perform at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in the West Bank Cafe, on West 42nd Street, and it was Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh.

I understand the original group also included Ali Farahnakian, who went off on his own and opened The PIT, where my photo was hanging on the wall of the Men’s Room! One summer day, a guy who turned out to be Ali asked if he could take my photo, cause he thought I had “an interesting look!”

I didn’t think any more about it until one night I was at The PIT in the Men’s Room, standing there taking care of business, when all of a sudden I glanced to my right and saw myself smiling back at me! Right at eye level! It was shocking to say the least, … but funny!

It was the photo he had taken of me, in a line of other photos of people who he thought looked interesting, but mine was right in line with where I was standing, and it just struck me so funny.

The PIT has since moved to West 24th Street, and when I was there I forgot to check the Men’s Room to see if I was still up! (LOL)

Anyway, even in the earliest days, Amy Poehler stood out as a performer. Maybe it was because she was the only girl with three guys, and she was blonde, but I think it was something more than that. I think even in those earliest of days her talent stuck out. I think she may have even had a chipped front tooth in those days, (figures I’d notice that! LOL), but she went on to become one of the most successful women in TV, and that’s incredible. It makes the early memory that much more exciting!

Plus she married Will Arnett and looks fantastic now. Success tends to agree with people!

Anyway, her show, Parks and Recreation, was up for Best Comedy Series at the Comedy Central Comedy Awards 2012, airing tonight. Rob Riggle was the presenter, and it was up against 30 Rock, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Happy Endings, and Modern Family, … all heavy hitters, … and it won!

This little video clip is of the cast’s acceptance speech. Later in the week I’ll be posting more video of them in the press room, but it was Amy Poehler, creator Mike Schur, Adam Scott, Retta, and Jim O’Heir!

(L-R) Mike Schur, Amy Poehler, Retta, Adam Scott, Jim O’Heir accepting their award at Comedy Awards 2012!

Check it out right here and make sure to tune in tonight at 9 P.M. on Comedy Central to watch the show!

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Red Carpet of 2nd Annual Comedy Awards Packed With Stars

I knew the 2nd Annual Comedy Awards from Comedy Central would be exciting, from the experience I had last year at the first annual awards, but it surpassed my expectations.

The beautifully designed Comedy Awards 2012 red carpet!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV ready to do battle on the red carpet of the Comedy Awards 2012!

Exec Produced by legendary producer Don Mischer, directed by Beth McCarthy-Miller, and with a 32 member Board of Directors that included Brad Grey, Adam McKay, James Dixon, Jon Stewart, Sandy Wernick, Steve Levine, and Rory Rosegarten, you had to know it would be a star-studded event.

The red carpet was staged before the event, at The Hammerstein Ballroom on 34th and 8th, and thanks to Aileen Budow, Eve Kenny and their team it worked spectacularly smoothly.

Everyone went out of their way to be helpful, and steer the talent towards the waiting microphones except some of the talent didn’t make it all the way down the line!

The lovely and talented Julie Klausner, who was the host of the red carpet for the Comedy Awards 2012!

Multi-faceted actress/author/podcaster/comedywriter-performer Julie Klausner was the host of the red carpet, and she was superb! She just lights up in front of the camera! Her first book, “I Don’t Care About Your Band”, was released in February 2010 by Gotham/Penguin Books, and by July 2010, it was announced that Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Production Company, Gary Sanchez Productions, optioned the book for HBO.

Actress Lizzy Caplan who I met at a Gen Art Festival a couple of years back is attached to star and co-produce.

In October 2011, The Hollywood Reporter reported that NBC had picked up a pilot about a woman’s father that dates her high-school nemesis. It was based on Sue Margolis’s novel, Apocolipstick, and Julie is supposed to write and executive produce the series. I hope she has a part in it for ME!!! (LOL)

Julie Klausner interviewing Maya Rudolph on the red carpet of the Comedy Awards 2012!

She’s also written for Best Week Ever and The Awl. And she came over to say “Hi” and did such a fun interview with me! When we were done the camera crew suggested we talk about our hair, so we did another little thing together. I will be posting that soon as well! ( Really, … I will! LOL)

Even event photographer Larry Fink came over just to take a photo of my hair! I was wondering why he was shooting so close to me, and then he told me he had taken a shot of my hair!

Julie’s podcast, “How Was Your Week” was featured on Rolling Stone’s 10 Best Comedy Podcasts of the Moment, so maybe I could be on that too! (LOL)

I got to talk to several of the presenters and nominees for the awards, several of whom won, and even Doug Herzog the Pres. of MTV Networks.

A very trim-looking Doug Herzog making his opening remarks at the Comedy Awards, 2012!

I also unexpectedly ran into my old friend Noel Casler who was the Talent Logistics Coordinator for the event, sometimes known as the “talent wrangler” whose job it is to make sure all the creative elements are in place and that the talent like Robert DeNiro, Chevy Chase, and Jon Stewart all get where they need to be, and get everything they need to have.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with “talent wrangler” Noel Casler at the Comedy Awards 2012!

I started the interviews with my buddy Colin Quinn,and we agreed that if he lost, we’d drown our sorrows across the street in Dunkin’ Donuts, but we didn’t wind up going, cause neither of us wanted to gain the weight. Nobody really loses at these things anyway, because it’s an honor just to be nominated, and Colin knows that everyone loves him, and his Jerry Seinfeld directed show “Long Story Short”. Colin is one of the few comics to actually star on Broadway, not once but twice!

I also got to speak to John Oliver, and Kristen Schaal who were representing The Daily Show, and I kidded John by asking him why Jon Stewart was leaving The Daily Show! He got a big kick out of that! (LOL)

(L-R) John Oliver, Kristen Schaal, and Jeffrey Gurian sharing a laugh on the red carpet of the Comedy Awards 2012!

I also spoke with Reggie Watts who was so comfortable wearing whatever he was wearing on his head that he didn’t even respond when I asked him what it was. He answered about something else as if he didn’t notice he was wearing an elegant looking “Kafiyeh” of some kind draped across his head!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Reggie Watts and his elaborate headscarf on the red carpet of the Comedy Awards 2012!

Then Hannibal Buress stopped by to chat and he wound up winning for Best Club Comic, being up against heavy hitters like Ted Alexandro, Pete Holmes, Anthony Jeselnik, John Mulaney, Kumail Nanjiani, Chelsea Peretti who I just ran into in LA when I was out there appearing in sketches for Nick Kroll’s new show, Amy Schumer, Moshe Kasher, and Rory Scovel.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Chelsea Peretti in LA at The Comedy Store!

Randall “The “Honeybadger Guy”, as he’s known, was there, and to be honest, I hadn’t hear about his film before I met him. That didn’t stop him from hugging me like we were old friends, and he’s really genuine and very sweet. He hugs everyone he meets and he means it. I liked that about him. He seemed very sincere as you’ll see when I edit the video I keep claiming to have! (LOL)

His video about the Honeybadger has over 43 million hits so far, and when you watch it, you might be tempted to think to yourself, ” I could do that.” The difference is that he DID do it! He said he knew he was onto something when he got 1 million hits the first week it was up.

I also spoke to The Gregory Brothers who won for their viral original “Songify This,”Winning-A Song By Charlie Sheen”!

Louis CK won so many awards, that by the 4th one, he was embarrassed to get up and accept them. He even won for Best Sketch Series which he said his show wasn’t! (LOL) Louis happens to be very humble despite all of his well-deserved success!

Louis CK accepting one of his four awards at the Comedy Awards 2012!

A lot of the cast of the Judd Apatow produced hit “Bridesmaids” was there including Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, who unfortunately did not do the red carpet, (or at least the piece I was on! LOL), Wendi McLendon-Covey, and director Paul Feig, and they won for Best Comedy Film!

Best Animated Series went to Archer and a lot of that cast was there including Chris Parnell, and the funny and gorgeous Aisha Tyler who I met at The Friars Club event honoring Brett Ratner. We were supposed to do a video interview but for whatever reason it didn’t happen. At least I got to see her in the Press Room!

Best Comedy Writing went to 30 Rock, and Best Comedy Series went to Parks and Recreation, which was represented by creator Mike Schur, Amy Poehler, Jim O’Heir, Retta, and a few others I wasn’t able to identify!

The cast of Parks and Rec with Amy Poehler second from the left!

This is a little Comedy Central clip of them accepting their award!

The Daily Show, which won for Best Late-Night Comedy Series, was well represented and besides John Oliver and Kristen Schaal, I got to speak to Jessica Williams the newest and youngest correspondent who’s still in college and is really so energetic and soooo cute! She was really excited to be there!

Jon Stewart of The Daily Show onstage during his appearance at the Comedy Awards 2012!

Robin Williams came by briefly and shook hands with me. He was presented with the Stand-Up Icon Award, and seemed genuinely grateful to be in the room with all the young talent. He specifically said he was a big fan of Patton Oswalt and would love to work with him.

I was surrounded by friends on the red carpet. On one side of me was Clayton Fletcher and Ben Rosenfeld working as a team, and on the other side was radio guru, and Exec. Producer Jake Ray from Emmis Communications who works with Hot 97, 98.7 Kiss, and Loud Digital Network among others!

And after the red carpet we went to the Press Room where we had food and drinks and got to watch the show on a huge screen TV. Then when the winners were announced a lot of them made their way down to the Press Room for further questions. That was a great new innovation, but unfortunately while we were interviewing the winners, they had to turn down the volume on the TV, so we were missing the show. With all of our technology there’s still no way to do both! (LOL)

One of the highlights for me was running into Ed Helms as we were leaving. Ed is such a great guy and a big talent. I had recently seen him in LA while on the Nick Kroll set, since he was shooting sketches with Nick as well, so we had a chance to talk, and when he saw me this night he asked his companion to take a shot of us. (Not “AT” us, “OF” us! LOL) Then that gave me the opportunity to whip out my own camera and ask her to take a shot of us too!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with renowned actor Ed Helms of Hangover fame!

All I’ll tell you about the show is that Chris Rock was the first presenter for Best Comedy Special of the Year, and when he read the names of the nominees, he prefaced it by saying that three were funny, one used to be funny, and one was NEVER funny and then said that he wasn’t kidding! The nominees were Louis CK, Norm MacDonald, Patton Oswalt, Colin Quinn, and Daniel Tosh, and then Chris noted they were all White and said, ” I guess Kevin Hart didn’t do anything this year, huh?”

First presenter Chris Rock giving the award for Best Comedy Special of the Year!

The show’s climax was the presentation by Robert DeNiro, of the Johnny Carson Award for Comedic Excellence, which went to Don Rickles, and they showed a fantastic compilation of his TV and film appearances with Johnny Carson, Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin among others.

The legendary Don Rickles was presented with the Johnny Carson Award for Comedic Excellence!

When the video is edited I’ll write more. Just be ready to watch it on May 6th, at 9 P.M. on Comedy Central and you’ll see all these fabulously talented people for yourself!

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Modern Family’s "Lily"- Aubrey Anderson-Emmons At Home

I’ve interviewed lots of people, and lots of big stars, but one of the most exciting for me was the one I just did with Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, who plays “Lily” on Modern Family. I was out in LA acting in some sketches for Nick Kroll’s new show on Comedy Central coming up this summer, and I went to visit my old buddy Kent Emmons who created “All Comedy Radio” and owned National Lampoon Radio for a time.

Jeffrey Gurian, holding Aubrey Anderson-Emmons. I don’t usually pick up the people I interview, but in this case I made an exception!

The last time I was out there was last July and his 4 year old daughter Aubrey was going for the audition for Modern Family. It wasn’t until I got back to New York that I found out she had gotten the role. It was so exciting!

As Lily, she plays the adopted daughter of gay couple Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cam,(Eric Stonestreet). In real life, Ferguson is openly gay, and Stonestreet is openly heterosexual!(LOL)

Aubrey Anderson-Emmons being held by her screen Dad, Mitchell, played by Jesse Tyler Ferguson!

Aubrey Anderson-Emmons with her real Dad, Kent in the family kitchen. (L-R) Jeffrey Gurian, Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, Kent Emmons, Kent’s assistant Sarah House, and family friend Doug in the back!

So this time when I went to visit Kent, I brought along my camera equipment, which I try to always have with me, and was able to get a really cute interview with little 4 year old Aubrey, who is so smart, and so well-poised. She knows me as “Uncle Jeffrey”, and she invited me on the set next time I’m out in LA!

Jeffrey Gurian interviewing Aubrey Anderson-Emmons for Comedy Matters TV in her home in LA!

Aubrey Anderson-Emmons at home in her cowboy hat, singing for her Uncle Jeffrey!

I asked her if she’d introduce me to Sofia Vergara and she said she would. Sofia’s boyfriend Nick Loeb is an old friend, so I’m sure he won’t mind if I come and say “Hi!”!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Nick Loeb, a great guy who just happens to be the boyfriend of Sofia Vergara! They make an AMAZING couple!

Check out Aubrey’s video interview right here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://wp.me/p1pHIm-Ou

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My Excellent LA Adventure With Nick Kroll and John Mulaney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Amy Schumer Tapes A Pilot For Comedy Central

Comedy Central loves Amy Schumer! Come to think of it, everyone loves Amy Schumer! But she can’t call her new pilot for Comedy Central “Everybody Loves Amy” cause it’s already been done by both Ray Romano and Chris Rock!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Amy Schumer at Gotham Comedy Club! All I needed was a jaunty Captain’s hat! ( Read further to get that one!)

Amy says that if people like her, it’s because she has a “cabbage patch” look, and we played with her when we were children!

A lot of Amy’s jokes are self-deprecating and about her appearance, and audiences love that. It makes them feel better about themselves which is why many female comics always downplayed their looks over the years. Unfortunately, some of them had no looks to downplay in the first place!

The Bowery Poetry Club is a very cool spot and where Amy Schumer taped material for hew new Comedy Central pilot!

Anyway, I went down to the Bowery Poetry Club in NYC, to see Amy tape some new material for the as yet unnamed pilot she’s doing for Comedy Central. The place was packed to overflowing. They were nice enough to hold two seats for me. Unfortunately they were on someone else’s lap, but we all got along, and it was fine! (LOLOL)

Amy only gets cuter and cuter as her career rises. She says about herself: “Right now, on the hotness scale, I’m right where everybody thinks they have a shot!”

She says, ” People think I’m from the Midwest. I think I look like I milked something recently.” All her jokes seem to have a little sexual edge to them and it works great for her!

She also talks a lot about her Mom, Sandy who was there. She took me backstage to meet her, and they look very much alike. Amy did her best not to call her Mom the “C” word, but she just couldn’t help it!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, having a blast backstage interviewing Amy Schumer, after the taping of material for hew new pilot on Comedy Central!

She says she doesn’t like when her Mom brags: ” I can still fit into my wedding dress.” Amy says, ” Who cares! She can still fit into a dress she wore when she was 8 months pregnant. Big deal!”

I always like to meet comic’s Mom’s, especially when they talk about them in their act. Sandy looked like she had a great sense of humor, and for a big career in comedy, you let your daughter call you the “C” word! (LOL)

When Lisa Lampanelli introduced me to HER Mom, she too said she didn’t care. And neither did her Dad who was there in the audience when she referred to him as an ” old, blind bastard!”. Wasn’t that a rapper??? Old Blind Bastard? OBD??? No???

The opening act was Kurt Metzger another comic that everyone loves, despite the fact that he looks nothing like Amy Schumer! Kurt is a wordsmith, and comes up with phrases you don’t hear too often but which are guaranteed to be funny, like when he commented on some guy in the audience sporting a “jaunty Captain’s hat”, which he deemed a real hipster look! ( Now you get the joke above! LOL )

Some words are just funny! They’re “comedy words”! Like, chances are that any joke you write with the words “divining rod” in it will get laughs!

I recently did a fun video interview with Kurt when he was on Anthony Anderson’s 3rd Anniversary Mixtape Comedy Show. You can check that out right here:

And after the taping, Amy was kind enough to spend a few minutes with me to tape a little exclusive video for Comedy Matters TV! And surprisingly enough, that’s right here:

Amy always told me she was grateful for my support and not more than a couple of months ago said to me, “Jeffrey, if I ever get my own show, … you can count on watching it from your living room!”

I know Amy’s show will be a big hit, and I can’t wait to start watching!

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Third Anniversary of Anthony Anderson’s Comedy Mixtape Show

Third Anniversary of Anthony Anderson’s Comedy Mixtape Show

Anthony Anderson’s third anniversary of his Mixtape Comedy Show was as good as I expected it to be. I just couldn’t believe it’s been 3 years already since he and his partner in crime Royale Watkins have been bringing the funny to Gotham Comedy Club, the third Sunday of each and every month.

Royale Watkins and Anthony Anderson bantering with each other onstage at the Mixtape Comedy Show at Gotham in NYC!

The show mixes comedy and hip-hop, most of the time with a great DJ, DJ Diamond, who really gets the crowd pumped up! Then there’s a freestyle rap battle which still amazes me how these street MC’s can spit beats on the spot like that. It’s such an incredible talent. Even the ones who lose are admirable just for being able to do it at all. I was glad to see that Royale is just as amazed by it as I am, which he says in the video below.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Tracy Morgan at a previous Mixtape Comedy Show!

You never know in advance who’s gonna be on the show, but it doesn’t matter cause I haven’t seen a weak show yet! The idea is that if you’re coming to see Mixtape Comedy, it doesn’t matter who’s advertised, because you’re coming for the brand. And the brand is hot!!! Plus you never know who’s gonna stop by to do a surprise guest spot. Tracy Morgan is a big fan of the show, and I’ve seen him perform, but this night he just came to watch!

It’s produced by Kristen J. Eddy and Byron Ward and the show is U-Streamed to people all over the United States, and internationally too! They don’t allow profanity which is a nice change. Some of the comics are taken by surprise by that rule. Kurt Metzger told me he was a little nervous that something inappropriate might slip out since he’s not used to working squeaky clean. Fortunately it didn’t and he killed it as he always does.

Because I knew it would be a special show, I came prepared to shoot a little video for Comedy Matters TV. Harris Stanton was the first comic to perform. Harris was also a good friend of Patrice Oneal, who we unfortunately lost very recently, at only 41 years old, due to an untimely stroke.

Harris Stanton, Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, and Patrice Oneal at the taping of Patrice’s last special for Comedy Central at The Skirball Center in NYC!

Harris is very funny and talks about having been a security guard, with nothing to protect himself but a piece of paper. Then he goes into what I would call “papercut” material, which I thought was very funny, and very true. You can get a nasty cut from a piece of paper, but if a guy had a knife, I wouldn’t want to have to defend myself with a piece of paper!

Harris Stanton doing his thing onstage at Mixtape Comedy Show at Gotham!

He does a really funny bit about a homeless guy who is missing the center part of his nose. The piece of skin that separates your two nostrils. He says in all seriousness, ” You’re never not supposed to have that part of your nose.”

In between acts, Anthony takes the stage to do some comedy, and often gets on Royale for not having things to his liking. They have a little “faux-argument”, and then he apologizes to the white people in the audience for having to witness something like that at a comedy show! (LOL)

Mark Viera was next on the bill and this man is a riot! I love seeing Mark perform, and was very glad to hear that he just signed a deal with Fox to develop his own show, cause he really deserves it! George Lopez is the Exec. Producer of the show, and you can hear the details in the video below. Of course I asked him if I could be on his show, and he of course agreed, … since we’re both from The Bronx and us Bronx boys have to stick together! (LOL)

Mark Viera showing the Mixtape audience why he deserves his own show on Fox!

Sherri Shepherd from “The View” was next and left the audience weak from laughing so hard.

Rising star Kurt Metzger onstage at Gotham for the 3rd anniversary of the Mixtape Comedy Show!

Then Kurt Metzger, who I think is hysterical talked about how every young Black person shot accidentally by stray bullets, is usually on their way to greatness before they were prematurely cut down. His advice is ” If you’re Black and have a scholarship of some kind, my advice is to buy a bulletproof vest. Gangs always shoot at other gangs and miss, killing some Black nerd who was on his way to a life of success.” Sad but true! You read it every day!

Tom Papa, host of The Marriage Ref on NBC, onstage for the Mixtape Comedy Show 3rd anniversary!

And then Tom Papa took the stage with his own particular brand of humor that is so relatable, and on the money, every word out of his mouth brought huge laughs from the audience. His comedy speaks to everyone, like when he marvels at children, ” Your hands are so little”, and wonders why they need pockets in their clothing. “What are you gonna put in there, … your marble??? Check out Tom in the video below as well.

We wish Anthony and Royale, ( and Kristen, and Byron of course!), many more years of success with Mixtape Comedy Show!

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