Archive for Sketch Comedy

The Phenomenon That Is Nick Kroll

Papi Steenbergen, Aspen Bruckheimer, Gil Faizon, Fabrice Fabrice, C-Czar, Dr. Armond, Bobby Bottleservice, AKA Bobby Bruschia, AKA Bobby B., … these are only a handful of the many colorful characters emanating from the mind and talent of what I call “The Phenomenon that is Nick Kroll.”

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Bobby Bottleservice, AKA Bobby Bruschia, AKA Bobby B at a promotional event at The Hundreds in NYC, back in 2011!

And what I think is most amazing is that when I see him inhabiting the body of all of these characters there are times I can not tell you who the real Nick Kroll is. I’ll try and explain that.

To the best of my ability I would identify the guy on my right, (your left) as Nick Kroll, and the guy on the other side of me as John Mulaney, but who really knows??? It could be Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland posing as them!

When Nick is in character as Gil Faizon it’s obvious that he’s in costume, but his body language and facial features seem to actually change along with the character he’s doing to the point where I no longer can tell what he really looks like. At the beginning of each episode he seems to appear as himself, in a Nick Kroll type of monologue, but even knowing him as I do, I’m still not 100% sure that’s him without any make-up. I couldn’t really tell you how he wears his hair.

And my background as a former cosmetic dentist made me very observant of detail. He so becomes the character he’s doing that he truly gets lost in it. When he’s Gil Faizon or Bobby B. it seems effortless to him to inhabit the facial movements, the tone of voice, the cadence of speech. It’s truly amazing. In all my years of comedy I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone with the ability to do so many characters, and do them well.

Quite a few years ago, around 1990, the first time we at The Friars Club roasted Chevy Chase, I was working with the producer of the Roasts at the time, as kind of the official writer for The Friars Club, and wound up working with the SNL crew who was going to appear at a Roast for the first time.

Most young guys had never done a Roast in those days, so it was up to me to guide them through the process. I had been writing for the Roasts for 12 years previously with legends like Milton Berle, Henny Youngman, and Pat Cooper, and became kind of a liaison between the older comics and the younger comics, since I was friendly with both. In those days a Roast was kind of a secret art form.

Jeffrey Gurian, now of Comedy Matters TV and Phil Hartman in Jeffrey’s apartment rehearsing for the first Chevy Chase Roast, Oct. 1990!

As I recall I had to work with my old friend Phil Hartman, who I’m pretty sure appeared as Donald Trump, Kevin Nealon, who I think appeared as Mr. Subliminal, and who I recently saw when I appeared on his show at The Laugh Factory in LA, and Dana Carvey who may or may not have appeared as Church Lady. I saw first hand how hard it is to be able to stay in character for an entire set. Nick makes it look effortless.

Dana Carvey, Jeffrey Gurian, and Phil Hartman after a rehearsal up at SNL, circa 1990!

Needless to say, people were very excited about the prospect of “Kroll Show” before it came out. A year ago February, I got a call from Inman Young, Nick’s producer in LA, asking if I’d like to come out to LA to be in some sketches with Nick. I packed my bags when I got off the phone even though I wasn’t going until the next month. That’s how excited I was to do it! (LOL)

I went out last March and shot two sketches. One was with Nick, and his writing partner and friend John Mulaney another super talent loved by all who know him, in an “Oh, Hello” sketch, and another in a Woody Allen like party scene with Nick, John, and award-winning actress Karen Black.

On the Kroll Show set with Jeffrey Gurian, Gil Faizon, Karen Black, and George St. Geegland! They were all wearing costumes! (LOL)

I had the time of my life out there with Nick and his friends like Ed Helms, Jason Mantzoukas, Joe Mande, and Jon Daly, who is not only a producer on the show but also an actor who also does several characters like Wendy Shawn, Nick’s partner in Rich Dicks.

The show is literally filled with Jons/Johns including Jon Krisel the director also co-creator of Portlandia starring Fred Armisen, and producer John Levenstein, previously from Arrested Development.

I often say there’s no more two man teams out there like you used to see with Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, or Jackie Gleason and Ed Norton who were hysterical together, but Nick and John Mulaney, or Nick and Jon Daly are two teams that could wind up in that category.

The lunch table on set was representative of the level of talent that Nick brings in. All of his friends were on other shows as well.

Nick Kroll and friends from Kroll Show on lunch break. They’re all there except for Ed Helms who had to make a call! He’s in the next photo!

Jeffrey Gurian on the set of Kroll Show in LA with Ed Helms!

Jeffrey Gurian on the set of Kroll Show in LA with Jason Mantzoukas!

In the Comedy Matters TV interview I did with Nick and John after the shoot they were still in character and I made the mistake of trying to interview them as Nick and John because it’s confusing sitting with people in character as to how to address them, … as themselves or as their character. Well, let me clarify that. It was confusing to ME, not to them as you’ll see in this video!

George St. Geegland as he really looks when he’s not playing John Mulaney, Jeffrey Gurian as he looks when he is and is not playing himself, and Gil Faizon as he looks when he’s not playing Nick Kroll!

Months before the show came out as “Kroll Show” people were already excited to see it, and buzz was building for what was originally going to be called “The Nick Show Kroll”. As a matter of fact in the early e-mails I received from the LA office, the “Subject” line all said ” Nick Show Kroll” which I promptly corrected, thinking I was being helpful, to “Nick Kroll Show.” After about the third one, I realized that it was I who was the moron, and that no one on the staff was making a consistent typo, but that it was meant to be called “The Nick Show Kroll”!

In the intervening months while people were anxiously awaiting the arrival of the show, the public had to be satisfied for their Kroll fix by enjoying Nick as Ruxin on FX’s “The League” with his pals Paul Sheer, Jon Lajoie, Stephen Rannazzisi, Mark Duplass and Katie Aselton, (husband and wife in real life!), and in his other personal appearances.

By the time it came out in January simply as “Kroll Show” the buzz was loud and Nick knocked it out of the proverbial park. The show got renewed on Comedy Central after only the first three episodes. My first sketch was in Too Much Tuna, where Nick and John do their best to prank me with a much too large tuna sandwich, but as you’ll see in this clip, I wasn’t having any part of it!

The extremely large tuna fish sandwich meant to prank Jeffrey Gurian on “Kroll Show”!

 

They told me if the show got picked up they’d ask me back for the 2nd season. As a precautionary measure, I’m not leaving the house until they do, just in case my voicemail doesn’t work when they call!

Check out Kroll Show, every Wednesday night at 10:30 ET/9C on Comedy Central, and be ready to laugh your ass off! And don’t forget to tell Nick I sent you!

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Kroll Show Gets Renewed After Three Episodes, … and I’m On It!!!

Nick Kroll is a comedic genius. It’s just that simple. He’s a master of character work as evidenced by the way a ” nice Jewish boy” like Nick manages to morph into a Jersey-shore type “Bobby Bottleservice”, the upper West-side, … I don’t even know what to call him Gil Faizon, or the flamboyant Fabrice Fabrice, craft services coordinator for a show called “That’s So Raven.”

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Bobby Bottleservice at a social event with lots of internet ladies!

Nick brought me out to LA last year to be in some sketches with him and his writing partner John Mulaney from SNL. It was easily one of the most fun times of my life and I have had A LOT of fun times! One sketch was with Nick and John as the “Oh Hello” boys with Nick playing Gil Faizon and John playing George St. Geegland. It takes place in a diner where they spot me and say, “Oh look, it’s our dear, dear friend Jeffrey Gurian!” I actually get to play myself, which is beyond cool!

They even did a promo shot of my GNN site, Gurian News Network, your source for “All The News That’s Fit To Dance To!”

Jeffrey Gurian playing himself with George St. Geegland and Gil Faizon having lunch in a diner! Jeffrey doesn’t know it, but he’s about to be pranked with a HUGE tuna fish sandwich!

I remember when I got to the set they sent someone over from hair and make-up and she tried to touch my hair. I recoiled and she realized that she better let me do it myself!

Nick once signed a Bobby Bottleservice poster for me and wrote: ” To Jeffrey, you are the only person with better hair than me!” Bobby B.

They try and prank me with a HUGE tuna fish sandwich in a sketch they call “Too Much Tuna!” As a matter of fact the name on my trailer door said “Tuna Jeff!” I won’t tell you what happens but hopefully you’ll tune in tonight and watch. It’s on Comedy Central at 10:30/9:30 Central time.

The HUGE tuna fish sandwich that they use to try and prank Jeffrey Gurian!

Does anyone actually know anyone who goes by Central Time??? I don’t even know where that is!!!

“Kroll Show” is so popular that it already got picked up for a second season after only three episodes. That is a rarity but Comedy Central knows a hit when it sees one!

I will also be on again on Wed., Feb. 27th with Karen Black in a parody of a Woody Allen movie scene! I’m think I’m bound to get at least ten new followers on Twitter from that alone!!!

Jeffrey Gurian, Gil Faizon, Karen Black, and George St. Geegland on the L.A. set of Kroll Show!

And make sure to check out Nick and Jon Daly as “Rich Dicks” in the show. Jon is a powerhouse of comedy energy and he and Nick are the funniest duo to come down the pike in a long time! (Did I really just say ” Come down the pike??? What am I living in 1810??? Pioneers thought that expression was old-school! LOL)

(L-R) Jon Daly, Jeffrey Gurian, Nick Kroll( holding Jeffrey’s book “Make ‘Em Laugh”, and Kroll Show producer John Levenstein at Comic Con 2012!

Anyway, make sure to watch Kroll Show every Wed. night at 10:30, and in LA I think it’s at 10:30 as well! But better yet, you can watch my Too Much Tuna scene right here, right now!

Let me know what you think! And as a special treat for being so nice, here’s another fun video for you to see!

www.HyperSmash.com

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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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Saturday Night Live Comes To The Comic Strip

The cast members and writers of SNL seem to have found a home at the legendary club called The Comic Strip, in NYC. This year is the 35th year that it’s open and still going strong. SNL made it’s debut in 1975!

The Strip opened June 1st of 1976, and on June 17th Jerry Seinfeld walked in to audition. The reason we know this is that his original sign-up sheet is still on the wall. It’s also in the book that will be out Oct. 1, 2012, called “Make ‘Em Laugh” written by myself and owner/founder Richie Tienken.

Make “Em Laugh with an intro by Chris Rock will be out on Oct. 1st but is available right now for pre-order at a big discount on Amazon.com!

Recently D.L. Hughley filmed a Comedy Central special there because of it’s history with Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock. Richie was Eddie’s manager for the first eleven years of his career, from his SNL days through Beverly Hills Cop 2, so lots of big comics today grew up dreaming of someday being on that very same stage.

D.L. Hughley with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV backstage at The Comic Strip for DL’s Comedy Central taping!

SNL writer Colin Jost is a regular performer at The Strip and he’s been bringing his buddies from SNL, writers and cast members to do shows at The Strip. Recently one went down on Sunday night. The MC was Danny McDermott, currently working with Richie Tienken and Bob Wachs as his managers.

Danny McDermott MC’ing the SNL show at The Comic Strip!

The packed crowd got to see a hilarious show, with an opening set by Teddy Smith who is always hysterically funny.

Teddy Smith killin’ it onstage at The Strip!

New featured player Kate McKinnon was there and her strength is character work, which is the only way you can get on SNL. I believe her first time on the show she did a sketch with Sofia Vergara, who was the host that week, and it was a faux Pantene commercial where she played Penelope Cruz.

Sofia got all the easy words and Kate as Penelope got all the impossibly difficult scientific words to try and pronounce in her Spanish accent! It was hysterical. This night at The Strip Kate put on a bee hat with little antennaes and discussed the mating habits of bees!

SNL cast member Kate McKinnon showing very unusual but effective mic technique onstage at The Comic Strip!

Mike O’Brien came up, who is in his third year of writing for the show. He is also the host of the very funny Hulu internet show called ” Seven Minutes in Heaven” which he created with another SNL writer Rob Klein! He takes celebs into a closet and tries to make out with them! I always thought only the kids I went to school with knew that game. I had no idea it was real and that other kids knew it too!

Mike also created the sketch “Kickspit Underground Rock Festival”, where they advertise things like spraying viruses on the crowd, and a band named Mrs. Potato Dick. That sketch he wrote with Colin Jost, while both were suffering from sleep deprivation! The part I liked best was that everyone who attended got a pitchfork!

That reminded me of a short film I made several years ago called ” Men Who Take A Pitchfork To The Movies”, which was part of my “Men Who” Series, including “Men Who Enjoy Latin Dancing With Tools”, and “Men Who Dance In Traffic With The Sunday Edition of the New York Times!” Watch it here if you dare!

SNL writer Mike O’Brien, host of Hulu’s “Seven Minutes in Heaven” onstage at The Strip!

I did a video with Colin recently for Comedy Matters TV which will be up soon. We kept passing each other in Montreal at the Just for Laughs Festival last month,and we kept saying we had to sit for an interview but it never happened. I knew I’d see him in NY though so we caught up backstage at The Strip one night and got it done!

Colin Jost with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV in the luxurious, uncluttered private office of The Comic Strip!

I thought he was kidding when he announced from the stage that his parents were in the audience, because his material at the moment was not particularly parent-friendly, having focussed mostly on bj’s, but he was serious. So afterwards I told him of the first time I met Chelsea Handler, when she was performing and doing BJ jokes and her Dad was in the audience.

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

In the interview I did with Chelsea in Montreal recently I reminded her of that and she said she takes every opportunity she can to torture her father! That video will also be ready very soon!

And cast member Vanessa Bayer also performed at The Strip, and she’s adorable, and very funny! We all hung out backstage while they were waiting to go on. Her celeb impressions on the show include Kourtney Kardashian, Miley Cyrus, (although now she’ll need a short blonde wig for that one!), and Hillary Clinton!

SNL performer Vanessa Bayer onstage at The Comic Strip!

The last SNL performer to go on was Jay Pharaoah. His Denzel Washington is so killer! He and Colin Jost are both in my “Make ‘Em Laugh”, and when I saw him in Montreal at the Just for Laughs festival, he read out loud from the intro written by Chris Rock, in Chris Rock’s voice which was absolutely hysterical.

Jay Pharoah of SNL, the man of so many voices, onstage at The Comic Strip!

We were all just chillin’ in the lobby with JB Smoove, his manager Rick Dorfman, JB’s wife Shahida Omar, Lou Wallach past head of Comedy Central and a bunch of other people, when Jay took the book and started reading as Chris. I filmed it and the video will be ready for you guys very soon! Jay said when Chris sees it he’ll probably just “nod his head like he usually does when he sees my ass!”

Finishing up the show were Gary Gulman, who can take one concept and run with it for an extended period of time. Like when he examines the history of Greece and how they fell as a culture. They went from one of the most educated and sophisticated cultures in the world, to focussing on salad. One day in modern times they decided to put all their efforts into salad, and they knocked it out of the park!

Gary Gulman, an expert in Greek Salad, making people laugh at The Comic Strip!

Last up was Phil Nee, one of the original Asian comedians whose parents were so avant-garde, they were Asian before it was even popular! You can always count on Phil as a strong closing act, and that’s exactly what he did. It was a great night at The Comic Strip!

Phil Nee doing what he does best, onstage at The Comic Strip!

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Domesticated Primates Don’t Monkey Around ( At The PIT)

The People’s Improv Theatre better known as The PIT, along with UCB is like the epicenter of “hip”, alternative comedy these days. I’ve been seeing some very cool things there and the other night I got the chance to see a series of vignettes (if that word is still used anywhere!) called “Domesticated Primates”, which compares our mating habits, and ideas of sexuality to those of monkeys, our closest relatives in the animal kingdom!

This series of sexy,funny sketches starred four actors I think you’ll be seeing a lot of, Corinne Fisher, who is also a stand-up comic, and Improv performer, Kaira Klueber,(who for some reason pronounces her first name “Kara”! The “I” is silent, but if you leave it out, it makes her name too loud! It’s like the extra “A” in Aaron! LOL), the very funny Brian Berrebbi, and a multi-talented actor who goes by the name of Jonesy!

(L-R) Kaira Klueber, Jonesy, Corinne Fisher, and Brian Berrebbi outside at The PIT. Their show however was INSIDE at the PIT, (cause it’s easier to perform inside than in the street!)

All four of them are very funny and have great stage presence! And it doesn’t hurt that two of them are really pretty! With great smiles! ( Guess which two I mean!) LOL

Corinne Fisher and Kaira Kluber, two funny girls with great smiles!

The sketches examine how our male and female roles have developed in our modern day society, and whether monogamy is a natural state for human beings, since it only came about as a concept a mere 14,000 years ago. Before that it was one long party!

If you get a chance to see this show or any of the performers in this group, drop whatever you’re doing at the moment, (or put it down gently!), and run straight out of your door to see them. And make sure to tell them I sent you!

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Just for Laughs Video With Huge Stars-Montreal-30th Anniversary

Every July in Montreal, the city gets taken over by hundreds of thousands of comedy fans from all over the world, all wanting to see their favorite comedy stars. It’s the biggest comedy festival on the planet! (There may be bigger ones on other planets,but I’m not privy to that information! I no longer own the Hubble telescope!)

This year for the 30th anniversary I was an official videographer, and got to shoot around 40 interviews with some of the biggest stars in comedy as well as the up and comers! The huge stars of the future!

Chelsea Handler with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at the Just for Laughs Awards Luncheon where she won the award for “Comedy Person of the Year”!

Marc Maron of WTF fame with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV. Marc credits Jeffrey’s hair with making him feel safe during the “dark” times in his life!

I shot for four days straight and got some amazing interviews with people like Chelsea Handler, Bob Saget, Howie Mandel, JB Smoove, Marc Maron, Adam Carolla, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog, and his Dad Robert Smigel, Todd Barry, Joel McHale, and the Sklar Brothers.

Wayne Brady with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV backstage at the gala that Wayne hosted at JFL!

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog making nice to Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV after insulting him in every way he could think of! (But fortunately it was all in jest!)

Plus interviews with newer stars like Jay Pharaoh from SNL, who read an excerpt from Chris Rock’s intro to my new book “Make’Em Laugh”, in Chris Rock’s voice, Chelsea Peretti, Hannibal Buress who won for Rising Comedy Star of the Year, Myq Kaplan, Moshe Kasher, Jermaine Fowler and Lil Rel from the new In Living Color, Joe Mande, Grace Helbig from That Damn Channel’s “Daily Grace”, Kenny Hotz, the only Canadian to have two American TV shows on at the same time, “Kenny vs. Spenny”, and “Testees”, and Jessica Williams the newest correspondent on The Daily Show who let me swing her around like we were in the playground!

Jay Pharoah from SNL with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, who’s trying to learn how to hold his fingers like that!

Grace Helbig from My Damn Channel’s “Daily Grace” with Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV at the Comedy Conference on You Tubers at JFL!

All of this on camera! Check it out right here!

And a second shorter video with just the A-list stars and hosts of the galas, Chelsea Handler, Bob Saget, Howie Mandel, JB Smoove, Marc Maron, Adam Carolla, Joel McHale, Marc Maron, and Triumph The Insult Comic Dog, with his Dad Robert Smigel!

And for a longer, more in-depth article and photos check out the previous post:

http://wp.me/p1pHIm-192

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Just For Laughs Montreal- 30th Anniversary

I have been going up to the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival for more than 20 years. Maybe 25 years! It’s hard to imagine but it’s true. JFL is the biggest, most prestigious comedy festival in the world, and this year, thanks to Robbie Praw and “the powers that be”, I was given the honor of being one of the official videographers of the festival for my Comedy Matters TV channel.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Chelsea Handler at the JFL Awards Luncheon, who won for Comedy Person of the Year!

There was so much to see, so many shows, and so many comedians that it would literally be impossible to see all of them. Fortunately so many of the comics are friends that I was able to find them in the hotel lobby, at parties, in the elevator, on the streets, in the dining room, and just about everywhere you looked, and I got over 35 interviews with fun people like Bob Saget, Chelsea Handler, JB Smoove, Gina Yashere, Howie Mandel, Adam Carolla, Joel McHale, Jay Pharoah, Todd Barry, The Sklar Bothers, Marc Maron, Hannibal Buress, and even Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, and his owner Robert Smigel!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Wayne Brady who hosted a gala at JFL’s 30th Anniversary in Montreal!

I got there on a Wednesday, unpacked, got my “All Access” pass for me and my producer Rob Krieg, and went right off to Patton Oswalt’s show at The Metropolis. Patton was there with his manager Dave Rath from Generate,and it was a great show. Patton has enjoyed a high profile lately after having spent nine years as a regular on The King of Queens, his Comedians of Comedy tour, and his part in films like ” A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas”, and Steve Carell’s “Seeking A Friend for the End of the World!”

He also presented the Comedy Icon Award to Robin Williams at the Comedy Central Comedy Awards 2012,and delivered the Keynote Address to the attendees of this festival, of which there were many! It was nice to see Myq Kaplan opening for Patton. I’ve been a fan of Myq’s ever since I was a judge on the NY part of the auditions for the Boston Comedy Festival, a couple of years back, and Myq won.

After congratulating Patton and Myq backstage we ran over to catch “Best of the Fest” hosted by Jessica Kirson, featuring Key and Peele, John Heffron and Joe Mande who I met on the set of Nick Kroll’s new show, simply called “Kroll Show” out in LA. Nick called me out to do some sketches with him and John Mulaney and it was the best!

I’m still editing the over four hours of video I shot, but I wanted to present some of the highlights of the festival in this column and then follow it up with the videos.

When I reminded Chelsea Handler that the first time I saw her I knew she’d be HUGE cause she was doing “b.j. jokes” and her Dad was in the audience she said,” I take every opportunity I can to torture my father!”

Chelsea Handler with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV the first time they met back in 2005!

At the JFL Awards Luncheon, Chelsea received the award for Comedy Person of the Year that Louis CK received last year. Everyone was very excited to see her and people were amazed that I got my video interview. It’s all about timing.

I ran into her in the lobby the night before and told her I’d be looking forward to shooting something with her after the luncheon so she was prepared when she saw me. She even suggested we do it before the luncheon since it was less crazy than trying to do it afterwards. She was on her way to the Olympics in London and had gotten guest hosts for her TV show for the very first time. Needless to say she looked gorgeous, as usual, (and if it’s needless to say, then why did I say it? Because it’s my column and I can do anything I want! LOLOL)

Howie Mandel with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV who assured Howie that next year he would definitely get lunch!

Howie Mandel was “upset” that he didn’t get lunch at the awards luncheon. He felt bad that he didn’t get anything at all. Just as I suggested getting in touch with co-founder, and President of JFL Andy Nulman to complain, who should happen to come along but Andy Nulman in the company of the other co-founder Gilbert Rozon, and they joined my interview telling Howie that next year they’d make sure he got lunch. It gave him something to look forward to.

I hadn’t seem Howie since 2007 when he helped me promote my first book “Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive” while we were up in Montreal!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Howie Mandel at JFL in 2007, who was kind enough to help promote Jeffrey’s book “Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive!”

Andy Nulman and I also filmed a very funny video clip of us walking down the red carpet together to the Variety party for the Ten Comics To Watch, while he made my cameraguy/producer walk backwards to film us with no one guiding, or protecting him. Luckily he made it and it looked very funny!

I got to literally jump around with Jessica Williams from The Daily Show, who shared with me that she likes to play, and I taught her to spell it “pleigh” instead of “play.” I grabbed onto her and we just swung each other around, like a fast version of “Ring-A-Round-Of Rosie”! (I don’t think I ever wrote those words out before in my entire life!)

She just makes me feel like doing that when I see her so I did!

My old friend Marc Maron remembered that he never gave me the interview I wanted last year, but we did a great one this year to make up for it, and he even treated me to breakfast the next day! (No, … we didn’t spend the night together! LOL)

I found it interesting that he’d remember something like that, because I certainly did, but it just goes to show you that people do remember things, and if we were on WTF together that would probably be something we’d talk about. The awkwardness of wondering if someone remembers something like that. Every time we saw each other last year, I’d say,”Remember I wanna talk to you on camera”, and he’d say “Sure” but the whole festival went by and it didn’t happen.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Marc Maron at JFL in Montreal!

I happened to meet him in the elevator, and it was only the two of us, and it was that awkward moment where you don’t know if you should just say “Good seeing you” and walk away, or if you should continue walking with the person. So when we hit the dining room and were still talking he invited me to join him, and was kind enough to treat me.

We had a great talk about all kinds of things, and in the video interview he said that over the last 75 to 100 years in comedy, at every major comedy event, the only thing that was a constant was my hair! And in his deepest moments of despair he thought of my hair and it got him through!

I was glad I got to tell him how happy I was for him for all of his recent success with WTF. No one is honest like Marc Maron when it comes to sharing his feelings on stage. I still remember cringing at some of his revelations in “Scorching The Earth” his one man show about his break-up with his ex-wife.

I met his ex-wife many years ago through our mutual friend Ardie Fuqua, and it turns out that’s how Marc met her too!

Adam Carolla and I kicked it backstage after his podcast while David Alan Grier looked on with Rob Barnett from My Damn Channel, and Adam’s manager Mike August, who I also hadn’t seen in quite a while.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV backstage with Adam Carolla after Adam’s podcast with Howie Mandel!

I know Mike back from the days when he was an agent, I think at William Morris, but maybe not! In those days, he always hung out with James Dixon, now of Dixon Talent who handles Jon Stewart, John Oliver and stars of that magnitude.

I did a fun interview with Grace Helbig one of the stars of My Damn Channel for her show “Daily Grace.” She gets millions of hits and she’s so fun and adorable. I wanted to swing her around too, but I didn’t get the chance!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with the oh-so-fun Grace Helbig from My Damn Channel, at the Comedy Conference at JFL in Montreal! Next time I have to swing her around too!

Walking through the lobby at night I ran into Keith Robinson and Chelsea Peretti and we had a really fun interview. Then I interviewed Joe Mande who was one of the “Ten Comics To Watch At All Times, No Matter What Else You’re Doing”, and such a bizarre thing happened. I had already interviewed Chelsea, who was sitting next to me and Joe Mande sat next to her, and all of a sudden some girl comes over, kneels down and starts talking into my mic saying how some company is poisoning children in Africa.

Now I thought she was joking and was a friend of Chelsea’s. Chelsea thought she might be a friend of mine, and Joe didn’t know what to think, but after a few minutes of this girl ranting and raving we all realized she was nuts! I couldn’t get rid of her.

I went over to interview Tom Cotter about his upcoming appearance on America’s Got Talent, and she broke in screaming about children being poisoned. I was ready to poison HER, but instead I got security and they wound up having to physically remove her from the premises.

Turns out she was not a comedy person and didn’t even belong there. It was just funny that we all thought she was a friend of someone else’s so no one wanted to insult her! Chelsea made me promise to send her the video which I will as soon as we’re done with the rest!

Joel McHale, who hosted the closing gala, couldn’t get over my outfit. He wanted to know why I chose to wear a wifebeater under an open Hawaiian shirt plus a seersucker jacket with white shoes! He was just being Joel McHale.

He introduced a comic on the show by the wrong name and refused to correct it right away. He must have gone through 5 or 6 takes each time purposely messing up the comic’s name. So when he called me Perez Hilton I wasn’t totally surprised! Look what he does to Ryan Seacrest and he’s his friend!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with JB Smoove in character as Leon Black from HBO’s hit Curb Your Enthusiasm!

JB Smoove was hysterical as always. He was there with his manager Rick Dorfman and his beautiful wife Shahida Omar a singer, who couldn’t have been nicer. When JB thought he was too tired to do the interview after his show, (which he did as Leon Black from Curb Your Enthusiasm), she encouraged him to do it cause I had been waiting so long. I couldn’t have done that, but SHE did!

JB told me all about how he got started as a hip-hop dancer named J Smoove, which is why he moves so well, but the guy is just funny. He doesn’t even have to say anything. And his new DVD is killer, “This Is How I Dooz It”!

One of the other highlights for me was Jay Pharoah who was there with his manager/sister Shayna. Jay read an excerpt from Chris Rock’s introduction from my new book “Make’Em Laugh”, that I wrote with Richie Tienken about the 35 year history of The Comic Strip. But not only did he read it, he read it out loud in Chris Rock’s voice for JB Smoove and a bunch of other people hanging out in the lobby. I got it on video and trust me you’ll laugh your ass off. He does a great Chris Rock!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Jay Pharoah from SNL after Jay read Chris Rock’s intro in Chris Rock’s voice!

Robert Smigel woke Triumph The Insult Comic Dog out of a deep sleep in his backpack to do an interview with me backstage at Bob Saget’s “Triple X show”, which Bob said was more like ” Triple R”! It was really very kind of him despite the fact that Triumph roasted me, but that’s what he does. He’s an insult comic dog. He said I always looked hideous, but this time I really outdid myself.

A rare photo of Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Triumph The Insult Comic Dog and his owner Robert Smigel! The rare part is getting Robert and Triumph in the same photo! They don’t always get along!

And Robert did a great imitation of Jeff Singer, who booked him onto Saget’s show by telling him how perfect he’d be for it.

I’d have to say one of my most special interviews was with Bob Saget himself. I wasn’t sure I was going to get it, cause Bob has been working tirelessly to prepare for hosting his gala, and even his publicist, my old friend Michael O’Brien told me he couldn’t guarantee it.

So when I went backstage after the show and Bob saw me, he asked if I minded waiting a few minutes. For Bob Saget I’d wait months! (LOL) He’s that nice a guy.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Bob Saget backstage in Montreal after Bob hosted the Triple X show for JFL! According to Bob, he just couldn’t say “No!”

During the interview he said the kind of things to me that my parents would have said had I been interviewing them! He said on camera that he had to do the interview because ” No one says ‘No’ to Jeff Gurian!” And he went on to basically interview me, even asking me for my cell phone number on camera! I gave him my e-mail cause I knew I could trust him not to tell anyone! (LOL)

He ended the interview by saying “Be well” which he said is what one Jew wishes another. I added,”the real expression is ‘You should live and be well!” which he agreed with because he said, “You’re right! What good is it to be well if you’re dead?” And that interview with Bob is one I really can’t wait to put up!

Other interviews I got were with The Sklar Brothers for their show Sklarboro Country, Hannibal Buress who won for Breakout Comedy Star of the Year, someone else who won for the star whose face broke out the most last year, the great Kenny Hotz, the only Canadian comedy star to have three shows on American TV,Kenny vs. Spenny, Testees, and Triumph of the Will, (which had nothing to do with Triumph The Insult Comic Dog!), Nigerian comic Gina Yashere on her way to do a comedy special in San Francisco, L’il Rel and Jermainne Fowler who are two of the cast in the new “In Living Color” coming up soon, Todd Barry, Moshe Kasher, Godfrey, Paul Telner, Myq Kaplan, Lynn Koplitz, Jared Logan, Joe Machi, Mick Foley, Calise Hawkins, Alonzo Bodden who hosted the JFL Awards Luncheon, Andy Kindler who gave his usual SRO “State of the Industry Address”, which everyone waits to see, and his manager Bruce Smith from Omnipop films, and then I did some non-comics like Kimberly Hannwacker, Julie Lawless the comedy booker, (not hooker!) from Australia, Ben Relles from Barely Political, and The Key of Awesome fame who’s now with You Tube and Google, Lee Aronsohn the co-creator of Two and a Half Men, and Rob Barnett the head of My Damn Channel.

Whew, … that was a looooooong sentence! And a lot of interviews. The editing should be done very soon, and you guys will be the first to know!

Let me leave you with a few more fun photos until the videos are ready!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Todd Barry in the lobby of the Hyatt Hotel at JFL!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Mick Foley holding Jeffrey’s new book “Make ‘Em Laugh”!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with L’il Rel from the new “In Living Color”!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Alonzo Bodden who MC’ed the JFL Awards Luncheon and presented the awards to Chelsea Handler and Hannibal Buress!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Nigerian comic Gina Yashere at JFL, Montreal!

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Millennium’s "The Babymakers" At The Friars- Opens August 3rd

Charlie Prince and his team always manage to get great films for the Friars Club Film Festival, coming up in October, but also to screen at The Friars Club itself. He even manages to get stars and producers to show up for Q & A’s.

Charlie Prince having a great time with Paul Schneider at the Friars Club screening of “The Babymakers!”

So even though I just got back from Montreal from being an official videographer at the Just For Laughs Festival and was exhausted from shooting over 35 video interviews with celebs like Bob Saget, Chelsea Handler, Howie Mandel, Adam Carolla, JB Smoove, and Triumph The Insult Comic Dog, I made sure not to miss the screening of “The Babymakers” starring Paul Schneider from NBC’s Parks and Rec, Olivia Munn from The Daily Show, Magic Mike, and HBO’s “The Newsroom”, actor/Babymakers producer Kevin Heffernan, and actor/Babymakers director Jay Chandrasekhar.

The Friars Club flier announcing the screening of “The Babymakers!”

(L-R) Paul Schneider, Jay Chandrasekhar, and Kevin Heffernan at the Q&A at The Friars Club for “The Babymakers!”

Paul, Jay and Kevin were there, and it was obvious from the way they got along that they had a blast doing this movie.

Jay and Kevin are two of the founding members of the comedy troupe Broken Lizard, and are friends since attending Colgate University together. Even as a screenwriter who creates characters, two nicer guys would be hard for me to imagine, and they both have great comedic presence, even while just doing a Q & A.

Actor/producer Kevin Heffernan making Jay Chandresekhar and everyone else laugh during the Q&A for The Babymakers at The Friars Club in NYC!

I had the treat of seeing them perform last night at The Bowery Ballroom to a packed, SRO crowd, and they were the same. Both of them have great comedy voices, if you know what I mean. Not every comic has a great comedy voice, but when these guys speak, their voices command attention, (and laughs!)

This film is the latest in a line-up from Broken Lizard that includes Super Troopers, Club Dread, and Beer Fest. In Super Troopers they played highway patrolmen who played tricks on people they stopped for speeding. Some of them were things I would do myself, like seeing how many times you could say “meow” to someone during a conversation, while denying you’re saying it.

Jay and Kevin actually guzzled two bottles of Maple Syrup each, during the filming of Super Troopers, which to me shows great commitment to their craft! The stomach-aches must have been intolerable.(LOL) After the second bottle, Jay found himself on the floor in a fetal position vowing to never do that again. He said he finally ran to the rest room, and he thinks he “passed” a sparrow!

In Babymakers, Paul Schneider plays a guy named Tommy Macklin, who’s finally ready to try and get his wife Audrey (Olivia Munn) pregnant, but to his dismay, finds out he’s shooting blanks. With the help of his friends, he decides to rob a sperm bank that holds a sample of his from earlier days when his sperm was still viable.

Paul Schneider, star of The Babymakers with Jay Chandrasekhar actor/director of The Babymakers at The Friars Club!

Jay Chandrasekhar plays a guy who’s supposedly a member of the Indian Mafia, and who agrees to lead the sperm theft! His Indian accent is right on, and I guess he comes by it naturally!

Jay Chandrasekhar and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at The Friars Club for a screening of Jay’s new film “The Babymakers!”

He, Russell Peters, Aziz, and Kal Penn have broken down stereotypes, by showing how funny Indian people can be, which I love.

A sperm bank in general is a funny concept! It’s basically the only bank where after you make a deposit you LOSE interest! And I once wrote a Friars Roast joke, (maybe about Lisa Lampanelli?), that she just got a job as the night depository slot for an all night sperm bank!

Anyway, this movie is very funny, with lots of unpredictable situations, including Kevin getting to slip and slide his way through a roomful of sperm, so if you want some really good laughs, check out the film that opens tomorrow Friday, Aug. 3rd, in theatres nationwide!

I’m just fascinated that five guys who are friends from college actually get to make feature films together! To me that is AWESOME!

And stay tuned for the great video interview I did with Jay and Kevin at the Soho Grand Hotel, which will be up in the next few days!

Jay Chandrasekhar, Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, and Kevin Heffernan at the Soho Grand Hotel in NYC talking about “The Babymakers!”

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Rick Newman Has The Comedy Midas Touch!

It’s always a good feeling when you can be happy for a friend’s success, and when your friend happens to be Rick Newman, you could literally be happy all the time! (LOL)

Rick and I go back a long way, as we were reminiscing on the phone the other day, and he was kind enough to give me a very special scoop which I will share with you Comedy Matters guys!

Rick Newman and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at the Friars Roast of Pat Cooper in 2007!

Rick and his partner, Peter Martin, have undertaken a complete overhaul of what was The Triad Theatre on West 72nd Street, (which has been owned by Peter for the last 16 years!), to come up with a place “non pareil” in New York nightlife, (in other words, that can not be compared to, for you non-linguists), which will tentatively be called “Variety 72 Theatre.”

A photo of the new, completely refurbished Triad Theatre, NY home of Celebrity Autobiography, on West 72nd Street. set to re-launch this coming November!

This is the former space where once a month, on Monday evenings, for the last four years, Rick has been offering his international hit “Celebrity Autobiography”, where celebs come in and read other celebs autobiographies, and audiences go crazy for it.

Some of the New York regulars who appear are Susie Essman, Joy Behar, Matthew Broderick, John Leguizamo, Martin Short, Brooke Shields, Mario Cantone, Sherri Shepherd, Alan Zweibel, Rachel Dratch, and Kristen Wiig! It’s like a Who’s Who of showbiz! And I hear there’s actually a waiting list of celebs who would like to appear.

This new expensively overhauled theatre is set to be re-launched this coming November, right in time to run a week of shows during Caroline Hirsch’s New York Comedy Festival. As a matter of fact, the entire month of November will feature new “avant garde” productions in comedy, music, one person shows, plays, and seminars, and right now I’m thinking about what I could present in that one-of-a-kind space! According to Rick, “there’s no other place quite like it”, and he should know!

They even installed a complete state-of-art projection unit for screenings plus a luxury green-room. Rick has always stayed current with trends so part of the transformation of the theater “is to make it flexible and be able to use as a studio for the Internet”, he said.

“It’s a natural extension of what Peter and I have been doing for many years … providing new platforms and exposure for new writers, musicians, comediennes, comedians, bands, original plays, one person shows, animation, short films,etc. We are hoping to be able to provide new original programming for the Internet and for fresh talent and their ideas.”

And it will be nice not to have to run all the way downtown for this experience, as many art houses are down in Tribeca. This is great because it’s on the Upper West Side! I can’t wait to take him up on his offer to give me a private tour!

And now with Rick’s collaboration with longtime friend Orin Wolf of Off Broadway Booking, (which is a hot beautique agency that takes successful Off-Broadway shows on the road), Celebrity Autobiography will be touring internationally as well. They always wanted to do something together and I think that this definitely falls into that category! (LOL)

As a Broadway producer Orin is involved with the new hit “Once” which opened to rave reviews on Sunday, March 18, 2012. A national tour will begin in the summer of 2013, and the cast recently appeared on The View.

ONCE has been nominated for 11 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It was recently named Best Musical by the New York Drama Critics Circle, the Outer Critic Circle and the Lucille Lortel Awards. In addition, the production has been nominated for three Drama League Awards and five Drama Desk Awards.

And the story of how Rick came to be involved with Celebrity Autobiography is also a great story. Four years ago, our mutual friend Susie Essman, star of HBO’s hit “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, called Rick all excited and told him he needed to come and see her in this show Celebrity Autobiography. He went, and was hooked from the first night.

Rick Newman, Susie Essman, and Richie Tienken the day we did Rick and Susie’s interviews at The Comic Strip for the new book on the 35 year history of The Strip called “Make ‘Em Laugh”!

The four producers at the time, Peter Martin, Angelo Fraboni, Eugene Pack, and Dayle Reyfel, were seeking a fifth producer, and Rick became that producer, but with his own billing. It’s Peter Martin, Angelo Fraboni, Eugene Pack, and Dayle Reyfel in association with Rick Newman! That’s very cool!

The final part of this exclusive Rick Newman scoop is that on top of everything else, he is the Exec. Producer of a new online series for Comedy Central called “Thirty Seconds Over Washington” and it’s an updated version of a show he did 16 years ago for HBO, with Dennis Miller and Bill Maher.

It consists of political commercials with comics doing analyses and comedic commentary before and after the commercial. I love stuff like that because it’s so fun and so easy to poke fun at these pompous buffoons who take themselves so seriously, while making decisions that affect the course of all of our lives. This is a show I can’t wait to see. I’m not particularly political, but you don’t have to be Mort Sahl in order to see the humor in this type of stuff.

Rick appears in my new book with Chris Rock called “Make ‘Em Laugh- 35 Years of The Comic Strip, The Greatest Comedy Club Of All Time”, a book I wrote with Richie Tienken the owner and founder of The Comic Strip. What is especially nice about having Rick in the book is that at the end of 1972, Rick opened up the second big comedy club in New York City called “Catch A Rising Star”. The Strip opened in 1976.

Before that it was just Budd Friedman’s “Improv” which opened in 1963. Catch had regulars like Larry David, Robert Klein, David Brenner, and Billy Crystal. Richie Tienken was present when I did Rick’s interview at The Strip and Richie had the opportunity to tell Rick that he was his idol and the inspiration for The Comic Strip. That was a very special moment in comedy history and I felt privileged to be present for that, … with these two lions of comedy!

Rick Newman and Richie Tienken, the two “lions” of comedy at The Comic Strip, for the book I wrote with Richie called “Make ‘Em Laugh.”

When I launched Comedy Matters back in 1999, Rick was one of the first, if not THE first one-on-one interview I did, because I never wanted to just focus on the talent. I wanted Comedy Matters to also be about the people who made things happen in the comedy world, and Rick has always been one of those people.

Rick Newman being interviewed by Jeffrey Gurian for Jeffrey’s new column at the time called “Comedy Matters”, circa 1999. We both had darker hair and matching moustaches!

On top of everything else he does, Rick runs the Activities and Entertainment Committee at The Friars Club with Prior Stewie Stone, and plans special events for the club.

Rick Newman and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at The Friars Club back in 2006!

We wish Rick lots of luck in all of his many endeavors!

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Fresh Fisch at The PIT with Tyler Fischer

Tyler Fischer is a funny young guy, who I look at as a young Jim Carrey. I get to see him perform on my latenight show at The Comic Strip, which I host on Sundays and Mondays and he’s very unpredictable. Predictably unpredictable!

Tyler Fischer in a rare moment standing still onstage at his Fresh Fisch show at The PIT!

You never know what he’s gonna do when he gets up there, or even if he’s going to come on stage the regular way, or maybe make his way to the stage through the whole audience.

Sometimes he may make believe he has an accent, or maybe turn his back to the audience, or do a scene from an old movie, but the one thing you can count on is that it’s never anything regular and I love that. I reminds me of things I used to do.

Tyler Fischer onstage at The PIT. He insists he will only perform under a green light!

The first time I was onstage at Carolines I walked out carrying an iron. I told the audience it had always been a dream of mine to come out on stage carrying an iron, because it was a thing in my family to always carry a small appliance with you.

It had something to do with an uncle of mine who made a huge fortune in the small appliance business, or a small fortune in the large appliance business! And I told them I always carried an iron with me wherever I went so please don’t be distracted by it.

The next night, I felt I couldn’t do the iron bit again, so I came out onstage carrying a bag of groceries, and apologized to the audience for not having had time to go home first and drop them off. Then I asked some guy in front to hold them for me. Just saying those things makes me want to do them again!

Anyway, Tyler often produces his own shows in Brooklyn but since I don’t often go out to Brooklyn, I was excited when I heard he was doing a show at The PIT, (People’s Improv Theatre) on East 24th Street called “Fresh Fisch”.

The highly stylized, and incredibly ornate sign announcing “Fresh Fisch” available at The PIT!

Ali Farahnakian built such a beautiful place, and it’s packed with comedy fans and comedians just hanging out! The energy is amazing. I forgot to check the Men’s Room to see if my photo was still hanging up like it was in the old PIT. Ali stopped me in the street one day and asked if he could take my photo. He said I had an interesting look!

I was cool with that, and then one night I went to The PIT, and was using the Men’s Room when I happened to glance next to me and saw me watching me do my thing! My photo was posted on the wall right next to where I was standing!

Photo of Jeffrey Gurian mounted on the wall of The Men’s Room at The PIT, by Ali Farahnakian personally!

As I walked in the show had already started, and Jermaine Fowler was onstage.

Jermaine Fowler onstage in Tyler Fischer’s show at The PIT! Watch for him in the new ” In Living Color”!

I hadn’t seen Jermaine in a while but I used to see him a lot at The Comic Strip in his early days, so it was great to see him again. I got to congratulate him on his being added to the cast of the new “In Living Color”. That is so awesome and well deserved.

When Shauna Garr and Keenen Ivory Wayans were in town casting the show, I helped them line up some talent to be auditioned. One of the people I sent was Tyler Fischer. I had heard that Jermaine did very well, and I guess he did cause he got it.

Jermaine Fowler and Tyler Fischer looking really surprised to see me at The PIT. I guess I should come around more often!

I also understand that my old friend Kali Hawk will be a cast member as well.

That is really exciting for me cause I know Kali for many years, from the days she hung out in comedy clubs watching from the sidelines.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with comic/actress Kali Hawk in LA for a party for Jeffrey’s book “Filthy, Funny and Totally Offensive.”

She went through a tremendous transformation and is one of the few true beauties in comedy! And she’s as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside! She could easily be a model, but she loves to make people laugh, as she did in Couples Retreat!

Anyway, when I saw Jermaine was already onstage, I didn’t know where to sit. Tyler guided me to a seat right in the front row, and in the middle of his act Jermaine was like, ” What’s up Jeff?” Which I thought was very cool. And then every comic who followed including Tyler did the same thing. They were all like, ” What’s up Jeff?” It was hysterical, as I accidentally became part of the show! (LOL)

Kevin Barnett onstage at Tyler Fischer’s show at The PIT!

I also got to see a young guy named Kevin Barnett who I also thought was very funny, and then Judah Friedlander closed the show. There may have also been someone on the show with a beard, which seems to be sort of a prerequisite to perform these days, especially if you want to be well received in Brooklyn.

The World Champion, onstage at Tyler Fischer’s show at The PIT!

The thing seems to be to look sort of like a woodsman, or a guy who lives alone in a cabin, somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, with kind of like a Unabomber type of look.

Judah Friedlander has a beard but his doesn’t strike me that way. He doesn’t wear it on 30 Rock, but when he’s not filming the show he grows it back.

He explained to me that the beard fits the macho character of The World Champion and he’s right. The World Champion should have the longest, fullest beard in the world. It should be kind of like a Methuselah type beard, preferably one that swings like a pendulum! Because girls like that!

Judah Friedlander showing Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV one of his amazing karate punches from his book ” How To Beat Up Anybody!”

Judah is great because he is so committed. He’s out performing somewhere every night, and is happy to perform for young talented guys like Tyler. You can see how much pleasure he gets out of entertaining. I love when he talks about working out and says he lifts weightlifters while they’re lifting weights! What a great visual!

He was very excited when I told him that my book on the 35 year history of The Comic Strip was coming out very soon and had turned up on Page 6 in the NY Post, a couple of weeks back.

Chris Rock wrote the funniest intro for the book, and it’s got interviews with Seinfeld, Larry Miller, Ray Romano. Colin Quinn, Susie Essman, Jim Breuer, and lots of other big stars that came out of that club. Including Judah Friedlander!

Anyway, Tyler Fischer will be doing his Fresh Fisch show at The PIT once a month so come down and check it out! Even if you’re from Brooklyn and don’t come into Manhattan much, make the effort. It’s worth it!

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