So when Nore told me that Tracy Morgan himself, one of the funniest dudes on the planet, asked him to be his “middle” at Carolines, I knew I had to stop by and check it out! I’ve seen Carolines crowded before, but not like this. If they could have stacked tables like bunk beds, they could have filled the place twice. (Bunk tables? I wonder if that would even work? LOL)
Nore Davis facing a packed house and then some for Tracy Morgan’s show at Carolines!
I got there in time to see Nore hit the stage, and he hit it really hard! Huge laughs and the audience absolutely loved him. For a young comic, he has great stage presence. I recently also saw him perform at Russell Simmons’ new stand-up TV show, “Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus”, which will be airing in February, with J.B. Smoove as the host, and he killed there too! It’s really something exciting to watch, when a big star gives a young comic a shot, and they do well!
Tracy Morgan doing what he does best, … making people laugh, … onstage at Carolines!
Needless to say, ( so if it’s needless to say, then why am I saying it??? LOL) Tracy gave everyone what they were looking for. An hour of hilarity of the kind that only Tracy can bring! Not necessarily the show you’d want to bring your parents to, but a show you’d definitely want to bring your friend or significant other to! They laughed from beginning to end!
Great to see Tracy back in good health again, and engaged to be married to Megan Wallover. We wish them all the best, and a lifetime of Happiness!
He’s definitely a family kind of guy and loves to talk about his kids. I think the first time I met him was back in 2002 up in Montreal at the Just For Laughs Festival.
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with a moustachioed Tracy Morgan back in 2002 at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal!
I once went to visit him on the set of 30 Rock, during an episode where he was co-starring with a horse (LOL) and we had a great talk about the importance of family and kids!
Tracy Morgan on the set of 30 Rock, back in ’07, with a guest-starring horse!
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Tracy Morgan in his dressing room on the set of 30 Rock!
I was with him at the Writers Guild Awards one year –
Tracy Morgan, with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at the Writers Guild Awards!
And then again more recently, after he had his kidney surgery, at Anthony Anderson’s Mixtape show at Gotham, where Tracy was a surprise performer!
Tracy Morgan and Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV at Anthony Anderson’s Mixtape Comedy Show at Gotham!
Last year I wanted to get him for the Diabetes comedy fund raiser I produced with a killer line-up at The Comic Strip. For whatever reason it didn’t work out, but there’s always this year! Are you listening Tracy!!!
Most people in entertainment acknowledge that it’s harder to do comedy than drama. But when you’re used to being funny, sometimes it’s hard to be serious, or to be taken seriously. Richard Belzer crossed over successfully in his work on TV as Det. John Munch, a role he first brought to life on Tom Fontana’s “Homicide: Life On The Street”, and then carried over to Law and Order: Special Victim’s Unit, where he recently did his 300th episode.
Tracy Morgan does it in this Dito Montiel film, “The Son Of No One”, an exciting police drama with an all-star cast including Al Pacino, Channing Tatum, Katie Holmes, Ray Liotta, and Juliette Binoche, that opened this past Friday, November 4th.
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Tracy Morgan on the set of 30 Rock!
Channing Tatum plays a cop named Jon White, with a secret in his past that’s threatening to ruin his life. As a young kid of maybe 10 or 12 years old, he accidentally killed two low-life drug dealers in separate incidents. One incident was to save his own life, and the other looked to be just an accident in trying to save the life of his dog Charlie. But someone knew and waited all these years to expose him.
Now he gets transferred to a precinct in Staten Island to re-open this long closed “double murder” case, basically investigating his own crime. Someone is writing letters to a newspaper threatening to expose the killer. The columnist of the local paper who’s printing the letters is played by French actress Juliet Binoche.
Jon suspects his emotionally and mentally challenged childhood friend from the projects in which he lived, Vincent Carter, played as an adult by Tracy Morgan. Vincent had made a solemn promise never to tell what he had seen. The dynamic between the two old friends is very powerful, as is what transpires, leading to the ending of the film.
I obviously do not think like a critic since this movie was not reviewed well by Lou Lumenick of the NY Post. I don’t claim to be a critic, but I can say I thought the movie was riveting, and one that I enjoyed, if you can call being “nervous” for 90 minutes, enjoyable. I empathized with the lead character for having had such a rough childhood, and then having to face this ordeal. But that’s what a movie like this is meant to do. It’s meant to make you feel something, and I did. It’s also meant to be entertaining, and it is.
I often wonder if most critics have ever set foot on a stage or tried to entertain anyone. As a writer and entertainer myself, I give HUGE props to anyone who has the courage to create a piece of work, or put their “lives” on the line by stepping on to a stage to perform. (Especially with stand-up comedy which I consider to be the hardest thing to do in the world of entertainment, and which Tracy Morgan has mastered!)
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with his buddy Tracy Morgan at Anthony Anderson’s Mixtape Show at Gotham Comedy Club!
That being said, it doesn’t mean that I think that every performance is good, or entertaining. I’ve seen performances where I had to walk out because I just couldn’t take it anymore. But the way some critics pick apart a film, makes me wonder what credentials you have to have to be a critic??? It’s very easy to find fault with everything, and everyone, but I think you have to look at the overall effect of the project! I really enjoyed this film, and Tracy’s work in it, and I can’t wait to see him so I can tell him.
(He even got one of the few positive comments from Lou Lumenick in the NY Post!)
So go and see this film and decide for yourself! I think you’ll like it!
Comedy Central invited me to cover a very special event where several of the celebs just happened to be friends of mine, but that doesn’t make it any easier. It’s still always tense and exciting wondering what will go down on the red carpet, knowing you have to keep it flowing and keep it funny and interesting!
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Steve Buscemi star of HBO's hit Boardwalk Empire and co-host of Reel Works 10th Anniversary celebration!
Reel Works is a youth-oriented filmmaking initiative that provides high school students with the mentoring, training, and support to finish high school and then go on to college, and find job training careers in NYC’s film and television industry.
The event was at the Prince George Ballroom on East 27th Street, and I was there with my assistant and DP Tristan Griffin. Reel Works is the only youth filmmaking program that matches each student one-on-one with a professional filmmaker mentor. I wish they had something like that when I went to school!
The event was MC’ed by the hilarious Hannibal Buress who was voted one of Variety’s 10 Top Comics To Watch in Montreal last year, 2010, at the Just For Laughs Festival, which is the biggest comedy festival in the world. Hannibal has also written for NBC’s 30 Rock and SNL!
Reggie Watts and Hannibal Buress at the Reel Works 10th Anniversary Celebration!
The co-hosts were Steve Buscemi, star of HBO’s hit show Boardwalk Empire and his filmmaker wife Jo Andres!
Steve Buscemi and his wife and co-host Jo Andres, for the event honoring the 10th anniversary of Reel Works, a youth filmmaking initiative!
The honoree was Fisher Stevens who won an Academy Award for his film “The Cove”,and is currently directing John Leguizamo in his latest hit Broadway show, Ghetto Clown, which Fisher told me is about to begin a world tour! Fisher was being presented with the award by John Leguizamo, who for whatever reason was not available to do any press that night, which is unusual for John because he always makes himself available, and is ALWAYS very gracious with his time!
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with John Leguizamo at a press event for his film "The Babysitters."
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Academy Award winner Fisher Stevens, the honoree at the Reel Works 10th anniversary celebration!
Plus there was a very special musical/comedy performance by an incredibly talented guy and another friend of mine, Reggie Watts, who is the opening act for Conan O’Brien’s ” The Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour” and winner of the Andy Kaufman Award. I had just seen Reggie in Montreal at THIS year’s Just For Laughs Festival where he performed in a show with Bo Burnham!
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Reggie Watts who was performing at the Reel Works 10th Anniversary celebration honoring Fisher Stevens! ( He makes my hair look normal! Actually he makes me look totally bald! )
These are just some stills from the event. Wait till you see the videos coming soon!
I got to cover the red carpet for one of Comedy Central’s most exciting nights, the first annual Comedy Awards at The Hammerstein Ballroom on West 34th Street in Manhattan.
This is the first ever multi-network, multi-platform event dedicated to honoring and celebrating the world of comedy, and it’s not a moment too soon! People are being funny at an ever increasing rate. Soon the entire planet will be absolutely hysterical, … except for certain unnamed countries where laughing is still considered a crime!
The event airs Sunday, April 10th at 9 P.M. simultaneouly across MTV Networks, Comedy Central, Spike TV, TV Land, VH1, and Nick at Nite. In other words you have to try hard to miss this show. If you miss this show, it is obvious that you are determined not to have a good time in your life.
The show will honor not only stand-ups but also writers, directors, sit-coms and just about everything and anyone who ever made you smile! The talent was amazing. Bruce Willis presented an award, and for some reason grabbed himself during the presentation!
Bruce Willis looking all over for his wallet, while presenting an award!
As I got set up on the red carpet, with my assistant Sean Mannion manning my new Sony VG Hi-Def camera and my Sennheiser mic with the Comedy Matters flag, and the wireless set-up, (LOL) I noticed that Christian Finnegan was hosting the red carpet. When I went over to congratulate him, he played it off very humbly, but I convinced him it was a great honor.
Jeffrey Gurian holding his brand new Sennheiser mic with Comedy Matters flag, while talking to Dylan Gadino, CEO of Punchline Magazine on the red carpet.
Aileen Budow ran the red carpet very efficiently as she always does with the help of Eve Kenny.
I got to interview Jon Stewart who I had not seen in a long time, and who acknowledged that fact on camera, Will Ferrell, Olivia Munn, The Gregory Brothers, Mark DuPlass who wrote, produced and directed Cyrus, and who was there with his beautiful actress wife Katie Aselton, Craig Robinson, and Louis CK who I got to congratulate for being honored this coming summer in Montreal as Comedy Person of the Year. Many of them did a little promo for Comedy Matters. Check it out here!
Jeffrey Gurian and Craig Robinson hanging out after the award show.
Louis CK either giving me the finger, or telling the cops it was me who did it, on the red carpet of the Comedy Central Comedy Awards.
This night, he was up for “Breakthrough Performer” against Aziz Ansari, Ty Burrell, Whitney Cummings, Danny McBride, Emma Stone, Daniel Tosh, and Kristen Wiig, and if you promise not to tell anyone, I’ll confide in you that he won! Do you promise? If not, I won’t tell you!
I also got to see one of my favorites Kristen Schaal who recently hosted the Writers Guild Awards, and who for whatever reason, didn’t answer an e-mail I sent her telling her I was coming to see her.
She said that Nick Kroll had mentioned to her that I said “Kristen didn’t answer me”, and she was so sweet, and apologized, and I told her next time I’m sending her two e-mails at a time to make sure she sees it!
Kristen Wiig’s handler got so upset that I didn’t recognize Kristen that she didn’t bring her over to talk to me. For some reason Kristen looked different to me that day, but I was surprised her PR person would react that way. Maybe she was a little stressed?
The Roots came over to chat, mainly because they told me they dug my hair! Those are guys who are not afraid to express themselves through their hairstyles, especially Questlove!
Jeffrey Gurian with Questlove and The Roots complimenting each other on their respective hairstyles!
I explained to them my theory that most men wear their hair like they’re embarrassed for having any. Almost like an apology. Sorry I have hair. I’ll try and wear it in a way you don’t notice. Let’s see, is this short enough, and non-descript enough for you???
Jimmy Fallon was out of town, but they were “representing” as the house band for the show.
I had been waiting patiently on the red carpet hoping to see Tracy Morgan who was there to present Eddie Murphy with the Comedy Icon Award.
Tracy Morgan presenting Eddie Murphy with the Comedy Icon award, which Eddie said was an "old man" award!
Tracy told me he would try to make an appearance at my Diabetes Comedy Fundraiser, “Laugh at Diabetes” on April 14th at The Comic Strip but when I called him to confirm, his number had changed, and I couldn’t get the new one.
I stood on the red carpet freezing my butt off cause I took off my coat so everyone could see my nice tux ( it was Black Tie!), and just as I walked away to get my coat to warm up for a minute Tracy breezed right on by. Sean tried to alert me, but it was too late, and I never got to find Tracy in the madness that ensued afterwards. Very frustrating!
Jeffrey Gurian with Tracy Morgan at Anthony Anderson's Mixtape Show at Gotham!
So if any of you know how to reach Tracy, please ask him to contact me about this coming Thursday, April 14th at 8 P.M. at The Comic Strip at 1568 Second Avenue between 81st and 82nd Street. Tracy himself is battling Diabetes which is why I was hoping he’d make an appearance.
Also there was Bill Murray, who presented an award to David Letterman who was actually there to accept it, TIna Fey, Ricky Gervais, Jon Cryer, who was crying about what happened with Charlie Sheen, Stephen Colbert who threw everyone else from The Daily Show off the stage so he could “faux rant” about Jon Stewart, Alec Baldwin, who received an award from Kick-Ass’s Chloe Moretz… I mean nobody but Comedy Central gets all these people to show up!
Bill Murray making a point at the Comedy Awards!
Jon Cryer lamenting the fate of Two and a Half Men while presenting!
Chloe Moretz of Kick Ass presenting an award to Alec Baldwin!
One of the coolest things happened when I ran into my old buddy James Dixon of Dixon Talent. I know James from his days as an agent at William Morris when he used to pal around with another agent named Mike August. James has become a powerhouse in entertainment and opened Dixon Talent where he manages some of the biggest names in comedy like John Stewart and Stephen Colbert to name just two.
After the show, James and I were catching up when Jon Stewart came by, and James said to Jon, ” You know Jeffrey Gurian right?” And Jon said, ” Sure I do.” And then James himself was kind enough to snap a photo of Jon and I, since my assistant Sean had to leave early to celebrate his wife Jessica’s birthday! Besides being an amazing manager, James takes a good photo, don’t you think???
Jeffrey Gurian with Jon Stewart after the Comedy Awards. Photo taken by Jon's manager James Dixon.
I’ll be writing more about this exciting event in the days that follow but this will give you a little preview of what to expect.
On June 1, 1976 Richie Tienken and Bob Wachs opened the legendary comedy club called The Comic Strip. It was at 1568 Second Avenue in Manhattan, between 81st and 82nd streets. It’s still there and thriving.
Jeffrey Gurian, Jerry Seinfeld and Richie Tienken at The Comic Strip for Jerry's interview for the book!
On June 17th, 1976, barely two weeks after it opened, a young, unknown comic named Jerry Seinfeld came in to audition. His sign-up sheet still hangs in the club. It says ” Good. Definitely put on Monday 6/21.”
Richie Tienken, Ray Romano and Jeffrey Gurian below Ray's old photo on the wall at The Comic Strip!
Not only did Seinfeld get his start there, but so did Paul Reiser, Larry Miller, George Wallace, Ray Romano, Adam Sandler, Colin Quinn, Susie Essman, Jim Gaffigan, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock and many other huge stars who called that club their home.
Jeffrey Gurian, Susie Essman, and Richie Tienken after Susie's interview for the book!
Jim Gaffigan and Jeffrey after Jim's interview at The Strip. Richie must have been hiding!
Richie and Bob went on to manage Eddie Murphy for 11 years, from his SNL career through Beverly Hills Cop 2. Richie also managed Adam Sandler, Tony Rock, and Colin Quinn.
Jeffrey Gurian, Tony Rock, and Richie Tienken after Tony's interview at The Strip!
Jeffrey Gurian, Judah Friedlander, and Richie Tienken under the photo taken BEFORE Judah was World Champion! ( over his left shoulder!)
I have been chosen by Richie, to write the book on the history of the club, and so far have interviewed about 26 of the biggest names that have come out of the club, including Seinfeld, Larry Miller, Paul Reiser, George Wallace, Colin Quinn, Ray Romano, and Chris Rock.
Recently Judah Friedlander of 30 Rock fame, and The World Champion, came to the club to sit down with Richie and I to reminisce about his beginnings, and his memories of the club in the early days of his career. This is a little video excerpt of the interview.