Comedy Matters Is Back Bigger Than Ever
COMEDY MATTERS IS BACK
Due to popular request I am bringing back my Comedy Matters blog/vlog. It’s an inside look at The Comedy World letting you hang with the comedy peeps you love, and meeting them on a personal basis. In this first one I will be doing a short review of some cool things that have happened in the comedy world recently, including Nick Kroll and John Mulaney debuting Season 2 of Netflix’ Big Mouth at the 92Y, the NY Comedy Festival with Bert Kreischer, Mike Birbiglia and Lisa Lampanelli, Hasan Minhaj talking about his new show Patriot Act also on Netflix. Ray Romano, Bill Burr, Scott Rogowsky from HQ Trivia, D.L. Hughley and John Oliver plus lots more with photos and videos of and with your fave comedy stars.
- BIG MOUTH DEBUT AT 92Y
The 92 Y keeps bringing in the heavy hitters in comedy. Nick Kroll, John Mulaney and Jason Mantzoukas came to the 92nd Street Y along with their whole team from their Netflix hit “Big Mouth” to kick off the new second season. Exec. Producer Andrew Goldberg, a childhood friend of Nick’s was there and he and Nick were the ones who came up with the idea for the show. They premiered episode three from this new second season, and needless to say it was HILARIOUS.
The event was moderated by LA Times editor Meredith Blake, and other Exec. Producers on the panel were Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett. For anyone who doesn’t know, the animated series follows a group of 7th graders through their experiences with puberty and sexual coming of age including best friends Nick Birch played by Nick, Andrew Glouberman played by John Mulaney, and with Jason Mantzoukas voicing characters like Jay Bilzerian a guy who has sex with his pillow and with a character named Socrates.
Nick plays 12 different characters, including everyone’s favorite the Hormone Monster, plus the ghosts of Picasso and Richard Burton, while Mulaney who’s plagued by the hormone monster who constantly makes him masturbate, plays at least three voices as well, as do Jordan Peele and Fred Armisen to name just two of the big stars whose voices recur on the show. Someone even plays Nick’s pubic hair, and Jessi Klein’s vagina.
During the Q&A a girl asked Jason Manztoukas if he wanted to “hang out”, and suggested that they meet at a Dunkin’ Donuts across the street. He wasn’t taking any chances in this #MeToo age and invited everyone else there to join them. And Jon Mulaney admitted that growing up his sexual fantasy was to be 40 and rich! He must be very satisfied!
ACCIDENTALLY PERFORMING FOR JERRY SEINFELD
It all started on what was supposed to be a regular night at West Side Comedy Club. I was scheduled to go on second around 8:30 or 8:45 when GM Gina Savage came in and said that Jerry Seinfeld had Tweeted that he’d be stopping by around 8:30. That’s when people started streaming in. And that’s what you call real live-streaming! I happened to be sitting near the front door watching the MC warm up the ever growing crowd when I caught a glance of Jerry walking down the stairs. He had his baseball cap pulled down low and was alone. He greeted a few people and shook my hand as he walked by.
The comic scheduled to go on first had done 8 shows in the last couple of days, felt she was tired and decided to leave. Gina asked Jerry if he wanted to go right up and he said he wanted to wait a minute so Gina looked at me and said “ Jeffrey, you’re up.” Before I even had a chance to think about it or get nervous I was on stage while Jerry was in the room. For whatever reason I felt calm, and was able to edit what I was doing while I was up there. I often open with stuff about the weather, cell phones, and texting but for whatever reason I decided not to do any of that and went right into other material.
Anyway Jerry went up after me to screaming and absolutely HUGE applause, and talked about many things including the weather, cell phones and texting, and it made me wonder what would have happened if I had actually done those same topics just moments before. Might he have said, “ Well Jeffrey said all there is to say on these subjects!” LOL I highly doubt it, but it made me think that at least I made good choices of topics to discuss. After I got off stage I totally re-thought all the stuff I could have done with Jerry in the room, which I think is pretty common for comics to do.
Needless to say Jerry killed with all of his new material, then did a Q&A with the audience which he likes to do. One guy asked him what his favorite thing to do was and he said it was his show “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee” and doing stand-up.
When he finished he left as low key as when he arrived. By himself with his hat down over his eyes. It was a special experience, made even moreso by the fact that it wound up on Page 6 in the NY Post and also on Page 6 TV.
D.L. HUGHLEY DOES IT UP RIGHT
I went to see my good pal D.L. Hughley truly one of the official Kings of Comedy. He was headlining at Carolines and there was not a seat to be had. I was with him for all three nights and it was as much fun as you would have expected it to be.
As usual D.L. is very generous with his opening spots and gives stage time to comics on their way up. Bo “Last Name” Dacious is one of his regular openers who is always a killer, and Clint Coley has such a unique stage persona, and is so funny that you gotta come away liking the guy. He really takes command of the stage. Part of Bo’s merch is “Miss Hattie’s rag” which you have to see to understand but it’s a great gimmick and he said one of his best ideas ever!
D.L. is one of the only comics I know who is confident and relaxed enough to either hang out with friends backstage until literally the moment he’s announced to go up, and I know this because I’m usually sitting right next to him when I’m there, and I walk with him to the showroom, or else he arrives at the club just minutes before he’s due to go on, and just goes right up. That is amazing to me. Many comics like to be alone before, and center themselves in some way. Some are still looking over their material until right before they go up.
The girl I was with sparked a deep conversation about the power of women that D.L. and I will continue on his radio show very soon! His radio co-host Jasmine Sanders was backstage on the second night that I went. Always so good to see Jaz!
D.L. hits the stage, always dressed to the nines with his unique style, and does a flawless hour plus with no stress. He saves his crowd work for the end. And he always proves why he’s one of the true Kings of Comedy. I made it back for Sunday night’s closing night hang, which is always fun with DL. The dressing room was just D.L., his two nephews, and his long-time friends and fellow comics Smokey Suarez, and George Willborn.
We laughed for about 2 hours after the show ended until we closed the place down. It was just us and the help. Then they went out to grab a bit to eat, and I uncharacteristically went to get some rest for what I knew would be a crazy week at the NY Comedy Festival.
PLANNING A SCARF BUSINESS WITH BILL BURR
I kicked off New York Comedy Festival week with a kind of secret show from Bill Burr at West Side Comedy Club. Secret only in terms of, … you had to know to know. The room was packed to the proverbial gills. Joe Bartnick was the host and Mark Normand featured.
Unsurprisingly Bill did a flawless hour and has such a tremendous range of topics to talk about. He challenges people’s sensibilities which is such a good thing and he’s so smart that he presents things in a way that you have to see his point of view. Being that his wife is black he does a lot of very pertinent and necessary racial humor that everyone responded to very positively. He described himself as being so white he looks like a “bearded moon!”
He was gearing up for his headlining gig that Wed. at Madison Square Garden. He was there with “Late Night with David Letterman” legendary guitarist and Paul Shaffer staple Felicia Collins who happens to be an old friend of mine as well. The room was so dark, and there were no seats, but thanks to owners Eugene and Nina Ashe they pulled me into a seat right next to Felicia, and she leaned over and said “ Jeffrey is that you?” After thoroughly checking, I came to the conclusion that it was me!
After the amazing show and huge applause that followed, Bill hung out to meet some fans, and take photos, and then Face Timed his wife Nia and their little daughter and he introduced us and we all got to say “hi” over his phone. It was Felicia, GM Gina Savage, and manager Lori Sommer.
Bill’s got the third season of his hit show “F Is For Family” starting November 30th and besides Paul Virzi’s special that he just produced he has three more coming down the pike, if they still use that expression, all under the banner of his “All Things Comedy” network. Next he was off to Chicago.
When I asked him what he had coming up the first thing he said was that he was designing a line of scarves, because he loves to joke about the way I dress, and some genius said he should call the line “Burrrrrr”, which would be incredibly perfect. We also had a long chat about fatherhood and how he felt when he first saw his daughter being born, because everyone told him it would bring tears to his eyes, but it didn’t. I told him that when my daughters were born it brought tears to my eyes and he said that was because I was a wonderful person but that HE on the other hand was a German/Irish serial killer!
MIKE BIRBIGLIA’S NEW ONE
Mike Birbiglia never disappoints. His one man shows are always amazing and “The New One” at The Cort Theatre is no different. I’ve seen them all starting with his first, “Sleepwalk With Me” and the man is a master story teller. He opens the show and takes a minute to talk about his couch and you have no idea where he’s going with that, but he manages to weave it into a thread that carries throughout the entire show.
It’s a wonderful story and again it’s a lot about becoming a Dad even though he had never planned on having children. Mike paces the stage a lot during the show and sometimes walks in circles, and there’s one HUGE surprise that I promised I wouldn’t divulge. It adds so much to the show and it’s something you’ve never seen before, and something that will totally surprise you.
After the show we went back to say hi and to congratulate him on his masterful performance, and ran into Nikki Glaser, Carmen Lynch and Myq Kaplan.
Then Mike and I shot a little funny Instagram video which you can see on my IG page @jeffreygurian by clicking this link!
The show will run for only 12 weeks so make sure you get out to see it. You’ll hate yourself forever if you miss it!
BERT KREISCHER UNCUT AND UNDRESSED
Bert “The Machine” Kreischer was in town for the festival and had a show at Town Hall, which I knew for sure I had to attend. I absolutely LOVE Bert Kreischer who like Mike Birbiglia, also happens to be a master story teller. He’s just so unique, and when he came out on stage and immediately whipped off his shirt the crowd went insane. It was non-stop laughs through the whole thing and he ended the show with his story of how “The Machine” came to be, and how he committed actual crimes with the Russian Mob. His stories are so insane you know they have to be true. No one could make that up!
It was a one minute masterpiece and again you can see it RIGHT HERE on my IG page. (Please watch and follow!) Bert will be starting his world tour called “The Body Shots Tour” around January 9th with the kick-off in Portland, Oregon and hopefully ending in Moscow. I’d give anything to travel with that tour!
RAY ROMANO DOES CHARITY SHOW WITH NEW MOUSTACHE
Ray Romano came to The Cutting Room to do a charity spot for Bobby Collins’ Zeno Mountain Farm, a nationally acclaimed, ground-breaking camp for kids with disabilities. They have facilities in Vermont, Los Angeles and Florida. It was a rare experience because it’s not often that you get to see Ray on stage in a smaller venue these days. He’s currently starring in “Get Shorty” a new series on Epix in which he plays a film producer.
Ray came out to tremendous applause and started out by apologizing for his moustache, which he said there was a reason for but didn’t explain. He told great stories about getting older and about his family and especially his kids. He’s got four, one daughter and three sons two of whom are twins. He’s a real family guy and his stories are great. I got to reminisce with him for a minute after his set about a time about 15 years ago when I brought Michael Bolton to the set of Everybody Loves Raymond so they could meet.
It seems they were mutual fans of each other but had never met. I was out in LA talking to Michael about a potential TV show he wanted me to develop for him, and I had called Ray’s manager, and my longtime friend Rory Rosegarten, and so the three of us went over to the set to introduce Michael to Ray, and they were really excited to meet, which they did in front of the live audience, and we all had a great time. Then Michael and I went back to his hotel and watched Ray on TV. I brought the photo from that day of me, Michael and Ray, and Ray and I took a photo holding that old photo which is something I like to do. Fortunately people indulge me! (LOL)
TEAM COCO PARTY WITH SCOTT ROGOWSKY AND JOHN OLIVER
Team Coco teamed up with TBS and took over SONY Hall on West 46th Street to create a pop-up comedy club called Team Coco House as part of this 15th annual New York Comedy Festival, which by the way gets bigger and better every year thanks to Caroline Hirsch and Louis Faranda the man who magically books all the shows. Team Coco House lit up the street with it’s huge lighted signs and it featured shows, podcasts, musical acts, magicians, and all kinds of talent hand-picked by Team Coco and Conan himself.
Caroline and Louis were both at the huge party that took place on Thursday night after Bert’s show. Louis doesn’t usually attend those things or stay out too late but he stayed at this one and everyone in comedy was there. It would be impossible to name all the names but it was absolutely packed with comics and industry, and they served great drinks and passed hors d’oeuvres, and tons of desserts, and when I left around 1:30 A.M. it was still going strong.
One nice surprise was seeing my dear friend Countess LuAnn from the Real Housewives of New York come in with her super-agent Rich Super, and she told me that she’s with Live Nation now and will be going on a huge tour starting Dec. 19th at the Gramercy Theatre with Alexa Ray Joel, and comedian Murray Hill, and you can bet I’ll be there too. In the meantime she’s still filming for RHONY and I always tell her it’s so amazing watching her fulfill her dreams because this was what she always wanted, and she made it happen. Most people don’t have the wherewithal, but she worked so hard and accomplished her dream.
I was back there again to catch HQ Trivia star Scott Rogowsky do his long-running talk show Running Late this time starring John Oliver. I walked in and the place was so packed there were literally no seats and then Matt Richards, who opened the show and is also an HQ Trivia host grabbed me and we hung out together at the bar with HQ Trivia producer Ellen Burke.
Scott wore a crazy jacket and joked with John about how long he had been trying to get him on as a guest. John was his ever-pleasant self and told a lot of great stories and Scott had somehow found old video footage of John as a kid in some early TV show he did in England. They showed the poster for the new season of Last Week Tonight and John had his face down on a desk which he explained by saying that he doesn’t like to see his face on posters. For the last two seasons the poster didn’t show his face. But he showed his face in our photo below! (LOL)
He talked about his wife who was a combat medic and his three year old son, and among other things told a funny story of how he had to interview the Dalai Lama and it dawned on him after he flew all the way to India that he was about to “fuck with the Dalai Lama.” But he said thAt luckily the Dalai Lama was “a fan of fuckery” and they had a great time.
Backstage afterwards was a crazy scene and I got to see John and Scott and Matt, and Scott’s Dad who’s always on the show with him as well.
LISA LAMPANELLI IS “LOSIN’ IT” – QUITS STAND-UP COMEDY
When Lisa Lampanelli told me she quit stand-up comedy I could almost hear the relief in her voice. I wasn’t really surprised. I was actually surprised she was able to have kept doing it so long. I think it’s very hard to create a persona that is opposite to who you really are and which can often be misunderstood, … especially these days, when there’s an entire segment of the population that can not WAIT to be offended by something.
There was a reason that Lisa had been known as not just The Queen of Mean, but as “The Lovable Queen of Mean.” Anyone with an IQ over 11 knew she was always coming from a good place. She made fun of everyone starting with herself. She probably made fun of gays the most and they were her biggest fans, as well as her main charity.
I know Lisa long before she became really famous, and saw her agonize more than once about whether the audience was truly getting what she was about. One particular time in Montreal at Just for Laughs was a particularly stressful time for her when the audience wasn’t sure how to take her “insult” comedy. And it bothered her to the point where she said, “ I’m quitting comedy.” I was there to hear her say that. And then she went on to become a superstar, selling out Radio City and Carnegie Hall during her stand-up career.
Enough people “got her” to keep the venues packed where she performed. But around late 2013 when her beloved Dad got sick she started what I can only refer to as her Spiritual transformation which led to her having weight-loss surgery and losing 107 pounds, and going through what I can only describe as a “Spiritual divorce” in which she introduced her ex-husband Jimmy Cannizzaro to his new wife Jenna, and made them part of her extended family.
Lisa has always had a good heart so when she announced her departure from stand-up comedy on Howard Stern recently, and said she was transitioning not sexually but to become a story-teller and Life Coach, it made perfect sense. She had been thinking about it for quite a while, and she tends to do these major things only after she has thoroughly thought them through.
When she did her AOL Build talk to announce her Grammy nominated album “Back to the Drawing Board” she honored me by having me moderate the four camera shoot and it was amazing. We talked all about Spiritual principles, food, body-issues, self-empowerment and achieving your goals in life.
When Ron Bennington, king of Sirius XM radio helped me create a radio pilot called “The Happiness Show” to teach people how to bring Happiness into their lives, my first three guests were Colin Quinn, Susie Essman, and Lisa Lampanelli to talk about how they bring Happiness into their own lives. We have a long history.
So Lisa and I had made plans to meet up backstage at The Gramercy Theatre before she went onstage to perform her newest ensemble piece called “Losin’ It” as part of the New York Comedy Festival. When I got there she was in her dressing room with her niece Christine Schiefer and Christine’s podcast partner Em Schulz, the hosts of “And That’s Why We Drink.” And typical of the new Lisa Lampanelli’s selflessness she wanted the focus to be on them.
I wound up shooting two separate videos with Lisa, one with her and the hosts of “And That’s Why We Drink”, and a separate one with just Lisa and I, with her talking about my best selling book on Happiness and how much she enjoyed it because of the principles that we share. The audiobook will be out next month sometime.
You can see the first video on my Comedy Matters TV channel on You Tube at www.youtube.com/guriannewsnetwork
This is the direct link : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6F-iD4mslnc
“Losin’ It” was great and it had Lisa being just one of the ensemble of story-tellers, with her mainstay Frank DeCaro from Sirius XM, Lauren Ann Brickman from UCB and Lisa’s former play “Stuffed” and Eden Malyn from Orange is the New Black. It was about empowerment, body image, and learning to love yourself, and incorporated a game show and a Q&A with the audience. A really fun evening of entertainment with a very powerful message. Major congrats to Lisa on this major life choice.
HASAN MINHAJ FIRST INDIAN HOST OF MAJOR TV SHOW
I was excited to see huge billboards around town of my pal Hasan Minhaj announcing his new Sunday night Netflix show “Patriot Act” and even more excited to find out that he’d be appearing at the 92Y. The 92Y has been outdoing itself lately bringing in major comedy figures for special events, and this was another great one.
Hasan got an unprecedented order of 32 episodes of the show which is a comedy series exploring “ the modern cultural and political landscape” one topic at a time. Each of the episodes I saw is kind of like a short one-man show on pertinent topics like our dependence on oil, and the one they showed at the Y on “Affirmative Action.”
Hasan is very animated in his delivery and it’s a multi-media production which I always appreciate. It adds so much when you do more than just talk. The evening started out as a one to one interview moderated by Vinson Cunningham, a staff writer for The New Yorker, and then they were joined by Exec. Producers Jim Margolis and
Prasanth Venkataramanujam, which even Hasan didn’t dare try to pronounce, and which Prasanth joked about himself. I can only imagine how hard it must have been for him as a child to learn how to write his own name.
The episode they showed on “Affirmative Action” dealt with Asian students who feel discriminated against by Harvard admissions, where they’re only 22% of all students, while Hasan noted that Asian parents who emphasize education would probably only be happy with 100%.
After the event we went backstage to greet Hasan and congratulate him and we shot an Instagram video in which he laughingly described me as his “lucky charm”. I’ve known him for several years having first met up in Montreal at JFL, and have supported his talent ever since. I was there at the Cherry Lane Theatre for the premiere of his hit show “Homecoming King” which as a Netflix special won a 2018 Peabody Award.
The story was that he had asked a girl named Bethany to his high school prom and when he got to her house to pick her up she was getting ready to go with another guy, because her family was concerned that Hasan wouldn’t look right in the pictures they would inevitably be taking that night to send to their family. I had seen him do the story on earlier performances and was so moved by it that I told him it would make a great one-man show.
I shared the excitement with him when he became a correspondent on The Daily Show, which lasted four years, and then again when he hosted the White House correspondent’s dinner last year.
So it was a great feeling to see him now the master of his own show. I never had any doubt that he would make it big.
I certainly hope you enjoyed this comedy review of recent events and hope you will subscribe for upcoming Comedy Matters blogs/vlogs! Please check out the website at www.comedymatterstv.com and subscribe to Comedy Matters TV on You Tube at www.youtune.com/guriannewsnetwork @jeffreygurian on Twitter and IG
With love to all,