Posts Tagged Comic Strip Live

Comedy Matters Round-Up with Nick Kroll, D.L. Hughley, Colin Quinn, Amy Schumer, Sam Morril, Ron Bennington, Tim Dillon, NY Comedy Festival and More!!!

Comedy Matters Round-Up with Nick Kroll, D.L. Hughley, Colin Quinn, Amy Schumer, Sam Morril, Ron Bennington, Tim Dillon, NY Comedy Festival and More!!!

What better time than holiday time to catch up on what’s been going on in the comedy scene? ( Rhetorical question – no answer required! LOL) Spoiler alert – it’s going to be a long one!!!

Thanks to Caroline Hirsch and Andrew Fox of Carolines on Broadway, the NY Comedy Festival was back big-time this year, and I went to a bunch of great shows.

In no particular order, I gotta start with Nick Kroll who was making his Carnegie Hall debut, which he said had been his dream for many years. Nice to see someone fulfilling a dream.

Nick Kroll by the door of his backstage dressing room at Carnegie Hall!

I purposely didn’t let Nick know I was coming because I wanted to surprise him. The deal was I was supposed to meet Carolines long-term GM Louis Faranda and assistant Carolyn Gitomer at the backstage entrance to get our seats.

Being that I am a master at self-sabotage, … like the time I left my microphone home when covering the red carpet at MSG for Rory Rosegarten’s Garden of Laughs, and John Mulaney made fun of me…

halfway over to Carnegie Hall I realized I had forgotten my wallet with my vax card and had to go back home to get it.
Good thing I did because the Covid restrictions were very tight. People lined up outside had to show their vax card and I.D. and get a bracelet to wear inside that was actually put on your wrist by the people working the line.

Backstage is always a fun hang and I had a chance to catch up with my old friend Louis Faranda which was a real treat, and then he walked me to my seat to make sure I was taken care of.
Louis and I spoke so long that I missed Nick’s opening act Emmy Blotnick , but I got to my seat in time to see Nick hit the stage wearing a sharp brown suit with white sneaks that looked a lot like the Nike Airs I was wearing.

Carnegie Hall holds roughly 3600 people, all of whom had to wear their masks during the whole entire show, and believe me it’s not that easy to laugh so much while wearing a mask. But thanks to Nick’s talent people managed to laugh a lot. No surprise there.

Nick did voices and characters, and told stories about his life starting from his childhood, leading up to meeting his wife Lily Kwong, when he realized that she was his person! That was a moving story.

And then having their 2 month old son, who he considered naming Kilometer Kroll because he’s a big fan of the metric system. After the show my intention was to go and congratulate Nick on his sold-out incredible performance but I didn’t know how to get to his room.

A kindly usher saw my dilemma and offered to guide me through the masses yelling out “Move to the right, move to the right” as we navigated the hallways, through the crowds, and into an elevator that took me to Nick’s floor.

I was confronted with two closed doors with Nick’s name on the outside. I was expecting a huge crowd inside, so I knocked very tentatively as I didn’t want to disturb anyone. Nick yelled out “Come in” and at the exact second as I opened the door I was greeted by the flash of celeb-photog Marcus Russell-Price’s camera and hysterical laughter from both Nick and his agent, or should I say SUPER-agent Mike Berkowitz from WME.

Caught by the camera of Marcus Russell Price exactly as I entered Nick Kroll’s dressing room. Mike Berkowitz is laughing already!

Nick was laughing so hard because he said that his own family wasn’t able to get in to see him because the Covid restrictions were so strict, ” but this man was able to get in” and he took out his phone to film me. It’s the photo that wound up on the cover of The Interrobang.

Nick Kroll filming my entrance to his dressing room at Carnegie Hall when no one else was allowed in, with uber-agent Mike Berkowitz laughing hysterically off to the side!

I actually felt embarrassed for being the only one let in, but was relieved a few minutes later when they let Nick’s wife Lily in to congratulate him and we all stepped outside to give them a moment.
Then we all left together and Nick was swarmed by fans outside and graciously took photos and gave autographs to all who asked. It was a very special night and I was so glad I was there to participate.

The Stand was a hot bed of performances during the festival and I made sure to catch Ron Bennington’s “Unmasked” with Tim Dillon who has risen to astronomical heights with his podcast The Tim Dillon Show.

Tim Dillon and Ron Bennington outside The Stand after taping Unmasked for Sirius XM Radio

All Unmaskeds are very special and this was the same, with the hour flying by before you knew it as there is never any dead space when Ron does his thing. Tim identifies as a gay Republican and credits Joe Rogan with helping to put him on the map.

I’ve known Tim for quite a while and always admired his humor and his willingness to be open about who he is and his beliefs, so it was really great to see him again. Obviously a lot of other people agree with me because his Patreon page takes in almost 200 K per month! He was headlining The Beacon Theatre the very next night!

With my man Ron Bennington of The Bennington Show on Sirius XM

Before I left The Stand that night I went over to the owner’s table to visit with owner Chris Italia and who did I find there but the ever-shrinking Dan Lamorte, who actually lost around 200 pounds and is running marathons now when he isn’t on stage.

I literally almost didn’t recognize him except for the frontiersman’s beard that fit better when he weighed around 350, which is where he was when I first met him, and he opened for me at a headlining gig in PA. Now I’d like to open for HIM! Way to go Dan!

The Ever-Shrinking Dan LaMorte

It always feels great to be back at my usual table 69 at Gotham Comedy Club, and to be warmly greeted by owner Chris Mazzilli and the staff like Billy Hayes and Rich who do security, and manager Andrew Schwartztol.

I went to catch H. Foley and Kevin Ryan’s live version of their hit podcast Are You Garbage and the place was PACKED with his fans. Literally not a seat to be had!

He had a fun line-up and at the end as he left the stage I went to congratulate him on such a successful show and he was very gracious in thanking me for coming. There are just so many choices in the NY Comedy Festival that it’s basically impossible to see everything you want to see and the comedians know that.

But Foley is a classy guy and even followed up his verbal thank you with a personal e-mail the next day thanking me for coming to support, which I really appreciated.

Foley Wants To Know, … Are You Garbage???

New York Comedy Club is always packed no matter which venue you go to, but I went to the 24th Street location for James Mattern’s album release party for his album Check Spot and it was wall to wall peeps. James is known for being one of the best hosts in town.

With Two Of The Hottest Girls In The Game-Corinne Fisher and Katie ( T-Spoon) Haller

He also had a great line-up with one of my faves Corinne Fisher, Nathan Macintosh, and Jon Laster. As I came in I was greeted by owner Emilio who always makes me feel at home, and we took this pic which he so kindly posted on IG!

With James Mattern, Adrian Minkowitz, and NYCC Owner Emilio Savone!

I popped in to the Gramercy Theatre one night to catch Sam Morril’s show. I’ve always been a fan of Sam’s since he used to do my late night show at The Comic Strip when he was pretty new at the game. It was always obvious that he was a great writer and had a very unique delivery.

The Gramercy not only required a vax card they also searched you and patted you down before you went in. I guess Sam draws a rough crowd! (LOL)

Sam has done 3 specials for Comedy Central and was named one of Comedy Central’s Comics To Watch back in 2011. When he’s not touring he’s usually performing at The Comedy Cellar which are several reasons why The Gramercy was packed.

I felt bad that I couldn’t stay to go backstage and congratulate him cause I had to get down to the Lucille Lortel Theatre to catch Colin Quinn in his new one man show The Last Beast Hope. Seeing two shows back to back in different parts of town is not easy in NYC. But at least I was able to get a shot of the Sam Morril marquee!

I didn’t get to see Sam but at least I got a shot of the marquee! (LOL)

The parking gods were with me and I managed to get a spot and race into the theatre on time. Watching Colin work is like watching one of the old masters create a masterpiece on canvas, which usually describes Colin’s shows.

He’s one of the very few comics besides Mike Birbiglia to consistently create one-man shows. I know I have a one man show in me too, if I could only figure out who that one man should be! I always wanted to do a multi-media show cause I have so much memorabilia! Maybe one day!!!

Anyway it’s always so great to see Colin perform because he breaks it all down in a way that only Colin can do. We’ve been friends since the days he was on Remote Control on MTV, and I still get excited seeing him work.

He was my very first guest when I was bringing my favorite comics on Sirius XM’s Ron and Fez show with Ron Bennington and the great Fez Whatley, who we lost so sadly at only 57 years old this past August.

The Day I Brought Colin Quinn on Sirius XM With Ron and Fez As My Guest-1/9/14

I didn’t tell Colin I was coming either. I like to surprise people.

After it was over Colin came out to greet the fans that were waiting in the theatre. Lucille Lortel doesn’t really have a backstage area for shmoozing, but we did a good job of it in the theatre itself. He told me he’s been working on the concepts for the show for about two years.

With Colin Quinn at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. I like to think we look the same as we did in 2014!

Leading into the NY Comedy Festival, I had the honor of judging an all women’s comedy festival called “Ladies Night.”

Produced by Robin Siegel-Laikin and Nancy Levine, both of whom performed, it was held at Broadway Comedy Club. Two hundred women applied. Forty-five were chosen. I judged for two shows along with comedy stalwarts like Jodi Lieberman, and longtime agent Roger Paul, and boy what a variety of women hit the stage. One of my faves was a girl named Amber Joy Lane. Hope I get to do it again next year!

(L-R) Robin Siegel-Laikin, two performers and Nancy Levine at Ladies Night!

Amy Schumer premiered her new film Humans, now in theatres and streaming on Showtime, at the 92Y which prides itself on bringing in great comedy talent and rightly so! But this is not a comedy. It’s an interesting ensemble piece.

After the screening there was a panel discussion led by Sirius XM’s Jessica Shaw with co-stars Beanie Feldstein, Steven Yeun, Richard Jenkins and Jayne Houdyshell. Amy’s three-episode docu-series “Expecting Amy”, which she partly shot with her husband Chris on their cell phones is currently showing on HBO Max.

The panel from Humans with Jessica Shaw and Jayne Houdyshell, Richard Jenkins, Amy Schumer, Steven Yeun and Beanie Feldstein at the 92Y. 

Any time I get to spend with my buddy D.L. Hughley is always special so when I heard he was headlining Carolines on Broadway for the Thanksgiving weekend I knew I had to be there. And I was. For Saturday and Sunday.

The first night I got there around 9 so I could catch him in between shows. It was great to see Eric Singer running the room as I made my way through the kitchen to come out near the green room.

Derek his security guy was on guard as always and ushered me in to see “The King,” as he is referred to with reverence by A.G. White who came in to do an opening spot.

Barry Ribs also came in a bit later and also did an opening spot, while I got to catch up with D.L. and his daughter Tyler and one of the biggest dogs I had ever seen, an Akita named Charlie, named after D.L.’s late Dad.

The dog was the size of a small bear, and had the nicest face matched by the nicest disposition. He was able to find a place for himself in the crowded VIP room and just plopped down on the floor. Barry Ribs almost got trapped and couldn’t get up because the dog layed down across his feet!

The first night I made the mistake of wearing a summery outfit which D.L. got a kick out of. I promised to come back the next night wearing winter type clothing and D.L. predicted I would be wearing a maroon jacket, which by the way he had no idea that I owned.

D.L. dressed for winter while J.G. is still dressed for summer!!!

Needless to say the show was amazing. D.L. hits all the bases and talks about everything that’s going on in the world with the D.L. spin.

After he came offstage to thunderous applause we talked about his performance as we usually do, and I told him that it’s great to watch him guide the audience exactly where he wants them to go. He totally owns the stage when he’s out there. It’s like watching an orchestra leader guiding the musicians. Then we filmed the little video below.

D.L. actually predicted I would wear a maroon jacket, … so I had to!!!

So the next night I wore a jacket that was as close to maroon as I could get, and showed up around 9 again so we could have a good laugh before the show. D.L. hangs with friends literally until the minute it’s time for him to go onstage.

I told him the only person I know in comedy as relaxed as him before they go out on stage is Sebastian Maniscalco who held a party between his 3rd and 4th shows at MSG with 20,000 people at each show.

D.L. didn’t seem totally shocked that I had a maroon jacket! (LOL) But I was!!!

And Sunny Hostin from The View came back with her husband Manny, the orthopedic surgeon to congratulate D.L. on another magnificent performance, and the four of us got to exchange child raising tips! It was an amazing weekend for sure, and D.L. and I have some interesting plans that I hope to be able to share with you very soon!

I’m sure this is one of the longest columns I’ve written in a while because thanks to Covid I’m just not out as much as I always was, but I thought you’d enjoy seeing what’s been going on in the comedy world!

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The Making of "Make ‘Em Laugh"- 35 Years of The Comic Strip

On June 15, 2008, I was at The Comic Strip with Ann Curry, and Gilbert Gottfried and we were giving Ann tips on how to do stand-up comedy for some kind of event she was preparing for. And despite the fact that I had been there for so many years, and had seen the walls before, I found myself transfixed by all the amazing memorabilia that I noticed that day.

Jeffrey Gurian, Ann Curry, Gilbert Gottfried, and Richie Tienken on the day that Jeffrey suggested doing a book on the iconic Comic Strip!

So I said to Richie Tienken, owner and founder of the club, “You know we should do a book on this club!”

I didn’t know that other people had suggested that to him before but for some reason he wound up not doing it with them. He came to my home for a meeting and ended by saying “You have more photos on your walls than I have at the club”, and he decided to trust me with telling his story, and the stories of all the huge stars that came out of the club.

Jeffrey Gurian and Richie Tienken in the lobby of Jeffrey’s building after their meeting to agree on doing the book!

The club officially opened on June 1, 1976 with Billy Crystal as the opening act. On JUne 17th a young, and unknown Jerry Seinfeld walked in to audition. In those days people were graded on their auditions. Jerry was graded “Good”, and then someone wrote on his sheet, “Definitely put on Mon. 6/21!” Whoever that person was had a good eye for comedy! Jerry stayed at The Strip for four years until he left for LA in 1980. It was his home club.

Jeffrey Gurian, Jerry Seinfeld, and Richie Tienken on the day of Jerry’s interview for the book!

In the book Jerry said he felt like he was born in 1976, because that’s when he began working at The Strip and that felt like the start of his life!

Eddie Murphy spent his early years at the club, and Richie Tienken was his manager for the years when Eddie was the biggest star in the world. That period of time spanned his days on SNL through Beverly Hills Cop 2.

The one night in 1986 Eddie came into The Strip and asked to see a Black comic. The only one around was a 19 year old Chris Rock who was setting up chairs in exchange for stage time, and had only performed for very small audiences at 2 or 3 A.M. Not wanting to disappoint Eddie, they put Chris up in front of a packed house on a Friday night, and Chris killed it in front of his idol.

Richie Tienken, Chris Rock, and Jeffrey Gurian at The Strip on the day we did Chris’ interview for the book!

That was the start of Chris’s rise to stardom. He hasn’t lost his gratitude for all that Richie did for him and wrote a fantastic, and funny introduction to the book.

He also came into the club and gave Richie and I a really super interview. Most of the big stars came into the club for their interviews because Richie and I felt that being surrounded by those four walls would bring back memories, and we were right.

Alan Colmes who many people don’t even know started his career as a stand-up comic came in wearing his 30 year old Comic Strip jacket that looked as if it was brand new.

Jeffrey Gurian with Alan Colmes wearing his original 30 year old Comic Strip jacket, which looked brand new!

In the middle of Paul Reiser’s interview he suddenly recalled what started the annual New Years Day brunch attended every Jan. 1, by himself, Jerry Seinfeld, Larry Miller and Mark Schiff. There had even been a fifth member of the group, a friend named Michael Cain but he passed away very young.

Gilbert Gottfried and Lisa Lampanelli got interviewed outside the club, and Jeffrey Ross got interviewed inside the club with a dual book/documentary film video interview at the same time. That experience taught us never to do that again! (LOL)

Jeffrey Gurian, Gilbert Gottfried and Richie Tienken at lunch at Pastis where GIlbert spent most of his interview denying he had ever been at The Comic Strip. He did say they had good electricity though!

Lisa Lampanelli and Jeffrey Gurian,(hidden behind the book! LOL) backstage at Westbury for Lisa’s recent sold-out performance

And then I flew out to LA to get an in office interview with Billy Crystal the first comic to hit the stage on opening night, back in 1976.

Other comics interviewed were Ray Romano, Susie Essman, Jim Gaffigan, Judah Friedlander, Larry Miller, George Wallace, Rick Overton, who has also gone on to have a very successful acting/film career, Jim Breuer, Tony Rock, Adam Ferrara, plus newer stars who frequent the club like Colin Jost and Jay Pharaoah from SNL.

Thanks to our agent J.L. Stermer from N.S. Bienstock, we got a deal with Skyhorse Publishing and the book is 250 pages down from the 500 I started out with. It took three years to get all of the interviews done and transcribed, because I did it myself by hand just by playing the interviews over and over again, and the fourth year was about editing and getting it down from 500 pages to the 250 that was needed. It was often a grueling process, but always a labor of love!

Since it came out, it’s gotten great reviews, tons of press, and lots of celeb attention as you can tell from the following photos.

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Colin Jost Takes Over Weekend Update on SNL Tonight

It’s been kind of a tradition that the head writer of SNL takes over the Weekend Update desk and now that Seth Meyers left to take over for Jimmy Fallon on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Colin Jost gets to occupy the co-anchor seat next to Cecily Strong, as of tonight, March 1, 2014.

Jeffrey Gurian with SNL Weekend Update anchor Colin Jost at a comedy show at Gotham Comedy Club in NYC!

Jeffrey Gurian with SNL Weekend Update anchor Colin Jost at a comedy show at Gotham Comedy Club in NYC!

And for that I’m staying home, because Colin is a friend and I feel like I support him better by watching it live rather than taping it!

It’s a very prestigious position held by only a relative few in the show’s 38 year history.  Chevy Chase was the first with Gilda Radner from 1975-1976, then Jane Curtin from 1976-1980, followed by Dennis Miller from 1985-1991, Kevin Nealon from 1991-1994, Norm Macdonald from 1994-1997, Colin Quinn from 1999-2000, Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon from 2000-2004, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler from 2004-2006. Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers from 2006-2008, and finally Seth Meyers and Cecily Strong from 2013-2014.

Like others before him on SNL Colin graduated from Harvard where he was President of The Harvard Lampoon, and joined SNL in 2005.  He worked his way up to head writer in 2012. 

I see Colin fairly often performing at The Comic Strip, which is one of his favorite clubs, and he’s really funny and very likeable onstage.  People will love him as the Weekend Update anchor.  His parents came to see him at one of the shows I was at and interesting fact, … his Mom is the Chief Medical Officer for the NYC Fire Department!

Colin Jost onstage at The Comic Strip!

Colin Jost onstage at The Comic Strip!

Make sure to tune in and watch!  But first watch this little video I shot with Colin backstage at The Comic Strip!

 

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My Synchronicitous Meeting With Larry David

People often tell me I know everyone in comedy.

If you watch this little video, you’ll hear Nick Kroll and Paul Provenza telling me exactly that, and until a few days ago my answer was always, ” Yeh, but I don’t know Larry David.”

For whatever reason, in all my years in the comedy world, our paths have never crossed, but I’m a huge fan and I always wanted to meet him.

So I’m at LaGuardia Airport , flying to Florida and who do I run into, … Larry David.  And he was alone.   And I was nervous to approach him, and I didn’t know what to say!

I turned into a little girl!   Only knowing his cantankerous ( I don’t think I’ve ever used that word before! LOL) character on Curb, I was reluctant to go over and introduce myself, not knowing what kind of response to expect.

I had been trying to reach him as recently as October 23rd to request a video message to Susie Essman, because I was producing a gala in her honor as part of the Gold Coast International Film Festival for which I was named “Head of Live Comedy Programming”,  and had gotten funny video messages from Richard Lewis, (which for a joke, we filmed in the Men’s Room of The Friars Club), Mario Cantone, and D.L. Hughley, but I couldn’t get to Larry.  I even have a friend who’s close to him but even he was reluctant to approach Larry, which made me even more nervous!

In D.L. Hughley’s interview, we made up to say something like, I tried to get J.B. Smoove and The Wayans Brothers but D.L. was the only one available.

Jeffrey Gurian with D.L. Hughely after D.L.'s show at Gotham Comedy Club!

Jeffrey Gurian with D.L. Hughely after D.L.’s show at Gotham Comedy Club!

 

Jeffrey Gurian with J.B. Smoove on the red carpet of Comedy Central's Night of Too Many Stars, holding Jeffrey's book ""Make 'Em Laugh" , with an intro by Chris Rock!

Jeffrey Gurian with J.B. Smoove on the red carpet of Comedy Central’s Night of Too Many Stars, holding Jeffrey’s book “”Make ‘Em Laugh” , with an intro by Chris Rock!

 

Jeffrey Gurian bacjstage with Jeff Garlin at Carolines Comedy Club in NYC!

Jeffrey Gurian backstage with Jeff Garlin at Carolines Comedy Club in NYC!

 

But I realized that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.    I had to do it despite my nervousness.  What’s the worst he could say?   It felt like an episode of “Curb!”

To add to the tension, I was running out of time because he was walking towards his gate, with papers in his hand.  There was a terrible fog and everyone’s flights had been delayed for several hours.  I could tell by the look on his face that he was troubled which added to the tension of me approaching him.

Do I tell him that Jerry Seinfeld is in my book “Make ‘Em Laugh” that has an intro by Chris Rock?

Do I tell him I’m friends with Susie Essman, Richard Lewis, Jeff Garlin and J.B. Smoove, or will I just look like a name-dropper?

I realized I would have to do what I had been doing for most of my life, …. confronting my fear and doing something I was nervous to do.  It’s how I finally got up on stage to perform.

I knew that if I waited too long debating on what to say, I might miss the opportunity all together and never forgive myself, so I tapped him on the shoulder, which for whatever reason is where most people usually tap each other, when they want to get another person’s attention, and I said ” Hey Larry, I’m Jeffrey Gurian a comedy writer from NY and we have a lot of mutual friends!”

He was very friendly, gracious, and open and went and sat down while I stood in front of him talking to him.  The whole entire time, I kept wondering whether I was overstaying my welcome.  I got to tell him about the gala I produced in honor of Susie Essman, the video with Richard Lewis, how J.B. Smoove took a photo holding my book, that Jerry Seinfeld gave me an interview for, and he took it all in.

Jeffrey Gurian, Jerry Seinfeld and Richie Tienken at The Comic Strip after Jerry's interview for the book "Make 'Em Laugh."

Jeffrey Gurian, Jerry Seinfeld and Richie Tienken at The Comic Strip after Jerry’s interview for the book “Make ‘Em Laugh.”

I told him the book has interviews with Seinfeld, Billy Crystal, Ray Romano, Colin Quinn, Lisa Lampanelli, Gilbert Gottfried, Chris Rock, Judah Friedlander, and about 50 more big stars that started  at The Comic Strip, several of whom talk about Larry!

And I told him the story that Comic Strip owner Richie Tienken always told me about Larry.  There were times in Larry’s early career when if he wasn’t happy on stage, either with his set or the audience, he’d throw the mic on the floor and storm off in the middle of his set.

Richie said that mics were expensive, so one night they played a trick on Larry, and glued the mic into the stand, and when he went to throw it he couldn’t get it out!  Larry smiled and said it was a good story, but he didn’t remember it.  Richie Tienken re-confirmed it for me when i got back to New York.

As I was about to leave, I thought of shaking his hand, but I had a feeling he wasn’t into shaking hands in general and to tell you the truth neither am I.  I actually wear a little bottle of Purell hanging from my belt at all times.   So I said to him, ” You don’t shake hands do you?  And he said, ” I prefer not to!”, at which point I pointed to my Purell and we had a good laugh.

I really wanted to ask for a photo but that’s where I drew the line.   Things were going so well I didn’t want to take the chance of him saying “No.”

However we did exchange contact info and I already sent him a copy of my book with a note that got delivered just yesterday, the date of  which will vary depending on when you read this Blog post! (LOL)

 

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Jerry Seinfeld and Colin Quinn Team Up at MSG to Fight Diabetes

Comedy is a great way to call attention to a cause and to raise money for charity, and needless to say the bigger the comedy star the more money you can raise. This Wednesday, April 17th two of the biggest, most well-loved stars of comedy, Jerry Seinfeld and his close friend Colin Quinn, will be performing in a comedy concert, as part of the Stand Up For A Cure Concert Series, to benefit the American Diabetes Association.

Jerry Seinfeld and Colin Quinn will be at The Theatre at Madison Square Garden this Wed. 4/17/13! Come out to support a great cause!

It’s a wonderful thing when stars use their celebrity to give back to society. It’s a sign of their gratitude for the success they have achieved.

Stand Up for a Cure Concert Series was launched in 2007 with a Seinfeld-starring show at Hammerstein Ballroom to benefit the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Since that time, they have produced shows with Dave Matthews Band at MSG, Bon Jovi at the Hammerstein Ballroom, Barry Manilow at the Nassau Coliseum, Brian Wilson at the Hammerstein Ballroom, and another Seinfeld show at MSG in 2008.

This will be Jerry Seinfeld’s third show for Stand Up For A Cure, and I’m sure he gets a lot of pleasure out of knowing how many people are helped through his kindness.

Jerry Seinfeld will star in a Stand-Up For A Cure comedy concert to benefit the American Diabetes Association!

The event will take place on Wednesday, April 17 at The Theater at Madison Square Garden (Seventh Avenue and 32nd Street). Jerry had his choice of charities to benefit from his performance and he personally selected the American Diabetes Association as his charity of choice for this year’s fundraiser. I will be covering this event and I hope to be able to ask him why.

I personally have a strong connection to Diabetes as I lost my Dad to that dreaded disease. Many people have no idea how devastating Diabetes can be. My Dad looked like a cancer victim before it took him. It affected every part of his body except his eyesight, which was a Blessing in itself. It’s a wasting disease, where in the end your kidneys can shut down due to end stage renal disease.

My oldest daughter Elizabeth DeRobertis is the head of the nutrition department at a medical group in Scarsdale, and specializes in treating Diabetes and I myself produced a sold-out comedy event to raise money for the ADA at The Comic Strip, on 81st and 2nd in NYC.

Both Jerry and Colin were kind enough to give me interviews for my new book “Make ‘Em Laugh” about the 35 year history of The Comic Strip the legendary comedy club where both of them started out and called “home”. I wrote it with owner/founder Richie Tienken, and Chris Rock who also started out there wrote an amazing introduction to the book, besides giving his own interview.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Jerry Seinfeld at The Comic Strip after Jerry’s interview for Jeffrey’s book “Make ‘Em Laugh” about the 35 year history of the club where Jerry started out!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Colin Quinn holding a copy of “Make ‘Em Laugh” the book he is in, about the 35 year history of The Comic Strip where he started his career!

A portion of the proceeds from the event will go towards funding research, education, programs and advocacy for the American Diabetes Association.

Right now there are over two million people living in the New York metropolitan area who have diabetes and that number continues to grow. If this trend continues, one in three children who were born after 2000 will develop diabetes within their lifetime. For minorities, this number becomes one in two.

The American Diabetes Association of Greater New York is working hard to stop this, by focusing many of its programs in New York on prevention. To do this, the association provides health fairs, school walks, healthy living ideas and food choice options/exercise materials to public schools and community organizations.

To learn more about how the American Diabetes Association works with the community, please visit, http://www.diabetes.org/newyork or visit them on Facebook or Twitter.

Together, by attending and supporting comedy events like this, we can Stop Diabetes and have fun along the way!

The overall event is being produced by premiere concert producers Heywood, Mendel and Rose, who have some other exciting shows coming up in the future as well. On August 10th “X Factor” finalist Carly Rose Sonenclar will be performing at the Best Buy Theater and they will also be doing a 3 day festival at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Jan 2014 leading up to the Superbowl in NY with a handful of incredible acts, which I will tell you more about closer to the date!

In the meantime, hope to see you at MSG. I will be there covering the event and will hopefully be posting video of it very soon!

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Anthony Anderson’s Mixtape Comedy Show Celebrates Four Years at Gotham Comedy Club!

Anthony Anderson and Royale Watkins should be very proud. For the last four years, at the beautiful Gotham Comedy Club on West 23rd Street in NYC, on the third Sunday of every month, they have been putting on their Mixtape Comedy Show which is a very cool mix of Comedy and Hip-Hop, my two favorite things.

Anthony Anderson and Royale Watkins holding it down onstage at a previous Mixtape Comedy Show at Gotham Comedy Club!

To be able to sustain a show for fours years especially in New York City, where there is so much to choose from, is a major accomplishment. They never tell you who is appearing until you get there, but it’s always great talent. Two other people who should be very proud are Byron Ward and Kristen J. Eddy who produce the show.

Anthony flies in from LA whenever he can, and adds a little extra “Anthony Anderson flava” to the show. For the fourth anniversary “Bow-Legged Lou” from Full Force opened the show and introduced Royale Watkins to the stage. Royale warmed up the crowd as he usually does, and talked about being one of 14 kids in his family. Finally one day he had to take his mother aside and tell her, “You know, there ain’t much more room around here for any other people!”

Then he brought Nick Griffin to the stage.

Nick Griffin onstage at Gotham Comedy Club for the 4th anniversary of Mixtape Comedy!

Nick has a very interesting, low-key delivery and I notice things like that, because among other things, I also consider myself a student of comedy! He’s so relaxed it almost seems like he doesn’t care, which is part of the art.

Nick explains that guys want abs so that when we go to have sex and take off our shirts, the girl takes one look and we go, ” You made the right choice honey!”

He said he was married three years and got divorced. They were supposed to be together till one of them died. Nick says he never even had a fever!

In talking about how perfect Brad Pitt is he wondered, “What did he do, pull a thorn out of G-d’s paw?” What does he have left to pray for? Like Brad Pitt starts to pray and thinks about it for a minute and then goes, ” “Ohhh, no, forget it, I’m good!”

Wil Sylvince is always a crowd pleaser! His imitation of his Haitian father’s accent always brings down the house, and his father would complain if Wil got bad grades in English and demand to know why. Wil would say, “Well maybe the English I have at home is not the English I have at school” and use the example of his Dad questioning him about someone stealing the doors from their home, “Who took de door from de door?”

Wil Sylvince killing it as he always does at Mixtape Comedy!

Wil also said his rent was “$850. a month with utensils!” That’s hysterical!

One surprise guest was Sherri Shepherd from The View. I’ve been running into Sherri a lot recently and she’s always very funny. She’s newly married and was afraid to use her reading glasses in front of her husband because she didn’t want him to think she can’t see.

Mixtape producer Kristen J. Eddy with comedienne extraordinaire, and The View co-host Sherri Shepherd!

They did a fantasy thing where they checked into a hotel and made believe they didn’t know each other. Sherri acted like a hooker and her husband cheated on her with HER!

People in the hotel recognized her and said, ” Aren’t you Sherri Shepherd, and she said ” No, I’m Star Jones!”

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Richie Tienken owner/founder of The Comic Strip, Sherri Shepherd holding Jeffrey and Richie’s book ” Make ‘Em Laugh”!

The big surprise of the evening was when Chris Rock stopped by to do a set. That was really amazing. What a gift to have Chris come by and do a guest spot on your show.

Chris talked about so many things. For instance he said the new Freedom Tower should be called “The Never Going In There Tower”, cause I ain’t never going in there! I don’t care if Tyra Banks is in there naked with a plate of ribs. I ain’t goin’ in there!

Then he talked about the TV commercials on MLK weekend using slogans like, “These Toyotas are so low priced they’re practically “free at last”, … free at last!”

He said the first Black diver went underwater to escape racism, and went on to talk about how the first Black person to do anything never has any fun. Like the first Black gymnast, Gabby Douglas, when she became a star old Black ladies were crying, “Remember when we couldn’t flip?” That visual alone was hysterical!

Chris Rock onstage at Gotham for the 4th anniversary of the Mixtape Comedy Show!

And then Chris told the story of how he was at the White House and found himself alone talking to Michelle Obama, and something about it just felt wrong. He was like, “I shouldn’t be talking to Michelle Obama with nobody else around! She’s really the First Lady of The United States and I’m talking to her like she was one of the Atlanta Housewives! Suddenly she faked like she saw Oprah and took off, and he told her not to worry it was “Aiight!”

Then he felt he had to look for someone of his level of intelligence so he scouted out Charles Barkley and Jay-Z. And in talking about Stevie Wonder’s performance he said it was so good, he put some extra “blind” into that shit! Only Chris Rock could say that and make it so funny!

Chris wrote a hysterically funny introduction to my new book “Make ‘Em Laugh”, about the 35 year history of The Comic Strip, the club where he was discovered by Eddie Murphy back in 1986. It was great to see him again as always!

What a super show! Can’t wait for next month!

www.HyperSmash.com

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The 36th Annual Christmas/Chanukah Party at The Comic Strip

For the last 36 years, which is a claim probably no other comedy club in NYC can make, The Comic Strip has held it’s annual Holiday party. This year was no exception and I had the honor of being one of the hosts, so I invited lots of fun people and lots of great girls.

Jeffrey Gurian and Lauren Francesca dressed as her “Jeffrey Gurian created character, Besame Mucho”! Unfortunately she didn’t wear this outfit to the party but she was there in all her glory!

Both my agent JL Stermer, and my publisher Julie Matysik from Skyhorse Publishing were there, adding to the “beautiful women factor”!

(L-R) JL Stermer. Jeffrey Gurian, and Julie Matysik at the Comic Strip holiday party!

Jim Mendrinos who is always funny, and a great host, hosted the show which featured a surprise visit from comic Hiram Kasten, who I hadn’t seen since the 80’s when I was hanging out with, and writing for Rodney Dangerfield. Hiram was a regular at Dangerfields in those days, but I think has been out in LA for many years.

The party was amazing, and really packed with hundreds of people, including tons of comics a few of whom were Tony Woods, Brian Scott McCarthy, Abbi Crutchfield, Joe Rocha, PJ Landers, Nancy Lombardo, Andrea Mezvinsky, Stu Trivax, and the legend Gladys Simon, plus reporter/comic Marlaina Schiavo, TV star Robin Byrd, internet star Lauren Francesca, Hazel Pascual running for Miss New York State, and Mark Malkoff from My Damn Channel, with his beautiful wife Christine!

Mark Malkoff from My Damn Channel, and his beautiful wife Christine!

Gladys Simon and Andrea Mezvinsky at the Comic Strip holiday party!

Owner/founder Richie Tienken went all out on providing tons of food and open bar for all the guests, and his wife Jeannie and son Richie were there adding to the festivities!

Manager JR helped plan the entertainment which was an assortment of homemade videos by the comics, and a couple of imitations, one being of ME!!! Comic Sean P. Darr did his second annual impression of me, and next year I will insist on helping him with it so that he gets my lines down right.

Sean P. Darr taking the stage as Jeffrey Gurian!

He got the hair and the scarf, but didn’t get the glasses, or the act! (LOL) It’s not really possible to imitate me anyway, … right??? (LOL)

Sean P. Darr doing his version of The 12 Days of Christmas as Jeffrey Gurian!

Anyway there were lots of beautiful girls there too as you’ll see in the photos below:

Sheryl always comes out to support me! Thank you Sheryl! XOXOX

Jennifer definitely brightened up the party with her presence! Thank you Jen! XOX

I’m anxious to see Trina B. Real perform! And what a great smile!

One that was missing was the super-talented, internationally known ballerina Shoko Tamai who was preparing for her show later that same evening, which I went to see!

Shoko Tamai performing at her show Red Christmas which kept her from attending the Comic Strip party! I didn’t even know I knew anyone who could do that!!! Personally, I still don’t think it’s possible! (LOLOLOL)!!!

And then there’s the video:

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"Make ‘Em Laugh" With An Intro By Chris Rock

After four years of work, my book “Make ‘Em Laugh” with Richie Tienken, owner/founder of the legendary comedy club The Comic Strip finally came out, and is in bookstores all across the country.

The front cover of “Make ‘Em Laugh” with an intro. by Chris Rock, and interviews with Seinfeld, Ray Romano, Billy Crystal, Lisa Lampanelli, Gilbert Gottfried, Susie Essman and tons more!

It’s about the 35 year history of the club which Richie opened on June 1, 1976, and which is still going strong. I got the idea for it back in 2008 while at the club one afternoon with Ann Curry and Gilbert Gottfried, coaching Ann on how to do stand-up comedy for some event she was doing, and I suggested to Richie that we do a book on the club.

(L-R) Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, Ann Curry, PR guru Ryan McCormick, Gilbert Gottfried, and Richie Tienken, owner/founder of The Strip!

It took three years to get all the interviews and transcribe them from the digital audio recordings, because I did it all by myself. Every word. Every single word. It takes a long time to listen to an hour long conversation, which most of them were, if not longer, and transcribe every single word, by constantly pressing “Repeat” and playing each sentence over and over again to make sure you got it correctly.

That first summer, I went up to the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal and got the first three interviews with Larry Miller, George Wallace and Paul Provenza.

Larry Miller with Jeffrey Gurian at The Comic Strip!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV backstage with George Wallace at Just for Laughs in Montreal, the biggest comedy festival in the world!

At the end besides having a killer, hilarious introduction from Chris Rock, I had interviews with Jerry Seinfeld, Billy Crystal, Ray Romano, Paul Reiser, Gilbert Gottfried, Susie Essman, Colin Quinn, Paul Provenza, Jim Gaffigan, Lewis Black, Judah Friedlander, Lisa Lampanelli and many more! A book filled with stories from comedy legends on how they got their start and wound up at The Comic Strip.

Jeffrey Gurian, Jerry Seinfeld and Richie Tienken at The Comic Strip after Jerry’s interview for the book!

Richie Tienken, Ray Romano, and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at The Comic Strip after Ray’s interview for the book ” Make ‘Em Laugh!”

Although Gilbert Gottfried claimed he had never actually been there and just showed up to the interview for a free lunch! He did admit to having heard rumours around 1974 that a club would be opening so he stood in that spot for years waiting for it to open, and he heard it did eventually open and had electricity. He also heard that many comics came there for dessert, at which point he started yelling out to no one in particular that he wanted a Peach Melba!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, Gilbert Gottfried, and Richie Tienken trying to get Gilbert to admit he had ever performed at The Comic Strip!

This was as Richie Tienken was getting nauseous after having paid $50. to park, and was picking up the tab for lunch, to hear Gilbert say he had never been to the club. Needless to say, the interview was pure Gilbert, and hysterically funny.

I flew to LA to interview Billy Crystal, and that was really a treat. I hadn’t seen him in many years, and we got to reminisce about the days when I was a dentist and his manager at the time, the legendary Jack Rollins, who also managed Woody Allen and Robin Williams, wanted him to play me in a sit-com about a dentist in show biz.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Billy Crystal in his offices in Beverly Hills! Billy is pointing to his teeth referencing Jeffrey’s former life as a dentist!

Most of the interviews were done at The Comic Strip because Richie and I felt it would be advantageous for the comics to be in that environment because it would help to bring back memories and it did.

We got to hear great stories like how Chris Rock was discovered by Eddie Murphy in 1986 when Eddie was considered the biggest star in the world and was being managed by Richie at the time. Or how Ray Romano started his career under the name “Jackie Roberts” for the first two or three months.

Then he “bombed” one night and experienced stage fright, so he quit and went back to selling futons for his best friend, which became an episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond!” Two years later he returned to comedy at The Comic Strip under the name Ray Romano and the rest is history!

Richie Tienken, Chris Rock, and Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at The Comic Strip after Chris’ interview for the book ” Make ‘Em Laugh!”

Interestingly enough, he even delivered a futon to Larry David who was already well known and true to character, was not happy with the futon, and made Ray take it back.

We have Jerry Seinfeld’s first sign-up sheet on the night he auditioned to perform at The Strip on June 17th, 1976. In those days you were rated, and Jerry was rated “Good” and then someone wrote, ” Definitely put on Monday, 6/21.” That person was smart!

And blurbs! You wanna see blurbs? I got so many celeb blurbs they almost had to use a separate page. I got blurbs from Judd Apatow the king of Hollywood comedies, Richard Lewis, Charles Grodin, Nick Kroll, (whose new “Kroll Show” comes out on Comedy Central in January with me on it!), Bob Saget, (who was kind enough to write: “No matter how many years pass, I can never say no to Jeff Gurian. Hence this quote on his book’s back cover!”) Plus Tom Papa, Danny Aiello, Mike Birbiglia, DJ Cassidy and more!

Back cover of “Make ‘Em Laugh” with blurbs from Judd Apatow, Richard Lewis, Tom Papa. Nick Kroll, Mike Birbiglia, Bob Saget and more!!!

Since the book came out we’ve been getting a lot of attention. Tons of press. A great review from Larry Getlen in the NY Post, an interview on NBC TV, Channel 4, 7 P.M. news with Roseanne Coletti, an interview with WPIX TV, Channel 11 with reporter Dan Mannarino, which will be airing the week of Dec. 10th, radio interviews with Judith Regan, and Ron Bennington of “Ron and Fez” on Sirius Radio, plus radio shows all over the country.

And the book is in the hands of lots of huge comedy stars like Chris Tucker, JB Smoove, Artie Lange, Colin Quinn, and Judah Friedlander to name a few!

Chris Tucker and Jeffrey Gurian up at Sirius Radio with Chris’ copy of the book ” Make ‘Em Laugh”!

Jeffrey Gurian with Artie Lange at The Comic Strip with Artie’s copy of the book ” Make ‘Em Laugh!”

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Richard Belzer at The Friars Club. Jeffrey is holding Richard’s book, and Richard is holding his copy of Jeffrey’s book “Make ‘Em Laugh!”

The book is available in all Barnes and Noble stores in NYC, and on Amazon.com

Coming up, I’ll be doing a guest spot on Artie Lange’s new podcast with Nick DePaolo, talking about the book and all things comedy!

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Chris Tucker In A Rare Appearance with Ron, from Ron and Fez On Sirius Radio

I got to see Ron Bennington’s talent up close and personal recently when he interviewed me for a segment on Ron and Fez, his long-running show on Sirius Radio.

Fez Whatley, Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, and Ron Bennington up at Sirius Radio for the Ron and Fez show!

He does his homework, and knows what to ask in a way that makes you feel really comfortable, plus it’s totally unrushed. So I understood why Chris Tucker, who rarely does any press, would agree to do an episode of “Unmasked”, an interview segment that Ron does with only the biggest comedy stars.

I was one of a small, select group who got invited to attend the interview up at the Sirius studios, where I’ve been spending a lot of time lately doing press for my new book ” Make ‘Em Laugh” with Chris Rock, and Richie Tienken the owner/founder of the legendary comedy club “The Comic Strip.”

Richie Tienken, Chris Rock, and Jeffrey Gurian at The Comic Strip, the club where Chris was discovered!

Richie discovered both Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock, and managed Eddie from his early days on SNL as a featured player though his starring role in Beverly Hills Cop 2, when he was arguably the biggest star in the world.

Anyway, Ron started off the interview by telling Chris how everyone loved him, which is true. He’s such a likeable guy, both onscreen and off. But he made his rise to the top sound too easy, and Ron got lots of laughs acknowledging that, and saying that it’s supposed to be much harder to make a name for yourself in comedy, than it was for Chris.

Chris started out as a class clown, which is a skill never truly acknowledged by anyone’s parents or teachers. As Ron said, no one says, ” Your child may only be in the 3rd grade but he’s funny at a 10th grade level!” Which is a great premise for a stand-up bit.

Chris grew up in Decatur, Georgia and made his comedy debut right there, even though he was underage. One of the headliners from a big club in Atlanta took a liking to Chris and said he wouldn’t perform if Chris wasn’t allowed to come in.

He moved to LA in 1992, and got picked for the 2nd season of Def Comedy Jam where he got to perform with Bernie Mac, and according to him, was the thing that really got him seen. Then in 1995 he got to do his first Friday film with Ice Cube. That really put him on the map.

Ron joked that every day Ice Cube wakes up asking if Chris Tucker called about being in his 4th Friday movie which he’s currently writing, and wants Chris to be in!

Chris’ role as Johnny Booze in Houseparty 3 was what got him an agent, and Ron also brought up his many faceted relationships with such major and varied people as Michael Jackson, Bill Clinton and Bono from U2. How many comics can lay claim to something like that??? (Redundant question, … no answer required!)

Heavy D had seen him performing at The Comedy Store and asked him to be in his video which is how ho got to meet Brett Ratner, and what eventually led him to be in Rush Hour with Jackie Chan.

His Mom was a missionary and his grandfather was a preacher, and Chris talked about tracing his African ancestry to both Cameroon and Angola, but when he went back there he said no one looked like him. There was no “tribe of Chris Tuckers!” (LOL)

These days he’s very particular about what films he appears in, and according to Ron has turned down over 100 million dollars worth of work, which he smilingly agreed with. And then afterwards seemed shocked as the reality hit him, of the enormity of what he had turned down!

One of the things that Chris Tucker said during his interview was that he was a big fan of Eddie Murphy, and that Eddie was a big influence on his career. So when the interview was over, Ron took me over to meet Chris and I was able to give him a copy of the book about the club where his idol Eddie Murphy started out.

He seemed really thrilled to get it and said he was looking forward to reading it, after I got the chance to tell him a few of the stories in the book, including how Eddie discovered Chris in 1986.

To tell you the truth, I was so excited to meet him I don’t remember what I wrote in it, but I do recall saying I was a huge fan of his. Then we posed for some photos, and I was out!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Chris Tucker, up at Sirius Radio with Ron and Fez, holding Jeffrey’s book with Chris Rock called “Make ‘Em Laugh”, about the 35 year history of The Comic Strip!

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SNL Show to Benefit Victims of Sandy at The Comic Strip

This Sunday night,11/18, at 8:30 P.M. cast members from SNL plus Judah Friedlander from 30 Rock will be performing at The Comic Strip on 81st and 2nd to raise money to benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

The show will feature Saturday Night Live’s castmembers Jay Pharoah, Vanessa Bayer, Tim Robinson, and John Mulaney and writers Colin Jost (head writer) and Mike O’Brien. 30 Rock’s Judah Friedlander will also be performing.

(L-R) Jeffrey Gurian, Shayna Farrow, Richie Tienken, Jay Pharoah at The Strip!

Vanessa Bayer on stage at The Strip!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with John Mulaney of SNL after taping his comedy special at The Skirball Center!

Judah Friedlander of 30 Rock holding the book “Make ‘Em Laugh” on the history of The Comic Strip, with author Jeffrey Gurian!

Admission proceeds will be donated to New York Cares to help further the work they have done to aid victims in areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy and the subsequent Nor’easter.

RAFFLE: We’ve received great product donations that will be raffled off to attendees at the benefit. Prizes include: Tickets to Late Night with David Letterman; Personal Training Sessions at Equinox; Restaurant Gift Cards; Beauty Makeover and Consultation with Celebrity Makeup Artist; Free Night at The Comic Strip, an autographed copy of “Make ‘Em Laugh” the new book by me and Richie Tienken on the 35 year history of The Strip, with an intro by Chris Rock, and more.

In case you haven’t already seen it, this is a video of Jay Pharoah reading Chris Rock’s introduction in Chris Rock’s voice for JB Smoove and others at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal this past July.

Admission price is $50 plus a two-drink minimum per person. Reservations are required 212-861-9386. Tickets may be purchased at http://comicstriplive.com/

Let’s all come out for this fabulous show and opportunity to help out! This storm affected all of us whether directly or indirectly.

***If you are unable to attend the show, please consider donating: http://www.crowdrise.com/comicstriplive ***

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