Posts Tagged Gotham Comedy Club

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ted Alexandro Packs ‘Em In At Gotham Comedy Club

Those in the know love Ted Alexandro. The man is just so clever. I’m in awe of Ted’s delivery. I was laughing with him about it the other night. If he was any more relaxed onstage he’d pull up his blanket and go to sleep!

Ted Alexandro with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at The Comic Strip with Ted’s photo peeking out over his left shoulder!! Coincidence? No one actually knows!

Sometimes he pauses so long, I wonder, ” Will the man ever speak again?” And he makes it work, because it’s who he is. Most comics, me included are afraid of the silence. Ted welcomes it! He has no fear! He knows his stuff is funny, and you’ll just have to wait for it until he decides to share it with you! (LOL)

It’s a sign of supreme confidence, and I always admire that in a person! On top of that Ted is a super nice guy! I was happy to see such a packed crowd for him at Gotham. His reputation must have preceeded him, because the main room at Gotham is pretty big, and it was full.

Sherry Davey was the host, and the audience not only loves her material, but they love her English accent. Her business card says,”I’m not Mary Poppins” and believe me she isn’t! Mary Poppins would have passed away if she heard some of the language that Sherry uses so elegantly in her act! It all sounds good with an English accent!

Sherry Davey onstage hosting the show at Gotham Comedy Club!

I couldn’t believe her youngest child is 9 already, because I remember very clearly going to watch her perform downtown when she was still with the late Marty Fischer, and she was pregnant. So that was ten years ago! That’s crazy!

Buddy Fitzpatrick was bemoaning getting older and said he took a fall recently. He said when you fall as a kid, you say to yourself, ” Gee I hope nobody saw me!” But when you fall as an adult you say to yourself, ” Gee, I hope someone saw me! I need help getting up!”

Buddy Fitzpatrick with headliner Ted Alexandro waiting to go on at Gotham Comedy Club!

He also said he had more money in high school than he does now! Buddy Fitzpatrick is a reliably funny act. He always brings it!

Mike Yard is another dependably funny act. His style goes well with Ted Alexandro. Very laid back and relaxed! It’s a product of many years of stage time.

Mike Yard doing his thing onstage at Gotham Comedy Club! He has such an angelic look he makes Kyle Grooms look gangsta!

And when Ted took the stage he spent the first few minutes on a guy in the audience who was facing away from the stage. The guy took the time to get good seats and then sat not facing the stage. And Ted milked it for every laugh, and there were plenty!

He even did something I had never seen him do before! He imitated a Walkman slowing down when it needed batteries, while singing the song “Don’t Stop Believing.” It was very funny.

He wondered why Classical music has no song titles, but yet they do tell you the key it was written in, as if you were planning to play along at home! (LOL)

He also says he would never hit a woman, but he’s been provoked to the point where he says to himself, ” This is where some guys would hit a woman!”

And when he talks about the term “sexual preference” I think it’s one of his most clever lines. He says he doesn’t believe in the term sexual preference, as if it’s a true preference. He explains it like this, ” I prefer direct flights, but if there’s a layover somewhere and that’s the only flight available, I’ll still take the flight. But if I book a flight to “Vagina”, and they intend to make a stopover in “Men’s Ass” I’m cancelling the trip!” That is hysterical!

And I don’t know what’s funnier, the thought of having two cities called “Vagina” and “Men’s Ass” or the creativity to put those two thoughts together in a sentence!

And on a joke that didn’t get the response he expected he said,”That joke’s not for everybody. Just think of it like the specials in a restaurant. You don’t have to order them, but you do have to listen to them!”

And that’s why Ted Alexandro gets a packed room! Cause he’s that good!

P.S. Ted has also been opening for Craig Ferguson lately, and touring parts of the country with him on a huge tour bus! They’ve been in places like Phoenix, Tucson, California, and San Diego, and sometimes drive all night to get to their next destination. Since they’re both kind of low-key guys, Ted says instead of sex, drugs and rock and roll, it’s more like naps, multi-vitamins, and light reading! He’ll be performing on Craig’s show this month!

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Andy Engel Offers Free Comedy Workshops at Gotham

Every so often Andy Engel, the Director of New Talent at Gotham Comedy Club and the founder of Manhattan Comedy School holds a free comedy workshop, and gets industry people and well known comics to come out and address the crowd of potential comics and comedy writers. It’s always a very informative day.

A rare photo of Andy Engel onstage addressing the crowd at Gotham Comedy Club, for his complimentary comedy workshop!.

This one was on a Sunday afternoon at 12:30 and Ben Rosen from Gawker, was the host. He was very funny.

Wali Collins was up first. Wali is great, and always reliably funny, and it was kind of like family day at Gotham because several comics brought family members with them. I had the pleasure of meeting Wali’s beautiful wife Iralma, who was really sweet. It’s nice when people can share things like that together.

He introduced me to her by telling her how I supported him with an article about his clothing line Ya Nevano, when it first came out. It’s also nice when people remember things like that!

Wali had some great advice for the aspiring comics in the crowd. One thing that stuck with me was that an old rule said that your closing joke should be a strong joke. Wali made the point that every one of your jokes should be able to be a closing joke, and to try and think of them that way. When you don’t, you’re not doing justice to your other jokes. Very interesting point of view.

Ha also advised not to engage hecklers! Especially new comics who don’t have the stage time or experience to know how to handle that! Ignoring them is always the best way to go, otherwise you can lose control of your show. Just point them out so the rest of the audience can hate them, and go on doing what you do!

Jimmy Faiila tried out a new prop during his set, his 3 year old son Lincoln, named after the 16th President I’m sure, because Jimmy is very patriotic, and would definitely do something like that! (LOL)

It was funny because Jimmy couldn’t get a babysitter so he brought his son with him, and when they introduced Jimmy and brought him to the stage, he left his son with one of the women to hold, and Lincoln started crying so loud that Jimmy came and took him on stage with him, and did his act with Lincoln holding on to him. It was very cute, but I don’t think he’d want to do that on a regular basis.

Although I thought I heard him say maybe he should have another child so he could see how it felt doing his act holding a newborn infant! (JK!)

Jimmy Failla onstage holding his new prop, 3 year old son Lincoln, making his stage debut at Gotham! It was hysterical, and may set a new precedent!

What was funny, (besides Jimmy’s jokes! LOL) was that he didn’t alter any of the language in his act because he was holding his young son, so if Lincoln grows up saying words he shouldn’t be saying, we all know where he got it from! That fateful day on stage at Gotham!

The comics performed first, and then addressed the audience and shared some nuggets of wisdom. Jimmy said something interesting that I never really thought about before. He said that many times the MC’s of shows are less experienced, because they are needed to stay for the entire show, which means they don’t have other spots scheduled anywhere else.

I always thought the other way, that MC’s had to be very experienced, since I think it’s hard to keep a show going, and you have to have more material than the average comic who just comes up and does his regular length set. I found that interesting.

Another rare photo of Karen Bergreen, Harrison Greenbaum, and Ben Rosen at Andy Engel’s comedy workshop at Gotham! Look closely! You may never see these three people together again!

The last two performers were also very good, Harrison Greenbaum, and Karen Bergreen who often hosts shows at Gotham, and Harrison geared his remarks to jokewriting. All in all it was a very informative day, and I bet that Andy got some new students for his classes!

I also got to meet a new young comic named Wednesday Suarez, and I’m hoping she’s funny because it’s one of the best stage names for comedy I ever heard! How could you not like a girl named Wednesday Suarez???

You can see an earlier post on Andy Engel’s industry comedy workshops at http://wp.me/p1pHIm-IQ

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Tom Segura at Gotham Comedy

I had only seen Tom Segura perform once, cause he’s an LA guy, so I went down to catch him headlining at Gotham, and I was glad I did. He’s really funny, which is a big plus when you’re in comedy! I can’t emphasize it enough, how important that is! (LOL)

Tom Segura onstage at Gotham Comedy Club in NYC!

I was very glad to see Marion Grodin MC’ing the show. She’s really great and a consummate pro!

Marion Grodin making a point while MC’ing the Tom Segura show at Gotham!

Marion used to produce shows all over town, sometimes with Danny Cohen down at The Duplex, on 7th Avenue, and always invited me to perform, except in those days I wasn’t as experienced as I am now, and was often reluctant to go up on big shows.

Marion Grodin and Jeffrey Gurian down at The Duplex in 2001!

I remember one in particular with Adam Ferrara at the old Gotham. I agonized over whether to do it or not, and wound up not going up. I wish she was producing shows now, cause now I’m ready for anything! (LOL)

Marion Grodin with her Dad, the legendary Charles Grodin!

Marion was followed by Wali Collins, which as I’m writing it sounds very weird. He followed her on stage, not like on the street, like a stalker or something. What I meant to say was that he was the next act. Wali is always enjoyable and a real crowd pleaser.

Tom Segura has a very interesting delivery. Very relaxed and very laid-back, yet very matter-of-fact!

He started out by saying he recently did the fattest thing he ever did, and then corrected himself because he said the fattest thing he could ever do would be to eat another fat person!

He talked about unusual inventions like a toilet that makes turkey sandwiches, and a shoe that’s also a plane. It reminded me of my own inventions, like the 24 hour stapler, where when most staplers stop working at midnight, my stapler works 24/7, … and the battery operated beard, which took the beard-wearing world by storm!

Another view of Tom Segura saying very funny things onstage at Gotham Comedy Club in NYC!

He said sex is the only thing he’s been doing so long that he’s not better at. He generally ends every session by saying “I’m sorry!”

And he talked about his cousin who’s so dumb, that they went out to eat and he ordered a jerk chicken and his cousin said, ” Oh man, I wanted to order that!” in a very disappointed tone. So Tom explained, ” Well go ahead. You still can. We’re in a restaurant. I didn’t order the last one!

Funny dude!

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Comedy Juice with Tom Papa and John Mulaney

Comedy Juice regularly puts on a great line-up every Tuesday night at Gotham, at 10:00 P.M. I’ve become kind of a regular because it’s a reliably good show, and I always write about it! I just wish Mark Serittella would re-post it somewhere! (LOL)

Jared Logan is often the host and he’s always funny. He’s great with crowd work and very quick, and he comes up with appropriate references, like when speaking to audience members from Australia he not only referenced the Duckbilled Platypus, but kangaroos, and boomerangs as well!

He’s from West Virginia and hates when people don’t know it’s it’s own state. It’s not just the Western part of Virginia.

And I liked his bit on the fact that 90 countries have a national bird. That’s something I would definitely talk about, because it’s true and it’s so absurd. Not even one bird knows to be proud of such a thing! Even if they did, birds don’t usually brag anyway!

Tom Papa just being very funny at the Comedy Juice show at Gotham!

I was glad to see Tom Papa there. Not only because I enjoy his work, but I wanted to send him an advance copy of my book “Make ‘Em Laugh” and we wound up sitting next to each other so it was a perfect opportunity to broach the subject. Chris Rock wrote the intro besides being in the book with his own interview, and Tom’s best bud Jerry Seinfeld is in it too!

Tom has the ability to make anything funny. His comedy is very relatable to everyone, and he’s always a crowd pleaser!

John Mulaney is also always a treat to watch. Lots of comics try and describe themselves to the audience. Show business and comedy specifically is the only area in life where you WANT people to laugh at your appearance. Comics do very self-deprecating material.

No one wants to laugh at someone who’s perfect or looks like they’re doing too well in life. They don’t relate. Like I tell the audience I’m a mix between Phil Spector and Elton John and they love it. If someone said that to me in real life, I’d probably be pissed!

John Mulaney, onstage, killing it at the Comedy Juice show at Gotham Comedy Club!

John describes himself as looking like a very tall child. He also says he has a girlfriend which is weird since he’s probably gay, based upon the way he’s acted for the past 29 years. He says that having a girlfriend is like having a lawyer in every day life. Before his girlfriend, he had no idea of how he should be treated in his life. She gets offended FOR him, and tells him when and how he should respond, like, ” You ordered your food an hour ago. It should be here already”, and that way he knows to complain to the waiter.

I can’t wait to see the sketches I did with John and Nick Kroll out in LA for Nick’s new show coming up on Comedy Central, tentatively called “The Nick Show Kroll” (until further notice!)

George St. Geeland (John Mulaney), Jeffrey Gurian, and Gil Faizon (Nick Kroll) on set in LA for the taping of Nick’s new show on Comedy Central!

And then I got to see Nick Griffin who I had heard of but not seen before. It always amazes me when someone escapes my comedy radar! I also liked the way he wears his hair. From the front. I don’t know how he did it, but he managed to have two different hairstyles at the same time. From the front it looks spiky and hip. From the side it looks like a totally different guy. See if you can tell what I mean from the photos.

Nick Griffin from the front, very hip spiky hairdo!

Nick Griffin from the side. Totally different hair attitude!

I like guys who take the time to choose a hairstyle. Most men wear their hair like they’re embarrassed for having any. Almost like an apology. “I’m sorry I have hair. I’ll try and wear it in a non-descript, inoffensive way so you won’t notice!” And they do!

Nick was very funny. He said somebody told him that there’s always somebody worse off than you, and now he’s worried about that other guy!

He also said, ” You know you’re getting older when your favorite thing is not to be awake.”

Also on the show was Mara Merrick and the very funny Dan St. Germaine who also brought his beard with him.

The very funny Dan St. Germaine accompanied onstage by his beard!

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Comedy Juice with Cipha Sounds and Jay Pharoah

I’m becoming a “Juice” addict. Every Tuesday around 9:30 I find myself wandering over to Gotham Comedy Club to see the Comedy Juice show. I can’t seem to help it! They always have a strong line-up. (Not a line-up as in what you’d see at a Police station, where you’re expected to identify someone. This is a comedy line-up, where you don’t have to identify anyone! LOL)

Jared Logan hosting the Comedy Juice show at Gotham Comedy Club!

Jared Logan was hosting the show and he’s a really good MC. At one point there was kind of an angry woman in an unwanted dialogue with Jared, and she was saying something negative about New York City, that it made her realize how much she missed the small village near a stream where she came from.

Instead of yelling at her and trying to put her down, Jared made the opposite choice and did a bit of self-deprecatory humor telling her, ” I bet you’re wondering why a fat Lesbian is yelling at you on a microphone!” And that solved the problem. She finally shut up!

I was so glad to run into my boy Cipha Sounds from Hot 97 who came in to do the show. Cipha has to get up at 3 A.M. every day to be on the radio for his show Cipha Sounds and Rosenberg. He considers himself mainly a hip-hop DJ, and only recently began calling himself a “comic” when he felt he had enough experience to own that title.

Cipha’s real name is Luis Diaz and he’s from The Bronx, as he says, the only borough with a “The” in front of it. No one says, “The Queens”, or “The Brooklyn”, only “The Bronx” gets that distinction! I too am from The Bronx, so we had something else to bond over! (LOL)

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Cipha Sounds of Hot 97 playing rock, paper, scissors backstage after the show!

He is one busy guy, and is always producing a show somewhere. Recently he did his annual April Fools show at Madison Square Garden with Marlon and Shawn Wayans, JB Smoove, Tommy Davidson, and a bunch of other heavy hitters, including a guest spot from a favorite person of mine, the very funny Chaunte Wayans!

Chaunte Wayans onstage doing her thing!

This coming Tuesday, April 24th he’s doing a birthday show at Carolines with Tony Roberts. They both share the same birthday. One year Cipha celebrates and the next year Tony gets to celebrate! (LOL)

Cipha Sounds from Hot 97 and Jay Pharoah from SNL who’s executing a very difficult and very different kind of hand signal I had never seen before, and I’m pretty fluent in hand signals! (Not!)

He also does his Friday night shows at Laugh Lounge with Burt Smooth, and a killer line-up. Everybody wants to perform with Ciph! One of these days, I’m gonna hit him up for a spot! (LOL)

(L-R) Comedy producer Burt Smooth, Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, and Mike Yard at Laugh Lounge. See if you can spot me! (LOL)

After his killer set, Cipha and I hung out downstairs in the green room of Gotham, and we shot this awesome video interview for Comedy Matters TV where I got to ask him all kinds of cool stuff, and he even answered me! He worked his way up to an on-air guy over 14 years that he’s been at the station. He is one hard-working M-F’er!!! (LOL)

Check out the video right here:

Also on the show was a favorite of mine, Jay Pharoah from SNL who I just added to my book on the 35 year history of The Comic Strip coming out this October from Skyhore Publishing. Jay is not only funny, he’s one of the most talented impressionists around.

Jay Pharoah getting into it onstage for Comedy Juice at Gotham!

He does such a great Chappelle, along with Kanye West, Jay-Z, Weezy, Dreezy, and that other great rapper Obama, (LOL) plus Eddie Murphy and Denzel. When he does Denzel you’d think Denzel was in the room. No wonder he’s such a favorite on SNL. He was there with his manager Shayna.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Jay Pharoah from SNL at the Comedy Juice show at Gotham Comedy Club!

Closing the show was a guy I had never seen before, but I’m sure I will see again. His name is Michael Lawrence, and as soon as I saw him I was like, this guy has to live in Brooklyn. In Brooklyn these days it’s important to take on the appearance of a woodsman, or a Civil War era farmer.

Mike Lawrence and his beard, on the loose at Gotham Comedy Club for Comedy Juice!

They seem to be going for the Unibomber look of a guy who lives alone in a cabin in some remote part of the woods, where no one can bother him and he can just sit by the fire and write jokes. I think maybe Zach Galifianakis started this look, and if you can attain that kind of success, I might be trying that beard thing next.

Look at Jason Mantzoukas. He and his beard are starring in the new Sacha Baron Cohen flick “The Dictator.”

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, with Jason Mantzoukas and his beard on the Nick Kroll set in LA! Watch for Jason in “The Dictator”!

Anyway, back to Mike Lawrence. This guy was really funny. He said he recently got into a fight with a homeless guy, who thought that HE was a homeless guy trying to cut in on his turf!

Mike Lawrence, not only a funny comic but one of the pre-eminent beard painters of his generation, who recently painted a replica of the Cistine Chapel with his beard!

He also said, believe it or not he’s in a relationship, and it’s actually going well. It’s been 10 periods already!

And he dispensed wisdom like, “When a bald man masturbates, it’s like he’s strangling a tiny version of himself!” The audience loved him. I tried to see if he left in a camper, but I got distracted.

Anyway, I’ll be back next week for more Comedy Juice!

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Artie Lange Serves Up Comedy Juice at Gotham

I had been hearing about Comedy Juice for a while. It’s one of the top live comedy brands in the world, producing hundreds of All-Star stand up comedy events each year, and run by a comic named Mark Serittella, who lives in LA. Comedy Juice has been called the best standup comedy show in the nation by sources ranging from Sirius Satellite radio to People magazine.

Comedy Juice has featured stars like Sarah Silverman, Daniel Tosh, Aziz Ansari, Dane Cook, and Marc Maron on a regular basis and has consistently been a place to discover new comedy stars before they blow up!

Now, every Tuesday night at 10 P.M. they’ll be at Gotham Comedy Club, so I went down to check it out, and was pleasantly surprised to run into my old pal Artie Lange who came in with a young comic named Chris DeStefano, who I know from performing on Yonah Grossman’s shows in the Vintage Lounge.

Helen Hong making people laugh during Comedy Juice at Gotham!

The show was hosted by Jared Logan who was very funny, and also on the show was Helen Hong who although she lives in LA now I seem to run into on either coast. Last week I was in LA and I ran into Helen, and then I’m back and she’s here too! And that’s a good thing. I love Helen Hong, or should I say “Herren?” LOL

Al Madrigal onstage at Gotham Comedy Club for Comedy Juice!

Besides Herren, they had Al Madrigal from The Daily Show, Rory Albanese, Chris DeStefano, and Donnell Rawlings. Unfortunately I missed Rory Albanese, the producer of The Daily Show, who is also a really funny comic. I first saw Rory perform at the South Beach Comedy Festival and he killed it. I was very impressed that a major producer was also so funny. When you have a serious job like that, the only reason you still do comedy is because you LOVE it! There’s no other reason to do it.

Donnell closed the show and was really strong. The audience loved him, especially Kristen J. Eddy ,the producer of Anthony Anderson’s Comedy Mixtape Show, who sat next to me and was laughing her little butt off!

Donnell Rawlings killing it onstage at Gotham Comedy Club!

Artie went up and destroyed the room. People love to see Artie Lange. He’s one of the only performers I’ve ever seen who got a standing ovation just by walking out on the stage. That was at Town Hall during the NY Comedy Festival.

Artie was very upfront about getting off heroin, and spoke about how different people try to give him advice. One guy suggested he start running to get a “runner’s high” which the guy claimed was better than heroin. Artie tried it and was like, ” I’m on my 8th mile. When does it start feeling like heroin?”

Then he convinced the guy to try heroin since he tried running and the guy got addicted to heroin, and wound up living under a bridge!

Artie said he used to be healthy, back around 1974. Now that he’s healthy again, he’s afraid he’ll die from an old time disease like Scurvy or something!”

Artie Lange dispensing laughter to the packed crowd at Gotham Comedy Club!

He did a lot of new material, which I never heard before like analyzing the lyrics to Biggie Small’s rap songs. And he also spoke to me about his new radio show with Nick DePaolo on Sirius Radio, weeknights at 10 P.M. on Extreme Talk XM 165. It’s a mix of sports and comedy.

The reason I missed Rory Albanese is because I was downstairs in the green room shooting a video with Artie. It was a rare opportunity and I couldn’t pass it up.

I really like Artie and I hadn’t seen him since he went to rehab so we had a lot to talk about, and we did it on camera. It was very cool, it ran about 20 minutes, and I’ll be posting it as soon as it’s edited. First I have to decide whether to keep it as one long film or divide it into two parts. People have such short attention spans these days, you may not even have read this post this far down!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV backstage at Gotham Comedy Club with Artie Lange!

Anyway, Comedy Juice was a great show and I plan to become a regular! Maybe I’ll even get to perform one week, … who knows???

Check out www.comedyjuice.com and come check out the show in person!

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Tom Papa Headlines Gotham Comedy Club

Tom Papa onstage, making people laugh at Gotham Comedy Club!

It was no surprise that Tom Papa sold out all of his shows at Gotham Comedy Club. People love Tom Papa. His comedy is very audience friendly, and it comes across that he’s a nice guy. I had seen him fairly recently when he did a killer spot on the third anniversary of Anthony Anderson’s Mixtape Comedy Show, which is the third Sunday of every month at Gotham, and we did a cool little video interview for Comedy Matters TV. Check that out here!

This night, Tom was headlining and Jim Mendrinos was the host. Jimmy is a fantastic host and really knows how to keep an audience’s energy level high. He won’t accept anything less and knows how to whip them into shape if he has to. I produced a fundraiser for Diabetes last year and Jimmy was my MC as well. He and I both lost our Dads to Diabetes.

Mark Normand, a young comic was excited about opening for Tom. He had lots of funny lines but the one that stuck out for me was, “I moved in with a girl. We had sex in every room of the apartment. Unfortunately it was a studio.” It sounded like something I would write when I wrote for Rodney Dangerfield, which made me like it even more! (LOL)

Comic Mark Normand, who opened for Tom Papa at Gotham Comedy Club!

Sue Costello came up next. Sue is so pretty, you’d never know she had a lazy eye as a kid and a stupid bowl cut hairdo, which is how she describes herself growing up. She certainly grew out of it, cause she looks great on stage, and the crowd loved her!

The beautiful, sexy, fair skinned, and funny Sue Costello onstage at Gotham! You’d never know she once had a lazy eye!

Tom had a lot of material I hadn’t heard before, and it was great. He says, “Reading about the economy is like drinking Jagermeister. Two pages in I’m unconscious on the floor, and I wake up with no pants on.”

On the fact that no one really feels like they fit in, he describes it feeling like “Life is like a pair of skinny jeans, and you’re a big, fat ass.”

He also does a lot of very physical humor, and moves around a lot on stage, which adds to the energy of what he’s saying.

I like when he talks about how boring adults are, and imitates the lame things some guys say. e.g ” How are you?” “Still a million bucks short of being a millionaire!” And he uses such an obnoxious voice. It’s perfect!

He has two daughters, 6 and 9 and even when he takes a simple concept like putting a little girl’s hair into a bun before they go to dancing school, he works the audience into hysterics.

I can see why Jerry Seinfeld takes him on the road as his opening act, and chose him to host The Marriage Ref on NBC!

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Aries Spears Kills It At Gotham Comedy Club

Aries Spears’ website identifies him as “The Funniest Muther-F#*ker On The Planet” and I don’t think I’d argue with that. Most people tend to hype themselves, but in Aries’ case it’s true. I can see why he was a star on Mad TV. His characters, and ability to do dialects, are amazing. And Gotham Comedy Club was packed to capacity, which not all comics can do.

To give you an idea of how crowded it was, they had to put two strangers at my table, cause they were totally out of space! And I was cool with that! They happened to be nice people!

Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV with L.A. comic Aries Spears at Gotham Comedy Club!

Jimmy Failla was the MC and opened with a strong set. Opening a show the right way is so important. It gets the crowd in the mood to laugh. Jimmy just has that way about him, and coupled with strong material makes for a good host.

Jimmy Failla onstage at Gotham getting the audience in a good mood!

I always knew that hosting was difficult, but when I started doing it myself at The Comic Strip, I REALLY appreciated how much harder it is than just doing a regular spot. A few nights later, Jimmy and I got to perform together at Gotham on Alyse Kenny’s comedy show for the charity, “The Cure Is Now”! Alyse produces a once a month show at Gotham in the Vintage Lounge, each month benefitting a different charity.

Veronica Mosey took the stage next, … and refused to tell us where she put it! (LOL) That’s so silly, but it reminds me of the line, ” I’m a hard act to follow cause when I leave the stage, I take the mic with me!”

Veronica Mosey doing her comedy thing at Aries Spears’ show at Gotham!

Veronica is always funny, and in a male dominated world, manages to hold her own! She recently got married and was also just profiled on National Lampoon’s Interview Show, the week after I was. You can see her interview at www.nationallampoon.com

Areis did at least an hour seamlessly. Never at a loss for what to do next. He jokes about Blacks and Whites equally, and does an incredible imitation of a “White” voice! He says he uses that voice when he’s talking to a white girl, so that he feels white. As he tells that story he plays the classic Rick Springfield rock song in the background, ” Jessie’s Girl”.

He also does a variety of great ” Black” voices which answers the question that many white people have, whether Black people know that they talk a certain way! Not only do they know, but they can modify it and even “Black it up” when they feel they need to! (LOLOL)

Aries says, you know you’re a big star when you can sell out Africa!

He says that Maury Povich’s show is “Black ignorance at it’s finest!”, which may be the best summation I ever heard.

He said, ” You’ll never see Black people on shows like, ” When Animals Attack.” Black people are too smart for that, to mess with wild animals. You may however see them on shows like
“When Cops Attack!”

He jokes about Africans being so black, that he told one African guy, ” If you stood against a building you’d like like the entryway to an alley!”

He likes when Black people go out to a show and when the bill comes, one person inevitably says, ” Who ordered gratuity???”

The multi-talented Aries Spears making a point during his sold-out show at Gotham Comedy Club!

He wants to be a film star but he thinks he needs to lose some weight first. He says, “You know you have to lose weight when you have to catch your breath from breathing!”

He also does great Indian and English accents, and fantastic impressions of Arnold Schwartzeneggar, and Denzel Washington! (If I had just written “Denzel”, would you have known who I meant? LOL)

And then as a finale he does a rap song while imitating all the rappers like Snoop, DMX, Method Man, Biggie and Jay-Z. The man is an entertainment phenomenon, and if you get a chance to see him go for it!

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Alyse Kenny Brings Monthly Charity Shows To Gotham

Chris Mazzilli and Gotham are always supporting one charity or another. Now comic/actress Alyse Kenny is taking it up a notch by producing a once a month show there, the last Monday of every month called “Alyse Kenny Presents…It’s a Charity Thing!”

Funny ladies Rachel Feinstein (L) and Alyse Kenny at Alyse’s charity show at Gotham!

Each month will benefit a different charity. On the night I went down, the show was to benefit Rosie O’Donnell’s charity, Rosie’s Theater Kids.

It was a great line-up, with fun raffle prizes available to the audience, like VIP tickets to “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”, “The View” and “The Dr. Oz Show”!

The show was hosted by Jimmy Failla, Host of Off The Meter Radio, and I always give extra credit to anyone hosting. Now that I’m doing it on a regular basis, I see how much harder it is than just getting up to do a set, so I give Jimmy props for keeping the show moving smoothly.

Jimmy Failla holding it down onstage at Gotham as the host of the show!

The show also featured comedians Rachel Feinstein, who never fails to make me laugh out loud, Nick Cobb, Matt Baetz, and Greer Barnes! And Alyse got up and did a set as well. She and the audience were thrilled when Jim Gaffigan dropped in unexpectedly and did a killer set, mostly on McDonalds.

Jim Gaffigan who dropped by to do a guest spot on Alyse Kenny’s show at Gotham!

Jim tends to use food and things relating to food as his subject. He’ll always be known for his “hot-pocket” material. This night he went into McDonald’s and their fries, specifically the loose “bonus fry” we’re always so happy to find hiding at the bottom of the bag.

He said we wouldn’t know when breakfast ended if it wasn’t for McDonalds, and he also said that eating fast food gives you a momentary pleasure, followed by intense guilt, followed by Cancer.

Jim Gaffigan killing it onstage at Gotham!

Jim just had his fourth child, so he said he’s trying to be healthy. He takes vitamins, … and puts them in a drawer!

Nick Cobb said ” you know you’re broke when you know exactly how much money you have.” He also wondered about the sexual activity known as “69”! Being 6’4″, he said it’s a short man’s game, and wondered why anyone would want to do it in the first place. He wondered, ( and I’m paraphrasing) … “Who’s that short on time, to take the two most pleasurable things in the world, and combine them? It makes more sense to do each one separately! And he’s right!

Nick Cobb, who claims to be too tall for “69”, onstage at Alyse Kenny’s charity show at Gotham!

Alyse Kenny is fairly new on the comedy scene, and is an actor on ABC’s “What Would You Do?” She is co-writing and starring in the television pilot, “Pryor Knowledge” with Richard Pryor Jr., who just happens to be an old friend of mine, and who I sponsored for membership in The Friars Club. I actually took a photo of him in front of the photo of his Dad, Richard Pryor Sr. that graces one of the upstairs rooms.

Richard Pryor Jr., Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, and Rain Pryor at the premiere of Paul Provenza’s The Green Room in NYC!

Alyse also just appeared in Eli Shapiro’s indie flick, “Ike Interviews God.” Her clean, fun brand of comedy showcases her skewed view of growing up the daughter of a shrink and cardiologist, her inter-faith marriage and many jobs working in television including as an Emmy Award-winning producer.

Alyse Kenny onstage performing at her charity show at Gotham!

She’s a go-getter and I’m excited about her, and even more excited that I will be performing on her next show on Monday Feb. 27th, which will benefit a charity called The Cure Is Now. You can read about them at www.thecureisnow.org

Come on out and support!

You can read more about Alyse on her website at www.alysekenny.com

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