Posts Tagged Kali Hawk

My Friend Kali Hawk, The Movie Star

I just went to see Tyler Perry’s “Peeples”, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It had quite a cast with Kerry Washington, David Alan Grier, Craig Robinson, S. Epatha Merkerson, Melvin Van Peebles, (who I almost called “Van Peeples!” LOL), Diahann Carrol, Ana Gasteyer and my old friend, the beautiful, and talented Kali Hawk.

One of the posters portraying the star-studded cast of Tyler Perry’s “Peeples”!

It’s not too often that you get to have a friend who’s a legitimate movie star,… especially one that you’ve known for many years. It’s a really nice feeling to be proud of someone’s accomplishments, and Kali has worked very hard to achieve what she’s gotten. Considering how young she still is, I’m almost afraid to think of how young she must have been when I first met her! (LOL)

(L-R) David Alan Grier, Kerry Washington, Tyler James Williams, Kali Hawk, and Kimrie Lewis-Davis in Peeples!

I remember her as a teenager, and how excited she’d be about watching stand-up comedy. I have this vague memory of standing with her at The Comic Strip, in the doorway to the showroom, watching the acts, while she wondered if she could do comedy. I recall going to see her perform in plays at the Theatre for the New City on the Lower East Side.

She was in high school by the tender age of 12 and in college before she was even 16. She started out doing commercials, but as gorgeous as she was, didn’t begin modeling until she moved out to LA, where she booked magazine ads and commercials for KFC, Clorox2, MTV Europe and was in several music videos for rock band Korn, Rob Zombie, Norah Jones, T.I., and Usher. It was only a matter of time until Kali made her way to the big screen.

Some years passed between the time we spoke and then in 2007, I was out in LA for a party made by Kent Emmons for a book I wrote called “Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive” based on my writings for the Friars Roasts, which are notoriously raunchy, and Kali came to support me.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Kali Hawk in LA, for a book party in his honor, in 2007!

She looked so amazing I couldn’t stop taking pictures of her! She has grown into such an elegant woman!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Kali Hawk, who’s holding Jeffrey’s book “Filthy, Funny and Totally Offensive” but he didn’t let her look inside!

Before “Peeples”, she was seen in the Lion’s Gate thriller ‘Holla’, alongside actor Michael Bergin. She would follow that project with a supporting role in the Spike Lee comedy “Lovers & Haters”, playing a scathing Hollywood diva opposite singer/superstar Mariah Carey, I saw her in “Get Him To The Greek” with Russell Brand, and Jonah Hill, and she played Trudy in “Couples Retreat,” another star-studded movie written by Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau.

On TV, she has also appeared on the hit CW sitcom ‘The Game’, executive produced by Kelsey Grammer, was accepted as a cast member for the ill-fated remake of “In Living Color” that unfortunately did not come to fruition, and worked with my boy Tony Rock, on a TV project he was starring in. Tony was the featured performer in a sold out show at the Westbury Theatre on Long Island, that I co-produced starring the one and only Kevin Hart!

(L-R) Jordan Rock, Jeffrey Gurian, Tony Rock, Richie Tienken and down in front Sherrod Small backstage at Westbury with Kevin Hart!

Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV with Kevin Hart at a promo event for their concert at Westbury!

Tony is also the new host of the Jamie Foxx remake of “Live At The Apollo”, aptly named “Apollo Live” shooting right here in Harlem, NYC! I went to the opening of the first season to cheer him on. Tony is amazingly funny, and the nicest guy you’d ever wanna meet!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, Tony Roberts, Tony Rock, and Jordan Rock backstage at The Apollo!

So “Peeples” was exciting to me because Kali had so much screen time. She plays Gloria Peeples the lesbian daughter of Virgil Peeples played so well by David Alan Grier.

A cast shot of “Peeples” with Kali Hawk’s name on the big screen! Go Kali!

I hadn’t seen David since last summer in Montreal during the Just for Laughs Festival when he came in to kibbitz with Adam Carolla right in the middle of my interview with him. It was actually funny, because the door was closed, and we were backstage after Adam’s show, but nobody’s gonna tell David that he can’t come in, so he did! (LOL) And it turned out very funny, because as I recall he was trying to distract me, and we all had a good laugh!

Craig Robinson is also a great guy, and we did a cool interview together on the red carpet of the Comedy Central Comedy Awards.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Craig Robinson at a Comedy Central event at The Monkey Bar in NYC!

I’m heading out to LA in about ten days to shoot my third appearance on Comedy Central’s hit “Kroll Show” and I really hope to be able to get the chance to congratulate Kali in person!

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In Living Color No Longer Among The Living

Lots of people were looking forward to the remake of Fox’s “In Living Color”, and I was one of them. I felt a kinship with the rebirth of the show because I was a tiny bit helpful in scheduling some of the auditions.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Keenen Ivory Wayans out in the cold after auditions at The Laugh Lounge in NYC! The auditions were actually done indoors! LOL

LA producer Shauna Garr was working directly with Keenen Ivory Wayans the creator of the original show, who was very particular in the type of talent he was looking for. People who do characters, and especially a multitude of characters are few and far between.

L.A. Producer Shauna Garr with Richie Tienken owner/founder of The Comic Strip at the auditions I helped arrange!

That’s why I think Nick Kroll is so amazing, because he does so many characters and does them so well, as is evidenced on his new show on Comedy Central, which debuted on Wed. 1/16/13 simply called “Kroll Show”!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Nick Kroll (L) and his writing partner John Mulaney from SNL at a comedy event in NYC!

I had two talented friends on the planned re-make. One was Jermaine Fowler who I got to know at The Comic Strip, and from some shows we did together, and the other was my longtime friend Kali Hawk, who has done amazing things out in Hollywood in both film and TV. I know her since she was just starting out in NYC, and I’m really proud of all her hard-won accomplishments.

Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV and the spectacular Kali Hawk in LA at a party for Jeffrey’s book “Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive!” And if you look closely I think I’m wearing her necklace, cause it sure isn’t MINE!!!

This past summer up in Montreal at the Just for Laughs Festival, the biggest comedy festival in the world, I was chosen as the official celeb interviewer, and did 40 interviews, including one with Jermaine Fowler and one with L’il Rel who was also cast for the show!

I’ve had a lot of last minute major disappointments in my life, where things that were supposed to happen didn’t happen, so I can only imagine how the cast members felt to learn their big break was not going to be on this show.

Will Harris wrote in the NY Post that Keenen Ivory Wayans said, ” The bar for “In Living Color” is so high that, if I didn’t feel like we could sustain that, then I did not want to move forward.” I totally get that. Because when you remake a hit show, people expect it to be exponentially better and with the cast that came out of the original show, like Jim Carrey and Jamie Foxx, that would be some formidable task.

In that same article, FOX’s Pres. of Entertainment, Kevin Reilly was quoted as saying, ” The stars just didn’t align. I think the pilot made was pretty funny, but it just didn’t feel like we had the players. It didn’t feel like a series prospect, and I didn’t want to do just a one-off special.”

So all that work, and all that casting and travel and auditioning, and tension and stress was for nothing! Not really though, because everything you do in this business is HUGE. Most people will never even get the chance to be cast on a show, so the people that were should still feel very special!

I had fun helping Shauna and Keenen with the casting, by setting up some auditions at The Comic Strip and by sending a couple of people down to The Laugh Lounge, including a young, talented comic named Tyler Fisher who I think is gonna be very big!

Two comedy talents headed for stardom, Jermaine Fowler and Tyler Fischer!

I also got to be great friends with Chaunte Wayans, the daughter of one of the Wayans sisters, who’s a really funny comic as well based out of Atlanta! Watch out for her too!

Chaunte Wayans killin’ it onstage at The Comic Strip!

And on that note I’m out!

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Fresh Fisch at The PIT with Tyler Fischer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Aubrey Anderson-Emmons To Star In Modern Family

I’ve met lots and lots of stars in my day, but none more exciting, and adorable than Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, who got on my lap almost as soon as I met her! Not because I’m that good with women, but because she’s only 4 years old! I have the pleasure of being good friends with her Dad, Kent Emmons who started All Comedy Radio, and headed up National Lampoon Radio for a while, and is now heavy into creating infomercials with his company Kent Direct!

Jeffrey Gurian holding Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, the new star of ABC's Modern Family, along with Ed O'Neill and Sofia Vergara!

When I told Kent I was coming out to LA last month to perform and also to interview Billy Crystal and Russell Peters, he insisted that I stay at his home in Westlake Village, and I’m so glad I did. Kent is the kind of host that makes you feel at home right away. And he and his assistant Sarah made sure I felt like part of the family for my whole stay!

Jeffrey Gurian and Kent Emmons in Kent's new home in Westlake Village!

As part of the family, I got to meet little Aubrey. I had met her before but it was when she was just born. I was out in LA with my new book at the time, “Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive”, which was based on my writings for the famed Friars Roasts for many years, and Kent was kind enough to make me a book party at his home in the Hollywood Hills. It was a great party and Budd Friedman, the father of comedy clubs was there, as was uber-literary agent Peter Miller, and Hollywood starlet and dear friend Kali Hawk, among others. Kali, by the way, is gorgeous and talented, and will be HUGE, and I’m glad to say I know her for a loooooong time !!!

Comedy Legend Budd Friedman of Improv fame at the party that Kent Emmons made for Jeffrey Gurian's book "Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive."

Super literary agent Peter Miller at Kent Emmon's party for Jeffrey Gurian's book "Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive."

Jeffrey Gurian with the gorgeous and talented actress Kali Hawk at Kent Emmons' part for Jeffrey's book, " Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive" with the favorite nasty jokes of 250 celebs!

Anyway, I think Aubrey had been born about a week before I arrived, and I felt badly for her mom, comic Amy Anderson who really didn’t need house company at a time like that. I did my best not to cause any trouble! (LOL)

This time, I got to see Aubrey all grown up! What a beautiful, happy, well-adjusted child! Her parents must be doing something right. Her personality is that of a 12 year old, but she’s so loving and adorable, and accomplished. I got to spend quite a bit of time with her, and at the time I was there, we knew she was up for the role of Lily, on Modern Family, replacing the twins Jaden and Ella Hiller, but we didn’t know she got the role yet!

Kent Emmons and his beautiful daughter Aubrey, having the best time at a Reggae Festival!

We all went all over together and we even went to a Reggae Festival with internet master Adam Gilad, because the Reggae Festival was being produced by his son Amit, who I had also met when he was just a kid! All of a sudden he has a beard, and is producing music festivals! What happened???

Jeffrey Gurian having a laugh with TV star Aubrey Anderson-Emmons over dinner in a Mexican restaurant!

Anyway, I just got the good news from her Dad, and Aubrey was all over the trades this week. This is a cool article on her in Entertainment Weekly!

We wish her so much luck on her debut when the show returns on Sept. 21st. I already got an invite to return and stay with Kent, but I hope Aubrey doesn’t get so famous that she won’t wanna hang out with her uncle Jeffrey! (LOL)

Coincidentally, while I was in Montreal recently at the Just For Laughs Festival, I got a great little interview with Steve Levitan the creator and writer of Modern Family. You can check that out right here:

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