Posts Tagged “Keenen Ivory Wayans”

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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