Posts Tagged Michael Bolton

Caron Foundation Honors Clive Davis, with Judy Collins, Geraldo Rivera, Chris Lawford, and Lots More!

The Caron Foundation is a nationally recognized nonprofit provider of alcohol and drug addiction treatment. Thanks to their grateful donors, their treatment centers last year provided almost 14 million dollars in scholarships to addicted individuals and their families.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with music legend and Caron Foundation honoree Clive Davis at Cipriani’s 42nd Street!

Cipriani’s 42nd Street was the site of the Caron Foundation event honoring music legends Clive Davis and Judy Collins, and it was a spectacular, star-studded event handled by Rob Goldstone and David Wilson’s Oui2 Public Relations.

Clive Davis is the Chief Creative Officer of Sony Music Entertainment and a true legend in the music industry. The last time I saw Clive I was having dinner with Michael Bolton and we went over to his table to “kibbitz”! In the video below, you’ll see I had the opportunity to reminisce with him about the time I invited him to attend a Friars Roast, (I wish I recalled which one it was!), which led to Clive being honored as The Friars Man of the Year.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with good buddy Michael Bolton backstage in Vegas!

During his long and illustrious career, Clive Davis has discovered and nurtured the careers of many superstars including Janis Joplin, Bruce Springsteen, Barry Manilow, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, and the late Whitney Houston.

Judy Collins’ career has spanned more than fifty years, and she has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. She’s also openly sober for many years and something so cool happened which you’ll see in the accompanying video. As I was interviewing Geraldo Rivera on the red carpet, we were suddenly, and unexpectedly joined by Judy Collins who was so open, and so kind that the other journalists thought I had planned it. But you could never plan something like that.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing both Geraldo Rivera and Judy Collins at the same time!

So there I was doing a three-way interview with Geraldo on one side of me, and Judy Collins on the other. I felt like I was watching a tennis match! I didn’t know which way to turn first! (LOL) Geraldo had bought a table for his friends from Fox News including national correspondent Laura Ingel, and Laurie Dhue who was the MC for the evening and was also openly celebrating five years of sobriety.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing Laurie Dhue, MC for the Caron Foundation event honoring Clive Davis and Judy Collins!

I also got to see my old pal Chris Kennedy Lawford, who is a big supporter of the work that Caron does. He looks so much like his Dad, Peter Lawford that whenever I see him it reminds me of The Rat Pack, with Frank Sinatra, cause his Dad was one of the group.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV interviewing his pal Chris Kennedy Lawford at the Caron event at Cipriani’

Chris was a nephew of JFK, and is also very open about his own struggles with addiction. It hits every age group and social strata, and it’s always very courageous when well known people use their “celebrity” to bring attention to the need for help.

I never knew that Chris was instrumental in bringing the movie “Drunks” to the big screen, in which another old friend Richard Lewis was the star.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Richard Lewis at The Friars Club in NYC!

Laurie Dhue told me that Geraldo had been a big supporter of hers and she felt that he was very helpful in her staying sober. Geraldo of course was too humble to accept that assessment, but she assured me he helped her tremendously.

It was truly a night of reminiscing for me, because when I spoke to Geraldo I was able to reminisce with him about the great story his mother-in-law told me about how he was able to prolong his father-in-law’s life.

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Geraldo Rivera at Cipriani’s 42nd Street for teh Caron Foundation event honoring Clive Davis and Judy Collins!

It was a powerful story of synchronicity, where his wife Erica’s Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Geraldo attended an affair where he just happened to be seated next to a doctor he had never met before who just happened to be an expert in prostate cancer and guided him to the surgeon who prolonged his father-in-law’s life. Unfortunately he later on succumbed to the disease, but his wife told me the story because she was struck by the synchronicity of the event.

Geraldo was surprised that I remembered it so clearly, but it’s the kind of story I hold on to, because it’s so meaningful. Theoretically it can’t even happen! (LOL)

I also got to reminisce with Geraldo about an evening we spent many, many years ago with Salvador Dali at the St. Regis Hotel in the King Cole Lounge. Check it all out right here!

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Phil Rosenthal Brings Exporting Raymond To The Friars Club

Phil Rosenthal created and Exec. Produced one of the most successful sit-coms of all time, “Everybody Loves Raymond” starring Ray Romano, which ran on CBS from Sept. 13, 1996 until May 16, 2005.

Producer/Director Phil Rosenthal and Jeffrey Gurian on the "step and repeat" for "Exporting Raymond"!

It was a comedic masterpiece often based on true stories from both Ray and Phil’s own lives. ¬†Then Phil got the call from Sony that Russia would be interested in doing it’s own version of “Raymond”, and wanted him to go over to Russia to make that happen. Most people plan to bring a camera with them when they travel. Phil had the presence of mind to bring a camera crew with him, and if nothing else it lead to this hysterically funny documentary called “Exporting Raymond” which opens in theatres nationally on April 29th, 2011.

It’s the story of Phil’s trials and tribulations in adapting “Raymond” for a Russian audience, and how he barely escaped with his sanity intact. Not knowing what to expect in preparing for his trip, he was a little disturbed when someone suggested he take out K&R insurance, especially when he found out that “K & R” stands for Kidnapping and Ransom. He was assigned a bodyguard named Eldar, who became a friend, and it was only at the end of his stay that Eldar admitted to him that Sony didn’t go for “the gun package.” In other words, Eldar was depending upon his hand-to-hand skills to keep Phil out of harm’s way.

At the screening, I asked Phil, how much could the gun package have cost that Sony decided to pass on it? He himself was stymied by that question, and I am stymied as to why I used the word “stymied.” It’s such a weird, almost frightening word!

Phil and I discussed whether they may have looked into the knife package or maybe the brass knuckle package, or did they just decide that Phil wasn’t worth any package at all??? Phil said after meeting his Russian counterparts, the fear of being kidnapped was replaced by the fear of what they might do to his show! One woman, the costume designer was intent on turning it into a fashion show with the actors wearing evening clothes you’d wear for a night out on the town, as if anyone, especially a blue-collar family, would lounge around the house dressed like that.

They also tried to convince Phil that men were more manly over in Russia, and wouldn’t be so concerned about pleasing their wives, like Ray Barone was in the USA version of the show. The Russians also felt that Russian men would not relate to the way Ray was treated by both his wife and his mother and that it made him look like a weakling. Phil didn’t go for it because he said that he doesn’t believe that men are the boss in their homes anywhere in the world.

Despite the Russian’s best efforts, Phil’s adaptation was successful, and he was able to help cast it and make it funny. So not only did he escape from Russia with his sanity, he wound up with a funny, entertaining and fascinating film, which just happens to be his film directing debut. I’m sure it will be the first of many.

However he did have the sense to turn down the “opportunity” to bring “Raymond” to Poland and Egypt! (LOL)

Here in New York it will be opening at the Angelika and at the Loew’s Lincoln Square theatre on Broadway and 68th Street. This is a movie you have to see.

Charlie Prince is the force behind the Friars Club Film Festival, and once a month, he brings great films to be viewed at special Friars Club screenings. Recently he brought the very funny “Peep World” starring Sarah Silverman, Rainn Wilson and Ben Schwartz, that I wrote about in a previous blog. Both Sarah and Ben showed up at The Friars to do a Q&A.

Ben Schwartz and Sarah Silverman at the Q&A for Peep World at The Friars Club.

This time, for “Exporting Raymond” there was such a big crowd that the club had to show it across the street in the beautiful screening room of The Core Club, another very exclusive club with which The Friars has an arrangement. I wound up walking in with the General Manager of The Friars Club Michael Caputo, who is always on hand to make sure everything goes smoothly.

(L-R) Charlie Prince, John Woldenberg, and Phil Rosenthal at the Friars Club screening of Exporting Raymond!

As I mentioned, Phil Rosenthal was there of course, along with his Executive Producer John F. Woldenberg, a really nice guy, who was very accommodating in the writing of this story.

When Phil was introduced after the film ended, I was sitting in the front row with an old friend, legendary film animator Bill Plympton, who has an animated film coming out called “Idiots and Angels”, a black comedy that he did with Terry Gilliam of Monty Python fame.

Phil who happens to be very funny, (which helps if you’re creating and producing comedies), didn’t notice me sitting there, until someone asked him if he ever did stand-up. He said he tried it years ago, and then asked if there were any stand-ups in the audience. When I raised my hand and he saw me he was surprised he hadn’t noticed me, and gave me a gracious hello.

The last time I had seen him was last summer in Montreal when he was showing “Exporting Raymond” at the Just For Laughs Festival, and I was showing the trailer for “Eat, Drink. Laugh” the documentary Richie Tienken and I were working on about the 35 year history of his comedy club “The Comic Strip,” Exec. Produced by Chris Rock.

The film poster for Exporting Raymond that was in the street in Montreal, where it was shown in the Just For Laughs Festival in 2010!

It was a chance meeting in the street when Phil was on his way to his showing, with John Woldenberg, and I was on my way to mine. I had also happened to have the photo with me of Ray Romano, myself and Michael Bolton from when I brought Michael to the set of “Everybody Loves Raymond” several years back, maybe 1998, courtesy of the other Exec. Producer of Raymond and Ray Romano’s manager, Rory Rosegarten.

When I interviewed Ray for the book and the film we’re doing, I brought that old photo to remind him and we took another photo of us holding it.

Ray Romano and Jeffrey Gurian at The Comic Strip holding the photo of Ray, Jeffrey and Michael Botlon taken when Jeffrey brought Michael Bolton to the set of Everybody Loves Raymond to meet Ray Romano!.

Screenshot from "Eat, Drink, Laugh" of Jeffrey Gurian and Richie Tienken interviewing Ray Romano at The Comic Strip!

Phil was kind enough to sit with me for a while to do this great little interview for my readers of Comedy Matters. Check it out right here! And go see the film on April 29th! I would tell you to go even before April 29th, but you wouldn’t get to see anything, so wait till April 29th and run out and see it immediately!

Posted in: Celeb Photos, Comedians In The News, Comedy Events, Comedy Matters, Comedy Videos, Red Carpet Events

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Jeffrey Gurian Teaches Comedy Writing For The Learning Annex On USTREAM

I was honored to be asked to create a series of comedy writing classes for the internationally known adult education source, The Learning Annex, and it’s being offered on the internet through USTREAM. Just click on this link to see it!

Jeffrey Gurian with Lewis Black on the red carpet at a Comedy Central Night of Too Many Stars!

Jeffrey Gurian with Colin Quinn backstage at Colin's Broadway show, "Long Story Short"!

Jeffrey Gurian with Ray Romano at The Comic Strip holding a photo of him with Ray and Michael Bolton, when Jeffrey brought Michael to the set of Everybody Loves Raymond.

Jeffrey Gurian with Jerry Seinfeld at a party at the Time Warner Center!

Richie Tienken, Chris Rock, and Jeffrey Gurian at The Comic Strip after Chris' interview for the book that Jeffrey is writing about The Strip!

It’s free to my readers so check it out!

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