After many years on the Opie and Anthony Channel on Sirius XM, Ron and Fez are moving over to Raw Dog to focus more on comedy. Starting Monday, Jan. 6th, 2014 they will make the switch and get back to their comedic roots. In line with that they are bringing me on to create Comedy Matters Radio for Ron and Fez, in which I will be inviting on well known comics to join us in studio to talk about comedy and whatever we want to talk about.
(L-R) Fez Whatley, Jeffrey Gurian, and Ron Bennington in the Sirius XM studio on the next to last show before they moved to Raw Dog!
The studio is a very relaxed hang, with the kind of atmosphere that makes people feel comfortable and open up!
My first guest is Colin Quinn and I chose Colin because we go way back, and I’m in awe of his talent. He’s smart, he’s the consummate wordsmith, and I love that. He takes things we all say and do and deconstructs them down down to their very essence.
I recently heard some young guys in comedy refer to him as the godfather of comedy in New York right now.
When I saw him last he was giving the keynote speech at the Just for Laughs Festival this past summer in Montreal, which is a HUGE honor. It was hard for Colin to admit that because despite all he’s done and accomplished, he’s a very humble guy!
We sat down together and shot this little interview for Comedy Matters TV!
He’s also in my book ” Make ‘Em Laugh” about the history of The Comic Strip, and he told me some great stories. He was actually the bartender at The Comic Strip, and was constantly berated by manager Lucien Hold who constantly called him a “moron” and complained about the way he used the cash register!
Jeffrey Gurian with Colin Quinn holding Jeffrey’s book “Make ‘Em Laugh” featuring an introduction with Chris Rock!
Colin finally had to quit his job in order to perform at the club. I think he’s glad he did, and so is everyone else who’s ever enjoyed him!
We’re planning specials like one on my book “Make ‘Em Laugh” which will hopefully include a lot of the big stars that are in it, and I will also be doing regular updates on what’s going on in the comedy world in both New York and L.A.
Jeffrey Gurian with Judah Friedlander holding Jeffrey’s book “Make ‘Em Laugh”, which he is in!
Jeffrey Gurian with Susie Essman holding Jeffrey’s book “Make ‘Em Laugh” which she is in!
Jeffrey Gurian with the new, skinny Lisa Lampanelli holding Jeffrey’s book ” Make ‘Em Laugh”, which she is in, and which is on HIM!
I’ll be talking about who’s headlining what club, who got what TV show, and who’s doing what with whom, … comedy-wise!
For instance in New York, my old friend Michelle (Michy) Buteau scored a regular part on the new Fox sitcom “Enlisted” starting this Friday night, 1/10/14 at 9:30 P.M., my friend Sasheer Zamata just got cast on the new season of SNL and will be the first African-American female comic to be a regular on the show in 6 years since Maya Rudolph left, and LA’s Mark Schiff will be going on tour with his old friend Jerry Seinfeld!
Every Thursday night for about the last three months, Killer Bunny Entertainment has been filming a live comedy show at Gotham Comedy Club for Mark Cuban and Ryan Seacrest’s AXS TV channel!
Every week they have a great host and I’ve been down there to shoot videos for Comedy Matters TV with several of them like T.J. Miller, Susie Essman, and Carlos Mencia, but when I heard that Jim Norton would be hosting the last show of the season I was determined to get down there to see him!
Not only because he’s so funny but because I had been trying to set up an interview with Jim since the previous July when his last CD “Please Be Offended” first came out.
Jim Norton the final host of the first season on Gotham Comedy Live onstage at Gotham Comedy Club!
Jonathan Brandstein’s office and I were working together to set it up, but Jim was so busy that it never happened. And then I ran into Jim in Montreal at the 30th annual Just for Laughs Festival where I was actually shooting for the festival, and it still didn’t happen. We ran past each other in the lobby where I was just able to yell out a quick “hello” and that I had been trying to get a hold of him. I shot 40 video interviews over those three days, but no Jim Norton.
Jim did a great show at Gotham, and the fun thing is that it’s live. For some comics that might be daunting, but Jim’s been on the radio with Opie and Anthony so long doing live stuff every day, that for him it’s nothing.
It’s also no holds barred. Anything goes. So Jim got to talk about one of his favorite subjects, … hookers! And how in Vegas when he called for a hooker they told him it would cost $3,000. And he was wondering how long she stayed for that, … forever? For three thousand dollars, does he get to cut off her head and keep it?
The always funny Jim Norton hosting the AXS TV special Gotham Comedy Live!
I don’t think that was really a desire of his, just a thought that briefly ran through his mind.
Jim’s observations are also right on, like when he said if you’re clearing your throat you sound like a liar. No matter what you’re saying, once you clear your throat in the middle of saying it, you automatically sound like a liar. In a way, and I mean this only as a compliment, he and Colin Quinn work very similarly. He actually imitated Colin’s voice and sounded just like him.
Drew Fraser warmed up the crowd and the man has a way of getting the audience really pumped. It’s a special talent to be able to host a show, and Drew’s got it!
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Drew Fraser who not only warmed up the crowd, but heated them up to a boil! (LOL)
Louis Katz was first up on the show and was his usual funny self. He said he spent most of the day balding. He then went on to explain to the audience that with his look he can’t wear a hat, because with his glasses and a hat he’s a fake moustache away from looking like he’s in disguise!
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Louis Katz right after he killed it on Gotham Comedy Live!
He talked about someone who had such bad breath he wanted to tell them, “You know there’s no such thing as street chocolate. You’ve been eating dog shit!”
Marina Franklin was up next and I love seeing Marina perform. Especially when she talks about coming from Chicago and wonders if she and not Michelle could have been The First Lady. But then reality kicks in and she realizes she ain’t no lady! She could have been the “First Ho!”
In talking about her dating life and her recent white boyfriend she said she doesn’t just date white guys exclusively, but the economy was bad!
Colin Jost, one of the head writers up at SNL was next, and he too is reliably funny. I always enjoy his performance and the tone with which he delivers his material, which is so important to a comic. He talked about song lyrics and how in one popular song they changed the lyrics to make them family friendly and have a guy apologizing to a girl by saying, ” I don’t mean to be rude but tonight I’m loving you!” He went on to explain that that’s nothing to apologize for. It’s one of the nicest things you can say to a person.
He also advised couples that if one of you loses a ton of weight you both better lose a ton of weight because it’s very awkward to see them and say, ” Mark, you look great, you must have lost 50 pounds! And Janet, ……………”
And closing the show was the always funny and sexy Lynne Koplitz, who openly says she’s 45 years old and it’s over! She calls herself Auntie Lynne and gives advice to the younger women in the audience like not to smile too much or you get laugh lines. Twenty years from now you’ll be asking yourself, what was so fuckin’ funny?
She goes for younger guys who she can control, and ruled out dating one older guy by saying ” You’re cute, but you probably have opinions!”
After the show, which got picked up for a second season, and which will be starting in May, I went down to the green room to have a long awaited chat with Jim Norton. It was well worth the wait, and here it is:
The comedy world is still in shock from the passing of the great Patrice O’Neal. I attended the services for Patrice yesterday at the Park Avenue Christian Church, on 85th Street and Park Avenue in New York City. I purposely did not use the word “funeral” because the program for the service was entitled “Going Home Services” for Patrice O’Neal.
Plus “funeral” is such a sad word, and as sad as it was to think of Patrice no longer being with us, the comedians who honored Patrice made it more into a “Fun-eral”! If it was possible to put the “fun” into “Funeral” they did it.
The Reverend spoke beautifully, and there were two world class singers. The first was Michael Wheeler who sang, ” I Know Who Holds Tomorrow”, and then the beautiful Antonique Smith sang ” Let It Be.” Their voices were like angels. Powerful angels! But I could almost see Patrice sneaking out, because I knew him as a humble man, (when he wasn’t on stage), and the attention, and having everything be all about him might have made him uncomfortable!
Jim Norton read the Obituary, which chronicled Patrice’s life and career, starting from when he was born in New York City and raised in Roxbury, Massachusetts, (where he led Roxbury High School to a football state championship in his senior year), to his recent first CD entitled “Mr.P”, which sadly will be released posthumously.
Patrice was a huge man in every way. At 6’5″ and 300 pounds he was a commanding presence, but not imposing when you were a friend. From the first time I met him, and told him I thought we should be roommates so we could save money and share clothing, I think he got a kick out of me! He laughed out loud at that one!
Standing side by side we couldn’t have been more different, but we were so much alike. And he knew that. And that was a Blessing to me. Patrice got me. He knew who I was, and welcomed me into his world.
Jeffrey Gurian with Patrice O’Neal at a comedy event for which Jeffrey was honored as part of Black History Month!
Whenever I saw him, I was compelled to hug him. There was just something about him, as big as he was, that just drew me to him. I can’t explain it in words, but he understood it, because when we were on the radio together and he would explain to his audience who I was, and why he had me on with him, he did it with love and affection. I told him if we ever did TV together he should walk out holding me in his arms like a baby! He laughed at that too!
(I also once told the head of the Hell’s Angels, who was about the same size as Patrice, that if anyone ever bothered him to let me know! I like doing that to really huge men. It makes them feel relaxed when they can have a good laugh!)
Many comics said he was harsh with them, or put them down in some way. I can honestly say I NEVER had that experience with Patrice. Patrice never ridiculed me, or gave me a hard time, as comics often like to do to each other. It seems to be some strange right of passage. I actually have tapes of us on air that I treasure, where Patrice said I was “amazing”, and that he was “envious” of me! I have it here, and it’s right at the beginning!
Our ideas of how to meet beautiful women couldn’t have been more opposite. I could NEVER get away with saying the things he said to women, and he could NEVER get away with saying the things I said, nor would he want to. He knew you had to be who you were. It had to come naturally from the heart! You couldn’t fake it.
That’s why to people who thought he was a misogynist, I say, you had no idea what he was about. He truly loved women. He just didn’t like what men had to go through to get them. How a woman’s power could reduce men to being such bumbling jerks!
Patrice could imitate a little girl’s voice on stage and you would see his gentle side come out. It was easy for him to expose that side of himself, because Patrice had nothing to hide. He was comfortable with who he was.
There was nothing you could say to embarrass Patrice, and there was nothing he wouldn’t say either on stage or in a personal conversation. One of my most treasured memories of Patrice is the excited phone call he made to me at 4 A.M. after one of our episodes of The Black Phillip Show on Sirius Radio. He was so happy with how it went that he wanted to call me that night, and suggest we do a show together, but he was so humble that he said he didn’t want to “assume” anything, … as if I might not want to do it! I jumped at the chance, but unfortunately it never developed. Shortly afterwards he went on the road, and like what happens with so many good ideas, it never came to fruition. Now it never will!
If you listen to it right here, you can hear the enthusiasm in his voice!
I write a lot about people in the comedy world who I’ve known over the many years I’ve been in it, and there’s a tendency when you do that to make it seem like it’s about you. How this person was to you. I wrote about ten drafts of this post trying not to do that.
I hope this post comes across as me attempting to explain how Patrice made me feel. If Patrice genuinely liked you, you felt validated. In terms of my comedy, a lot of people have no idea what I do. He took the time to find out.
In the obituary that Norton read, when he was talking about Patrice on “Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn”, he said that “many fans saw Patrice as the shows most controversial and obstinate performer, although only on the subjects of race, religion, gender, relationships, social status, and foreign policy! (LOLOLOL) Patrice was so smart. as I’ve described him before, he was not just a comedian, he was a comedy philosopher!
To some degree all comedians are comedy philosophers, giving you their world view. But Patrice was lightyears ahead in that respect. By the time he left the stage, and very often, he’d stay up there for a while, because he could pontificate, … you really felt you knew him. He made it very clear how he felt on certain subjects.
Several of Patrice’s closest friends got to give him a tribute. Robert Kelly, Wil Sylvince, Colin Quinn, Kevin Hart, and Rich Vos all spoke about the man we were there to honor.
Colin gave a heartfelt tribute, and also made us laugh, first by commenting on Robert Kelly’s opening with a fat joke about himself, and then with his stories of Patrice on Tough Crowd, how Patrice could go on for 20 minutes essentially taking over the whole show, and then say, “Sorry Colin, what do you think? After all, it’s your show!”
Robert Kelly was moved to tears during his tribute as was Kevin Hart. Wil Sylvince who had been Patrice’s roommate at one time said that Patrice spoke “Wil” and was able to translate when people didn’t understand what Wil was saying due to his speech impediment, … which I always thought was just a strong Haitian accent! (LOL)
By the time Rich Vos got up to speak, there had already been lots of laughter, which I know Patrice would have appreciated, especially when Vos told the crowd he’d be selling his CD after the service! I’m sure everyone there had a favorite Patrice story. I’m grateful that I get to give my tribute here!
Then Patrice’s beautiful stepdaughter Aymilyon got up to speak, read a prayer and talked about how “Mr. P.” which is what she called him, had added so much to her life in the seven years he was with her Mom Von. Von is Vondecarlo Brown, Patrice’s wife, and a talented singer/songwriter as well who wrote the song “Cool Ride” for Patrice’s recent one hour Comedy Central special “Elephant In The Room”. It was at that taping that Patrice brought me backstage to introduce me to his Mom, Gloria. You feel proud when someone does that.
It’s like dating someone and they decide it’s time for you to meet their parents! It’s an honor.
I got to the chapel an hour early hoping to see Von so I could express my personal condolences. I hadn’t seen her for a while, but she if anyone, knew what Patrice and I meant to each other. She was in a back room closed off for family so I just made sure I got a good seat and waited for the service to start along with everyone else. So many people came out to honor Patrice. Chris Rock was there, Dave Attell, Bill Burr, Gary Gulman, Ben Bailey, Jay Oakerson, Todd Barry, Keith Robinson, Wanda Sykes, and many more. Several people called and texted me that they were so sorry they were out of town. Macio was in Florida and Wayne Rada was very upset that his plane was delayed coming from Florida, and that he missed it. He and Patrice had a lot of history.
I was sitting on an aisle with Sherrod Small and his girlfriend Marisa. As the family procession came down the center aisle, I saw Von and was nervous to try and get her attention, because those kinds of situations can be very awkward. But as she passed me, she looked into my eyes and I threw her a kiss and touched my heart, and she got it.
After the service when everyone was leaving, I went into the back and was able to see her for a moment. We embraced, and I was able to tell her how sorry I was for her loss. She knew how much I loved Patrice, and as I tried to explain the bond we had, she said she knew, and that made me feel good. Even with his passing, it was important for me to know that Patrice felt the same way about me! And in the midst of her sadness, she did me the kindness of saying, “I was happy to see your face when I was walking down the aisle.” I can’t tell you how that made me feel. Just writing this brings tears to my eyes!
R.I.P. Patrice! You were a one-of-a-kind, and much loved!
Jeffrey Gurian in his last photo with Patrice O’Neal taken at The Comic Strip on 9/27/11!
P.S. As a sick perfectionist, more than once I asked Patrice the proper way to spell his last name, either with an apostrophe or without, and he told me whichever way I wanted was ok, which I never really understood. On the program it was spelled with an apostrophe!
I just got the sad news that Patrice Oneal left us last night. He’s been on my mind every day since I heard he had a stroke on Oct. 19th. Mortality is always a weird concept to try and grasp. To think that one day you’re suddenly not here anymore is a sobering thought. When it happens to someone old you kind of expect it. When it happens to someone young who you know it shakes you to the core.
Patrice Oneal at Carolines back in 2002! He looked like a baby version of himself!
Patrice had so many friends in the comedy community and I’m proud to say I was one of them. Patrice was like a comedy philosopher. I respected his intelligence. He had a well thought out philosophy. And I respected his allegiance to his style and his choice of material. He wouldn’t bend to those who asked him to change his style, or to soften things up a little bit. He had to be who he was. I used to love watching him work. He’d take the stage, sit on a stool, and just pontificate.
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with honored guest Patrice Oneal at a comedy workshop that Jeffrey was giving at Gotham Comedy Club!
One year I was honored as part of Black History Month for creating comedy workshops for inner city kids. It was a beautiful event at Hunter College. The workshops were held at Gotham Comedy Club and one of my honored guests was Patrice Oneal. He took the stage and held court for a while as was his style. He was only supposed to do a short set, but he was so kind, and the crowd loved him so much, he just kept on going. He even did a Q & A afterwards and posed for photos will all who asked.
When I did my book “Filthy, Funny and Totally Offensive” I knew I could count on Patrice to give me some killer jokes. I had written jokes for the Friars Roasts for many years and was asked by journalist Tripp Whetsell, to do a book on celebs favorite nasty jokes. I got 250 celebs to tell me nasty, nasty shit! Paul Provenza wrote the foreward to the book, and Patrice had one of the longest entries. I gave him a full two pages, where most comics had one joke. And I kept a bookmark on Patrice’s page so when people came to my house, I showed them Patrice’s jokes as a representation of what to expect.
He began by asking women,” How would you keep your man if you didn’t have a pu**y? Say there was a terrible train accident, and the doctor was like, ” We gotta remove your pu**y right away or you’re gonna die.” How would you keep your man past the three months of like, ” I can’t leave the bitch, cause she just lost her pu**y in a train accident!” It goes on and on and gets funnier as you go. Only Patrice knew how to pull off material like that!
He also described weird sexual techniques that he felt Black men needed to learn from White men,including “The Fishhook”, “The Blumpkin”, “The Omelet”, “The Donkey Punch”, “The Fish Eye”, “The Chicken Cutlet”, “Puff The Magic Dragon”, “The Angry Pirate”, “The Houdini”, and last but not least “The Spider Man.” It’s all in the book.
After I did my first Black Phillip Show with him, which was part of Opie and Anthony’s “Virus” he was so jazzed about how we performed together he left me this really sincere, and meaningful message on my phone at 4 A.M. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to be respected comedically by someone like Patrice!
Patrice Oneal in “pimp-style” with Opie from Opie and Anthony backstage at Gotham Comedy Club!
Patrice Oneal, Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, and Dante Nero at The Black Phillip Show in 2008!
He asked me to be his co-host along with Dante Nero, not only because we were funny together but because he said I was the only white man he ever met who knew all the words to “Bitch Betta Have My Money”, a hip-hop classic from AMG from back in 1992. It happened to be his theme song.
He loved when I brought “hot” girls on the show which I did each time I came on. Dante said I had magical powers and he and Patrice named me a “Level 12 Pimp”, a title I wore proudly, because they meant it with the kind of respect one guy gives another when they brag about how crazy their friend is!
(L-R) Dante Nero, Catherine Leak, Drew Boogie, Dawn Leak, Jeffrey Gurian, Carlotta Butler, and Patrice Oneal in the studio at The Black Phillip Show!
Patrice always liked when I brought beautiful girls on the show. This time I brought Jacqueline Beaulieu, my muse at the time, straight from a fashion show runway, with Patrice Oneal, me, and Dante Nero at The Black Phillip Show!
The last time I saw him was on September 27th when he came to The Comic Strip to be one of the judges on The Lottery Show. He had been asked by host Sherrod Small, and when Sherrod told him on stage how much he appreciated it, Patrice said, ” You better appreciate it motherfucker!” I’m so glad I got the chance to catch up with him, and get some video and photos with him as I always did when I saw him.
(L-R) Jordan Rock, Robert Kelly, Patrice Oneal, and Paul Mecurio judging The Lottery Show at The Comic Strip on 9/27/11!
When I heard what condition his stroke had left him in and that he was only able to blink his eyes but yet still had his consciousness, which meant he was aware of what was happening, I thought to myself, no one deserves that kind of a nightmare. This is only my opinion. I have no way of knowing. But I think that no matter how much Patrice loved his wife Von, and his Mom Gloria, and I know he loved them with all his heart, he wouldn’t let himself live in that kind of condition. Patrice did things HIS way! I could see him willing himself to leave the planet, rather than stay in that kind of helpless state.
Opening act and close Patrice friend, Harris Stanton, Vondecarlo ( Patrice’s wife), and Patrice Oneal backstage at The Skirball Center after taping a Comedy Central special!
Harris Stanton, Jeffrey Gurian, and Patrice Oneal backstage at The Skirball Center after the taping of Patrice’s Comedy Central special!
In any case, I know he knew he was loved, and I hope he knew how much he’ll be missed! I’m very, very sad right now!
R.I.P. my friend! And thank you for all of your kindnesses!!!
In honor of Patrice, Comedy Central will be re-airing his one hour special tonight, Wed. 11/30, “The Elephant In The Room” with an edited version at 8 P.M. and an unedited version at midnight.
See the previous Comedy Matters post on Patrice for more photos and video – http://wp.me/p1pHIm-Aj
About ten days ago, the comedy world was shocked to hear that Patrice Oneal had suffered a major stroke. It’s still hard for me to wrap my mind around it. When you think of the proverbial gentle giant, you think of Patrice Oneal.
I know and have loved and respected Patrice for a long time, although expressing that sentiment might have made him uncomfortable! I was always drawn to him from the first time I met him. We had a little mutual admiration society going for us. I always felt good being around Patrice, and he always seemed to light up when he saw me! We were drawn to each other. Maybe it was the disparity in our physical beings. One of the first times I met him I suggested that we become roommates so we could share clothing! He thought that was funny!
Jeffrey Gurian and Patrice Oneal on 11/10/01, almost ten years ago to the day!
When we were planning on doing a show together I suggested that he come out holding me in his arms like a baby!
We connected on many levels. Patrice is a thinker. He’s a comedy philosopher. Really smart dude. He has everything figured out to a “T”! ( Whatever that means! Why do they use the letter “T” as a symbol of perfection???)
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV under the protective arm of Patrice Oneal! i still think we’d be great roommates!
We shared a deep and well thought out philosophy on women. He made fun of me being respectful to women, but at the same time gave me props for being genuine. Our approach to meeting women was world’s apart, … diametrically opposite, … but our end goal was the same. People might have mistaken him for a misogynist. I know him as a lover of women! He was just offended by their power, and how weak and dumb guys become around them!
When he asked me to be his co-host on The Black Phillip Show, (a radio show we did on Sirius), part of Opie and Anthony’s Saturday Night Virus, I was really honored. It was me, Patrice and Dante Nero, plus other guest comics. Patrice and I argued over our “meeting women philosophies”, with Dante often taking my side and explaining my thinking to Patrice and the audience. (LOL) What also swayed him to invite me to be part of his show was that he said I was the only white man he ever met who knew all the words to “Bitch Betta Have My Money”, an old-school hip-hop classic from AMG back in 1991! It happened to be his theme song!
Patrice talking about me is a big part of one of my demo reels!
I brought lots of fun girls on the show, after warning them of course about what they could expect from Patrice, who typically was very complimentary to them, but at the same time fascinated by what made them tick, and how they used their feminine beauty as a power! I was disappointed that we only got to do a few shows together before it ended.
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV and Patrice Oneal after judging The Lottery Show at The Comic Strip on 9/27/11!
I saw him kill on the Charlie Sheen Roast recently, and then saw him in person a few weeks ago when he was a guest judge on The Lottery Show at The Comic Strip, along with Robert Kelly and Paul Mecurio. Some fun video of that is below.
(L-R) DJ Jordan Rock, Robert Kelly, Patrice Oneal, and Paul Mecurio judging The Lottery Show at The Comic Strip!
Comedy manager/producer Wayne Rada is also a long time friend and colleague of Patrice and when I saw him last night at the Andy Kaufman Awards at Gotham Comedy Club, which he was producing, he told me that Patrice’s comic friend Harris Stanton, told him that Patrice is in a hospital in New Jersey, breathing on his own, but on a feeding tube. At this point he’s only capable of blinking his eyes.
I’m a very big believer in the power of prayer, so hopefully everyone who reads this post will say a prayer for Patrice, and put that Healing energy out to the Universe, and help him to recover as quickly as possible.
Please respect his family’s privacy at this time. An email has been set up for fans to send him well wishes and his family will make sure he gets them. You can write to [email protected].