I get to interview lots of people but every so often I get to interview someone of whom I’m a genuine fan, which makes it even more exciting. I’ve enjoyed all of Chazz Palminteri’s work, and his new film Mighty Fine really shows off his range as an actor.
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Chazz Palminteri!
Known for playing tough guys, in this film he plays Joe Fine, a tough Jewish guy from Brooklyn in the “schmatte” trade who relocates his family from Brooklyn to New Orleans in order to be closer to his factory. Every major character in a film needs a fatal flaw, and Joe’s fatal flaw is his unpredictable anger and uncontrollable rage.
An Adopt Films feature, written by writer/producer/director Debbi Goodstein, it’s a semi-autobigraphical drama based loosely on her own Dad, about a father’s love for his wife and two daughters, and how they are affected by his sudden, unexpected bursts of anger and rage.
Joe’s wife is played by the incredibly talented Andie MacDowell, who plays a Holocaust survivor, and I understand that Andie worked very hard to get her Polish accent down pat which she certainly did. It takes a very strong and talented performer to be able to stay in character even for a short sketch, but for a whole film it’s really quite an achievement.
The daughters superbly played by Jodell Ferland, who played Nathalie the youngest daughter, and Rainie Qualley who played Maddie the older daughter were both very endearing and had great chemistry as they had to support each other through the trials and tribulations of living with a father who constantly embarrassed them with his behavior, and probably needed to be medicated, but was living in denial about his problem, and refused to seek help.
Rainie Qualley is actually Andie MacDowell’s daughter. It must be so fun to act in a film with one of your kids!
The story is supposedly told in the voice of Nathalie as a grown woman, which turned out to be the voice of Janeane Garofalo. I knew it sounded somewhat familiar to me!
When Joe Fine did finally give in to his wife’s demand to seek help he wound up charming the psychiatrist into thinking it was all a distortion of his wife’s thinking since she suffered through the Holocaust. Joe refuses to face the fact that his business is on the brink of collapse, and struggles to turn that around with the unwilling, coerced help of his partner well-played by Arthur Nascarella.
When I started this video interview Chazz asked me how long I would like to speak with him so he could guide himself on how long or short to make his answers. I told him I was at his disposal. I would stay for as long as he had things to say. We spent 30 minutes together, and it was an insightful interview into the mind of the Academy Award nominee, who gave us among too many to mention, A Bronx Tale, the Academy Award nominated role of Cheech in Woody Allen’s “Bullets Over Broadway”, and his starring role in “The Usual Suspects.”
If you’re a Chazz Palminteri fan, and who isn’t, … I think you’ll really enjoy this!
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
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Kevin Hart at a press promo event for their show at Westbury Theatre!
The Humor Mill broke the story of Eddie Murphy hosting the Academy Awards at least a day before it appeared in the NY Post. My partner Richie Tienken who owns the legendary comedy club The Comic Strip managed Eddie for 11 years, from his days on SNL right through Beverly Hills Cop 2. Then in 1986 they both discovered Chris Rock who was working at the club setting up tables in exchange for stage time.
The Humor Mill helped promote the show I co-produced at Westbury starring Kevin Hart along with Tony Rock and Wil Sylvince!
The Humor Mill recently announced the news that Kevin Hart was launching a new mobile app called “Little Jumpman”, which is a first in the comedy world, and is available at the Apple App Store, and through i-Tunes. Kevin is very tech savvy. He’s got millions of followers on You Tube, Facebook and Twitter, and spends lots of time on Twitter posting things personally, or at least he did when I was with him last year.
Richie Tienken, Wil Sylvince, Jeffrey Gurian, and Kevin Hart at the show Jeffrey co-produced last year at the Westbury Theatre on Long Island!
He’s a really funny and really nice guy who deserves all of his success. I had the honor of co-producing a comedy concert with my partner at the time, Jean Alerte, starring Kevin last year at Westbury Theatre, in New York, right after he had sold out his performances at the South Beach Comedy Festival. He also sold out Westbury, with 2800 seats, in a show featuring Tony Rock and Wil Sylvince where part of the monies went to benefit Haiti. Check out the TV commercial for the event:
Jeffrey Gurian with Kevin Hart after Kevin's sold-out performance at the South Beach Comedy Festival!
Every place I went with Kevin, to the radio stations, and even in the street, people swarmed him with affection. The public genuinely loves the guy. He’s funny and self-deprecating, and he definitely keeps it real!
(L-R) Jeffrey Gurian, Tony Rock, Kevin Hart, Egypt, and DJ FaDelf up at WBLS radio, promo'ing Kevin's show at Westbury!
Comedy Central Insider did a promo for the Kevin Hart show at Westbury co-produced by Jeffrey Gurian in a benefit for Haiti!
This was a promo that Kevin shot specifically giving a shout out to me and my partner, thanks to WhatsPoppin.net. Check it out here:
Check out “Laugh At My Pain” at a theatre near you, and check out Humor Mill Magazine for everything going on in the “urban” comedy world! It makes me wonder, … what is the Caucasian comedy world known as, … “Suburban”??? LOLOLOL
Everybody loves Paul Provenza, … especially comedians. That’s why Showtime picked up his show The Green Room for a second season. It debuted on Thursday, July 14th, at 11 P.M. while I was still out in LA, performing at Jamie Masada’s Laugh Factory with Kevin Nealon, and Budd Friedman’s Improv on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood, plus interviewing both Billy Crystal and Russell Peters. I sure hope I didn’t miss any Green Room premiere party, ’cause I hate when that happens! ( I actually went to a party once and had a good time! LOL)
Check out all the cool comedy names on Paul Provenza's Green Room poster!
Jeffrey Gurian with Paul Provenza in the lobby of The Core Club, for The Green Room.
( I often wonder if I didn’t write the “LOL” if people would know I was kidding! I was born at a party and have been going to them ever since!)
Anyway, Paul made the iconic movie The Aristocrats. He directed the well over 100 comics who performed in that movie, which Penn Jillette produced, and I actually went with Paul when it debuted at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal where Paul and I will be going again next week. The Just for Laughs Festival is the biggest comedy festival in the world. I heard that Andy Nulman who ran it so well for many years, and then went on to direct the huge celeb galas, is back running it again this year! Hey Andy, … see you next week!
Jeffrey Gurian being kissed by Paul Provenza while Jamie Kilstein leans on Jeffrey Gurian, and looks on longingly!
Paul is producing The Green Room with producer Barbara Romen and I remember being there with them when they first introduced it in Montreal, where almost everything big in comedy happens. Barbara honored me by saying she feels like I’m one of The Green Room family, since I’ve been there from the beginning. ( you will see this in the attached video, in case you think I’m exaggerating! LOL )
Jeffrey Gurian holding Paul Provenza's book Satiristas, while Paul is holding Jeffrey's book, "Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive" for which he wrote the foreward!
Paul recently wrote the book Satiristas, in which he also brought in a huge number of big comedy stars to be interviewed. There’s something special about Paul that allows him to get all these huge names to participate in his projects, because they’re not just sitting around waiting for people to ask them to be part of something, which they graciously do for Paul, very often for no compensation. They have to actually like you more than just a little to do that, and with Paul they like him a lot. That’s why when he says the same thing about ME, and gives me props for getting so many big stars to be in my column, it’s very meaningful to me. Someday I hope Paul and I can do a project together.
We first met many years ago on a radio show that Jackie Mason was hosting, when I believe Jackie was filling in for Bob Grant. We were both guests, and Paul and I got along famously. Then one night during a performance of a show he was starring in called “Only Kidding”, he accidentally chipped his front tooth on stage, and some comedian friends suggested he call me! When he asked what good it would do to call a comedy writer, to have his tooth fixed, they explained about my other career as a Cosmetic Dentist. I fixed him up right way and he was back on stage that night. We’ve been friends ever since!
Sylvia Ogonaga, Paul Provenza and Jeffrey Gurian at The Core Club for Paul's debut of The Green Room!
So when I heard that Paul was debuting Season 2 at the prestigious Core Club, ( right across the street from the famous Friars Club) in Manhattan, I actually postponed my departure for LA for one day so I could attend. I brought Ecuadorian model/actress Sylvia Ogonaga with me, … mostly because I could! (LOL) With him that night besides co-producer Barbara Romen was Robin Bronk of The Creative Coalition which was the sponsor of the event, and comics Lisa Lampanelli, Rain Pryor, ( Richard’s daughter), Billy Connolly, and Jamie Kilstein.
(L-R) Robin Bronk, Lisa Lampanelli, Paul Provenza, Rain Pryor, Billy Connolly, and Jamie Kilstein
Lisa Lampanelli came in looking so great. She’s a shadow of her former self, and I guess that’s what success and a happy marriage does for you. I see her husband Jimmy BB ( AKA Jimmy Big Balls), a lot at Gotham Comedy Club, where he makes sure nobody gets out of line. Nobody sane would mess with Jimmy. He’s basically a building with clothing! ( I heard he’s going co-op, but that might just be a rumour! )
Jeffrey Gurian interviewing the amazing Lisa Lampanelli at the debut of The Green Room at The Core Club!
Lisa is always a delight to interview as you’ll see in the video below. It’s a nice feeling when you know someone before they made it big and then watch them enjoy the fruits of their labor and still stay grounded like Lisa. She’s one of the most popular acts around, but still acts nice to people! It doesn’t always go down that way!
It was exciting for me to meet Rain Pryor, Richard’s daughter who came with her brother Richard Jr. who I hadn’t seen in a long time. I actually sponsored Richard Jr. into The Friars Club and took a photo of him standing under a portrait of his Dad, which hangs in one of the spectacular meeting rooms of The Friars Club. Rain was one of the participants in the panel that Paul was leading in a Q&A after the screening.
Surrounded by Pryors! Richard Pryor Jr., Jeffrey Gurian, and Rain Pryor at The Core Club for The Green Room!
The first episode featured such notables as Judd Apatow, who basically owns Hollywood, and is a difficult “get”, Gary Shandling who will be receiving a lifetime achievement award in Montreal this year, Greg Proops, Kathy Griffin, Marc Maron, and Dana Gould, all led in conversation by Paul. It’s totally unscripted, and very loose, and you never know what will happen when you bring minds like that together. Paul makes them all comfortable enough for them to just let it roll, and it’s funny, and entertaining, and it works!
Screen shot of Kathy Griffin and Dana Gould from an episode of The Green Room!
Other stars who’ve appeared are Janeane Garofalo, Lewis Black, Ray Romano, Rick Overton, Joe Rogan, Margaret Cho, John Corbett, Dave Attell, Franklyn Ajaye, Rick Shapiro, Doug Stanhope (and Bingo), Jim Jefferies, Kelly Carlin, Glenn Wool, Matt Kirshen, Kumail Nanjiani, Eddie Ifft, Randy Credico, Kathleen Madigan, and Tommy Chong.
Paul will be shooting at least two episodes of The Green Room in Montreal next week, and he’s threatening to let me be part of one! If I’m not careful I’m liable to be successful, so I better watch out!!!
And YOU better watch this cool, fun video of the premiere of Season 2 of The Green Room held at The Core Club in Manhattan, thanks to their Director of Business Development and Cultural Curator, Pablo DeRitis, who made sure that everyone was comfortable and had a good time !
P.S. Yesterday was Lisa Lampanelli’s birthday, so send her a birthday Tweet at @lisalampanelli, and tell her it’s from both of us! Okay, okay, … here’s the video already!