I had a real treat last night. My friends from The Syndicate, and Laugh Button, Matt Kleinschmidt, Chris Elles, and Tracey Zucatti invited me to their client Robert Kelly’s podcast called “You Know What Dude?” at Gotham Comedy Club. I had even a better time than I expected.
“You Know What Dude” Poster at Gotham Comedy Club!
I first met Robert when he was doing HBO’s Tourgasm with Dane Cook, Gary Gulman, and Jay Davis, and thought he was very funny from the gitgo.
Jay Davis, Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV, and Robert Kelly back in 2006!
“You Know What Dude” is not the kind of podcast you’d share with your parents, but then again why are you sharing any podcasts with your parents at all???
Not only did they have mics set up at a table for the podcast, they had a standing mic on the stage of Gotham’s Vintage Lounge, so people could also get up and do some stand-up first which I think is a great idea, mixing the two. Let people hear some jokes first and then the comic joins the panel.
(L-R) Robert Kelly flipping the bird, Bonnie McFarlane, Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, and Joe DeRosa at Robert Kelly’s podcast!
The room was packed to over-capacity, (just an exaggeration in case the fire department is reading this blog post! LOL), and I wound up sitting next to Conan Smith from Denis Leary’s Apostle Entertainment, who works with both Robert Kelly and Joe DeRosa. The two of us were laughing our asses off!
Funny guy Joe DeRosa, who I happen to like very much for his distinctive delivery and sharp material opened the show and talked a lot about the age-old conundrum of whether a straight guy like himself, would rather have sex with a gorgeous female transexual who still had her male organs down below, or a female transexual, who became a bald, muscular tattooed male, but still had his female organs intact down below.
Joe DeRosa doing what he does best, … making people laugh!
I think the gorgeous female transexual was named Billy Jaye and DeRosa proclaimed that he “would happily skip into a fire to blow Billy Jaye.” That kind of solved that problem, at least for Joe, if not for the rest of the audience! (LOL)
Bonnie McFarlane is not only a funny comic but a very empowered woman. She always winds up in “pissing” contests, (not literally! LOL) with male comics who feel the need to try and “reign her in” comedically in some way. ( No pun attached to the fact that her daughter’s name is Reina. mostly cause I couldn’t think of a joke!)
Bonnie McFarlane giving it back to Robert Kelly and Joe DeRosa who are definitely enjoying it!
To Bonnie’s credit she is NEVER intimidated, but instead goes on the attack and not only holds her own, but often comes out on top, which is exactly where I picture her when she’s with her husband Rich Vos! (LOL)
You gotta be a strong powerful woman to be married to Vos! And you gotta be able to take it when it’s dished out, as it often is when she co-judges The Lottery Show at The Comic Strip.
So when the guys accused Bonnie of self-sabotage, she struck back at Kelly by saying,” Bald people love to rape. It’s the same hormone that makes your hair fall out!” She followed that up with, ” If I was getting raped by a bald guy, I’d try a lot harder to get away, than if I was getting raped by a guy with hair!” You gotta be very hip to pull of a line like that, and she totally did!
What made the show even funnier was when Bob DiBuono came out and did Rich Vos! ( Not “did” him in the Biblical sense! Vos was in Florida, supposedly performing! LOL ) He did the best impression of Rich Vos that I ever heard. I closed my eyes and could actually picture Vos in the room. Everyone said he got more laughs than Vos gets doing his own material.
In the photo below, you can actually see a facial resemblance to Vos. When a good impressionist does his best work, he actually appears like the person he’s imitating. I think it has to do with how the speech muscles have to work in order to imitate a voice perfectly, and those muscles probably have something to do with a person’s appearance.
Bob DiBuono wearing a Rich Vos facial expression! (LOL)
That may explain this photo below when Vos tries his best to smile for a photo! (LOL)
Bonnie McFarlane with her husband Rich Vos who’s doing the best he can to smile! Either that or he’s doing his impression of a man with Bell’s Palsy! (LOL)
The topper on this show was when Robert noticed Wil Sylvince in the room and invited him to join the panel. I was hoping I’d get to hear Wil imitate his Haitian uncle, and anyone who’s ever heard him knows what I mean, ” Why you, why you, why you say dat to me?” (LOLOL)
Wil Sylvince having a laugh while doing Robert Kelly’s podcast “You Know What Dude?”
When I co-produced Kevin Hart back in 2010 at Westbury, in a sold out 2800 seat fundraiser for Haiti, along with Tony Rock, Wil was the MC, and the show was phenomenal!
So was “You Know What Dude?”, and at the end people lined up to have their “You Know What Dude” posters signed by the cast, and Kelly wrote, ” Dear Jeffrey, Thanks for all you do for comedy!”, DeRosa wrote ” Jeffrey you rule”, and what Bonnie wrote is just between her and I! (LOLOL)
I can’t wait to see it again, and maybe one day be a guest on it like I was on National Lampoon Radio last week, which should be airing today!
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!
Sometimes people say the comedy world is a cold world filled with backbiting and people getting screwed over. Cris and Paul Italia, and Patrick Milligan of Cringe Humor proved that to be false. As part of the NY Comedy Festival, they held a tribute to Mike DeStefano, a talented comic they were working with who left us much too young.
The event was held at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, and it was a packed house. That was a tribute to them as well as to Mike, cause it’s not easy to get people to show up for anything in New York, when there are always so many other things to choose from.
Poster for the Cringe Humor Tribute to Mike DeStefano!
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Mike DeStefano after one of his shows at Gotham!
Cringe was producing Mike’s one-man show originally called “Drugs, Disease, and Death, – A Comedy”, which got changed to be the more “user-friendly” name ” A Cherry Tree In The Bronx!” It was Mike’s story of living with HIV, losing his wife to AIDS, and carrying the message of recovery to sick and suffering alcoholics and drug addicts which was part of his past, and a very important focus of his life. Mike was about helping people, as well as making them laugh in the process!
It could have been a somber event, but thanks to MC Rich Vos, who can make any event funny, and a line-up that included Bonnie McFarlane,Eugene Mirman,Robert Kelly,Kurt Metzger, Mike Vecchione, and Colin Quinn, it was a raucous laughfest! Mike would have been happy. His look-alike brother Joe was there, and the likeness is astonishing.
(L-R) Rich Vos, Colin Quinn, and Richie Tienken at the Cringe Humor Tribute to Mike DeStefano!
Eugene Mirman onstage at the Cringe Humor Tribute to Mike DeStefano!
Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV with Robert Kelly at a previous comedy show!
I went with Richie Tienken, owner and founder of the legendary comedy club The Comic Strip where Mike was a regular, although it didn’t start out that way. When Mike’s Uncle Pete asked Richie to give Mike a shot, he did, but Mike was so dirty that Richie didn’t get it. Two years later, he came to perform for Richie again, and when Richie saw how much the audience liked Mike, he made him a regular. Mike hung out at The Strip a lot, before he did Last Comic Standing and afterwards as well.
So the comedy world may be a dysfunctional family, but it’s a family nevertheless!
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with Cris Italia of Cringe Humor and the producer of the Tribute to Mike DeStefano!
Check out the video below for an exclusive interview with Cris Italia from Cringe Humor!
Every Tuesday night at 10:30 at the legendary comedy club in NYC, The Comic Strip, there’s a fun, live, streaming reality type show called “The Lottery Show.” Created by club manager JR, along with owner/founder Richie Tienken, young comics try their hand at passing to perform at the club, and are judged, … very honestly I might add,… by seasoned comedians.
(L-R) Robert Kelly, Patrice Oneal, Paul Mecurio, Richie TIenken and JR judging The Lottery Show at The Comic Strip!
The Comic Strip opened on June 1, 1976 and is still going as strong as ever after 35 years. It launched the careers of people like Jerry Seinfeld,Paul Reiser, George Wallace, Larry Miller, Ray Romano, Adam Sandler, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock and many many more!
The past few weeks has seen stars like Artie Lange, Tony Rock and Colin Quinn come in to be Lottery Show judges, and the show is quickly gaining popularity as a “hip” thing to do in the comedy world.
Jeffrey Gurian with Artie Lange backstage after a show in 2009!
Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV with Tony Rock, the night he was a judge on The Lottery Show at The Comic Strip!
This past week the three judges were Robert Kelly from HBO’s Tourgasm with Dane Cook, Patrice Oneal, one of my favorites, and a guy who pushes the proverbial envelope today the way Lenny Bruce did way back when, and Emmy award winning national headliner Paul Mecurio! The judges change but the host stays the same, and that position is filled by VH1’s Sherrod Small who’s due to break huge any day now.
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV with his exact look-alike Patrice Oneal, after Patrice was a judge on The Lottery Show!
Sherrod is not only hysterical, but he controls the audience in a way that few comics can. And his bit about thanking certain segments of the audience after almost every joke, is a real crowd pleaser! And Jordan Rock is keepin’ it down on the ones and twos!
Sherrod Small and his longtime muse, … the lovely Marisa!
In this week’s show, which I will be providing a video of very shortly, you will see Patrice go off the way only Patrice can do. The judges were arguing very loudly over a call on whether a certain comic was funny or not, and why, and during what almost sounded like a street fight, a show broke out!
I will always be honored by the fact that Patrice chose me to be his co-host on his Sirius radio show, “The Black Phillip Show”. A couple of them are still up on the internet. This is one of them where Patrice is absolutely fascinated by the “hot” girls I’m with!
Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV and Patrice Oneal all the way back in 2001!
Can’t wait to finish editing the video tape of The Lottery Show so I can post it. Stay tuned for that!