Seven years ago, Mark Goldman and Ryan McCormick of powerhouse PR firm Goldman/McCormick came up with a very unique, and surefire way to raise money for charity. For the 7th year in a row, they have produced New York’s Funniest Reporter Show and gotten some of New York’s top TV and print news people/personalities to risk, if not their physical lives, certainly their emotional lives, by getting up on stage and performing five minutes of stand-up comedy.
It usually takes place at the legendary comedy club The Comic Strip, the club that launched the careers of such superstars as Jerry Seinfeld, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, and Adam Sandler, and some of the powerful news names that have graced the stage were Ellis Henican, Courtney Friel, Lauren Sivan, Jane Velez-Mitchell, Rob Hoell, Cat Greenleaf, Taryn Winter-Brill, and so many more!
And each year they pick a different charity to benefit from the show. This year was The Humane Society, but the only dog to show up was Wendy Diamond’s dog “Baby Hope” who brought Wendy along with him/her! (I didn’t get a chance to check! LOL)
Wendy, an animal advocate, and the founder of Animal Fair Magazine, comes out every year!
The proceeds of the event will benefit the Lucky Diamond Critical Care Ward at The Humane Society of New York. Lucky Diamond was Wendy’s original dog, a little white Maltese, who unfortunately succumbed to cancer this past year! Wendy and I go back a long ways, as you can see in the photos below!
I was honored to be one of the two judges along with my friend, media powerhouse Judith Regan, who now has her own radio show on Sirius/XM radio. Thanks to Judith my book with Chris Rock called “Make ‘Em Laugh” about the 35 year history of The Comic Strip will be in stores as of this Monday, Oct 1, 2012. It was written with owner/founder of The Strip, Richie Tienken.
This time up they had Greg Kelly Fox 5 news anchor, Clayton Morris who is the co-host of FOX and Friends Weekend, Marianne Garvey from In Touch Weekly, who used to write for Page 6 in the NY Post, the most powerful gossip column in the world, Lauren Lyster from RTTV, Michele Steele, the sports anchor/reporter from ESPN, and Dr. Manny Alvarez, the Senior Managing Health Editor for FOX News Channel.
Marianne Garvey, who looked smoking hot by the way, opened the show with a very strong set about the guy she’s currently with. She got lots of laughs, and wound up coming in first runner up!
Greg Kelly was next, because he had to anchor the 10 P.M. news broadcast, and it wouldn’t look good if he missed it because he was on stage doing stand-up comedy, … even at The Comic Strip! They would have sent his Dad, police commissioner Ray Kelly to arrest him! (LOL) So he had to leave before finding out he was the 2nd runner up!
Greg had great stage presence and lots of confidence, which is just as important as the jokes sometimes! I told him I hope his Dad runs for Mayor. I think he’d be fantastic! He promised to tell him I said so! (LOL)
Michele Steele from ESPN was up next, and introduced herself as Ann Curry, since she says they are both half Filipino, and that people are always curious as to her ethnicity! Michele wasn’t taking any chances on forgetting her lines, and she openly referred to notes, which is usually only done by the biggest comics trying out new material who don’t particular care how it looks! Michele exuded the confidence of a well known comic and used her notes throughout her whole set!
Lauren Lyster came in all the way from Washington, DC for this contest and had the courage not only to get up and perform, but also to admit that she didn’t prepare anything. That takes real courage as it’s a lot different being funny at a party, or with your friends, than getting up on stage and trying to make strangers laugh with thoughts that YOU think are funny!
Dr. Manny Alvarez brought his best bedside manner to the stage and was dressed very casually in what he described as the outfit of a “Latino doctor”, which is very fitting (unlike his shirt! LOL) because he is Cuban! He wore a casual shirt out of his pants that he called his “Cuban-style shirt” and he definitely owned the stage for his set. I guess he gets that confidence from being a doctor.
Dr. Manny is an OB-GYN specialist, and he “brought it” to the point where his producers were yelling out for him to do a “vagina joke!” He didn’t, although he did make a reference to something called “Penis Soup”, which brings to mind a highly unusual and disturbing visual! (LOL)
I wanted to tell him that I was also a doctor, like I did at the end of my interview with Ken Jeong from the Hangover movies,( who is also a doctor!), but I didn’t get the chance. Hopefully, he’ll read about it here!
Clayton Miller went on last, and I guess it’s true when they say they saved the best for last, because he wound up winning! What Judith and I liked best about Clayton was that he did his homework and really came off as a stand-up. He structured his material the way a real comic would, talking about several things, and linking them together artfully, including being a new Dad, for the second time.
His beautiful wife was there cheering him on and she looked so slim, you’d never know she recently had a baby!
One of his observations was that babies are so small, you can put them anywhere! And then he added the killer tag, “As long as your wife isn’t home!” Then made some mention about balancing the baby on the mantle of the fireplace! That was hysterical!
There were two guest spots, one from last year’s winner Marlaina Schiavo, who showed why she won last year, and that she still had it this year, and WWE wrestling champion, 2 time best selling author, Mick Foley, who I had just seen in Montreal at the end of July, at the 30th annual Just for Laughs festival in Montreal! Mick is the proverbial “Gentle Giant”, and might be scary to face in the ring, but in person is the nicest guy in the world!
And funny too, which always helps if you wanna be in comedy! (LOL) What’s cool about Mick, (and I was glad I got a chance to say it on camera as the WWE Network was filming him that night for an upcoming special), is that one of the reasons that Mick is so likable on stage is that he’s not afraid to be vulnerable.
As big and macho as he is, he’s not afraid to be self-deprecating or talk in a little voice that you wouldn’t even think would come out of a man that big. Add that to his humor and stage presence and you’ve got a budding comedy star. He’s also a favorite of Judith Regan who published both of his best-selling books!
I complimented him on being so comfortable onstage that he even sat down on the stool to talk to the packed crowd! He explained to me that it wasn’t confidence, but body pain that made him sit down! A very down-to-earth, humble guy!
All in all, it was a wonderful night of entertainment thanks to Goldman/McCormick PR. They did it again!