On Nov. 29, 2011 the comedy world and the world at large lost a luminous presence, … the great Patrice O’Neal. I thought of Patrice not only as a comedian but as a comedy philosopher. He had such a specific and well thought out point of view. One of my greatest honors was being named a co-host of The Black Phillip Show on XM radio, by Patrice himself.
The first night we went on the radio together was Feb. 10th 2008. It went so well that he called me that night at 4:05 in the morning, and left me a message which I keep on my phone to this day, to tell me how much he liked the show, and that we should do our own show together. But he was so humble, that when you listen to the phone call (below) you’ll hear him say that he didn’t want to assume anything.
As if I might not have wanted to do it with him. I would have done ANYTHING to have been able to do that show with Patrice. Unfortunately it was not to be.
Bill Burr and Maureen Taran produce a benefit for Patrice every year for the last 7 years. It’s usually held at Town Hall in NYC, which holds 3,000 people, and sells out well before the date.
I always knew The Black Phillip Show had a great influence on a lot of guys by the calls that came in while we were on the air, but it’s been pointed out to me lately by the amount of messages I receive on Instagram, and by random encounters in the street.
Recently I was down at The Village Underground which is part of The Comedy Cellar hanging out with Ardie Fuqua who was hosting a great show that night, and as I left and was walking to my car I heard someone yell out, ” Holy shit, it’s Jeffrey Gurian.” Not accustomed to getting called out like that I turned and saw two brothers, … and not brothers because they were Black, (which they were) but because they were true biological brothers.
We stopped to chat and they told me what big fans they were of Black Phillip and how much the show changed their lives. They were so sincere and so excited that I stayed there talking with them for quite a while and told them how it was working with Patrice and then I walked them back to the Fat Black Pussycat bar to meet Ardie.
This past weekend I went to a wedding in Boston. Late at night I went into the basement of the hotel I was staying in to grab a snack from a vending machine, and two guys were sitting at a table looking like they were doing some writing work. Next thing I know one yelled out, ” We love your interviews!” and when I went over to chat, once again it was two “brothers” but this time not biological, … and they admitted to being big fans of The Black Phillip Show but said they were reluctant to yell that out.
We talked for quite a while and again I shared stories of the fun we had up at the studio and how when I brought models up to the show, which I did each time, I would warn them that Patrice would try and “deconstruct” them to take away their power. They were always cool enough to go with the flow!
And the show didn’t only have Black fans. White guys stop me too lately. Skankfest, the outrageously crazy comedy festival out in Brooklyn draws fans from all over the world. Last year at Skankfest two guys from Ireland stopped me about Black Phillip and I didn’t think to take photos of them, which I try and do now each time it happens.
This year at Skankfest two Indian looking guys from Scotland stopped me who were Black Phillip fans, then a guy from England and then three guys from Canada came up to me talking about how much Black Phillip changed their lives as well. Only two are in the photo below because the third one volunteered to take the pic!
At this years’ Patrice benefit produced by Bill Burr and hosted by Rich Vos, I heard someone calling my name at the after-party. It turned out to be Patrice’s Mom Georgia, who called me over to take a pic with her and her daughter Zinder. It’s always so wonderful to see her. The first time we met was backstage at the taping of “Elephant In The Room” when Patrice called me over to introduce me.
These are just some of the messages I’ve received lately on Instagram for my work with Patrice on The Black Phillip Show.
It’s just nice to know that Patrice’s memory and his words and his commentary live on to inspire people and that in some small way I was part of that history. R.I.P Patrice!
The logo and opening shot of “Nick and Artie”, seen nightly Mon-Fri, 10 P.M. to 1 A.M.on Sirius Radio and DirecTV!
I was really psyched to do the “Nick and Artie” Show and talk about my new book “Make ‘Em Laugh” with Chris Rock, after Artie invited me to come on one night when he was judging The Lottery Show at The Comic Strip. The book is about the 35 year history of The Strip and is written with Richie Tienken the owner and founder of the club.
The promo for Jeffrey Gurian on the “Nick and Artie Show”!
Then I ran into Artie a few days later when he performed at a memorial show for Patrice O’Neal at Gotham Comedy Club, and he invited me again.
Patrice and I were very close and he honored me my making me his co-host along with Dante Nero, when he hosted The Black Phillip Show on Sirius Radio. We always had fun, and I always made sure to bring lots of hot models with me, cause nothing is more fun than mixing comedy with beautiful girls!
This is a phone call from Patrice that I will always treasure, inviting me to do our own show together! Unfortunately that never came to fruition, and will always be one of the great disappointments of my life!
(L-R) Dante Nero, Drew Boogie, Jeffrey Gurian, Carlotta Butler, Patrice Oneal, and in back Kathy and Dawn Leak, AKA “The Leak Sisters!”
So I make my arrangements to come on the show with Liz Canavan of “Twinsanity”, and I went down there with my buddy from L.A. Nathan Oventhal who starred in my film “Men Who Take A Fish To Work”, the newest addition of The “Men Who Series!”
Nathan Oventhal holding a fish with nightlife impresario Wass Stevens on the set of ” Men Who Take A Fish To Work”!
Liz greeted us and brought us to the green room, where I see that Richard Lewis is a guest on the show. Richard is not only a dear friend, but he also wrote a blurb that’s on the back cover if “Make ‘Em Laugh” and I hadn’t had the chance yet to give him a copy.
Luckily I had an extra one with me, so I told Liz to tell Richard I was here. Next thing I know I hear someone calling my name, and it was him. I hadn’t seen him since the year before when we did a private Comedy Matters TV interview at The Friars Club, and it was so great to see him again!
Richard Lewis being interviewed by Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at The Friars Club in NYC!
He said he was really excited about the book, and congratulated me on bringing it to life after four years of work. And the timing was so cool that I had one to sign and to give him. He wrote a hilarious blurb that said:
The hilarious blurb sent to me my my great pal Richard Lewis!
Richard has always been a favorite of mine in many ways. To my detriment I relate so much to his personna!(LOL) Back around 1997 when he was starring in the movie “Drunks”, I got the bright idea that I should be writing for him, although I knew he always writes his own stuff. But it was my dream, like when I got a chance to show my earliest material to Woody Allen, expecting him to leave what he was doing and run off and write films with me! (LOL)
That didn’t happen by the way! This is as close as I got to that!
The night I made Woody Allen laugh by saying, ” Hi Woody, I’m a very close friend of yours!” You can see how absolutely hysterical he is in this photo!
I did however make some films he encouraged me to make called “The ‘Men Who’ Series” about men who do very unusual things, like “Men Who Take A Pitchfork To The Movies”, “Men Who Enjoy Latin Dancing With Tools”, and one special one in particular called “Men Who Swim To Work” starring Mike Bochetti, currently the side-kick on Nick and Artie, which airs on both Sirius radio and DirecTV!
Mike Bochetti as he appears today in 2012, with Jeffrey Guiran on the set of “Nick and Artie” where he is a regular!
And if you watch ” Men Who Dance Where They’re Not Supposed To” you’ll see award winning actor Peter Dinklage, star of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” getting arrested for dancing in a “No Dancing” zone!
So I wrote up some material for Richard which I called his “Born To Be Nervous” Tour, and brought it with me to the theatre. For whatever reason I arrived late, and tried to bypass a long line of people waiting to get in, by running down a staircase which turned out to be leading to the Men’s Room! And who comes out walking towards me but Richard himself and he says, “What are you doing here?” To which I responded my handing him a manila envelope filled with neatly typed jokes.
These were some of them: My family are firm believers in the power of negative thinking. They feel you can ruin almost anything, if you really put your mind to it.
Low self esteem goes back in my family to the beginning of time. I actually had an uncle who was supposedly the first man to walk erect. But he couldn’t hold it. He’d take a few steps, and just slump over.
ALTERNATIVE – …. I actually had an uncle who was supposedly the first man to walk erect, but nobody noticed.
My shrink was also treating me for feelings of loneliness. At one point, I was so lonely, I tried to develop a split personality, just for the company.
I once knew a guy from group therapy who had a split personality. He dated a girl who also had a split personality. They used to double date.
He fell in love with her other personality, and she fell in love with his other personality. They got married, accused each other of cheating with themselves, and the marriage fell apart.
Anyway less than an hour after I got home, I got this message from Richard on my answering machine. Another message that I treasure:
So as I reminisced with Richard about the video we shot at The Friars, Richard commented that it was a great interview but that he thought he looked like Lon Chaney’s undertaker, which we all thought was hysterical! I think he looked great! See what you think! (This is part 1. Part 2 is on the Comedy Matters You Tube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/guriannewsnetwork)
Richard is in town headlining Carolines on Broadway this weekend through Sunday night. If you can still get a seat, go down and see him. It’s always a treat to see Richard perform.
So going on the show with Nick and Artie was exciting and they made me feel right at home. Appearing with two powerhouse comics like that can be intimidating, but they were very generous, and made it easy for me to tell my stories about the history of The Comic Strip and all the huge stars that came out of there, … although I really wanted to have time to do my one of my special GNN news reports which I often do on radio.
GNN (Gurian News Network) are unusual stories missed by mainstream media, like “Man Robs Bank With His Chin”, “College Professor Fired For Casually Removing His Spine in Class”, and “Hunter Lost in Wilderness Saved By His Moustache!”. These are the kind of stories I wrote for the legendary Weekly World News in my own column called “Gurian’s World of the Bizarre!”
There was the story ” Rare Virus Sweeps Japan, Victims Too Weak To Bow” about two men hurt in a bowing accident, and “Man Impaled On Spike, Still Shows Up For Work On Time!”, which is kind of self-explanatory! Hence GNN is known as your source for ” All The News That’s Fit To Dance To!”
Four of the stories, including “Man With Infant’s Head Sues For Discrimination”, and “George Washington Wore Wooden Pants” got made into animated films and wound up in the Cannes Film Festival in 2009.
But with Nick and Artie, I got to tell some cool stories from Seinfeld, Paul Reiser, Gilbert Gottfried, Chris Rock and also got to discuss my days writing for Rodney and some other fun people.
We also talked about the synchronicity of events in life and Artie told me that two days after getting out of rehab, during a quite stressful and confusing time of his life, Nick called and asked him to be his co-host on the show. Talk about synchronicity. I hope Artie knows how much he is loved,by his fans and the public in general.
I’ll never forget the reaction to Artie when he came out onstage one night at Town Hall, I think it was, to a standing ovation before he even said a word. I had never remembered seeing a reaction like that to any comic before. And he gave Mike Bochetti the great opportunity to open for him. That’s the kind of great guy that Artie is. I remember very clearly going backstage to congratulate him. I don’t recall 100% where it was, but it was a huge venue and it was sold out!
So I’m so happy for him that he gets to do this great show five nights a week with his good friend Nick!
Nick DiPaolo on camera on his fantastic “Nick and Artie” show!
Their set is also incredible. It’s like the ultimate man-cave, complete with Foosball, ping-pong, big screen TV’s all over, a photo booth, a full size kitchen and as they pointed out to me, pull out beds. Ohhh, and I forgot to mention two beautiful blonde twins Liz and Marie Canavan known as “Twinsanity”!
Artie Lange onscreen during the broadcast of the Nick and Artie Show, on Sirius and DirecTV, Mon-Fri. from 10 P.M. till 1 A.M.
Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV in a “Twinsanity” sandwich with Liz on the left, and Marie on the right! (If you’re facing the screen!)
Part of the great “Nick and Artie” set where guests come to chat!
The photo booth on the set of “Nick and Artie” where I came out looking like Lon Chaney’s undertaker!” Only models who are already gorgeous come out good in those photos! (LOL)
It’s a total party, I had a great time, and I really hope they ask me back!
Nick DiPaolo, Jeffrey Gurian from Comedy Matters TV and Artie Lange on the set of “Nick and Artie” , on Mon-Friday from 10 P.M. until 1 A.M.! Make sure to tune in!
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].
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!