Posts Tagged The Core Club

Flying With Eddie Izzard

I was in Montreal last weekend for the 29th annual Just For Laughs Festival, the biggest comedy festival in the world. One of the special events was the debut of Paul Provenza’s great show on Showtime, The Green Room. Paul is a good friend and hooked me up with an “All Access” backstage pass so I could interview everyone for my Comedy Matters Vlog and column. I was the only one back there shooting video and I got some great stuff, which you will see in an upcoming post.

Paul Provenza earlier this month in NYC kissing Jeffrey Gurian shamelessly while Jamie Kilstein looks on casually, as if nothing unusual was happening!

Paul produces the show with Barbara Romen, and gets tons of huge comedy stars to appear on it with him. It’s a totally unplanned, unscripted, unprepared talk show. As Colin Quinn told me backstage, the only one who knows what’s going on is Paul. He said ” Paul looks good and we all look like schmucks!”

Jeffrey Gurian and Colin Quinn on Broadway at Colin's Show "Long Story Short" directed by Jerry Seinfeld!

Paul was taping the last two shows of the season at the Mainline Theatre on St. Laurent Street as part of the festival. The first show had Colin Quinn, Russell Peters, Paul of course as host, Caroline Rhea, Lizz Winstead, and Bill Burr on the panel, and in the audience was Greg Proops, and Vegas lounge singer Tony Clifton who some of you may recall was Andy Kaufman’s best friend!

Bill Burr showing Jeffrey Gurian some love backstage at the taping of The Green Room in Montreal at The Just For Laughs Festival!

Jeffrey Gurian, with Greg Proops and a moose at the taping of Paul Provenza's Green Room in Montreal. The Moose used Greg's name to get in, although he claimed they had never met before!

Things got hot and heavy when Tony began yelling out very inappropriate remarks even for cable, and at first people thought it was a joke, but he wouldn’t stop and kept interrupting the comedians while they were speaking. Paul eventually had to have security throw him out. No one knew if it was real or not, but it was.

I even thought it was planned until the security team literally wrestled Tony to the ground and he fell on the glass table where Paul and the panel were sitting. They wouldn’t have done that for a joke. I have it on video which I will post in a separate Vlog. He just got carried away. I had interviewed him and his lady friend before the show and he had me do a separate interview with her boobs. That’s on the video too!

The second show included Eddie Izzard who I also wanted to film, but the show started late and I still had to pack and get up very early to fly back to The States the next day. While I was waiting for Eddie to arrive, I was warned that he often didn’t like to be interviewed and that I should definitely ask first. That seemed strange to me since that’s the only way I work. I would never just start filming someone without their permission. But I recalled hearing that Eddie could be touchy at times. The truth is, who isn’t???

Anyway, I had to leave before I got to see him or I would have had to stay until the show was over about 2 A.M. Next day on the plane back to New York, who’s sitting right near me but Eddie Izzard. I’m two rows in front of him. I went to say hello and told him that I had just missed him last night, and went back to my seat.

Suddenly a guy comes over to him and asks him if he would change seats with him so he could sit with his girlfriend. I was expecting a scene, but Eddie couldn’t have been nicer and more accomodating. As a matter of fact, he was the one who went over to the girl, tapped her on the shoulder and said, ” Either that guy is your boyfriend, or he’s got a great pick-up line.” So now he wound up two rows in front of me.

When the plane landed in NYC, for some reason his overhead bag was right above me, and mine was right above him, because the overhead space above my seat had been filled, so I put it two rows in front. I gave him his bag and he gave me mine.

Turned out he was in New York to do an episode of CBS’s “The Good Wife” with Julianna Margulies and Chris Noth. He’s playing Abbott Thrush, an English barrister, … or a lawyer to those who have no idea what a “barrister” is!
Jeffrey Gurian and Eddie Izzard waiting for their bags at baggage claim at La Guardia airport in NYC!

The end result of this story is that Eddie Izzard is a heck of a nice guy. I saw how he treated the people on the plane when they asked him to move his seat, and I saw how he treated me. I didn’t get to do my video interview but we did take a couple of stills at baggage claim while waiting for our bags to come around.

And next time I see him we’ll get the video, and I do have a feeling I’ll be seeing him again!

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Lisa Lampanelli at Paul Provenza's Green Room Premiere

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!

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