Posts Tagged The Tonight Show”

Comedians Rule Boy Band

With comedian/actor/writer Seth Herzog

When you hear the words “Boy Band” maybe you think of The Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, or New Kids on the Block. Well change that image cause from now on you’re gonna be thinking of Seth Herzog, Dave Hill, Jordan Carlos and Steve Agee, who played part of a gay couple with Brian Posehn on the Sarah Silverman Program.

(L-R) Stephen Levinson, Dave Hill, Jordan Carlos, Joel Levinson and Seth Herzog

All four of the above are comedians who thanks to first time feature screenwriters Joel and Stephen Levinson play members of a boy band called “The Heartthrob Boyz” who were wildly successful in the 90’s,  and went into the studio 15 years ago to record an album and are still there working on the same album. They’ve aged, gained weight and lost hair but didn’t lose their childish sense of humor.

Joel and Steven wrote the script together and Joel directed it. They screened it last night at the Chelsea Music Hall on West 15th Street in Manhattan and preceded the screening with a VIP cocktail party at 7 P.M. I who am never late for anything was literally the first one there which is how I got to talk with Joel and Steve, and Seth who was there early too making sure that everything went smoothly, which it did.

Stephen Levinson holding the film poster with his brother Joel Levinson

I brought the lovely, talented and amazing Jessica Robinson with me, who is kind of my muse, and we had the best time!

The Levinson boys wrote the script over a six month period and shot it in 10 days in Yellow Springs, Ohio, the home of independent film! (JK) They shot it there because it’s near Dayton where they live and because that’s where they had connections for locations and also they said that the rates of everything else were much lower. ( Lower than New York? Who would have believed it? LOL)

I always like to know how things come about so I asked them how they met Seth Herzog. They met through comedy writer Rob Kutner who wrote for The Daily Show and Conan through a project called Purim Shpiel, a sketch comedy show in honor of the Jewish holiday of Purim, and Seth always played a wicked character named Haman, who to this day is responsible for Jewish people eating what’s called Hamantashen on the holiday of Purim, actually coming up later this month. (Google it!)

They said that Seth played the perfect asshole so he was the first one cast in Boy Band to play the bad boy of the group. He’s also a producer on the film. Last May at a John McEnroe charity event at Carolines on Broadway where I covered the red carpet I got to interview my buddy Seth and he told me all about Boy Band before it was shot.

The film was loaded with recognizable faces, like David Gruber Allen and Julie Goldman, and I was pleasantly surprised to see my pal Jerry O’Connell in a pretty big role as a newscaster, opposite Seth’s wife, on-air journalist/actress Hitha Herzog, who he somehow coerced to be in the film.  (LOL) Jerry will soon have his own talk show called Jerry O.  on FOX owned stations, and it’s set to begin on August 12th. It will feature celebs and comedy for sure because Jerry is a funny guy, who appreciates the importance of comedy.

Hitha Herzog and Jerry O’Connell

They even had Questlove from The Roots in the film playing an alien, hence the horns, also appearing in the newscast with Hitha and Jerry.

Seth as you should know is the warm up comic for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and so works with Questlove on a day to day basis. Stephen Levinson is also a writer on that show. And Gilbert Gottfried’s voice made an appearance speaking as a puppet named Morty who played an accountant.

The film also featured comedian Esther Ku playing the character of Tina, Steve Agee’s character’s girlfriend. Esther recently co-hosted the AVN ( porno) awards in Las Vegas, and she had a big part in this film.

Esther looked absolutely gorgeous as she did hosting the AVN awards, and it’s so nice seeing her owning that power and not playing down her looks like many female comedians of the past felt they had to do in order to be taken seriously as a funny person. (Having to be taken seriously as a funny person is a funny concept!) And Esther had the foresight to be Asian before it was even popular!

The screening had a great turnout, and was packed with lots of industry people. I ran into comedy exec. Maureen Taran, and Ali Farahnakian founder and owner of The P.I.T. who many people may not recall was also one of the founding members of USB. He was there with wife TV producer Beth Saunders, and he showed her the photo he took of me in the street many years before that wound up, unbeknownst to me, on the wall of the Men’s Room in The P.I.T.

Funny story, … I was walking in the street at a street fair when this nice guy who I had never met before asked if he could take my photo. He said he thought I had an interesting look and because he was so nice I agreed. At the time I didn’t know who he was. So one night I’m at The P.I.T. and I had to use the Men’s Room and while I’m standing there doing my business, I happen to look to my right and see my photo staring me in the face. It was hilarious and we’ve been friends ever since. He’s just a great guy.

And when Bravo TV wanted to shoot scenes with me for RHONY, with Countess LuAnn de Lesseps and Princess Carole Radziwill for a sketch I created and co-wrote for them, Ali was kind enough to give us The P.I.T. for the shoot and after-party.

Boy Band was a fun 90 minutes with a sci-fi element and even a touch of zombie stuff, and it’s available to be seen on all platforms that show movies! Make sure to check it out.

And with that, … I’m OUT!!!

Oh yeah, … and please make sure to like this post, comment and “Subscribe” to Comedy Matters TV by clicking on the “Follow” button at the bottom of the post. Also follow Jeffrey on Twitter and IG at @jeffreygurian.




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Jimmy Fallon Brings The Tonight Show Tonight!

Today is the day we’ve all been waiting for.  You’d basically have to be from a small village in Bulgaria, living next to a stream not to know that Jimmy Fallon is bringing The Tonight Show back to New York, starting tonight and it will change entertainment completely!

For the first time in 42 years since Johnny Carson took the show out to Burbank, The Tonight Show will have it’s home at 30 Rock, along with SNL and Late Night with Seth Meyers, who is replacing Jimmy Fallon in that spot.  Jimmy’s last night on Late Night was Feb. 7th.

Jimmy Fallon and Will Ferrell doing a song about their tight pants!

Jimmy Fallon and Will Ferrell doing a song about their tight pants!

Never before has there been a late night host as talented as Jimmy.  Many were funny, and many did characters and different types of “shtick”, but NOBODY does as many things as Jimmy Fallon.  First he’s only 39 and appeals to a younger demographic.  But besides doing stand-up, he also sings, dances, (which he claimed in an interview he did with me that he doesn’t dance, but anyone who’s seen him move on the show will beg to differ), plays instruments, (especially the guitar!), does impressions, and is the right age to bond with most of his popular guests like Justin Timberlake, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt with whom he yodeled in a video, and Bruce Springsteen who he dressed up as and sang a duet with.  He even  got Jerry Seinfeld and Billy Crystal to dress up as old time baseball players!


Jimmy Fallon and guest Justin Timberlake in conversation!

Jimmy Fallon and guest Justin Timberlake in conversation!

Tom Cruise crushing raw eggs on his head after losing a bet to Jimmy Fallon!

Tom Cruise crushing raw eggs on his head after losing in Egg Russian Roulette, to Jimmy Fallon!  Hysterical bit!

Jerry Seinfeld, not sure who this guy is, and Billy Crystal as old time baseball players

Jerry Seinfeld, not sure who this guy is, and Billy Crystal as old time baseball players

Jimmy’s “Tonight Show  starring Jimmy Fallon”, will be broadcast from Studio 6B in 30 Rock, Monday through Friday at 11:34, except for tonight when it will start a few minutes later due to The Olympics! Among his first guests will be Will Smith and U2.  Can’t wait to hear U2 jamming with The Roots!

Later on in the week he’s planning on having Justin Timberlake who was on his recent “Best Of” special on NBC doing a “History of Rap” duet with Jimmy, Lady Gaga, and Michelle Obama, who also appeared in that special.  And what a special it was.  Not only does he have the hugest guests in the world, but he does fun things with them.

Like when he got Pres. Obama to actually do “Slow Jam the News”, a bit he does where they do the news to Barry White-like music in the background.  C’mon, … getting the President of the United States on your show doing comedy?  Talk about “beyond your wildest dreams!”  Who gets the Pres. to do comedy on their show?  Only Jimmy Fallon!

Pres. Barack Obama "slow-jamming the news" with Jimmy Fallon, and The Roots!

Pres. Barack Obama “slow-jamming the news” with Jimmy Fallon, and The Roots!

He’s had Mick Jagger, Mariah Carey, and Robin Thicke, he’s come out dressed as David Bowie, and Bob Dylan  and imitated both, (his Dylan is better than Dylan, and he did it during an interview he did with me as well!), he’s arm-wrestled with Jason Statham, he had Tom Cruise crack eggs on his own head, and dressed up like Bruce Springsteen and actually did a duet with the real Springsteen, side by side on his show.

Jimmy Fallon on stage with Mick Jagger!

Jimmy Fallon on stage with Mick Jagger!

Jimmy Fallon having fun with Robin Thicke!

Jimmy Fallon having fun with Robin Thicke!

Jimmy Fallon arm-wrestling with action star Jason Statham!

Jimmy Fallon arm-wrestling with action star Jason Statham!

And as far as arm-wrestling with Jason Statham goes, I can attest to how strong Jimmy is physically.   One night when we were hanging out he insisted on picking me up, and not that I’m so heavy, but when I resisted as I tend to do when people try and lift me off the ground, I could feel the strength in his arms. The dude works out!

Having Jimmy in New York will give New York’s comedic talent more of a shot at getting on the show and many more big stars from LA will be coming to New York to be on the show.

What’s also special about Jimmy is that he’s not out to make his guests uncomfortable or as was said in a recent New York Mag article  of 2/10/14, ” he doesn’t try to expose his guests’ hypocrisy like Stewart or Colbert, and in contrast to Letterman, he actually watches his guests’ movies, listens to their music and geeks out endearingly in front of them.”

That “niceness” comes easily for Jimmy.  He’s a genuinely nice guy!  I remember when I was shooting an interview with him backstage at Gotham Comedy Club, and my D.P wasn’t able to make it.  I was so nervous to tell him I didn’t have anyone to work my camera, and when I finally got up the nerve to tell him as we sat in the green room, he said ” Don’t worry about it, my wife Nancy is a producer and she’ll shoot it for us”, … and she did!

Jeffrey Gurian with Jimmy Fallon backstage at Gotham Comedy Club after Jeffrey interviewed Jimmy for Comedy Matters TV! (with the help of Jimmy's wife Nancy!)

Jeffrey Gurian with Jimmy Fallon backstage at Gotham Comedy Club after Jeffrey interviewed Jimmy for Comedy Matters TV! (with the help of Jimmy’s wife Nancy!)

The last time I saw Jimmy I was performing in a show at The Players Club, hosted by the inimitable Brute Force who hosts a monthly show there, and Jimmy dropped by to see Brute.  He was shocked to see me, and we all hung out at the bar after the show.  I think he was playing a song on the piano and then turned to me and asked me to play something!

Jeffrey Gurian, Jimmy Fallon and Brute Force hanging out at The Players Club!

Jeffrey Gurian, Jimmy Fallon and Brute Force hanging out at The Players Club!

I think I surprised him by playing a little something I remembered from my 10 years of taking lessons when I was a kid.   Jimmy sat on the pool table behind me and just listened.  Then we all just hung out and had fun for the next couple of hours.

Jimmy Fallon hanging out with Jeffrey Gurian, and a whole group of people at The Players Club, June 2013!

Jimmy Fallon hanging out with Jeffrey Gurian, and a whole group of people at The Players Club, June 2013!

Anyway, I’ll be staying home tonight to watch Jimmy inaugurate his show.  I could TIVO it, but that wouldn’t be as fun as seeing it live and in person.  I’ve never really had the time to watch late night TV, but I plan to be watching Jimmy on a constant basis!  I hope you will too!

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Jimmy Fallon Visits Brute Force’s Show at The Players Club

Once a month a talented musician, songwriter, comic and avant garde talent by the name of Brute Force produces a variety show at the esteemed Players Club in Manhattan on East 20th Street!

Brute Force at the mic in the library of The Players Club where his monthly shows are held!

Believe it or not, Brute Force was not the name his parents intended him to have. He started out in life as Stephen Friedland, and took the name Brute Force in 1964. He wrote and performed with The Tokens in the 1960s and wrote songs for Peggy March, Del Shannon, The Chiffons and The Cyrkle.

I believe The Cyrkle sang a song called ” Red Rubber Ball” which was one of my favorites!

Brute also recorded an album in 1967 called ‘I Brute Force: Confections of Love.’ But I think his most enduring credit is the song he recorded on Apple Records, ( Yes, … The Beatles label!) called “King of Fuh.”

Brute Force at the keyboard performing his hit on Apple Records, ” King of Fuh”!

A friend of Brute’s who was in The Cyrkle, played the song for Beatles manager Brian Epstein who then played it for George Harrison. Harrison, and John Lennon both wanted to release the song but Capitol/EMI blocked it because of the lyrics which in the 6o’s were considered too outrageous. Today they would be nothing!

Similar to the way that Lenny Bruce was pilloried for things he said that were considered obscene in his day, that today would make him like just another stand-up comic. It was a different world.

It took 40 years for Brute’s song to finally be officially released on a compilation album from Capitol/EMI called ‘Come and Get It: The Best of Apple Records,’ a compilation of music recorded by Apple artists such as James Taylor, Billy Preston, Badfinger and Mary Hopkin. Also on the collection is ‘King of Fuh,’ marking the first time it got an official major label release.

Brute like so many who are ahead of their time, is so unique that he doesn’t fall into a category. I had that for so many years in my early career. I had such high level meetings with everyone important in comedy who said things like, ” Your stuff is really funny, but it’s so different we don’t know where to put it!” It makes you wanna say, “Well, how about putting it on it’s own show???

Brute plays the chair like no one else I ever saw who plays furniture, and he also plays a fantastic violin solo on the elongated hair from his eyebrows, … eyebrows that even George Whipple would envy!

Brute Force performing a classical violin concerto on the hair from his eyebrow! He can actually play it on both sides and it sounds like it’s in stereo!

Anyway, somewhere during the show Jimmy Fallon popped into the room, and then hung out afterwards for about an hour with his new producer Amy Ozols who will be producing The Tonight Show when Jimmy brings it back to New York starting in February, 2014.

(L-R) Jimmy Fallon, Jeffrey Gurian and group watching Brute Force perform after his regular show at The Players Club!

Jimmy will be bringing his unique voice to a legendary show and I can only imagine how exciting this must be for him. He’s so much more than just a comedian. He’s a multi-talented guy who sings, plays instruments, does impressions, … you name it he does it!

Jimmy Fallon with Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV at a comedy event back in 2006!

He was telling Amy about my Comedy Matters TV channel, and we reminisced about the time I interviewed him at Gotham Comedy Club and his wife Nancy shot the interview for me because my DP wasn’t able to show up. It’s in two parts, and I’ll show one here!

Jimmy stopped by to give Brute his support and was very surprised to see me there too! I told him I had just gotten back from LA from doing a guest spot on Kroll Show on Comedy Central playing myself in a red carpet sketch, as an interviewer for Comedy Matters TV.

He kept saying “Jeffrey, what are you doing here? I explained that I’m a regular performer on Brute’s shows, which are always fun and different! You can always count on Brute to do something fun and outrageous. Like a yoga position he named something to do with a dog, … not Downward Facing Dog, but his own version where suddenly he’s on the floor on his back with his legs up in the air panting like a dog!

Brute Force in his original “doggy style” yoga posture!

Brute played King of Fuh for Jimmy at his request, and then Jimmy surprisingly turned the piano over to me, not aware that I was actually able to play. I don’t know who was more surprised, he or I that I knocked out a couple of songs off the top of my head!

Jeffrey Gurian of Comedy Matters TV, JImmy Fallon, and Brute Force at The Players Club in NYC!

I took lessons for ten years from the time I was 7 until I was 17, but I don’t get to play as much as I’d like to. Just recently I played in a comedy video I shot with this great comedy troupe called “Cult Comedy Pictures” where I played myself interviewing a hack comic named “Count Hackula.”

Hackula dresses like a vampire and hasn’t changed his act in hundreds of years! I confront him on that on Comedy Matters TV!

Jeffrey Gurian interviewing the legendary Count Hackula in his Comedy Matters TV home studio!

Anyway, it was great to see Jimmy and we’re all so excited for him to take over The Tonight Show, and bring it back to New York! One thing I know for sure, it’s going to change a lot of things around here, … and all for the good!

You can subscribe to Comedy Matters TV right here at this link, and you should to get regular backstage and inside interviews with the comedians and film stars you love!

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