Jeffrey Gurian is a writer and comedian in New York who loves to Jump Around. Follow his regular column right here, to find out what’s happening in comedy, and who Jeffrey Gurian ran into this week in and around New York. This week Jeffrey covered the scene at Gotham Comedy Club, New York Comedy Club, Dangerfield’s and more.
All you guys who used to watch Saved By The Bell back in the 90’s will be happy to learn that Dustin “ Screech” Diamond grew up to be a really nice guy. Host Joe Conklin up at Ha! Comedy Club in Yonkers introduced him to the audience as having “an interesting relationship with the law!” And that’s putting it mildly. He came in from Wisconsin where he’s based, to headline the club, and I was asked to open for him for two shows, so we had plenty of time to chat in between. I asked him why Wisconsin. He said when he left L.A., he needed a change of scenery. He’s also a musician and played bass with a band that recorded an album in Wisconsin and he fell in love with the place. He’s been there for 14 years now. He also said he’s so happy to be out of jail that he’s happy anywhere he goes.
He comes to New York periodically to visit his family who are originally from The Bronx. I had to ask him what it was like being a child star. He said it was kind of surreal to be doing a show that became so popular. He said it was the first live action Saturday morning sit-com that was up against all kinds of cartoons. He started on the show when he was just 11, but had been doing commercials since he was 8. He said he’s very glad he did it, but it took a big piece of his childhood away, which he still mourns the loss of. He said it takes a long time to get over that. He was very open about his having to do jail time and said he can’t really talk too much more about it than what’s already out there as he’s still on probation for a few more months. Then he can address some of the things he’d like to address. He also confirmed that his sex tape called “Screeched” with him supposedly having sex with two girls was not him, but a stunt double.
I asked him if he keeps in touch with anyone from the old show and he said he occasionally speaks to Mario Lopez who played Slater, Lark Voorhies who was Lisa Turtle, and Dennis Haskins who played Mr. Belding. And when I asked him what he wanted to do in the future he said he wanted to become a dad. He’s been married for 7 years, to a woman not in show biz and he wants to devote his energy into making that dad thing happen. On stage, he even addressed his situation with the audience by saying, “ I don’t care if you laugh or not. I already got paid and I’m not in jail, so it’s all good!” But they did laugh, … a lot!
I went to see Sarah Colonna, from Chelsea Lately, who was headlining Gotham for the weekend. James Goff opened first, and told stories about his mixed child who’s part Black, Russian and Jewish. Sarah was delightful and we sat in the green room after the show to chat. Her first book Life As I Blow It was #5 on the New York Times Best Seller list. I asked her how she did that because I have 4 books out already and I couldn’t even get them onto Schindler’s List. She said because her publisher set her up on a tour. My publisher set me up on a tour of my apartment. I’m known in every room!
Anyway, her newest book, Has Anyone Seen My Pants? was a book of stories meant to convince her friends that she was actually happy nearing 40 and being single. They didn’t believe her, so she started writing this book, and during the process met the guy she would marry. She said she never really thought much about getting married and never really cared if and when it happened. I think that’s when things happen, when you’re not overly invested in them. Her husband, Jon Ryan who’s on the Seattle Seahawks saw her on Chelsea Lately and asked her Chelsea cast mate Ross Matthews for an introduction. He made the intro on social media and they spoke for about a month before they actually met, but she said when she finally met him she knew “it was gonna be good.” She joked that he’s a punter so he doesn’t have much to do. They got married in Los Cabos, Mexico, and split their time between LA and Seattle during the season when he’s playing. She said she tries to go to all the home games and was always a sports fan, but now of course she’s an avid Seahawks fan.
I asked her what she’s working on and she said she’s developing a project for TV based on her newest book, and is also working with Demi Lovato on Demi’s memoir. I asked her how that came about and she said that Demi’s publisher read and liked her book and brought them together. I think I need a new publisher!
So I swung by New York Comedy Club and ran into my girl Von Decarlo with an LA comic/friend Billy Sorrells who was in town shooting a new sketch show for TBS called 2042 which he described as an all sketch show set in the future. I guess that’s what 2042 is about. He said he also just did a half hour special for Kevin Hart’s Laugh Out Loud network.
I was back at New York Comedy Club because of my Roast Battle radar which amazes owner Emilio Savone, that I always just happen to show up for the battle. And I was thrilled to see Matt Richards back from LA after shooting the new WE tv show Ghosts in the Hood, who’s premiere party I will be attending this coming Wednesday. Matt came up behind me and surprised me with a big hug, cause his hand was bandaged from a fall and he couldn’t shake hands. I didn’t even know he was back. He came out on stage to host the show to gospel legend Shirley Caesar’s hit holiday song, “I Got Greens, Beans, Potatoes, Tomatoes” that has gone viral with all kinds of dance videos and everyone from Snoop Dogg on down doing something with it.
I went into the office and it was packed with comedians, some waiting to go on and some just there for the hang. Matt got the audience ready by roasting them a little bit. Warming up the crowd before the roast was Neko White, Kate Wolff, and Matt Pavich. This night there were five judges, who truth be told were, most of the time, funnier than the roasters. It was Mike Cannon, Akash Singh, Corinne Fisher, Mike Bocchetti, and Mike Lawrence, who roasts everyone including the other judges. He even tried roasting Matt Richards who came back at him with, “Mike you’re so angry. Did no one cross your bridge today, you troll?”
Chrissie Mayr and good friend Kenny Warren were hanging out together, threatening what would happen when they roast battled. Chrissie had been posting about it for days, telling Kenny his days were coming to an end. I don’t think it turned out like they thought it would, but they both gave as good as they got. The last two comics to roast each other were former floor sweepers at the club, Phil from Chico and Ben Switzer, and at some point before it was supposed to end, Matt ended it out of mercy. Mercy for the two roasters and also mercy for the audience!
I was back at Dangerfield’s to see what surprises were in store this week because New Comic All-Stars has been having some very cool drop-ins. Greer Barnes was there and I don’t often see him outside The Cellar. He told me he’s in The Comedian with Robert De Niro which came out over the weekend, and he explained to me that it will run in a limited release for one week now, so it can be considered for an Oscar. Then the official opening for a wide release will be Jan. 13th, from Sony Pictures Classics. Greer was filmed on stage performing at The Cellar’s Village Underground for the movie.
Aaron Berg also dropped by to do a set, and told me his spot on Ari Shaffir’s This Is Not Happening is airing now on the internet. He’s working on a new half hour of material and was going out to Hoboken the next night to do David Suarez’s show at The Cadillac Cantina because David was letting him run the full half hour. Then he’s off on his honeymoon to Sandals in St. Lucia. Hope he brings his wife or she’ll be so pissed!
While I was at Rodney’s, his partner Tony Bevacqua came over to tell me he is a big fan of The Interrobang and said that Rodney’s birthday party show was so successful that next year he’s planning on doing Rodney Week, the entire week of his birthday, with special shows in Rodney’s honor. He said it will still be a 2 drink minimum, but the first drink will be on Rodney! Remember to hold him to that! (LOL)
And with that, … I’m OUT!!!
Jeffrey Gurian is a comedian, writer and all around bon vivant in New York City. Subscribe to his YouTube channel, Comedy Matters TV. Photos below Jeffrey with Greer Barnes, Dustin Diamond and Sarah Colonna.