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 hit up West Side Comedy Club, Gotham Comedy Club, and more!
Mike Vecchione was at Gotham and we got to talking about his roomie Dan Soder and his part on Billions and how cool the cast of the show is, and he told me that he and Dan went to the fights with David Costabile who plays Wags, one of the best and most interesting characters on the show. I was not surprised at all to hear what a great guy he is.
Marion Grodin was there and told me that Jerry Seinfeld had dropped in on her early show and at the end he did a Q&A which seems to be a very popular thing these days. Marion raised her hand. He called on her and then said ‘Hey aren’t you the host of the show?” She copped to it but he let her ask anyway and she asked him about his level of enjoyment today doing stand-up as to how it compared with 20 years ago. He said it was a great question and went on to say that it’s better now when you don’t have to worry about things like the rent.
Sam Morril popped in and told me his first special was about to debut and what made it even more special is that it’s produced by Amy Schumer. So awesome. It’s actually called “Amy Schumer Presents Sam Morril: Positive Influence”, and he shot it in Brooklyn at a place called Roulette. Not Russian Roulette, just plain Roulette, cause doing a special is dangerous but not THAT dangerous. Sam said he was really proud of it and that working with Amy was a dream as was working with Comedy Central. He said it was just a great experience. So great to see Sam doing so well. And the cool part is that you’ll be able to see Sam’s special on the internet without a cable provider starting on September 30th. He said it opens with an idea that Amy had to open it with something different, and he said it’s a funny scene in which an elderly woman appears. He couldn’t say enough about Amy and how she makes people so comfortable, and that “she knows how to be a person!”
Ronny Chieng came in to do a set and I got congratulate him on his great and funny part in Crazy Rich Asians which I thought was a fantastic movie that broke down many stereotypes, which is a thing I love to do. He told me they shot the movie in Singapore over a period of two months, and he agreed with me that they broke down stereotypes but he said they did it without making a big thing about it or making it obvious. And when I asked him what the hardest part of the shoot was he said it was having to wear three piece suits in tropical weather.
I went back another night to see my buddy Jamie Kennedy kill it to a packed crowd. Lots of comics describe their look as being a cross between two people. He described himself as a cross between Matthew McConaughey and Bradley Cooper. After doing a few minutes on stage he told the audience, “I’ll let you know when the show’s gonna start.” After the show I waited till his fans got all their pictures and then we hung out to catch up and he told me he’s got two movies coming out. One is called Roe V. Wade produced by my friend Nick Loeb, ex-fiance of Sophia Vergara, and the other is called Ad Astra with Brad Pitt, Ruth Negga, Tommy Lee Jones and Donald Sutherland. I asked him what it was like working with Brad Pitt and he wasn’t allowed to say much about the movie but what he did say was, It was so exciting to work with Brad Pitt and who better to represent humans than him!” I’m guessing it’s a movie about outer space and aliens. Jamie is as fun offstage as he is on!
Btw, there’s a new comedy photographer on the scene and his name is Marcus Price. He often travels with Amy Schumer, Hannibal Buress, Aziz, and Pete Davidson and he’s shooting shows at Gotham as well. Cool dude!
The 92Y is killing it in terms of setting up events with famous comedians and I went by to see Gad Elmaleh be interviewed by Mary Green the Entertainment Projects Editor at People Magazine. Gad was at his best and funniest which is his usual. He’s not only super funny but also one of the nicest most genuine and humble guys in the business. When he tells stories about idolizing Jerry Seinfeld and then winding up working with him, you can hear the respect he has for others in the business and for his craft. When he was first announced and came out to the stage to sit down he started out by saying that it feels weird to come out on a stage and not perform. So Mary told him to feel free to pace anytime he felt the need. He’s a master of four languages, French, English, Hebrew and Arabic because he was born in Morocco to a Jewish family and then lived in France, but only in fairly recent years did he start performing in English. He said the first time he tried it it was five minutes of humiliation at the old New York Comedy Club. The problem was he was trying to translate his old French jokes directly into English. That’s when he realized that didn’t work and he’d have to work on all new material talking about his own experience in this country as a newcomer.
He said that 12 years ago when Jerry Seinfeld was in France promoting the French version of “Bee Movie” in which Gad played Jerry’s part, they were at a press conference, and Jerry told him he was very funny. Gad said, “How do you know I’m funny”? And Jerry said he could just tell that Gad was the funny one in the room, and they’ve been friends ever since. Gad humbly said that even though he was already famous in France he was still nervous to meet Jerry.
Gad just finished shooting the first season of his half-hour Netflix comedy series called Huge In France. It’s a scripted show but he is the only one allowed to improv off the script. They shot the whole thing in L.A. except for the last episode in which Jerry Seinfeld makes an appearance joking about the fact that Gad is known as “the Jerry Seinfeld of France” and how he’s not particularly pleased by that. He took questions from the audience during which someone asked him how he deals with fear and he said that Jerry Seinfeld and his manager George Shapiro turned him on to meditation and it changed his life. And then I got to ask a question and when he saw me he honored me by announcing to the audience, “Ladies and gentlemen we have a comedy expert here. Jeffrey tell them who you are!” To which I loudly announced, “I’m sorry Gad but I have absolutely no idea who I am!” It got a big laugh. My question to him was about the grueling process he put himself through to become so fluent in English, and he thanked me later for asking it because he used it as the set-up for a big joke. He said he worked so hard with tutors and on his own to achieve the level of fluency he has and to lose his accent so he could perform in English. His mastery is amazing.He took questions in French and Hebrew as well.
A really cool thing was when we went backstage afterwards to say hi, he had seen the Page 6 TV story about me and Jerry Seinfeld and immediately asked me for the details of what actually happened. Gad is about to start a world wide tour called The American Dream and he says that even though he loves America and it was always his dream to be here, when he’s in other countries he pokes fun at America but he says he does it with “sweet dishonesty”! And he said that there’s nothing he likes better than performing in a comedy club in New York.
I brought someone with me to see Colin Kane headline Gotham Comedy Club with the strict understanding that she could leave any time she felt she had to. To her credit she was able to last the whole show. I almost had to cover my ears a few times but she was fine. Colin has the most outrageously filthy show in the biz and describes himself as in insult comic but shows his true personna by apologizing occasionally or sometimes even in advance of some of the rougher material. Sometimes it looks like even he can’t believe some of the things he’s saying. Even he looks shocked to hear what comes out of his mouth. He had Adam Sank opening for him, which I thought was perfect. Adam is openly gay and told me that Colin directs a lot of his gay jokes at him. Colin also said that people think he has no boundaries but that there are three things he won’t joke about, Cancer, the military and 9/11. I always say the only reason he gets away with what he says is that he’s a good looking dude. The audience is virtually filled with women who love him. We know each other since he started out and we used to do shows together down at the Village Lantern. After the show we caught up and he told me he’s got a residency in Vegas at The Hard Rock in a show called “The Wolf.” I’m sure he’ll do great!
I ended my comedy week at West Side Comedy Club where T.J. Miller dropped by twice this past week and Jeremy Piven came by once to jump on stage. Not only did he jump on stage, he also told jokes. GM Gina Savage told me that Esther Povitsky who is the actually the creator and star of Disney’s Freeform channel’s half-hour comedy “Alone Together” is coming in from LA to do a show in October and it’s already sold out. They will probably have to add a second show. And October 5th will be their one year anniversary, which will be celebrated with something special, and I will reveal what that is very soon!
Music and comedy go together and it was never more obvious than at Countess LuAnn’s show at Feinstein’s 54 Below. Countess LuAnn DeLesseps is of course one of the main and original stars from Real Housewives of NY, who has built a huge show biz career using the reality show as a stepping stone. LuAnn was always talented and I know this because I know her way before she was a Countess. I know her since she was a nurse! Throughout her years of hard work, she has become the consummate performer and did a great night of music and comedy called #Countess and Friends, featuring comedians and Broadway performers. She opened with the Beatles song “ A Little Help From My Friends” and when she got to the line “I get high with a little help from my friends” she added, “But not tonight!” which was a not so veiled reference to her recent stint in rehab which she owned and made no bones about. Very brave. Another comedian who joined her onstage was Murray Hill the well-known downtown comedian that Wikipedia describes as a “drag king” which they go on to describe as “mostly female performance artists who dress in masculine drag and who personify male gender stereotypes as part of an individual or group routine.” Murray is very self-deprecating in a very cool way and said that people who were not familiar to him were probably wondering, “What is the inmate from Orange Is The New Black” doing up on stage telling jokes. Someone asked “ Are you a man or a woman?” and Murray simply said “No!”. And another comedian in the show was Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan from Freestyle Love Supreme, who surprised me at my table when he came over to say hello and told me had a secret part in the show. I won’t ruin the surprise. Afterward a bunch of us went upstairs to another floor for a little after-show get together and Bravo was there filming of course. It was a really fun night. She’s done 17 shows so far with many more planned. She also did as many costume changes as Cher might have done in her day, and each one was absolutely spectacular!
But with that, … I’m Out! And L’Shana Tova to all those who understand what that even is!!!
Jeffrey Gurian is a comedian, writer and all around bon vivant in New York City. Subscribe to his YouTube channel, Comedy Matters TV. Pictured, Jeffrey with Colin Kane, Gad Elmaleh, Jamie Kennedy, Countess Luann, and the cast of Countess and Friends.