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 the Gotham, New York Comedy Club and more!
Never let it be said that comics are not creative, especially when they come from Philly. Ever hear of the word “jawn”? I certainly didn’t. Maybe because of my lack of pigment! It seems to be a Philly thing and I looked it up and the dictionary says jawn. jôn/ noun USdialect (chiefly in eastern Pennsylvania) used to refer to a person, place, thing, or event that one need not or cannot give a specific name to: i.e. “these jawns are very inexpensive”. So when Dave Temple invited me to his party/show called The Comedy Jawn at a place called Bar 9 for the release of his first album called The First One I had to ask what it meant. All his Philly friends who were on the show knew exactly what it meant and how to use it in a sentence! It was a really cool show produced by Keith From Up Da Block, which is one of the best names ever, featuring Keith, Reggie Conquest, Derek Gaines, Monroe Martin, and Chloe Hilliard who has been made an official member of the Six Foot Nothin’ Crew even though she doesn’t hail from Philly. When I saw Dave doing warm-up for 50 Cent’s show 50 Central he had mentioned he was planning a party/show and I was glad he remembered to invite me.
Everyone was hilarious but Derek Gaines always manages to outdo himself in his quest to be “superlative” a word he enjoys using when I ask him about his goals. He wants to be undeniable on stage and works very hard at achieving that goal. It was really fun. Derek will be at The Philly Punchline at the end of December for his first show back in Philly since The Laugh House closed down. Of course, the show has an unusual name. The Superlative Illadelph Remix. That’s it. I double checked before I wrote it. The Superlative Illadelph Remix. No white man could get away with calling a show a name like that! Monroe talked a lot about his trip to China, and said that The Great Wall is not that great. And he came out with a line about love that is one of the best lines I ever heard.
Keith From Up Da Block told me he’s planning on coming in from Philly and doing one show a month at Bar 9, which was Dave’s suggestion. Keith’s got a lot going on. He’s the founder of Philadelphia Comedy College, a 10 week program where the stand-up is taught by Turae Gordon, and Keith teaches the acting and marketing. He runs “Nerdy By Nature” an open mic for nerds and also wants to bring that to New York. He swears there’s such a thing as black nerds. I always thought black people were too cool to be nerds! He also had a TV show in Philly which he hosted called Urban Expressions that ran for 10 years. The man is doing things!
Before I headed out I spoke to Dave a bit as he was taking photos with the crowd on the step-and-repeat. He’s getting ready to tour through Ohio, Michigan, Florida, and Louisiana, already working on a new hour. And he told me his album is called “The 1st One” because in years to come he wants to be able to look back at his career, and when people ask him where a certain joke was from he’ll be like “ The 1st One.” And every album henceforth will be the next number. And btw, if using a word takes away it’s power, then the “N” word has officially lost all of it’s power. They made the “N” word sound so funny, and called so many people that word, it made me want to be one too! I found myself thinking, I wish someone would call me an “N” word!
Caught up with Corinne Fisher backstage at New York Comedy Club and she told me she and Krystyna Hutchinson did what she referred to as “the great podcast tour” while they were out in LA for their new Harper Collins book F*cked. Among others they did Joe Rogan, Adam Carolla, and Grace Helbig who they knew from UCB. They also did “Sex With Emily” which is a big podcast not an extra-curricular activity, and Brillian Idiots with Andrew Schulz. The book is doing really well and actually surpassed Harper Collin’s first-month expectations. I asked her what was happening with Nacho Bitches now that her co-host Blair Socci moved out to LA and she said she’d be flying in to do certain shows. And big scoop, (I think!), she and Krystyna will be starting a new tour in 2018 called “The Bridget Bishop Tour” named after the first woman killed in the Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts back in the 1600’s when they didn’t know how to treat powerful women. The tour will start in Irvine, CA. On New Years Eve she was excited to tell me that she’ll be co-headlining with Steve Byrne in Seattle. As I was leaving I ran into Andrew Steiner at the bar who’s got five years in and did an amazing thing. He booked an entire month long tour by himself. It’s an East Coast tour that just started in Philly, I better teach him about “jawn”) He’ll be performing in 7 or 8 states, in all kinds of venues including theatres, comedy clubs, and bar shows. He’ll be driving alone and sleeping on strangers couches. And who ever said comedians were lazy! The tour ends in January.
Later in the week I caught up with Krystyna Hutchinson as she was leaving the stage at New York Comedy Club and running to meet with Wendi Starling to write for their show Glamorpuss. Then I sat in the green room with Neko White, Mike Cannon, and Michael Kosta comparing near death experiences. All of us had them. When Michael Kosta hit the stage he made a very interesting observation about Tom Cruise and Leonardo Dicaprio movies. It was great.
I stopped off to visit with Ron Bennington who performs all the time now at The Stand, and got to see Ian Lara perform. I was so impressed I stayed to talk to him after his set. Funny dude. These days everything is about identity politics and he’s a Spanish guy who looks black and refers to himself as a Spanish black boy. He did a whole thing about people mistaking him for being black and it was hilarious. Identity humor. So when I asked him about it and told him it was a great premise for him to work with he admitted that he had just written it the day before and showed me his notes. It was a flawless bit which probably meant it felt so natural for him to do that he didn’t have to learn it, … he LIVED it! He’s only six years in, is from Queens and is repped by the Cringe Humor guys who own The Stand. He started out as a pre-law student and even took the LSATS, majoring in politics and economics along the way, and started doing stand-up after college. That’s when he realized that law was not for him, but comedy definitely is.
Ricky Velez went blonde since the last time I saw him and talked about his experience going to the D.R., swimming out in the middle of the ocean and meeting a drug dealer who was dealing from out in the water. Not in a boat, but literally in the water. He warmed up the crowd for the bi-weekly Roast Battle. The judges were the ever-reliably funny Mike Cannon, Yamaneika Saunders, and Matt Richards who’s only in town for a few more days. Neko White is the permanent host of the show. The judges always get off the best lines and are all so quick. Cannon told Freddie Gee he looked like a goldfish that just became a person. Then Zach McGovern battled Chrissie Mayr in the main event, and as soon as Chrissie made a remark that Matt should be in front of the club with his shirt off, he whipped off his shirt and stayed that way for the entire battle. Matt Richards said they looked like Abercrombie and Bitch! It was amazing! It was difficult for the judges to choose a winner and Yammie wanted to give it to the couple in the second row who were very quiet throughout the whole thing. Then her mic went out and she started yelling until she realized that “Black Throats Matter.” I’m telling you the judges are often the best part. They finally gave it to Chrissie.
I went to West Side Comedy Club a little too late one night and caught Aaron Berg leaving. The show was over so I drove him to Broadway Comedy Club to do a set and ran into Jon Rineman who writes monologue jokes for Jimmy Fallon along with Jonathan Adler. We sat in the back with Chris Murphy sharing stories of some of the greats we knew, and then Jon told me a funny story.
The Tonight Show writers created a bit on Austin Rogers the NYC bartender who won over $400,000. on Jeopardy making him one of the all time high winners. They were joking about his eccentricities and quirky mannerisms and they were running the bits in front of a live audience at the dress rehearsal. Jimmy was on stage running the bits when he saw the video of Austin and said, “Hey that’s my friend Austin.” It seems that Austin used to work at a bar that Jimmy frequented when he was on SNL. So Jon told Jimmy not to even bother looking at the jokes that were poking fun at his friend, and they cut the bit. But what came out of it is that Jimmy told them to invite Austin on the show as a guest which happened about two weeks later. And Jon said that what he took away from it was that Jimmy really is friends with everybody!
Adam Ray who was the host of TBS’s Separation Anxiety and was in the new Ghostbusters movie, had some sold out shows at Gotham where he was headlining. I hadn’t seen him since the Vegas Comedy Festival so I went to say “wassup” and while chatting with him ran into Sal Vulcano who told me that Adam had asked him to come by and do a set. Sal has been doing so much stand-up in the past year and he’s really great. He particularly likes to make fun of hip-hop song lyrics which always goes over big with the crowd. And Adam always has a lot going on from TV to films. But one of his favorite things is his podcast with his roommate Brad Williams called “About Last Night.”
Congrats are in order to Scott Rogowsky for being the face of HQ Trivia, a twice-per-day live show where trivia fans across the globe have the chance to win real hard cash. It’s an app that was created by the guys who created Vine, Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll and it’s become something of a viral legend already. On one recent Sunday night over 330,000 people waited in the game’s lobby to play HQ, and Scott’s face is plastered all over HQ’s press materials.
Also congrats to Jermaine Fowler on Superior Donuts being renewed on CBS for 22 episodes, with him as a co-star and Executive Producer and also congrats to Ben Bailey for the return after five years of his show Cash Cab to the Discovery Channel. Ben told me it was thanks to the efforts of David Steinberg who always liked the show, so how cool is that?
I went to the premiere of the pilot of a show I happen to be in called Up On Rose Hill and ran into Clipperman Godboldo, another comic with a history of cutting hair like Kenny Warren. He’s celebrating 16 years behind the mic this month, and has been headlining six nights a week in Atlantic City at Caesar’s Playground, in a show produced by Matt Bridgestone. Some of the regulars are Ray Vazquez, Mike Merkovich, Steven Buda, and Zach Pickert.
I ended my comedy week with a late night run to the joint party, (and I mean that literally and figuratively) of Danny Palmer and Walker Hays. As I got to the door of the building at that exact moment Jason Scoop was coming out and let me in. It was absolutely perfect because he was leaving early because he had a flight to LA the next morning to audition for Wanda Sykes’ new sketch show. He had already had a Skype audition and two callbacks so this was a big thing. VH1 was flying him out for today’s rehearsal, and then tomorrow they shoot in full costume. Jason will be playing several characters including Trump of course. and he told me he thinks he manifested all of this through positive thinking. He also told me he loved my new book because that’s what it was all about. And while writing this column he texted me to let me know that he just got booked at The Laugh Factory for last night’s Chocolate Sundays show! Way to go Jason!
Then I made my way up the three flights of stairs leading to the incredible noise and music. It was Danny’s annual Grinch party and Walker’s birthday and to say it was wall to wall comics would be an understatement. There was no one left to perform in any of the clubs. People were standing shoulder to shoulder and just some of the people were Ryan Dacalos, Tom McCaffrey, Camille Theobald, Chrissie Mayr, Subhah Agarwal, Giulio Gallarotti, Benny Demarco, Ricky Velez, Remy Kassimir, Brendan Sagalow, Amy Shanker, Betsy Carroll, Madison Malloy, and just so many more. At one point they played Lil Young Big’s music, and people would have danced if there had been any room, but instead they just stood and swayed. The best part was that everyone was hugging and when people said “good to see you” it felt like they meant it. It was like one big comedy family, and I left feeling great!
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. Pictured, Jeffrey Gurian with Dave Temple, Clipperman Godboldo, and Walker Hays.