Axe Fighting, Launch Party at Hoops, Inside My Dinner With Herve Plus News From Rachel Feinstein, Pat Dixon, H. Foley and Tom Shillue

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 Gotham Comedy Club, West Side Comedy Club, and more!

Way back in 1992, I wrote, produced and directed a short comedy film that starred Peter Dinklage the current star of Game of Thrones. The film was called “Men Who Dance Where They’re Not Supposed To”, or as some called it “Unauthorized Dancing.” Peter played a guy who danced wherever he wanted paying no mind to the “No Dancing” signs that were posted on certain streets in Manhattan. In the film Peter gets arrested for dancing in a “No Dancing” zone when he finds himself dancing uncontrollably. Who knew that Peter would go on to become one of the biggest stars in the world. So when I heard that he was starring in the new film “My Dinner With Herve” playing Herve Villechaize, the little person who starred in the hit TV show Fantasy Island opposite Ricardo Montalban, I knew I had to watch it. Then I found out it was written and directed by Sacha Gervasi, a friend since 2009! “My Dinner with Herve” was based on the true story of Sacha, who at the time was a journalist assigned to interview Herve, and he looked at the assignment as a sort of punishment. He had no interest in interviewing him and was just trying to save his job, while holding onto his precious sobriety which was very new. He wound up interviewing the real Herve just days before Herve committed suicide, and endured a night of pure insanity that lasted until the next day including having Herve pull a knife on him and threaten his life. After watching the movie I was so moved, I contacted Sacha and asked him to share with me his own personal take on the movie for this column, and what he said was very insightful.

“The whole film is about how I prejudged Herve – how we all do that at times,” he said. “The truth was I didn’t want to see him for who he actually was, a real human being. I wanted to pigeon hole him, to stereotype him, as just this ‘funny French short guy’. Life would be too complex to have seen him as anything other than that right? It was only after spending some time with him I realized what a disrespectful asshole I was being. I didn’t want to be that person.” He went on to say, “Sometimes you have to get over yourself and treat people the way they should be treated. I had to leave journalism because of it. I couldn’t live with myself because the job was always to be in judgement of others. Who the fuck am I to judge you? I’m no angel and I’m no better or worse than anyone else. The truth is Herve and I had more in common than I could ever have possibly imagined! I loved that crazy dude!

And he also said it was fantastic working with Peter Dinklage who in real life was nothing like Herve Villechaize except for their similarity in size. Peter is just an amazing actor. This is a film you must see about a tortured soul, and it shows you once again that fame is not always all it’s cracked up to be! Take note my comedic brethren!

Vondecarlo had the launch party for her new SiriusXM show “Coach Von’s Corner” at a place called Hoops which is a sports bar/strip club on West 33rd Street, and it was packed with comics. The party was in the upstairs part of the club and most of the comics didn’t bother with the strippers. Of course I accidentally went up the wrong staircase and wound up in the private booth area where you can go to get a very private lap dance. Some of the comics I made out in the dark were Monroe Martin, Derek Gaines, Dante Nero, Wali Collins, Harry Terjanian, Krystyna Hutchinson, Drew Fraser, and lots more whose names I can’t recall. We all took photos with Von around the poster for her show, and so far from what I see she posted everyone’s but mine! It was a really fun night!

Pat Dixon had his monthly New York City Crime Report Live show at West Side Comedy Club, and his wife Mandy Stadtmiller, was also celebrating her birthday and showed up in a Superwoman outfit with a cape and a bag of gifts to give out to the comics as well as treats for the audience. Mandy is a comedy journalist and wrote the book Unwifeable. She came up on the stage and wanted to start handing things out right in the middle of the show, but Pat took the power back and told her she’d have to wait and had her take a seat. Then he jokingly went off on how “big” she looked. She happens to be tall, probably about 6’ tall. He said that he always knew she was tall, but every once in a while it really hits him, and Mandy came back with “Yeh, if you really want to know how to seduce a woman, always tell her how big she is!” It was a very interesting line-up and included a comic who claimed to be one of the Proud Boys who had been arrested in that scuffle last week on East 83rd Street and another comic who claimed to be a member of Antifa.

Tom Shillue who I hadn’t seen in too long went up first, and broke the news to me afterwards that he’ll be doing a couple of shows with Greg Gutfeld from Red Eye fame. The show will be called “The Gutfeld Monologues” which will be done in theatres, and Tom will open with stand-up, then Greg will do a monologue and then there’ll be some kind of a Q&A with the details not totally decided on yet. The first two shows with be in Grand Rapids, MI and San Antonio, Texas.

GM Gina Savage kept asking me if I was going up and I told her I wasn’t on the flier, but the closer didn’t show up and I was asked to close the show. I happened to have my little audio recorder with me, and just before going onstage I flicked it on and a woman in the audience heard it beep and thought I was setting the timer on a bomb. It’s small and black and kind of looks like some kind of a detonator I guess. She got up and tapped me on the shoulder and said to me, “Excuse me sir, but if you’re going to blow the place up please tell me so I can get the hell out!” Turns out she was Flutesy from the EastSideDave Show and she swears she really thought it was a bomb.

Christine-Meehan Berg probably has to put up with a lot being married to Aaron Berg but she’s recently become very dangerous so he better watch out. She’s managing an axe-throwing club out in Brooklyn called “Bury The Hatchet.” I went out for the grand opening because that’s what I do, and got roped into trying it. It’s not easy. Well it was for Aaron. It’s in a huge warehouse type of place with lanes where two people throw axes next to each other. They are very serious about safety rules. Aaron and I stepped into an axe-throwing cubicle because I don’t know what else to call it, and every time he threw it it stuck into the target. Me, not so much. I actually took off my sport jacket to try it, and stopped when I felt I was getting all sweaty cause I had a big event to attend afterwards and I didn’t think I could come in all messy and tell them I had just come from an axe-throwing event. Owner Howard Klotzkin told me he owns ten of these things already, (not axes, clubs!) with more on the way!

I stopped by New York Comedy Club on my comedy rounds and ran into H. Foley who only likes to use his first initial. He’s got some cool stuff going on. He just got cast for a big NBC primetime show which will be shooting in the next two weeks, but he couldn’t tell me the name of it yet until he shoots his part which I totally understand. I wonder if they’ll bill him in the credits as H. Foley or insist on his whole name? He also just finished working on a TV pilot with Nick DiPaolo, and Adam Ray who he says were both “fantastic to work with.” And he does a podcast with comic Kevin Ryan called “Hard Feelings” and before I got a chance to ask him what it was about they announced his name, and he had to run up on stage and host the show.

Rachel Feinstein headlined Gotham and the show I went to was absolutely packed. People love when she imitates her Mom Karen and her grandma. She also talked a lot about her new marriage to FDNY captain Peter Brennan, which gave her lots of new material. Amy Schumer was her Maid of Honor. She said her husband’s not too big on compliments and gave the example that when he saw her coming down the aisle for the first time at their wedding he said “Bring it in.” And she said that even when they’re traveling he keeps up to date on what fires are burning where. She was also dressed very casually which is new for her. Most of the time when I see her on stage she’s in a dress and heels. It was a good look!

Stand Up NY is into their pop up shows. They followed up their LA pop up with a show at The Mailroom down on Wall Street. Francis Ellis was on the show and as usual brings a keyboard on stage for a little musical comedy. Stand Up will be having their annual Halloween party this Wednesday the 31st and all are welcome. There’ll be a DJ, food and drinks, a costume contest, and everyone who attends will be able to get in free to the earlier show called “Comedy Ugly” described to me by GM/Booker Jon Borromeo as a “striptease comedy show” hosted by Alysia Hush and Marissa Riley. Save me a seat!

And lastly no matter where I go comedy seems to follow me. I attended a lecture by the world famous Dr. Jerry Epstein, an M.D. who is known for curing illness through visualization techniques, and he told a great story about Woody Allen. He said that back in the day, which would be the early 70’s, when he had already given up the practice of Western medicine, they were friends. He went to see Woody perform somewhere, and Woody told him that he would be focusing on using visualization to help people and that has been the direction of his life ever since. Then Woody told him that he was going to a psychic and Jerry asked if he could come. The psychic told Woody that he would have a career in film. I just thought that was an interesting way to end the column!

So 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 with Vondecarlo and Pat Dixon.

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Jeffrey Gurian is a comedy writer, comedian, author, producer, comedy connoisseur, comedy journalist, and an all around bon vivant. You can find him on red carpets, at comedy events across the country and hosting Comedy Matters TV. He’s the author of the book Make ‘Em Laugh with an intro by Chris Rock”. You've seen him on Comedy Central's Kroll Show and he's a regular on SiriusXM's Bennington Show and it's predecessor the Ron and Fez Show. He's also A BIG BELIEVER in Happiness and Love.
Jeffrey Gurian
Jeffrey Gurian
Jeffrey Gurian is a comedy writer, comedian, author, producer, comedy connoisseur, comedy journalist, and an all around bon vivant. You can find him on red carpets, at comedy events across the country and hosting Comedy Matters TV. He’s the author of the book Make ‘Em Laugh with an intro by Chris Rock”. You've seen him on Comedy Central's Kroll Show and he's a regular on SiriusXM's Bennington Show and it's predecessor the Ron and Fez Show. He's also A BIG BELIEVER in Happiness and Love.