Jeffrey Gurian is a writer, comedian and TV reporter 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 visited the New York Comedy Club, Gotham Comedy Club, The Stand and more.
Mike Cannon is a permanent judge at all the Roast Battles at New York Comedy Club and he told me he’ll be taping his first hour special at NYCC on July 16th. It’ll be audio, but some bits will actually be animated for the internet. It’s being produced by 800 Pound Gorilla who also did Jeff Dye, Matt Ruby and which works with George Lopez and Jim Jefferies. He got to them after featuring for Pete Dominick and Pete encouraged him to do a special and turned him on to the producers. BTW, NYCC is undergoing renovations to make it even more comic-friendly. They’re building a new green room for the comics to hang out in before they go on, and also a cafe just for a cool hang so even comics not on the show have a place to chill. Should be awesome.
While I was standing there with owner Emilio Savone waiting for the Roast Battle to begin after Dante Nero and John Moses warmed up the crowd, Bill Burr came in all dressed up in a sport jacket and collared shirt. And he looked at me in a sport jacket and t-shirt and laughingly said, “ How come you’re dressed down tonight, you’re not interviewing anyone?” And I was like, “Well I didn’t know you were coming or I would have dressed accordingly!” He said he was on tour and in New York to do some early morning TV. Then, he went up on stage to thunderous applause from a shocked crowd who couldn’t believe that Bill Burr was there. He said he was doing some new material, and admonished some girls in the front row for trying to film him. He actually stopped the show for a moment to put them in their place for filming from right in front, and then went right back to crushing the room that by that time was packed with young comics who found out he was there. There must be a Twitter emergency line for when a big name shows up because they all seemed to appear out of nowhere.
The judges for the Roast Battle were Mike Cannon and Yamaneika as usual and they were joined by LA’s Mike Lawrence. Yammie announced that this was a very special night for her. It was the first night she ever judged a Roast Battle sober, because she was on a 10 day cleanse. Trust me, it did not affect her humor one bit. She was as funny as ever. The first battle which is often the weakest, turned out to be very strong with Maddy Smith pitted against James Pontillo. Maddy had some great lines like “As none of you know, James is a stand-up comedian”, and “James is sad. I would be too if my body shape was calzone.” And he called Matty “a grilled cheese sandwich with tits!” When Ben Switzer and Camille Theobald came up, Mike Lawrence told him he looked like a guy who’s never seen his kids. And then asked if Bill Burr could come back and do a second set.
The headline roast was Mara Marek vs. Christina Galston, two very hot, sexy, funny girls who made the most of their looks by the way they dressed. Christina made fun of Mara’s leather pants and said she wore them three times that week and Mara shot back, “Cause I can’t get them off!” Christina is half Puerto-Rican and half Jewish and Mike referred to her as “Jenny from the Writer’s Block” which if he made that up on the spot is basically pure genius. Christina told me she just did her JFL audition at The Stand and was waiting to hear back from them, and she’s been working hard on a new website called freakinjewrican.com which should be ready by the end of the month. I wonder if she marched in the parade this weekend! Her Puerto Rican part probably wanted to, but her Jewish part probably didn’t let her! BTW, Christina won the Roast Battle! Mara used to be on the Beige Phillip Show which is where I first met her and she now co-produces a podcast with Andrew Collin called Happy Never After about relationships, marriage and divorce from the Sound Lounge every Wednesday. She said they already have 437,000 listeners in only four months. She’s also doing a live version of that show at Stand Up New York called The Pre-Nup Show and is developing a project for TV.
Ron Bennington always says I’m very mysterious and people don’t know a lot about me. So he was shocked when I brought my sister to meet him and watch him perform at The Stand over the weekend. My sister Ronnie came up from Florida to visit for a few days and is a HUGE fan of Bennington. For a long time. So when I heard he was performing there, I decided to bring her and she had the best time with him. He made her feel very special. He did two shows one at 8 and one at 10 and did not repeat one line in either show. What’s amazing about Ron is that he doesn’t write anything down. He just goes up and riffs and it’s great. I told him it’s like what he does on the radio every day and what he’s been doing on the radio for decades, and he agreed. He really started getting back into it earlier this year, and is really enjoying doing his sets. So is the audience.
Derek Gaines was the host and is just so crazy on stage. He has such a unique delivery, as does Sean Patton who went up first. Sean will be spending the entire month of August in Edinburgh, Scotland doing his one-man show called Number 1. which he explained was not his ranking, but his history as growing up as a bed-wetter. There is literally NOTHING that some comics won’t use on stage as material. I have yet to hear a comic use impotence as a topic for a one man show, but I’m sure that’s coming! I asked him who was promoting the show for him over there and he said he had British agents. He’s with a company called Off The Curb and they will be making sure he has an audience. That’s great because I don’t think Samantha Black works Europe! He’s been working on the show for the past two years and will be running it in its entirety on on July 12th out at Union Hall in Brooklyn. Over in Scotland, he’ll be rooming with James Adomian and also the Reformed Whores who do musical comedy. Derek also told me he and his homie, Monroe Martin will be doing a show together at the Fat Black Pussycat called No Need for Apologies, where each will be doing a half hour and that Monroe will be doing a residency at The Stand where he’ll be doing an hour every Sunday.
It was the perfect night to take my sister because Bonnie McFarlane was on the show and she is always hilarious. She brought her mini-doppelgänger Rayna who is almost ten already and as funny as her dad Rich Vos. When Bonnie was on stage she asked Rayna if she wanted to sit and wait for her at the lone table in the street and Rayna declined because she said she “didn’t wanna get stolen!” Bonnie said she’s becoming known as “Rayna’s Mom” which she said is still better than Rich Vos’ wife. We discussed how fun his birthday roast is going to be and what a sick line-up they have. It’s coming up on Monday, June 26th for his 60th birthday, and it will be held at The Village Underground. I will be there filming videos after the show and at the after-party for my new show Comedy Matters TV with Jeffrey Gurian on the Be Terrific network.
Pete Lee closed the show with a great set, and talked about how people constantly mistake him for Donald Trump Jr. That did not stop my sister from thinking he was adorable and hysterically funny. She was totally taken with Pete Lee, one of the nicest, most genuine guys in the game. And then we all went out in the street to hang out and take pictures with my sister!
I drove up to The Bronx to play a funny, sarcastic lawyer in Keesha Williams‘ web series Bum Rush, and got to work with some very talented people. One actor was named SNS. I asked him how come and he said cause he was named after his Dad, DJ SNS!
I popped over to Gotham to catch Orny Adams’ headlining show and it was great to see him and catch up as it’s been quite a while. He’s touring and here till tomorrow with a planned stop on The Cumia Channel today. He’s planning his third special for the first quarter of 2018, and will be doing his one-man show called “Lower Your Expectations” in Montreal this summer. Orny projects so well that very often he doesn’t use the mic and the whole crowd hears him just fine. Gina Brillon opened for Orny and told me she’s getting married on Sept. 24th and the wedding will be held at Gotham Comedy Club. How cool! I wonder who’s opening? And she was also voted one of the Top Ten Comics to Watch in 2017 by Rolling Stone Magazine and she said it was a total surprise to her and had no idea it was a thing. Joe DeVito also opened for Orny and said he’s doing the Totally Dishonest Media Show at Stand Up NY, with John Fugelsang among others.
Andy Kaufman had Tony Clifton. Giulio Gallarotti has Lil Young Big. Being a big fan of hip-hop and particularly Guilio’s alter ego Lil Young Big I showed up at the End of Era studios to watch him lay down tracks for his new songs. I trekked over to West 54th Street all the way from East 54th Street, and found Giulio hard at work with his recording engineer Joey Secchiaroli. Gallarrotti and Secchiaroli, … who would’ve guessed? One song “Boy From The Wild” was so cool, with wolf sounds and all kinds of special effects. Can’t wait for the finished product.
So that’s it for me. Try and remember that Comedy Matters, … 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, and watch Comedy Matters TV on Be Terrific. Below, Jeffrey Gurian with Ron Bennington and Jeffrey’s sister Ronnie, Giulio Gallerotti, and the cast of Bum Rush.