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 stopped at Gotham, New York Comedy Club, QED, The Stand, Creek and the Cave and more!
Bobcat Goldthwait headlined Gotham this past weekend and it was great to catch up with him. He says that these days there are people in comedy who still don’t know he’s a filmmaker, and people in film who don’t know he’s in comedy. He jokingly said his films make “hundreds of dollars!” He let go of the squeaky voice he was always known for, espcecailly in the three Police Academy movies he did, which he himself compared to Grover the Muppet. He came out on stage and as if he knew what the audience was thinking said, “You don’t look the same either!” He did a set filled with stories like the time he set Jay Leno’s Tonight Show set on fire, live on the air and got banned from the show forever, the advice he gave his 28 year old daughter on the set of a Russell Brand movie to keep Russell from trying to have sex with her, how he accidentally sent a sext message to a guy he wasn’t getting along with instead of to the girl it was intended for, and his real life heart attack.
After the show we hung out in the green room for a few minutes and he was excited to tell me that his newest award winning film Call Me Lucky, an official selection at Sundance 2015 about comic Barry Crimmins, is coming out on DVD this week. Bobcat’s best friend Robin Williams gave him the money to start the film. In this film Barry, an influential comic voice in the 70’s and 80’s opens up about being molested and abused as a child, and it also features interviews with comics like Marc Maron, David Cross, and Steven Wright among others.
Also in the green room with us was host Angelo Lozada who’s currently warming up the crowds for Trevor Noah at The Daily Show. He said he’s never had more fun in his life, and that it’s so great working with Trevor. Also on that show was Wali Collins who a lot of people might not know is also an architect. He told me he’s in an upcoming Stanley Tucci movie coming out next year called Blue Angel, in which he plays a college teacher named Gerry Sloper. It was shot in NY and he’s in a scene with Stanley. Also in the film is Kyra Sedgwick, who is about 1 degree away from Kevin Bacon, and Janeane Garofalo. It’s Wali’s third feature.
So the more I try not to be judgmental in my life the more I get asked to judge comedy contests! Last week was Hoboken. This week I went to New York Comedy Club to co-judge their new competition show along with Charles Goubeaud who created MTV’s Joking Off.
One of the highlights of the evening for me was getting to see Matt Richards do his thing as the host. I had seen him before but never realized how strong he was, (comedically, not physically!) He is just a funny dude. Very quick, and does accents, (his African D.J. totally rocked!) and even musical improv. They had a two piece band in the club that night, called the 45’s as a house band. It was keyboard and drums, and it was a great addition to the evening. Like the old days when comedy clubs also had music in between comics. So in between comics Matt went up and improvised a little rap to music using one of the previous comics jokes as subject matter. It was fantastic.
Emilio’s wife Ankara was one of the comics! Fortunately she was funny, which lessened the pressure a little bit of having to judge the owner’s wife! It was very close with Steve Marden who went last, being the winner, and Brendan Sagalow coming in a close second. Five comics out of the ten moved on to the next round, and which hasn’t been scheduled yet. Within that group was Napoleon Emill who I had never seen before but was very funny. He’s so big I told him he could never have a Napolean Complex! Nore Davis came in and closed out the show. He’s got a new special too which I’ll be covering very soon!
Charles Goubeaud and I talked a little bit about Joking Off. He told me that Joking Off was inspired by Woody Allen’s “What’s Up Tiger Lilly”, and Season 2 will feature comics like Matt Richards, Matteo Lane, and Damien Lemon
I also found a nice photo of myself on the wall with Emilio, the owner. Such a nice surprise! The frame was broken but Emilio assured me when the renovations are done later this month it’ll be in a brand new frame!
I finished out my comedy week at Patrick Holbert’s show over at the newish comedy club QED in Astoria, Owner Kambri Crews bills it as an after-school space for grown-ups. It’s a fun space and I did a set right before Liza Treyger. She had done a couple of out of town gigs with Sasheer Zamata and is looking forward to her good friend Sabrina Jalees coming in from LA to film their web series DTF, which stands for Down To Find Out, for those of you with dirty minds! She describes it as an adventure/party kind of show and it’s for Comedy Central Digital!
Over at The Stand this week I got introduced to the new manager of The Standing Room, Mikala Lee. She was with the old manager Amy Hawthorne who will be helping to break her in. Comic Nick Cody was in from Melbourne, Australia and came over to tell me in his cool Australian accent, that he was a fan of Black Phillip, the radio show I did with Patrice O’Neal, and really dug the dynamic we had. Amazing that you have no idea who’s listening to you across the world when you’re just sitting in a studio talking into a mic. Another relatively new comic in New York that I had never seen before, but who was very funny was Alex Pavone. The guy is quick, like Aaron Berg and Geno Bisconte kind of quick, and very funny.
As I was leaving I ran into Ryan Hoffman and Nick Ruggia from Temple Horses who are doing their New York Comedy Shorts Festival in November. I’ll either be a judge or do interviews on the red carpet. They were crazy arranging the details for some wild thing they were planning to do over the next few days at Comic Con.
Sarah Silverman had an incredible turn in the new film I Smile Back. I get to see films before they hit the theatres and I’ve always loved Sarah so I made a point of attending. It’s a real tour-de-force for her in a very serious, dramatic role where she plays a drug addicted/alcoholic wife with two little kids who has some really bad things happen to her. I always knew she was talented in comedy but you have to see what she does in a strict drama. Kudos to Sarah! Awesome job!
I actually took a train down to Chinatown cause parking is so hard down there to attend Katie Hannigan’s release party for her new pin-up calendar, Pin,Up Yours, featuring 12 female comics in a take off of the old time pin up calendars where women wore what was considered to be sexy lingerie at the time. Famed comedy photographer Mindy Tucker worked with Katie to create this fun project. Katie chose the comics and the outfits, many of which she found in thrift shops. ( The outfits, not the comics!) It took about six months of planning, and she’s looking for a women’s charity to connect to. Most of the women in the calendar were there, and they have an Etsy page in case you wanna order one. They also had a show but I had to leave to get up to another show! Surprise!
I seem to run into comedy people wherever I go. I’m leaving the Apple store after taking a video editing lesson in Final Cut Pro X, and I hear someone call my name. It’s Andy Peeke, comic/model/TV Host, and he said he thought he saw me, which is basically a line from my act, because if you THINK you saw me, you DEFINITELY saw me! Andy is using all of his talents to host That Bachelorette Show at The Copa Cabana, every Saturday night. He said he’s like an 80’s game show host named Malcolm Love, and he even sings an opening song! It’s one batchelorette and 10 guys dressed in the uniform of their occupation who try and win her over. One could be a biker, one a Wall Street guy, one a surfer in a bathing suit! And he says very often it’s 300 people packed in wall to wall! I’ll be going to check it out for sure, and I’m already sure I’ll try and convince him to change it to ten girls and one guy!
One of the highlights of my week was meeting Flex Alexander who hosted Gotham Comedy Live this week. Talk about a nice guy. We bonded right away over our mutual friends like Mike Epps, D.L. Hughley, and Macio who was one of the founders of Uptown Comedy Club, and a guy he said he really looked up to when he first started out performing at Uptown.
He told me this great story of how he started out in NY, from The Bronx, as a hip hop dancer, and wound up dancing for Salt ’N Pepa, in the late 80’s through 1993. Then when he started doing comedy Salt ’N Pepa asked him to tour with them and he found himself opening for 10-15,000 people. He’s also the star along with his wife, 90’s pop singer Shanice on the Oprah network OWN’s aptly titled reality show Flex and Shanice. It’s about how they lost everything in their lives, came out of bankruptcy and turned their lives around. Very powerful story. As he described his situation at the time, they were broke and homeless. I asked him how he got the show on Oprah’s network and he told me he had almost had a deal with them on a previous show, and when it didn’t work out, they told him to bring them something when he felt he had the right thing, so he made a four minute sizzle reel on his own, and they loved it. Just shows the power of perseverance! Flex did a great job hosting the show and the Killer Bunny guys, who produce the show were thrilled!
L.A. based comic Taylor Tomlinson from this season’s Last Comic Standing, came in to do GCL, and told me how helpful it was having Wanda Sykes as the mentor on LCS. Taylor bills herself as a clean comic, and was excited about coming back to New York next week to perform at The Stand and The Standing Room! In LA she says she performs mostly at The Laugh Factory!
I found myself back out in Queens again at The Creek and The Cave to catch the last Naked Show that Kaytlin Bailey would be producing. She’s too busy to keep getting naked because she’s doing the Pink Collar Comedy Tour, an all women’s tour, and the upcoming tour for her new show Cuntageous, which I saw and gave her props for. In the Naked Show too she’s very open about how much she likes sex, and discloses fun personal stories which are hard enough to share when fully dressed, but sharing them while totally naked in front of an audience is a whole new level of courage. I can’t even get undressed in front of myself! I make myself turn around first before I take off my clothes, and insist I promise not to look! The Naked Show was fun and the curtains were closed tight to keep the crowds of onlookers in the street from peeking in. Some of the brave comics were Angela Cobb, Mike Brown, Josh Alba, Justin Perez and the afore-mentioned Beecher who told me he’s also in some scenes in the new Scorcese rock and roll project Vinyl, which people keep telling me I should be in. If any of you know Ellen Lewis, who’s casting Vinyl, please put us together!
Kaytlin’s turning over the reins of The Naked Show to Alison Klemp, her partner in nakedness and also in their show I’m Fine, Probably which will be starting at New York Comedy Club and which they hope will turn into a monthly event. They perform under the comedy duo name Nailin’ It, and comics get longer sets than usual. Alison’s first Naked Show production will be on New Year’s Eve, so if you feel like getting naked on New Years, … which the audience is allowed to do, … head on out!
Outside in the street after the show I ran into Christina Galston who told me she made the semi-finals of NBC’s Stand Up For Diversity. The contest was held at Gotham Comedy Club back in August and it turns out she was one of the people who actually camped out on the street in order to assure her audition. She got there on Saturday and slept on the street, and there were still about a hundred people in front of her. First round they got one minute of stage time. If they got called back for the second round a few hours later, they got 2 minutes. She said fights broke out, people tried to crash the line and some guy paid 300 bucks for someone else’s spot. I asked her how she handled sleeping out on the street and she said the key is feeling “nice” when you get there! According to her she felt really nice! Good luck Christina!
Last week I got to re-connect with Seaton Smith who played Motif on FOX’s Mulaney last season. He just came out with his first special called Bologna Meat and I invited him over to my “comedy museum” to tell me about it. He said he chose the name cause it made him laugh. Bologna Meat is a Comedy Dynamics project as are most of the cool specials these days, and he taped it in D.C. where he got his start. He’s the son of two professors who worshipped Eddie Murphy, but forced him to go to school. They didn’t mind that he wound up in comedy, they just wanted him to get a degree first. He wound up opening for Mulaney in 2011, at the D.C. Improv, and they bonded. A couple of years later, he wound up auditioning for Mulaney’s show, and got a part. For the original NBC pilot he was just a friend. In the FOX version he was upgraded to the roommate! He loved working with John, Nasim Pedrad and Martin Short. You can see the fun video we shot on my YouTube channel!
That’s it for me! I’m OUT!!!
Jeffrey Gurian is a comedian, writer and all around bon vivant in New York City. Subscribe to his YouTube channel. Below, photos, Jeffrey Gurian and Bobcat Goldthwait, Jeffrey and Flex Alexander, Jeffrey with Taylor Tomlinson, and Jeffrey with Kaitlyn Bailey and Alison Klemp.