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!
Sal Vulcano kicked off Comedy Juice this week sporting a brand new haircut and he looked great! He had a lot of new material and when he came off I congratulated him again on the recent Impractical Jokers cruise and their sold out show at Madison Square Garden. I asked him what it was like to play The Garden to 20,000 fans and he said it was like ‘how people describe a wedding. It was a complete blur and I hope someday I can do it again!’ ” He told me this in the midst of being mobbed by fans wanting photos all of which he accommodated even though he had to run and do a set at The Cellar.
Rich Vos went up and referencing all the scandals going. He wore a new hat and was very funny! Later in the week I ran into Bonnie McFarlane who told me about Rich’s hat, “I’m married to Rich for 10 years and to what appears to be a Mexican for 2 and a half.” Melissa Villasenor newly of SNL’s 42nd season came through and did a fun spot but started out by laughingly apologizing for her unique voice. It is very unique. She was so laid back and said she was working on some new material which she had on her phone, so if she didn’t get the response she expected she said, “It’s all new stuff anyway so I don’t care.” Fortunately, it all went well. And multi-talented Matteo Lane showed off his language skills by conversing in excellent French with an audience member from Paris. He’s always so funny and so relaxed on stage. And then Jon Laster came in and told me he’s in a new web series called Ride Share where he plays an Uber driver, and it debuts net week He’s an Executive Producer and they already shot 9 episodes. He’s hoping to get picked up by either Netflix or Hulu.
I was almost about to leave when I saw my buddy Jamie Kennedy about to take the stage so I knew I had to stay. We hadn’t seen each other for a while so I told him I’d stay and we’d catch up when he came off stage. He’s got so much going on. Really cool movie stuff. First he’s in a sci-fi film with Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, and Ruth Negga. It’s from New Regency and it’s called Ad Astra set in the solar system where Jamie plays a guy named Peter Bello, who’s been posted on Mars for an extended period of time. He said that fortunately, he did not actually have to go to Mars to film the scenes. The magic of Hollywood! As if that’s not enough he’s got two other films coming up as well. He’ll be seen opposite Jon Voight in a film called Riley’s Peak and in a film called Spinning Man with Guy Pearce, Pierce Brosnan, and someone with no “Pierce” in their name at all, Minnie Driver. In that film he plays an ethics professor and friend of the lead played by Guy Pearce, a philosophy professor whose illicit past and string of inappropriate relationships with his students comes to light.
I actually went back to see Jamie Kennedy again as he was headlining Gotham for the weekend. He was surprised that I came back, and said he’s been seeing me at the club since it opened and every time he’s performed there. We sat and discussed the merits of all the New York clubs to catch him up on what’s been going on in town. Jamie does great impressions, especially of Matthew McConaughey. He does a bunch of characters and voices and does a strong hour. He definitely gives the audience their money’s worth.
in a major coincidence, D.L. Hughley, Jamie’s castmate from NBC’s Heartbeat a medical drama in which both stand-up comics play doctors, was appearing uptown at Carolines. I told Jamie I was headed over there and before he went on stage he told me he loves D.L. and to send him his regards, which I did. Then he went on stage and I was there watching with show host William Stephenson who’s probably most often seen at The Comedy Cellar, and Casey Balsham who got congrats on her set from Jamie and will soon be doing the Fairfield Comedy Club for her first time. For once I was able to tell another comic that they’d like a club because I had already done it first!
I spent most of the next part of the weekend at Carolines hanging out with D.L. and his crew which is always a treat. There are few people more gracious and interesting to hang with than D.L. He might be the most relaxed comic I have ever seen as he sits with his friends backstage literally until the moment he’s called to the stage. And there are many friends and comics that crowd his dressing room. Many comics want to be alone at least for a few moments before they hit the stage. Not D.L. When it’s time he just gets up, gets escorted by two or three people, goes out there and immediately proves why he’s a true King of Comedy. He’s also gracious in the stage time he gives to up and coming comedians. I went for two nights in a row and he gave stage time to Barry Ribs who did three shows, Kenan Jerome Floyd, Clinton Coley, Bo Last Name Dacious, and Malik S, all of whom were amazing. And when D.L. came out it didn’t matter how many other comics went on before, there were still plenty of laughs left for him. He takes the show to new levels and always dresses like the star that he is. Every night is a new outfit and very often a new hat to go with it. While many comics strive for that homeless look D.L. always looks like he stepped off the cover of GQ.
His radio partner Jasmine Sanders is always there to support and they ordered some cool Chinese food for everyone backstage. I had just eaten so I declined, but D.L. always kids me that I never eat and that he’s never seen me eat. While sitting in the green room the conversation is always stimulating. Never small talk. It ranged from if you ever experienced real love to, do all people seek happiness, and D.L. is very open about talking about his family, and how he came up. His story is truly a miracle and he overcame a lot of obstacles to become who he is. Taking note of everything both backstage and onstage, and recording it on at least two cameras, is a fascinating guy named Tau Battice an English Prof. and lecturer at CUNY who is also a photographer, originally from St. Kitts. He said he uses portraiture “as an entry point for studying people” and is working on a special project about D.L. He said he even has a bunch of candid photos of D.L. and I together which I was not aware of. D.L. told me he’s got a really big show coming up in January where he’ll be performing with the Comedy Get Down crew at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn for his very first time. And he’s excited about doing it. He’ll be with Eddie Griffin, George Lopez and Cedric The Entertainer and he mentioned how they all miss Charlie Murphy.
I was glad I got to finally chat with A.G. White who I had actually met once but never really had the opportunity to talk to. He’s a fascinating guy, who respectfully addresses D.L. as “King”, and one of those rare cross-over comics, a white guy who can appeal to a mostly black audience. He grew up in Brooklyn and says he was in one of the only white families not to move out when the neighborhood changed. As a matter of fact he jokingly says he grew up thinking, “if I see a white boy in my hood I’m gonna fuck him up!” He currently tours the country with Queen of Comedy Adele Givens and separately with Luenell, and you gotta have the goods to do that. I saw him in action and it’s real! He says he also does a lot of Improvs and Funny Bones. In the course of our conversation, I said something that he said reminded him of something his father said and he asked me if I was Jewish. I said I was and asked “ You too? With a last name like White?” And he said “ My initials are AG, … “White” is what I am! Hilarious!
Anyone who knows me knows I’ll go anywhere for a story, even all the way up to the Boogie Down Bronx where I’m originally from. I went up to Walnut Street to this special event space called Walnut Street Loft where comic Jack Thriller from Nick Cannon’s Wild ’N Out, and This Is 50 Comedy does his thing every Monday in a wild and crazy show called The Party and Bullshit Show named after a Biggie song! (And don’t say Biggie who?) His Kevin Hart interview on This Is 50 got over 335,000 views. Jack is a multi-talented guy I’ve known for a while and he had told me about his show but you can’t really get it until you experience it. There’s a cool DJ named Rob-E Rob, spinning mad tunes on the ones and twos, and at least 20 girls who come at least an hour before to dress up and have their hair and make-up done by professionals, so they look just right on camera. There’s an open bar and food servers, and people chill and party for at least an hour before the show/party officially starts. They even have a professional massage therapist who gets everybody in the mood. It’s a multi-cam shoot and Jack is the host bringing his comedy skills to good use. They do it during the day and this day he had on rapper turned reality star Safaree Samuels from “Love and Hip Hop” who came to perform songs from his new album “Fur Coat Vol. 1” and brought many fur coats to wear which he kept changing into during the course of the show. The 20 hot girls came out and danced and everything was orchestrated by Young Jack Thriller as only he can do. He was so surprised to see me. He couldn’t believe I came all the way up to The Bronx. And the truth is neither could I, but it was a lot of fun!
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. 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 Sal Vulcano, D.L. Hughley, Jack Thriller and Jamie Kennedy.