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 covered the scene at Gotham Comedy Club, the Hi-Fi Lounge, Carolines and more.
I jumped on over to Gotham to catch Steve Byrne do his headline thing, and by chance ran into him and his MC Gary Cannon in the hallway outside the showroom. He and Gary co-host a podcast called The Gentleman’s Dojo. Steve told me he just filmed a new hour in Chicago at Lincoln Hall for Rooftop Productions. He doesn’t even have a title yet but he hopes to have it out by the summer. He’s also pitching a new TV show in June, and working on a feature film that he plans to direct, and said he was recovering from a night out partying with Colin Jost. While on stage he gave a teary-eyed shout-out to comic actress Christine Ebersole with whom he spent three years doing their TBS hit Sullivan and Sons. He was genuinely moved, and emotionally overwhelmed by the fact that she was there, and gave her a heartfelt thank you.
Steve did a really nice thing as some comics do and gave a guest spot to Reggie Conquest who I had met before and who did some writing for Impractical Jokers. They had just met the night before at Colin Jost’s show and Reggie was there with Michael Che. While they were hanging out afterwards, Steve said he needed another opener and offered Reggie the spot. It’s always cool when a comic does something like that and gives someone their shot.
And Colin Jost did the exact same thing. With all this talk about Colin Jost I ran over to catch his last show at Carolines, and as he himself told me humbly but proudly, it was the last of five sold-out shows. Colin is a crowd pleaser and they love him. It was so crowded I had to stand on the side with some of the people he had open for him including Wil Sylvince, Tim Dillon who was hosting, Mike Recine who often travels with Colin and opens for him, and Nimesh Patel who had just texted me the day before to tell me he saw me on TV on Million Dollar Listing, looking at a $16 million dollar penthouse. I told them it wasn’t big enough for me, and that I wanted to spend more than that! Nimesh was thrilled to get the chance to be on the show with Colin. And I brought Colin the final proof version of my new book Man Robs Bank With His Chin because he was kind enough to give me a blurb for the cover, and I wanted him to see it. His quote says “Ever since I met Jeffrey Gurian, good things started happening to me. Coincidence? Yes! “
Gary Levitt and Matt Schwartzer put on a show called I Don’t Get It at the Hi-Fi Lounge on Avenue A, and its a crazy little room off of a bar and it’s stand-up combined with improv and they pull in great talent and very cool crowds. They do the improv at the end which is a great way to do it so it doesn’t change the energy you need for the stand-up portion. They recently celebrated their two year anniversary and have had some cool names. This particular show was hosted by Usama Siddique and featured Jim Tews, Myka Fox, and Kenny DeForest who took over Hannibal Buress’ show at The Knitting Factory. Myka told me they just did the 100th episode of her podcast she does with Chris Laker, called This Week In Jackin’ where each comic gets up and talks about their masturbatory habits. Of course the show was Chris’ idea, and he convinced Myka to be his co-host so she could, … in her words… “legitimize the show, especially when other women were on!” At the recent 100th episode show, they had 25 comics telling masturbation stories.
I asked Kenny DeForest whether Hannibal ever drops by, for his old Sunday night show, Comedy At The Knitting Factory, and he says he does whenever he can, but it’s usually unannounced. The show’s going on for about 7 years already and drew big stars like Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, and Louis CK. Since Hannibal left they’ve had Dave Attell, Dave Chapelle, and Janeane Garofalo, among others.
When I left Hi-Fi Bar, I took Kenny with me to Lucky Jacks for Andy Fiori’s album release party, for his new CD Plan B. As we walked into this very cool space down on the LES, Andy waved me over to the back where the other comics were hanging out. It was Andy Pitz, Dan Shaki, and Greg Stone who is very close to Andy Fiori. Andy and Dan are two more of the guys who used to do my late night show at The Comic Strip and just about every one of those guys has gone on to do very cool stuff in the biz. I often see Andy up at SiriusXM where he works, and I asked him how he got the title. He laughingly said it came from a text message mishap. He had a blind date and she had texted him saying she was looking forward to it, and instead of writing back “Have a plan B ready” which is a thing a comic might say, he accidentally wrote back “Have Plan B ready” which is the morning after pill. The girl showed up anyway and I don’t know what happened with the girl, but he wound up getting a title out of it. I love stories like that. He taped it at New York Comedy Club this past October, and it was a Comedy Records project and C.R. founder/stand up Barry Taylor came down from Toronto where he’s based to attend the party, and immediately endeared himself to me by identifying himself as a fan of this column. The next night he was heading out to The Standing Room to tape Aaron Berg’s new CD, the live version of his book Mr. Manners- Proper Etiquette for the Modern Degenerate. I asked him if he also did DVD specials, besides the CD’s, and he said they were just getting into that now.
Jonas Barnes pulled off a great all female show down at The Cornelia Street Cafe starring Gina Yashere as the headliner, and attributed the idea for the show to comic Margaux Avedisian. Also performing in this line-up of strong, empowered, sexually oriented women were Kaytlin Bailey, who told me she had lots of cool stuff to tell me just before she ran out, Lauryn Petrie, Maria Heinegg, and Jaqi Furback. Margaux was the MC and when she brought Gina to the stage she gave her a huge, well-deserved introduction and then committed the terrible sin of mispronouncing her name, which is even worse after you tell the audience how great the person is who you’re bringing up. It made me remember that she did the exact same thing to me, when I did a show she was hosting. Big build-up and then mispronounce the name.
People who read my column know I try to never write anything negative about anything because I support anyone who gets up on stage, but I think it behooves the host of a show to approach each person performing on that show before they go up and ask the proper pronunciation of their name, besides their credits. Gina handled it well but as she left the stage after her set she said to the audience, “You probably won’t remember my name, because the host didn’t either.”
Gina told me she just sold her new special Ticking Boxes to Netflix Europe and is hoping to do the same thing over here. I had to ask her about “Ticking Boxes”. Is it about suspicious looking packages at the airport? No! In England the word “ticking” is like our word “checking off”, so when it comes to Gina in order to explain her as a Black, English, female, African, gay comic you’d have to check off many boxes and then it made sense to me!
This week I went down to Dangerfields Comedy Club. Manager/producer Ron Herron started up a new Sunday night show there, and I was on the show but came by especially early hoping to look around and reminisce. I was sitting in Rodney’s private office when Rodney’s longtime partner Tony Bevacqua came in. Tony still owns and runs the club just like he did back then. The first thing he said was, “I remember you sitting right there with Rodney writing jokes back in the 80’s. It looks the same right?” It looks EXACTLY the way it did back in the 80’s when I used to hang out there with Rodney himself. Tony and Rodney opened the club back on September 29th, 1969, with Milton Berle and Joan Rivers in the audience, and for their 50th anniversary they’ve already got a huge cable TV deal for a 90 minute show. The show will air as three separate thirty minute segments, with the first one featuring clips of some of the performers from Rodney’s early Young Comedians Specials. Most of you remember Rodney’s specials showcased some incredible talents like Andrew Dice Clay, Bob Saget and Roseanne. The second segment will include other heavyweight names who’ve performed at the club in the past, and the third segment will be about the newcomers who appear there now.
Tony is also developing a TV show that he created, with the working title of Comedy Rescue, which he described as a show that will give comics a second chance. He said every comic that’s not a big star has a story about why they didn’t make it. In this show they will have an opportunity to tell their story, and work with mentors to get their second chance. He said that Rodney’s legacy was always to help young comics, so the show will be dedicated to Rodney
Outside the club I ran into Harris Stanton, who was in the car with Tracy Morgan and Ardie Fuqua when they had that terrible accident. Harris had broken his wrist, and told me it was just a couple of days before that he was able to play softball for the first time since the accident and it felt fine with no pain. Harris had been a ball player before he became a comedian, and still looks like an athlete. He was drafted by the Cubs in 1996 and in 1997 went into spring training with the St. Louis Cardinals. He said he made the 52nd round when he was with the Cubs and I made believe I knew what that meant. It sounded important! It was a great night of comedy, and it looks like it will be a new weekly show. Stay tuned for more info on that.
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. Photo below Jeffrey Gurian with Colin Jost, Kenny DeForest and Tony Bevacqua