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, 92Y, Stand Up New York and more!
It was a fun night at the 92nd Street Y, which is bringing in a lot of special comedy events lately. David Spade was in conversation with Colin Quinn about David’s new book Almost Interesting:The Memoir and it’s filled with fun stories and cool photos. The place was packed. When they finally came out they were both dressed very casually and Colin was checking his phone. David chastised him for not paying attention, but he said he had to check his notes because he was getting paid for this gig. He obviously had his notes on his phone. David told cool stories like turning down the opportunity to take over for David Letterman at $2 million a year, which shocked his managers at the time Brad Grey,(now the Chairman and CEO of Paramount) and Bernie Brillstein. He said he didn’t feel like it was something he wanted to do or get locked into long term. He also shared the great story of how Lorne Michaels made him turn down a $250,000 offer to do a Pepsi commericial for the Super Bowl. When you do SNL you do what Lorne tells you to do!
David’s brother Andy sat right behind us with his wife designer Kate Spade, and their daughter who David acknowledged from the stage, and Andy’s got quite a distinctive laugh! After it was over, Colin split right away but David hung out to sign books. I had first met David in his early years through my friendship with Phil Hartman and Jon Lovitz, when I used to hang out at the show, and I think the last time I saw him was at the opening of Comix in 2006 so I didn’t even know if he’d remember me. They asked everyone to write on a post it what you wanted David to sign on your book. I wasn’t taking any chances so on my post-it I wrote, “Dear Jeffrey, I remember you like it was yesterday! Your best friend, David.” And that’s exactly what he wrote!
I jumped over to Stand-Up New York to catch Bob Dibuono’s show Character Flawed and despite a rainy, horrible night he still had a good crowd. He also had a good line-up, and I ran into Gary Vider, who told me it was thanks to Howard Stern that he got into the finals of America’s Got Talent. He said that after he made the semi-finals Howard said openly that if Gary didn’t make it into the finals it wouldn’t make sense. Gary and Mark Normand’s show Hot Soup which they do every Tuesday from The Irish Exit, a bar on 2nd Avenue, will be part of the New York Comedy Festival, go check it out!
I wound up doing a set on the show and then Harris Stanton came in, and it was really great to see him. He had just come back from doing the Denver Improv with my man Dean Edwards, who you will read about later in the column. Harris was one of the people injured in the Tracy Morgan accident and he was thrilled to say he’s part of Tracy’s new tour, along with Ardie Fuqua who was also badly injured in that same accident. Harris said he thinks it’s starting in Indiana and they already announced dates. They’re even doing Hawaii. I wanted to know when they’ll be in NY and he told me they’ll be at the Theatre at Madison Square Garden on April 1st, for Hot 97’s April Fools Show, and I don’t think he was fooling! You can read details on the tour and tickets here.
It was an exciting week for me personally when the great Alan Zweibel came to my home for an interview about his new book Benjamin Franklin- Huge Pain In My @$$$! Fill in your own word! It’s a Disney/Hyperion book and they’re not big into cursing so they made him bleep it out visually! His co-author Adam Mansbach is the New York Times Best Selling Author for his own bleeped out title Go The F**k To Sleep billed as a bedtime story for parents, so as Alan says, they’re fond of titles you can’t say in mixed company.
He and Adam Mansbach met when Alan was the keynote speaker at the Tucson Book Festival. They met, had a drink, and decided to try a collaboration despite the fact that Alan’s in NJ, and Adam’s in Berkeley, CA. Benjamin Franklin is a fascinating book about a 13 year old boy named Franklin, named by his parents after the original, hoping he’d follow in his footsteps, who’s having a hard time in life. He’s having trouble in school, doesn’t have many friends, and he’s not getting along with his step-father. He gets a school assignment to write a letter to a historical character and he writes to Benjamin Franklin telling him how poorly the name is working out for him. He has an argument with the step-father and decides to actually mail the letter. In anger he steals a vintage stamp from his father’s stamp collection, mails the letter and it winds up going back in time to the original Benjamin Franklin’s mailbox. Cut to 1776, and Benjamin Franklin “ waddles out of his house to find the letter”, reads it and begins a correspondence with this 13 year old boy in 2015. A grandfather-grandson relationship starts and the book is a collection of their correspondence. Fascinating! We also shot a fun video that you can see right here.
The reason it was particularly exciting for me is that Alan is the guy who gave me my start in comedy many years ago when he was a writer for SNL and the show was brand new. I managed to sneak up there with some short films I had made. Alan had been playing handball against the wall with Lorne Michaels‘ cousin Neil Levy, who was a producer on the show, when I showed up. He watched my films and was kind enough to call his manager David Jonas on my behalf. Alan jokingly claimed that because of me, NBC now has security outside so people can no longer sneak in! Alan is also Executive Producer of David Steinberg’s interview show Inside Comedy, and co-produced a couple of seasons of Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm in which he also appeared as a character named Duckstein. He’s writing and producing a TV pilot for IFC and working on a Broadway musical. He is just so busy, so when I say I was honored to sit with him for an hour and reminisce I really mean it.
New York Comedy Club finished it’s renovations and the place looks great. No pictures back on the walls yet so mine is not up, but I went anyway because Emilio invited me to the re-opening party and Roast Battle hosted for the first time by Matt Richards, because Rell Battle was out of town. Judges were Dave Cyrus from SNL, Craig Gass and my buddies Greer Barnes and Dean Edwards. Marc Gerber and Eric Neumann performed admirably actually roasting each other with Marc going hard on Eric’s Mom, and his deceased father. The audience laughed but maybe just in disbelief at the harshness of the topics! Roasts have gotten very mean, and in our politically correct times, a lot of the comics don’t want to make fun of each other, which I totally get. They’re jokes but they can still take their toll. Barry Ribs vanquished Kendra Cunningham with lines about her big dick, and the headliner roast was between Phil Hanley and Gary Vider, two really sharp comics and good writers who had great jokes about each other, during which Phil managed to plug his upcoming Comedy Central special on November 14th in almost every one.
Phil said Gary is a gentleman and always kisses a girl on the hand. He goes for her face but she blocks it! Gary said Phil’s special is only a half hour, but it feels a lot longer! They both told me that they like each other so much, they ran their jokes by each other because all they wanted to do was to come up with an entertaining bit that the audience would like, and they didn’t really want to insult each other.
I got to catch up with Dean Edwards after the show who told me cool stories of his shows in the Middle East. He said his most beautiful hotel room was in Saudi Arabia and it came with a personal butler who was African. The shows were held on the grounds of the Venezuelan Embassy and when the women came in and removed their burkas, they were wearing Metallica and Run DMC T-shirts underneath! Hilarious!
Sandra Bernhard hosted Gotham Comedy Live this week, and of course I popped in to see what was up. She was her usual funny self, and was very generous with her introductions of the comics on the show. At the end of the show she said she was too tired to hang out and attend the afterparty so Jimmy Cannizzaro escorted her outside to grab a cab. Theo Von, the host of TBS’s weekly hidden camera prank show Deal With It, and Yahoo’s daily recap show Primetime in No Time was first up and opened to a big laugh by saying to Sandra, “I’d let you fuck my sister!” He’s from Louisiana and speaks with a deep Southern drawl. He said his Dad was 70 when he was born, and he sounds more like a Black comic than a White comic ending almost every sentence with “bruh”, as in “ Yoga ain’t for dudes bruh!” along with talking about “Chasing them hoes”, addressing audience members as “son, and playboy”, and advising them to “G-up!” But he got big laughs from the crowd, and went over really well.
Women are using their comedy talent in different ways. Kat Timpf had done the lottery show at The Comic Strip and I believe also did my late night show and now she’s a Fox News contributor and speaker. I went to hear her at Hudson Terrace one night speaking on women’s issues with the title Wait— How Is That Feminist? – The Ridiculous Modern Movement That’s Setting Women Back, and I took with me a Penthouse model who also performs comedy, Anju McIntyre, who not only does stand-up and recently hosted the opening of a new comedy club in New Jersey, but was also in the inter-active show “Murdered By The Mob.” Really fun evening!
Anyway, that’s it for me this week. 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. Below, photos, Jeffrey with Alan Zweibel, David Spade, Anju McIntyre and Dean Edwards