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 reports from Comedy Juice, and New York Comedy Club.
In the midst of my insane week, (no crazier than usual though!) I got a call from Andrew Dice Clay in Vegas, just to check in and catch up on stuff. He’s got so much going on. He’s at The Hard Rock for a few weeks, then next week on Friday April 24th he’s got a Showtime special called The Blue Room where he features his favorite “blue” comics, like Steve Wilson, Erik Myers, Jason Rouse, Michael “Wheels” Parisi, Colin Kane, The Smash Brothers, and his very favorite Eleanor Kerrigan, about whom he’s very energetic with his praise. He said he almost did the special just to get her name out to the public. You see Dice is a very rare individual. I know him to be the exact opposite of his public persona in many ways. Not to say his stage personna is not real but he’s a stand-up guy in the true sense of the word. If he likes you he’ll go to the mat for you, and if he says he’ll help you it’s important to him that you know he doesn’t forget what he said. That is a very rare trait especially in Hollywood, or anywhere else for that matter.
He’s very excited about 2016 because both of his HUGE projects are slated to come out at the same time. His 6 episode deal with Showtime for his own show called Dice, with heavy-weight showrunner and writer Scott Armstrong in charge, will come out at the same time as his appearance in Martin Scorsese’s still untitled rock and roll project. Dice said he was absolutely thrilled to be working with Scott and “the master”, Martin Scorsese. And he loves being with Showtime because they treat him so well. He said they gave him the most freedom of any offer he had. After only seeing a 7 minute presentation of Dice they told him he was going straight to air.
He also told me that after he does this special, he wants to do another special, and then he’s planning on doing another album because he hasn’t done one for more than 20 years. And then he will do what he referred to as a “giant tour” of only huge theatres and arenas. The album will be called The Day The Laughter Died, Part 3. Part 1 was done at Dangerfields back in 1990 and was produced by Rick Rubin, on David Geffen’s label. The idea was to record an unadvertised performance in a small club with a small crowd, many of whom might not even be familiar with Dice, or be fans of his. Mitzi Shore told Dice the album would ruin his career. Instead Dice told me it went gold in four days. “It was the fastest selling album in stand-up history.” It was also the first double album ever made. He said that Geffen called and asked why it had to be a double album and Dice said, “ Because it’s never been done!” Dice told me the inside story on the album. He said he did it over three nights. He went on at 11 P.M. and stayed on stage for three hours each night. By the third night he was so exhausted he wound up in Lenox Hill Hospital. He did part 2 in 1993, and so he feels it’s time for Part 3. He sounded great, and strong, and confident and really happy with the way things are going. And he’s really proud of his two sons Dillon and Max who are in the band L.A. Rocks and who recently made their TV debut on The Late, Late Show with Billy Gardell as the guest host. They debuted theier song Trouble Maker with son Dillon Scott on lead guitar and vocals, son Max Silverstein on drums, and their friend Kyle Chrise on bass.
Loni Love is so excited about her role in Kevin James’ new film Paul Blart : Mall Cop 2 which she said took in 7.3 million bucks in the first two days. I caught up with her at Gotham Comedy Club this week. She says she spent 8 fun filled weeks in Vegas filming with Kevin and had the best time of her life. She said it was the least stress-filled set she had ever been on, because he filled the movie with friends and family and everyone got along so well. He’s one of those guys who doesn’t forget his old friends he started out with like Vic Dibitetto, Max Alexander, and Chris Monty who are all in the film as well. She said Kevin is just the nicest guy you could imagine and that she was honored that he came on her “little talk show” The Real when he could have gone on any show he wanted to promote the film. She also told me that Adam Sandler doesn’t like to do sequels, and the film is a Happy Madison production. But since Grown-Ups 2 did so well he was convinced to do Paul Blart 2. It looks like another winner.
Loni told me about all the other stuff she has going on as well. For a girl who came out of the projects she’s doing really well for herself. On her Cafe Mocha Radio she got to interview not only Michelle Obama but also The President! She says she still can’t believe she gets text messages from The White House making arrangements for Michelle to come on The Real. She’s planning a summer tour to go all around the USA, trying to fit in as many cities as she can, and it’s all on her website at lonilove.com. The Real just got renewed for a second season, she says she gets drunk with Chelsea Handler, and she’s got a new game show with Ellen Degeneres on HLN which is taping in June in LA, called Heads Up. Ellen is producing and Loni is hosting and from what I got it’s based on Ellen’s app for IOS and Android. They got 65 episodes to start, which is amazing. Contestants get paired up with celebrities, and somewhere along the line, someone winds up holding an iPad on their head, but I’m not exactly sure why!
Pat Brown opened for Loni. I remember when Pat first got to town not all too long ago, and she’s producing a new DVD which she plans to tape in September probably at Rick Newman’s Stage 72. Pat will also appear in a one hour special that Loni is doing for BET in the fall called Being Loni Love. It’s an inside look at Loni and the people in her life. It was shot in NY, D.C. and Detroit, and I’m actually feeling tired just from telling you all the things this girl is doing! She looked amazing with her red hair and hot leather outfit, and it was big hugs all around when we left.
The Comedy Juice line-up was strong enough on it’s own with Todd Barry, Myq Kaplan, Annie Lederman from Chelsea Lately, and Ricky Velez but then I noticed a shadowy figure sitting alone in the dark on a banquette against the wall and I thought to myself, that looks a lot like Louis CK. Sure enough after Todd went up they introduced Louis. The crowd went absolutely wild. In some clubs you just never know who’s gonna drop in to work on some new material. Ricky told me that the night before Louis dropped by The Cellar as did Chris Rock and Aziz Ansari. To an audience these are real treats, to be sitting there for what you expect to be a regular show, and suddenly find yourself at a superstar showcase.
When Louis came off stage I went over to congratulate him on his killer set, and shortly afterwards read a Tweet he had allegedly posted where he wondered why comics in general don’t tell each other they had a “good set.” I was glad to read that because I do that all the time. Louis hung out for a while chatting with Todd, and took photos with a few people that got to him before he split.
I popped into New York Comedy Club to see the “equality for women show” the purpose of which was to say that women in comedy should be paid the same as men. We were all hanging out in the bar area, and I spoke to three of the performers to get their take on the situation. Dean Obeidallah said “I’m all for equal pay for men and women, I’m also for equal pay for men. I wanna get the same pay as Kevin Hart. I’d even take 78 cents on the dollar for Kevin Hart. I’d be ecstatic. But the pay gap between men and women should be eliminated and comedy is a non-traditional way to raise political issues, because people can have a good time and laugh and think a little bit, so it’s a great vehicle to address this issue.”
I asked Zainab Johnson what the evening meant to her, and she said “It means I get to donate my time and my talent to support a very necessary cause, that I don’t even wanna call good or bad, it’s just necessary.” When I asked her if she had that experience she added, “I have had the good fortune to employ myself for most of my life, so I haven’t experienced it knowingly, and even when I’m making nothing I’m happy, and that quantifies as something much greater to me.” Paul Herzich, who was the owner of Comedy U back in the day from 1983 to ’88, told me that he felt the inequality of women was not about pay but about them getting equal stage time. He said he always paid his women well because in the early days he was making so much money off of the women he had performing in his club, that he only felt it was fair to pay them well. He said that from the first week they opened Thursday night was female comedy night, and it was all women. In those days it was Brett Butler, Cathy Ladman, Laura Kightlinger, Henriette Mantel, and Judy Gold, Susie Essman and Joy Behar. He said his week-end line-ups were probabaly 60% women and he started referring to himself as a “comedy pimp” because he made most of his money from women. Zainab definitely agreed with Paul. She said “ I’ve been traveling more since LCS, and people will come up to me all the time and tell me how happy they are to see a female headliner because they don’t see it that much.”
Chris Distefano and I spoke just before he went up on stage. He said, “ I come from an Italian family in Brooklyn where believe it or not even though they’re kind of old school, the women were always equal. Actually the women ran shit and actually STILL run shit in my family.” The show was hosted by Emma Willmann who I’ve been seeing everywhere lately. She said the clubs she works in have always been fair to her, but money is a tricky equation because it doesn’t come into play a lot. She said the pool of money is so small when you’re first starting out that it’s hard to tell where any of it goes.
Paul Virzi is a name you’ll be hearing a lot about. Paul opens for Bill Burr, and any time a comic of that level chooses you to open shows for him, it can only lead to good things. Paul and and I sat down at my place when he made time to come down from his home in a far-way land, somewhere upstate, to record a segment of his podcast The Virzi Effect with me. We had so much fun it ran for almost 90 minutes without us realizing it, with all the stories back and forth. And I was glad he made the time because he was leaving the next day to meet up with Bill and Jason Lawhead for Bill’s Billy Bible Belt Tour of the deep south. They’ll be doing a 2 week run of the south through states like Georgia, Tenn. and Alabama. Paul is looking forward to this summer when his debut album will be released called Paul Virzi Live at The Stand which is a perfect name considering that’s where he taped it. It would have just been weird and somewhat awkward if he had taped it at another club. In May he is going to be co-headlining at Gotham from May 8-9, as part of the All In Tour with Joe Bartnick and special guest Yannis Pappas.
Kurt Metzger told me he’s psyched about going out to the Moontower Comedy Festival this week in Austin Texas, for his third time. He said he’ll be doing a few shows while he’s out there but doesn’t know where yet. I guess you just come armed with plenty of jokes and go up wherever they tell you. Kurt likes to keep his set on his phone, and just hopes his battery stays charged!
Yannis Pappas told me he is living his dream hosting his AOL show 2 Point Lead, because he gets to combine his love of sports with his love of comedy. A perfect mix. He’s very proud of an article that recently appeared in Variety, and he’s repping the show for AOL at the New Fronts, which is the web’s version of the Upfronts for regular TV.
Yannis says everything is changing in the world of entertainment because every company wants to be on the web, which is why all the big companies are spending so much money to get online and it’s been great for comedians who have so many things open to them now. He said the same thing is happening in comedy that happened in the music industry. It used to be a seller’s market and now it’s a buyer’s market. He has guests on his show from the worlds of both comedy and sports like Sherrod Small, Kevin Brennnan, Alonzo Mourning, and Anthony Rizzo, and I think you’ll know which is which without me telling you. It’s a mix of sketches, and interviews and he’s really happy to be on AOL where he’s joined the ranks of James Franco and Mike Epps who also have shows on AOL.
Adam Stone and Todd Stone, or Stone and Stone as they are known professionally, were at the PIT doing their thing for an hour. Their web series for Tru TV just got renewed for a second season. It’s called Grown Up, Grown Down and the way Todd described it to me, there are celebrity judges who weigh in on important questions like “should a grown up wear sneakers to work?”
Anyway that’s if 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. Below, photos,