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 visited The Stand, New York Comedy Club, and more!
Street Jokes from The Interrobang was so fun this past week at The Stand, and the concept was a little different than the last time the show ran. Ron Bennington and Gail Bennington still hosted of course, but instead of just having comics telling the jokes, it was comics in competition with broadcasters. So it was Aaron Berg and Adam Ferrara against Sam Roberts and Anthony Cumia, and it was very close, but the broadcasters won! But the cool thing is no one knew who was participating until it started. I caught Aaron and Adam sitting outside The Stand before the show and both felt very confident. Mark Normand and Ari Shaffir both dropped by as guests to do a joke. I was also asked to come up on stage also, but unfortunately, with no advance notice I wasn’t prepared and sadly had to decline. Next time I’ll know better!
Ran into Tony Hinchcliffe from L.A. at The Stand and he’s in town for a week headlining for the first time at The Gramercy Theatre which is very cool and he brought two pals to open for him, Jeremiah Watkins from The Wave who I just saw in Montreal and Josh Martin who I hear is the newest paid regular at The Comedy Store. Tony was also in Montreal and did several shows including LOL, Stand-Up On The Spot also with Jeremiah Watkins and Big Jay’s What’s Your F@#ckin Deal!?. Those improv shows are very difficult and Tony agreed. He said that even if you’re an improviser by nature, it’s not an easy show to do, but he loves the challenge. He was a little concerned because he was performing at The Gramercy on the same night as the Mayweather/McGregor fight so he’s been doing a lot of podcasts since he’s been in town to help get the word out. He was also in town to do a scene for Judd Apatow’s Crashing which they were shooting all week at Gotham Comedy Club. It will be the finale of the season. A couple of other comics in this week’s column were also shooting Crashing this week, unfortunately neither of them were me!
I was glad to see Keith Robinson there as well, and before he got into an Uber to head down to The Cellar for his late spot we had a few moments to chat. He’s working on material for his third hour special and Kevin Hart will be producing it again. He’s already done a half hour and an hour for Comedy Central. His last special, Back of the Bus Funny which I was at for the taping, and which was also produced by Kevin Hart is now available on Netflix. And Derek Gaines was there being all humble about having 8 episodes in Tracy Morgan’s new show coming out on TBS, The Last O.G. I was like, why didn’t you tell me and I had to hear it from the people on the show. And he was like, “I was gonna tell you when it came on. I don’t like to talk about things before they happen.” Meanwhile the show is like a guaranteed hit. I bet it gets picked up for a second season right away.
Derek told me a cool inspirational story of how it came about. He had been out in LA shooting a pilot for NBC called Relatively Happy, in which he would have been a co-star, but it didn’t get picked up. Needless to say he was kind of bummed. Two days later, his agent told him to get out to Brooklyn to audition for Tracy’s show and he nailed it. He auditioned on a Friday and on Monday they told him he had the job. Just goes to show you, you only get what you’re supposed to get! He also said he likes LA, but he LOVES New York.
Rich Vos strolled up wearing a new hat with Jim Florentine and joined me and Derek hanging out outside. Then Dean Delray came through. Dean has so much going on it’s crazy! He’s playing a stalker guy in Season 3 of Judd Apatow’s Love on Netflix. He said he’s performed with Judd many times at The Comedy Store and one night after he got off stage they talked, and the next day he got the call. He said it was amazing because out of that one gig, he not only got a manager and his SAG card, but he got Judd as a friend. He said that Judd directed the episode and really just let him do his thing in terms of improv’ing the scene. So now he’s being repped by Mosaic, which also handles Rory Scovel (who just landed a big part in Amy Schumer’s new film shooting now in Boston) and Kumail Nanjiani. Dean also made a record, and he made sure to emphasize the word “record” because it’s only on vinyl and it’s called Road Rash. He preferred vinyl to digital because he said there’s no soul anymore when listening to music, and vinyl takes the ADD out of listening. It’s not as easy to skip around. The title comes from a horrific bike accident he had when he was on his motorcycle, (which sounds like such a lame word, but I didn’t want you guys to think he was on a bicycle!), and was hit by a woman in a stolen car going 70 mph. They never found the woman and he was left with severe injuries and no insurance settlement. Fortunately, he’s all healed up. He said that even if there had been an insurance settlement, he would only have wanted to get around 50 G’s because his comedy is all about “the struggle” and if he had too much money, he’d have to re-write his act. He’s also got a podcast called “Let There Be Talk” which is mostly rock stars along with comedians. He said that all rock stars want to be comedians and all comedians want to be rock stars, so he interviews them about that. He tapes it twice a week. And in a couple of weeks, he’ll be going on tour with Bill Burr as one of the three openers that Bill uses, the other two being Paul Virzi and Joe Bartnick.
Yamaneika Saunders who is everywhere these days, came through and told me she’s headed to LA to tape Bob Sumner’s “Laff Mobb’s Laff Tracks” for truTV, the new comedy series hosted by my buddy Cipha Sounds. Then she went up on stage and killed it which is a testament to her talent being that all that’s on her mind is that her grandma, who she’s so close to, is so sick.
Jay Nog’s Paid or Pain was back at New York Comedy Club this week and Aaron Berg and Harrison Greenbaum were the judges. And the show was as insane as usual. Comic Phil Korz who happened to be very funny, and who is the only one I recall getting both “Paid” and “Pain” got to pick from the deck of pain cards and when he got “Spanking” as his punishment, he willingly pulled down his pants, without being asked to do so, exposing his bare butt to the audience. One of the comics got “Electrocution” as his punishment and judge Harrison Greenbaum agreed to experience what it felt like as well to be shocked by Lady Zombie, both literally and figuratively. Chrissie Mayr who was there, let me know she’s still working on editing her album that she taped in the spring at NYCC and at the Hartford Funny Bone. She said it won’t be a typical special as she’s planning on adding documentary style features like stuff about her family and her long-running show at the Stonewall. She said she has a true vision for it, but it feels weird discussing it beforehand.
I brought comedy manager Allie Demopoulos to catch Amir K headlining Gotham for his first time and he was really psyched about being there. He said it was a true honor. He thanked me for coming and said it makes him happy whenever he sees me in the room! That’s really nice, and I feel the same about him. Alex Pavone was one of his openers and he was his usual manic, funny self. You never know what Alex will do on stage. He’s so manic, he jokingly says he has to smoke pot so that people won’t think he’s doing coke! I’m fascinated by his mic technique which he often holds down by his waist or even lower, but still manages to be easily heard. He’ll be doing the third annual Red Clay Festival in Atlanta next month. I had recently seen Amir in Montreal at Just for Laughs where he did the LOL show, some theater shows, and got to perform with his L.A. buddies Andrew Santino, Michael Angarano and Erik Griffin all of whom star in one of my favorite shows, Showtime’s “I’m Dying Up Here.” Amir is hilarious and does great accents including of course, the Iranian accent which is where he was born. Not in the Iranian accent, but in Iran. He came here when he was 5 and he said he learned to speak English by mimicking the other kids in his neighborhood, so for his first few years he spoke English with a Mexican accent.
During his act, he kept getting interrupted by a drunk couple who was so loud and obnoxious it was unbelievable, but he handled it really well. He said they must have thought they were at the Mayweather/McGregor fight. And when security finally escorted them out, he jokingly said he was sorry they left because he had run out of material about five minutes before, which wasn’t true because he went on to close strong. It sounds weird for one straight guy to say about another, but Amir is adorable on stage. That’s the only word I can think of to describe his stage presence. And with his locks of grey hair, he said he looks like “an Iranian wizard.” You’ll be seeing him on the new reboot of MADtv. Can’t wait!
I finished off my comedy week out at The Creek and the Cave at the live version of Kenny Warren’s “Comics Cutting Comics” and it’s a really fun show. Every comic gets a hair cut from Kenny before they perform, which is why it’s hard for me to do the show, and it was Phill Hunt, Barry Ribs, Napoleon Emill, Pat Brown, who openly wondered why no one is ever surprised when she tells them that she’s gay, and a new comic to me that I hadn’t seen before Rallo Boykins, and closing the show was another guy who doesn’t need a mic, Larry Beyah, who’s always perfect for closing a show because he brings such high energy to the stage. Plus he tells the audience about his love for each and every one of them, very different as he describes it, from his upbringing as the son of a follower of The Nation of Islam. Truthfully, I can’t picture Larry in a bow tie! And Tracey Carnazzo dropped by the show and let me know that her podcast with Justin Silver called “Neurotica” is going strong and they’re doing it once a week from a studio in Chelsea. The concept is mixing OCD with sex talk which I totally get. More people suffer with different types of OCD than you would imagine including people with addictions. The tagline for the show is “We’re here Because We’re Not All There” which is another thing I can unfortunately relate to! Tracey will be opening for Rich Vos in a week or so up in Poughkeepsie at Laugh It Up!
And then on the way home, Allie and I stopped off at NYCC for a late night taste of whatever and saw a whole bunch of people huddled around one iPhone watching the Mayweather/McGregor fight. We got there just in time for the 9th round, but my own OCD or ADHD got the best of me and while I was watching the 10th and final round, I thought I was watching a replay of the 9th round and was confused when I saw them stop the fight and gave it to Mayweather. It was then that I realized, my ADHD had gotten the best of me for a change. Mike Cannon was honoring his Irish roots by loudly rooting for McGregor, and told me his album “ It Just Kicked In” from 800 lb Gorilla will be released soon. I was there for the taping and already listened to it and it’s great!
R.I.P Joe Rocha! Memorials will be held this week at different comedy venues.
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 Chrissie Mayr and the cast of Comics Cutting Comics.