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 headed north and covered the scene at Just for Laughs in Montreal!
My JFL experience started at LaGuardia- as it always does. I flew up with the APA guys, Marcus Levy and Andrew Russell, and also Rick Glassman from the NBC show Undateable, who happened to be in New York, and he flew up with his parents. Rick just finished reshooting a new show called A Futile & Stupid Gesture on Netflix. It’s a biopic about the origins of the National Lampoon. He plays Harold Ramis. It’s directed by David Wain and he plays opposite Will Forte. They just finished the reshoots a month ago. Ryan Ling was there who shoots all those shows for MTV– Girl Code, Guy Code, and he says that as of this week, Girl Code will premiere on Snapchat. Carly Aquilino is in it, Matteo Lane, Jenny Zigrino, Emily Lin, Ashley Barnhill, Rae Sanni and Monroe Martin. He has another show called Vidiots which has been in 16 countries, but not America until now. It’s like a live action Beavis and Butt-Head– comedians on a couch making commentary on music videos. Nimesh Patel is in it, and Jared Freid, and Andrew Schulz, Carly Aquilino, Annie Lederman, Derek Gaines. MTV International picked it up right away, he said, as soon as he told them about it. He has another new series coming out on VH1 in November that he can’t tell me about yet. But it’s got NY and LA comics in it.
When I got here, the first thing I did was go to the David Spade Gala, and ran into Rick Glassman again. I saw Marina Franklin and Gina Brillon at the Delta Hotel, where I’m staying. Godfrey did a great set on the David Spade Gala, but he had technical troubles. The lights went crazy flashing like strobe lights when he was on stage. He blamed it on racism. It was very funny.
I ran into Daniel Tirado who did the festival in French. He did a 7 minute spot and got a standing ovation on two shows back to back. He was born in Montreal and moved to New York seven years ago. Then moved back to Montreal. He’s fluent in French, Spanish and English.
Later, we hung out in the bar with Colin Jost and Michael Che. Colin did Goddamn Comedy Jam and he did the song Last Nite by the Strokes. They were trying to convince him to do it and he wasn’t sure he wanted to do it, and he made up his mind to do it. The band learned the song in one morning. They got a text and worked on the song all day and he said they got it perfectly.
I ran into Chris Laker, who did the Access show with Mike Birbiglia and also Boast Rattle. He opened for Mike. He travels with him on the road, and also with his girlfriend Jacqueline Novak. She was in New Faces last year, and introduced him to Mike Birbiglia and now they all go on the road together.
Very late at night, Kevin Hart came in and held court in the lobby surrounded by security. I saw security first and figured Kevin’s got to be in there and he was…with Russell Peters and Bryan Callen and they were very strict about who came in. Tony Rock came by with Sherrod Small to say what’s up, but he was basically hanging with Russell and Bryan. I went over to say hi- they let me in- it was very cool. They were drinking Hennessy. Lil Rel came by as well and then Saranne Rothberg from Comedy Cures was there with LeA Robinson– granddaughter of Sylvia Robinson who is starring in a new show called the First Family of Hip Hop on Bravo. I stayed till 4am. When I left, Kevin’s party was still going strong.
I did a great interview with W. Kamau Bell about CNN’s History of Comedy and Mark Herzog who produces the show. I reminded Kamau that he’s presenting the Breakout Comedian of the Year to Ali Wong tomorrow. He said he’s glad I reminded him because he has to write material for it.
I had a long meaningful conversation with Barry Katz who is such a humble guy considering all the things he has accomplished. And JoAnn Grigioni joined us. She just left Comedy Central after 18 years- she’s going to Netflix. And she told me that she’s going to be creating comedy specials for Netflix and that it’s so weird to leave, but she felt she had to do that- it was the right time.
And tonight I went to the Jim Carrey event- with the cast of Showtime’s I’m Dying Up Here. Jim told the best stories how he was 15, his first time on stage at Yuk Yuks. His parents bought him a polyester suit and he imitated people on The Carol Burnett Show. He said he bombed so bad he never performed again for two years, and then came back to that same Yuk Yuks and killed it. He referenced Jeffrey Ross twice- that he really likes Jeffrey Ross and he told the audience to go see him performing with Dave Attell. He told the audience how sharp Jeffrey and Attell are together, and he said when you pick on each other like that and performing, you’re really showing love.
He made a lot of crazy faces, did a lot of his physical humor. He told a story about a young Sam Kinison who before he was known, came over to Jim one night and asked him to stay and watch him at the Comedy Store. He was going on at 2 am and Jim agreed to stay. He said he wound up with tears running down his face, but didn’t say if they were tears of laughter or whether Sam made him cry. He went up to him afterward and told him that he was going to be a big star and Sam couldn’t believe that he was saying that to him. Many years later, Jim was standing with his first wife Melissa in the parking lot and making plans to hang out together and Sam Kinison approached and say, “hey we haven’t partied for awhile, why don’t we go party?”. Jim decided to stay with his girlfriend who would become his wife. He was very hesitant, but he turned Sam down and Sam said to him, “Good luck with your compromise,” and then he split. And Jim said that he and his gf had the most horrible evening after that- they didn’t even know what to say to each other- it was very awkward.
On the panel with Jim was Michael Angorano, Erik Griffin, Ari Graynor, Andrew Santino and RJ Cyler. They came out in the wrong order. Dave Itzkof from the NY Times was the moderator. He introduced Michael and Erik came out and Dave said, “Well, I guess I lost control of the show already.” And every name he introduced- a different actor came out.
Jim Carrey also told a great story of having a set that was so bad one night that he lost the Tonight Show. He had already been booked- he was having a showcase and his manager invited heavyweights and of all nights, he had a bad set and the next night got a call that he lost the Tonight Show. HE said he had to really shift his thinking, so it wouldn’t destroy him. Sometime afterward, he got his own show on NBC and wound up getting the Carson show because of that and got to sit on the couch with Johnny. Jim was very thoughtful and insightful the entire evening.
Much more to come tomorrow as my Just for Laughs edition of my column continues!