Jeffrey Gurian Jumps Around Just For Laughs Part 1: Anthony Jeselnik, Greg Proops, Roast Battle, Barry Katz, Brad Williams, Ralphie May

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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!


It all started at the airport. My flight up to Montreal was delayed, it wasn’t until almost 7:30, 8:00 when I arrived at the airport.

I thought I was going to be alone heading over to the hotel, but when I went to check in, I ran into Anthony Jeselnik. He’s doing Roast Battle. And then Iliza Shlesinger showed up and I told her I would be seeing her the next morning for the Mega-Stars Interviews, which I think was VIP only. Then I got tapped on the shoulder by none other than Greg Proops, who was with J.B. Smoove and he asked me if J.B. and I know each other- and of course, we’re old friends. But at the same time, we both said no, but we always wanted to meet each other. Greg, by the way was wearing a sport jacket and a tie and it’s really really hot and I’m like, I wish I had worn a tie. He always dresses up. Said he can’t do comedy in a t-shirt and I totally get that. Some people just need to dress for what they do. He said he can’t look homeless like most comics.

As soon as I got to the hotel, I ran into Barry Katz who told me he was really excited about doing the Unmasked with Ron Bennington. He said he’s never at a loss for words, but he had heard so much about Unmasked that he wanted to make sure he did a good job. He’s very humble and very grateful that Ron had chosen him. He wasn’t sure why he was chosen, but he wanted to make sure that he did well. I also ran into Janelle James who did Gotham Comedy Live the same night I did.

I saw Joe Mande‘s show- he was one of the writers for Kroll Show, and he was the second person after me to do Too Much Tuna. Now he’s writing on the new Ted Danson show called The Good Place on NBC

He does a lot of material about ISIS and said he’s concerned that the government will monitor him, because he watches ISIS videos for his material. He’s a Jewish guy, but it looks like he’s filling out an application for Isis.

I ran into Jordan Rock who told me he’s taking Productively Stoned on the road. He and Reg Thomas, his partner have been doing pop up shows since February. They’re looking for a secret location in Los Angeles next. He just finished filming the next season of Judd Apatow‘s Love and said most of the dialog is improv. His first day on the set he got to improv for half an hour with Judd, and one of his lines made it into the pilot. Nothing dries up a vagina faster than a paragraph in a text.

My first night, which was Wednesday, I saw Jay Pharoah‘s big show. Big Jay Oakerson opened the show. I ran into Joe List at the big party with Sarah Tollemache, his fiance who was on New Faces. Joe is doing a whole bunch of shows. He opened for Kurt Metzger, he opened for Mark Normand, he did Kevin Hart’s live LOL show, and he’s opening for Louis C.K. Louis had seen him perform at the Comedy Cellar and he’s been touring with Louis. He did the LA Forum, with 11,800 people and Nashville and D.C.

I ran into Louie Torrellas and I know him from Denise Rich’s cancer foundation. Denise Rich, the famous socialite whose husband Mark Rich was pardoned by Bill Clinton. He’s up here pitching a show to television during Comedy Pro and it’s called Banned in Tucson. Due to the ban on ethnic studies in Tucson. It’s a politically driven sketch show created by a guy named Ernie Bustamonte.

I’m walking through the lobby and a friend of mine says I want you to meet this guy and it’s Patrick Levy who owns the Olympia theater in Montreal. And he says to me, I want you to meet a famous comedy artist, and introduced me to Gad Elmaleh, also known as the French Jerry Seinfeld. He invited me to his show, and we exchanged information and we’re going to hang out in New York.

Ryan Hamilton hosted a show called the Hosts With the Most Show with Andy Dick and Kathleen Madigan and he told me that Andy came up on stage as the Mayor of Just for Laughs. And he came up as a character named Bob Gunderson and presented himself with an award. He left the stage and came back to receive it.

Roast Battle on Wednesday night was crazy. Jay Pharoah was hanging out, J.B. Smoove, Kevin Hart was a judge of course with Jeffrey Ross and David Spade. And I ran into Lil Rel. He’s hosting the Variety Show for Top Ten Comics to Watch, and he’s doing the Goddamn Comedy Jam. He said he was singing “No Easy Way Out” by Robert Tepper. He had to work on the lyrics, cause he chose a song he didn’t know the lyrics to. He’s also doing his own show and hosting The Host with the Most.

Thursday morning I went to the Mega-Stars of Comedy interviews and got to talk with Brad Williams, who told me a great story about how his father prepared him for the fact that he was a dwarf. He uses dwarf and midget interchangeably and doesn’t care about being called a little person. From the time he was 3, his father prepared him to have comebacks to people cause he knew that his life would be tough.

I sat down with Ralphie May who told me about how he prefers New York over LA because people are real, but he doesn’t really like either city to perform in. Greg Proops told me about doing improv in college. Iliza Shlesinger who has a new show, Separation Anxiety on TBS was telling me how winning LCS changed her life. She was the only female who has ever won, and the youngest who has ever won. She had only been doing comedy for 3 years.

Then I hung out with my man J.B. Smoove. We had an amazing interview about spiritual things and how he met Larry David and getting on Curb. Only two months before he had been praying to get on Curb. He told his wife that was the show he really wanted. And then he got it!

More coming tomorrow! Stay tuned….


Jeffrey Gurian is a comedian, writer and all around bon vivant in New York City. Subscribe to his YouTube channel, Comedy Matters TV.

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Jeffrey Gurian is a comedy writer, comedian, author, producer, comedy connoisseur, comedy journalist, and an all around bon vivant. You can find him on red carpets, at comedy events across the country and hosting Comedy Matters TV. He’s the author of the book Make ‘Em Laugh with an intro by Chris Rock”. You've seen him on Comedy Central's Kroll Show and he's a regular on SiriusXM's Bennington Show and it's predecessor the Ron and Fez Show. He's also A BIG BELIEVER in Happiness and Love.
Jeffrey Gurian
Jeffrey Gurian
Jeffrey Gurian is a comedy writer, comedian, author, producer, comedy connoisseur, comedy journalist, and an all around bon vivant. You can find him on red carpets, at comedy events across the country and hosting Comedy Matters TV. He’s the author of the book Make ‘Em Laugh with an intro by Chris Rock”. You've seen him on Comedy Central's Kroll Show and he's a regular on SiriusXM's Bennington Show and it's predecessor the Ron and Fez Show. He's also A BIG BELIEVER in Happiness and Love.