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, New York Comedy Club, The HiFi Lounge, Carolines, The Comedy Strip and more!
I went to the Comedy Juice show at Gotham and as I walked in just a few minutes late, I heard such loud screams and applause coming from the showroom, I asked Okema, the girl who checks people in what was going on. She said “You made it just in time to see Jerry!” Jerry being Jerry Seinfeld. No other Jerry that I know of would get such an ovation. Jerry had just gotten back from Vegas and announced on stage that he loves coming to Gotham because it’s his favorite club. And Rus Gutin who was hosting the show, had the thrill of his career by getting to introduce Jerry and bring him off with a handshake. Rus was grinning from ear to ear. Jerry talked about Swanson TV dinners, food and sex, and how he had glasses at 10 and braces at 12. He said when you’re 10 people put things on your face and you just leave them there. He also talks openly about being 60 years old, and seems very comfortable with his age. Brian Scolaro was in from LA and jokingly said to me before he went up, “ Great, I have to follow Jerry Seinfeld.” Then he went up and introduced himself as “a fat guy you never heard of”, and he did great. I wanted to catch up with Brian, but we kept missing each other. It was almost comical.
Michael Yo was there, and he is a funny and interesting dude. He’s on The Insider on CBS, and had gotten his start as an entertainment reporter. He went from E! Entertainment to Extra, and then to The Insider where he is now. He credits Chelsea Handler with his comedy career. He was actually Chelsea’s news reporter when she challenged him to do stand-up. He was also a radio guy and had a big show on Miami’s Y100, so as a radio DJ he went to Miami, announced that he ‘d be performing at one of the clubs, and 250 people showed up. He said he took to it very naturally, and did 15 minutes. Then Chelsea put him on the show and he found his new calling.
Jordan Rock is making moves. He’s got a huge thing coming up involving a TV deal with a major player, but I promised not to divulge it until he tells me it’s cool! But trust me it’s big. I went down to catch his special show at New York Comedy Club and the show was great. Jordan and his partner Reginal Thomas do an appropriately titled show called Productively Stoned at Karma Lounge every 4th Saturday of the month, but in honor of the holiday they brought it to New York Comedy. And it seemed like every performer was dutifully stoned. Jordan and Reg take turns bringing up the acts, and they are both really funny. That’s how I learned that 4/20 is a weed holiday which I may have known, but I’m so far removed from that scene that there’s a chance I didn’t know! It’s particularly cool for me to see how well Jordan is doing, and how funny he is, cause we used to host the late shows at The Comic Strip together when he was pretty new. The magic of stage time! A couple of stand-outs I hadn’t seen before at his show were Simeon Goodson, and Julio Gallarotti, both of whom I’d like to see more of. And at the end of the week I popped into Karma Lounge to check out the scene and it’s a very cool “hookah” bar with a great downstairs room for comedy.
I really made the rounds this week and jumped down to Hi Fi Lounge on Avenue A in the East Village for two reasons. I wanted to see the space cause I’ll be performing there very soon but mostly I went to see Kaytlin Bailey. She created The Naked Show at The Creek and The Cave, where the comics actually perform completely naked, as if there’s any other way to be naked than completely! Kaytlin was hosting, so in between 7 minute sets she and I sat down to discuss something she’s recently decided to become very open about. She’s embracing her past as a high-end escort and doing it in a way that’s very empowering. She’ll be talking about it in her one woman show at The Tank this coming July 10-12th, and she says that talking about it on stage has been very cathartic for her. She also talks about an abusive relationship she was able to get free from which gave her the courage to start talking about her past. And she’s starting a new comedy show with her good friend Alison Klemp, which will be the 2nd Saturday of every month at Stair’s Bar on Avenue B and East 2nd Street. Lots of comedy going on in the East Village! The show will be called I’m Fine and they’ll be working as a comedy duo which should be very cool. Plus she’s working on a web series called Nailin’ It!
I jumped on over to Carolines on Broadway this week to catch Scott Rogowsky’s talk show Running Late with Amy Sedaris and Richard Kind. Scott gets great guests who all can’t believe that they’re doing a talk show on the stage of Carolines, or UCB, or wherever else he decides to put it up. Richard Kind talked a lot about Caroline Hirsch the Queen of Comedy in New York! He said he was a singing waiter in The Hamptons when she used to come in with her ex-husband Neil Hirsch. She brought him to sing at her club which at the time was on 8th avenue around 28th street if I remember correctly. I used to go there and it was there where I first met Jerry Seinfeld and Paul Reiser. Richard said he has some sadness about never having had a chance to be on SNL, and he also laughingly said he used to think that Will Ferrell would never make it in Hollywood! He’s in a movie called Inside Out which is coming out this summer.
Brian Stack was on the show– he’s a comedy writer who writes for the new Steven Colbert Show, but who spent 18 years writing for Conan, and told funny stories about his time there. He said he’s very grateful to Amy Poehler because he thinks she saved his job. He was originally only supposed to stay for 13 weeks but she played a 13 year old in a sketch he wrote, playing Andy’s little sister and it went over so well, he feels that’s why they kept him on. And he stayed for 18 years!
When Amy Sedaris came out, in true Amy Sedaris form, she took over the show. She started peppering Scott with questions about him and his background, instead of the other way around. Among the things she discussed were her negative feelings about Deepak Chopra, her crazy character Jerri Blank, and her rabbit Tina and how she’s very involved in rabbit rescue and how she teaches people to take care of rabbits.
I even ventured out to Brooklyn this week to see Lisa Delarios and Arden Myrin do their very last Party Machine show. It was an eclectic mix of comedians, and a really fun show, which was produced by Billy Nord, who was very accommodating in making us comfortable while we were waiting. Arden and Lisa go all out for their Party Machine show. They wear very fun outfits and do lots of cool characters, mixed in with stand-up from other comics like Janeane Garofalo, Chris Gethard, Mike Lawrence, Becky Yamamoto, and Guy Branum who writes for Billy Eichner’s Billy On The Street. Guy is a very big guy, and has a booming voice which he uses at it’s max. I think he actually intimidated some members of the audience with some of his bits combined with the volume of his voice. The show ended with a very cool dance number from Adira Amram and The Experience. I was glad I went out to Brooklyn. Arden told me she plays a real estate agent in ABC’s comedy Fresh Off The Boat and is about to go to the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, in Portland, Oregon from May 7-10th, and then she told me something really big that she’s in on TV, but she’s not allowed to announce it publicly yet. She told me, and I can confirm that it’s big.
I went to The Comic Strip to see Richie Tienken, and he’s expanded the club with an extra room and a very cool basement lounge. Brian Scolaro was there and went up to do a Tonight Show audition and some drunken fool of a woman kept interrupting him and yelling things out. Fortunately he had enough stage experience to deal with it, and had a great set despite that jerk, but I could tell it was very stressful. Of all times just when the Tonight Show people were there! That kind of stuff happens when you do stand-up!
A lot of “hot” women in the column this week! The two stand-up comics, Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson who do the hot podcast Guys We Fucked – The Anti-Slut Shaming Podcast came over to my place with tons of equipment to do a segment with me on all kinds of cool sexual stuff that I don’t usually talk about. These two are great, shameless, (and rightly so) and understand the need for women to own their power and especially their sexual power. It’s time to give up the guilt and shame that women have been burdened with for too many years. These girls are at the forefront of that movement. Hottest girls in the game! They were recently out in LA, and while they were out there they got an e-mail from the producer of Last Call with Carson Daly who had heard the podcast and wanted to invite them on. When he found out they were in LA already he said, ‘How’s Monday?” and they did the show.
While they were out there they also interviewed Andy Dick and couldn’t say enough nice things about Andy and the experience. When Andy’s agent gave them the address of where to go, it was in Malibu and they thought they were going to his home. Turns out it was his sober living facility. They both said Andy was very sweet and childlike in a very positive way. He was very open with them, and said that currently he’s in a very heterosexual zone and is in love with a girl. He seemed happy and very sober. Corinne is hosting a monthly show at New York Comedy Club called Nacho Bitches, And Krystyna is doing the Cape Fear Comedy Festival in Wilmington, NC from April 29-May 3rd. She’s driving out there in a van with Rebecca Trent owner of The Creek and The Cave, Jonathan Randall, and Tim Warner and they’ll be on the road for 8 1/2 hours. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of jokes being told on the way!
And I finished up my week going to see Bret Ernst, who was in from LA headlining at Gotham. Marion Grodin was the host of the show and she’s got this super show coming up with her Dad, the great Charles Grodin, along with Regis Philbin, Joy Behar and Ted Alexandro. It’s a Help USA benefit for the homeless and Marion and her Dad are tireless supporters of people in need. It’s Monday, June 1st at Gotham, and for tix and more info you can go to the Help USA website or the Gotham website. That’s one thing about Chris Mazzilli he loves hosting shows for charity at Gotham.
Bret Ernst was nice enough to come and say ” Hi” before he went onstage. Bret’s got a lot of irons in the fire. (I don’t know where I come up with those expressions! It actually scares me sometimes!) He’s about to shoot a one hour special in LA. He had a half hour Comedy Central special that was voted in the “Top 5” back in 2010. He was doing three shows the night I saw him and there were so many people waiting to talk to him after his second show that I split and decided to come back later after his third show. I got back around 2 A.M. and we sat down together at Jake’s Saloon to talk for a bit. Bret is nothing if not honest. He has incorporated some very serious things from his own life into his act like the passing of both his Dad and his brother Scott who left us in 2001 from an illness. He told me he reached the point in performing where he no longer cares about “killing it”. He cares about being honest and reaching people with a message. His message is simple and of a Spiritual nature, simply that “everything’s ok and it’s gonna be alright.” No matter what you’re going through it’s important to remember that it’s all gonna work out in the end.” He said ’90 years from now nobody’s gonna care about all the things we’re worried about now.” He’s working on a book about his life which he’s planning on calling Latchkey Comic which will also probably be the title of his one hour special. He’s also toying with the idea of calling it Principal’s Office which is a place I think he found himself in a lot while growing up.
In explaining his comedy, he said that comedy is like music, and not all music is made to dance to, and not all music is made to make you think, but Michael Jackson is just as much of a genius as Jim Morrison. He said that “people get used to killing but it takes a while to get used to silence, which happens sometimes when you tell stories.” He’s inspired by Bill Burr, Joe Rogan, and Sebastian Maniscalco, three guys he admires a lot for their honesty and their intelligence. I wound up admiring him for HIS intelligence, and was sorry to leave at 3 A.M. cause I had stuff to do early the next day. He’s someone I look forward to speaking to again.
Anyway that’s it for me for 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 with Bret Ernst, Jordan Rock, Lisa Delarios, and Arden Myrin, and Kaytlin Bailey.