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 hit up Gotham, West Side Comedy Club, The Barclay and New York Comedy Club.
Gerard Haran and I had performed together at Dangerfields a bunch of times and I knew him to be a funny dude so when he told me he was opening a room in Jersey City I decided to make the trip. It wasn’t bad at all. The place is called J.C. Underground and it’s in the basement of a restaurant, and really beautiful, … like a nightclub. Gerard and the owner Jeff Flavia put a lot of effort and money into making it really nice. The wall behind the good-sized stage is like distressed bricks and there’s two large TV screens at either end of the stage showing the comic’s photo who’s performing. It’s a regular Thursday night show and the premiere show was packed with a very appreciative audience for the great line-up of talent he booked. Gerard has been touring the South in places like Nashville and Atlanta, and says the audiences there are so great, and everything is video down there. They are big fans of YouTube videos and Gerard makes lots of those, which explains his more than 5 million views. He said you get longer sets down there and you can improve so much as a comic when you don’t have to be looking at your watch all the time to see when your ten minutes are up. I got to see some funny comics I hadn’t seen before like Mike Sicoli, Scott Brennan, Jerrold Benford, and Zachary Pickert a few of whom perform regularly down in AC on Matt Bridgestone’s shows. Amazing how many funny people are around these days. AMarie Castillo was there supporting and Barry Ribs took the train out and I wound up driving him back to Manhattan.
Speaking of funny people I dropped by The Stand late one night and ran into Giulio Gallarotti coming off his Fat Baby Show. He’s headed out to LA for pilot season for about a month, and his alter ego Lil Young Big just dropped a new song called Mickey in which he intersperses clips from an old Mickey Mouse cartoon from the 1920’s. He’ll be posting it on FB and he told me he recently did a thing on Ramy Youssef’s new pilot for Hulu which is a half hour scripted show, and he plays a guy that Ramy went to high school with. While we were talking, Bronston Jones stopped by to tell me he spotted me from the stage while he was performing, which is exactly what I say in my act. No one ever “thinks” they saw me. If you think you saw me, you definitely saw me!
Ian Fidance popped in and told me he’s psyched about doing The Laugh Factory in Chicago for the first time. They heard him on the Artie and Anthony show and contacted him right away as he was leaving the show to ask him to headline the club. He said he loves to travel and doesn’t care what kind of accommodations he has. He only travels for comedy and loves to shoot pool in different places. He said that comedy has taken him to some wonderful and some not so wonderful places but he enjoys them all for the experience. He often rents a car and drives from gig to gig, but next month he’ll be flying to Denver to perform and will be crashing with friends, and then off to tour New England. And he’s got a new podcast called Ian Fidance’s Wild World and when I asked him what it was about he said, “It’s a pod where I take ya inside the wild side of my brain!” And then he invited me on and I was afraid to accept!
Backstage at New York Comedy Club is always a fun place to hang, cause it’s always packed with fun people. Rosebud Baker, the grand-daughter of former Secretary of State James Baker told me she’ll be Roast Battling with Zac Amico coming up in February which has GOT to be fun. T.J. Del Reno dropped by to do a set and told me he’s the host of The Last Podcast Network’s video game comedy radio show which airs every Thursday at 6 P.M. live on Twitch. Also hanging out and waiting to go on was Molly Austin, Ricky Velez, Chuck Nice and Wellie Jackson who told me he’s writing ads for a big movie coming out soon. More deets on that to come. And Nick Simmons, a comic and bodybuilder who’s like a building with clothes, and needs a separate shirt for each arm, was doing security at the club and told me that he and comic Jax Dell’Osso have a show on Twitch called “Funny Muscle” where they show Nick and Jax training comics in the gym while they talk comedy every Saturday at 4, and their first guests this past weekend were Daniel Perafan who’s lost over 100 pounds, and Tristan Rega.
Jade Catta-Pretta checked in with me to let me know she’ll be headlining Carolines for the first time, and she’s totally psyched about it. She said that one of her besties, Michelle Buteau will be featuring for her and she couldn’t be more ecstatic about it. She described it as “a total love, giggle fest!” She’ll be in town a few days before to do some Howard Stern wraps and she’s hoping that will help fill the room. Sure can’t hurt! She told me she’s been a feature there with Bobby Lee, and Kevin Nealon many times but headlining is a whole other thing. Jade is Brazilian and just got back from Brazil where she was filming a doc on stand-up in Portuguese and as she put it, “reconnecting to my family and culture.” She said it’s given her a whole new perspective and she can’t wait to share it.
So I’m walking through Target in White Plains and who do I run into but Sam Roberts from the Jim and Sam Show on SiriusXM, the “Jim” being Jim Norton. Seems Sam and I both like to shop at Target. Jim is on the road a lot with his Kneeling Room Only tour, and as a result is often not in on Fridays so Sam’s been having Mike Cannon fill in for him and he says they have a great comedic back and forth. Jim is ramping up to do another special.
I went over to see Pablo Francisco who was back headlining Gotham and besides a packed room, he had some different openers. It was Aaron Berg, and Cort Mckown. Richie Redding was the MC and he did a great job, even going back onstage to close the show with a few more minutes. He had some great new premises. He also announced his anniversary for achieving ten years of sobriety, and credits that for a lot of good things he has going on. He and his girlfriend Dr. Lisa, a Vet have what he calls “the most niche podcast on the air.” It’s called Pets and Punchlines, and it’s “comics with pets talking to Vets.” They are presently shopping a show about her housecall vet business and they have a sizzle reel called “Vets In The City!” Cort McKown was in from LA and opened the show. He’s gonna be on two episodes of the upcoming season of Arrested Development, and all he could tell me was that he’s playing a guy on horseback.
And rather than go home at a reasonable hour, which is almost an impossibility for me to do, I decided to hit the late show at New York Comedy Club and ran into Ben Rosenfeld whose third album just dropped called “The United States of Russia” and he did it with Comedy Dynamics. He humbly said it was “#1 for like three minutes” on iTunes comedy even beating out some big comedy star. He taped it at The PIT, because Comedy Dynamics lets you choose your venue and he loves The PIT. And I waited for Jared Freid to get off the stage so I could see what he was up to and he too has a new podcast with Jordana Abraham one of “The Betches” a group of three girls who were friends in college and created what started as a website and is now a viral social media and digital humor company. The pod is called You Up, they do it from their offices in Chelsea, and it’s all about dating.
Ex-comic Rayne Parvis from LA has transitioned into a new career as a fashion stylist which a lot of comics could use!
Speaking of comic’s make-overs and changing their image, ex-comic Rayne Parvis from LA has transitioned into a new career as a fashion stylist which a lot of comics could use! I asked her why she gave up comedy and she told me this interesting and exceedingly honest story. “I stopped doing stand-up because writing jokes didn’t come easy to me. It was hard. I wasn’t meant to be a stand-up comedian. My co-star of the pilot we did was Cocoa Brown. She, and other comedians I’ve performed with could walk out on any stage and have off-the-cuff bits without even trying. I was a comedic actress, playing a part. I tried to use stand-up to parlay a part on a sitcom versus being talented enough to write my own jokes and tour the country. However, through my character Raynecat, I sold out shows and made a name for myself in a very short time. I had a very talented Larry David-esque type writer. With his brain and my awesome delivery I quickly moved up the comic ladder. Eventually though, I was emotionally done. I felt like a fake. I had given it my all and wanted to do something else.” She continued, “ After leaving the entertainment industry, I found myself 30 years old living in my parents’ converted garage with no career, direction, or money. At a business career seminar, my name was drawn out of a fish bowl, and I won the biggest $5000 prize of a mentorship with the top business coach Tom Antion. Two months later I was hustling my way as a personal stylist…which I must say, comes really easy to me. I can look at anyone and in under 3 seconds see where they are killing it or where they need improving in their appearance. I’m a natural at this!
Her advice to comedians: a. Male – “Unless your shtick is “the rolled out of bed and somehow found myself here”, bump it up a notch. You’re on stage! Add a “topper” of substance like a blazer, sport-coat, leather jacket, bomber jacket, etc., which gives your stage presence more strength. It will also cover up any armpit sweat you may acquire.”
b. Female – “Ladies, a great rule of thumb is always wear a colored lipstick and add more blush….and then, add more blush again. Off stage you may feel like a drag queen….but trust me on stage the lights will soften your make-up.”
That’s it 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, Comedy Matters TV. Pictured, Jeffrey Gurian with the gang at J.C. Underground.