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 Comedy Club, and more!
The 92 Y keeps bringing in the heavy hitters in comedy. Nick Kroll, John Mulaney and Jason Mantzoukas came to the 92nd Street Y along with their whole team from their Netflix hit “Big Mouth” to kick off the new second season that came out this past week. Executive Producer Andrew Goldberg, a childhood friend of Nick’s was there and he and Nick were the ones who came up with the idea for the show. They premiered episode three from this new second season, and needless to say it was HILARIOUS. It’s also always so great to see Nick’s parents who attend every show that I’m at. Two nicer people would be hard to find and I watched them laugh throughout the whole thing. I never realized that Nick had three siblings and was the youngest of four. His mother told me that and she should know!
During the Q&A that followed, Nick made it a point to say how his parents have always been supportive and with the subject matter of Big Mouth that’s a real test! But they were laughing as hard as anyone else. The event was moderated by LA Times editor Meredith Blake, and other Executive Producers on the panel were Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett. For anyone who doesn’t know, the animated series follows a group of 7th graders through their experiences with puberty and sexual coming of age including best friends Nick Birch played by Nick, Andrew Glouberman played by John Mulaney, and with Jason Mantzoukas voicing characters like Jay Bilzerian a guy who has sex with his pillow and Socrates. Nick plays 12 different characters, including everyone’s favorite the Hormone Monster, plus the ghosts of Picasso and Richard Burton, while Mulaney who’s plagued by the hormone monster who constantly makes him masturbate, plays at least three voices as well, as do Jordan Peele and Fred Armisen to name just two of the big stars whose voices recur on the show. Someone even plays Nick’s pubic hair, and Jessi Klein’s vagina.
During the Q&A a girl asked Jason Manztoukas if he wanted to “hang out”, and suggested that they meet at a Dunkin’ Donuts across the street. He wasn’t taking any chances in this #MeToo age and invited everyone else there to join them. And Jon Mulaney admitted that growing up his sexual fantasy was to be 40 and rich! He must be very satisfied! After the event we went backstage to say “Hi” and Nick, ever the gentleman, always makes sure to introduce me to anyone I might not know, which he does loudly, while John Mulaney always comes equipped with a big hug cause he knows I’m a hugger! We all caught up on what we have going on, and then they all left to have dinner, while I left for my next event!
West Side Comedy Club celebrated their one year anniversary this past Friday night with a sold out show hosted by James Mattern and featuring Calise Hawkins, Aaron Berg, Sherrod Small, Brian Scott McFadden, and Alex Babbitt, and it was a big party. GM/Booker Gina Savage barely had the energy to speak when I saw her the next night. If you look up the word “Exhausted” in the dictionary you’ll see her picture! (Hacky joke!!!) She said it was “ a year of stress but I think we did a great job. With the T.J. Millers, Jerry Seinfelds, Tracy Morgans, and Jeremy Pivens dropping by I feel we established ourselves as a comedy force to be reckoned with!” Kerry Coddett dropped by while waiting to do a spot at the nearby Stand-Up NY, and told me she just sent in a pilot script to Lina Waithe’s Macro Lab writing competition. Lina, of course, is an actress, producer, and screenwriter known for co-writing and acting in Aziz Ansari’s Netflix hit “Master of None.” Kerry had just sent it in the day before right under the deadline!
From there I took a leisurely walk over to Stand Up NY and caught up with manager Jon Borromeo outside on a quick break enjoying the still nice weather. Dean Delray was there too and told me he did Conan for the first time two weeks ago and it was a dream come true for him. He said that Conan’s people had seen him at JFL in Montreal this past summer, and invited him on the show. He said he had always wanted to do Conan because he thinks Conan’s really hip and edgy, and especially loved the show back when Max Weinberg was still the drummer. He said that Conan was very gracious to him and is “an amazing human and a really great guy.”
Yamaneika Saunders was not only on her way out of the club she was on her way back to LA where she’ll be writing on Jeffrey Ross’s upcoming Historical Roast. She had no idea of who or what she’d be writing about as she’ll be starting today. She’s also working on the new one hour Funny Dance Show on E from LA’s Justine Marino and Heidi Heaslet, which Yammie described as “comedy meets dance for a fun competition show” where $10,000. will be given to charity each week, and she just shot an episode of Broad City. That’s not all. Her half hour on Netflix’ “The Degenerates” comes out on Oct. 30th along with Big Jay Oakerson, Brad Williams, Liza Treyger and a couple of other names which I missed! Can’t always get ’em all!
And I almost missed talking to Sherrod Small because I didn’t recognize him. He’s lost so much weight! Thirty-seven pounds and counting. He attributes it to going from 4-5 meals a day to only two, and riding a bike along the West Side highway all the way to the lighthouse which he says is under the GW Bridge and back. Plus he runs in the park three times a week carrying weights. He has to maintain his strength to keep his Small World Productions going and he’s got a cool show coming up at the Village Underground called “Surrounded.” I’m like, what’s with the name “Surrounded?” He explained that he’s surrounded by comics where he doesn’t fit in. Like one show is all women. Another show is all gay, … except for him! He’s always the only one who doesn’t quite fit in.
I dropped by New York Comedy Club late one night and ran into Mike Cannon in the green room who told me he’ll be playing the Comedy Cellar in Vegas on October 24th along with Colin Quinn, Chris Distefano, Mike Vecchione and Taylor Tomlinson. I asked him how it came about and he said that when Colin Quinn had his sudden heart attack they needed comics to fill in for him and he happened to be sitting in the Olive Tree Cafe so manager Liz asked him to go up. They brought him up, he did well, and he’s been performing there ever since. And so I guess he missed the stress of having to audition for Estee! After Vegas he’ll be heading off to Jordan, Kuwait, and Bahrain with Gary Vider, Kyle Ocasio, Alli Breen, and Robin Schall for two weeks to perform for our troops. That is something I’ve always wanted to do!
Roast Battle was it’s usual crazy self this past week also at New York Comedy Club and the judges were the exact same Mike Cannon from the previous paragraph, Maddy Smith, Shuli Egar, and Matt Richards wearing a yellow sweater over his shoulders ala Carlton Banks from Fresh Prince of Bel Air. And he stayed that way all night. As usual the judges were funnier than the battlers. The first two Patrick Haggerty vs. Mark Benjamin who identified himself openly as being gay did some great racial humor that the crowd loved as did the judges who gave them credit for not being overly P.C., which is becoming very boring to many comedy audiences as exemplified by their reaction. Comics too are starting to fight back. The main event was between James Pontillo and Cat Zini who took turns making fun of their dead mothers. Literally, nothing is out of bounds at a Roast Battle! Mike Cannon referred to Cat as Sarah Silvermeth! Cat Zini won!
I went to check out John Heffron who was headlining Gotham. John is basically a story-teller and he does it well. The crowd loved him and his concepts were very creative. John and I sat down to chat after his show and he told me of a brand new exciting thing he has going on with Pandora. He and Adam Ferrara will be kicking off something called “Behind The Bits” starting in the next week or so, where they dissect their material and talk about how they came up with it and analyze what makes it funny. Sounds like a great show. John is based in LA and has been friends with Adam for a long time so when Pandora approached them with the idea they went for it!
John won Last Comic Standing way back in 2004 and he said at the time he had only done one Tonight Show with Jay Leno, which 13 million people saw, but unfortunately, there was no social media in those days to take it even further. He spends a lot of time touring the country and doing corporate events, and we talked at length about how hard it is to be a comedian and having to go up on stage to make people laugh when you’re going through rough stuff in your own life. John said he tries to celebrate life with his comedy and tries not to complain about things like marriage like many other comics do. He prefers to show the positive aspect of life, because he says he doesn’t need to try and change your views on things. “It’s not about receiving, it’s about giving” he explained. And that’s the type of positive energy he brings to his shows.
Christine Meehan Berg had some very exciting and different news. She’s opening and managing an axe-throwing facility! I’m not kidding! This is serious. An axe-throwing facility out in Greenpoint, Brooklyn in the pier area. It’s called “ Bury the Hatchet”, it’s opening mid month and will be open 7 days a week. It’s very big in Canada where her husband Aaron is from, and she’s gotten a lot of experience throwing things at him so she figured why not get proficient with an axe?
She’ll be using comics as hosts, and hopefully not as targets, and so far she named people like Lucas Connolly, Menuhin Hart, Bobbi Elfie, and Casey James Salengo. She threatened to make me an expert and teach me how to “throw and axe with gusto!” Gusto I assume, is probably a guy she works with! (LOL) And I heard she’s already teaching one year old daughter Piper to throw a sharp pin!
And last but certainly not least Bobby Collins is coming to town to host his 10th annual “Comics For A Cause” for the very first time in New York and it will be this Wed. Oct 10th at Steve Walter’s “The Cutting Room” on East 32nd Street. It’s going to be a huge charity event benefitting Zeno Mountain Camp, with huge names to match including Ray Romano, Dave Attell, and Colin Quinn plus surprise guests. One thing that won’t be a surprise is when you see ME there. This is one I won’t miss for sure! As a matter of fact I’m leaving now to make sure I get a good seat!
Zeno Mountain Farm is a nationally acclaimed, ground-breaking camp for kids with disabilities. They have facilities in Vermont, Los Angeles and Florida. Bobby who’s a native New Yorker, was the face of Comix the great club that used to be on 14th Street in the meat-packing district, and spends most of his time in LA. when he’s not touring.
But these days he’s now working with Jodi Lieberman of the JLC Entertainment Group so I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of him on this coast. And that will be a good thing! Tix are available through The Cutting Room at www.thecuttingroomnyc.com and I hope to see you all there!
It was an exciting week for me personally with the grand opening of Comedy at Le Reve, a show I was asked to create in a beautiful nightclub on East 54th Street in the heart of the East side of Manhattan. More than 200 people came out on a Monday night which is not an easy feat to accomplish, but the evening was a big success. Sold out show. Very upscale crowd, made up of people from all fields, entertainment, modeling, banking, law, public relations, medical, and just about every other field you could think of. There was a hot DJ leading up to the show and who played music afterwards as well. I wanted it to be like a big party and it was.
Great food, hookah, and amazing comedy from Corinne Fisher from Guys We Fucked, Aaron Berg from his show “In Hot Water” on Compound Media, Chuck Nice who had to run right off the stage to get to a taping of StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Shuli Egar from the Howard Stern Show, and Dante Nero from NBC’s Blacklist and his Beige Phillip Show. Killer line-up and the crowd ate it up! People just kept coming and coming until the club was packed to capacity. They all left asking when the next one would be. Stay tuned for that!
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 with Sherrod Small, Yamaneika, Jason Mantzoukas, and Nick Kroll and John Mulaney.