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 covered the scene at Gotham Comedy Club, The Stand, and New York Comedy Club.
Comedy Juice at Gotham had a packed house as always this week. The crowd seemed to have known that Judd Apatow was coming to perform, and they gave him an ovation fitting for “The King of Hollywood Comedy”! Judd was hanging out outside the room going over his copious notes. He always brings a pad with him onstage as if everything he’s doing is something new he’s trying out, but it always goes so smoothly that he makes it look like he’s already comfortable with the material. He told me he hadn’t been on stage for a while and expected his set to be what he called “controlled bombing” but it was nothing of the sort! He was in town promoting his new Netflix series called Love which is coming out a little later this month.
I also got to catch up with Al Madrigal, who co-founded the All Things Comedy podcast network with Bill Burr. Al’s in the new Jim Carrey produced Showtime series called I’m Dying Up Here, that was just greenlit and is about the L.A. stand-up comedy scene of the 1970’s when a lot of the superstars of today began performing.
I was excited to see Clayton English the recent winner of this recent ninth season of Last Comic Standing. It was his first time headlining at Gotham, and the place was full. The welcome for him was huge! The audience absolutely loved him. After the show we sat down in the green room to chat. He told me a great story about how he got on LCS. A manager at The Punchline suggested him and arranged for him to be seen so he didn’t have to wait on that miles long line. They liked him and flew him to NY for his second audition, which just happened to be at Gotham. He said he auditioned for just two producers and someone who was in the dark in the background. And when that person started asking him questions about his background he recognized the voice as belonging to Wanda Sykes. He said that’s why it was so special for him to be back headlining at Gotham, because that’s where the magic started. He found out that he won around March and had to keep it a secret until September when it was announced to the rest of the world. And he said it was hard to do at times because people he knew kept asking him to tell them if he won, and he was afraid he’d lose the title if anyone found out, so he just kept mum.
He had been working in a mall at a cell phone kiosk before with his friend Karlous Miller who was on LCS the season before and came in 6th, so he knew he really wanted to do the show. But he said he never anticipated winning. He was shooting to be in the top 10. Now he’s headlining all over, has a good manager and is repped by Gersh. As the winner he got a development deal with NBC and is currently working with them to put together a team to create a show for himself!
I also saw Ophira Eisenberg there. She looked great for just having had her first baby three months ago. She’s releasing her special Inside Joke which she said she taped when she was 8 1/2 months pregnant, out in Union Hall in Brooklyn. But she said it was really weird because she talked about how strange it was to be pregnant and how much she hates kids! It should be available on her website in March. Jon Fisch told me he’s re-releasing his podcast In The Tank with Jon Fisch on Sound Cloud and iTunes. He’s got 70 episodes in the can with people like Amy Schumer, Ted Alexandro and Hannibal Buress.
I saw Pete Lee at The Stand. It doesn’t seem that long ago that he used to do my late night show at The Comic Strip and now he’s already done his half hour on Comedy Central, been on Letterman, and a host of other late night shows and is really making a name for himself. He told me he’s currently doing a segment on Nickelodeon’s Nick Sports, about the NFL called NFL Rush. It’s a segment on bloopers that happen during the course of a game. I asked him how it came about and he said he had had a pilot on the NFL Network called After Further Review and after that ended they called him in to do different things. He described it as being like Best Week Ever, but only about the NFL. And he said it wound up failing because the NFL didn’t want to make fun of themselves. He thought it was funny that they explained it to him this way, they didn’t want to “build their brand and erode it with humor!”
Pete and his girlfriend comic/actress Emily Tarver, co-star of the USA show Donny starring Donny Deutsch will be co-hosting two Valentine’s Day special shows at The Stand, and he was very excited that they were performing together. As soon as he told me this they ran out so Pete could get to his set at The Cellar!
I saw Sarah Tiana— who Jeffrey Ross told me is a great Roast joke writer– judging New York Comedy Club’s Roast Battle along with Chuck Nice, Adam Glyn, and Imagine. Matt Roberts was the host of that Roast Battle, and he’s really making moves. And they’re well deserved cause he’s a funny, funny dude! He said that just a few months ago he was selling tickets to comedy shows in Times Square and now he’s on a billboard there.
Kerryn Feehan was up against Jason Burke and they did a good job of ripping each other apart. Krystyna Hutchinson of Guys We Fucked, was with her pal comic Myka Fox, and the two of them were rooting for their friend Kerryn. It’s basically no holds barred and people say the cruelest things to each other which is why when I got offered to do a Roast Battle with Krystyna I told them I’d have to think about it. I’m not sure that’s something I could do or take comfortably.
Chuck Nice told me afterwards that he’s got 13 episodes of his podcast Nice Advice in the can already. It’s a comedy podcast that analyzes advice columns and blogs and he and guest comics offer what they think is the correct advice to the people who wrote in. It’s available on CBS’ Play.IT and iTunes. Listeners can also call in to have their problems solved! The show’s motto is “We have an answer for every problem, whether it works or not! Take our advice because we’re sure as hell not using it!”
And I got to re-connect with Shuli Egar from the Howard Stern Show who was the opener at the Roast Battle. Shuli had an interesting backstory as he was a caller to the Howard Stern Show for 4 years before they made him a part of the show. He used to be a reporter for the Howard 101 news team, but now he says his main thing is to keep tabs on Howard’s Wack Pack. He said he’s the Wack Pack Whisperer! And he got his start in comedy from my old friend Sandy Hackett Sandy saw Shuli perform when Shuli was living in Vegas. That’s when Howard brought him to New York to be a consultant. When I asked him if he had ever been part of The Wack Pack he said he was damaged enough to be a comedian, but not quite damaged enough to be part of The Wack Pack!
Hope you enjoyed watching the Super Bowl and if you get a chance please let me know who was playing, and how it turned out! In the meantime, … 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. Photos below include Jeffrey with Al Madrigal, Clayton English, Judd Apatow and Shuli.