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 The New York Comedy Cellar.
On my way out of The Cellar this week I passed Marina Franklin at a table sitting with her lawyer! Always great to see Marina. She’ll be heading up to Vermont on next month to do the famous NPR podcast “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me”, and then she’ll be in Chicago for St. Patrick’s Day. A few nights later I saw her again when she did Adam Ray’s headlining show at Gotham and I asked her about Keith Robinson who suffered a stroke last Wednesday. The people at The Cellar all seemed to know about Keith’s stroke, but no one had any facts, so I figured that if anyone knew it would be Marina because they are very close. They’ve been friends for many years, did Trainwreck together playing a couple, and even dated at one time. Anyway she told me that Keith has had high blood pressure, which is probably what led to the stroke, but she said he’s making great progress and is on the mend. And she said she knew that for sure he was improving, because while they were talking he told her to “shut up”! And she did it in HIS voice! And it sounded just like him! She also said that anyone who knows Keith knows that’s a definite sign that he’s on the way to getting back to himself! Everyone here at The Interrobang wishes Keith a speedy recovery and full recovery.
I went to see Adam Ray headline Gotham Comedy Club. I saw Paul Virzi there. He’s the comic who opens for Bill Burr, and he told me he just shot his first feature film called House Rules. He’s in it with Tom Sizemore and plays an underground UFC fighter. I asked him if he had any training and he told me they sent a UFC fighter named John “Doomsday” Howard to the set who took him to a facility and trained him that very day on how to choreograph his fight scene. They did it in Connecticut, and he said it was crazy and lots of fun. He’s also working on a new hour and will appear in the new season of the Eric Andre Show. He told me a wild story of how on Eric’s show he plays a cop in Harlem. He couldn’t divulge the details except to say that he was in uniform and was involved in a prank where people in the neighborhood didn’t know it was for TV. Things got a little hairy, and he had to be rescued by one of the producers.
And Adam Ray told me he’s excited about his new game show starting in March on TBS. It’s called Separation Anxiety and he described it as a comedic relationship-based game show with some kind of unique twist. He had just enough time to tell me that he’s co-hosting with Iliza Schlesinger, because he was being swarmed by fans who wanted to take photos with him, so when I asked him what the twist was he told me to check it out on his Twitter. If I have time, I may just do that! He did manage to say that it starts on March 8th. And then he was swallowed up by the crowd!
I hit up my old home, The Comic Strip this week, where I went to see the Monday night show being produced not by “The Blues Brothers” but by what I can only describe as “The Beard Brothers”, Marc Gerber and Eric Neumann, Siamese twins joined at the follicles! The last time I saw these guys they had stubble. Now they look like woodsmen! I think the proper term is “Lumbersexuals” !!! Eric told me that for their Comic Strip show they’ve had drop ins from Jay Pharoah, Gary Vider and Roy Wood Jr. so far.
As I was hanging out backstage Jason Scoop came in and before he went up told me he just got cast in Dana Carvey’s new series on USA called First Impressions an impressionist competition to win 10 thousand dollars which is being mentored by Dana himself, and Dana will also choose the winner. Jason’s currently got 30 impressions under his belt and working on more as we speak!
While I was onstage owner Richie Tienken came in and was shocked to see me there, and it was cool hanging out afterwards and catching up on all the things he’s planning like a new TV show. No details yet, but stay tuned.
Saranne Rothberg, the founder of Comedy Cures, does wonderful work. A cancer survivor herself she describes comedy cures as “a national non-profit bringing joy, laughter, and therapeutic humor programs to kids and grown-ups living with illness, depression, trauma and disabilities. She had a big fundraiser in the main room of Gotham Comedy Club which has more charity events than any place I’ve ever seen, and owner Chris Mazzilli helped her to kick off the show.
Jessica came up and did five minutes on what a horrible, low energy intro she was given, and the crowd was howling with laughter, as they did throughout the rest of her set. Then Chloe Hilliard took over as host and ther rest of the comics were Vladimir Camaano, Yamaneika Saunders, Monty Franklin, Liz Miele, and Mark Normand.
Mark Normand is psyched about being on the new season of Ari Shaffir’s story-telling show on Comedy Central called This Is Not Happening. He told me a funny story about how they filmed it in LA at a strip club. The strippers acted as waiters, and it was a really dirty show with Ron White, Artie Lange, and Jim Breuer. He said that after he told his filthy story he not only got one of the strippers’ numbers but took her back to his hotel and acted it out! According to Mark she was a “ball of fire!” While I was standing with him he was told he was being submitted for a HUGE new TV show and if I can get permission to share, I’ll tell you what and who it is in my next column! Remind me! This is Not Happening airs February 23rd, and
Liz Miele has got a new CD and she’s called it Emotionally Exhausting. When I asked her why she chose that title she said because someone called her that! She taped it at The Stand, and it’s available on iTunes and Amazon. I asked her if she had any particluar connection to Comedy Cures and she told me that she knows Saranne since she was a teenager, and that when her Dad had kidney cancer, Saranne helped her a lot in life and in her comedy career. Her dad has been cancer free for 11 years!
Chrissie Mayr was there sitting with Liz until she went on, supporting her friend, and Chrissie is really excited about producing her big Gay Pride show coming up on March 5th at The Stonewall. Also on that show will be Mateo Lane, Emma Willmann, Sydnee Washington, Tim Dillon, Reformed Whores, yours truly and lots more. Chrissie also co-hosts the 3 Drink Minimum podcast that she does every week with JC Knows Best, Frank Pellegrino, Joseph Conklin and the rest of the crew from NoMa Comedy! ( I hope NoMa isn’t an abbreviation for No More!)
Despite warnings from Sal Vulcano I jumped by Le Poisson Rouge to catch the four guys from Tru TV’s Impractical Jokers doing their own podcast. They did two tapings one at 7:30 and one at 9:30. Sal wrote, “just so you know we have nothing prepared. We’re literally talking for three hours over the two shows and recording it. So be warned. It’s ground zero.” Well I didn’t have to worry because when these guys get together they’re just genuinely funny. They tell very personal stories and their audience is very loyal and really loves them.
Murr told a story about having gotten a massage while they were on the road that got a little strange. As he told the story the other guys were hysterical, and he didn’t understand why until Joe Gatto finally admitted that he had paid the masseuse to get weird, and they never told James until that moment on stage. After the show, Sal and Quinn took off right way. Joe hung out to take photos with the fans as did Murr! As I left the theatre I ran into Murr by the entrance surrounded by young girls! I asked him to say something about the new 5th season debuting the next night and he said, “It’s five times funnier and we are five times more adorable than we ever were before!” And that’s a quote!
As cold as it was this week I just had to stop by The Comedy Cellar to get my Cellar fix. So I walk in and who’s at the table but Seaton Smith, Joe Machi, Sam Morril, Todd Barry and Michelle Wolf. I joined them to find out what was going on. Turns out it’s a lot.
Joe Machi has a new album called Meet Joe Machi which he’ll be self-releasing in early March with TuneCore an independent digital music distribution service, which also does comedy. And he’s going to Shanghai to perform at the end of March, and doesn’t know a word of Chinese. He said it’s for a room that draws a lot of expats, so he’ll be fine with just Engrish! He also said he’s on the road for 18 of the next 20 weeks headlining all over the country. I asked him how he liked such a grueling schedule and he said it was the only way to get new material. He said it’s very hard to work in new stuff in headline clubs like The Cellar, where you have to do great on every show. On the road you have the freedom to try out new stuff and really develop as a comic. He often takes Adam Cozens as his opening act. Adam used to work at The Strip and did my late night show and then moved out to LA. So cool!
Sam Morril was sitting across from us and he and Joe have an interesting dynamic. Neither of them ever misses an opportunity to make fun of the other! Sam told me they have twitter wars while they’re both on the road, and just constantly insult each other! Sam is also traveling a lot and heading out to Winnepeg, Chicago and Dayton, Ohio!
Seaton Smith scored an episode on HBO’s Girls and was in a funny scene with Lena Dunham. He said his character’s name was Tomasz, and all he could tell me was that he and Lena get into a fight during a story telling thing at a Moth event, and they improv’ed like 12 takes and he had the best time. It’s going to be the last episode of the season!
Johnny Watson is a name you’ll be hearing about if you haven’t already. By the time you read this he’ll have headlined at the Taj this past Saturday night. I first met him at the Yonkers Comedy Festival and he does what he describes as semi-clean, but still edgy comedy. He has a club in Ocean City, Maryland called LOL club and does a podcast with Tom-E from The Comic Strip at The Strip called The Johnny and Tom-E Show, as well as one with his Mom as a co-host called The Johnny Watson Show! You kinda gotta be clean when you’re working with your Mom! He describes his show as SNL meets Late Night, meets morning drive! He just sold a pilot called Over/Under and it’s a sports show in which they debate whether certain sports stars are over-rated or under-rated. He could not divulge any more details as of now, except to say that his Mom is also co-hosting that one as well. I asked him if his Mom is heavy into sports and he said she was but the funny part is that she’s very stubborn and opinionated! Once a month he does a show in The Poconos at The Pocono Art and Cultural Center, and I actually drove out there to check it out! I leave no stone unturned in my coverage of comedy!
I had heard that Greg Gutfeld was doing his FOX TV show The Greg Gutfeld Show with a live studio audience for the first time, and I LOVE first times for anything so I knew I’d attend. Greg is really very funny, and has two female co-hosts who also get a lot of air-time and are also very funny, Joanne Nosuchinsky and Kat Timpf. Producer Nora Torppey graciously greeted all the guests and took us to a holding area where they had a great assortment of sandwiches and snacks. Security was super tight and they confiscated my camera, even though every person in the audience had a cell phone with a camera. When I questioned security about that, they couldn’t handle it, and did not react well, but one security guy confided in me that it made no sense! No big deal. I just handed it over. I knew my camera would be safe. Greg was nice enough to come out Greand greet everyone in the audience and took photos with anyone who wanted. The show was really funny and had as guests actor Steven Bauer from Ray Donovan, FOX news host Tucker Carlson, and British journalist Milo Yiannopolous.
That’s it for me, 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 Marina Franklin, Murr from the Impractical Jokers, and Greg Gutfield.