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 each week in comedy, and who Jeffrey Gurian ran into this week in and around New York. This week, continuing updates all week from the best shows at the New York Comedy Festival. On Tuesday night, Jeffrey hit up Hersterical at Carolines and Live from the Comedy Underground with Dave Attell.
Cristina Cote should be feeling very proud of herself today. She’s a young comedienne who’s very strong in character work, and who packed Carolines last night in an all-female star-studded show she produced called Hersterical all benefitting Gilda’s Club. It was packed to the point that there were literally no tables available and I stood along the wall leading to the backstage area for the whole show, anad didn’t even mind, because it was that good. Cristina came on stage as a different character each time, but always her elegant self. I’ve performed in a few of her shows before, and she and her producing partner Paola Tapia-Limon work very hard to produce a first class show.
Helen Hong took the stage first, and brought down the house. People love when she imitates her Korean parents, especially her Mom who wanted her to marry Ken Jeong. She was followed by Sabrina Jalees who I know since she was the warm-up comic for the Nikki and Sara Show on MTV, and since then have interviewed multiple times in Montreal at different Just for Laughs Festivals. Sabrina is openly gay and married to her wife Shauna McCann for two years. People used to complain that female comics only talked about their period. That is no longer the case, but of all of her stand-out lines the one I came away with happened to be about her period. She said her period is like a deadbeat dad. She never knows when it’s coming or how long it’s staying!
After the show I ran into her with Aparna Nancherla, who also had a line so funny which was a great visual. She said she saw a white guy with a mohawk walk past a black guy with a mohawk and they hi-fived each other as they passed in the street. After which she made a wish!
Sabrina was excited to tell me some really big news. She’s in development with Dan Powell who created Inside Amy Schumer and Ugly Americans in a TV project for Comedy Central. Kurt Metzger will also be in the show — I ran into him later in the evening, and also Monroe Martin who I see all the time at his home club The Stand! The working title of the show is Stand Ups and besides their stand-up comedy it will feature real-life stories that actually happened to them.
Aparna Nancherla recently took over the hosting duties at UCB for the Monday night stand-up show called Whiplash usually run by Leo Allen, who took that over from Aziz Ansari when it was called Crash Test. Leo is currently in LA working on a project. I know this because I recently texted Leo about coming down to see the show, and it took him a while to get back to me, exactly because he’s in LA working on a project!
They both made me promise to come to their show in Broooklyn at Union Hall this Thursday night at 10 which is when the big opening party for the festival is. That’s the problem with a festival when there are so many shows and events to choose from.
Bonnie McFarlane came in and hung out with me for a few minutes before she went on. Bonnie is one of the funniest people out there. I don’t like to say one of the funniest “women” out there cause that puts her in a category. And it’s basically understood without saying it. She happens to be a woman and she’s very funny, despite the title of her and husband Rich Vos’s documentary film Women Aren’t Funny which only proves that women ARE funny! Bonnie says, ” You can’t be happy all the time, you’ll ruin your liver!”
She also says she doesn’t mind when people refer to her as a “Feminazi” cause she’s pro-women and she hates Jews. She laughingly goes on to explain that her husband, Rich Vos, is Jewish and that’s where the hatred started, hence their hit podcast My Wife Hates Me! I loved it when she said that guys tip their hats to show women that they’re not bald. Because bald people are killers.
On Nov. 19th I’m co-producing a Roast with Chris Mazzilli of Gotham Comedy Club, roasting Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa and ultra, ultra-liberal lawyer Ron Kuby who are back together again on WABC radio, and I really wanted Bonnie to be one ot the Roasters but she’s tied up with another charity project that night. Rich Vos is going to be the Roast Master. Bonnie will try and stop by and may submit a video of her roast!
Kate McKinnon came up and did such a funny bit about a letter a downstairs neighbor sent to her about the noise she was making which inspired her to send a letter of her own to her own upstairs neighbors, addressed to “Dear Elephant People”, who after reading it did not change one thing about their heavy walking behavior. She referred to Leslie Jones who was on after her by saying that after knowing Leslie a year she finally figured out that Leslie thought her name was Kate Middleton.
Leslie Jones moved here from LA, and just went from writing on Saturday Night Live to becoming a cast member. I was with her backstage and we bonded over our mutual friendship with Ardie Fuqua. Leslie was warming up for her set like an athlete. She was stretching and moving her neck around as if she was going into the ring to challenge an opponent. When she hit the stage I saw why. She has one of the most physical acts I’ve ever seen. So when she says she can’t intimidate white people in New York cause we’re too strong, I almost beg to differ with her. She said she did an LA thing and took mushrooms, and wound up speaking to Harriet Tubman for two hours. She asked her if she could use her Metro Card on the Underground Railroad. That is hysterical! And at times during her set, she screams at a level only comparable to Sam Kinison.
As I was laughing along with everyone else, I felt a tap on my shoulder and it was Caroline Hirsch who was laughing as hard as anyone else. It was great seeing her respond that way as nobody has seen more comedy than her. But funny is funny, and every one who came up got huge laughs. Even Fantasy Grandma who I had never seen before.
But the highlight of the evening for me was a coup by Cristina Cote who got Kenan Thompson to do a video sketch with her in the halls of SNL, in which he dressed up as Al Sharpton. She was in the role of her Russian character Svetty, who’s only interested in finding rich men. Kenan actually came in early for her to shoot the sketch which was shot very coincidentally by an old buddy of mine Bill Cote from BC Video. He did the NBC special Mystery of the Sphynx, one of my all time favorites!
Kenan did it as a video because of time constraints, and it was a toss-up between him being Whoopi Goldberg or Al Sharpton. But because the show fell on election day they decided to go with Al, and it was a great choice.
While I was standing with Leslie Jones a woman from Gilda’s Club came over to thank her for her participation and Leslie explained her happiness to participate by telling us about her two aunts that both had breast cancer and fortunately survived. She said she would always make an appearance for Gilda’s Club or any cancer charity because she was so grateful that they beat it.
All in all it was a fantastic show.
So after I left Caroline’s I had to miss the after-party at Ruby Foos from the Hersterical crew to go and catch Dave Attell’s Comedy Underground Live. I knew it was a good sign when I found parking right away and ran into Big Jay Oakerson who was just standing in the street, as if he was waiting for me. We walked over together but not before some guys stopped him to ask for photos and one woman kept insisting he was Pepper Hicks from the Ron and Fez Show! He took photos with everyone who asked. He was even polite to a bunch of drink guys out partying who were big fans of his.
Dave Atell was outside the club in his usual black outfit with a matching black bag across his shoulder which he brings on stage with him. Dave doesn’t need a dressing room cause he just stays the way he is when he goes up. He’s so calm, cool and collected he walks in right from the street and goes up on stage and always has a million killer lines.
It was a charity event for Mighty Mutts, a “no-kill” organization dedicated to saving strays, He’s done that charity several times according to the person from the charity who Dave brought up with a dog. So there was an onstage raffle and every comic brought merch to raffle off, and Dave brought a Polaroid camera and snapped an onstage photo with everyone who won with the comedian’ who brought the merch.
Jessica Kirson went up first and killed it as usual. Afer the set Dave joins them on stage to kibbitz, and choose a raffle ticket from a bowl. It was a very cool show. Kurt Metzger came up and raffled off merch from his White Precious DVD, followed by Gilbert Gottfried. I sat with Gilbert’s wife Dara again, which is always so fun for me. Then it was Ari Shaffir and Big Jay Oakerson. Big Jay told me how much Ari has helped him in his career actually fighting for him to be on his show This is Not Happening and was the only NY comic they flew out to LA to be on it, and now he has to roast the Ari later this week– in Jeffrey Ross’s Roast Battle coming up this Saturday night and he feels bad about it. He’ll do it, but he feels bad about it.
And as I was leaving, exhausted from laughing, who do I run into upstairs but my old buddy Jeffrey Ross himself with Gilbert Gottfried and his wife Dara. I hadn’t seen Jeffrey since Joan Rivers funeral. Jeffrey went down to do s surprise set on Dave’s show, but before he did I asked him to take a picture with Gilbert, and he said only if I come to his Roast Battle. I promised I would! Hence the photo below!
I’ll be back tomorrow with more news and updates from the New York Comedy Festival which continues through Sunday night. As always check out my weekly column Monday mornings on The Interrobang for more updates from the New York comedy scene, as I continue to jump around.
Pictured below from left to right Christina Cote, Leslie Jones, and Paola Tapia-Limon. Dave Attell and Gilbert Gottfried at Dave Attell’s Comedy Underground Live, and Jeffrey Ross with Gilbert Gottfried.