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 Wednesday night, Jeffrey hit up the red carpet for the NRDC party, and the big All Things Comedy Party.
I was very psyched to be covering the red carpet for one of the biggest superstar comedy line-ups I can recall in a long time. You’ve heard of fantasy football? How’s this for fantasy comedy:
David Steinberg and Lorne Michaels co-chairing, Seth Meyers hosting, and performing are Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld, Amy Schumer and Susie Essman! You could never have a show like that, unless you’re Caroline Hirsch and run the New York Comedy Festival and doing it for a great cause. I was glad I got to congratulate her personally in a little red carpet interview. I have my little collection of Caroline Hirsch interviews from over the years.
The event was run by ID PR, and it was run very well, but anyone who’s ever done a red carpet knows it’s not easy. The celebs show up as they will, so there’s always some waiting time in between. But you can’t put your camera away or turn off your mics, because the moment you do, someone you don’t expect will pop in and you’ll miss the moment.
Caroline Hirsch (who owns Carolines on Broadway and the runs festival) hit the red carpet first and I know this isn’t a fashion column — although Graydon Carter from Vanity Fair was also one of the co-hosts — but I have to say she wore an absolutely beautiful dress. Then David Steinberg came out with his wife Robyn and it was so good to see him, because it’s not often that he’s in town. I hadn’t seen him for quite a while and when he re-introduced me to Robyn to make sure we knew each other, I was so pleasantly surprised when on her own she remembered the photos I sent them of an event I covered with them at the 92nd Street Y, back in 2006. I gave David props on his show Inside Comedy which he told me he will be starting up again.
There was a bit of a lull until Susie Essman appeared, but it’s never too long to wait for Susie. She’s always so happy and gracious to everyone who interviews her. She told me she just cut her hair short and that her husband Jimmy doesn’t like it. He didn’t come right out and tell her. Instead he told her some passive-agressive story about some girl he knew who cut her hair short and it made her face look fat! And Susie was like “F-You Jimmy! I like it this way!” As she left she joked that she and I have more photos together than she and her husband. I told her I was making an album of all of our photos, and we took another one! ( See below!)
Larry David actually did come out, but he came out just as I was about to speak to Amy Schumer. Talk about tension. I had been wanting to see Amy all night, but you can’t control when people hit the red carpet and it wasn’t a very long red carpet. Larry burst on the scene and the still photographers went insane. Then they took photos of Larry and Amy together.
Then Amy came over to me, and we got our little special interview, and I got to congratulate her on all of her successes. Like playing Carnegie Hall on Friday and she’s bringing her opening act Mark Normand with her. What a thrill for the both of them. She said that when she was coming up, people did that for her too so she wanted to pass that on. She’s also got Judd Apatow directing the film she wrote called Trainwreck which I think she said will be out next July. She was there with her little sister Kimberly and pulled her into the photos on the red carpet. Amy is so humble she said she didn’t know what she was doing on a line-up like this. It made me feel good to tell her she belonged there!
So I even got some video with Larry. He hates doing video interviews and I think the only reason he did it was because I was standing right in front of him. I told him that people were very excited about his Broadway debut coming up in February in a play he wrote called Fish In The Dark. He jokingly said something like ” I hope nobody comes to see it!” and I foolishly said something absurd like “Seriously?” for lack of a better response, and he mocked me by repeating my question, ” Seriously? Seriously?”, he said. And I think he laughed but I’m not 100% sure so again we’ll have to wait for the tape!
Last to come out and walk the red carpet was Seth Meyers who was detained because he was taping his show and then had to do a sound check before the show started. He was with his wife Alexi and he was incredibly gracious to still take time to talk to me even though they were rushing him inside. I also got to talk with Aasif Mandvi, from The Daily Show, who was also very gracious.
The show was as great as you could imagine. It opened with a so-called message from the Pres. of the United States which turned out to be a video message from Julia Louis Dreyfus from Seinfeld and Veep! Very clever and very funny. Then Seth took over and he was so funny and talented! After Seth, was Larry David who Seth said hadn’t done stand-up in 35 years. Well he did tonight! He talked a lot about his divorce from Laurie the environmentalist who tortured him about turning out lights, taking short showers, and even about flushing the toilet. He said as soon as he found out she wanted a divorce, he ran home and turned on all the lights! He said he had a feeling that things were changing by the people he started finding in his house. They weren’t in show business and they wore a lot of tweed! He was hilarious!
Susie Essman followed Larry and was as funny as ever. I love when she describes her mother as a heavy Eastern European woman who looks like if you lifted up her skirt you’d find a brisket under there! People LOVE Susie Essman! Amy Schumer came out and brought down the house. And then after a break of people talking about the NRDC, which stands for National Resources Defense Council, whose goal is to improve our environment, Jerry Seinfeld came out and did the longest set of the evening. He didn’t do the red carpet or mingle with anyone beforehand, but he did do a great set. It all worked great and the event was a HUGE success. Completely packed and sold out!
Truthfully when I left I was almost too tired to go anywhere else but I went home, I changed my clothes, grabbed a new scarf, and dragged myself back out to catch the end of the All Things Comedy show at The Stand.
All Things Comedy is the name of Bill Burr and Al Madrigal’s podcast network. I got there in time to see Ben Kissel hosting the show. Ben is almost 6’8″ and may be the tallest comic on the scene. He has two gay brothers one is 6″11″ and the shrimp of the family is only 6’4″. He’s from Wisconsin and has been doing stand-up in NY for 9 years. I was so glad I got to see Dean Edwards, but it was so funny because he cut off his big fro and I didn’t recognize him at first, strictly because of his hair. And he said to me that he spotted me from the stage strictly because of MY hair, so we both shared a hair moment! Dean’s got a podcast called The Futhamuckin’ Protocol because he doesn’t like to curse! It will celebrate it’s one year anniversary in December on the All Things Comedy network.
And Dean told me he’s in Chris Rock’s movie Top Five coming out in December. He shot his scenes at The Comedy Cellar. Ardie Fuqua was hosting in the movie and he was hysterical and kept the extras laughing the whole time as only Ardie can do. Chris leaned over to Dean without Ardie hearing and said that only Ardie could handle something like that, and keep an audience of extras laughing all day. So recently when Dean spoke to Ardie who’s home recuperating from the terrible car crash he was in, he shared that story with him about what Chris Rock said and it cheered Ardie up right away!
Last on the show was Brody Stevens who totally surprised me by announcing my presence to the room in the middle of his act. That was very nice of him and very unexpected, since I’m sure no one but him knew who I was! After the show Brody told me he came to town to do the warm ups for four @midnight shows that they did within 3 days. He also does the warm ups for @midnight in LA, where he lives. He told me he’s also on a seasonal show, on only during the football season to which I asked, ” And when is that?” He said we were in the middle of it. It’s on Fox Sports 1 and called Fantasy Football Uncensored and he’s on with David Spade, and Nick Swardson. He described it as being the real life version of FX’s The League!
Then we went upstairs to close the place and ran into Jade Catta-Preta currently on MTV’s Girl Code, and her friend comic Nick Rutherford. Jade was also on the ill-fated TV series Manhattan Love Story. She told me that everyone on Girl Code tapes separately and some of the girls don’t even know each other, but she did say that they all had penises, and that they tape them up, and that it’s very hard sitting on your penis for so long while they’re taping. I asked her if I could quote her on that and she said yes.
Jade said she’ll be headlining a show at Carolines within the next few weeks.
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 Caroline Hirsch with Jeffrey, Susie Essman and Jeffrey,Dean Edwards, Jeffrey, Jade Catta-Preta, Nick Rutherford, and Brody Stevens in the back.