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, West Side Comedy Club, 92Y and more!
Comedy Juice is always cool and this past week Nikki Glaser popped in to do a set and I got to congratulate her in person on her Dancing With The Stars appearance since I thought she did so well. She really worked hard and her moves showed it. She happened to be eliminated first but somebody had to be. The point is she should feel really proud of her performance. Andrew Schulz did a killer set and it always amazes me how long he can pause in between jokes or before he says something. I always worry he’ll lose the crowd but he never does. That is a talent unto itself. And Jay Pharoah came by and I almost didn’t recognize him because I hadn’t seen him for the longest time, and also because he lost so much weight. Still funny, very street, and did his great impressions. But when he left the stage he left some of his belongings on stage and came back a couple of times to retrieve them while host Aaron Berg joked about it.
Bobby Collins who was once the comedy face of Comix came back to New York for the 10th annual charity benefit he runs called Comedy For A Cause which benefits a camp called Zano Mountain Farm, a non-profit organization that offers children with disabilities the opportunity to go to camp. And for the first time he did it in New York at The Cutting Room a great room on East 32nd Street. He usually does it in Hermosa Beach, California.
When I walked in I ran right into Bobby, with Lynne Koplitz, and Chris Roach from Kevin Can Wait who was MC’ing the show. Chris is at least 6’6” and jokingly accused me of walking by him without saying hello which is not even possible because you can not miss Chris Roach. He came to my home once to shoot a video interview and while sitting on the couch stretched out his arms, and accidentally knocked some photos off my wall, … in the next room! He’s as funny as he is big! And there were two guys there I want to give a special shout-out to because they do so much for the comedy community, Bobby Bank and Jeff Smith, two celeb photographers who you can always count on to donate their services for a good cause. I’ve seen them both at many big comedy events and they always get the best photos and go out of their way to add positivity to the events that they cover. Bobby Collins must be greatly loved as evidenced by the talent that came out to perform, and the packed crowd that came to laugh and support. He opened the show by explaining to the audience about his connection to Zeno Farm. He has three daughters and his daughter Madison is a special needs person, who has been going to the camp for 12 years. Bobby and his wife were told she wouldn’t make it past 10 years and she’s now 24 and going strong.
It was a very rare appearance these days by Ray Romano that really impressed people. It’s not often that you get to see Ray on stage in a show these days. He’s currently starring in Get Shorty a new series on Epix in which he plays a film producer. Ray came out to tremendous applause and started out by apologizing for his moustache, which he said there was a reason for but didn’t explain. He told great stories about getting older and about his family and especially his kids. He’s got four, one daughter and three sons, two of whom are twins. He’s a real family guy and his stories are great. I got to reminisce with him for a minute after his set about a time about 15 years ago when I brought Michael Bolton to the set of Everybody Loves Raymond so they could meet. I brought the photo from that day of me, Michael and Ray, and Ray and I took a photo holding that old photo which is something I like to do. Fortunately, people indulge me!
Ray was followed by Colin Quinn who as usual deconstructed every sentence and experience known to man and gave it his own Colin Quinn twist, as no one else can. It’s why he can do so many one-man shows. He has a particular point of view about everything. And Colin was followed by Dave Attell who really got the energy of the audience up by bringing his own powerful energy to the stage. Dave knows how to handle every type of crowd, and he altered his material at one point when he felt it was necessary to engage the crowd on a deeper level. He is just so quick and comes up with the best adlibs. Someone bothered him either by writing notes in clear view of the stage or by videotaping his act, and he made a point of mentioning it afterward. He also made it a point to hang out and socialize afterward which he doesn’t always do. The event was a huge success and a whole lot of talent on one stage for Bobby Collins and Zeno Mountain Farm. And congrats to Cutting Room owner Steve Walter for hosting the event!
I ran down to catch a late show at New York Comedy Club and ran into my man Matt Richards who told me hs just got cast in a new Netflix show, and it’s a Netflix original production, but for now that’s all he was at liberty to tell me.
The 92 Street Y continued with its string of comedy based hit events with John Fugelsang hosting “An Evening of Comedy” with Lewis Black, Alan Zweibel and Susie Essman, a night I knew I couldn’t miss. John brought out Lewis first and at one point apologized for the political bent and said it would get funnier and it did. John is just so clever, and very political to say the least, and is the host of his own show called Tell Me Everything every weekday on SiriusXM. He said he came up with the idea for this 92Y show about 17 months ago, but it took a while to put it all together.
Lewis is not known as “King of the Rant” for nothing and showed how he earned and deserved that unofficial title. Alan had some great stories to share, and his wife and two daughters were in the audience. He also talked about his friendship with Gilda Radner, and explained how she handled her cancer diagnosis by making fun of it. It was the only way she knew how to handle it. She called him one night and said, “Can you help me make fun of cancer.” And he did on the show he helped create called It’s Gary Shandling’s Show. I always have a special connection to Alan because it was he who gave me my start in comedy by watching my early short films that I shot on Super 8 sound, and personally calling his manager on my behalf and asking him to meet with me.
They talked about comedy on college campuses and people being offended by everything these days. And then Susie came out after being introduced as the kindest sweetest person and said to the crowd and Lewis Black, “Our job as comedians is to offend, right Lewis?” And he agreed. Susie talked a lot about her parents and imitated then so perfectly and Alan thought it was amazing that he and Susie had the same parents. But both of his are still alive and living in assisted living. His Dad is 92 and his Mom is 89. G-d Bless! Lewis Black topped that and said that both his parents are 100 and he keeps them in a terrarium, so they can get enough sun and light. And John, of course, told of his parents. His Dad was a Jesuit Priest and his mother was a nun. He said his father was a brother and his mother was a sister. And when the discussion came around to dick pix I think it was Lewis who said that “any man who sends someone a pic of his dick shouldn’t have a camera, a computer, or a dick!”
I dropped by West Side Comedy Club to see one of the two sold-out shows that L.A.’s Esther Povitsky was doing, and GM Gina Savage told me that Louis CK had dropped by the night before. She said he did about 15-20 minutes on a show produced by Aric Grooms and Robert Punchur, closed the show and was received very well. Louis said it was a great space and that he’ll be coming back. Esther’s show was packed with fans from her new show Alone Together on the Freeform Network, and from her podcast that she does with Caroline Goldfarb called “Glowing Up.” Lance Weiss MC’ed the show and killed me with his lines. Caroline opened for Esther and it was fun to see two obviously great friends have such a good time on stage together. After Esther’s set she called Caroline back on stage and the two of them did a thing going through a woman’s purse from the audience. After the show people lined up to take photos with Esther and she was very gracious and talked with each and every person.
Rebecca Rush invited me to do her podcast Comics Book Club to talk about my newest book on Happiness, called “Healing Your Heart By Changing Your Mind – A Spiritual and Humorous Approach To Achieving Happiness”, which hit Best Seller status on Amazon, and not only does she do it from her apartment, she does it from her bed. Alone. The guest is not in her bed. Only she is in her bed with her producer on one side of the bed, and the guest, … me… on the other side with her little dog Niko on my lap. It was a very chill setting. It’s a podcast about books but we spent most of the time talking about headaches, TMJ problems, teeth grinding and clenching, stuttering, overcoming obstacles in your life, and how stress affects us physically, and when I mentioned that we didn’t talk about comedy at all she said that everyone talks about comedy, so this wil be very different. It definitely was. And we had cupcakes which were amazing! This week, at the request of a major audio studio, I will be recording the audio version of my book. It’s the first time I will be doing anything like that and they think it will take 3-4 days of studio time. They asked for a tape of my voice and accepted me as the narrator. Very exciting.
And I ended my comedy week at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center along with 1,000 other people who came out to see Gad Elmaleh on the New York leg of his world wide “The Dream Tour.” His physicality on stage is amazing, and his ability to switch between the four languages he’s fluent in is even more amazing. There were a lot of French Moroccan people in the audience, and people yelled out in both Arabic and Hebrew as well as French. To my relief no one yelled out in English because we know how to behave at a show. The guy next to me must have been raised on a French Moroccan farm because he acted like an animal. He and his date spoke loudly through opener Lenny Marcus’ set even after I asked them to please be quiet as they were disturbing the show. Then he rocked back and forth shaking the entire row of seats, while the girl on the other side of my date flashed her phone while texting and checking her e-mail, alternating that with loud ear-piercing shrieks of laughter. Her date looked mortified. Gad made jokes about how the people were yelling out things, and countries where they were from without him asking, but the one thing that was at least acceptable was when they yelled out, “ We love you Gad!” That was very fitting. After the show our bracelets allowed us to go backstage and see Gad and congratulate him on his performance. It’s such a great show, and he’s always so gracious. He was surrounded by people speaking to him in French, and it made me want to go home and study. We were in a room with lockers and Gad said it felt like we were back in high school, hence the lockers in the photo we took below.
From here Gad goes to Boston, and he’s excited about all of his shows, but the show he’s REALLY excited about is the show at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in LA coming up in November. That is a very special one to him because performing in English in LA is a dream come true and really quite fitting for his Dream Tour! His Levity Entertainment team was with him, Judy Marmel and Alex Goodman and they also work with two other heavy hitters Sebastian Maniscalco and Bert Kreischer. I have news on them both coming up very soon! Bert has a world tour and Judy said that Bert is like “ wish fulfillment for adults who are married and have kids and have to go to work every day”, and if you know Bert or have ever seen his act you know how accurate that is.
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 Ray Romano, Gad Elmaleh, and Chris Roach.