We Covered the New York Comedy Festival Checking Out Bill Burr, Team Coco, John Oliver, Scott Rogowsky, Bert Kreischer and More

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 the New York Comedy Festival and more!

D.L. Hughley was at Carolines for three nights and I made it back for Sunday night’s closing night hang, which is always fun with DL. You get to spend a lot of time with him because he hangs out till the moment they announce him to the stage. The dressing room was just D.L., his two nephews, and his long-time friends and fellow comics Smokey Suarez, and George Willborn. Smokey is taping his new album called “Dramedy” at Laffaholics in Brooklyn, which he said is nestled inside the Lindenwood Diner. He’ll be doing two tapings this week and he said he chose that venue because it’s nice and intimate and because he’s performed there a lot. George who has one of the best radio voices I ever heard pontificated on all kinds of things, and we laughed for about 2 hours after the show ended until we closed the place down. It was just us and the help. Then they went out to grab a bit to eat, and I uncharacteristically went to get some rest for what I knew would be a crazy week.

There are so many comedy shows during NY Comedy Festival that you can get tired just looking at the program wondering how you can possibly see them all.

I kicked off New York Comedy Festival week with a kind of secret show from Bill Burr at West Side Comedy Club. Secret only in terms of, … you had to know to know. The room was packed to the proverbial gills. Joe Bartnick was the host and Mark Normand featured, and after the show Bill and I talked about what a good writer Mark is. We also talked about comedy “technicians” who take the time to write clever comedy and not just talk about what they did that day. Mark felt really good when I told him we discussed him in particular. Unsurprisingly Bill did a flawless hour and has such a tremendous range of topics to talk about. He challenges people’s sensibilities which is such a good thing and he’s so smart that he presents things in a way that you have to see his point of view. Being that his wife is black he does a lot of very pertinent and necessary racial humor that everyone responded to very positively. He described himself as being so white he looks like a “bearded moon!” He was gearing up for his headlining gig at Madison Square Garden. He was there with “Late Night with David Letterman” legendary guitarist and Paul Shaffer staple Felicia Collins who happens to be an old friend of mine as well. The room was so dark, and there were no seats, but thanks to owners Eugene and Nina Ashe they pulled me into a seat right next to Felicia, and she leaned over and said “Jeffrey is that you?” After thoroughly checking, I had to admit that it was! After the amazing show and huge applause that followed, Bill hung out to meet some fans, and take photos, and then FaceTimed his wife and their little daughter and he introduced us and we all got to say “hi” over his phone. It was Felicia, GM Gina Savage, and manager Lori Sommer.

Bill’s got the third season of his hit show “F Is For Family” starting November 30th and besides Paul Virzi’s special that he just produced he has three more coming down the pike, if they still use that expression, all under the banner of his “All Things Comedy” network. Next he was off to Chicago. When I asked him what he had coming up the first thing he said was he was designing a line of scarves, because he loves to joke about the way I dress, and some genius said he should call the line “Burrrrrr”, which would be incredibly perfect. We also had a long chat about fatherhood and how he felt when he first saw his daughter being born, because everyone told him it would bring tears to his eyes, but it didn’t. I told him that when my daughters were born it brought tears to my eyes and he said that was because I was a wonderful person but that HE on the other hand was a German/Irish serial killer!


Mike Birbiglia never disappoints. His one man shows are always amazing and “The New One” at The Cort Theatre is no different. He opens the show and takes a minute to talk about his couch and you have no idea where he’s going with that, but he manages to weave it into a thread that carries throughout the entire show. It’s a wonderful story and again it’s a lot about becoming a Dad even though he had never planned on having children. Mike paces the stage a lot during the show and sometimes walks in circles, and there’s one HUGE surprise that I promised I wouldn’t divulge. It adds so much to the show and it’s something you’ve never seen before, and something that will totally surprise you. After the show we went back to say hi and to congratulate him on his masterful performance, and ran into Nikki Glaser, Carmen Lynch and Myq Kaplan. Then Mike and I shot a little funny Instagram video which you can see on my IG page @jeffreygurian. The show will run for only 12 weeks so make sure you get out to see it. You’ll hate yourself forever if you miss it!

I walked into Carolines and comic Rachel Joan who works the reservations desk told me I accidentally wound up in a little video she was shooting through the glass door and she just happened to catch me in it. I saw it and it was definitely me. She’s got a recurrent show at Old Man Hustle that she does with Edward Farrell.

Bert Kreischer was in town for the festival and had a show at Town Hall, which I knew for sure I had to attend. I absolutely LOVE Bert Kreischer who like Mike Birbiglia, also happens to be a master story teller. He’s just so unique, and when he came out on stage and immediately whipped off his shirt the crowd went insane. It was non-stop laughs through the whole thing and he ended the show with his story of how “The Machine” came to be, and how he committed actual crimes with the Russian Mob. His stories are so insane you know they have to be true. No one could make that up!

After the show we went back to hang out and his Levity Entertainment crew was there to support, along with a bunch of industry people from different TV shows, with one Levity rep Bjorn Wentlandt having flown in from the UK. Judy Marmel from Levity was there making sure that everything ran smoothly, and Bert greeted his friends still without his shirt. We decided to shoot an Instagram video which seems to be the thing these days except that Bert took my phone from me and said “Watch this”, as he started filming from below his belly and up into his belly button to his chest while he addressed me and I talked about the show and the standing ovation he received when he was done. It was a one minute masterpiece and again you can see it on my IG page. Bert will be starting his world tour called “The Body Shots Tour” around January 9th with the kick-off in Portland, Oregon and hopefully ending in Moscow. I’d give anything to travel with that tour!

Team Coco teamed up with TBS and took over SONY Hall on West 46th Street to create a pop-up comedy club called Team Coco House as part of this 15th annual New York Comedy Festival, which by the way gets bigger and better every year thanks to Caroline Hirsch and Louis Faranda the man who magically books all the shows. Team Coco House lit up the street with it’s huge lighted signs and it featured shows, podcasts, musical acts, magicians, and all kinds of talent hand-picked by Team Coco and Conan himself. Caroline and Louis were both at the huge party that took place on Thursday night after Bert’s show. Louis doesn’t usually attend those things or stay out too late but he stayed at this one and everyone in comedy was there. It would be impossible to name all the names but it was absolutely packed with comics and industry, and they served great drinks and passed hors d’oeuvres, and tons of desserts, and when I left around 1:30 A.M. it was still going strong. One nice surprise was seeing my dear friend Countess LuAnn from the Real Housewives of New York come in with her super-agent Rich Super, and she told me that she’s with Live Nation now and will be going on a huge tour starting at the Gramercy Theatre with Alexa Ray Joel, and comedian Murray Hill, and you can bet I’ll be there too. There were lots of young comics like Eagle Witt, Napoleon Emil, Jordan Rock, Abby Feldman, Matt Pavich, Brendan Sagalow, and Lili Michelle who hipped me to a couple of cool sounding shows I wasn’t aware of. One person I remember being there was Marc Gerber with his “comedy wife” Eric Neumann, because he made me write it down, that he will be headlining Carolines exactly two years after his Breakout Show there. And it happens to fall on his 42nd birthday.

Talk about jumping around, I also went to the new UCB on West 42nd Street to catch Jade Catta-Preta’s musical comedy show which she does with Jeff Baldinger on keyboards. She kind of sings her way through stories, actually singing her dialogue in a very interesting and different kind of show. Jade scored a recurring role on Future Man on Hulu coming out in January and she just filmed The Funny Dance show for E! That’s the show that came out of the show of the same name that used to be in The Belly Room of the Comedy Store started by her friends Justine Marino, Heidi Healet and Justin Martindale.

I ran back to Team Coco House to catch HQ Trivia star Scott Rogowsky do his long-running talk show Running Late this time starring John Oliver. I walked in and the place was so packed there were literally no seats and then Matt Richards, who opened the show and is also an HQ Trivia host grabbed me and we hung out together at the bar with HQ Trivia producer Ellen Burke. Scott wore a crazy jacket and joked with John about how long he had been trying to get him on as a guest. John was his ever-pleasant self and told a lot of great stories and Scott had somehow found old video footage of John as a kid in some early TV show he did in England. They showed the poster for the new season of Last Week Tonight and John had his face down on a desk which he explained by saying that he doesn’t like to see his face on posters. For the last two seasons the poster didn’t show his face.

He talked about his wife who was a combat medic and his three year old son, and among other things told a funny story of how he had to interview the Dalai Lama and it dawned on him after he flew all the way to India that he was about to “fuck with the Dalai Lama.” But he said thet luckily the Dalai Lama was “a fan of fuckery” and they had a great time.

Backstage afterwards was a crazy scene and I got to see John and Scott and Scott’s Dad who’s always on the show with him as well.

I’m going to one more big show and this one is starring Lisa Lampanelli. I’ll be telling you about that one in next week’s column so make sure to tune in, or whatever it is you do to get this. Suffice it to say it was an incredible comedy festival and I already can’t wait to see what they do for next year!

Until next time, … 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 John Oliver, Bill Burr, Mike Birbiglia and Bert Kreischer.


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Jeffrey Gurian is a comedy writer, comedian, author, producer, comedy connoisseur, comedy journalist, and an all around bon vivant. You can find him on red carpets, at comedy events across the country and hosting Comedy Matters TV. He’s the author of the book Make ‘Em Laugh with an intro by Chris Rock”. You've seen him on Comedy Central's Kroll Show and he's a regular on SiriusXM's Bennington Show and it's predecessor the Ron and Fez Show. He's also A BIG BELIEVER in Happiness and Love.
Jeffrey Gurian
Jeffrey Gurian
Jeffrey Gurian is a comedy writer, comedian, author, producer, comedy connoisseur, comedy journalist, and an all around bon vivant. You can find him on red carpets, at comedy events across the country and hosting Comedy Matters TV. He’s the author of the book Make ‘Em Laugh with an intro by Chris Rock”. You've seen him on Comedy Central's Kroll Show and he's a regular on SiriusXM's Bennington Show and it's predecessor the Ron and Fez Show. He's also A BIG BELIEVER in Happiness and Love.