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 reports from some of the smaller shows around the city in addition to hitting up The Stand and, Gotham Comedy.
This week, in addition to hitting the usual big rooms I decided to check out some of the bar shows around town where a lot of the comedy clubs are drawing their talent from, and where very often bigger names go to work out material.
Anyway, I went out to Brooklyn (yet again) to see Lake Bell, at a very cool show I got invited to because the producers were fans of this column, and The Interrobang. I’m not sure why, but I was under the impression that Lake Bell was going to try stand-up. Lake has established some great comedy chops being in Adult Swim’s Children’s Hospital with the two Robs, Rob Corddry and Rob Huebel, and her brand new romantic comedy with Simon Pegg called Man Up. The show is called Late Night Basement with Chris Rose, and it’s at a cool place called the Pine Box Rock Shop. The room would have had to be five times as big to hold all the people that showed up, and I understand it’s like that all the time. Luckily we got in early and had reserved seats but most of the audience stands happily in the background watching the action. Chris Rose is a funny host and does his version of a news update which I always appreciate from my own comedy news background. Also on the show was Joe Pera who I thought I hadn’t seen until I saw his act and realized that I had actually seen him. It’s very unique and reminded me of the energy that Joe Machi brings to the stage. An awkwardness that lends itself to comedy. Sue Smith was also on the show.
Lake Bell did an interview and was such a great guest and a fantastic sport. She said that working on Children’s Hospital allows you to act like a child. And that Henry Winkler is such a nice guy, and so approachable he’ll do his Fonzie “Eh” for anyone who asks. She had a baby daughter last year but she didn’t let her pregnancy stop her from directing some episodes of Children’s Hospital and she rode around the set on a Rascal scooter. And when they actually did a shoot in Brazil she said she didn’t get to go cause “they only took the dudes!” She’s also in Netflix’s upcoming Wet, Hot American Summer and was not allowed to say much about it except for the fact that she plays a 16 year old Jewish girl who thinks she’s very cool! And one more interesting fact is that when Lake was about 15 or 16, living in France, she documented her life on video for several years. The reason I said she was a good sport is that Chris Rose had her improv a game where she had to do voice-overs, (which is a specialty of hers), to film clips he had chosen in advance, but which she had to do cold. And she did great despite having to do Optimus Prime in the voice of Owen Wilson, and then did scenes in her “Sexy Baby” voice, but it was a very difficult thing to do. She finallly said she had to leave to go and feed her 7 month old baby!
The next night I checked out another bar show at HiFi Bar on Avenue A. It’s a show called I Don’t Get It produced by two young funny comics named Gary Levitt and Matt Schwartzer. This is also a very cool room closed off from the rest of the bar by a velvet curtain to block out the noise, because everyone knows how effective that is. It makes comics stronger when they have to perform under adverse conditions, and most of them do. It was also a very cool show! I wound up doing another guest spot, and Mark Normand popped in to try out some new material, and as he ran out he kind of frisked me, and patted me down as if he was looking for weapons! That Mark Normand is a real card! ( And he would just LOVE that expression!) The show was hosted by Regina DeCicco who kept things moving along and did a great job. They even fit some improv into the show, which may or may not fit into a stand-up show! It worked but it’s a whole different energy!
Mike Coscarelli is a producer at WABC radio and produces the Curtis and Kuby Show. He’s also a stand-up who performed at my Curtis/Cuby Roast at Gotham Comedy Club. He along with young comics Andrew Woolford, Matt Lajeskie, and Drew Morgan do a show called Worst Behavior Comedy Show at a bar called Westfield, and it’s a very cool room. It’s down in a basement and it’s big and airy, with very hip decorations, and it’s a fun place to perform. When I showed up all the comics were hanging out in the street before the show and it was a very cool bonding thing. I wound up doing a guest spot and Late Night writer/comic Michelle Wolf was their headliner. Michelle plays all the big clubs. She made her national TV debut on Late Night last year. It struck me funny that one of the young comics on the show congratulated me for having so many punchlines! That’s how I came up. You had to have a strong premise followed by one punchline after the next!
Jessica Delfino checked in to let me know she started her own venue in Chinatown, every Thursday night at a place called The Unicorn. Her show is an open mic, which is great cause comics need places to work out, and the show is called Avant Garden. Every Thursday at 5 P.M. and she also told me about the NY Funny Songs Fest that she produces, which is in it’s 4th year, and is coming up on May 29-30. Musical comedy is her specialty and she’s got 3 days of comedy, parody, and novelty music featuring 70 performers. Musical comedy is a hard thing to do, but Weird Al is a perfect example of how it can work!
Of course I also popped into some of my usual spots, like Comedy Juice at Gotham Comedy Club and The Stand.
I hit up Comedy Juice and got to see Todd Barry who does the show pretty often. I always tell him he’s one of the few people who makes me laugh out loud. I think it’s the combination of his laid back delivery coupled with his level of his sarcasm, like when he gets accused of stealing a hotel room bedspread. Very funny bit. He lives alone because he said he’s too famous to have a roommate. In talking about his apartment he mentioned that it has a dishwasher, and he said that having a dishwasher in New York is like the equivalent of having 11 cars! Todd is very humble so whenever I tell him how funny I think he is, it always looks a bit painful to him!
Jessica Kirson was on the show and I always love seeing Jessie. She works so fast, you have to really be quick to hear everything she does, and that speaking to herself onstage, giving herself little pep talks is always a crowd pleaser. And she makes faces like nobody else. She must have been great as a kid at making faces, because that’s not something you just come up with as an adult. She told me she’s playing a crazy stalker in the new Jim Gaffigan Show where she thinks he says something about her on stage and chases him through the street. Also on the show was Jade Catta-Pretta, who I like to call Jade Catta-Pretty, ( It would be funnier to say “Jade Kinda-Pretty, but she IS pretty so I sacrificed the joke!) who you will also be seeing on The Gaffigan Show as well as Girl Code, and the very funny Vladimir Caamano who did a whole thing on ATM’s in the hood.
And Gibran Saleem who hosted the show was excited about a Scrubbing Bubbles commerical he booked with a few other comics where he had to perform comedy in a bathroom. It was shot in Brooklyn and will be seen all over. And Gibran was also just filmed for a show called Asian Dreamers on the NHK-TV channel in Asia. It’s about Asian people with a dream. It’s a 15 minute episode and will air in Europe and Asia, and when I asked him how they heard about him, he said they saw him perform on AXS-TV’s Gotham Comedy Live!
I popped into The Stand and was happy to see Danny Palmer hosting the show. Danny used to perform on my late night show at The Comic Strip and I always thought he was funny. He’s also just a really nice guy. He told me he’s been hosting at The Stand for about a year. Owner Cris Italia suggested he audition for Patrick Milligan, and the rest is history. He started out on Tuesdays at the $5 Funny Show and also performs at The Laughing Devil in Astoria 2-4 times a month. His big news is that he’s developing a web series based on his life with his director Ben DeMarco who hosts the Fat Baby Show at The Stand on Thursday nights, a show that sounds absolutely adorable! Who doesn’t like a fat baby? Danny is writing his as yet untitled show, and he plans to have on guest comics.
Also at The Stand I got to see someone I had only heard of but never met, Michael Kosta from Chelsea Lately, several appearances on Leno, and a Comedy Central special. He was in town for the upfronts repping a show he’s hosting that’s being Executive Produced by Joel McHale, who has done several hysterically funny interviews with me. So this show is on E!, and it’s the perfect show for Joel to produce. It’s called The Comment Section and it’s about the nasty things that people say in the comment section in social media like You Tube. E! saw the pilot and picked it up for six episodes which are supposed to start airing on Aug. 7th but that could change. It’s shot in LA and Michael is also one of the writers. And if I forgot to say that Michael is VERY funny, let me say that now! He’s very funny!
And Chuck Nice also checked in with me to let me know about COZI TV’s comedy search. He’s one of the judges, and if you’re a comic and want to submit, (clean material only!) this is the link.
I was on the red carpet of the Soho International Film Festival when I ran into Rob Magnotti the great comic/impressionist who does the best Al Pacino I ever saw! Rob is in Paul Blart-Mall Cop 2 playing a gambler opposite Kevin James in the casino. Kevin had seen Rob’s appearance on Letterman and cast him in the movie! I guess he did good on Letterman!
Anyway that’s it for me this week. I’m OUT!!!
Jeffrey Gurian is a comedian, writer and all around bon vivant in New York City. Subscribe to his YouTube channel. Below, photos, Jeffrey with Gary Levitt and Matt Schwartzer at HiFi Bar, Gibran Saleem at Gotham, Michael Kosta at the Stand and Rob Magnotti on the Red Carpet at the Soho Film Fest.