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 covered the scene at Gotham Comedy Club, New Jersey and the Pat Dixon Show.
Well there are fun weeks in comedy and then there are FUN WEEKS! This was definitely a FUN WEEK!
Two weeks ago I talked about David Hasselhoff hosting Gotham Live. I was back at Gotham for Gotham Comedy Live this week to see Pamela Anderson host the show. It was really amazing to meet one of the women I consider to be one of the most iconic of the last 25 years. C.J. Parker will be etched in the minds of young and old men for a very long time to come. Jimmy Failla helped Anderson to prepare for the show. Jimmy told me it was more of a collaboration with Pam, because she has a very good comedy mind and a real sense of what she wanted to do on stage. He said she had a lot of good ideas and executed them flawlessly. I was actually excited to get the chance to sit with her after the show. She said she wasn’t aware that David Hasselhoff hosted the show for it’s season premiere just two weeks before, and said to me, “Isn’t he a great guy?” When I complimented her on her performance she told me she had had a rough year and that this was just what she needed. She said it was wonderful to see all those people laughing at once at her jokes, and that it made her feel really good inside and she had a great time. She was so gracious to everyone who approached her, and actually hung out at the after-party for a while. When I asked Pam what she was working on she told me she spends more than 90% of her time as an animal activist, but has also co-authored about an op-ed with Naomi Wolf, and has a few films coming out, a short called “Connected”, a feature called “The People Garden” which is making the rounds of the film festivals, and “The Institute” about a mental institution in the 1900’s.
A photographer was shooting photos of us while we were talking and showed them to me for my approval and then asked her if she wanted to see them, something you should never ask a beautiful woman. Her smile was amazing, and of course she looked great in all of them. She’s Pam Anderson! But the part I almost left out was the kind of thing that always happens to me. Something stupid. Just before I sat down with Pam, I realized I was literally covered in ketchup. I was wearing a pinkish sort of jacket that I had just taken out of the cleaners that very day for the show. I must have accidentally dipped my sleeve in the ketchup from my dinner, and unknowingly brushed that arm all over myself. The more I looked the more ketchup I found. I was horrified. I ran to the rest room and wiped myself down with wet towels, so my jacket looked splotched with water on the sleeve, on the front and on the side near my pocket, and that’s how I had to approach Pamela Anderson. All stained with water.
Also on the show was the great Pete Dominick who pulled a move on stage I had also never seen before. It was a week of those kinds of things. Before the show we sat down together in the green room while he was reviewing his material, and putting his set together. He actually wrote stuff that very day that he planned to do that night on live TV. Pete told me he hadn’t been on a stage for too long since he spends so much time preparing for and doing his radio show Stand Up With Pete Dominick every day from 9 A.M. until noon on SiriusXM. He said he wants to devote a month to getting back on stage in all the clubs that he took the time to get passed in. During his set he actually grabbed the camera from the camera guy who stands off to the side and started filming the cameraman, telling him he looked like a Swedish serial killer because of his very long blonde hair. Whatever he did got big laughs, as did Dante Nero, Hadiyah Robinson and Dave Landau one of the very few comics who’s done the show three times.
The week just kept bringing comedy highlights. Any time I have the opportunity to hang with D.L. Hughley I jump at it because you talk about a party, this man’s entire essence is like being at a party. Even his dressing room is all about the party. And you never know who you’re going to meet in there, from his openers Clint Coley, Bo Dacious, and his radio partner the hilarious Steve Wilson, to Trayvon Martin’s brother who hung out all night, to Roy Wood Jr. from Trevor Noah who dropped by after the show and hung out for quite a while, to just an audience member who grew up in the same dangerous neighborhood as D.L., … Compton.
D.L is so gracious to his fans that he invited this guy into his dressing roon, and they compared stories about how dangerous their neighborhood was and how many guys literally dropped out of school because it was too dangerous to go. You’d have to walk through serious gang neighborhoods and declare your affiliation in order to survive.
D.L. headlined Carolines from Thursday through Sunday night and I went a few times cause it’s D.L.– one of the original, and true Kings of Comedy. Not only is he HILARIOUS, but his style is impeccable. He’s got an incredibly busy schedule what with still being on the Comedy Get Down tour with Charlie Murphy, Eddie Griffin, George Lopez, and Cedric The Entertainer, plus his role as Dr. Hackett a psychiatrist on NBC’s new show Heartbeat, his regular nationally syndicated radio gig, The D.L. Hughley Show, plus a brand new TV show coming out of the Get Down tour, which will give him two shows on the air at the same time, and then his second book comes out from Harper on June 7 th called Black Man, White House: An Oral History of the Obama Years which he described as a satirical look at the Obama presidency.
He told me he used his own experience with shrinks to help him with his role as Dr. Hackett, and also broke the news to me in what I think is an exclusive that he’s got a new TV show coming out on Comedy Central and BET based on the Comedy Get Down tour with all the guys. They’re starting to staff up right now, will start shooting in June and hopefully will be on in the Fall. So if I’m counting correctly that’s two TV shows, a national radio show, a national tour and a book. AND, they’re recording an audio version of the book in a couple of weeks, and there’s a good chance that I will be involved! More on that to come. I told him he was replacing James Brown as the busiest man in show biz. After the show we all went over to Tao and hung out. I left at 2 A.M. cause I had to write this column. But I’m going back tonight.
Comedy Juice this week had Janeane Garofalo, Eddie Ifft and Gene Pompa. Janeane talks about her career in such a self-deprecating way, and talked about how lucky she was in the 90’s but never took the steps she would have needed to take to further her career. My old friend Eddie Ifft went up. Eddie was at one time a New York guy, but has been in LA for several years now, got married and recently had a baby which he claims to like! Another LA based comic Gene Pompa took delight in disturbing Eddie’s set, which I had never seen anyone do before. While Eddie was performing Gene ran up and flashed his cell phone as comics do to give the comic on stage “the light” telling them their time is almost up. And then he yelled out, “ Do your closer!” To which Eddie replied, “ When Gene Pompa comes to the stage, don’t laugh.” Gene was in town for meetings with Colbert about the possibility of writing for the show. When Eddie got off stage, he went to sit with Gene and when the host introduced Gene, Eddie grabbed onto his jacket and wouldn’t let go as Gene struggled to get to the stage. This all took place right next to me and the two of them were hysterical laughing. Gene finally broke away and got to the stage and of course during his set
Eddie did the same thing to him, flashing his cell phone like a light and yelling out. It was crazy. After the show Eddie and I went outside to catch up. He’s doing a doc film with Paul Provenza about how the world perceives America through the eyes of stand-up comics throughout the world. Sounds like a great idea.
This week I also ran out to New Jersey to catch the opening night of Joe Loesner’s Meadlowlands Comedy Festival, performed at Max May’s International Youth Hostel Show where I got to experience a new low in audience participation- a heckler who decided to take off his shoe and sock, lift his foot into the air like an orangutan, and starting picking his foot and playing with his toes non-stop.
Making up for that experience was Pat Dixon’s show New York Crime Report, at the Anthony Cumia studio in Manhattan, on Monday nights. As I approached the door I heard such a cacophony of noise and yelling coming from inside that I thought it was some sort of out of control scene taking place on the radio. It sounded like everyone was talking at the same time. At that point I still thought I was participating in a strictly audio podcast. Did not know it was being televised live. I would have worn brighter colors.
I opened the door to find an assortment of wild men– Johnny Bizarre from the Coney Island Sideshow hammering a long nail into his nose, Chris Laker who is a correspondent on the show, Sean Donnelly, a guy they called “The Asian Pat Dixon” who’s real name is Ryan Katsu Rivera, who’s half Japanese and half Puerto Rican, comic and founding member of Fat Baby Jeff Katsman who’s Jewish but looks stone Puerto Rican, and a guy named Bobo who everyone seemed to know. Also there was Pat’s wife Mandy Stadtmiller, author of the “Unwifeable” column in New York Magazine, and host of the podcast “News Whore” as well as being a comedy entity herself, who took part sporadically in the show as it unfolded. Colin Quinn walked in to retrieve his keys which he said he left at an earlier show. He stayed only long enough to chat with Bobo and myself for a minute and grab a snack from all that was available including bowls of packs of candy and boxes of pizza. He said he was working on new stuff but couldn’t elaborate. Too premature! I plan to return just to hang out. It was that much fun.
That’s it this week. I’ll be back next Monday with more jumping around.
Until then, 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. Photos below include Jeffrey with D.L. Hughley, Jimmy Failla, Pete Dominick and Pam Anderson.