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 stopped at Gotham, New York Comedy Club, The Stand, and more!
I was hanging out in front of The Stand with Paul Virzi, who told me he’s totally psyched about opening for Bill Burr at Madison Square Garden. It’s not till November 14th, as part of the New York Comedy Festival, but just the concept of performing for 20,000 people has got to be so exciting, when you’re ready for it. If you weren’t ready and had to perform for 20,000 people, you might probably experience cardiac arrest! In another exciting bit of news, Paul and Yannis Pappas are in talks to do their own room in the city. I know more but can’t tell yet! And it’s gonna be hot! While we were standing there we were joined by Chris Millhouse who’s heading back to LA next week to find out about a really big project, along with John Moses, and Nick Alexander. Chris sublets his LA place to another comic while he’s in New York for extended periods of time going on auditions, working the clubs, and being a main player in Comedy Juice.
Mike Vecchione, told me he’s scheduled to do Red Eye twice next month, and will be at Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club in Vegas from in November. I asked him how often he writes, and he told me he tries to write something new every day. We commisserated on how hard it is to work in new jokes when you have so much stuff that already works. And my boy Dustin Ybarra just scored something amazing. He’s got a recurring role in NBC’s new fall thriller The Player with Wesley Snipes. Wesley plays the pit boss of an action-packed high stakes game, and Dustin plays Donovan Lewis a tech genius, which is a perfect part for someone with his image! Congrats Dustin! The show is from Blacklist producers John Davis and John Fox and will premiere on September 24. Jon Fisch just got back from vacation and told me he’s psyched about opening for Jim Gaffigan next Friday, at the New York State Fair.
This week at Comedy Juice at Gotham Comedy Club, the mighty Aaron Berg was hosting and his crowdwork is off the chain. This guy rattles off audience comments like a machine gun. I ran into Pete Davidson who was performing and had a great set. He told me he’s excited about getting back to Saturday Night Live in about three weeks, and really happy about Tracy Morgan being the one of the first three guest hosts when the show officially starts up in October.
This week Gotham was also the scene of a packed taping for Jimmy Failla’s as yet unnamed special. He told me as soon as he comes up with a name for it he’ll let me know. He taped two shows but he told me he was so happy with the first one that he allowed himself to riff a little on the second one, and just made stuff up while he was on stage. Jimmy’s been working really hard on his act for a long time, and is often the closing act at AXS TV’s Gotham Comedy Live which will be starting up again for it’s new season this coming Thursday on August 27th. with my good buddy George Wallace as the host. It’s the fifth season and they will be celebrating their 100th episode on December 3rd. That is AMAZING! Jimmy worked on prepping for this special for about three months, and had his hilarious friend Angelo Lozada open for him. Angelo is a heavy hitter, who often hosts shows at Gotham and hosted for Tony Rock later on in the week. I’ll get to that later! At the after-party I got to meet Joanne Nosuchinsky from Red Eye with Tom Shillue, and she’s so humble that when I asked her about her background she didn’t even mention that she was Miss New York, USA in 2013. She’s also a contributor on FOX News, and a really fun girl. Hope to see her again!
I think I performed more this week than I ever have. On Friday night I drove out to Astoria to The Creek and The Cave to catch Paul Spratt’s Take It Or Leave It which is kind of a variety show he was taping for a pilot, and it was a very professional looking operation with a whole bunch of people involved in the taping. There are 7 people in the TIOLI troupe, which was started by Paul and Tyler Rothrock who pops up to perform with them from time to time. Paul and Tyler had the original idea, and when I asked him how they got the name of their troupe, he said it came out of a joke. They were all trying to think up an appropriate name and someone came up with a name and said “Take It Or Leave It”. And that’s what they chose. They do a regular show at The Creek once e month, every third Friday. Very funny people and I was happy to do a set on the pilot. It’s a mix of stand-up, sketches, short films and even music! The members are Paul, Dave Columbo, Casey Regan who is also a filmmaker, Vivian Preston, Mick Andrews, Zach Erwin, Mike Cosgrove and Greg Ehrenberg. Then I did the 5 P.M. show at New York Comedy which I was shocked to see was packed on a Saturday afternoon. It’s the audition show and the club’s owner Emilio Savone has a couple of more established comics open the show. After my set, I sat with Emilio in the back of the room while he was taking notes on the other hopefuls. Some very funny people hit the stage.
I jumped over to Karma Lounge on 3rd Street and 1st Avenue to catch Reg Thomas and Jordan Rock’s monthly show Productively Stoned. Now there’s an oxymoron if I ever heard one! The place was packed out. I hadn’t seen it so crowded before. It was a really great crowd, and Jordan was running between there and Gotham where he was opening for his brother Tony who was headlining the weekend. Comic Jocelyn Chia, ex-corporate lawyer came in with about 8 hot girls, which I thanked her for during my set. We didn’t have Asian chicks when I was coming up. That’s some brand new shit, and whoever came up with it is a genius! Some of the audience was so stoned I think they thought I was actually there!
I got over to Gotham in time to run down to the dressing room and see what Tony Rock was up to. Turns out he’s got some big things going on. He’s shooting a pilot called All Def Comedy Live for Russell Simmons. How dope is that? He’s shooting the pilot in LA in October. And in September TV1 will be testing a pilot he shot called Big Leaf about a young Black man who owns a medical marijuana dispensary. And it just so happens that Tony is playing that young Black man! It will be on all cable channels and if it goes well it will be picked up for a series. Good luck Tone. We’re all pulling for you!
Serious note: Back in Jan. of 2015 I attended a very special event headlined by Rick Shapiro. It was NYC’s first “Comedy Crawl For Parkinson’s Disease”, which Rick lives with and is triumphantly overcoming many hurdles, and it was headlined by more than 20 stars including Artie Lange, Bobby Kelly, Todd Barry, and Jim Gaffigan. Rick’s wife Tracy DeMarzo had been his rock through out his recovery and now she’s been diagnosed with breast cancer and has to undergo surgery. They don’t have insurance and she’s trying to raise the money through gofundme.com. Despite this, she and Rick are planning a second event for Parkinson’s on Nov. 24th at New York Comedy Club, one of the clubs on last year’s crawl. Tracy said, “it is because of Shapiro’s humor that I can get through this. I don’t know what I would do if I was married to a guy that loved breasts more than the microphone. To make jokes about this, to keep me laughing through those intimate scary times means the world to me. I am blessed with Rick and the many that have helped and continue to help.” This is the site if you can contribute to help Tracy get her surgery by Sept. 18th.
I was hanging out with Derek Gaines host of MTV’s Broke Ass Game Show and he also dropped some knowledge on me. He was out celebrating with his good friend Monroe Martin who’s going on the road with Aziz Ansari! They were heading to Chicago, and that’s a big deal! So congrats Monroe! He’s been working really hard and deserves all the good luck he’s been getting.
Brett Eidman is a funny comedian who turns up on SNL and other TV shows in sketches from time to time, as well as being featured on College Humor and had a one man show called One Angry Man that ran in NYC. He’s probably best known for his musical/comedy parodies that play not on the radio, but also on video. He just came out with a winner as far as I’m concerned. It’s called Party All The Time filled with lots of hot girls, and I can’t stop humming the tune. It’s called Party All the Time Let’s Celebrate and you can find it on YouTube.
And until next week, that’s it for me! 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 performing, Jeffrey with Paul Virzi, Jeffrey with Jordan Rock and Tony Rock, and Jeffrey with Mike Vecchione.