Jeffrey Gurian 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. In today’s column, find out what Sarah Silverman, Jermaine Fowler, Brooks Wheelan and Bonnie McFarlane are up to… and more!
This week I ran into Jermaine Fowler at the Comedy Cellar. Jermaine told me that he’s going to be in a new sketch show on TRU TV that starts on October 28th. This is exciting news, because just last year, Jermaine was cast in what was going to be the new In Living Color that Keenan Ivory Wayans was supposed to be producing, (and I was helping to cast). Unfortunately that project never came to be. There were a lot of rumors about why it didn’t happen, but that’s in the past now. The new show is called Friends of the People, and Kevin Barnett, Josh Rabinowitz, the Lucas Brothers and Jennifer Bartels are all going to be a part of it along with Jermaine.
Ray Ellin, who is the host of the Gong Show Live (which is a resurrection of the iconic television show) was also at the Comedy Cellar, and he told me that he’s working on a sitcom project that is tentatively being called, Internet Famous. He told me the name of a very big film star who is very interested in playing the lead. I can’t divulge his name, but it’s somebody really huge.
I saw Mark Normand at The Stand this week. He opens for Amy Schumer. Mark is doing a release during the New York Comedy Festival in November for his new CD called Still Got It. He and Amy are also doing Carnegie Hall on November 16th, as part of the festival.
This week, I went to the NBC Short Cuts Film Festival. Comedian Wil Sylvince has been producing the festival for years, and he had AJ Calloway host while Zainab Johnson was on the red carpet. Wil has come a long way from the first year he produced the festival, when he was afraid he wouldn’t get enough submissions to actually hold a festival. He was so worried, that after NBC threatened to pull the festival, he made his own movie, in disguise, so he’d have another submission. Luckily for him, hundreds of entries came in at the last minute, and he never had to use his film.
From there I jumped over to the Gotham Comedy Club to see Comedy Juice which is an amazing show. Brody Stevens was there; he was in town touring with the Oddball Comedy Festival. He did great– you know he’s very strange and unusual — and at the end of his set, a guy was walking through the crowd and Brody made fun of him saying that he looked like Dr. Drew. Well, oddly enough, it really was Dr. Drew Pinsky. And Brody, who makes no secret of his mental illness stayed on after the red light so he could tell Dr. Drew from the stage what drug he’s currently on, and what the dosage was. Dr. Drew gave him a thumbs up and told him he was doing well.
That night, Sarah Silverman came in and did a great set! She was working out some new material– and she even brought her notes on stage with her. Somebody in the audience made a comment– and she told the audience– you should be excited to see a comedian working out new material because it’s not often that you see that. And she got huge applause for saying that. After she was finished, she split immediately because Sarah doesn’t really hang out unless she’s at the Comedy Cellar.
Later on, I went back to The Stand Comedy Club– because I jump around– and I saw Judah Friedlander out front. And I have to say, he is the nicest guy to his fans. Judah had just done a set and was out front with a shopping bag filled with World Champion stickers that he gives out to people. He was standing in the street and was taking pictures with every single person that came over to him. He also asked them where they were from, and engaged them in conversation. Judah makes everyone feel important and that’s a very special thing. He is a world champion especially when it comes to being nice to people.
Every week I bring a guest onto the Ron and Fez Show at Sirius XM, and this week, my guest was Lisa Lampanelli. Lisa has been turning down interviews and is only doing spiritually minded things these days. She and I go way back– years ago we were going to do a comedy roast business together right before her career blew up. We had brochures already planned but she just blew up and we never wound up doing it — but we’ve been friends ever since. We had a great show and she discussed things she had never discussed before– like the death of her father 3 months ago, and also her life changing weight loss surgery.
Tony Rock did a show at Gotham Comedy Club this week and he had his younger brother Jordan Rock open for him. Jordan is only 23, the youngest of the seven Rock brothers. Jordan did great and Tony got a standing ovation, which is very rare for any club. Even in Gotham where they have great talent, you don’t often see a standing ovation. Tony does the Apollo Live show on Tuesdays on BET, and he’s on tour till the end of the year with a tour called Rock The Mic . And here’s some news, he told me that he also has a new web series that he’s just starting to tape this week about Instagram, whatever that means. It’s produced by Russell Simmons and they’re calling it @Tony_Rock.
After I left there, I went to The Stand and ran into tons of people. Dave Attell walked in and did a surprise set. Wyatt Cenac was there, and Big Jay Oakerson and Chris Gethard. And the host of the show is a very gruff muscular funny guy named Aaron Berg who just came out with a book called Mr. Manners: Proper Etiquette for the Modern Degenerate. He’s going to be hosting a new show called Frantic on Monday nights at The Stand. He also gave me a nice shout out from the stage. Thanks Aaron!
It’s a big week for Bonnie McFarlane, and I ran into her at the Comedy Juice show. Bonnie is married to Rich Vos and their brand new documentary dropped this week. It’s called Women Aren’t Funny and it debuted at #2 in documentaries and #10 overall. Too bad her own husband can’t pronounce the name of the documentary correctly. For some reason he keeps calling it Woman Aren’t Funny. Bonnie told me she was taping The Late Show With David Letterman this week, and she was very nervous. It will be her third appearance on Letterman, and she said she wouldn’t be nervous, except for the fact that she’s going to be on with Mike Myers. The episode airs tonight, August 28th on CBS. I know she’ll do well because she’s always funny! You can also hear Bonnie and Rich on their podcast, My Wife Hates Me.
Also on stage that same night, was Brooks Wheelan, who was recently let go from Saturday Night Live after one season. He’s doing a tour called Brooks Wheelan Falls Back on Stand Up, and he will be touring through LA, Iowa, St Louis, Cleveland and Minneapolis starting in September. I asked him about SNL and he didn’t really want to talk about it but then his opening line on stage was, ”I just got fired from SNL.” He was there working on his set for Conan. Unfortunately he had an equipment malfunction and couldn’t tape his set. When someone suggested he do some funny faces, he said “who do you think you are, Lorne Michaels?”
And finally, I’ll end this week’s column with an exclusive scoop. Curtis Sliwa, the famous head of the Guardian Angels is back on the radio with his former partner Ron Kuby. They had a show on WABC years ago until one day, Kuby was a no-show. He had been fired, but nobody told Curtis. There was a lot of bad blood between them for a while– Kuby even wound up testifying against Curtis in a pretty famous trial after Curtis got shot in the back (Curtis claims it was John Gotti Jr. who shot him). Believe it or not, after all that, they are back together on WABC again, and the station is planning to do a comedy roast in November after the election. It’s not public information yet, but I know because they brought me in to help make it happen. I’ll be co-producing, so watch for a great celebrity filled roast coming in November.
That’s it for this week, but there’s a lot more where that came from. Head on over to my website, comedymatterstv.com for plenty of news, interviews and more because comedy matters.