Seinfeld Working on Old Material for New Special, Paul Virzi Runs an Hour, and Dan LaMorte Gets a Pass

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 York Comedy Club, The Stand, and more.

Getting Ready to Tape His First Hour

Paul Virzi ran his hour at New York Comedy Club in preparation for taping his special in the next couple of months. I was the host of the show, and did a guest spot. Many comics have podcasts, but not like Alexis. He seems to have found his own niche. It’s a comedy/soccer podcast called The Cooligans that he does with comic , who have been friends and soccer fans for a long time. They combine the podcast with YouTube videos and social media and since Christian has a green screen studio, they manage to insert themselves into FIFA soccer videos, (the international governing body of soccer), to make it look as if they were really in the videos. They do it from Alexis’ own studio.


Runs Old Material for New Special

made another surprise appearance at Gotham Comedy Club this week in preparation for his Netflix special and owner Chris Mazzilli told me he’s been dropping by around twice a week for awhile now. It was during ’s headline show and I asked Chris if Craig knew that Jerry was coming in. He said that out of respect, he always notifies the headliner when another star is stopping by, and none of them ever object. The crowd got quite a show that night. Jerry works from a set list that’s very neatly written in a small three ring binder, and interestingly enough he doesn’t go in the order that the bits are written on the page. He covers them all, but skips around, maybe to see which combinations work best. He doesn’t really need segues because some of the bits are just short observations, and they’re all so funny, that segues aren’t required. His material centered on the early stuff he did back in the 70’s and 80’s, but he also brought in some modern mentions of his three kids who were not around in those days, and his mom who he said still drove into her 90’s. At the end, he reviews his list to make sure he covered everything he wants to. The crowd is always overjoyed to see him and he always gets huge applause. After his set, he and Chris went down to Chris’ office to discuss their mutual love for cars and their respective car collections.

While I was watching Jerry I started wondering what it must be like for another comedian to follow that kind of reception, but when it’s a performer as strong as Craig Robinson, you needn’t worry. I was sitting next to Craig, and his opener Ralphie Roberts while Jerry was on stage and watched them laughing at Jerry’s material. I hadn’t seen Ralphie before, and thought he was really good. I assumed he was from L.A., but he corrected me and said he was from Chicago and asked me not to forget to give a shout-out to Chicago.


Craig Robinson Turns the Lights Real Low at Gotham

When Craig Robinson was announced, he came out to a standing ovation before he even did anything, which is very rare at any club. He walked out with a big, white towel draped across his shoulder, but removed it when he got to the stage. He came out to some very cool music and told the audience to all put their hands in the air, and when they did, he asked them for all their money, like it was a hold-up! He is such a multi-talented performer, as you would know if you’ve ever seen his band Nasty Delicious, and he brings his own keyboard with him. The music is a big part of his performance. The club also seemed a lot darker than usual, and at first I was concerned that it was my eyesight, but when I asked the floor manager about it, he said that Craig likes it that way and requests a dim room. It was a big relief to me. At one point, he had the room so dim it was actually dark. And then, he led the entire audience in singing great hits like The Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling”, and The Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams Are Made of This”, and somehow gets everyone to participate. He’d sing a few words and then let the audience fill in the rest. By the time he got to “Eye of the Tiger”, everyone was on their feet screaming and cheering. I was standing with Chris Mazzilli in awe and we both agreed that nobody does a comedy show like Craig. As a matter of fact, the crowd wouldn’t let him leave the stage so he went long, and the staff told me they didn’t even mind. They said that sometimes when a performer goes long they get annoyed because they want to finish up, but with Craig, they loved it and wanted him to continue.



Roast Battle Keeps Getting Meaner

Roast Battle at New York Comedy Club was crazy this week and I thought it wasn’t possible, but they’re getting even more mean-spirited than ever. The comics are usually friends and know each other’s personal lives well enough to be truthful and brutal at the same time. So when Madison Malloy went up against Jeremy Pinsly, it was all about her implants, her sexuality, and his body type and “lack of career.” And when the headline act of Rosebud Baker vs. Frank Liotti came up, it was about her abortion, her black boyfriend, her sister’s death, and Frank’s gayness, and the multiple cancer deaths in his family. Neko White the host kept remarking how brutal it was. They’re becoming like MMA fights with the audience out for blood. Fortunately, the judges keep it funny and are often funnier than the roasters. This week it was Mike Cannon, who’s always a judge, who prefaces her judging by telling each of the comics at length, how much she loves them and how hard it was for her to choose who won, Duncan Trussell who gave the most erudite explanations for his votes often including historical facts no one else was aware of, and Shuli Egar from the Stern show, who also always has something funny to say. And interestingly enough, the headline roast turned out to be a draw. The judges were split. At one point, Yammie withdrew, because she was so torn she didn’t want to choose, and they decided to leave it up to the audience which was also split down the middle, so they gave the comics one more joke each, and when that didn’t do it, they finally just had to call it a draw.


Richie Redding who often opens for Katt Williams called me from LA to let me know he was out there for pilot season and also pitching ideas for about six shows. He said that things are going really well except for one audition where he totally bombed. He said it was for ten seconds and he was supposed to say  “I hate you dad” and then break into uncontrollable sobs. He said he couldn’t do it cause he loves his dad and he hasn’t cried since the doctor spanked him when he was born.


Dan LaMorte Becomes the Youngest Comic to Pass at the Cellar

Major congrats to Dan LaMorte for being the youngest comic recently passed at The Comedy Cellar. And how it happened is a very crazy story. He had a serious car accident recently in New Jersey when he spilled a hot coffee in his lap while he was driving, and when he looked down for that one second to see what happened, the car in front of him stopped short and he plowed into it doing 40-50 mph. La Morte translates to mean “death” in Italian and Spanish, and at that moment, Dan was very close to truly being Dan La Morte. He had injuries, mostly to his brain and said that right afterwards, he didn’t even know who or where he was. He’s in treatment for short term memory loss, but he said having that accident made him aware of his mortality and spurred him to do something major to advance his life and his career. He asked a couple of friends about performing at The Cellar. You need two people to suggest you, and then he sent his tape to legendary booker Estee who liked it and gave him an audition at 10:30 on a Friday night. He told me he was nervous for two days before and watched a documentary on The Cellar about five times in preparation. When he got offstage, Estee told him he did well and to send in his avails, and this past Friday night was his first night performing. He’s already got a few spots booked for this week. Talk about taking a negative and turning it into a positive!


At some point during the show,  came and joined me, and whispered to me about a new show he’s doing with Phileo Shacor on Monday nights at The Comic Strip, I guess replacing the show that Eric Neumann and Marc Gerber used to do. Their first show is March 13th and he said that Yamaneika Saunders will be their headliner. He and still do their show Productively Stoned and will be doing their usual 420 show, but this time it will be in a secret location. I hope they choose to tell people the location before the show, because I have found that it’s always helpful to have an audience when you do any kind of a show. However with “Productively Stoned”, the audience is usually so high, they don’t even know they’re there!


I popped into the Fat Baby show at The Stand and hung outside in the freezing cold for a few minutes with Sherrod Small who was outside grabbing a smoke, and whose hat was pulled down so low over his face at first, I wasn’t even sure it was him. Smokers will stand outside no matter how cold it is and every once in a while a non-smoker like myself will be stupid enough to join them. Finally, I had to go inside and someone yelled up to me from downstairs, “Whatsa matter you don’t recognize me?” and I didn’t. It was with no hat and dressed like a rock star. I couldn’t believe it. His hair was kind of up, and kind of styled and he was wearing an Elvis type shirt with his collar popped, and when I told him, he looked great he said he was using me as his style inspiration! Not sure if he was kidding or serious but I said “Thanks!”.

And Petey Deabreu did a crazy set where he admitted to the crowd that he used to be a criminal, which is why he got into comedy because it’s about the only business where there’s no background checks! And he’s right.


Featured Fan of the Week: Stacy-Lee Warren

I ran into Stacy-Lee at the Winter Film Awards. Stacy-Lee is originally from Port Elizabeth, South Africa and is living in New York for the past three years. She’s an aspiring model/actress. I asked her if she had a favorite comedian and she said it was Trevor Noah who she said is a hero in her native South Africa. Then I asked if she had ever met him and she said she was at a birthday party last year at a place called Tribeca Rooftop, an event space downtown when he came in as a surprise guest, but she was too shy to say hello, so she didn’t meet him. She said they don’t have as many comedy clubs over in S.A. as we do here and they’re mostly in big cities like Capetown and Johannesburg, and since they’ve only had 22 years of freedom they don’t have as much to talk about as the comedians in our country that has such a rich history. ( I couldn’t bear to tell her that most of our comedians never talk about the history of our country!) She said she’s here for acting and modeling but like everyone else she also has an 8-5 job.

And on that note, … 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.  Photo below, Jeffrey with Alexis Guerreros and Paul Virzi.

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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.