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 went to a Friar’s Club Event, and saw Dave Attell, and Brad Williams. Plus find out where your comedy friends spent their Thanksgivings.
I went to the Friars Club “Meet Your Fellow Friars” dinner with Lisa Lampanelli, and sat at her VIP table with two great comics on either side of me. On my right was Richie Byrne who’s the warm-up comic for the Dr. Oz Show on FOX. He’s been the warm-up comic for over five years. On the other side of me was Marla Schultz, who recently did a performance of a one woman show called Marla Schultz Finally Married which she performed at The PIT ( People’s Improv Theatre) and she’s getting ready to head out to LA to tape Byron Allen’s Comics Unleashed for the second time. She’s also the inventor of something called “The Rack Trap” a little bra pocket that holds credit cards, ID’s, money, keys, etc. The idea came to her after a night of performing at Carolines where she had a little too much vodka. She said she usually doesn’t drink but that night she guzzled, went to the ladies room, lost her balance and everything she had with her that she was holding in her bra, like her money, credit cards, and ID. all fell into the toilet. She called her friend to tell her about it and her friend said she needed a bra pocket to avoid that happening in the future, so she invented it, and it’s selling all over the country.
One of the highlights of the evening was after Lisa Lampanelli got up and crushed the room with some of her comedy, she sang a duet with her ex-husband’s girlfriend Jenna Esposito who is also a Friar, and a great singer, and Lisa’s ex-husband Jimmy was there too. She and Jenna have become best friends and they sang the Burt Bacharach hit “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again”. It was fantastic and it was super evening. Also there from the comedy world were the Stone Brothers, Lisa’s opening act Luke McCollum, plus actor Mario Macaluso, and a couple of unidentified people in the photo.
This week at the Comedy Juice show at Gotham, I saw Todd Barry, Keith Alberstadt, Sheng Wang, Monroe Martin, Brad Williams who was in from LA, and a surprise special guest spot from Dave Attell. Big names always drop by Comedy Juice to do guest spots. The week before it was Jim Gaffigan and I’ve seen Seinfeld, and Louis CK stop by as well. When Todd came offstage he told me a great story about his recent tour. The tour was produced by Louis CK, and Lance Bangs, a filmmaker, documentarian and music director who directed videos for many pop stars as divergent as Nirvana and Kanye West, as well as David Cross‘ film Let America Laugh and was also heavily involved in the production of MTV’s Jackass series and related movies. So I asked Todd how he got Louis CK to produce the tour and he said all he did was mention to Louis on the phone that he wanted to do the tour, and Louis jumped in and kindly offered to produce it, saving Todd the hassle of having to produce it himself. He said that not only did he get Louis, but that Louis’ editor and producer jumped on board as well. And he added that he was able to pay Louis back right away from the proceeds of the tour, which made everyone very happy!
Then when Brad Williams came offstage, I took him out in the hall so as not to disturb the rest of the show to ask him why he refers to himself as both a dwarf and a midget which word I thought was a no-no in the little person community. But Brad is a free thinker and doesn’t play by the rules. He said he uses them interchangeably because it doesn’t matter to him, and by using the word “midget” he takes the power away from it like when Black people overuse the “N” word. He said he’s one of the top five dwarves, including Peter Dinklage, Warwick Davis, and Verne Troyer, which is why he gets a lot of “dwarf pussy” as he referred to it, and he said he’s not sensitive about his size, but since he moved to San Francisco the one thing he won’t wear is a Giants jersey. He’s not gonna be seen in a shirt with the word ” Giant” on it!
Brad has a new one hour special which he recorded recently in Santa Barbara tentatively called Brad Williams-Fun Size, and he also co-hosts a radio show on Live 105 from San Francisico. He’s in New York this week shooting the Hulu original show, Deadbeat in which he plays a drug dealer’s sidekick named Tyson. While I was talking to Brad, Dave Attell joined us and asked Brad to do his Underground Show when he brings it to LA. . Attell is also booked to do their Live 105 radio show while he’s out in LA. and Dave said if it’s Brad’s show he’ll definitely do it.
Attell went on and killed it as usual, and then they called Monroe Martin up (who was sitiing next to me in the audience) and when he got to the stage he was like, ” Really? I have to follow Dave Attell?” Fortunately for him he’s strong enough to do that and it worked out well!
I went to see the All Star Show at Gotham, which Sherry Davey hosted. Sherry and I go back to when she was being handled by the late Marty Fisher which was quite a while ago. I always love hearing Sherry perform not only because she’s funny, but the English accent seems so real! She’s really got it down! Sherry often talks about her two daughters, one who’s 11 and the other who’s 17. When she saw me she told me that one of her daughters was with her, and that she’d introduce me after the show. After the show ended Sherry had stepped out for a minute and I saw this tall beautiful, young blonde girl sitting at the table where Sherry had been sitting, so I went over to introduce myself. To my surprise it turned out that that was the 11 year old, not the 17 year old. I still can’t believe that girl was only 11.
I dropped by the late show at The Stand which goes on about midnight. First person I see is Brian McCarthy from National Lampoon, the only Lampoon guy in New York (all the rest are out in LA.) and he tells me that the National Lampoon play Bayside! The Musical which is the unauthorized parody of the popular 90’s sitcom Saved By The Bell has had a turnover in the cast, since they had to part ways with Dustin Diamond, for undisclosed reasons. Dustin played the character Screech in the original show, and he had come on board in August at a hefty salary to play himself in Bayside! I guess those things happen!
Then in some comedy world-drama, Godfrey’s car broke down and he had to leave it by the club and hop on the subway in order to get to The Cellar in time for his set. Friends at The Stand waited for the AAA to come to get it started again. In the meantime, I ran downstairs to catch the end of Big Jay Oakerson’s act and see what he did for Thanksgiving. He told me that he and his girl Christine cooked at their place and hosted Kurt Metzger, Ari Shaffir, and Amy Hawthorne then they all went over to Wayne Rada’s roof for some pie. I’m sure Wayne has a nice apartment but for some unexplained reason they wound up on his roof to eat pie, and then Jay went over to perform at The Cellar.
I checked the schedule and saw that my buddy Seth Herzog was hosting, so I knew it would be a good show. Seth recently celebrated his 10 year anniversary of his show Sweet at The Slipper Room with a special three night celebration. He’s also doing some fun stuff for The Tonight Show and told me he played Santa in a sketch that aired this past Thursday night on Thanksgiving. But the big thing he’s working on is a pilot for The Esquire Channel which took over for G4. It’s what he described as a competition show, and as of now he’s not allowed to say any more about it, and I won’t get him into any trouble. Even the name of the show keeps changing which I’m sure they will settle on when they shoot the pilot in January. When I asked him what he did for Thanksgiving he told me that he and his wife hosted ten people in his family at their apartment on the Upper West Side. He said that he personally deep fried a turkey with a deep fryer he had gotten as a gift.
Then I saw Monroe Martin for the second time this week. He’s got two TV shows coming up that will air in January and he’s working on writing and producing a network TV show that he will star in. He had to sign a non-disclosure agreement, but trust me it’s something very cool, and he said he’d let me know the details for publication as soon as he was allowed, and then I’ll tell you guys everything. I asked him what he did for Thanksgiving and he said he spent part of the evening with his roommates’s family, then went to another comic’s house, and then went home and got drunk and played video games. Sounds about right!
Jen Kirkman from Chelsea Lately was in from LA to do a set and while she was on stage she saw me taking photos and asked me to only use the ones that made her look thin, because if I made her look fat she’d kill herself. That’s a lot of pressure for me, but fortunately she always looks thin, so I don’t have to worry about her safety. And then I had a really nice surprise when I saw Jeffrey Ross walk in. The RoastMaster General. It’s always good to see my old pal. We go back a long way back to the days when Barry Katz ran The Boston Comedy Club, and Gina Savage worked for him. She now manages Al Martin’s clubs Broadway Comedy and Greenwich Village Comedy. At my book party at The Friars Club for my book “Filthy, Funny and Totally Offensive”, which Jeffrey was in, he got up to the mic and said I wore my hair like a squirrel! It’s always an honor to be roasted by Jeffrey. He was really psyched about what he did for Thanksgiving. He went to see The Foo Fighters in Seattle and had an amazing time. He’s in New York for the week, so I’m sure I’ll see him down at The Cellar. He had no particular requests at which angle I took photos of him, but he did say if I made him look too thin he’d kill himself! Once again I think I’m safe!
That’s it for this week! I’ll be back with next Monday with a new column full of updates.
Pictured top to bottom, Jeffrey with Lisa Lampanelli, the group at the Friars event, and Jeffrey with Brad Williams and Dave Attell.