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 Comedy Live, The Stand and more!
Comedy Juice was like a mini-SNL this week with four Saturday Night Live performers on the show including the newest cast member Jon Rudnitsky, who I think will be a really fun addition to the cast. Jon came out dancing to Rihanna’s We Found Love In A Hopeless Place and he must really have a dance background because he stands and moves like a dancer and he didn’t just “bust a move” he busted a whole bunch of moves, and brought tremendous energy to the stage. I have a feeling that some of his sketches on SNL will include dancing. Besides his stand-up, he also did a great Donald Trump impression, and he did an elaborate bit on his dream to someday be on Dancing With The Stars. He told me afterwards that he’s really psyched about joining the SNL cast and that it’s a dream come true for him. Good luck Jon, we know you’re gonna kill it! Sasheer Zamata came out with yet another new hairstyle, and they all look good on her. She’s always funny, and did a lot of political and point-of-view material. Pete Davidson always jokes about how little he knows about the world. He says he watches politics like his girlfriend watches football. I know just how he feels. Jay Pharoah was in rare form. He also came with a friend who had really long dreads and who he pointed out to the audience. Jay told tales of them going to Europe together and how they handled being approached by hookers.
Over at The Stand I ran into Doug Wyckoff and Teresa Wyckoff, married comics who produce shows at The Creek. Their upcoming show later this week is called Date Night and I will be there! I also saw Ted Alexandro who gave me the good news we’ve been waiting for. His financial backer came through and he’ll be shooting the pilot for Teacher’s Lounge sometime in the Fall. It will be the same concept but now with the added funds they’ll be able to shoot in different settings in the rest of the school, with actors now playing not only teachers, but parents, and administrators. He told me they shoot it in the old St. Pat’s cathedral on Mott Street, and that it was Jim Gaffigan who turned him on to the location. Ted writes the show with Hollis James his co-creator and co-star. Can’t wait to see the finished product!
As I was writing all this down, in the downstairs area of The Stand, Judah Friedlander came in, saw me writing and yelled out from above “Gurian, are you giving Ted Alexandro your autograph?” Judah’s new book If The Raindrops United will be feted at The Comedy Cellar’s Underground Room October 21, with an appearance and a book signing. And Monroe Martin, who was sitting at the table out in front of the club, told me he and five friends went to Las Vegas for the first time for a weekend and had a blast. Not performing, just hanging out. They stayed at the Hard Rock and he made a point of telling me they all stayed in separate suites! ( Like I might have thought they all crammed into a room together! Monroe has too much style for that! LOL)
I spent most of my weekend shooting sketches for Rip Micheals new TV show being executive. produced by Brandon T. Jackson, comic, film star and rapper, who co-starred in Craig Robinson’s NBC show Mr. Robinson last season playing Craig’s younger brother Ben! Brandon is a force, and brings the funny just by showing up. He skated in on one of those cool Segways you stand on, and did like a spinning dance routine after only having it for two days. It was amazing because almost everyone else who tried it fell right off. I can’t tell you anything about the actual show except to say it will be HILARIOUS! It’s called Off The Rip and it’s produced by Steve “Skoob” Rivers also a really funny dude in his own right, who not only produced but appeared in several sketches as well.
We shot it out in Brooklyn at some very cool facility and in a couple of outside locations, and there were a lot of people involved with big social media followings like the very sexy Cardi B, a stripper/actress who has a giant following on Instagram. I also got to do stuff with Jacob Williams who’s been on Nick Cannon’s Wild ’N Out for the last three seasons. He told me he met Nick as the result of winning a college comedy contest where the first prize was opening for Nick Cannon, and then Nick offered him the chance to audition for Wild ’N Out. He actually stayed in Chicago where he’s from for the first two years of being on Wild ’N Out, and then moved to New York a year ago. I also got to work with the very talented Carl Foreman Jr. a comic and actor in a crazy sketch that will totally rock. And Rip Micheals proved himself to be a real star by being so versatile, and creative in all the sketches I saw him in. He’s very generous with giving people time to show themselves off at their best. Despite working very long hours he stayed in a good mood the whole time I was there. From what I’ve seen, I think this is gonna be a really GREAT show!
Elayne Boosler came in from LA to host AXS TV’s Gotham Comedy Live this week, and did a great job. The audience loved her and she looked great having just lost 24 pounds. According to her she still has another 40 to go. It’s always great to see Elayne and she was very excited to meet the friend I had with me, Mark Schultz, son of the famous comedian Lenny Schultz, from the old 70’s TV show Laugh In, who may have had the wildest act of all time. He had a character known as The Bionic Chicken, and could imitate a chicken like he was one, right down to the walk. I first met Lenny through a great comic named Dick Capri, one of the stars of Catskills on Broadway back in the 80’s at Rick Newman’s Catch A Rising Star. Elayne hadn’t seen Mark since he was a boy and they were very excited to re-unite along with Elayne’s friend comic Michele Balan, who was also a Lenny Schultz fan. Lenny’s now 81 and living in Florida and Mark says he still has the same wild sense of humor. I’m sure he fits right in with all the other 80 year olds! (LOL) Elayne’s got a new box set coming out in mid-October called The 50/50 Club. When I asked her why she said, “you turn 50, and you gain 50!” It includes her four stand-up specials from Showtime, and I believe she was the first woman to ever get a one hour cable special on TV so she really broke new ground for women, and she’ll be going back on The Tonight Show to promote it. Also in early October she’ll be getting the Giant of Comedy Award at the Cabo St. Lucas Comedy Festival. She said she doesn’t usually do award festivals, but this one is different as it benefits their disaster relief fund as well as poor children in Mexico.
Also on the GCL show this week were Mike Cross, and Mark Riccadonna, who both did very well, and Aaron Berg who spits out jokes like a comedy machine-gun. I’ve rarely seen anything like it and it continues to amaze me how quick he is on stage. One comic I hadn’t seen before who’s out of Houston, and was very funny was Ali Siddiq who came despite recently dislocating his shoulder playing football. He was able to get it back in place himself without going to the hospital, and realized there are certain things he shouldn’t do anymore. Being a wide receiver is one of them!
A highlight of my week was having Derek Gaines drop by my crib to do a little interview especially for The Interrobang on Season 2 of Broke Ass Game Show which starts on Thursday October 8 and for which there will be a big party at his home club The Stand. He told me some hilarious stories that you will see shortly right here on The Interrobang along with a fun video.
Anyway that’s it for me! I’ll meet you here next Monday. Until then, … I’m OUT!!
Jeffrey Gurian is a comedian, writer and all around bon vivant in New York City. Below, photos: Jeffrey with Elayne Boosler, Jeffrey and Rip Micheals, Jeffrey and John Rudnitsky, Jeffrey with Brandon T. Jackson, and Jeffrey with Cardi B.