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 hit up Gotham Comedy Club, New York Comedy Club, The Stand, West Side Comedy Club and more.
I dropped by Stand-Up New York which is under new ownership with Dani Zoldan at the helm, and whose wife happens to be an orthodontist. I got to babysit for Piper Berg whose mom Christine Meehan was hosting the show and didn’t have a babysitter. You never saw a friendlier baby. Most babies cry when someone else but their Mom holds them. Not Piper. She’s definitely a showbiz baby! I got to hang with Keren Margolis and Christine during the breaks and trade nasty stories. Well, mostly it was ME listening to THEIR nasty stories. Keren does the podcast “Unhireable” with a non-comic gay co-host named Tommy O’Malley, who she describes as “not a comic, but funny and gay!”
While I was there club manager Jon Borromeo, who’s a great guy told me about the series of pop-up shows they’re planning to do which actually started yesterday at Beauty Bar and which I will tell you about in next week’s column. But he said the idea is partly branding campaign and partly community outreach. They are combining forces with great bars and alt shows in the NYC area that are produced by some of the best new and upcoming talent in the city. He added, “Along with providing club headliners for the show we also promote on our social media and bring in photographers and videographers to create sizzle reels for marketing and promotional purposes for the producers and for the venue we pop into. In return we get branding to a new audience and show everyone that Stand Up NY is more than just brick and mortar. We are a comedy brand.”
I stopped by Gotham to re-connect with Josh Wolf who was in from L.A., and headlining this weekend and he was surprised to see me and thanked me for coming. Josh is another good dude and does a very entertaining, multi-faceted show. He’s a really good story-teller and he also brings his guitar with him and does clever parodies including a song his daughter sang in school when she was six about her pet cat entitled “My Pussy.” He happens to have a great voice. He also told me he’s got a new podcast on the All Things Comedy Network called “Fairly Normal”. The room was packed and he asked the crowd who had seen him before, and only one person said they had, so jokingly he said he really must have sucked the last time he was there but the truth is he just got a whole new crowd of fans. They loved the show and lined up afterwards for photos and a meet and greet.
I also got to see Matt Fulchiron who opened after host Ophira Eisenberg warmed them up. Matt’s been in town from L.A. since last March and really likes performing here. He said even though he loves L.A. there are many more venues and opportunities for stage time here in New York. Matt has a unique delivery which I always comment on when I see it because it’s not that common. I can’t even really explain what it is, but it’s fast and flowing and definitely adds to the humor. And what a surprise, … he also has a podcast on the All Things Comedy Network and it’s called “The Full Charge Power Hour” and he still does it with his friends in LA every Monday, but he does it over the phone. Not even Skype. Over the phone! And there was an interesting guest spot from FOX News regular Kat Timpf who did a funny five minute set. I first met Kat some years back when she did some kind of contest at The Comic Strip. Kat told me she’s just recently getting back into stand-up, and really likes doing Gotham.
I ran into Ronny Chieng from The Daily Show a few times this past week and one of those times was at The Stand when he came in with his wife Hannah. Hannah is also Asian and from Australia and Ronnie is very open on stage about his affection for her as he describes their three weddings, in Melbourne, Kuala Lumpur, and New York. Hannah was kind enough to take the photo you see below. As far as his unusual accent goes Ronnie said, “who knew that combining Malaysian with Australian gives you a Boston accent!”
Neko White down at New York Comedy Club told me he did an episode of truTV’s Laff Tracks with Cipha Sounds, which he taped in LA. He auditioned for it in NY but then flew out to LA to do it and he thanked producer Bob Sumner for the opportunity. And his LOL at JFL set which he taped last year in Montreal is now available to be seen on Kevin Hart’s LOL network. Neko White will be a very big star! My prediction.
Also in town for a while from LA was Jamie Lee who was at NYCC to do Corinne Fisher’s show Nacho Bitches. She’s in town for a month writing on the new season of HBO’s Crashing but doesn’t know yet how long she’ll be here for the actual filming. She was backstage going over her material because she said she hadn’t been on a stage for a week. Jamie Lee is another performer who used to do my late show at The Comic Strip. So many of those people have gone on to do such cool stuff. And she also got married this past year. Congrats Jamie!
Corinne Fisher and Rosebud Baker have been doing their Justin Bieber-themed podcast and found out that Justin’s Mom, Pattie Millette listens in when she Tweeted to them that she likes what they’re doing but at no point did she ever want to have sex with her son! I’m guessing that Corinne and Rosebud suggested that she did. Pattie has 3.6 million followers on Twitter so I’m also guessing she DM’ed Corinne and Rosebud. Corinne also has two rotating co-hosts for Nacho Bitches now that Blair Socci is out living in LA. Btw, Corinne told me it was Blair who decided to call the show Nacho Bitches.
Nacho Bitches is ALWAYS packed and Corinne told me that Blair intended it to be a play on the words “Not Your Bitches” and they also served Nachos to the crowd until very recently. The show will be four years old this summer. Corinne co-hosts with Justin Perez who was on the night I was there and also with Rosebud. John Campanelli was on the show and is in from LA as well. So many comics in town from LA. He’s based at The Comedy Store and has been producing his own late show in The Belly Room for the last 7 years. He also works The Improv and was here with his parents. He brought his Mom up on stage kind of against her will to present her with birthday brownies with a candle in them, and when he lit the candle the flame was a lot higher than he had expected.
Nicole Amy Schreiber was also on the show and in from LA to do a week of sets. She said she did 15 shows while she was here for the one week and reminded me that I had interviewed her at the press event for Oxygen’s show “Funny Girls” when they had a premiere party at Gotham Comedy Club. Krystyna Hutchinson was in need of something to lift her spirits so she came in and did a guest spot on the show and that seemed to work well.
Justin Perez told me he co-hosts a show called Undie Party whose location changes every month. Sounds like they’re on the run. It’s called New Alternatives and benefits the LGBTQ community particularly homeless youth. They’ve done it in such weird places as Mara Marek’s rooftop and Julie Kottakis’ car, with three live audience members in the backseat and live streamed the rest of the show.
AMarie Castillo did a cool brunch show on Saturday afternoon at West Side Comedy Club with an organization called “Empower Her.” It was all women and me which I liked, and I got to speak to Bridget Flaherty who co-founded the organization with a woman named Jessika Meyer this past October, and who came in from Dayton, Ohio which is where she met AMarie while she was out there performing. They stayed in touch and decided to do a show on Women in Comedy. Bridget told me they host live shows with women who have meaningful true real-life stories to tell. Women focussed stories about overcoming the challenges of being a woman. This was their first comedy event. Bridget is also a story teller and had 14 women from the ages of 17-65 share their “Me Too” stories. At this event they had Vondecarlo, Corinne Fisher who empowers women wherever she goes, and of course Christine Berg who this time took Piper on stage with her.
There were three comedians in the episodes I watched of Billions this week, Dan Soder whose part seems to have expanded from last season, Alan Havey, who plays an F.B.I. agent, and Mike Birbiglia who was a main character in the most recent two episodes. Way to go guys!
And congrats to Reggie Watts, Lisa Lampanelli and the newly slim Ron Funches on their upcoming show on Comedy Central called Taskmaster.
Pat Dixon brought his NYC Crime Report to life at West Side Comedy Club with his trusty sidekick Seth Barron. They usually do it from the Cumia Studios but this time it was a live show. And in the audience was political firebrand Vickie Paladino who is running for some office and is very vocal in her opposition to Mayor DeBlasio, and how he’s running, or NOT running the city. She wound up on stage and was very spirited and funny in her remarks. Pat announced to the audience that his wife Mandy Stadtmiller couldn’t be there, … because she didn’t want to be! It was a really fun show with stand-up comics mixed in with crime stories. The comic would do a set and then join the panel to discuss some of the more bizarre crimes that were in the paper. And at one point there was a guest spot from a character they were calling “Isis Phaggot” with a very long white beard and a huge Ali Baba-like turban who was built a lot like Aaron Berg but it was probably just a coincidence. Also a coincidence that Christine Berg was there with Piper Berg and several of the comedians took turns holding her. Not Christine, … Piper!
Isis Phaggot was hilarious and after his set which he swears was totally improvised using Geno Bisconte who was dressed as himself as his straight-man, I got to chat with him. He said he had come down from Canada to try and run people over in a truck, and he told Vickie he would be running against her. He told me he has a new album coming out called “Isis Phaggot, … I Hope I Bomb”! And he told Vickie that he watched her videos many times, and once with his pants on!
And Vickie was not the only political person involved with comedy this week. There was a comedy fundraiser for ZAKA this week, the volunteer organization started in Israel that sends first responders to disaster sites all over the world. Search and rescue teams. I am honored to be on the Board of the branch started in New York, and I was the MC for the event which was held at Keats Restaurant. It was basically an open mic for people who had always wanted to do comedy. As I was about to announce the next comic, ex-Congressman Gary Ackerman kind of rushed the stage and before I knew it he had my mic in his hand, and was up there telling jokes he had written down on an index card. They were funny, and it was fun to see him up there. No one knew he had planned to perform. It was a total surprise. And he did an extended set! Just shows that everybody wants to be in comedy.
And 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, Comedy Matters TV. Pictured, Jeffrey with Pat Dixon, Ronny Chieng, and Piper.