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, The Tank and more.
The Tank is described as “a non-profit Off-Off-Broadway performance venue and producer” that actually allows performers to work out one person shows at no cost and does some 350 events a year. It’s a great space currently on West 36th Street after having moved several times over the years. The last time I was at The Tank it was for Kaytlin Bailey’s one-woman show, but it was in a different venue so when I went this past week to see Kerry Coddett’s one-woman show called “On Some Real” nothing looked familiar and I attributed it to my ADHD which often does things like that to me. Later on, I found out the venue had just changed locations, which made me feel a lot better. The venue has two levels one with a 56 seat black box theatre and the other with a 98 seat proscenium theatre. Kerry’s show was in the black box theatre and it was packed to SRO capacity. Neko White opened the show and got the energy pumped as he always does, with a special welcome to the white minority that attended! The audience was gentrified! Kerry had a lot to say in “On Some Real” and addressed a variety of things from the aforementioned gentrification of certain neighborhoods to pedophiles, to untraditional marriages, #MeToo, being woke and even G-d himself. She owned the stage for an hour and spoke her mind freely to the amusement of the audience. Afterward she stayed to hang out and greet her guests. It was cool!
Peggy Boyce’s Ladies of Laughter had their semi-finals at Stand Up NY this week and I was a judge which is not an easy thing to do, especially when you know a lot of the talent. Despite the heat, they had a great turn-out and Ophira Eisenberg did the honors as host of the show. There were two groups, newcomers, and pros, and a lot of talent crossed that stage. We were supposed to rank them from 1-5, 5 being the best, so of course, I ranked them from 1-10, on things like stage presence, material and delivery. The other two judges were Susan Agin, and Harlan Halper, co-owner of Comix back in the day, and who’s now back in New York as an agent. The ladies are competing for $10,000 in bookings and the newcomer winner was 23 year old Carolyn Riley, with Olga Namer as the runner-up, and the winner of the pro competition was Erin Jackson who actually went on last, and the runner-up was Kendra Cunningham. The finals will be held next week at Gotham Comedy Club. Afterward Erin told me she recently taped her first album and she taped it at the D.C. Improv which she said was the first club to ever put her on stage. She considers it her home club and she’s been in New York for the last four years. The album is called “Grudgery”, produced by 800 Pound Gorilla and should be coming out in the Fall.
Bo Dietl is an ex-NYPD detective who recently ran for Mayor of NYC. He also had a starring role in HBO’s Vinyl with Bobby Cannavale and is the guy whose character shockingly killed “Dice” Clay’s character in the very first episode. He’s also a funny dude and recently started a podcast called “One Tough Podcast” and what network is it on? GaS Digital of course, the podcast network making waves and owned by Luis J. Gomez and Ralph Sutton. So when they invited me to be a guest I jumped at the opportunity. They have new offices on the Lower East Side down on 6th Street in Alphabet City, and according to Ralph, they’ve only been in that location for about two months. But even though it’s still under construction in some areas, the place is spectacular. First of all, you’d never expect to see a place like this in what looks like a regular Avenue A building from the outside. But then you go into the back and there are steps leading down to a beautiful courtyard with more steps leading down into the studio. You feel like you walked into another world. And the room where they do the podcast is big and comfortable and seats at least 6 people around a large console. The show is produced by Carlo Catuogno, who also works with Bo in his security firm, and who is on the air with him to kind of reign him in at times when he goes off on a tangent, which happens because he has so many stories and so much to say.
Bo and I go back and we reminisced about the good old days at Columbus Cafe, China Club and The Friars Club and he’s a very funny guy. I wouldn’t be surprised if he decided to try stand-up. Anyway GaS Digital is currently running 14 podcasts including ones with Dee Snider from Twisted Sister and Godfrey, and will soon be running 20 podcasts, with one of them featuring a very big star whose name I promised not to divulge, and I always keep my word.
Gotham’s Virtual Reality show was popping this week with Yannis Pappas as the usual host who did a lot of what sounded like new material that worked really well. Also on the show was Dan LaMorte who it feels llke has been around forever even though he’s only 23, Gordon Baker-Bone, Jodie Wasserman, and Rich Aronovitch who crushed doing several imitations of accents during his set, and despite all the PC nonsense in the world, audiences always love when you can imitate an accent.
Ryan Reiss opened and Larry Beyah closed and Dan told me he’s getting ready to start his Dunking Nuggets tour at the end of the month which will cover 14 states and 25 cities. Dan jokes a lot about looking 40 when he’s only 23. And Rich Aronovitch has an interesting backstory. He never changed his name to an easier name for show biz because he’s the last of his family to carry the name and in honor of his paternal grandparents who survived the Holocaust he’s keeping the name intact. What he did do was shorten his first name from Richard to Rich so it would at least rhyme with Aronovitch.
Most comics know how hard it is to get any press, unless you’re a superstar, which is why so many of them truly appreciate being mentioned in this column, but comic/producer Greg Kritikos is all over the news, on TV, in newspapers, basically, everywhere you look. He had hired actress Sean Young, in her directorial debut, to direct a feature film he wrote and is starring in and co-producing called “Charley Boy” based on his life story. And he’s had a very interesting life, the least of which involves him losing 185 pounds, and embracing sobriety which he’s very open about. Now he performs his stand-up all over and has a longstanding regular show at Broadway Comedy Club that he does with co-producer Janice Messitte called “Bagels and Baclava” referring to their backgrounds being Jewish and Greek. It’s a low budget movie although Greg told me they had enough money to do the whole thing, but he said that Sean blew through $22,000 of the budget right away and because of that and other reasons was let go. The story is all over the news that Sean is being accused of entering their Astoria offices, when no one was there, accompanied by one of her sons, and took two laptops, one of which had a Russian keyboard, because one of the editors of the film is Russian, and those laptops had critical already edited footage of the film and were worth $12,000. Sean claims they were taken mistakenly, and that she believed they were hers. Greg said he is very hopeful that things will be resolved. He tends to be a very positive person and just signed a deal to do three more features with Pendragon Pictures.
I always say that comics would perform anywhere, even the Men’s Room of a gas station if it was offered. Well I got a chance to experience a show called “Don’t Tell Comedy” which took place in a clothing store down on Lafayette Street. It all started with a message I got on Facebook from an LA comic named Sean Leary. He invited me to perform on a secret show somewhere downtown with a secret line-up and just by that I was hooked. All he gave me was the date, and that I was to do 15 minutes. Sean said “We are comedy’s worst kept secret. You never know who might show up.” So a few hours before the show, I was given an address on Lafayette Street, and almost walked right by it until host Luke Touma stopped me to introduce himself, and led me into a clothing store called “Alternative Apparel.” He said help yourself to snacks and they had rum punch, bottles of water, cookles and popcorn for the comics set up in the back of the room. I was the first one there and was soon joined by Giulio Gallarotti, Alexis Guerreros, and Nikki Glaser who closed the show. Chairs were set up for the audience and every chair was filled. We performed surrounded by shelves of shirts, and racks of clothing.
I asked Sean to tell me about “Don’t Tell Comedy” and he said a comic named Kyle KA came up with the idea and got him and his girlfriend, comic Anna Simeri and comic Alex Weber who hosts in LA to go along with it. He says it took off immediately, and now they have weekly shows in 10 plus cities and have done shows in over 20 cities. They do about 2-3 shows a week in LA and hope to go international. Sean and Anna book all the shows in NY and LA and they chose Luke Touma as the host of the New York shows. Giulio told me he’s working on a new album from his alter-ego, rapper Lil Young Big, and that it’s going to have some 360 virtual reality scenes in it. And Nikki told me that on a recent SiriusXM show she had Rainn Wilson on from The Office as a guest, who couldn’t say enough good things about Ian Fidance and went on and on praising him, and his unique look. From what I’ve been told, unique looks are hard to find!!!
And with that, … 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 Bo Dietl and Kerry Coddett.