Jeffrey Gurian continues to Jump Around up north to cover the last few days of the Montreal Just for Laughs comedy festival. Jeffrey joined our site as a regular columnist one year ago with his coverage of Montreal 2014, so Happy Anniversary Jeffrey! He’ll be sending in news, updates and stories from Canada all weekend, so check in every day to see what’s happening. Jeffrey Gurian is a writer and comedian in New York who loves to Jump Around. Follow his regular column, right here every Monday morning, to find out what’s happening in comedy, and who Jeffrey Gurian ran into this week.
Exclusive News! Dan Perlman won the Just for Laughs Set to Screen Contest for his half hour animated series called That’s My Bus. There’s an old bus driver played by John Laster, whose name is Bill Russell in this animated series. Dan himself does the voice of Jack. The show is described as “An eccentric husband and father, Bill Russell, blissfully in his own world, struggles to balance family with his life’s work and his true passion: driving a city bus.” He and Will Julian pitched this series, and people from FOX loved it. Hundreds of people applied. This was the only animated series, and now they are going to be featured in the New York TV Festival in October. They are considered official artists, and they already have interests in networks and producers.
When I wrote yesterdays column I was so tired I completely forgot to tell you about the amazing party Friday night. It was absolutely crazy. On the way over to the party, I ran into Gina Yashere who was walking over with Margaret Cho talking about doing something cool together. When I got to the party, I saw Taran Killam and Fortune Feimster taking selfies of each other when Alex Edelman walked over. He had just gotten bested by Luis J. Gomez in an undercard for the Roastmaster Invitationals. They said that Alex did very well.
So many people were on a long line waiting for meat sandwiches! They were serving hot corned beef sandwiches, and I saw hundreds of people on line including Brent Morin, Brad Williams, and Chris D’Elia. Eddie Pepitone was relaxing on a couch while Steve Byrne, Owen Burke, and Geno Bisconte, waited for meat.
There was a really hot DJ but of course there was no dancing because when comics hear a hot song they just tend to look at each other. Everyone was enjoying some poutine with foies gras that everyone said was spectacular, and a group from the JFL press corps sat at a table with me to watch me eat it for my first time. It’s always good to have a group of girls around you for the first time that you do anything. Rick Glassman was there, Kenny Hotz was there– and he even gave me some advice on my YouTube channel.
Keith Robinson and Leonard Ouzts were hanging out, and there were lots of beards filling the party. Huge amounts of very large beards. One guy had a beard so big it made Mike Lawrence’s beard look like a goatee. Brian Volk Weiss was there from Comedy Dynamics and we had a great talk about all the specials he’s done and some upcoming very exciting projects. Paul Morrissey was there, and so was T.J. Miller, and Pete Davidson was surrounded by a whole bunch of people. I got to see my buddy Reggie Watts who I haven’t seen in a long time and congratulate him on his set at the Ellie Kemper Gala. I ran into Bud Friedman’s daughter Zoe Friedman. She was there with Jodi Lieberman. They do so much charity work. Zoe said she wasn’t working for the festival this year like she usually does. She just came to enjoy.
I spotted Myq Kaplan there, he recently got picked to move forward on America’s Got Talent, and Andy Kindler was hanging out and so was Moshe Kasher. I ran into Amy Stiller, it was so nice! She was sitting with Eddie Pepitone and I asked her what she was doing. I expressed my condolences for the loss of her mom Anne Meara and she said that because of that, she wasn’t really doing any projects right now. She took a picture of me and Eddie and I took a picture of her and Eddie. The party ended at 3am and everyone was still hanging out. Nobody ever wants to go home, we just went to the hotel to hang out at the bar.
Saturday when I came down to have breakfast I saw the Converge guys in the lobby: Rick Dorfman, Conan Smith and J.B. Smoove. J.B. had just gotten in, he’s been so busy traveling and performing everywhere. Rick got a kick out of the fact that it was morning, I was going to breakfast and I was wearing a sport jacket. He asked if i wear one every place I go, and I said even on the beach. It’s cause I need the pockets. I have a recorder, and a flip camera, tiny spoons, and other unusual things, even dental instruments. They all got a kick out of that.
We went to HBO’s Silicon Valley event where the whole cast was there, as well as Mike Judge who created the show, and that was a packed event in the Grand Salon at the Hyatt. T.J. Miller told the greatest story about meeting co-star Martin Starr for the first time. They had mutual friends like Lizzy Caplan and T.J. asked Martin for advice cause he was kind of a new comic. T.J. told the audience that Martin said to him ‘don’t do this for a living.’ And T.J. said, ‘you mean its not a good idea?’ And Martin said no, you don’t do this for a living.
T.J. also told a story about going to Zach Woods trailer and said ‘what are you doing?’ And Woods said he didn’t want to say what he had been doing because T.J. would laugh at him and embarrass him. T.J. said, come on, just tell me. And he said Zach was sitting on a yoga mat in the dark with a yoga candle listening to the Indigo Girls and T.J. said all he could do was just walk away. And Zach said, see, I told you I didn’t want to tell you because I knew you’d make fun of me!
I should mention that T.J. also told the audience he was so high at the moment that he thought KD Lang was moderating. Needless to say it wasn’t.
So I went to Artie’s podcast and they made him tell this embarrassing story about how he fucked a maid in his room cause she thought that he looked sad, so she had sex with him. And Artie said he didn’t realize how sad he looks. Howie Mandel was on the panel and he was hysterical. He said to Artie, “maybe she was just cleaning you.” And Howie said he’s taking the Do Not Disturb sign off his nuts. Artie told Gilbert Gottfried that he fucked a lot of maids too, by not leaving a tip.
Mike Bocchetti was on the panel and they spent a lot of time making fun of Mike. He had said that he lost a lot of weight and that he used to be a mess and Artie cracked up the crowd by saying, ‘Mike, you realize that people can see you right?’ Gilbert called Bochetti a regular Johnny Depp. Then they changed panels and J.B. Smoove came on and replaced Chris Cotten, a black comic who had been on. And Gilbert said, ‘hey since we took a break the black guy got bigger.’
Then I went to some programs as part of the Comedy PRO thing where you get a chance to meet executives from all of the networks. They had a bunch of cool things and I saw some good pitches. It was called Punchline and there were some cool pitches. One of them was Haddock News which is very bizarre news, similar to what I do- All the News That’s Fit to Dance To. And then I saw a pitch for a show Open Engagement with a very funny very pretty girl, starring Aisha Alfa the star and co-creator of Open Engagement about a couple who is engaged but wants to have sex, she wants to have more sex with other guys to catch up to her fiance. Some friends of mine turned up here from New York. Walter Masterson and Max Clark who have a show called the Working Dead about zombies in the workplace and that was a cool pitch.
There was also a digital media panel. The director of entertainment at Maker Studios and The CW Network and others talked about whats happening in the digital world these days. Everybody’s watching entertainment on their phones and pads, and tv has dropped about 30 perecent they say. There was a panel of foreign people from other countries about comedy being done there. And I saw Gina Yashare walking in, and I said are you going to the panel of the foreign men and she said I am one of the foreign men. She was on the panel! She talked about how she had to change her act in different countries and how she caters to wherever she’s performing by learning something about the area that she’s in.
It is pouring rain tonight so the only thing I did was go to the Howie Mandel gala. Pete Holmes opened. It was great. These are the standouts: Marina Franklin did a great set. She worked in a very different way. This was her second gala that she did, and she said it really takes time to prepare for a Gala. She worked in a very deliberate slow mannter and the audience loved it. There’s no way to describe it, she just really took her time and it reminded me of a saying I had heard that someone said if you think you’re going too slow, slow down. I guess you can never go to slow on stage.
Vladimir Caamano did great. He was a new performer. He is managed by the guys who own The Stand and he talks a lot about his Dominican father and imitates the accent and the audience loved it. Jeffrey Ross, must have roasted a dozen people from the audience maybe more came up. Reggie Watts came out and made believe he was speaking French, which was so cooll. First he came out, walked to the back of the stage, faced away from the audience and just talked to the wall. He’s so different and unusual. And then he faced the audience and made believe he was speaking French but it was jibberish and he was really great as well.
The show finished about 12:30 and when I came out it was just starting to rain, and I’m going to sleep early cause I’m leaving tomorrow. So I’m signing off, going to sleep and I’ll see you back in the states!
Jeffrey Gurian is a comedian, writer and all around bon vivant in New York City. Subscribe to his YouTube channel.