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. In today’s column, find out T.J. Miller’s next project, how Harris Stanton has been since the accident, and more. Visit Jeffrey’s website at comedymatterstv.com, where you can watch his interviews with everyone in comedy who matters!
So I heard that T.J. Miller was coming to town to do a special show at Gotham Comedy Club and any time I get to see T.J., I get all excited, so I left him a message to expect me. T.J.’s show was packed with his friends and people he wanted on his show. The MC was T.J.’s sister Morgan Miller, and they greeted each other with big hugs when he came into the club.
Also on the bill were some of T.J.’s friends from Chicago– like Hannibal Buress who is a native of Chicago and Nick Vatterott. Hannibal is coming off his tour with The Oddball Fest and he was excited, (if you can use that word when referring to Hannibal, the most laid back man in comedy) about his own tour that starts Oct. 10th in Indianapolis and it’s called The Comedy Camisado. Nick Vatterott, who’s also originally from Chicago told me he’s excited about his new album for Comedy Central that’s coming out in November called For Amusement Only. He taped it at The Beat Kitchen in Chicago. And he’s having a CD release party at The Stand in NYC on Friday, Nov. 7th that’s open to the public.
After the show, I got to talk to my buddy T.J., whose next big thing is going to be Disney’s Big Hero 6 in which he plays an animated character named Fanboy Fred. He referred to the film as the big “tentpole” after Frozen. And here’s something you probably don’t already know– he’s in the process of writing a movie called The Nihilist. I asked him what it was about and his answer to me was “Exactly!”
I ran into Harris Stanton at Stand Up New York and was so happy to see him. He was in the limo with Tracy Morgan and Ardie Fuqua when they had their terrible accident back in June, and Harris got away with just a broken wrist, which is bad enough, but he suffered tremendous emotional damage. He was still wearing something protective over his wrist, which I couldn’t see because it was under a sweater. He told me he’s still in therapy and not able to perform just from the mental anguish of what he went through. He was at the club just watching the show, which I think is good therapy for him, and he’s just trying his best to help himself feel comfortable again.
I also got to see a new young comic from London rehearsing his set for Letterman which will have aired by the time you read this. His name is Simon Amstell, and he was off to LA right away to do a show at Largo, and then will be back here in April to begin a tour which he’s calling Back in America.
I jumped over to Stand-Up New York and ran into Andy Pitz, who just release his third live album in September called I Should Know Better which he taped at Absolute Comedy in Ottawa, Ontario because four of his friends had done albums there and told him it was great! The album is completely digital and pay what you want, and you can get it at vibedeck.com/andypitz. Andy was there prepping his set for a late night talk show, but he asked me not to say which one yet.
Comic Strip owner Richie Tienken told me that Ritch Shydner is shooting a documentary film with comic Mark Riccadonna called When Comedy Went Boom about the comedy boom of the 80’s. They came to The Comic Strip to interview Richie who founded the club in 1976. Ritch Shydner by the way, was at one time way, way back was married to Carol Leifer, and who wrote a book of true stories from comedians on the road called I Killed.
Paul Rodriguez hosted AXS TV’s Gotham Comedy Live, and I found out that not only is he partners with Jamie Masada in The Laugh Factory in Hollywood, but he’s also opening his own Laugh Factory in Scottsdale, Arizona very soon, which will be the 9th Laugh Factory besides the ones in places like Vegas, Chicago, and Hawaii.
Saranne Rothberg of Comedy Cures is a stage 4 breast cancer survivor with an amazing story. She underwent 3 surgeries, 44 radiation treatments, and 7 different chemo drugs and nothing worked except when she went into comedy. From her chemo bed she launched Comedy Cures an organization that brings comedy shows to sick people and has raised money for over 1,000 charities since she started it 15 years ago. She is cancer free for a long time now and credits it to comedy. Saranne has some cool news for me– she just had a comedy fundraiser with Tom Cotter, Mark Normand, Steven Scott, Sherry Davey, and Fran Capo where the Cake Boss auctioned off his cake making services and brought in $22,000. On Oct. 25th she’s doing another fundraiser. This one’s at Westbury Theatre on Long Island produced by Darcy Novick, in conjunction with The American Cancer Society, and you can get tix on the Comedy Cures website www.comedycures.org
Godfrey hosted at Gotham Comedy Club this weekend. He also hosts a show called MSG Countdown on the MSG Channel which covers sports highlights of the Knicks, Rangers and The Liberty. He told me a very funny story about something that happened to him while he was performing recently at the Washington D.C. Improv. He said that very often people try to get backstage by saying they’re his cousin or something like that. This night he finished his set and the stage manager said his cousins were there to see him. He told him he didn’t have any cousins in the neighborhood but they persisted and it turned out that it was his real cousins from Nigeria who came all the way to surprise him. It was his father’s sister’s children and many of them resembled his father who passed away three years ago. He was so shocked to see them he said it was lucky they came after the show and not before because he might have been too shook to perform.
This week I jumped over to a birthday party for comic Corinne Fisher at a cool bar in the East Village. She was there with her comedy partner in crime Krystyna Hutchinson, and about 100 of her comedy friends. She and Krystyna do a podcast together called Guys We F*cked! They were both surrounded by guys, and both had a few drinks so I asked them if they were there looking to audition new guests for their show! We all had a big laugh!
Corinne will be performing totally naked at The Creek and The Cave in Long Island City on Friday Oct. 17th in a show appropriately called The Naked Show. She swears that each comic will be naked. It will be hosted by Kaytlin Bailey, and I assume that she will be naked as well. I will attend as long as the audience can stay dressed!
Krystyna just auditioned for The Daily Show as a correspondent and told me something very interesting. She had to read two scripts that were written for her by the writers of the show, but they also let her write one of her own to perform. She said one was written in the voice of Michael Che, the new co-host of Weekend Update on SNL who just left The Daily Show, and she really liked the piece she read of her own, and felt that it went well. So while she’s waiting to find out, we wish her lots of luck.
That’s it for now, but I’ll be jumping around all week, so check back next Monday for more!
Pictured below, me with Paul Rodriguez, me with the hosts of “Guys We F*cked!” Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson, and me with TJ Miller.