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 Cutting Room, Hoboken New Jersey and more!
Seaton Smith from NBC’s Mulaney came with me over to Gotham to catch a special show for advertising week starring Trevor Noah. Seaton and I had just come from the Hoboken Comedy Festival, more on that below. Trevor had just started hosting The Daily Show the night before, along with his new opening act Angelo Lozada, who is the most grateful guy in the room, and that was only after warming up The Daily Show crowd for one day! He’s got the swag of confidence now. He always had it, but it’s magnified now! It looked like he was walking a little prouder when I went over to congratulate him.
The showroom was so packed there were literally no seats. Larry Wilmore was at the front when Seaton and I came in, as was Trevor Noah standing with his manager Norm Aladjem. I stood in the back with Norm, who had just survived a crazy accident with a glass shower door and luckily was not as badly hurt as he could have been. We both watched Trevor crush the room, and it’s amazing to watch him take something as simple as the sound “Woo”, like some people do when they want to show that they like something, and watch him develop it into a tremendously detailed bit, and make it absolutely hilarious. He also talked about his two brothers, one 9 years younger than him, and one who’s 20 years younger than him. At one point Norm and I looked at each other and as two straight men, openly declared, “ He’s adorable!”
My comedy journey took me to New Jersey this week to Dan Frigolette’s annual Hoboken Comedy Festival. It’s his sixth and he told me that this year he simplified his life a little bit by having it in one main venue instead of the seven he used previously. For two nights in a row I came out to help judge the new talent competition and wound up doing a spot on the second night. It was held at the Bow Tie Cinema and in order to get there you had to walk through this weird structure with blue and green lights that felt like it was out of a movie set. A scary sci-fi movie set! On the first night, the host was Pete Bladel who had won the contest the year before. The other judges were Rich Shultis, a comic who’s opened for Ralphie May and Bobcat Goldthwait, Chris Scopo from Robert Kelly’s You Know What Dude podcast and Soul Joel. A young comic named James Myers won that night with notable appearances by Tristan Rega and Cory Jarvis.
The next night I drove out with New York Comedy Club owner Emilio Savone who hitched a ride out with me and it was good to have company cause I usually jump around solo. The judges were myself, Emilio, Rich Shultis and Joe Loesner of the Meadowlands Comedy Club. Moody McCarthy had a great set and Seaton Smith was the closer, and I’m sure someone won, but because I had to jump to another show, I couldn’t stay till the end to find out who it was. I wound up driving Emilio, Rich and Seaton back to the city with me. For some reason Rich Shultis asked to get out of the car as we were getting out of the Lincoln Tunnel, and none of us saw where he went. He basically disappeared into the night! Emilio got out at a more reasonable location.
Parking in Jersey was very difficult but they were nice enough to put orange construction comes out to hold a spot for me. I felt so special I took a photo of it! The only other time I recall something like that was something the Hell’s Angels did for me, but that’s a story for another column.
Ex-porn star Alia Janine did her Cuthroat Comedy Tour at the only place you can do a show called “Cutthroat”, The Cutting Room, owned by Steve Walter and Chris Noth. As I came in the music was blasting and the showroom was packed tight and as I looked in I could swear the drummer looked a lot like Sinbad the comedian. It took me a minute and confirmation from Steve Walter that it actually WAS Sinbad in his persona as Memphis Red – and his Zero 360 Band. They totally rocked the house, and afterwards Sinbad was mobbed by people wanting photos. Alia was excited to meet him and invited him to do a guest spot, but he was beat and had to decline as he was headlining Carolines the next day, but he did hang out and watch the show.
The always funny Aaron Berg was the host and as you might guess from Alia’s background, the show was not exactly being live streamed to The Vatican! As I came in Myq Kaplan was there already, and he was the first comic to hit the stage, but far from the last. I asked Myq what he was up to and he laughingly said he was too tired to tell me. I told him I’d write that and he said it was cool! We all got sex toys as gifts from Alia for performing on her show! Some of them even came with the batteries already installed!
Gotham Comedy Live was hosted by ex-SNL’er Ellen Cleghorne this week and it was cool to see her because I hadn’t seen her in a really long time. She got big applause coming out and earned it with her funny opening. Cory Jarvis who I had seen earlier in the week at the Hoboken Comedy Fest competition was on the show. The Stone Brothers (Adam and Todd) also performed. They’ve figured out how to take comedic premises and make very short stories out of them which is quite an accomplishment, and one that I noticed and mentioned to Adam in the green room after the show. It’s always funny to see the brothers talking at the exact same time, so that you can’t really follow what either of them is saying. They really have it down. And it’s nice that their parents come out to all of their big shows to support them.
Lisa Ann Walter was on the show as well and was there with her powerhouse manager Rick Dorfman. Always good to see Rick! Lisa told me she’s a recurring character on CBS’s The Odd Couple, playing Linda the upstairs neighbor, and is writing a lot for TV and film. She told me a cool story about how “The Gronk” came to her house. She had done a movie with him called You Can’t Have It and they got friendly enough to invite him for Easter dinner. She said they finished an entire baked ziti and then he was twerking in her kitchen. She said it was the only time she ever made a dinner when ALL the food got eaten.
When a producer puts on a show with a theme I guess he expects the comics to go along with the theme. So when Rell Battle put on his regular Roast Battle at New York Comedy, which is its home, I guess he expected headline battlers and real life roommates Anthony DeVito and Greg Stone to come prepared to roast each other. They had different ideas. When Anthony and Greg took the stage Anthony said he didn’t have time to write any jokes but he knows Greg well enough to just make stuff up. Greg had a piece of paper in his hand but I guess it didn’t have roast jokes on it either because when Rell started “the battle”, they started doing a two man comedy act instead of roasting each other. Rell stopped them, and asked them to roast, but they just kept doing what they wanted to do. Rell was cool about it, because they were getting laughs from the audience but the judges seemed kind of put -out. As I said last week, in this politically correct world we live in, it’s going to be hard to find comics who are friends who are willing to go in hard!
Judge Matty Goldberg was pissed, and tried to reprimand them, but for whatever reason Rell wound up sticking up for the comics. Pat Dixon and my birthday-mate Geno Bisconte, the other two judges weighed in with their displeasure as well, and I believe because no one really knew how to judge it, it was called a “tie!”
At New York Comedy Club this week, I saw Matt Richards, James Mattern, and Akaash Singh who added an “a” to Akash. I guess he figured if Aaron Berg could get away with two “a’s” then he could too! On his website he bills hiimself as a “world famous comedian”. Coincidentally he also stopped me in the street a couple of days later to say “wassup”! Standing and watching along with me were Andrew Schulz, and Kareem Green.
Mike Merkovich told me his hot Melting Pot Show at New York Comedy is on again next Friday, and he himself is doing some road work in PA, CT, and New Jersey. I went in to do a spot on his Friday show, and ran into Madison Malloy getting offstage, before heading down to do Gary Levitt and Matt Schwartzer’s show I Don’t Get It at the HiFi Lounge in the East Village. Cate Weinberg was hosting. It was her first show since getting run down by a bicycle in Astoria where she had just moved, and she wound up with a concussion. She said she still felt a bit woozy, but she did a great job on stage. It’s a cool little room, in the back of a very noisy bar. Matt told me they’re doing a “Super Week” show next Thursday with Seaton Smith, Myq Kaplan, Ben Kronberg, Gary Levitt, Leah Bonnema, himself and Nick Vatterott hosted by the very funny Regina DeCicco. I find by me doing these alternative shows, I get to see a lot more of the young comics that might not cross my radar. When we left it was pouring, so I drove Cate to the subway and she told me about her web series called Dive Bar and her monthly show which she hosts at Broadway Dive on 101st and Broadway, called Straight Up And Dirty Comedy. She decided to skip it this month because of the games, and I didn’t even ask her which games because it was obvious to me that she knew more about sports than I did!
Corinne Fisher’s birthday party was a kind of double celebration. Not only was it her birthday but she and her comedy wife Krystyna Hutchinson were celebrating alternating between #1 and #2 on iTunes with their hit podcast Guys We Fucked. They have listeners all over the world, and I still get positive comments on my segment about “Sexual Healing.” And most of the positive comments were from women which makes it even better! The party was at The Grayson Bar on 2nd Street and 1st Avenue and lots of comics were there. I ran into Harrison Greenbaum, Danny Palmer, the ubiquitous Madison Malloy, who I hope is following me to all these places, Krystyna Hutchinson of course and her new comedy partner Wendi Starling who’s only here from LA for the past six months and who the girl I was with was fascinated by for her look and glowing personality. She and Krystyna are doing at show at Zinc Bar called Glamourpuss which I’m looking forward to checking out. It’s kind of a variety show or as they called it “vaudeville” with sometimes a musical act or a magician, and they’ve had names like Aparna Nancherla, (which is quite a name in many ways!), Dan Soder, and Joe Machi. At one show they hired a pianist and violinist for a ten second bit in a sketch, and the violinist was a legit musician from the New York Philharmonic. That is dedication, on both of their parts! Next show is 10/22 at 8 P.M. Save me a seat girls!
That’s IT until next Monday, … I’m OUT!!!
Jeffrey Gurian is a comedian, writer and all around bon vivant in New York City. Subscribe to his YouTube channel. Below, photos: Jeffrey with Dan Frigolette, Sinbad, Lisa Ann Walter and Seaton Smith