Jeffrey Gurian 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, Jamie Lissow updates Jeffrey on Rob Schneider, Trevor Noah “ruins” Jeffrey’s recording, Louis CK drops in, Mike Vecchione explains his new CD, and more!
This week in addition to all the other comedians that made my column, yours truly, Jeffrey Gurian, made a big debut on Comedy Juice, a show that comes out of LA, that happens every Tuesday night at Gotham Comedy Club in New York. Trevor Noah, the internationally known comic from South Africa was also on the show, and Louis CK came in and made a surprise appearance, so it was a great night all around. I had an especially nice surprise when Trevor Noah apologized because he said he was laughing so loud during my set, that he was afraid he might have interfered with my taping of the set. It’s like apologizing for clapping too loud!
This week I talked to so many great people. One of them was Zainab Johnson, who you might remember as the strikingly beautiful and tall woman with a shaved head from Last Comic Standing. Zainab was in town because she was on the AXS tv show Gotham Comedy Live. Zainab told me she will be hosting Wil Sylvince‘s NBC sponsored Short Cuts Film Festival in New York City on August 19th and 20th. Zainab’s overcome some amazing obstacles to get to where she is today, including recovering from two badly broken legs about ten years ago. She had been hit by a drunk driver while she was crossing the street. She’s pretty amazing, and someone you’ll definitely want to keep your eye on.
I also saw Jamie Lissow out in the clubs this week. He just created a new show with Rob Schneider, who happens to be his idol. He and Rob hooked up after Schneider did a benefit in Rochester a few years ago, where Jamie was doing radio. Jamie opened for Rob at the benefit, and did so well, that they became friends. When Jamie’s contract was up, and he wasn’t happy with the offer he got to re-sign, he asked Schneider for some advice. Rob told him to quit his job and join team Schneider. They’ve since written 8 episodes of Real Rob, and Jamie also plays Rob’s horrible assistant in the series (which is loosely based on Rob’s life). Schneider has self funded the project which has already attracted great guest stars like David Spade, Norm Macdonald, and George Lopez.
Over the weekend, I ran into Rachel Feinstein at the Comic Strip. She and I are good friends, and it was great to see her. Not only is she incredibly funny, she also is one of the only women who is not afraid of her femininity. She goes on stage, in a dress, and make up and heels, and it’s so cool. She totally owns her power!
I talked to Mike Vecchione this weekend, who is one of the top comics working today (and he’s in my book). He’s got a new CD out called Muscle Confusion. This one is doing great, but he told me that his earlier attempt at releasing an album didn’t work out. He had tried to put it out himself, and he made a lot of mistakes because he didn’t realize what it took to put out a CD. Mike said he had no one to blame but himself, and decided to start over, so he hooked up with New Wave Dynamics, re-taped the special, (this time at The Stand in NYC), and it’s doing great– it has been as high as #15 on iTunes.
The comedy world lost an icon this past week with the untimely passing of Robin Williams. I first met Robin many years ago through the kindness of his manager Jack Rollins who was guiding me in my early career as a comedy writer. Then in 1991 Robin used some of my material at the Roast of Richard Pryor, and sent me the attached photo as a thank you. It’s one of my most treasured mementoes, especially now. The last time I saw Robin was in 2012 when I interviewed him briefly on the red carpet for the Stand-Up For Heroes Benefit at The Beacon Theatre in NYC, as part of the NY Comedy Festival. He came to honor our Wounded Warriors and was very humbled to be in their presence. R.I.P. Robin Williams.
Check back in with me next week, as I Jump Around the opening of the Brooklyn Comedy Festival.
Jeffrey Gurian is a writer and comedian in New York. Visit his website at comedymatterstv.com.