August 2007 Comedy Matters
Written and Photographed
by Jeffrey Gurian
Photo: Susie Essman and Jeffrey Gurian
(Susie's on page 62 of Jeffrey's book.)
Jason Binn At The Friars
Jason Binn and Kevin Connolly
Niche Media founder and CEO Jason
Binn (who publishes super-exclusive magazines like
Gotham, Hamptons, and L.A. Confidential) is not
only known for being super-successful but also for
throwing some of the best parties on the NY nightlife
scene. Jason gave an intimate party at The Friars
Club in honor of the Kevin (Entourage)
Connolly cover on Hamptons Magazine. The party may
have been smaller than his usual parties, but was
just as impressive.
Jason has once again partnered
with his mentor and my old buddy Jerry Powers, the
powerfully connected publisher of Ocean Drive Magazine.
Jerry was in a recent issue of Comedy Matters; I
ran into him when I was in South Beach looking for
a venue for a book party for my book "Filthy,
Funny, and Totally Offensive", a joke book
where over 250 celebrities tell their favorite nasty
jokes. Jerry is kind of the unofficial "Mayor"
of South Beach. One person "in the know"
said to me, "If you go to South Beach and you
know Jerry Powers, you don't need to know anyone
else!" (Jason and Jerry recently joined forces
in Niche Media, which will have about 300 employees
and be comprised of 16 magazines.)
Kevin Connolly and Jeffrey
The Friar’s club party was
for one of my favorite actors who stars in one of
my favorite shows of all time, the HBO hit Entourage.
Kevin plays "E", or Eric, the talent manager
of the star of the show (played by Adrian Grenier).
Kevin is one of the nicest, down to earth guys I
ever met. He handles his fame with ease.
Hairspray and the Dental
Jeffrey Gurian and Amanda
So I'm interviewing the adorable
Amanda Bynes at the press conference for Hairspray,
the incredibly entertaining movie with an unbelievably
talented cast in which John Travolta, playing a
large-busted woman named Edna Turnblad, gets to
dance with his/her husband Wilbur, played by the
multi-talented actor Christopher Walken.
Amanda was saying how much support
she had been given by her Dad and when I asked if
he was in the business, she told me he was actually
a retired dentist. That's when I told her about
the rumors concerning me being a dentist! Lots of
Hollywood big shots have been accused of being dentists.
Mike Ovitz, Michael Eisner, and Jeffrey Katzenberg,
have all been accused of being dentists at some
time or another. The rumors about me started just
after I graduated from Dental School and went into
Be sure to see Hairspray,
the movie, which is directed by Adam Shankman. Also
in the cast are Nikki Blonsky, Zac Efron, Michelle
Pfeiffer, James Marsden, Brittany Snow, and Queen
Latifah. The film is really enjoyable and has a
great message about inclusivity and not judging
Guardian Angels Honored at Cipriani's
Curtis Sliwa and Jeffrey
Curtis Sliwa, the founder of The
Guardian Angels (See
wikipedia.org), and I go back a long way - back
to the rumors about me being a dentist. Years ago
there was even a rumor that I was Curtis' dentist
and that rumor started when he came to my office
for multiple visits over a long period of time!
When Curtis was badly wounded
in a near fatal shooting, I went to visit him in
the hospital and made the mistake of taking his
Mom out to lunch without telling anyone we were
leaving; we just walked past the security guards.
There had been death threats against his family
so everyone was nervous when suddenly Curtis' Mom
was missing and no one seemed to know where she
had gone. Then she walked back in with me. Through
no fault of my own, my life always becomes a Woody
The Guardian Angels gala dinner
dance was held at downtown Cipriani Wall Street
and my pal Ed Moldaver, Senior Managing Director
of Bear Stearns was one of the people being honored
that evening. Ed received the CyberAngel of the
Year Internet Safety Award. Now if this was a Roast
of Ed Moldaver, I would follow that remark by saying,
"Ed received that award for promising to give
up his career as an internet sexual predator."
But it's not a Roast, so I won't say that. What
I will say is that Ed is a giver who is grateful
for his success and gives back to his community.
Also honored was the Vice Chairman
of Douglas Elliman, I. Dolly Lenz, who received
the Guardian Angels Champion for Safety Through
Education Award. And again, if had been a Roast
of Dolly I might have said, "I didn't realize
that Douglas Elliman had so much vice that they
needed a "Chairman." But it isn't, so
Also at the dinner was potential
Mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis, the Chairman
and CEO of the Red Apple Group and Gristedes, who
received the Archangel Outstanding New Yorker Award.
Gristedes sounds like a Greek last name and I meant
to ask John how his chain of supermarkets got that
name and why it wasn't called Catsimitidis.
Jeffrey Gurian, Aleta St.
James, Curtis Silwa and Ed Moldaver
A lot of people don't know that
Curtis Sliwa and Aleta St. James (the internationally
known motivational speaker who gave birth to twins
at age fifty-seven) are actually brother and sister.
I know, because coincidentally I'm friends with
both of them. I think this is a rare photo.
Lampoon Radio Throws A Party
Kent Emmons and Jeffrey
Next stop was LA, where I stayed
at the home of the legendary Kent Emmons, CEO of
National Lampoon Radio, Studio Funny Films, and
Comedy Express TV. I have yet to meet one person
in comedy who does not know this man. Kent and Amy
Anderson invited me to stay in their gorgeous home
for a week and they threw a big bash for the LA
introduction of my book. Thank you, thank you and
Budd Friedman and Jeffrey
A lot of interesting people showed
up at the party. Even the legendary Budd Friedman,
founder of The Improv came straight from the airport
to attend the party. He wasn't flying in from anywhere,
he just likes to hang out at the airport! ( I keep
forgetting this isn't a Roast.)
Budd put in his monocle
for the photo we took with the book. That means
he is serious! When Budd put in his monocle I reminded
him of the time, many years ago, he gave a party
in Montreal for Milton Berle who had just been voted
into the comedy Hall of Fame. I was Milton's guest
at the dinner and at the dinner, when Bud put in
his monocle to read the menu, I put a plastic spoon
in my eye (as I had been doing as a joke for many
years). This is a story for another column but Berle
looked at me like I was out of my mind and I made
the mistake of saying: " I do it to relax.
It's very big out on the Coast." To which Budd
replied, " I live out on the Coast, and I've
never seen anyone put a spoon in their eye."
Carlos Mencia and Jeffrey
My first night in
LA, I attended the closing night of Si TV's Latino
Laugh Festival. The Festival was executive produced
by Jeff Valdez, Sí TV creator and founder
and also the executive producer of the Latino Laugh
Festival. Jeff co-produces with producer Barry Kearson.
Jeff said he started the network because he was
tired of seeing Latinos only being portrayed as
gang members on TV. Now again, if this was a Roast,
I would follow that by saying, "And now with
Jeff's help, Latinos are being portrayed as gang
leaders, not just gang members." But it isn't,
so I won't! (By the way, with all my years of Spanish,
someone had to tell me that "Si TV" was
like "Yes, TV". Who doesn't know what
"Si" means??? I guess I don't!)
Jeffrey Gurian and Gabriel
I attended the closing night
with rising NY/LA comic Nestor Rodriguez and we
had a blast hanging out with stars like Carlos Mencia,
Jill Michele Melean, comic/radio personality Joey
Medina and Last Comic Standing's Gabriel
Iglesias. Ethnic comedy is the best because no one
can imitate accents like people born into a culture.
And it's hysterical; stereotypes are funny, especially
when you can break them down to show the humor.
The Messiah of Comedy at
the 25th Just For Laughs Festival
Russell Peters and
Speaking of “doing”
dialects, I met the Messiah, in Montreal of all
places. I was there for the 25th anniversary of
the Just For Laughs festival, the biggest and most
famous comedy festival in the world. The Messiah's
name is Russell Peters and he is amazing. I saw
Russell do two hours of material without any hesitation
and without breaking a sweat. The man imitates every
dialect. I love his Indian dialect, which comes
natural to him since he's Indian.
Russell does not personally speak
with an accent, but when he “does” his
parents or imitates other Indians, he even does
the hand motions and the multi-cultural audience
goes wild. Russell will be the fourth comic ever
(I believe) to play Madison Square Gardenwhen he
plays there in February of 2008. Russell is not
only one of the hippest comics I have ever met,
(he performs with two DJ's on stage spinning hip
hop, Scratch and Flo), but he's also one of the
funniest comics and one of the nicest.
After performing his show for
three thousand screaming Montreal fans, he sat and
signed autographs and took photos for a couple of
hours. Everyone who waited on line got a greeting,
a photo and an autograph, whether they wanted one
or not!!! (I keep forgetting it's not a Roast!)
I call Russell "The Messiah"
of Comedy because he has the ability to bring diverse
ethnic groups together in laughter and that is how
we break down barriers. A regular white guy couldn't
do that, but a hip "brown" comic (which
is how Russell refers to himself) has the opportunity
to create a whole lot of healing.
Russell and I hit it off immediately
and he invited me to his show and then to go backstage
to hang out with him afterwards. He also performed
at the closing gala, which featured comics like
Lewis Black and Susie Essman.
Paul Provenza and Jeffrey
My good buddy Paul Provenza (who
directed "The Aristocrats" and was kind
enough to write the intro to my "Filthy"
book) hosted three shows in Montreal. They were
called "The Green Room" and were produced
by veteran producer Calvin Wynter. Paul promoted
my book at all three shows, which was fantastic.
(In the photo above) Paul Provenza working on his
puppet act, with me as his puppet at the VIP closing
party of the festival. (As long as it's not Puppetry
of the Penis!!!)
Unfortunately Paul asked Andy Kindler (on stage)
if he was in the book, which he wasn't. That was
a bit awkward. Paul assumed that since everyone
else was in it that I had asked Andy to be in it
as well. I love Andy Kindler, who is brilliant in
his yearly "State of the Industry Address",
but I think his number had changed and I had no
way to reach him. When I was writing my book, I
called each and every celebrity myself to ask for
Jeffrey Gurian and Dave
The Green Room was a free-flowing
midnight show that started at 1 A.M. and featured
stars from the festival like Eddie Izzard, Billy
Connolly, David Cross and Bob Odenkirk, Lewis Black,
Jim Jeffries and even Dave Foley from News Radio
and Kids in The Hall. Dave and I bonded
over our common friendship with the late great Phil
Hartman. We shared stories for quite a while backstage
and then later in the hotel lobby bar. He invited
me to attend the Kids in The Hall show
as his guest.
Paul is great at giving new talent
a shot. Each show opened with freestyle improvised
rap music by the amazing Freestyle Love Supreme,
a bunch of really talented guys from New York who
make up fantastic raps on the spot. I was on the
radio with them at an earlier date and this is a
group with whom I will definitely stay in touch.
At the close of the fest, Paul
flew back to NY to be with his Mom, Bea, who is
not well. We wish her all the best, and we send
her the strength to recover.
Jeffrey Gurian and Howie
I also ran into the great Howie
(Deal Or No Deal) Mandel who hosted two
nights of the galas and who loved my filthy joke
book so much he was actually telling people about
it. I know Howie doesn't like to shake hands, which
after my third cold in two months, I'm starting
to appreciate myself; so I gave him the old fist
Jeffrey Gurian and David
In response to my suggestion that
funny guy David Cross take up the ancient art of
beard painting ( painting with your beard), he tried
his best to obscure the title of my book with his
hand. Sorry Dave!
The inimitable Louis (Lucky Louie) CK said he was
told that someone gave me one of his jokes to use
in my book, and that they asked me to credit the
joke to Louie and I did not do it. That stayed with
me, so I ran back to my room to check, and I was
able to show Louie later that day that the joke
actually was credited to him, right on page 115.
We both felt good about that! Especially me!
Laurie, Jeffrey Gurian and
I had the best time on CJAD radio
with Laurie and Olga. My fellow guest was the great
Stu Nulman, host of Book Banter. On Thursday
night, they kept me on for forty-five minutes doing
my Weekly Weird News Stories. On Friday
they invited me on for two hours as a co-host and
on Saturday, after I came on and helped close the
show, they honored me by asking me to be a regular
every Saturday afternoon to do a little "news"
broadcast in the vein of "Rare Virus Sweeps
Japan. - Victims Too Weak To Bow," and "Man
Impaled On Spike, Still Shows Up For Work On Time."
I start on August 11th. Check it out online at
Anyway, until next time, remember,
A nationally known comedy
writer and an authority on roast humor, Jeffrey
L. Gurian has written material for many of the great
performers at the fabled Friars Roasts including
Richard Belzer, Robin Williams, Milton Berle, Jerry
Lewis and even Bruce Willis, as well as material
for comedy stars such as Joan Rivers, Gilbert Gottfried,
Phil Hartman, Pauly Shore, "Dice" Clay,
and Pat Cooper. He wrote and directed The Men Who
Series of short films for the Toyota Comedy Festival
currently showing on cell phones and You Tube. .
He also wrote for MTV and USA Network and was one
of the writers of Sony's first interactive film.
As a playwright he wrote a one- hour NBC drama about
the devastating effects of homelessness on the young,
entitled De La Salle. He was given the honor of
having his own column in the legendary Weekly World
News called "Gurian's
World of the Bizarre." His first feature film
Face to Face, that he wrote with Scott Baio, made
its world premiere at the Taos, New Mexico Film
Festival, and was honored as the opening night film.
It has since become an award-winning film and won
for Best Comedy Feature at the Marco Island Film
Festival in Florida and the Valley Film Festival
in Hollywood. His newest film, I Am Woody , about
a mob boss obsessed with Woody Allen, won for Best
Short Film at the NY Independent Film Festival.
Jeffrey can be seen around town performing his comedy
news broadcast Uncle Nat's Traveling Peep Show with
his comedy partner model/performer Sonya Gignac.
Jeffrey was recently chosen to be the East Coast
producer of National Lampoon radio. His first book,
based on his writing for the Friars Roasts is from
Kensington Books, "Filthy, Funny, and Totally
Offensive - Jokes So Dirty Comedians and Entertainers
Only Tell Them To Each Other." In addition
Jeffrey is a Clinical Professor at NYU in the Oral
Medicine/Oro-Facial Pain Department, a cosmetic
dentist, lecturer, author and healer. He also is
credited for developing a cure for stuttering. You
may read more at http: www.jeffreygurian.com.