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What's Up For Today?

New York Cool - Ask Miss Wendy

New York Cool - Comedy Matters

August 2007 Comedy Matters
Written and Photographed
by Jeffrey Gurian

Opposite 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 Gurian

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 Connection


Jeffrey Gurian and Amanda Bynes

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 practice!

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 people.

Guardian Angels Honored at Cipriani's


Curtis Sliwa and Jeffrey Gurian

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 Allen movie.

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 I won't!

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 for Me


Kent Emmons and Jeffrey Gurian

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 thank you!!!


Budd Friedman and Jeffrey Gurian

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 Gurian

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 Iglesias

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 Jeffrey Gurian

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 Gurian

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 a joke.


Jeffrey Gurian and Dave Foley

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 Mandel

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 bump instead.


Jeffrey Gurian and David Cross

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 Olga

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 cjad.com.

Anyway, until next time, remember, COMEDY MATTERS!!!

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.



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