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What's Up For Today?

New York Cool - Ask Miss Wendy

New York Cool - Comedy Matters

June 2007 Comedy Matters
Written and Photographed
by Jeffrey Gurian



Jeffrey Gurian and Chris Rock
The Comic Strip


Laughs, Love, and Lucien

Lucien Hold was an icon in the world of comedy. For close to thirty years he held court at The Comic Strip, starting in the mid 1970's as one of the carpenters who built the club and working his way up to be talent coordinator, a position he held until the day he died in November of 2004 (succumbing to a long battle with scleroderma).


Jeffrey Gurian and Chris Rock

Lucien was such a unique guy and I'm glad to say a good friend. Lucien made the decisions about who went on at the Comic Strip and who didn't. Some people thought he was tough but he was always the consummate gentleman, especially to me. People who knew him were amazed at how graciously he allowed me to use the club's video system one night so that I could do a comedy news performance that required a screen so comedy films could be shown. It was only afterwards that people told me that Lucien only used that system during the holidays and that he must really have liked me and what I was doing to allow me to use that system for a regular show.

One night in his private office I tried some healing work on his pain filled hands. Never one to complain, he always showed up and did his job despite the pain he felt. He said what I did helped; but he was so polite, he might have said that anyway.


Jeffrey Gurian, Vanessa Hollingshead and Barry Weintraub

We shared several private talks over the years; I found him to be a very intelligent, thoughtful, and spiritual human being. He kept his ties to many of the stars he helped make famous like: Eddie Murphy; Chris Rock; Adam Sandler; and Jerry Seinfeld.

The fundraiser, "Laughs, Love, and Lucien: A Night of Comedy To Benefit The Scleroderma Foundation," was given by Lucien's wife Vanessa Hollingshead, a talented stand-up in her own right. The always funny Barry Weintraub was the MC for the evening and the place was packed. Chris Rock showed up (unannounced) and did a half-hour onstage.


The Psychic Mad Man

About a week before (also at The Comic Strip), I stopped by to see my good pal George Sarris, founder and producer of the NYC Underground Comedy Festival. George is also the producer of the Harlem Comedy Festival which is coming up in August. With him was Jim Karol, aka The Psychic Mad Man, a favorite of talk show hosts like Jay Leno, and radio hosts like Howard Stern.


Jeffrey Gurian and Jim Karol

 

The show he put on at the bar was almost more exciting than the one he did onstage and that one was awesome. From his mind reading skills to throwing a playing card into a tiny crack of a light fixture on the ceiling, he kept everyone amazed for hours. But I couldn't really tell if it was hours or not because he can also control the hands on your watch just by moving his hands over them.

But the craziest thing I think I saw was him pointing at people and hitting them with a bolt of electricity right up the butt. People were lining up to sit in a chair and he'd point at them, and they'd feel this huge shock right up their butt. He even channeled it through other people just by telling them to point at someone. The guy is incredible, and a really nice guy to boot! (What am I an old Army man? What kind of expression is "to boot"?)


Jim Karol Shocks George Saris

Radio Shows for "Filthy"

I had the greatest experience being on Court TV Radio with Vinnie Politan, one of the nicest guys I've met in a long time. Vinny is definitely a Renaissance Man. Before he joined Court TV in 2001 he was a club DJ, an A&R Director for a recording company developing new artists, a prosecuting attorney in New Jersey and an award winning journalist/reporter/news anchor. Vinny now co-hosts Court TV News's program, “Bloom and Politan: Open Court” with Lisa Bloom in addition to his show on Court TV Radio.


Jeffrey Gurian and Vinnie Politan

You never know what to expect when you show up to do a radio show. I certainly found this out when I did Jim Breuer and Pete Correale's show, Breuer Unleashed, a short time afterwards, but that's a whole other story. Vinnie was fun, and entertaining and asked great questions; he certainly kept the show moving along and interesting.


Jeffrey Gurian and Peter Correale

Correale and Breuer got together with Greg Charles, publicity director for Carolines. They made a phony tape and then played a practical joke on me on the air that almost gave me a heart attack. They had prepared the audience and they all had a good laugh at my expense. I had to remember the concept of the Friars Roasts - they only Roast the ones they love. I'd settle for "like."

Jackie "The Jokeman" Martling who is also in my book was kind enough to read a few excerpts from the book on his Sirius radio show called Jackie's Joke Hunt . Jackie does this show with Ian Karr on Howard 101 Tuesday nights at 7 P.M. Check it out!

"Filthy" Party at The Friars Club

People all over town have been kindly offering to give parties for my new book, ”Filthy, Funny, and Totally Offensive - Jokes So Dirty, Comedians and Entertainers Only Tell Them To Each Other". We had one at the red hot Gentlemen's Club Headquarters, thanks to owner Big John and publicist Claire O'Connor.


DJ Cassidy and Jeffrey Gurian

There was also the really big book warming at The Friars Club. This was a great honor for me. I have been associated with the Friar’s Club and have written material for their Roasts since the late 70's, when I first started as a writer.

We had a great turnout and I was able to thank the two comics who gave me my start by using my material, Dick Capri and Freddie Roman who is now the Dean of the Friars Club. I also got to thank the Executive Director of the club, Jean Pierre Trebot (who is retiring this year after almost forty years of service to the club), my co-author Tripp Whetsell, my MC for the evening Geno Bisconte, and my long-time friend and producer Sharon Klein.

We had a very eclectic mix of guests, ranging from DJ Cassidy (possibly the hippest guy to ever hit the club). Cass spun at Oprah Winfrey's 2007 New Years Party in South Africa and does all the big parties for Jay Z, Russell Simmons, Diddy and other people who know their music.



Jeffrey Gurian and Malachy McCourt

We also had famed author Malachy McCourt, music legends Walter Yetnikoff, Jonny Podell who hardly shows up anywhere but came there for me, sex therapist/radio/TV personality Dr. Judy Kuriansky, Court TV's favorite P.I. Vinny Parco, fantastic comic Patrice Oneal from VH1 and Comedy Central, Tom Cotter and Kerri Louise (the husband and wife stand-up team from the WE Network's Two Funny), sexy hat designer Ivy Supersonic, comics Frankie Pace and Michele Balan (both of whom were kind enough to get up and speak along with the talented Rick Younger), and then there was the great Jeffrey Ross.



Patrice Oneal and Jeffrey Gurian

Patrice, by the way, tried to get out of wearing a jacket by telling me that he is a black man, and they don't wear jackets. I replied, “Some day you’re going to have your own TV show, and they're going to give you awards and you're going to need to wear a suit.” He showed up looking great in a really nice pin-striped jacket. I really wanted a photo of him holding me in his arms like a baby, but we didn't get to do it.

Jeffrey Ross also spoke, and was very funny as usual. He wound up telling the crowd that my co-author Tripp Whetsell (a big, burly guy) was into S&M - spaghetti and meatballs. The crowd went nuts.


Jeffrey Ross and Jeffrey Gurian

I got up and told the crowd, “This book has done wonders for my career. Thanks to this book, I just got offered the lead in a new poem."

I also said, “I only wish my mother could be here to see this. Don't get me wrong. She's alive and well. I just wouldn't subject her to this disgusting s _ _ t! So instead, I invited Lisa Lampanelli's parents. They're used to hearing stuff like this."

Unfortunately, Lisa who is also in the book was not able to be there as she was out of town. All the other people mentioned were also in the book.

We even had a real live Countess at the party. Countess LuAnn De Lesseps of Switzerland and the Hamptons was there with her videographer, interviewing all the celebs for her new internet project. You may have seen her on Fox TV's The Countess Report and on Hamptons TV.

Jeffrey Ross's new show " The Next Best Thing", a reality show on which he is a judge along with Elon Gold and Lisa Ann Walters, will have debuted by the time you read this. The show will choose the best celebrity impressionists. They tend to focus on impressions of celebrities; because if you do a great impression of your super, no one really cares. Except maybe your super's family.

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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