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
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
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
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
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 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
"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
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
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
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.