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What's Up For Today?

New York Cool - Ask Miss Wendy

New York Cool - Comedy Matters

September 2007 Comedy Matters
Written and Photographed
by Jeffrey Gurian

 

Opposite Photo:
Wanda De Jesus and Jeffrey Gurian




 

Elon is Gold


Elon Gold and Jeffrey Gurian

My pal Elon Gold was one of three judges on ABC's summer hit show, The Next Big Thing, a search for the next best celebrity impressionist. Elon was often better than the contestants. So when I heard he was in New YOrk, I made sure to swing by Comix on West 14th Street to catch him do his thing.

Elon is an accomplished actor, impressionist and stand-up comic. He is often seen on late-night TV and also starred in two recent sit-coms, NBC's In-Laws with Dennis Farina, and Fox's Stacked with Pamela Anderson and Christopher Lloyd.

I don't know if he can "do" Pamela Anderson, (not in the Biblical sense of course!), but I bet Elon does a great impression of Christopher Lloyd. I know he does a great Ricky Ricardo. He told a Lucy impressionist on the show, "Lucy, you got a lot of 'splainin' to do." That one stuck out for me.

One of the strongest contestants on Next was Roger Kabler. Roger did such a great impression of Robin Williams (down to the dentistry) that there were moments I actually thought that Robin was on stage.

Elon's co-judges were Jeffrey Ross and Lisa Ann Walter, and the energy between the three was great. I keep meaning to ask Jeffrey if he just came up with his hilarious comments on the spot, or if he wrote his script beforehand.

I will be very surprised if this show does not come back.

Elon had a packed show at Comix, heavy on people of the Hebraic persuasion. I'm not sure, but I could swear I saw at least one guy backstage in a "tallis." No tsfillin or tsitsis, but definitely a tallis.

I also got to meet Elon's lovely wife Sasha. It was a great show.

Love Me Tender

Thanks to hot PR firm Bazan P.R. I was invited to the premiere of John Singleton's new film Illegal Tender. One of the stars of Tender is Reggaeton star Tego Calderon, who played the part of a Puerto Rican gangster. He was perfect in the role. I happen to love Reggaeton music. If you can hear good Reggaeton music and not feel like you have to move, you are missing a few synapses somewhere. It's happy music.


John Singleton and Franc Reyes at Marquee

John Singleton produced Tender which was written and directed by Franc. Reyes. Reyes really moved me when he dedicated the film to his Mom who is no longer with us. In the film, Wanda (Blood Work) DeJesus, and Rick (Coach Carter) Gonzalez play a mother and son who go up against a Latino gangster who killed their husband/father twenty years before and still wants to kill them.


Wanda de Jesus and Jeffrey Gurian

Wanda plays a very powerful role; she kicks some serious butt which I like because I like strong women! Wanda looked "hot" at the premiere and at the after-party at Marquee, still one of the best clubs in the city. (I wanted to say "hottest" clubs, but I use that word too much! Who am I Paris Hilton?)

I also met Dania Ramirez at the Marquee afterparty. Dania played A.J. Soprano's girlfriend Blanca in the final season of The Sopranos. Dania was great - so bubbly and excited to be there. She was really good in the film too. In Tender, Ramirez plays Ana, the college girlfriend of the movie’s hero, Wilson De Leon, Jr..


Mims and Jeffrey Gurian in Front of Marquee

I also got to meet Mims, the rapper who has the number one song "This Is Why I'm Hot." I was really excited to meet Mims. This is one guy who deserves all of his success since he had such a hard beginning. He lost his Dad when he was eleven and his Mom when he was thirteen; he was raised by his grandmother and his aunt. According to Mims, in one year he went from a guy who had no food in the fridge (or his stomach) to the very top where he is making lots of money and living the good life. Only show business can change your circumstances so dramatically in one year. We wish you continued success Mims!!! Holla back at ya boy!

I also recognized an actress in the film named Zulay Henao who I had met two years before at a film festival in New York. I predicted she would some day be a big star, and it seems that she's on her way. A few days later I was at a screening of a new film called Feel The Noise and she was one of the stars of that film as well. I like to think I have a good eye for talent.

John Singleton told me about how he decided to film school at USC. He was traveling in Africa and realized that he didn't know how to use his new camera, so when he came back home he enrolled in USC's film school. Obviously, he paid attention in class. By the time Singleton graduated at age twenty-three, he had already written the script to his first film, Boyz 'N The Hood.


Actresses Monica Gambee and Lily Agosto at Marquee

At the Marquee after-party I ran into actress Monica Gambee from LA and her friend Lily. Monica has two films coming out, and I'm hoping she'll work with me on something, She truly has something special. Right now I'm just working on trying to get her to call me back!

Healing Caron Bernstein

I always liked Caron Bernstein and not just because she was a beautiful model. Maybe it's her accent, maybe it's the aura of positive energy that surrounds her or maybe it's that she spells her first name with a "C" instead of a "K" like all the other Karens in the world, But when I heard she was celebrating her birthday at my pal Noel Ashman's place The Plumm, I decided to go and surprise her. Last year Noel lent me The Plumm to shoot a segment of Court TV's Parco P.I.. Noel’s a rare individual and a great guy!


Birthday Girl Caron Bernstein and Noel Ashman Laughing
While Jeffrey Gurian Heal Caron's Leg

Caron was very surprised to see me. While I was there and just before they brought out the birthday cake, Caron injured her ankle and was complaining of pain. So I decided to do some healing work on the spot. I've done it in a lot stranger places, believe me, and within minutes I had her smiling again. Plus, I got to hold her leg for all that time. I tried to drag it out even longer, but the pain went away too fast!


Jarah Moriano and Caron Bernstein at The Plumm

Caron was hanging with Jarah Moriano who holds the distinction of being the first Asian model to appear in the Victoria's Secret catalogue. I didn't get a chance to hold her leg, or any other part.

I also got to hang with actress DJAsia Argento, who I had met before through director Abel Ferrara.


Actor/Producer Norman Reedus and Fans

I also talked with actor Norman Reedus at the party. I actually just spoke with Norman Reedus. I was writing his name as I wrote this column and I decided to call him. I caught him on the set of a film he's shooting in Utah. At the end of our conversation, he said he had to leave to go rape a woman. (Don't worry! It was just part of the script!)

Norman and I bonded over esoteric wisdom, which is not easy to discuss in a noisy club to a background of hip-hop music. It's not even easy to discuss it in the quiet of the Theosophical Society. Norman has a new production company called Big Bald Head. I didn't ask why. We hope to do a project together. My pal Noel gets a good crowd!


Beard Painting


Does anyone recognize this beard?

On my way home on the plane from Montreal last month, I wound up sitting next to the nicest-guy-whose-name-I-can-not-seem-to-recall who let me take a photo of his beard, to use as an example of the perfect kind of beard for "Beard Painting." Unfortunately, I had no paint with me for him to dip his beard into nor did I have a canvas so he could try his hand or should I say " try his beard." I just settled for the photo.

If you recognize this fellow or if he's on my e-mail list and actually gets this column, please have him contact me.

George Lopez In The F.B.I.


George Lopez and Jeffrey Gurian

In Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant's new film Balls of Fury, a crazy action/martial arts/ping-pong movie (how's that for a new genre?) starring Christopher Walken, the funny, funny George Lopez plays the role of an F.B.I. agent.


Michael Ian Black and Jeffrey Gurian

Many years ago (when Robert Ben Garant was known simply as Ben Garant), Garant, Michael Ian Black and I wrote the world's first interactive film for Sony, called I'm Your Man. Man debuted in a theatre on 19th Street and Broadway. In the film, the audience could change the course of the plot by pressing buttons at their seat. Check it out on IMDB.com if you don't believe me! Ben and Michael went on to become big stars, and I went on to become very well known around my apartment. I'm known in every single room.

Anyway, at the press conference for the film, George told me that he liked the script as soon as he saw it and was particularly glad he got to play the part of an F.B.I. agent in a suit because most Latino movies have Latino characters not even wearing a shirt.

George was so approachable and forthright and when I asked him about a turning point in his life he mentioned two. One was his surgery two years ago in which his wife donated a kidney to him and saved his life. He says he's grateful for every day and I believed him by the way he said it. How do you ever repay someone who gave you one of their organs?

The other story, which I thought was very cool, goes back to the late 90's in an Austin comedy club, when George was still performing in the clubs. One night there was a rumor that Sandra Bullock was going to stop by (probably to see Chappelle) and he remembers thinking that he hoped that she wouldn't come.

He didn't think she would like his act or get what he was doing. It turned out that she didn't come by that night, but two years later, Sandra was planning to produce a show based on a Latino character and all roads led to George. People kept asking Sandra if she had seen this guy George Lopez and she hadn't. George told me that he was getting known but didn't really have much going on at the time.

Sandra came to see him (Lopez) perform; she had to drive over an hour to get there so George thought she was going to change her mind. Not only did Sandra show up, she encouraged Geore to create a show based on his act and she executive-produced his show, The George Lopez Show, which ran for six years and was a huge hit. A great story of synchronicity!

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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