Long Story Short Not Long Enough
Lest my headline be misleading, Long Story Short would be too short no matter how long it was. I LOVE Colin Quinn. Not in a Biblical way, but in the way you love someone who embodies the kind of talent you would aspire to have if you could.
I’ve been a fan and friend of Colin’s for many years, and his newest one –man show which was at the Bleecker Street Theatre, called Long Story Short- History of the World in 75 Minutes was directed by another comic some people may have heard of, a newcomer named Jerry Seinfeld.
Colin and Jerry have also been friends for many years and both appear in the book I’m doing for the 35th anniversary of The Comic Strip. The Strip opened on June 1, 1976 and on June 17th Jerry Seinfeld walked in to audition, was judged “Good”, and told to come back on Monday, June 21st to perform. Jerry’s original sign-up sheet , with that comment on it, is still on the wall of the club.
Colin became a household name during the five years he did Weekend Update on SNL. He also had the hit Comedy Central show “Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn”, starring Colin, Nick DiPaolo, Greg Giraldo, Judy Gold, Jim Norton, Patrice Oneal, Keith Robinson, and Rich Vos, but literally everyone in comedy, ( except for me!), was on as a guest.
Some comics are funny and some are master wordsmiths and Colin is both. He has a way of deconstructing and examining every phrase and expression we use, only HE sees the humor and the folly in the things we say so matter-of-factly, and brings that to light on stage.
I loved his description of infighting among African countries which he likened to six Brooklyn high schools all letting out at the same time. That is HYSTERICAL!
Colin is referring to this show as a “work in progress”, and it’s so good as it is, that I’m sure something special will happen with it. I went to see it with my Comedy Matters Girl of the Month, (below) model/esthetician Maureen Gallagher, who has been immersing herself in the comedy world. Maureen literally laughed from the time she took her seat till Colin’s closing line, and it had nothing to do with the fact that I was tickling her the entire time! (LOL)
I had actually set out to see the show two weeks before I got there. Unbeknownst to me, Pres. Obama came to town without even letting me know, and for a trip that should have taken 20 minutes, I was tied up in my car for two hours, and never got there.
I thought I would lose my mind. I literally left my house in midtown at 7 P.M., and by 9 P.M. was still in my car and not even near the theatre. At 7:15 I could already tell I was in trouble, so I called my buddy Cal Wynter who owns the theatre, and told him I might be late. He was like, “ Don’t worry, we’ll hold the curtain for you.”
That made me even more nervous, as I envisioned people cursing me out, waiting for the show to start. Just before eight when I realized it was a hopeless cause, I called back to tell them I wouldn’t be able to make it at all.
I sent Colin an apology the next day which he graciously accepted, since he totally believed me, but my second attempt to attend was fraught with fear that something weird would happen again, so Maureen had the genius idea that we get down to the theatre around 5 P.M., have dinner, and wait for the show to start. And that’s just what we did. Not only is she gorgeous and funny, but she’s smart too!
On a personal note, Colin looks great. He lost so much weight he looks like he’s ready for Fashion Week. Anytime you have the opportunity to see Colin in any way, shape or form, go for it. It’s an experience not to be missed.
NY Underground Comedy Festival
Jim Mendrinos and Carole Montgomery run the NY Underground Comedy Festival and they basically do it by themselves. It’s a HUGE undertaking, and they do it well, but I’m sure it’s exhausting. I think that Jimmy used that hard work as a motivation to lose a lot of weight cause he looks great!
One of the clubs they use as a base of operations is The Strip, and on one of the nights of the festival they had an “80’s show” highlighting comics who started in the 80’s.
I got to see Ace-award winning comedian Steve Shaffer, who got his start at the club in those early days, as well as the great Joe Bolster who Chris Rock couldn’t stop raving about, during his book interview.
I also got to meet comedy legend Franklin Ajaye, who Jim brought in to headline several shows. I got to tell Franklin how he helped me to perform without knowing it.
I had read an old book about comics in which he said something to the effect that you can’t be a good comic unless you have experienced bombing. You have to bomb in order to get good. That inspired me to get over my fear of bombing and to get out on stage and fulfill my destiny, ( whatever that may be! LOL)
Also, Comic Strip regular Joe Machi , won the contest for up and coming comic held by the NYUCF at Gotham, and I just happened to be one of the judges. Let me add that it was unanimous amongst the other judges as well, which included Joann Grigioni, and Anne Harris from Comedy Central, Maria Perez-Brown from SITV, and comedy manager Amy Ambrosino . Joe’s very different, to say the least, and a funny guy.
Anthony Anderson’s monthly Mixtape show was killer as usual, but even moreso. It was Anthony’s birthday and he was in a really good mood. So was the audience and how could you NOT be, with talent like Mark Viera, from LA, who is hysterical, opening the show.
Mark talks a lot about his Puerto Rican wife who fortunately for him seems nothing like he portrays her to be in his act. She seemed very quiet and sweet, but she’s a great source of material for him, and I’m sure she doesn’t mind.
Also on the show were crowd pleaser Veronica Mosey, my old friend Capone who I hadn’t seen in too long, and who killed it when he went on, and then there was Earthquake who lived up to his name, and did a lot of damage! (LOL) He basically destroyed the place!
He says “Marriage is like having cable with only one channel.” He also said he “likes his women so Black that when they’re lying in bed they look like a hole in the sheets.”
Another memorable line was “ I’m gonna have a real Black TV show. It’s supposed to come on at 11. It’ll come on around 11:20. Some weeks it won’t come on at all.”
The guy is great. In the audience I also spotted Drew Fraser, and Wil Sylvince two of my favorites.
I also went down to check Loni Love’s show which I thoroughly enjoyed. I always like seeing Loni on VH1’s Black to the Future, and I also got to see and meet Vanessa Graddick who is not only funny, but has great stage presence as well. And a fantastic smile!
Jim Mendrinos was on that show too, and when he saw me he invited me to be a judge at the NYUCF. See why it pays not to stay home? I don’t run into anyone in my living room. Well, … hardly anyone! (LOL)
When I was in Montreal in July, Chris Mazzilli introduced me to T.J. Miller who played Stainer in “She’s Out Of My League”, and is in so many other movies, and Chris told me he was headlining Gotham, and I should make sure not to miss him.
T.J. was voted one of Variety’s Top 10 Comedians To Watch in 2008, and has certainly lived up to that honor.
I loved his character in the film, and really liked what he did on stage at Gotham. One line that stood out for me was “ I’m dyslexic. I was depressed and slashed my ankles.”
I look forward to seeing him again whenever he’s in New York.
Lauren Sivan Wins Funniest Reporter
Gotham hosted the fifth annual New York’s Funniest Reporter Show , which is the brainchild of PR Guru Ryan McCormick of Goldman McCormick public Relations.
Ryan has worked his butt off to make this show what it has become. In the past I’ve been a mentor to both Taryn Winter Brill from Good Morning America, and Cat Greenleaf, a feature reporter for NBC, who now has her own show on NBCNewYork called “Talk Stoop” where Cat interviews celebs and interesting, successful people on the stoop of her Brooklyn brownstone.
I have to remember to ask her what she’s going to do in the winter! With my luck she’ll invite me on her show in the middle of a snowstorm! (LOL)
This year I had the honor of being a judge along with Tasha Harris, Judith Regan, and Dennis Hof, the owner of Nevada’s legal brothel, The Bunny Ranch, and star of HBO’s Cathouse, which is having a revival in Dec. of 2010 called “The Blondtourage”, starring two of the girls he had with him, Cami Parker and Jazzy Jones.
Both of the girls were knockouts and gave me their business cards. They said they thought the three of us looked good together, and I had to call for paramedics, at just the thought! (LOL)
I also had the honor of inviting Lauren Sivan from Fox News to be part of the contest this year and she won. There was no doubt in any of the judges minds that she won. All of the contestants were great, like past performers Robert George of the NY Post, and Newsday and Fox News’ Ellis Henican, but Lauren was so comfortable up there, and so funny, and even did characters and impressions. She was so good that Maureen Gallagher told her she should continue performing and that I should write for her.
Comedy Matters Quickies
I had the nicest surprise. I got a call from PR queen Susan Blond’s office asking me to come and see a guy named Aksel Kolstad from Norway, who plays classical piano and does comedy. He’s performing at Carnegie Hall on Oct. 10th.
I didn’t expect to be blown away by the guy. First of all he was wearing a blue plaid suit, and wasn’t afraid of it. He totally owned it, if you know what I mean. As soon as I heard him play and tell some jokes, I thought to myself, “ a hip Victor Borge.”
Then I thought, he probably doesn’t even know who Victor Borge is. To my surprise I found out that Victor Borge was his idol, and he was thrilled at the comparison. I was so impressed with Aksel that I brought him to The Comic Strip to meet Richie Tienken, and Richie offered him a spot at the club. That doesn’t just happen.
When he can’t drag his grand piano around with him, he plays a crazy instrument called a Melodica, which is like a cross between a piano and a harmonica. Richie and I are going to see him in Carnegie Hall, and you should too!
Burt Smooth has been doing an urban comedy show at Laugh Lounge on Essex Street for at least a couple of years now, but I haven’t gotten around to seeing it until recently. The great Mike Yard is the host and he’s really funny, and Burt brings in an incredible line-up of talent. Another must see show.
So I attended the launch of MichaelaTV.com and I got invited to do Michaela Davies’ radio show which is on Mondays from 8-10 P.M. on urbanlatinoradio.com The girl is a powerhouse of energy. She does this web TV show and radio show, and she’s also a model, and she and her co-host Ashlee K. have interesting people like me on her show! (LOL)
The best part is that she’s my neighbor. She’s been living in the building next door to me for years, but we didn’t meet until I attended her event.
Tribute to Robert Schimmel
The comedy world lost a hero recently. The great and talented Robert Schimmel succumbed to injuries he suffered in a car crash. He lost an 11 year old son to cancer, and battled cancer himself. Fortunately he beat it. He couldn’t beat this.
One of the last times I saw him was at Carolines Comedy Club for the book party for his fun, touching, yet insightful book, “Cancer on $5. A Day”. I held his book and he held mine.
He was a good guy, an inspiration to many people, and he will be sorely missed. Rest in Peace Robert!
Comedy Matters Girl of the Month
Maureen Gallagher is not a comedian. She was a runway model who made it big in the 90’s. Her photos were seen all over the world. Especially the ones that Peter Beard shot of her in Africa. Now she’s a licensed esthetician, meaning she teaches people how to care for their skin, and be beautiful and if anyone can do that it’s her.
I think she’s really funny and I am trying to convince her to get up on stage and try performing. I’ve been immersing her in the comedy world, and took her to The Strip hoping to get her up on stage. We’ll see!!!
The “It” Factor
I was honored to be the first guest along with the legendary Joe Franklin on Aly Kaback’s CBS radio show The “It” Factor. Aly is an amazing young woman who has a company called VIP Talent Connect, which helps talented people launch a career in entertainment without getting ripped off.
She has so many clients already she has to be very selective on who she accepts. She makes it affordable and surrounds them with mentors that can help them to achieve their goals. I will be proud to be one of her mentors on Oct. 2nd at an event at Carolines Comedy Club.
We had a fantastic time on her inaugural show. It was great reminiscing with Joe and I actually found a tape of us together from one of my many appearances on his TV show in the early 90’s.
In those days I was promoting a character I created called “Spooneye”, and as silly as it sounds now, I would walk around the city holding a spoon in my eye the way you would wear a monacle, as if I didn’t even know it was there.
I taught Salvador Dali how to do it one night long ago at the St. Regis Hotel on East 55th Street where he used to hold court when he was in town, as well as famed film actress Emily Paul who looks better with an eye-spoon than anyone I’ve ever seen!
In the days when Andy Warhol’s people would try and “out-freak” each other in Central Park every Sunday, I once heard Ultra Violet say as she passed me covered in Vaseline and glitter, “ Holy S**t, that guy’s got a f@*%$#g spoon in his eye!”
Conan O’Brien actually once copied me by doing that on his show, and Cindy Adams wrote a funny column saying, “ I have no idea why anyone would even want credit for this, but Jeffrey Gurian actually held a spoon in his eye first!”
Anyway, until next time, remember, …. COMEDY MATTERS!!!