50 Cent Says He Was Never Really a Funny Guy
50 Cent was in town at the NEP Studios in Manhattan shooting the final episodes of his comedy/variety show 50 Central for BET. I got a surprise call from one of the several executive producers asking me to come and sit in on a taping to see what they were doing. I thought that was pretty cool. I hung out there for a few hours and again it was like a party. Actually, 50 himself told me they wanted kind of a New York party feel. I was given a tour, lots of food and snacks, and made to feel very at home. One of the other exec producers filled me in on the concept of the show. There are sketches with a fun cast including one token white guy who I’m sure they’re hoping will be the next Jim Carrey, man on the street stuff and also world premieres of music planned from top artists premiering never before seen music videos. And if anyone can pull that off it’s 50. They already shot 24 episodes, and will be airing the first twelve until December then take a break and air the next twelve starting around April, with maybe a live tour in between using the biggest names in every city. They’ve already done a spot with the cast of Power, Viveca Fox, Cedric the Entertainer, and Affion Crockett. It was a very cool studio and Dave Temple was the warm-up for the show.
I ran into a lot of people I knew working on the set. Comic Justin Herman is a supervising post producer overseeing the edit, as well as punch up work. And Colby Gaines who produced Pawn Stars and Joking Off told me that 50 was so great to work with and that he’s very hands-on in shaping the show. The way he explained it is that “Chappelle is a comedian who loves music and incorporated his musical heroes into his show. 50 is a musician who loves comedy and wanted to incorporate his comedy heroes into HIS show.” Then my man AB Butler cruised in with J.B. Smoove and that was pretty amazing. J.B. came to do a guest spot and brought a copy of his new book with him, The Book of Leon- The Philosophy of a Fool, which he told me that Larry David encouraged him to write. So 50 remembered meeting me at New York Comedy Club one night and the next thing I knew I was in a room with just him and J.B.. I whipped out my trusty iPhone to hear what 50 had to say about his own show. “I’m excited about it,” he said. “I think it’s fresh with new faces and new energy. I had a chance to cast people from all across the country. I found a lot of people who were almost ready, they just need a little more time to develop. The guys I used were a little more seasoned. The others will be brought in as day players when I feel they’re ready.” I asked him if he was already into comedy while he was making rap hits. He explained that “people have different sides to them, but depending on what musical genre you have a hit in that’s how people picture you. You become the song that works, so if it’s R&B that was love music, so you were a lover, and now people get a chance to see the other side of 50 Cent.” I asked him if he was a funny kid. He said “ I don’t think I was that funny. I was doing things I wasn’t supposed to do!” He went on, “This is more like me creating a platform to launch people who are really funny because I enjoy watching it, and I enjoy being part of the process.” He was very gracious with a great sense of humor.
J.B. Smoove: “There’s no Leon in J.B.”
Then I got to ask J.B. about his new book. “It’s a candid take on this character Leon Black from Curb that people have fallen in love with. It’s written completely in the voice of Leon Black and it goes from your early life until you die. It starts with pee-pees and johnsons, and goes all the way to kaput , which is the end of your life. And it covers all points in between like how to take care of your damn kids, how to bring the ruckus to a lady’s ass, all the cool stuff that this man Leon Black would know about. All the good and bad advice he gives Larry. And the mantra for the book is “Leon Black … he ain’t wrong, he just ain’t right!” At that point me and 50 Cent almost fell on the floor from laughing so hard. I swear I’m laughing hard while I’m writing this and listening to him on tape.
And then I asked him, “ How much of JB Smoove is in Leon Black.” And this is what he said, “There’s Leon in J.B. but there’s no J.B. in Leon. J.B.’s a very particular person, Leon is still trying to find himself. J.B. knows what the fuck he wants. But everybody needs a little Leon in their life. Everybody needs to speak up for themselves, talk a little shit once in a while, even if you can’t back it up. You got to be able to have that switch in your body, and Leon in this book, … he gonna teach you how to do that shit, … without gettin’ fucked up!” Cause you gonna get your ass whupped if you don’t know how to do it. This book is not for the faint of heart! It’s not for no cornballs, but don’t let Leon fuck your life up, cause he WILL fuck your life up. If you got a lady, you got kids at home, you got responsibilities, don’t get caught up in this mother-fuckin’ shit!” I couldn’t have said it better myself! The man is HILARIOUS, and I hated to leave the set!!!
As I was leaving Dave Temple told me he recorded his first album at The Comedy Works in Bristol, PA. It’s called The 1st One and will be available on iTunes, Tidal and Spotify as of late November when he’ll be having a release party at Bar 9 in Hell’s Kitchen, the same night he kicks off a new comedy show in the same venue. The show is called THE COMEDY JAWN (Jawn being a Philadelphia colloquialism).
F*cked Release Party Draws Big Comedy Crowd
It was a week for big stuff. Krystyna Hutchinson and Corinne Fisher the girls from the Guys We Fucked podcast released their book “F*cked” at a big classy party at a very cool place called Rose Hill Lounge and the whole young comedy world was there. Everybody you see in the clubs on a nightly basis. Some of the names, because there were too many to make note of, Ryan Dacalos, Danny Palmer, Giulio Gallarotti, Remy Kassimir, Walker Hays, Farah Brook, Harrison Greenbaum who photobombed a photo with the girls, AMarie Castillo, Ryan Reiss, James Myers, Steven Penta who’s Krystyna’s boyfriend who takes all the photos, Ryan Reiss, Sheba Mason, Daniel Perafan, Marie Faustin, Madison Malloy who took some fun photos with me in the photo booth, Matt Kleinschmidt, Gina Savage, Brendan Sagalow, Mara Marek, Matt Richards, Chrissie Mayr, Frank Pellegrino, Myka Fox, Katie Hannigan, Lance Weiss, Camille Theobald and Adele Carollo from The Stand. There were lots more but I ran out of steam! And at one point Corinne and Krystyna got up and made a little speech about how grateful they were for all the support, and thanked everyone for coming. And there was a big chocolate cake that said “F*CKED” on it with both of the girls faces.
Katie Hannigan told me she’s in the finals for New York’s Funniest being held at Carolines in November and Camille Theobald said that she and Abby Feldman are doing a new show at Rockwood the 2nd Saturday of every month and that she and Abby improv songs in between sets from the comics. So far they’ve had Mark Normand, Aparna Nancherla, and Kevin Barnett grace the stage.
Jay Nog Tapes an Hour Special
Jay Nog taped his special at New York Comedy Club and I had to stop off and wish him luck. It was a Comedy Dynamics project and it’s called Put Me In Coach. Jay’s a big sports freak and the cover is him naked from the back, on a sports field, wearing only a sports jersey on top and peeing into a Gatorade cooler from a distance. I asked him how he got away with shooting that and he said they did it at 7 A.M. in a school in Yonkers the town in which he used to coach football. I asked him how he got to Comedy Dynamics and he said it was because of his show Paid or Pain that’s on Sirius XM, which brought it to the attention of Jack Vaughn head of comedy on Sirius. He said he wanted to do an album and has been working on it for the past 6-7 months. He got the nod last December but Jay said he wanted to wait till his son was born who is now 5 months old. Another new dad named Jay! Jay and owner Emilio Savone thanked me for coming and giving “my blessing” to the project!
Jeffrey Takes the Mic This Week on Week in Sex, the A&A Show and Westside
Early in the week I hit up a strip club called Rick’s Cabaret where Alan Fuks does his Week in Sex podcast from one of the private dancer champagne rooms. Only this time for some reason there was a problem with the electricity and all the lights were out so they did it in the dark. At first I thought it was on purpose to set the mood, but as we were all crashing into things I realized it was an electrical problem. So while dancers did their thing downstairs I sat in the dark with Alan and Esther Steinberg discussing hot topics like sexual harassment, which Esther said she never gets because her boyfriend, comic Noah Gardenswartz is so big.
Next day was the A&A Show, Artie Lange and Anthony Cumia do a really fun show out of Anthony’s Compound Media Studios on the West Side, and it’s always great fun to hang with those guys. All you can do is follow their lead and Artie is so damn quick, sitting next to him on camera and watching him come up with one quip after the next is like watching someone do magic. And such a humble guy. They talk about whatever’s happening in the world and on the news with refreshingly candid points of view. No political correctness here thank you! And the staff is so cool you really feel like you’re at a party. I was there with Jay Larson who reminded me that we had first met years ago when he did New Faces up at JFL back in 2005. Since then he’s been on Conan, Comedy Central with his half hour, and Showtime. He was in town promoting his new special Me Being Me which he shot last year at the El Rey Theatre in downtown LA and it’s a lot about his new role as a dad, how hard parenting really is, wondering how other people exist, and examining his own existence as a human, and husband besides being a new father. He was also doing The Bonfire and You Know What Dude with Bobby Kelly while in town. He said it was his most personal work to date and he had only done it seven times before recording it. He believed in it enough to self-produce it. That means he paid (big time)!
I always try and stop by the new West Side Comedy Club and this time I had to cause it was my first time performing there. It was a lucky night cause I got to re-connect with Kevin Farley who looks so much like his brother Chris on stage it’s crazy! He came in with his manager Roger Paul and after his set we hung out a bit to catch up cause it’s literally been years. He’ll be in New York more often these days thanks to Roger, and is working on the Netflix series with Bill Burr called F IS For Family where he just wrapped the third season. He plays a couple of different voices, but he said that most of his energy right now is being put into stand-up. What I didn’t know was that he used to be in a boy band called Get Her, back in 2000 and that he sings and dances too. Buddy Fitzpatrick was the host and he’ll be touring with Joy Behar in Florida over the winter starting in December.
John Butera does a show at Broadway Comedy Club and I stopped by to check it out. He not only produces there but in about 8-10 other venues out on Long Island. He does mostly fundraisers which is a wonderful way to use comedy to help people. Thanks for that John. He had a great line-up with Jeffrey Paul as the host who told me he didn’t know he was hosting till he got there, but welcomed the opportunity. He just scored a role in the new Scorcese film The Irishman playing either a gangster or a Teamster. Yet to be determined. He’s also producing a comedy benefit for Puerto Rico as well as a Pediatric cancer Foundation benefit at The Loony Bin in early November which is already sold out with Chris Murphy, Richie Byrne, Johnny Lombardi and Gemini. It’s in honor of his nephew diagnosed with lymphoma at age 6 and now a healthy 19 year old. Good stuff!
The Creek and the Cave was the scene of a live version of Kenny Warren’s Comics Cutting Comics and it was CRAZY! The audience got a real treat. They set up two barber chairs and each comic gets a haircut before they go on. Everyone except Sydnee Washington of course, cause they would have gotten killed if they had tried to touch that beautiful hair! Before the show hanging out in the restaurant I was treated to a dance recital by Wendi Starling and Alex Pavone singing their hearts out and dancing to Destiny Child’s “Say My Name.” The line-up was great including Larry Beyah, Troy Hunt, Alex Babbitt, Tait Winston, John Ovalles, and Barry Ribs. And I think a big thank you is due to Stephanie Martinez the all around stage and production manager who made sure that everyone was where they were supposed to be and that everything happened that was supposed to! Sydnee, who’s very open about her gayness in her act, does a podcast called The Unofficial Expert with Marie Faustin and they have comics on who feel they are experts in different things. It was covered in Time Out. So Nore Davis came on as a “dope baby daddy expert” thanks to his little daughter, Wendi Starling came on as a sugar daddy expert because I guess that’s her field, and Petey D’Abreu came on as the “hood expert”! Sounds like a hoot!
More love for this column; I was invited to cover a couple of new episodes from the 2nd season of the Australian TV show Rosehaven on the Sundance Channel being shown as part of the New York Television Festival held at the Helen Mills Theatre. It stars Luke Mcgregor and Celia Pacquola who happened to be real friends that started out together on the stand-up scene in Australia. Luke is actually from Tasmania which I think is an island off Australia and Celia is from a small town in Victoria. They pitched an idea they came up with and were pleasantly surprised when it got greenlit for a series about two best friends in a platonic relationship living in a small town trying to run a real estate agency. They created and write the thing. After the presentation, we got to hang out and Celia told me they used to do 3 second TV shows on Vine. She also said that Luke has OCD and she has “moods.” She said that in stand up they share everything about themselves on stage, and that it’s nice to be able to make certain things happen. Like in Season 2 she always wanted to hold a baby goat and she made that happen. She also said that years ago if she ever had to guess which one of her friends she’d be doing a show with her last guess would have been Luke. That’s how crazy life is. And yes, it’s a funny show!
While sitting there I was joined by Lauren Greenhall who was a former associate producer of comedy shows at the New York Comedy Festival, and used to do video interviews for the NY Post. She reminded me that she had actually contacted me about doing one, which unfortunately never happened, and which is probably why she had to remind me! She created a pilot that was a finalist in the NYTV truTV Comedy Initiative and it’s called “Put That In Your Skits” where she takes people’s BAD comedy ideas, and brings them to reality with them overseeing the project. That HAS to be funny! She produced and co-stars and I wish I had had the time to stay and see it cause it sounded good, but I had to run to 16 other events! Like YouTube star Lauren Francesca’s new comedy pilot being shot at the YouTube space down on 9th Avenue. This is gonna be special, and more details will follow soon as soon as I’m allowed!
Big News! My New Book Is Now Available
Last thing, today is the day my new book gets launched on Amazon as an e-book, and I am making it free for readers of this column for two days, today Monday 10/30 and tomorrow Tuesday 10/31.
PLEASE, please, please download it on Amazon at this link and be kind enough to leave a positive review. Trying to get my first Best Seller and that’s how Amazon rates books. It’s called Healing Your Heart, By Changing Your Mind – A Spiritual and Humorous Approach to Achieving Happiness and I think it’s the kind of book that can appeal to everyone. As of this writing it’s already #6 in one category. If you’ve ever been in my column or enjoyed reading it I hope you’ll take a moment to download at this link and hopefully enjoy it.
And with that, I’m OUT!!!