Look Who’s Writing for Amazon Comedy
Amazon seems to be killing it in the content creation department and this week at Comedy Juice, after Pete Lee ran his Fallon set for which he got a standing ovation from the Fallon audience this past Thursday, I ran into Noah Gardenswartz who told me he’s writing for the new Amazon series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. It’s about a Jewish housewife in the 50’s whose husband leaves her and she starts doing stand-up comedy (read our review). It’s described as a “dramedy” and also writing on the show is comic Jen Kirkman. It’s being shot at Steiner Studios and new episodes will be seen in the Fall.
Mark Normand Bought a West Village Apartment
Made a late night stop at The Stand on my way home and caught Mark Normand hanging out with photographer Phil Provencio on their way to do some kind of a crazy shoot. Mark just moved into his new apartment in the West Village which he owns and loves and bought with his saved up “Schumer money”. He’s psyched to be doing the Tonight Show this coming Thursday, the 11th, the day before his new one hour special drops on Comedy Central called Amy Schumer Presents Mark Normand: Don’t Be Yourself. I asked him about the editing process for his special, because that’s where the magic either happens or doesn’t and he said he edited it himself, … with the editor of course, but he made the choices. He said it was a grueling experience which they did in about three 7 hour sessions.
I’ll be seeing Mark again in a couple of weeks if not before when we both head out to Vegas for Paul Chamberlain’s eagerly awaited Crapshoot Comedy Festival featuring 30 top comics over the three days of the fest, with headliner Dave Attell. I’ll be there shooting my videos and talking to everyone as usual, hopefully with the assistance of a production company and online network that is behind me now. More on that to come!
George Wallace stayed in town after his best friend Jerry Seinfeld taped his Netflix specials last week at The Comic Strip. If you missed that, I broke the story in this past Monday’s column. George came back for Cinco de Mayo and performed on two shows hosted by Ruperto Vanderpool. I LOVE that name. Ruperto insists his father spelled his name wrong and that’s how it came to be Ruperto.
George has his ever-present yellow legal pad with him packed with notes and comedy premises. He’s preparing for a gig next week in Atlanta, where he’ll be headlining the Atlanta Comedy Theater for the first time. Then he’ll be off to the South Point Hotel & Casino in Vegas, before he heads back to New York. He said he always looks forward to performing at The Strip because it’s “always nice to come home.” George auditioned while The Strip was still under construction in 1976. He came in selling bus advertising and while he was there, he happened to mention that he did a little comedy. They asked him to prove it and he took a phone book which he used as a Bible, and transformed himself into “The Reverend George Wallace”, and the rest, as they say, is history. George is truly legendary, but considers himself a newcomer to stand-up again as he spent ten years doing his top rated 10 P.M. show on The Strip in Vegas, and is now touring and writing all new stuff. He told me that Paul Reiser flew in for Jerry’s second taping last Saturday night, and afterwards they all went out to Cafe Luxembourg, cause they hadn’t been there in 30 years and it’s still a fun place and stays open late. After the show on Sunday night, Netflix took about 20 people out for dinner to a cool Italian place downtown.
Ruperto Vanderpool shot a guest appearance on Aziz Ansari’s Netflix show Master of None in which he plays a doorman. He said he auditioned for the role and then got a call back before he was told he had the part. They shot it on the Upper West Side and in Brooklyn at the Netflix studios.
Godfrey Handles Hecklers Like a Pro
I stopped by Gotham to catch Godfrey who was headlining and saw him do a masterful bit on Chinese cinema in which he imitated every type of Chinese character you might see in a Kung fu movie from the hero, to a gay guy, to the requisite old Chinese man, to the villain, using words that sounded like Chinese, but actually weren’t. But he has the intonation and rhythm down perfectly. He talked about his trip to China and how fascinating it was, and how he has two Black friends who are fluent in Chinese and the three of them go to Chinatown and just mess with people who can’t believe that Black guys actually speak Chinese.
Throughout his set, he was interrupted by loud people sitting right in front in the audience. He even caught them filming him on their phones.So he did a very cool thing. He sacrificed doing his Denzel imitation which is always a great close for him, to school these people on how to act when they come to a comedy show. It was great. He said that he likes awkward situations and loves to chastise people who deserve it. And these people certainly did. He explained to them that they might think they’re funny because everyone thinks they have a sense of humor, which is why they feel comfortable yelling out things at a comedy show, but yet they don’t yell out things at the opera, because everyone doesn’t think they have an operatic voice the way they think they have a sense of humor.
He explained that comedy is about timing and that if you yell out during a joke, you ruin the timing of the joke that the comedian worked so hard to craft. And the only reason you think you have a sense of humor is because you think you’re funny to someone in your life. He told them they needed to learn to respect an art form, and that he could have had them thrown out at any time, but he chose not to. It was a very classy thing and could only have been done by a real pro like Godfrey.
After the show, he greeted all of his fans and took photos with everyone who wanted one. His special Regular Black is available on Showtime On Demand, and he taped it in his hometown of Chicago. He’s also playing a recurring character in Jon Glaser’s Adult Swim show Neon Joe, Werewolf Hunter in which he plays a character named “Plaid Jeff”. It should air sometime this summer.
Stopped by Stand Up New York late on Saturday night and the same thing that happened to Godfrey happened to Dante Nero, and he also handled it well. Some obnoxious woman who was sitting right up front kept talking and making remarks throughout his whole act, even challenging him on things he said about relationships. Dante told her that just because some people might consider her attractive, that does not allow her to just keep yapping during the show and that no one in the audience paid to hear what she had to say. The guy who was with her was cringing in embarrassment, and when she finally realized that everyone in the room hated her and she got up to leave, she was met with a huge round of applause while exiting the room. I think the crowd was ready to lynch her. Dante and the guy hung out afterwards having drinks at the bar.
BTW, Dante is using a lot of the “relationship” material he talks about on his Beige Phillip podcast and turning it into jokes. In effect , he’s literally dropping knowledge on the audience and they love it, the same as they do on the show. The bar was packed with Dean Edwards, Yamaneika Saunders with whom I had a very deep spiritual discussion, Ryan Reiss, and a bunch of other comics waiting to go on. Dante, Ryan and Ray Ellin accompanied Pete Lee when he did Fallon this past week, and Dante echoed what I always say about Jimmy, … the nicest, most talented late night host of all time.
Sal Vulcano News and Keep Your Eye on Tyler Fisher
The Hot Soup guys are also doing their show at New York Comedy Club now and I stopped by to schmooze with Sal Vulcano and host Tyler Fisher, who told me he hosts about once a month at their original show at The Irish Exit. Tyler just made an audition tape for The Daily Show in which he had to make believe he was interviewing host Trevor Noah. He’s also waiting to find out about Montreal this summer and has a callback scheduled for May 22nd at The Stand.
Sal and the Impractical Jokers boys will be heading back to Europe in October and they’ll be performing as The Tenderloins. They will also be in Vegas for Crapshoot and we made plans to shoot something cool while they’re there. One of Sal’s shows will be at the El Cortez hotel, the headquarters of the festival and where lots of the comics are staying. Sal went up last and did a great set. He’s become a really accomplished story teller!
Congrats to Chris Gethard who will be moving his Funny or Die produced show to truTV and doing it live. Executive Producers are Zach Galifianakis, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Owen Burke, Chris, JD Amato, Anna Wenger and Brian Stern. With all those executive producers, how could it go wrong? And Chris’s special Chris Gethard: Career Suicide executive produced by Judd Apatow premiered this past weekend on HBO.
Comedian Needs Help
My buddy comedy juggler Billy Prudhomme told me a sad story about one of our comedy brothers in Florida. Simeon Kirkiles lost his home and everything he had, in a devastating house fire, including his two beloved dogs. His Mom was injured as well, but luckily survived. Comedian Phil Tag is trying to organize a benefit show, hopefully for June 9th, and comic Angela Calo organized a GOFundMe page in case anyone can contribute.
Broadway Comedy Owner Will Podcast Live for Pride Week
Broadway Comedy is having lots of cool shows and while I was there catching David Suarez’s packed show I ran into JC Best who does the wildly interesting podcast Trans Talk with Broadway co-owner Dina Marie Martin formerly David Martin, owner Al Martin’s son who bravely transitioned and is now his daughter. They’ll be doing their podcast live at Carolines on June 21st as part of Pride Week.
Dina Marie told me that she’s basically very shy, and would NEVER have been able to do this kind of podcast with anyone but JC who is loving and supportive. You can see that the affection they have for each other is sincere and genuine. All their guests are either trans people or what is known as “trans-adjacent”, which they explained to me means that their lives have been affected in some way by a trans person. They are expecting Lauren Hennessy to come on soon, the man who is married to Chemda Khalili from the Keith and The Girl podcast, and they told me that one of their most interesting guests was a brother and sister who are both trans and reversed to still be brother and sister, but in the opposite way from which they started. Confused? You’re not alone! You can hear it on iTunes, Sound Cloud, Stitcher, and YouTube.
Jeffrey Gurian Gets Ghoulish for Netflix
I spent more than two hours in the make-up chair to be converted to a dead guy who comes to life in Vincent Veloso’s Amazon series Changelings:Cambions: followed by another word I don’t have the symbols for on my computer keyboard,(:kæmbiəns). The show is best described as a “creep noir new media series” or “Fright Night meets Blade Runner.” I shot my scenes with YouTube star Lauren Francesca who has over 2 million fans on Facebook, and who also had to wear facial prosthetics and really scary teeth. It was such a fun shoot. Can’t wait to show it to you when it comes out! I sent the photo below to one of my daughters without an explanatory note and she wrote back in a panic, “OMG Dad what happened to you?”
Vincent told me he already did a rough cut and it’s creepy, scary and funny all at the same time.
And with that…I am OUT!