Tag Archives: Jerry Seinfeld

Review: “Make ‘Em Laugh: 35 Years of The Comic Strip”

PhotobucketDon’t let the names of the hilarious funnymen and women on the cover fool ya, this book is NO JOKE!

Released earlier this week from Skyhorse Publishing “MAKE ‘EM LAUGH: 35 Years of The Comic Strip, The Greatest Comedy Club of All Time!” is a must-have if you are a fan of stand up comedy, the behind the scenes lives of comedians or just the history of show business in general. A New York institution, the Comic Strip Live! was born out of the imagination of Richie Tienken, Robert Wachs and John McGowan after seeing a place for more competition in the just-about-to-burst stand up comedy scene of the mid-1970’s. The oft-fabled ‘comedy boom’ hadn’t yet happened, but there were still plenty of comedians to go around, looking for anywhere to get up on stage and with limited stage time to be had, the opening of the seven-night-a-week Comic Strip was a blessing for the burgeoning community.

“Make ‘Em Laugh,” written by Tienken and comedy writer Jeffrey Gurian tells the story of the club through both the perspectives of the club and its longtime ownership, but also the talent that has come through the doors. Many of the stories shared in these 200+ pages are hilarious, insightful tales being shared now for the very first time. Contributors to the book include Billy Crystal, Paul Reiser, Ray Romano, Lewis Black, Larry Miller, Colin Quinn (who got his start as a bartender at the club), Jerry Seinfeld (who was the long-time nightly host at the Yorkville establishment) and Chris Rock, who not only generously contributed the introduction for the book, but also is one of the most interesting stories in the history of the club, as the kid from Brooklyn who would make the trek into the city every night to work as a busboy for the club with the hopes of getting thrown up on stage late in the evening for Late Night. But as history knows, that all changed when a powerful young man named Eddie Murphy stopped by the Strip one night and Chris got his chance to shine. The rest is show biz history.

The book is a powerful, wonderful account that shows where the club came from and where it is today. Divided into sections – The Older Kids, which gets insight from the first few generations of Comic Strip acts including George Wallace, Joe Bolster, Wayne Federman and the aforementioned Quinn, Seinfeld and Reiser to The Younger Kids where we hear from some of todays biggest comedy stars including Jeffrey Ross, Judah Friedlander, Lisa Lampanelli, Jim Breuer and Jim Gaffigan, Friends of the Family where we talk to Rory Rosegarten, former owner of neighbor club Catch A Rising Star Rick Newman, and longtime landlord for the Comic Strip David Eberhart. The final chapters of the book at devoted to the future of the club, both listing off some of the more promising, exciting “Next Generation” talents that the Strip is showcasing as well and drawing attention to steps the club is taking to be stay up-to-date be the most socially and technologically relevant club of the 21st Century.

Beyond simply conducting interviews, what makes “Make ‘Em Laugh” truly shine is its openness and honesty. While most would expect any book written by those associated with a club, about their club to be self-congratulatory, Gurian and Tienken allow for the entire story to be told – even the occasionally less-than-flattering stories. No marriage is perfect and sometimes the relationship being the talent and the management can be a difficult one, but Gurian and Tienken wanted to whole story to be told, and it was. Brilliantly.

At a time when anyone can send a few emails and get a few quick pull-quotes and throw together a quick “feature” for a blog or website, it is encouraging and delightful to see the effort and lengths that have gone into forming “Make ‘Em Laugh” the book that it is. This was clearly no hastily thrown together side-project. Great hours were spent cultivating this book and all of that extra work truly pays off. And as with any book, the reader is the one who ends up benefiting the most.

A four-year-plus labor or love, “Make ‘Em Laugh” is a must-have read for every comedian and a very exciting, peek-behind-the-curtain for any comedy fan.

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Looking Back at the Year 2011, part 8

2011. You might have been the best we’ve ever had. We hope not, but for the time being, you weren’t half-bad.

All this month, we’ve been looking back at some of the biggest moments from around the Comic Strip Live! in the year 2011. We’ve had some big ones, but this next one might take the cake!

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Long, LONG-time friend of the Comic Strip (such an old friend of the club, that before he started doing stand-up full time, he worked as our BARTENDER!) Colin Quinn‘s Broadway production “Long Story Short: The History of the World in 90 Minutes” not only initially made it to the Avenue of Artistic Greatness, but received not one, but TWO extensions!

Originally slatted to close in February, Quinn’s show was held-over on the Great White Way well into March due to audience demand. Directed by Jerry Seinfeld, Quinn also recorded the special for HBO.

The Saturday Night Live alum has come by the club a few times this last year. We hope to see Colin again very soon.

Congratulations

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George Wallaces stops by the Comic Strip!

Just when they thought that they’d seen it all…

This last Saturday night during our already star-studded 10:30 show, one of comedy’s greatest living legends, the great George Wallace swung by his old stomping ground to work out some material for his upcoming appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman.

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Wallace delighted the sold out crowd with samplings of his long-running Vegas show and gave everyone in attendance more than enough positive encouragement to tune into his Letterman appearance this week.

George is a Comic Strip Live! Hall-of-Famer who’s head shot hangs on the main wall as you enter the club to your left. The Strip is where George met his former roommate and friend Jerry Seinfeld amongst others. Wallace has made surprise appearance at the Strip many times in the last few years and the odds of him returning again soon are high.

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Apatow and Seinfeld discuss the Comic Strip on Maron’s WTF

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Last week on Comic Strip Live! Hall of Famer Marc Maron‘s Podcast W.T.F., Marc interviewed comedy super producer/writer/director Judd Apatow. The two discussed all things comedy as well as Judd’s development from simply being a fan of comedy to his days as a Long Island comedy club employee to his own stand up career all the way to the success he is today.

One of the most fascinating parts of the two-part podcast, was when Judd played audio interviews that he conducted as a 16-year old fan trying to learn about the business. He talked with Garry Shandling, Jay Leno and former longtime Comic Strip house emcee, Jerry Seinfeld. Jerry talks about how he got started in comedy and how he would work nightly at the Comic Strip, starting in the late night hours (like many of our current Late Night stars) before moving up the roster to become the great comedian we all know today. It’s a great listen.

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Lobby Life! (featuring Jerry Seinfeld!!!)

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Comic Strip Alum Carol Leifer joins NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice”

BREAKING NEWS!
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Comic Strip Live! alumna Carol Leifer has signed on to become a cast member of the hit NBC show “Celebrity Apprentice”.

Carol will be competing against an as-yet-to-be-announced number of celebrity contestants for the shows top prize. We think that she is going to win.

Leifer, a nationally touring headline comedian has been a long-time staple of the Comic Strip’s history.

“I auditioned Carol Leifer, Paul Reiser and Jerry Seinfeld on the same day.” – said club owner Robert Wachs.

Shooting for the program began on October 20th.

Best wishes to you Carol!

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