"I am not on Twitter. I am not going to be on Twitter...I will read your Tweet after I have read everything else."
-- Gary Gulman
Happy Birthday, Gary! You adorable comedy curmudgeon, you.
Gary Gulman opened with a quick quip about wanting "to set the record for beards of bees" before setting down his recording device on the stool onstage. "But first, I'm going to record this, so you can see where you can do better...because you might mail it in," Gulman said, referring in fact to the audience. "And when you come back at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow you can know how to be better."
Kudos to the big guy, also, for successfully using the word "irascible" in a punchline. About The Mary Tyler Moore Show, even.
Gary Gulman told me that watching Dane Cook's Tourgasm has been an interesting contrast to his prolonged exposure on NBC's Last Comic Standing two years earlier. "Some of it has been relevatory, and some of it has been fun, like watching a home movie. Luckily, I was not the focal point of conflict like Robert (Kelly) and Jay (Davis). They continue to have their flare-ups."
"I think that with Last Comic Standing, I was on my best behavior the whole time because I knew everything I said would be on camera. (With this), there was no concrete, 'Hey, this is going to be on NBC in November.' This was done on spec."
As for this season of LCS? "I watched it until April Macie got knocked off, and I've been boycotting it since then," he said. April Macie? Oh, right. His girlfriend at the time. She made it onto the Queen Mary docked cruise ship, but lost out in the first head-to-head-to-head challenge -- this year the comics performed in threes, perhaps to speed the eimination process along? "April is featuring at the shows. As an added bonus!" he said. "After Tourgasm ends, I have a one-hour Comedy Central special coming out. They never gave me a half-hour, so I ended up holding out for a whole hour."
Gulman grew up in Peabody, Mass., and went to Boston College, so performing in Boston always changes his set list.
"It was strange, because when I was living in Boston, I wasn't doing local stuff," he told me. But now the silly things get inside his head. "So when I hear the Giant Glass commercial 16 times an hour on (W)EEI, I think the people have become immune to it. Like it's background noise, it's on so much. But I hear it. Or I hear everyone is doing their own furniture commercials, so it's easier to notice it. People appreciate the local jokes. They think I'm making it up on the fly, but I've put a little bit of thought into it...a lot of it in the observation is the punchline. The Bob-o-pedic speaks for itself!" Really? "Oh, my god. Mrs. Bob with her mime routine?"
Since it was summer, we talked about handling the heat. Gulman said he preferred Good Harbor in Gloucester over the closer-to-home Revere Beach. "I can remember in high school, that's where the IROC-Z parade would start and finish. They'd just go around and around. It was terrific...I don't know why we would go up there...we weren't what they'd call Guidos. We weren't, maybe part of it was anthropology, part of it was potluck, thinking we could meet a girl. How were we supposed to think we'd meet a girl, driving around? Sometimes guys could do that, but when you're leaning against a 1979 Cutlass Supreme, there's not a big draw there."
Last year, I introduced Gary Gulman to an Arizona comedy-club audience as "the pride of Peabody."
Turns out there is now some truth to that.
Gulman, 34, lives in Los Angeles but returned to his hometown this summer for a special performance on "Gary Gulman Day."
"I got a proclamation from the mayor," he said. "I did a show to raise money for the YMCA in Peabody. The show took place at City Hall. It was really cool. So I am sort of the pride of Peabody, I guess - along with the Northshore Mall."
He comes back every couple of months.
"It’s very odd to go back there," he said. "Most people from Peabody, I don’t know if you know this, but they’ve never been to Boston. They’ve never seen me in person. So I’m pretty excited."
Plus, Gulman is a celebrity of sorts after two seasons in prime time on NBC’s Last Comic Standing. Do people treat him any differently?
"I lift weights for free at PowerFit Gym, which is nice," he said. "I still have a core group of fans everywhere I go, but here I don’t worry about selling out the shows as much. That’s really helpful."
Fans have learned about his obsession with cookies, candy and snack food. Sold-out shows across the country during the Last Comic Standing run attracted long lines of adoring fans, many with bags full of cookies.
"I put on a lot of weight during that run," Gulman said.
But it hasn’t deterred him from keeping up on the latest snack-food news.
"KitKat has gone the way of the Oreo - every single combination possible to lure more eaters," Gulman said. "White chocolate. Extra creamy chocolate. Then they tried an experiment with an orange creme KitKat. Moving into the fruit world is a risk. You may lose your core audience. But they are thinking outside the wrapper, so I give them credit for that."
But an extra-crispy KitKat? No, no.
"Nobody gets off on the wafer in the KitKat," he said.
Then again, he added, "that’s how they discovered penicillin, so maybe one of these will be the next wonder of the world."
Just then, Gulman drives past a Bernie & Phyl billboard.
"I love that every person who owns a furniture store has to do their own TV commercials," Gulman said. "Every great thespian comes from a background of selling love seats."
Gulman flies back to L.A. next week to tape The Tonight Show with Jay Leno for Dec. 23, "with Sienna Miller of Jude Law infidelity fame."
Then it’s the ”very rare” convergence of Christmas and Hanukkah on the calendar.
"I’ve wanted to celebrate Christmas for so long," Gulman said. "And I’ve outgrown the toy aspect of it. But the trees and the lights, and I’m not sure about this, but there may have been a religious component to it at some point."
Don’t think Gulman missed the whole holiday-tree/war-on- Christmas debate.
"I think it’s a real waste of time," he said. "The more minute and unimportant, the more they rally around it these days."
When really, we should be talking about KitKats.
"Exactly!" Gulman said.
News flash...I'm proud to report that I'm hosting the shows this weekend at the Tempe Improv with Alonzo Bodden, Gary Gulman and Jay London of NBC's hit stand-up comedy show, Last Comic Standing. Last night's show was sold-out, two shows tonight, two shows Saturday, and now two shows Sunday. The crowd was electric last night. Good times. Good times. And yes, ladies, Gary really is dreamy, Alonzo really is nice and Jay really is shy. If you're in the area and can catch the show, be sure to say hello. Thank you.