Archives For Garden Of Laughs

Bob Saget just filmed a TV special in Brooklyn at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. There has been a recent surge in stand-up comedy yielding big paydays; Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock just scored separate deals worth $20 million a special for their work. But Saget swears he isn’t doing this for the money.

Matter-of-fact, to drive his point home, the actor told me he’s almost never had a major check in mind when seeking out or accepting a gig.

“When I got ‘Full House,’ I just needed a job,” he recalled. “I got fired from a CBS show and I took the money that was offered. And then when I got (America’s Funniest Home Videos) I took the money that was offered and then it became number one and then you find out you get money.

“I have never made money for the reason that I do (projects)… that has nothing to do with how I operate and that’s probably been against my better judgment.”

Saget’s career has sustained regardless of the motivation. That’s evident in the varying reactions he receives while walking around New York City.

“It really varies,” he explained. “It’s ‘Full House,’ it’s ‘Fuller House,’ it’s ‘Aristocrats,’ it’s a line ‘Half Baked’ I can’t repeat.”

The comedian summed it up as “bizarre” and a “bipolar existence” in that people seem to enjoy both his family programs and his “soft-R” material. Saget loves doing both, and perhaps that’s all the motivation he needs.

Stand-up comedian Sebastian Maniscalco doesn’t take his success granted. His roots won’t allow it.

“It’s great to do (comedy) for a living now,” he told me. “I worked as a waiter and then I was selling satellite dishes out of a mall so to be doing comedy for a living and what I always dreamed of is fantastic.”

Maniscalco has been in the comedy game for 18 years and is currently experiencing a surge of popularity. His humor is centered on real-life family experiences that resonate with both millennials and baby-boomers. Maniscalco’s most-recent special, “Why Would You Do That?” was filmed in the iconic Beacon Theater on New York City’s Upper West Side. It premiered on Showtime last October and he’ll continue touring behind it until at least November. The Chicago-born comedian also appeared on all of the major late-night shows and perhaps most notably, Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee.”

The next big dates in the Northeast for Maniscalco include a string of three shows at The Borgata in Atlantic City and a night headlining Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut. Don’t expect to find the comedian at a craps table though; he says gambling was left behind in his 20’s.

“Now I just go and perform and go out to dinner,” Maniscalco said of his casino show routine. “I love eating. My wife and I love cooking, entertaining, travel… so yeah, that’s kind of what we like doing.”

Sure beats waiting tables or working in a shopping mall.

Harry Styles just dropped his new single, a throwback that recalls British artists of yesteryear entitled “Sign Of The Times.” He’ll perform it next weekend on “Saturday Night Live.”

I jokingly asked Michael Che, the SNL star who co-anchors the “Weekend Update” desk, if he is receiving any extra ticket requests due to the One Directioner’s forthcoming appearance.

“Well I’ll be honest with you, most of my family are African-American, so they’re not huge Harry Styles fans believe it or not,” the comedian quipped back. “There might be some!

“Nobody’s hit me up yet. It’s not like Drake!”

Che walked the red carpet at The Garden Of Laughs comedy show benefiting Madison Square Garden’s Garden Of Dreams Foundation. He thought it was important to support ‘SNL’ cast-mate Leslie Jones along with some of his other friends, like Chris Rock and Tracy Morgan.

“Typically on a Tuesday we would be in the middle of writing and we wouldn’t come up for air until Wednesday, sometime in the daytime,” Che explained of the typical schedule during a show week. “SNL” had last week off; it returns this weekend with host Louis C.K. and musical guests The Chainsmokers. Jimmy Fallon takes over hosting duties next Saturday, when Styles is set to perform.

As for Che, he will tour behind his Netflix special “Michael Che Matters” this June, with the trek’s first stop in Boston. Some New Englanders weren’t exactly thrilled earlier this year when during a “Weekend Tonight” segment about the Super Bowl, the comedian referred to Boston as “the most racist city I’ve ever been to.”

“You know what’s so funny? I have so much fun in Boston as far as performing shows,” Che told me. “I love performing in Boston.”

Just two weeks ago he headlined a show at Boston University and according to the Boston Globe, refused to apologize for his remarks because, “I’m just trying to be more presidential.”

Ironically, you could call that a sign of the times too.

For Norman Reedus, one of the stars of “The Walking Dead,” his run on the hit AMC show has been rather unexpected.

“I didn’t know I was going to be on the second episode of the first season,” Reedus revealed to me on the red carpet at The Garden Of Laughs charity event inside The Theater at Madison Square Garden last week. “I’m excited just to be here, you know what I mean?”

Now seven seasons later, the actor who plays Daryl Dixon has grown accustomed to walking around New York City and hearing adoring fans shout, “Don’t die!”

“I get a lot of police love and firemen love here,” he responded when I asked what fan interactions are like in the city. “(They talk) mostly about the show.”

And while Reedus talks about it comfortably, he admitted that there are some scenarios that he is not fully accustomed to.

“I just came back from Madrid and there were 10,000 screaming people in the streets and sometimes that’s overwhelming,” he admitted. “But it always feels good. I mean we work really hard on that show and we shoot it out in a bubble in the woods of Georgia so, when we come out of that and we get a lot of love it feels good.”

Sometimes he doesn’t even have to leave Georgia to feel the love. When I asked Reedus who the most surprising public figure was to tell him that they enjoyed “The Walking Dead,” he responded with Jada Pinkett Smith.

“I saw her in Savannah; she was there for a ‘Magic Mike’ after-party… I think they wrapped there,” he recalled. “She came up to me at a restaurant and said she really loved the show and I geeked out on her.”

Of course after Reedus’ story on “Fallon” about talk show host Sean Hannity sending endless shots of tequila to him and Dave Chappelle once, the Jada Smith run-in will only rank as the second most-random tale he’s told the media this year. Reedus probably encountered a few more TWD fans at The Garden Of Laughs stand-up comedy show. The event featured performances by Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, John Oliver, Tracy Morgan and Sebastian Maniscalco. “Saturday Night Live” star Leslie Jones and Bob Saget also performed at the benefit, which raised $2 million for The Garden Of Dreams Foundation to help kids through the tri-state area overcome obstacles.

Reedus has called New York home for almost 20 years; his son attends school in the city and his mother taught class in the Bronx and Harlem.

The Yankees’ home opener is Monday and if any unicorns, sharks, dinosaurs or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles end up sitting behind home plate, don’t blame John Oliver.

“I think we’re probably banned,” the “Last Week Tonight” host cracked when I asked him if he’d be attending a game this year. Oliver chatted with me before performing at The Garden Of Laughs stand-up comedy concert, benefiting Madison Square Garden’s The Garden Of Dreams Foundation. Last season, Oliver ran a contest that sent costumed fans in to the prestigious Legends Seats in Yankee Stadium following comments by Yankees COO Lonn Trost. While attempting to explain the policies regarding price floors and print-at-home tickets, Trost said that those who typically sit in expensive seats would be frustrated by fans who don’t normally sit in a premium location.

Oliver dedicated an entire segment to Trost’s words on his show, lambasting both he and the Yankees for the perceived “holier-than-thou” practice. Then with the hashtag “#IHaveNeverSatInAPremiumLocation,”the HBO host gave away pairs of Legends Seats for a quarter with the only condition bring that you had to wear something out-of-the-ordinary to the game.

Following the final game of fans dressing up and chowing down on five-star cuisine from the stadium’s finest seats, the Yankees ran a message on the scoreboard: “Thanks, John Oliver. Everyone is welcome at Yankee Stadium.”

I brought this to the comedian’s attention.

“Oh yeah. Sure they did,” he responded. “The Yankees say a lot of things on the JumboTron they don’t mean, like ‘Great to have you, A-Rod.’”

I was on the red carpet to cover arrivals at The Garden Of Laughs Comedy Concert, which benefited Madison Square Garden’s Garden Of Dreams Foundation, and spoke with actors Norman Reedus and Susan Sarandon along with performers Sebastian Maniscalco, John Oliver, Leslie Jones, Bob Saget and more.

The event raised $2 million for the charity, which helps kids throughout the tri-state area overcome obstacles. Other performers at the benefit included Chris Rock and a surprise set from Jerry Seinfeld.