Dr. Jeffrey Gurian: Comedic Dentist of the East End

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Dr. Jeffrey Gurian

Dentists oftentimes tell you to floss more. That’s expected. They don’t usually help script the jokes for our nation’s most famous funnymen and women. That is unless you are talking about the life and career of Dr. Jeffrey Gurian.

By age 12, Gurian, who asked to be called “Jeffrey” during our conversation, knew he wanted to be a dentist and was already writing comedy. His comedic inspiration was Woody Allen, who years later actually read some of Jeffrey’s earliest material and encouraged him into filmmaking. Life goals that are somewhat unique mixed with celebrity tend to make for a good column!

If you’re inspired to Google his name a search will yield a celeb-filled documentary film titled Who the F**k is Jeffrey Gurian? Besides that, he’s basically all over the internet! (Watch it below!)

Gurian has been described in many ways across his career, but most of the descriptions reference his life outside his former dental office. He’s a stand-up comic; a bestselling author with eight books, one with Chris Rock; he’s a producer, a director — and a hair icon! His trademark hairdo is an unmistakable part of his image — one, it seems, in which he carries much pride — distinguishing him in a roomful of combovers and side parts.

“My hair has been this way for the last 20 years or so and has become part of my brand. Everyone knows me by my hair. Even during the pandemic when everyone was wearing masks everyone still knew it was me! I talk about it in my act when I say, ‘You can probably tell just by looking at me … I fit in wherever I go!’ That always gets a big laugh,” he says.

In researching Gurian, you come across many articles in the New York tabloids and media. It seems he’s everywhere. He’s been profiled in The New York Times and on every TV network coming out of New York.

There are articles recounting Gurian’s escapades with everyone from Rodney Dangerfield and Jimmy Fallon to Tiffany Haddish and Amy Schumer. In one article, Gurian notes a television pilot proposed by the late Jack Rollins, manager to Woody Allen, Billy Crystal and Robin Williams, based on his life story about a dentist who wanted to be in show biz.

Gurian’s interesting dichotomy of professions poses the question: Are you a comedian or are you a dentist? If he had to choose one, which would it be?

“Since I retired from practice, these days I am strictly a comedian and comedy writer, as well as a radio personality,” he says. “But I still lecture occasionally to doctors, like one coming up at Temple University, sharing my techniques of relieving the physical symptoms of stress, like migraine headaches caused by grinding the teeth.”

Gurian spent time in Manhattan throughout his career writing scripts and doing stand-up, and rather outstandingly, has met or worked with nearly everybody you could imagine.

“Somehow I’ve worked with people in all areas of entertainment, spanning generations,” he says. “Starting with the greats in comedy’s Golden Age like Milton Berle, my sponsor in the Friar’s Club, and Jerry Lewis, then more recent stars like Andrew Dice Clay, Rodney Dangerfield, George Wallace, Joan Rivers, Gilbert Gottfried, Phil Hartman and tons more.

“I produced a benefit for Haiti starring Kevin Hart, was Patrice O’Neal’s co-host on radio, interviewed Jerry Seinfeld, Billy Crystal, Chris Rock, Colin Jost and Pete Davidson for my book on the history of The Comic Strip … and worked with more names than we have room for,” Gurian continues. “Nick Kroll says you can’t be in comedy if you don’t know me!”

While he affirms strongly that no one can teach comedy, Gurian says that he has been inspired by some of the best, brightest and most hilarious personalities to ever perform on stage.

“No one teaches you this — you either have it, or you don’t. A lot of people have learned the hard way, you’re either funny, or you’re not! The audience will let you know pretty quickly!” he says.

“My writing for Rodney, Robin Williams, Gilbert Gottfried and the Friars roasts led to a New York Times profile story on me, as well as to my 35-or-so appearances on Page Six of the New York Post, the most recent from this past Sunday, September 11, a piece with Jerry Seinfeld,” Gurian says.

He lives in the heart of the city on the East Side. Like us all, he loves the Hamptons in the summer months, frequenting here between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

When here, he can be found cracking jokes at Hamptons icons 75 Main and NAIA Hamptons — or even attending some of the exclusive events hosted by our very own Dan’s Papers.

“I recently came out for Dottie Herman’s End of Summer Party at NAIA. I love having laughs with Michael Pitsinos, owner of NAIA, and Zach Erdem at 75 Main. I tend to wind up in Southampton most often,” Gurian says.

While he has performed in the city, he hasn’t yet officially performed on the East End, but that may change very soon as he’s had some “really cool offers” to produce comedy shows like he does in Manhattan at two very popular venues in Southampton. It was recently written about in the New York Post.

“I’ve performed at all the big clubs in Manhattan, and people often hear me on the radio. I’m a frequent guest with Frank Morano on 77 WABC Radio, and also on Sirius XM radio with Ron Bennington, the hottest comedy show on Sirius,” Gurian says.

And throughout his remarkable career in performing, when asked for one marquee moment, he recounts the “Too Much Tuna” bit, where Nick Kroll and John Mulaney pranked their favorite dentist on Comedy Central.

“Getting pranked by them was a great honor. I was the very first person pranked with ‘Too Much Tuna.’” They had me open the press conference for them for their hit Broadway show Oh, Hello and walk the red carpet. Afterward, when we did the show at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, the most prestigious comedy festival in the world, they had me present the huge tuna sandwich to Judd Apatow, the King of Hollywood,” says Gurian.

And, despite all of the laughs and performances, Gurian’s greatest pride is his family, with whom he loves to spend time along the South Fork’s beautiful beaches.

“The marquee moment of my life, though, if I had to choose one, was becoming a dad to my two amazing daughters. Back in the day, we used to rent a place at the Dune Deck Hotel, when it was the hottest spot in the Hamptons. There was nothing better than spending time on the beach with my daughters,” he says.

For anyone whose interest is piqued by Gurian and his fascinating life, they can learn more by reading his bestselling books on “Happiness” (a word that he always capitalizes): Healing Your Heart, By Changing Your Mind: A Spiritual and Humorous Approach to Achieving Happiness; Fight the Fear: Overcoming Obstacles That Stand in Your Way; and his most recent, Facing Adversity: Stories of Courage and Inspiration, all of which are available on Amazon.

We asked him when we would see him out here again. “Well, if any of your multitude of readers, especially those reading this great article, feel so inclined to invite me as their houseguest for the weekend … there’s an excellent chance I’ll show up!” Gurian quipped in his trademark style.

Dr. Jeffrey Gurian’s website is comedymatterstv.com

Todd Shapiro is an award-wining publicist and associate publisher of Dan’s Papers.

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