The comedian said he didn't know the reality gig would be an HBO series.
By JOHN BENSON
After a successful run on NBC-TV's "Last Comic Standing" in 2004 and a subsequent comedy club tour to exploit his newfound national popularity, the last thing comedian Gary Gulman wanted to do was jump back into a reality show setting.
However, the Boston-born funnyman values loyalty, so when his longtime buddy and fellow comedian Dane Cook asked him to join something he was calling "Tourgasm," Gulman reluctantly agreed.
"Oh, I didn't want to go at all," said Gulman, calling from Buffalo. "We didn't know it would be for HBO. We just thought it would be for Dane's fans and he would make a DVD or release it on his Web site or maybe get Comedy Central behind it. But as far as thinking it would have a major effect on my career, I think I was shocked when he told me HBO had bought the series and was going to make it a weekly thing."
Filmed roughly 18 months ago, "Tourgasm" features comedian de jour Cook and Gulman, along with peers Robert Kelly and Jay Davis living on a tour bus for a college-venue barnstorming tour. Naturally, egos clashed while a rock 'n' roll vibe ensued, giving audience members an insider's view into the craft.
For Gulman, the experience was completely different from his previous reality show gig.
"I think that when I was on 'Last Comic Standing,' I was very careful to behave in a manner that my friends and family would be okay with," Gulman said. "And this one, I really didn't think anybody was going to see it, so I got drunk, I smoked, I caroused and there was no real filter. I got angry at one of the producers and yelled at them, so I was a little more natural. On 'Last Comic Standing,' they kind of portrayed me as an angel."
How it's doing
Similar to a high-profile rock concert tour taking America by storm, the current comedy zeitgeist is "Tourgasm," which is taking its victory lap around the country with a theater show playing to large crowds wherever it lands. Sans Cook, who has been busy with a recent "Saturday Night Live" appearance and numerous projects in the works, "Tourgasm" pulls into Pittsburgh on Friday for a show at the Rex Theatre and Cleveland on Saturday for a House of Blues gig. The show features Gulman, Kelly and Davis.
Granted, kowtowing to the area may be cliched or somewhat obsequious, but why deny Gulman the opportunity to talk us up while putting down another part of the country.
"The audiences are really smart, but they don't show up on Sundays if there's a football game," Gulman said. "I definitely look forward to playing those cities. Some places, it's like pulling teeth, or it's really hard work to get laughs. Alabama might be a state that is that case. Believe it or not, I won't say they're dumb, but they're just not up to maybe some of the more edgy humor that Robert and myself do."
He added, "And I'm not even that edgy but just certain things they're not willing to go with a comedian on, so I really appreciate big cities."