Gerry Bednob is an actor and comedian of Indo Trinidadian heritage from Bangladesh. Gerry has co-starred as "Bling Bling Shelton" in the VH1 comedy series Free Radio and recurred on shows such as Wilfred and Playing House. He has appeared in films The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Furry Vengeance, Encino Man, Zack and Miri Make a Porno and The Five-Year Engagement. He is also the uncle of Michelle Jhagroo.
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It's Gerry Bednob. I love cats. I have a cat named Slippy who runs my house. I have a sign on my front door that says "The Cat and his housekeeping staff live here".
I don't want to plug anything, I just want to answer your questions.
Ask me anything!
PS. Oh, I have a facebook but not twitter or any of that bullshit. I'm too old for that shit. Here's my fb if you want to add me: https://www.facebook.com/gbednob
Oh and here's proof: http://imgur.com/nj94YGr
edit: Thanks so much for your questions, reddit. I had a great time. Here's a quick joke that I should really post on r/jokes but whatever here it is:
Do you know why Saddam Hussein was never circumcised?
Because there's no end to that prick.
This is the first AMA I've actually gotten to early, in time to ask a question. What do I say?
Is Steve Carell nice?
Yeah he really is.
You can ask another question if you want.
Alrighty, well for someone who may not know much of you and what you do, how would you sum yourself up in a few sentences?
Very impatient with people who ask second questions.
Just kidding. Good question. Well, in life I hate dishonest people. I try to live my life so that people know where they stand with me. Just tell me the truth. Don't tell me what you think I want to hear. Tell me what you really think.
In terms of my career, it comes a far second to my family.
That's basically who I am.
I tried to send you a message through your website but I guess you are too cool to check thoses.. I wanna say you heavily influence me in the way I write as an amateur stand up. I want to know are you performing in Houston anytime soon?
No plans yet, but thank you for saying that.
If you're in Las Vegas, I'll be performing at the Tropicana Thanksgiving week. And if you're not in Las Vegas, I still will be performing at the Tropicana, Thanksgiving week.
What was your path from Toronto to Hollywood? How does one act their way there?
Ever regret missing out on King of Kensington or Littlest Hobo?
I left in '78.
The star of the show, Al Waxman, was trying to get me on the show but the racial climate was a little messed up at the time.
Al came to see me at Yuk Yuks in Toronto. He was a great guy.
To answer your question about my path from Toronto to Hollywood: I came as a stand up comedian. At the time, the comedy scene in Toronto and Canada had not blossomed into what it is now. So I was thinking maybe I should move here and give it a shot. I took my son and my wife and came to LA and started doing stand up comedy.
Three people helped me unconditionally: Fred Willard, Joan Rivers, and Judd Apatow.
You had a few roles here and there in the 20 years before 40YOV, then blam-o, non-stop. What were you doing in those years to support yourself? How did you do that and get roles at the same time?
Stand up comedy. On stage, I'm my own producer, writer, and actor. It's my comfort zone and have made a good living doing stand up. I still consider myself a stand up comedian first, which led to nice roles in TV and movies.
What is your best story from the stand-up boom in the 80s?
Who is the most undeservedly forgotten comic from those days?
What was it like when it fell apart in the 90s - any parallels to today's boom?
(I am a comedy history fan, thanks.)
>What is your best story from the stand-up boom in the 80s?
When Joan Rivers took me as her opening act at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, an employee approached me and intimidated me telling me "there's a clock on the wall, twenty minutes is all you do, not one second more". So to be sure and to be safe, I did eighteen minutes. This was a big mistake because Nell Carter was the middle act and she wasn't ready to go on stage yet. That caused a little interruption in the show. Joan found out and asked me what happened and when I explained about the guy who warned me about the clock, she said to me, "fuck him. You work for me, not Caesars Palace. You do as long as you want to do."
So the second show, the guy approached me again and said "don't forget what I told you", and I said "fuck you, talk to Joan Rivers, I don't want to talk to you for the next two weeks we're here"
I went on stage and did 28 minutes, 8 minutes more than I was supposed to do, just to piss him off.
Joan was the best.
Another stand-up question- You were there right at the time the old comics that could reuse the same twenty minutes for decades, as a part of the new school coming out of the Improv and the Comedy Store (Leno, Letterman, etc...) that couldn't really do that any more. Its stark to see the difference on the oldest Evening at the Improvs or that Norm Crosby Comedy Shop.
What happened to the people that fell away? What did it feel like to see them get usurped or put into a Broadway Danny Rose kind of league? Maybe I am misreading the bridge between the eras, but you were a part of a giant shift to my mind.
Those days, sometimes people thought getting on the stage meant you were a comedian. It didn't take long before they realized that it took a lot more than getting on stage, it meant you had to produce on stage. In those days, a lot of comics did jokes that they would do at a friends party and that didn't really translate well on stage in front of total strangers who paid money to see a show.
Where are they now: they're all Fortune 500 CEOs.
Just to add on to this, here's a quick story about my early stand up career.
My first time on stage was at the now-famous Yuk Yuks comedy club in Toronto, Canada. It was just one night a week in a church basement. We had to pay two dollars to get in to see the comics. They were just starting out but they were very good. Guys like Rick Moranis. So I paid for two weeks in a row. During those days, they did it like the old Vaudeville. If you were bombing on stage, a guy from the corner of the room would come from behind the curtain with an actual hook and hook you by your neck off the stage.
I asked the owner of Yuk Yuks, the legendary Mark Breslin, if I could come next week and do a few minutes. And he looked at me skeptically and said "are you a comic?", and I said "no, but I see you're giving people who are not comics a break".
He said "well you know what, get about five minutes ready and come back in about two weeks. But you see what's happening there on stage? If you're not doing well, we'll have to hook you off the stage."
I said, "yeah I know". So I rehearsed for about two weeks at home in front of my mirror and I changed my name. I did this because the people who got "hooked" were published the next day in the newspaper, the Globe and Mail and I didn't want the people at my office to know it was me. I was a high school counselor.
So I went all prepared, nervous, and was pacing up and down in a makeshift green room at the club. And I overheard Mark Breslin tell another comic, Briane Nasimok to "get the hook ready, that new guy is going on".
So I went on stage, doubly nervous now. Every line I delivered I looked to the corner to see if the hook was coming. The audience laughed AT me because all I cared about was not being hooked. I was saved because they were laughing at the situation. Basically, I got rescued because I was bad as a comic.
Mark Breslin called me after the show, "you know you have some very good jokes. All you need is stage time. Come back in a couple weeks and I'll give you some time."
And that's how I started.
How were you "discovered" as it were for movies?
Being on stage as a stand up comic. Judd Apatow saw me and is familiar with my comedy because he himself is a stand up comic.
Does your acting career provide you with enough to make a healthy living? Or do you do other things on the side to supplement?
I'm a pimp on the side.
Is it about butt hole pleasures?
It's NOT about butt hole pleasures.
What was Steve Carell like to work with?
He was very generous. Judd and Steve allowed me to improvise. That scene was a lot of improvising.
The script didn't contain:
What was it like working on Playing House?
It gave me a different thing to do other than swearing and doing comedy. It was a nice show where I was allowed to play a straighter role as opposed to a crazy character. That made me feel good.
Ever work with Steve Lubetkin?
The year I arrived in LA, I met Steve. I worked with him the night before he committed suicide.
I didn't know he died. At the time, there was a comedian strike. I walked into the meeting with all the comedians and everybody was unusually quiet. Stupidly I said "what's going on? Did somebody die?" and another comic said to me, "are you crazy? Steve Lubetkin died" And that's how I found out.
Steve was a handsome guy, and a very talented comedian.
Who came up with "go fuck a goat"? was it on the script or improv?
It was improv. The original line was "go fuck yourself".
I just decided to say "go fuck a goat". Also "anal sex" was the original line. I changed that to "butthole pleasures".
I'm a real poet that way.
Who's the best comedian noone remembers that we should, Ed Bluestone?
Do you enjoy WTF, Norm Macdonald's show, and all the great history getting recorded? I do. :) Thanks for your time.
You know something? That's a good name. Ed Bluestone. He writes the type of jokes that I wish I had written.
How easy/difficult do you find acting to be? Would you say that acting is a hard niche to get into?
Yes it's hard because quite often, auditions are the hardest things to get through. People who are auditioning you sometimes, don't really know what they want.
It's easy for me when the material is written with me in mind. So they give me the leeway to improvise.
Three GREAT people. Thanks.
How was it messed up? That was a big part of the show wasn't it, like a anti-All In the Family?
It wasn't a good situation at the time for Indians and Pakistanis in Toronto at the time. This is why Al Waxman wanted to have me come on the show but I don't think the studio/network wanted it.
First of all, that look you give Steve after you tell him it's not about cock and balls, it's about love....hilarious.
Secondly, any funny stories from your time working on Walk Hard?
Here's one. During a lunch break on set, I was wearing the whole Guru outfit and I was trying to concentrate on getting my lines down.
An extra who was, lets gently say "annoying", peppered me with questions all the time when I was trying my best to remember my lines. Finally, he asked me "how did you get this part".
So I said, "well this morning I came in as an extra. The director pulled me aside and said 'I think we may have something for you, you should report to wardrobe'".
The look on his face was priceless. He actually believed me.
Thanks for the compliment.
I've had so much fun doing a lot of different roles. One where I was most comfortable, was a show called Free Radio, which ran for two seasons.
Were you acting with the accent in 40 year old virgin?
That's how I speak all the time.