Jeffrey Gurian is a comedy writer, comedian, author, doctor, healer, and producer. He is the host of the Comedy Matters TV and appears regularly on Sirius XM Radio. Gurian is the author of the books Healing Your Heart, By Changing Your Mind and Fight The Fear-Overcoming Obstacles That Stand In Your Way.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
I grew up in New York City to a very loving and supportive family yet I grew up with many fears. I had a lot of friends but developed a stuttering problem at about 6 or 7 years old that stayed with me through my 20’s and beyond. As an aside, I worked for many years to develop a cure to cure myself which I did, and now as an avocation, I work with stutterers all over the world to teach them how NOT to stutter. The confidence I gained by developing a cure for stuttering helped me tremendously in my adult life.
Many experiences of my childhood helped to shape my adult life. When I was 12 years old I decided what I wanted to be. I knew I wanted to be a doctor but I also knew I was too sensitive to handle life and death situations so I decided to become a dentist, and I was already writing comedy. The whole rest of my life ever since has been that split.
I never changed my mind as to what I wanted to be although it confused me as a child to want to do two such different things. I went on to become a Cosmetic Dentist, a Clinical Prof. at NYU in Oral Medicine and Oro-Facial Pain, and a 20 year Board member of The Assoc. for Spirituality and Psychotherapy where I lectured nationally and internationally on my Energy/Spiritual Healing technique called “STAR” Therapy.
STAR Therapy is an acronym for Spiritual, Transformational, Affirmative Resonance Therapy, which is a very gentle system of talk and touch to relieve the physical symptoms of stress like Migraine-type headaches, head, neck, and facial pain. I lectured on this to the doctors at NYU and most recently to the doctors at Temple University.
I also became a nationally known comedy writer for big stars like Rodney Dangerfield, Joan Rivers, and Andrew “Dice” Clay, as well as worked with new stars like Nick Kroll and John Mulaney who had me open their hit Broadway show for them called “Oh, Hello.” And I’ve performed stand-up comedy on TV, and in all the major clubs in New York and L.A.
I’m the author of 7 books the last two of which I refer to as my “Happiness Series”. The first is called “Healing Your Heart, By Changing Your Mind – A Spiritual and Humorous Approach To Achieving Happiness” available as an e-book, a paperback, and an audiobook on Amazon.
The other one is called “Fight The Fear – Overcoming Obstacles That Stand In Your Way” also on Amazon as an e-book and a paperback.
Since developing the confidence to cure myself of stuttering I’ve been able to manifest many things using my voice, including being a regular on-air guest on Sirius XM radio for two years also bringing on big comedy stars as my own guests like Trevor Noah, D.L. Hughley, and Artie Lange, I’ve been profiled on TV on every major news show coming out of NY, on Entertainment Tonight, in the New York Times, have guested on many, many radio shows and podcasts, and have two YouTube channels with over 2.2 millon views with interviews I’ve done with everyone in comedy from Jimmy Fallon on down.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
I wish I would have realized that I was ok and that I was harboring thoughts that were not valid for me. They were thoughts that were given to me by people who did not have my best interests at heart. These are the “heart wounds” I write about that we all carry and need to release in order to achieve Happiness! ( I capitalize Happiness on purpose! LOL)
This was brought home to me when I attended a high school reunion after many years, and the cliques were exactly the same, … the popular kids, the jocks, the not so popular kids, etc. So when it came time to sit down at tables for dinner, I didn’t want any part of that nonsense so I went to a table and sat down all by myself, and every one of those so-called “cool kids” came to MY table to join ME, and I wished I had known that in high school!
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
In the area of medicine, and patient care I hear recommendations that they don’t believe in the power of energy work which is totally false. I have helped people come out of a coma and saved a limb from amputation by bringing back the circulation in a diabetic patient. They also seem to be afraid to use antibiotics liberally enough with the excuse that in the future they may not be as effective. I don’t feel that’s valid in the majority of cases. I prescribed antibiotics whenever I felt they were needed over the years and never had trouble. Antibiotics saved my breathing when I was in the hospital with Covid double pneumonia back in March.
In comedy, the worst recommendation I hear is that you have to be disgusting or controversial in order to be funny. Not true at all!!!
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
Unfortunately, I’ve had many. I‘ve experienced sadness, Depression, the pain of divorce, a widowmaker heart attack, and Covid double pneumonia as recently as March 2020.
After the heart attack, which was very serious, I was back on stage in 5 days. The owner of the club said to me, “What are you crazy? You just had a heart attack!” To which I responded, “Yeh, but it’s hard to get a spot here. I didn’t want to lose my spot!” He laughed and as it turned out I had a great set!
Positive thinking got me through that as well as through Covid, laying in the hospital right next to a man from Wuhan, China who was coughing into the air with only a thin curtain between us! ( Not kidding!)
With my divorce my ex-wife remarried and adopted two children, besides the two beautiful, amazing daughters she gifted me with, and had another one of her own, and those two children needed to be adopted and that baby needed to be born and none of that could have happened had we stayed together. Sometimes you can only see things like that in retrospect.
I’m happy to say that to this day we are all friendly and I attend dinners at her home with her and her husband and my children and we all get along because of the Spiritual principles I have been able to incorporate into my life and into my heart! I wound up with a big extended family which is a true gift.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
I go through life with the concept that I love everyone I meet until they teach me not to, so I embrace humanity by giving everyone I meet a big hug! You can see this if you watch me doing interviews on the red carpet, and see how the celebs respond.
I’ve also learned that life presents us with obstacles. I feel like I’ve had to overcome many, but I’ve learned not to look at it as punishment but as an opportunity to try and help others who are going through the same things.
What is your morning routine?
I stay up late, usually, till around 2 A.M. because at nighttime when it’s quiet and most people are asleep is when I do my best work, so I wake up when my body wakes me. Usually, around 8:30 or 9 A.M, I stay in bed for a while doing stretching exercises, so that I wake up gradually, usually to quiet music. Never to a harsh sound or to the radio with negative news. That can leave you upset for the entire day.
Then I drink some water to hydrate, wash up, and dress. Very often I don’t eat breakfast until around noon, so I check my correspondence before, or sometimes even exercise during that time. And before I know it, … it’s already noon!
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
Always being on time, has taken a lot of stress out of my life. I would always rather be early than late. I just bring something with me to read so I never feel like I’m wasting my time.
I’ve also learned that feelings are not facts and that just because I feel a certain way today doesn’t mean that tomorrow will be the same. So I don’t project, and I work on my mind every day.
I also confront my uncomfortability by challenging myself to do whatever makes me feel uncomfortable, the best example of which was my solo trip to Japan last year, … all by myself.
I have fears of traveling so I got on a plane for 14 hours and conquered the most difficult subway system in the world. For two weeks! I was lost every single day and used the little Japanese I had learned, and I made it!!!
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
I had to learn that I process information in a different way than most people due to my severe ADHD.
In order to combat that, I have to make “to-do” lists of things every day because my ADHD causes lots of confusion, and confusion leads to fear, so I always have to prioritize my time and make sure I do the most important things first, as well as the things that make me the most nervous, which of course I want to put off.
Those are the things that make my stomach feel weird and make me feel sad every time I think about them. They’re triggers and therefore those are the things I have to do as soon as possible rather than procrastinating.
I’ve learned to argue effectively with my own mind so that I don’t allow my sub-conscious mind to sabotage me!
Lastly, I take care of things right away and don’t let them build up. Like this questionnaire for example. I was given two weeks to answer the questions but then it would have been hanging over me and causing stress, so I wrote the first draft as soon as I got the questions, and I re-read my answers the next day so I’d look at it with fresh eyes!
I try and do the same thing with every correspondence, and answer people right away, especially with people who contact me for help with their stuttering problem. People are usually shocked at how fast I answer them. That’s another way I make the best use of my time! www.stopstutteringnowgurian.com
What books have influenced your life the most? Why?
I have read many books but the one book I can honestly say changed my life is a book called Are You Really Too Sensitive written by a wonderful woman who is a psychic named Marcy Calhoun. It’s published by Blue Dolphin Press. All my life I labored with extreme sensitivity which made me very effective as a doctor but made it hard to live comfortably. The book reaffirmed to me that I was an empath, who could feel what other people feel whether I wanted to or not, and it taught me how to own my sensitivity more as a strength than as a weakness. A very important lesson.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
“The higher up the mountain you go, the lonelier it gets, but the view is magnificent.”
“You can’t change your past, the only thing you can change is your perspective of your past.”
“Fear is a bully. You can not let it stand in your way.”
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that frightens us.”