Remembering Dick Gregory (10/12/32 - 8/19/17)
I never had the opportunity to work with Dick Gregory. As a young, new comic stating out, you want to work with ANYONE that’s been making a living as a comedian. You look at them as this strange anomaly that somehow figured out the matrix. To make a living, telling jokes…
Once you’ve been doing stand up for awhile, then you start wanting to work with the “Legends” of comedy. I’ve been very fortunate to work with a handful of comedians that would be considered “Legends”, but I never got the opportunity to work with Mr. Gregory, but he was one that I always wanted to.
There’s some comics that go on stage, tell jokes, make the audiences laugh, and that’s it. Which is the most important thing when doing stand-up, make em laugh. Bring laughter to the people. Take people out of their worries and troubles and make em laugh. And this way of doing comedy is 100% fine. The first job of a comedian is to make em laugh.
THEN there are some comedians that want to “say something” with their comedy. They want to make em laugh AND make em think. To me, this is the greatest form of comedy. To make people laugh and also make them examine themselves, society, their beliefs, etc… Mr. Gregory did this.
He was a pioneer not just in comedy but also Civil Rights. He walked with Dr. King, He went on hunger strikes to bring attention to Middle East peace, police brutality, animal rights, the Equal Rights Amendment among many, many more causes.
We lost one of the great ones, that I don’t think he gets the respect he deserves, not just for his Civil Rights work but also his stand-up.
Dick Gregory was always able to make em laugh, but more importantly, he made em think… and because of that, we lost a legend.