Harlemusic Feature: Eddie Griffin, One of Comedy’s Finest

by Keith “The Captain” Gamble

Ahoy Mates!!!

This is the Captain speaking!

I sincerely hope that your July started as wonderfully joyous as mine!

On July 1st, your Captain was blessed to attend a masterclass in comic excellence! The one and only comedy icon Eddie Griffin graced the stage on Broadway at the Sony Hall NYC.

Brother Griffin, a Kansas City, MO native (moving to Compton, CA at age 16), who will be celebrating his 54th birthday on this July 15th, tore the roof off the sucker with his rapid-fire standup! His nearly 2-hour set had the packed house literally on the floor with cascades of laughter!

This legendary actor/comedian/impressionist is a veteran of some 75 movies, Showtime specials and his new podcast online. (Also, a veteran of the US Navy, discharged within months after being caught smoking dat gunga…thank you for YO’ service!)

The “Undercover Brother” star ran the gamut of subjects, addressing the social climate of today’s world with hilarity as well as indictment (Yeah, he went in on ‘em). Honing his craft since 1989, when he first took the stage on a bet, this Master of Mayhem was relentless, hitting us with one joke after the other– like Mike Tyson body shots—cracking our ribs!!! (Y’all know how he do!)

On stage, in his element and natural habitat, Eddie (Macallan 26 Scotch whiskey on-the-rocks in hand) began what could be called an “undressing” of America and its mistreatment of Black people over the years. He touched on a myriad of issues—political, social & sexual as well. His take on the “set-up of Bill Cosby” created some controversy in the crowd…Griffin said, “If any of this makes any of you white folks feel uncomfortable—then you’re a RACIST!”

All of Eddie’s material is ‘composed’ by him on the spot…he doesn’t write anything down (All off the top of his dome, y’all)! That’s an astounding gift he possesses that has kept him the most successful Las Vegas funnyman, going on 15 years! His current residency is on the Strip at the legendary Sahara Hotel.

His impressions of Cosby, Richard Pryor, Michael Jackson & Pres. Obama were spot-on…Eerily INCREDIBLE!

After his triumphant, standing-ovation performance, your Captain got the privileged opportunity to go backstage to Brother Griffin’s dressing room! I acquired this unique moment of my writing career through Eddie’s cousin, Harlem Late Nite Jazz impresario Paul Griffin, who got me VIP seats and full-access to interview this comedy genius. (Yeah, I said it…GENIUS!)

C: When did you know that this is what you were going to become?

E.G.: Since I was a little boy…I ALWAYS knew…NO DOUBT!

C.: After 75 movies…4 marriages…11 kids (ages 38-2yrs…yeah, REALLY)…a 14-year Vegas residence…What’s next for Eddie Griffin?

E.G.: I’m movin’ forward…I got some thangs in the works that I can’t speak on right now…but it’s coming!

And the question this writer always asks the subjects of his column:

C.: What message do you want to convey to the Village of Harlem?

E.G.: I want all the Black former Harlem nightclub owners to get together, pool their existing resources and create the Harlem UN-GENTRIFICATION Fund! Get in touch with all the performers that have ever played at your clubs, recruit them and make a new venue in Harlem! Then buy our property back!

C.: And if that doesn’t happen…

E.G.: …Then we gonna have to MOVE!

Thanx so much, Eddie Griffin…we’re gonna move with YOU!

This is the CAPTAIN speaking…that is all!

bluescaptain@hotmail.com

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