Wednesday, September 29, 2010

On a Comedian I Never Met

Comedian Greg Giraldo died today after a prescription-drug overdose this past weekend. You may not know Greg, he wasn't a huge household name, but was someone who had had some success and was well respected and well liked in comedy circles. (And trust me, it ain't easy to find comedians who are well respected or well liked by other comics.) If you do know him, it is probably from any of the Comedy Central Roasts as he was a mainstay at the events.

I actually never met Greg personally, and only saw him to stand up a few times, but actually we did cross paths quite often and he probably didn't even know it. He lived somewhere up here on the Upper West Side just a few blocks from me, and I would often see him walking his three kids around, including just a couple days ago. Actually, when I saw him the other day I remember thinking how it was nice to see a comedian who had built some kind of normal life for himself.

I also saw him a couple times a week at the gym, which somehow makes this all the stranger. Someone who on the outside appeared to be successful, have a family, taking care of themself and all the rest of it. I'm certainly not saying any of these things weren't true, and the overdose was accidental, but it just shows how tenuous life really is.

Come to think of it, my one other recent thought of him was when I happened to turn on "Last Comic Standing" a couple months ago. He was one of the judges and I kept thinking how tough it must be for a good comic to have to watch all these cookie-cutter, crappy comics, and actually pretend that some of them were good. He did it quite well though, with just enough exasperation to let people know that he knew what was up, and that he got it. I wish I would have asked him about that one of the times I saw him.

In a bizarre but fitting twist to all this, Greg's last two tweets were about a an upcoming gig and another comedian who died too soon...

I will be at The Stress Factory in New Brunswick NJ tomorrow thru Sunday night Tix here:
22 Sep

Very sad about comedy great Robert Schimmel. We lost a brilliant brave and original comedian and one of the most decent guys I've ever met.

So long to someone I have a feeling was one of the most decent comedians I never met...


Steve in CA said...

Beautifully said, Dave, and the way you dropped everything to write your thoughts so quickly after his death was announced is a tribute in itself. All I can say is something he would have loved to hear: he made me laugh my ass off every time I ever saw him perform. He was comic genius.

Scotty O said...

I remember first seeing him doing his stand up act. He was obviously so pro-gay and open-minded, and funny, it made me like him right away. When I heard that he had died I was totally shocked. He was in mid-llfe, mid-career. How can this be. Through all his comedy, even on comedy panels, you could always tell he was a nice guy. He will be truly missed.