Dick Gregory has spent the last fifty years as one of the most well respected, and equally controversial, comedians in the pop-culture lexicon. He has shattered glass ceilings, broken barriers, and crossed countless lines as tireless proponent for civil rights.
He marched with Martin Luther King. He helped register black voters in Mississippi. And he held sit-ins at segregated restaurants. He utilized his celebrity status in the early 1960’s to highlight the injustice that existed between African Americans and the rest of America. He was also an outspoken opponent to the Vietnam War, and was one of the first high-profile male feminists.
And that’s only the stuff he did off-stage.
On-stage, Gregory was a revelatory comedian, making white and black audiences laugh at everything from civil rights injustice to political paranoia. Hugh Hefner hand picked him out of the African American clubs he was playing, and booked him into The Playboy Club; making him one of the first black comedians to headline in front of a predominantly white audience.
Gregory was also the African American comedian to be invited to sit on the Tonight Show couch (which is an honor for any and all comedians, to this day). In 1963 he wrote his first autobiography titled, Nigger, which has gone on to sell over 7 million copies. Explaining the title in the book, Gregory says: “Whenever you hear the word 'Nigger', you'll know their advertising my book."
Comedy icons like George Carlin and Richard Pryor openly admired the work of Dick Gregory, and often in their material aspired to the same level of social commentary that Gregory (along with Lenny Bruce) helped pioneer.
Dick Gregory, is going to be performing in town tonight! This is a rare live performance from the 82 year old comedian, and is most certainly a once in a lifetime opportunity for anyone to see a true historical icon of the twentieth century.
Dick Gregory will be at The Laughing Derby, tonight, June 18th @ 7:45 PM. Tickets are $20.