Greg Giraldo 1965-2010
As most of you probably know, Greg Giraldo passed away yesterday. He was, far and away, one of the best comedians working today. Every time I saw him perform, whether on television or live, I was always surprised at how smart and incisive his comedy was. The dude knew how to have a take on a subject and then how to crack that thing for every morsel. I would actually go as far as to say he was the smartest comedian working today. He tackled subjects intelligently, which is hard to do. You'll often see comics take on subjects that require intelligence to master, only for them to end it with a dick joke. Giraldo managed to get to the core of most subjects in hilarious and meaningful way. And he seemed to lose nothing when doing a set on television. That's a very difficult thing to do.
"We have a whole religion based on a woman who reeeally stuck to her story"
I met Greg when I was living in New York and he was one of the kindest comedians I have ever met. And that's an amazing thing to say because the vast majority of us are annoying or angry fucks, stumbling through life causing problems or bothering everyone with our self obsessed nonsense. Greg seemed to have none of that when you spoke to him. He was just a nice guy. He would just slide into a table with you while waiting to do a set and hang out. When I knew him, he lacked the sweaty desperation that clings to most of us like skin. He was quite aware of what he was, why he was getting the attention he was at that time and still focused on being the best stand up he could be. I've since read he considered himself to be a bit lazy but you'd never know it by the volume of fantastic material he churned out.
I'm not sure why Greg's death has knocked me down the way it has. Could be because it makes me look at my own failures. Could be because seeing a guy who was doing stand up so right and working so hard pass away so young is completely fucked up. Could just be because he was one of the nicest stand up comedians I've met. I am a man obsessed with justice and things being right. This is just so wrong I can't wrap my head around it.
The more I think about how great he was and how much more he would have contributed to the world of stand up, the more my mind goes back to sitting with him at a table in the restaurant above The Comedy Cellar. I was a regular there for a couple of years, as was Greg, so we often found ourselves together waiting to hit the stage. I think the reason I drift back to those moments when I'm thinking about his great stand up ability is because, above all, he was just a great person. And that's rare in the comedy world. He was really a rare comedian both on and off stage.
Everyone should have known his work when he was alive and they should certainly know it now that he is gone. Go seek out his work and check it out. He was mostly known for his attacks on the Comedy Central Roasts but he was so much more. We've lost something special.