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Eddie Griffin is more than just a comedian. He’s an actor, singer, and even a dancer and choreographer. Ranked by Comedy Central as one of the Top 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time, his uncensored style keeps audiences laughing. His latest critically acclaimed comedy special, You Can Tell ‘Em I Said It, is available on DVD. TheCelebrityCafe.com’s Michelle Vaccaro spoke to the 41-year-old funnyman about his career, comedy, and the media‘s effect on the industry.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: I don't think a lot of people know this, but you started out as a dancer, opened up a dance studio and even choreographed the Kansas City Chiefs half-time shows. How did you go from dancing to comedy?
Eddie Griffin: On a dare. We were out bar hopping one night and my cousin dared me that I wouldn’t do it. I was broke at the time so I took his fifty dollars. I’ve been doing it ever since.
TCC: At what point did you realize that you made it as a comedian?
EG: When I could pay my bills just telling jokes.
TCC: Would you ever think about doing Dancing with the Stars and show that comedians can dance?
EG: I’ve been asked to do that over and over. I don’t call it Dancing with the Stars, it’s “Dancing with the Has Beens.” I ain’t going on that.
TCC: You contributed to both of Dr. Dre's hit The Chronic albums. How did you get involved in music?
EG: I have known Dre forever, long before Chronic. He just called me up. I’ve known Dre since Compton.
TCC: So when you first went out to LA to do your comedy thing, you met him out there?
EG: No, before my comedy thing. I was staying at my Uncle Bucky’s house. He lives in Compton---my mother’s brother. I’ve met Snoop, Dre, and all of them before any of us was famous.
TCC: You dance, sing, done stand up, starred in movies and TV shows. Which do you prefer?
EG: All of the above.
TCC: You don’t like one ahead of all the others?
EG: No, they’re all me. I mean, you know, why do you have to make a choice? There’s a whole giant pie. Why do I only get one slice? People need to change their thought process and go on and get all that you can get and do all that you can do. You can all grow and can eat bubble gum at the same time.
TCC: You started doing standup around 1990. Have you noticed any changes on what people think is funny over the years?
EG: It was August of ‘89... I noticed that the media and powers that be are trying to get people to be politically correct. And that’s not what people are. So I see the media making judgment calls on what people think is funny, but I just think that the fact that I still have a career, they some lying sons of b*tches.
TCC: What do you think makes “You Can Tell ‘Em I Said It” stand out more than the rest of your comedy specials?
EG: I don’t know. It just had a magical flow to it, the whole show itself. I mean from front to finish. I’m dealing with a lot of political issues, religion, relationships…I mean, you know, it just goes across the gamut.
TCC: And that’s why you think it’s so well received? Because it’s the kind of stuff that people like?
EG: I just think they like me, baby…It’s going to go down in the top two of all time.
TCC: Is there any topic that you would shy away from?
EG: Not a one. Nothing is taboo.
TCC: What would you say gets the most laughs?
EG: You just have to be funny. It ain’t even a type of joke. Just be funny. The subject matter is not the main stay. It’s the delivery, your timing right, you know, and you’ve got conviction. Believe in what you’re saying.
TCC: You recently started working digitally with Fantrace. How do you think the internet has impacted the comedy industry?
EG: It impacted it very well. You have other outlets. I mean you can actually become a star virally before you do it on television. Tosh.O is a prime example--a guy who blew up virally and the network jumped on it. You got ten million viewers every day, somebody wants to give you a TV series. They want the ten million watching their network.
TCC: Have you been affected by the internet at all?
EG: No, because I was a star before the internet came into being, you know. I was already famous so I attracted my fans to the internet. So yes, I’ve helped the internet and then vice versa. It grows exponentially once you get them on your website.
TCC: What's up next for you? Tour? Movies? TV?
EG: You can go to EddieGriffin.com. My tour dates are posted right there… Be on the lookout for a brand new Eddie Griffin television series this fall.
TCC: Can you tell me anything about it?
EG: Nope. I can’t tell you…but it’s coming.