Remembering Greg Giraldo, The Greatest Roast Comedian That Ever Lived
Roast In Peace, Greg.
Six years ago, Greg Giraldo died of an apparent drug overdose. Any stand-up comedy fan will tell you that Giraldo, the son of a Colombian immigrant, was one of the best roast comedians ever. And they’d be right. No one could match his acerbic tongue and quick wit–not surprising given that Giraldo was a former lawyer with two Ivy League degrees (Columbia for undergrad, Harvard for law school).
But what made Greg Giraldo truly great is his ability to not only identify the bulls**t, but to bring it front and center. As my colleague Lucas Molandes once put it:
Whether it was a roast or his live show, Greg was an assassin of the hypocrisy, frustrations and ignorance that most people wouldn’t have noticed without him. And he never came off cruel during his most aggressive moments on stage. He wasn’t spiteful. He wasn’t an insult comic. He was passionate. Watching Greg was like watching a Bushido slice open the bloated stomach of society. And in those short moments he was on stage, we lived his frustrations and experienced a sense of strength that can only come from being so vulnerable.
Giraldo showed us that the truth was so ugly it’d make you want to laugh and cry.
And for good measure, here’s one of my favorite bits of his. In it, Giraldo masterfully dissects what it feels like to be considered not Latino enough, the hypocrisy of anti-immigration rhetoric, and how terribly Latinos are portrayed in media. He does this all in under four minutes.
Greg Giraldo was not as famous as he should’ve been (a tired joke that people who introduced him at roasts would make repeatedly), but his comedy clearly still had enough of an impact on me that I spent the better part of my morning remembering just how great he truly was. I encourage you to do the same.
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