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EDDIE GRIFFIN: Take No Prisoners

Forget being politically correct, Eddie Griffin drops unadulterated truths by any means necessary.

Words & Interview: Shabe Allah
Image: Courtesy of Comedy Central

What is the concept behind your latest Comedy Central special Tell ‘Em I said It?

Tell ‘Em I Said It—is the butt naked, raw truth we ain’t seen in stand up in a minute. A lot of people are dancing around the issue, but ain’t nobody gettin’ right to it.

So you’re saying that stand up is dry right now?

It’s been having a hard time…

What do you think is missing?

They [comedians] are missing social commentary, political content—they’re missing what our people need.

Ok then, who do you think is behind the Tea Party?

My humor comes from what the fuck I feel and uh, the Klan is behind it. The Tea Party ain’t nothing but the Klan in street clothes. Everybody knows that shit…As soon as we get a Black president, we need a Tea Party all of a sudden. We didn’t need it when we had a retarded motherfucker named George Bush in there.

How do you feel about President Obama’s term since he’s been in office?

So far he has a “cush” job. I’m just waiting for him to do something for his people.

Do you think he owes that to his supporters?

Hell yeah, he owe us that! We walked him in there! Them crackers in there, they take care of White people. We finally got a brother in there—Come on now. You can bail out Wall Street. Can you bail out the hood?

What do you think about his fine ass wife?

Yeah, I want to fuck her. Hands down. Matter of fact, that’s the opening line on my special. If he falls for one of them hoes like Bill Clinton, you know…

You did a movie a while back called Foolish with Master P. How much of that movie reflects the real Eddie Griffin?

All of it; I wrote it. It’s basically my life story. P played my older brother in that movie.

Does it reflect your life now?

Nah, we all gotta grow. If you stay stagnant, you turn into the walking dead. There’s still [some] elements of that Eddie here. The charm and the good looks that’s still in tact.

The fans have always recognized and appreciated you for your uncut, too-raw-for-mainstream comedy. Do you think you could ever go back to doing shows like Malcolm and Eddie or movies like Beethoven?

No. We can’t go backwards. We’ve got to go forward. I did Beethoven for my kids because most of my movies they couldn’t watch.

How much do the pressures of the industry have to do with substance abuse and mental issues suffered by comedians and entertainers?

I think Dave Chappelle said it best: If 90% of them are ending up in rehab or somebody’s nut house but they’re on TV, then something is going on out here in Hollywood.

What is it?

When you’ve got talented people that just want to shine their talent… It’s the behind the scenes that drives people insane, if they don’t have thick skin.

Give me a professional scenario…

Me and Malcolm Jamal-Warner—two young, Black and talented men—We had a Black television show with twelve White writers who had no idea what it is to be young, gifted and Black. And to have to argue about a script that has nothing to do with what the hell we stand for? Then the NAACP is going to come out and say your show is buffoonery. No, stop and pump your brakes NAACP nigger. You might want to go talk to the network and ask how come we don’t have any Black writers.

We’re actors, so all we’re doing is acting what is written and then have to go in there and clean that garbage up. Those are the pressures that have been put on young people. Then to have your so-called leaders not back your play and you have to take on that industry by yourself. That’s why Lindsay Lohan and them end up in rehab. Somebody ain’t covering their ass.

Do you stay in contact with Malcolm?

I see Malcolm periodically. I see him when he’s out here on tour. He’s got that band Miles Long. I try to catch up to him whenever they’re in LA. Malcolm be on the move and vice versa. My brother knows I got his back though no matter what. After you’ve spent five years on the set with somebody everyday, you’re family.

If there was one thing that you could do over in your career, what would it be?

Hmmm….[long dramatic pause] Well, there’s a couple of those movies I would’ve turned down.

Such as?

Duece Bigelow 2. I would’ve turned that shit down. That’s about it, though. The rest I stand by 200%.

What was your state of mind at the time that gives you regrets about it now?

It was a state of economics, man. I got eight kids, so if there’s a check that could make sure that they all go to college, then I’m going to pick that check up. I’ll sacrifice my dignity for their education, so it’s all good.

Would you ever recommend showbiz to your children?

No.

What if they wanted to?

It’s got to be in their blood. If they wanted to, I’m going to cultivate it. They’re going to know in front, behind and side up of the business. Get behind the camera, know how to do the laying, how to do sound and now you are a professor of that art form you are stepping into.

Do you feel like that’s what you were missing when you came in the game?

In my generation, there weren’t any performing arts schools. I came in the game fresh off the streets and just happened to be a funny motherfucker.

Image Courtesy of Comedy Central.

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