One of this century's best comedians deserves a book. Learn Greg Giraldo's story from those who knew him best. Many know Greg Giraldo's work from Comedy Central roasts, late night television, and comedy clubs. However, few comedy fans have heard the story of his days after Harvard Law School, ascension to cult comic icon, and premature demise from his addiction.
We've interviewed over 40 people who help tell his story. From managers to his ex-wife, and many comedians, friends, producers, and entertainment journalists and writers -- all to uncover what motivated this stand-up legend and the impact of his work.
Jeff Ross, I remember the exact moment you became the best roaster in the room. It was when Greg Giraldo died.- Natasha Leggero
The show [Tough Crowd] was raw; it was honest . . .There was something of a slightly controlled chaos to it. It was a bit menacing in its confrontational style of humor, but there’s never been anything like it.- Marc Maron
He ended up being a person that she didn’t marry. She signed on to be the wife of a dude who worked at the most successful law firm in New York. Then overnight he went out and did a couple open mics and quit his job and suddenly bought a motorcycle and started being a fucking comedy club goer. Then she was probably like, “Who the fuck is that?”- Jesse Joyce
Stand up comedy is a meritocracy but the entertainment industry is not. It's horribly corrupt and unfair and luck based.- Jim Gaffigan
This book started as a successfully funded Kickstarter project by Matt Balaker. Wayne Jones was one of the Kickstarter backers, and is now co-authoring the book with Matt. The idea is to produce a biography and an appreciation of Greg Giraldo’s life and comic work, based on original interviews with those who knew and worked with him, but also supplemented with other research. We are aiming for spring 2017 as our publication date, and hope to launch the book at the Comedy Cellar, the club where Giraldo got his first start in the early 1990s.
Giraldo excelled on Tough Crowd: he was a frequent guest and a crowd favorite. “He was the best. I mean, he just was never flustered. He was committed.” [Judy Gold] The format suited not only his intelligence and his quick wit, but also the habit he had throughout his career of always writing and always being prepared.
The secret to Giraldo’s success at the roasts was not just about going up first of course. As he had done for other gigs during his twenty-year career, he concentrated on the writing, treating the roasts not merely as a novelty but taking them seriously as a way to demonstrate his talent.
There’s a curious intersection of two comedy careers involving both the Montreal Comedy Festival and new sitcoms on ABC: Giraldo was not the only comedian who made a splash in Montreal and ended up with his own series on network television. So did Ray Romano, with Everybody Loves Raymond.
“He was not an insult comic,” notes Noam Dworman, manager of the famed Comedy Cellar in New York’s Greenwich Village.
“It was just how talented he was. So he got those opportunities to do these roasts and, of course, he was the best at it,” Dworman continues. “That was a big platform, all of a sudden twenty times more people saw him then before. Now he becomes a insult comic in peoples’ minds. That was the least of his things and not at all what anybody who really knew him admired about him.”
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