Greg Giraldo

A Comedian’s Story

Excerpt from the chapter on Common Law

In 1995 Carolines Comedy Club hosted a special event for entertainment executives. It was an industry showcase. Comics would do short sets in hopes of impressing the right people. Greg hated these shows. He considered them a sham to get comics to perform for free. He nonetheless agreed to do this one. Cheryl Bayer from Creative Artists Agency (CAA) was in the audience. CAA was a hugely influential agency. Its clients included David Letterman, Meryl Streep, Brad Pitt, and other A-listers. Bayer watched Greg’s set. She didn’t speak to him afterward, but it wasn’t for lack of interest. She had far greater plans for him.

Bayer walked straight to a Carolines manager and asked, “Is Greg in the Montreal Festival?”

“No,” said the manager.

“Well, he’s in now,” said Bayer. CAA had an open spot at the festival, and Greg filled it.

Greg signed with CAA and flew north to Canada. He took advantage of this opportunity. This was the place where a standout performance could dramatically affect a comedian’s career. Nick Di Paolo said: “In the ’90s at the Montreal Comedy Festival, everybody came home with a deal.”

Rick Dorfman, Greg’s close friend who worked with other Carolines comedians, became Greg’s manager and accompanied him to Montreal.

Greg’s performance at the New Faces show at Montreal Comedy Festival killed. The post-show deal-making began immediately at the bar of the Delta Hotel in downtown Montreal. It was a giant game of cat-and-mouse. Greg’s team strategized to land the best deal possible. Bayer told Dorfman: “When I’m with Greg, come over and I’ll introduce you to whoever I’m talking to. Then leave and come back with some made-up news. If it’s a CBS exec, tell him that some guy from ABC wants to see Greg immediately.”

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