Comedian friends joke about Greg Giraldo's death at roast

By | November 3, 2010 at 2:15 pm | 13 comments | News | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Greg GiraldoLast night, the folks of Cringe Humor hosted a roast of comedian Jim Florentine at Comix in New York, the proceeds of which benefited Greg Giraldo’s three sons (Donate here).

And while most comedians on the deius – Jim Norton, the Reverend Bob Levy, Don Jamieson were a few – hurled crass but loving insults toward Florentine and the other comics onstage throughout the night, there was great care at insuring Giraldo’s spirit was present.

Toward the start of the show, host Rich Vos threw to a video tribute to the late comedian. It showed clips from one of his performances at Comix, the very place we were sitting, as well as his hour special from Comedy Central, Midlife Vices and, of course, the Comedy Central roasts. By the way, Greg was originally booked to roast at the event.

To say the least, it was bittersweet to watch Greg perform onscreen.

Vos did a masterful job not only as the roastmaster but as the tone setter. Early in the show he said this: “I wasn’t the first choice to host. Greg Giraldo was asked, but he said he’d rather be dead than host this.”

And from that moment on, it seemed ok to joke about Giraldo’s untimely passing. I suppose that’s what he’d want. Though I have to say, I was a bit reticent at first.

But when comedian Jesse Joyce took the stage, my mind changed. If you don’t know, Joyce was Giraldo’s frequent opener on the road as well as his writing partner for a lot of the roasts. Together, in friendship, they struggled through a lot of similar problems.

Joyce opened like this, referring to Florentine’s Crank Yankers character Special Ed:

Thanks for having me… I know a lot of you guys don’t know me… and it’s kinda bittersweet to be here, cause this was gonna be the next project Greg and I worked on together. I remember when he asked me to help him with this roast before he died… I asked him what do you wanna do for this thing? And he said to me… ideally I’d love to take an entire bag of pharmaceuticals and stop my own heart so I don’t have to roast The Sebastian Bach of Retard Jokes.

He followed up later in his rapid-fire joke storm with this, referring, in part, to Vos’ cartoonishly white teeth.

It was really tragic when Greg passed away… and when that happened, I think we all thought why? Why couldn’t it have been Vos? And the answer is because you can’t overdose on Extenze and Crest White Strips.

Later in the show, Vos’s wife comedian Bonnie McFarlane took to the podium and pointed out that there was an empty chair onstage. “It’s a great gesture,” she said, explaining that it symbolizes Giraldo’s absence. McFarlane went on to say that Vos has been keeping 150 seats empty for every show he does in order to pay tribute to Giraldo. “In fact, he was doing it even before Greg died.”

Funny stuff, for sure. But it was all in the proper context. And that’s what made it great and completely permissible. These were Greg’s friends doing what they’ve dedicated their lives to— making people laugh. But it was also his friends healing. And it was something special to see that happen.

About the Author

Dylan P. Gadino

Dylan is the founder and editor in chief of Laughspin. He launched Punchline Magazine in 2005 (which became Laughspin in the summer of 2011) with childhood friend Bill Bergmann. Dylan lives in northern New Jersey with his wife and two sons. He hopes the Shire is real.

  • Truthteller

    I’m just thrilled that Greg is dead.  Way to be so miserable and in your head that you rag on everyone else to make yourself feel better when people laugh / show you love.  Too bad he didn’t grow the F up before he left his kids without a father because he’s so self absorbed and selfish.  Later doucebag.

  • Truthteller

    I’m just thrilled that Greg is dead.  Way to be so miserable and in your head that you rag on everyone else to make yourself feel better when people laugh / show you love.  Too bad he didn’t grow the F up before he left his kids without a father because he’s so self absorbed and selfish.  Later doucebag.

  • Truthteller

    I’m just thrilled that Greg is dead.  Way to be so miserable and in your head that you rag on everyone else to make yourself feel better when people laugh / show you love.  Too bad he didn’t grow the F up before he left his kids without a father because he’s so self absorbed and selfish.  Later doucebag.

    • http://www.facebook.com/staci.wiley.35 Staci Wiley

      I knew Greg personally and I guess it’s fine to say you’re thrilled someone is dead when your ugly fat ass is sitting behind a computer screen (and i’m sure you are ugly,fat, and lonely) normally I wouldn’t reply to this kind of thing but your comment is just do deliciously retarded I can’t resist. You even spelled douchebag wrong! How adorable! I hope you get rectal cancer you piece of infectious human waste. Too bad people like Greg who was able to get full scholarships to Harvard and Yale, become a lawyer in his twenties, become an admired comedian amid all the competition in NYC and have absolutely no ego have to die and a complete nothing like you gets to keep on breathing air. That just proves there is no god.

  • http://none paul dahlke

    god bless greg.

  • http://none paul dahlke

    i loved greg.my heart feels heavy with his leaving.i am a huge fan and will feel his loss forever.

  • TD

    As a fan of the Roast, to me, he was Comedy Central’s Roast Master General. A true comedy genius.

    I only wished that his comedic talents did not came at a price – which may have been the emotional anguish that a lot of great comedians seem to go through. i.e. Richard Pryor.

    RIP Greg

    TD

  • KNSat

    The evening sounded like just the right mixture of satire and affection. I still can’t believe Giraldo is gone. The love of his fellow comics and friends validates my belief that he was a very great comic and a great person.

  • http://youtube.com/Lawsoncomedy Lawson

    Wish I’d been there, love Greg and all the comics mentioned in this story.

  • http://www.comixny.com Rachel

    FYI: My heart is gushing with joy and gratitude from this perfectly articulated depiction of last night. THANK YOU!

  • http://twitter.com/ericicomedy Eric I

    First – thanks, Dylan for posting this.

    Second – ditto, Sam.

    Very much enjoyed McFarlane’s empty seat(s) joke, as well.

    I really wish that I was in town to see the tribute in person.

    Giraldo is on the very short list of my all-time favorite comics and has been on that list for every nanosecond since the first time I saw his first Presents over a decade ago.

    His brilliance, comedic and otherwise, is indisputable.

    His kindness and generosity and warmth were so universally talked about by his peers and by his close friends that I can’t imagine that those accolades are anything but accurate.

    It is sometimes pretty easy to judge and/or criticize another person’s decisions/actions/etc., especially when you haven’t walked a mile in that person’s shoes.

    And in my very strong opinion, not NEARLY enough people realize that NO ONE – not movie stars, not rocket scientists, not billionaires, not world leaders – NO ONE – is immune from the nightmarish hellish emotional pain which often accompanies depression and addiction – money and success truly do NOT always equal happiness, and that so many wonderful people have to suffer because of this fact is truly a shame.

    The fact that Greg had unfortunately encountered severe emotional pain is something that should arouse sympathy – certainly NOT judgment.

    Greg, you touched many many lives in a positive way, even those of us who didn’t know you well personally, and the world of stand-up comedy is that much poorer without you in it.

    You shall be sorely missed, Greg Giraldo, but I sincerely hope that you were cognizant of the fact that you contributed FAR more positivity in your 44 years than most people could hope to contribute in 100 years.

    Peace & Love To Everyone Affected By This Tragic Loss,

    Eric I

  • http://www.jjcomedy.com James DeBenedetto

    What a great night with a room full of great people. I was honored to be a part of this event. the boys at Cringe have always put on amazing events and this one was no different. It was chilling to see that empty chair on the stage but it was also heartwarming.

    Great job to everyone involved.

    James

  • Sam Morril

    That crest white strips joke is great. Glad it was done in a classy way. RIP Greg.