I always think back to my childhood with fond memories; especially those Friday and Saturday evenings, when friends and family members would get together. My mother spent her day preparing, shopping, seasoning the meat, and cleaning the house to entertain my father's friends--all in an attempt to keep him home and to keep him from making a spectacle of his self; coming home after visiting the local pub with work friends. Sometimes, it worked, and we had a blast... dancing, singing, and hearing the stories of our native home, Haiti. But other times, it failed miserably, to my mother's displeasure, my father would stumble home and infuriate my her, and chaos ensued.
Despite it all, I couldn't wait until the next soiree, where I was guaranteed to see my favorite uncle, Raymond. He was always sharply dressed and well-groomed, and he treated my mom so well. I remember, he always made sure my dad never got out of line. He was amazing. He was very funny, and kept everything light, so the energy in the room was always positive. Uncle Raymond told the best jokes. My mother laughed so much, it was wonderful. She was her happiest in that setting, focusing less on issues in her life.
Laughter is wonderful. It doesn't erase the pain, nor remove the problems one faces daily, but it sure makes them bearable. For my parents and their friends, life was pretty tough in the 70's and 80's, emigrating from Haiti, learning a foreign language, a new culture. It proved challenging for my parents, with two young girls. Helping us to adapt was no simple task. It destroyed a big part of my dad's spirit and made him bitter. But my mom, the nurturer, tried hard to fix it. The more she tried, the more he drifted away. So, the moments of laughter she had were short-lived, but they sustained her. For that reason, my uncle Raymond would forever have my heart. Laughter is indeed the best medicine.
Funny man, Eddie Griffin, will make you laugh 'til you cry. He exudes "comedian", and is really good at his job. Make no mistake, he tells jokes for a living, but he is also very intelligent, and worldly. He is well aware of the power his comedic gift has over his audience, which is always engulfed by his overwhelming personality.
It is with that knowledge that he addresses each crowd and takes control of the room, captures your attention and refuses to let it go. And the audience does not resist. They laugh with no shame. They overlook the humorous spin he puts on life's tragedies, such as the ignorance of racism. He puts the "sexy" in the depiction of the utterly ridiculous behavior of men and women. That's pure genius, if you ask me.
Who else would dare respond to the great Al Sharpton after being berated for use of the N-word? He makes viable arguments, and makes you strongly consider his point of view on the matter. I'm still scratching my head and asking, "Wha happen, Lucy?", in my Ricky Ricardo voice.
Eddie is more than an entertainer, in my opinion. He says the things that we are embarrassed to admit in public, or in the company of other racial groups. Thanks to his courage, we don't have to say it! He says what we're thinking, and puts it in the form of a joke and we call it comedy.
It occurred to me just how talented this man is, when I saw him in the film John Q, with Denzel Washington and Robert Duvall. His spontaneous and charismatic personality was so brilliantly played. Griffin 's resume also includes, Malcom and Eddie, Undercover Brother, and Deuce Bigalow Male Gigolo.
I got a chance to meet him at ABFF this summer. I was tickled pink when he gave me that "come over here, girl" look, inviting me to take a picture. That was a jaw dropping experience for me and my crew. I don't know how we managed to keep the camera still or get a straight, focused picture. It was hilarious.
As much power and effect as he has on his audience, he shows no signs of arrogance. He was respectful and gracious with our time, and pleased to talk with us. He made no apologies for what came out of his mouth and we didn't ask him to curb his enthusiasm. As he sat with us discussing family, business and social responsibility, he made his stance perfectly clear. He is an entertainer and an artist.
Watching him interact with whom I presumed to be his polar opposite, Michael Beach, you can tell they have a mutual respect for each other, and they both genuinely enjoyed the project they had just finished working on, A Fool and His Money. He had my respect when he did the raw, honest, reality TV Show revealing the loss of his wealth.
With that said, I don't know if I would let a young child enjoy his form of entertainment, but I would definitely encourage older, more mature, educated audiences to enjoy Eddie Griffin. I know I did.
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