Greg Giraldo, the stand-up comic, died yesterday after being hospitalized on an overdose of prescription drugs. He was 44.
He was best known as a resident “roaster” on various Comedy Central celebrity roasts, most recently one of David Hasselhoff (see the video below) He was also a judge on this past summer’s edition of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.
Marshall Chiles, a stand-up comic who runs the Funny Farm in Roswell and Laughing Skull Lounge in Midtown, said Giraldo is one of his favorite comics and has booked him a couple of times. “We’ve lost another one of the greats to drugs,” he said. “It’s kind of surreal.”
He loved Giraldo’s honest, personal observations and said he was nothing but cordial and professional in person. They bonded a couple of times over the fact both had been in recovery. Chiles recalls Giraldo would bring an opening act with him partly to watch over him and keep him sober and clean while he was on the road.
I saw him at the Funny Farm in 2007. Here’s what I wrote for Peach Buzz back then:
Greg Giraldo — a New York observational stand-up comic best known for being a resident “roaster” on Comedy Central’s annual roasts of big celebs such as William Shatner and Alpharetta’s Jeff Foxworthy — admits to being a bit burnt out from being on the road so much.
“Lately, it’s been particularly dark,” Giraldo told Buzz after his late show Saturday night at the Funny Farm in Roswell.
Rodney Ho / AJC
Giraldo, even in his fatigued state, has a knack for being mean in a funny way, as opposed to just being mean. And he threw in a few local jokes, including Alan Jackson’s “Chattahoochee” (“It’s definitely hotter here than a hoochie-coochie.”), Whitney Houston’s drug problems (“Who cares about athletes and steroids? Just entertain us! Nobody is taking away Whitney Houston’s gold records because of crack cocaine!”) and even an oldie-but-goody about how hostage Ashley Smith calmed courthouse shooting suspect Brian Nichols with pancakes. (“There’s a lesson there, ladies. Learn your way around the kitchen!”)
When he noted that Rolling Stone recently called George W. Bush “the worst president ever,” the crowd reaction was modest.
“Most crowds cheer that line,” Giraldo said. “Look, I don’t think he’s the worst president ever. Maybe the worst American president. … The president of the Selena fan club? Now she was the worst president! She shot Selena! That’s not president-type behavior. That’s more like vice president-type behavior.”
Check Giraldo out in August at the next Comedy Central roast, featuring Flavor Flav. “That one,” he cracked, “will get good and racist early!”