Q And A: Dick Gregory

Gregory, Richard Claxton “Dick” (Born, October 12, 1932, St. Louis, Mo.), African American comedian and civil rights activist whose social satire changed the way white Americans perceived African American comedians since he first performed in public. Dick Gregory is an author and ran for President of the United States in 1968 and was a candidate for Mayor for City of Chicago. He changed the face of comedy with his satire. He started performing at Chicago’s Playboy Club at the request of Hugh Hefner.

By 1962 Gregory had become a nationally known headline performer, selling out nightclubs, making numerous national television appearances, and recording popular comedy albums. He comments on social issues of the day. He is an activist. He has been married to the love of his life, Lillian for 57 years. They have 10 children.

We chatted with Mr. Gregory on Veterans Day to get his take on the Presidential Election of 2016 and other hot topics. As usual, we found his insights witty, interesting and informative. He performs on November 19 at the Harold Washington Center in a one man show. He will make you think, laugh and cry with his special brand of comedy.

What do you think about the election of 2016?

It came out like I thought it would. It was not an election. It was a game that they played and it is called white supremacy. Trump and Hillary are cousins. Jeb Bush got out of the race with $400 million in a couple of months. How was Trump so brilliant on the “Apprentice” and then got stupid when he ran for President? This is not over yet. The country is headed for Marshall Law. The President will use Executive Order # 13603.

Name the top three comics?

Dick Gregory and Richard Pryor
Dick Gregory and Richard Pryor

Number one comic is Mark Twain He was a genius. He gave Black folks a name. Number two is Lennie Bruce, and Number Three is Richard Pryor. The one and only is John Brown, if not for him, there would not have been a Civil War. Eighteen months later the Civil War started. It was the greatest movement on earth – the abolitionist movement.

What do you think about social media?

We are playing with toys, what else do they have. You can walk out with a fob and push the button and only your car starts. We are looking at the decline of the empire. It is over. America is broke, they are controlling the news media, where anything can come out.

Where is racism in America today?

Underground. It’s like going to the doctor and you have cancer, you don’t want to know. All lives didn’t matter, until Black kids said, Black lives matter.

What do you think about the Obama administration?


What do you think about hip hop?

Nothing. I listen to opera only, all of my life. I have never listened to a blues record in my life. The jazz people are stupid and sexist. Nina Simon cussed out a whole state and not one man stood up for her. Billie Holiday wrote a sung about lynching and not one man stood up for her. No validation.

Dick Gregory

Today is Veterans Day.

Black men go fight all over the world and then can’t come home and open up a drug store on the corner where they live but then the enemy comes to the US and opens up a store on your corner.

What do you think about the cop shootings? Why are they shooting Black boys?

You never see Black cops shooting white children, because they know it would not be tolerated. Black people have been so programmed, we can’t see.

You ran for President once?

They forget I ran for President. I was the first Black to run for President of the United States, not Shirley Chisholm or Jesse Jackson. The system is rigged. On November 7, 1968 in Philadelphia, The Wall Street Journal, wrote that Dick Gregory was the President Elect because I had 9 million votes in Philadelphia. They were trying to fix the voting machine and somebody did something wrong. All of the voting results go to New York. That was a hell of a mistake.

You have been married for 57 years to Lillian. What is the secret?

Being loveable. She has never raised her voice to me or my 10 children.

What is the secret to your comedy?

I start out with writers. You make more money writing comedy than the comic. Writers can not turn work in to me 30 minutes before the show. Bill Cosby made $2 billion for the Bill Cosby show, the writer of the show made $40 Billion. The joke has to come out of me. Because I paid for it, I didn’t have to use it. The greatest laugh comes from family and friends. Comedy is a disappointment with a friendly relationship.

Hear Dick Gregory’s own words in interview below:

Hermene Hartman

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