Thanks to the constant reminders I have received from comedian/actor/Disney music enthusiast Chris Lamberth (@ChrisLamberth) I have learned that I have officially been replaced in comedy before I had even reached the level of replaceable. I always believed that I would carve out a unique niche in comedy, at least demographically – a 6’7″ (241 lbs playing, 270 lbs doing comedy), bi-racial comedian seemed like a pretty safe calling card. Unfortunately, my reign of obscurity was short lived because Blake Griffin (a 6’10”, 250 pound bi-racial dude), the Los Angeles Clippers power forward, has also proven himself quite adept at humor. And thanks to the NBA lockout he is now working at Funny or Die, probably hanging out with Will Ferrell, workshopping new ideas, perhaps getting himself a role in Step Brothers 2, etc. Even though Evolution usually takes a long time, much like this Summer’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, I am seeing myself improved upon right before my eyes.
The Evolution of the Multi-Racial Humorist
I was born in 1979, 9 years and 11 months before Blake Griffin so I had a good head start on comedy. However I started performing stand up shortly after my 24th birthday, whereas Blake Griffin made it on to comedy central shortly after his 22nd birthday. Fairly impressive since he was also spending time being the NBA’s Rookie of the Year.
We have similar backgrounds. We both have black fathers and white mothers. We both played basketball in high school and college (I averaged 15 points a game senior year in a terrible private school league. He slightly one-upped me by being a McDonald’s High School All-American). He was Division I’s college player of the year, I was a 9th man on a Division III team.
After reading his NBA draft workout summaries the only thing I think I was his equal to was bench press, but he complemented that with a tremendous vertical leap, each inch of which represented every one of my collegiate points scored.
It was as if God had created me and then said, we can do better. A lot better.
Before we get into comedy here are the top dunks of our basketball careers. Both were on people. Mine was not filmed by NBA TV. And I only had one in my career.
Now for pure drama I would argue that mine was better. The dunk took place with about two minutes left in my entire college career. I had scored about fifty career points and none had come from dunks. It was sort of like the ending of Rudy, when Rudy gets a sack, except I actually was big and strong and fairly athletic so it was a little more expected from me. And no one was chanting my name. But Blake Griffin’s dunk was slightly better. So much so that I featured it in my dunk workshop spoof video.
After college I went to Georgetown Law Center, the #14 law school in the country (turning down Michigan, the #7 school at the time, in sort of a Kobe Bryant-draft style move). After college Blake Griffin was the #1 pick in the NBA draft. And during both experiences our professional comedy careers began. Deeply depressed I began doing comedy in Washington D.C. as an escape from law school and the pressures of a long-distance relationship. Blake began doing comedy sketches and making late night television appearances to escape from the pressures of having beautiful women in Los Angeles throw themselves at him.
Once again God watched my comedy career struggles and said, “I made him funny, but he is not accomplishing what I thought he would. I can do better and easier.” Here are our comedy debuts on television:
I wrote all my own material, but Griffin proved to have some good natural talent. And he got on Comedy Central within his first year, and without having to grow a beard or tits. I have yet to be on that station.
Where To Go When You Find Out Evolution Has Passed You By
Blake Griffin has now raised the bar very high for basketball playing-comedians. In fact this whole post may actually be an endorsement for Intelligent Design and not Evolution. Either way I have been rendered completely irrelevant (versus fairly irrelevant which was the status in comedy that I had grown comfortable with). So perhaps I will just wait for Blake Griffin to really blow up as a comedy presence and then present myself as the “Alt Blake Griffin.” While you ponder that, here are two pictures of us looking cool in our element for one final comparison: