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By Tony Leone for SPIRE

Interview chances such as this one happens only on rare occasions. I was given an opportunity to speak with Eddie Griffin and ask a couple of questions about the new show on VH1 and his current comedy tour.

I was able to catch up with him on October 9-10, 2009 – while he was in Jacksonville, Florida, just before his performance at the Comedy Zone. Before we start the interview, I would like to do a little background on Eddie’s life and how he became what he is today through hard work and sacrifice.

Eddie Griffin was born in Kansas City, MO. At the age of 16 he would perform as a dancer during half-time shows for the Kansas City Chief’s. Always a funny guy amongst his friends, he was dared to perform at a local comedy club. This, of course meant doing a stand up comedy skit. Rumored has it that his performance was only to last roughly three minutes tops. Eddie dazzled the crowed and wound up performing successfully for 45 minutes.

That as a wake up call, sparked Griffin to begin a career in comedy. It was the comedy clubs around the country that gained his experience. It was a series of impromptu performances at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles where he gained the most attention. After performing for 2 months only (rumored), Griffin was chosen to open for Andrew Dice Clay at Madison Square Garden.

That was a major turning point for Eddie Griffin. At that time Andrew Dice Clay was considered the undisputed king of comedy. Sell out crowds at the Garden were considered impossible at that time. It was here, that Eddie griffin was given the opportunity to do what he does best. He followed this with a 22 city tour.

As time passed another opportunity presented itself. He was asked to participate on the HBO show, “Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam.” He gained a huge amount of exposure on this show. In 1991, in addition to “Def comedy jam” another door opened for Griffin. He gained a movie role in the film The Last Boy Scout (1991) and the rest is history. Since then he has starred in such movies as Coneheads "1993", and Jason's Lyric "1994".

In 1996, Eddie went back to television. This time it was a sitcom “Malcom and Eddie”. This gave the public an opportunity to see Eddie on a regular basis. And this time, on a nationally televised show rather then a pay channel such as HBO.

Then came yet another big call. This was
an offer that so many only dream possible. He became the lead star in the film “Double Take” with co-star Orlando Jones which
was released in 2001. Response was,
unfortunately, not overwhelming. Griffin
continued working with only the desire to stay in the public's eye.

The following year he co-starred with Denzel Washington in the blockbuster film “John Q.” This was a blockbuster hit which grossed well over 102 million dollars
world-wide. Clearly, this gave everyone yet another opportunity to see Eddie put on his acting hat along side Academy Award
winning actor Denzel Washington. With
the role in the film “John Q” Eddie gained respectable notice as a dramatic actor.

Shortly thereafter, Eddie captured yet
another main character role in the film
“Undercover Brother” where he played the character, Anton Jackson. But it wasn't until the year 2007 when Eddie joined forces with another Eddie, legendary stand up comic and film superstar, Eddie Murphy. In this blockbuster film, “Norbit”, Griffin played the role as a pimp alongside actor Kat Williams. The film went on to collect a world wide gross of 159.3 million dollars which made it a certified comedy classic.

To this day, Eddie works on new projects and still manages to do what he does best, tour the country with his comedy act. With all of the trials, challenges and hard work, Eddie has been fortunate enough to be
currently living the good life. It didn’t come easy and it wasn’t handed to him. Eddie Griffin had to work his way from rock
bottom to where he is now. Along the way, he didn’t take no for an answer. He bucked all odds and came out the victor.

This success story is one that is worthy of mention. People sometimes forget how
hard it is in order to achieve these levels of success. Eddie griffin is a perfect example of what true desire and drive takes in order to succeed. Yes, he is human and yes he has made mistakes along the way. But it was and still is his passion that keeps him going. Though this interview is brief, it is still a distinct pleasure to hear from Eddie and see where he is at this point in his life.

Tony: Thank you again Eddie for giving me this opportunity to speak with you.
Eddie: Thank you.

Tony: Before heading into the questions, how have you been since the show released on vh1?
Eddie: Good.

Tony: Do you like the response “going for broke” has been getting?
Eddie: Yes, the response has been great, people can relate, a lot of people are going through hard times and people love my mother.

Tony: Looking back at the first episode, the world got the chance to see the real Eddie. You are a very generous person Eddie!
Eddie: Yes I am.

Tony: And do you get a lot of that from your mom?
Eddie: Hell no, (laughs).

Tony: (laughs) In the opening episode, your mother has a very strong presence and vibe in the show. She seems like a really nice woman who wants to see you do well for yourself.
Eddie: that is true.

Tony: Well it’s a blessing to get the chance to see your relationship with her?
Eddie: Aren't I lucky?

Tony: And right now you’re touring and doing a lot of stand-up?
Eddie: Yes, you can see where i will be on www.eddiegriffin.com

Tony: How's the tour been so far?
Eddie: sold out!

Tony: When touring and on the road, what are some of the things you really hate to leave behind when you know you are going to be gone long periods of time?
Eddie: My children.

Tony: Does the tour finish at the end of the year or are you going to continue?
Eddie: If time permits, I will continue. I love what I do.

Tony: Growing up, who were and still are some of the comics you really loved to watch?
Eddie: Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx, George Carlin, Dick Gregory, Bill Cosby.

Tony: And in your opinion, who is the best comic to have ever walked on the stage?
Eddie: other than myself, Richard Pryor.

Tony: Dysfunktional family, in my opinion, is one of the funniest stand up comic movies/documentaries ever.
Eddie: that was the first concert film that actually shows you the people the comedian is talking about. That way you know I wasn't embellishing.

Tony: Will there ever be another comic documentary/movie in the near future?
Eddie: I'm living what it’s gonna be about right now, so be patient.

Tony: Aside from doing stand-up, you’ve also done several films. Was it hard in the beginning crossing over to film?
Eddie: I was blessed enough to be spotted early in my career at the comedy store in Hollywood by Andrew Dice Clay and Robert Townsend and they put me in my first films.

Tony: You seem to have a full schedule with the touring and the new tv show. Are there new projects in the works, Eddie?
Eddie: None that I can talk about right now, but keep tuning in to www.eddiegriffin.com for updates.

Tony: Well thank you again, Eddie, for taking the time in and talk with me.
Eddie: You're welcome tony!

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