Dick Gregory is coming to Traverse City. Now, if you’re over 50, you know what that means. It’s as if this were 1955 and I said, “Lenny Bruce is coming to Traverse City!” Or go back another decade and pretend I just wrote, “The Marx Bros. are coming to Traverse City!” Imagine it’s 1935 and I wrote to tell you, “Will Rogers is coming to Traverse City,” or it’s 1904 and we’ve just learned that Mark Twain has decided to stop in Traverse City to appear at the Opera House.
When the history of American humor is written, these are the people they will talk about — along with Roseanne and Joan Rivers and other women who somehow made it through the glass door of comedy. Black Americans had been shut out, too, unless they were willing to perform demeaning racial stereotypes that made white people howl with laughter.
And then along came Dick Gregory. He broke through and played in once-segregated clubs. He was the first African American comedian to appear on a number of TV shows. And then he made the next leap — to *verbotten* political and topical humor. This made him one of the most famous comedians of his generation — and it made him dangerous. Because he carried a weapon called humor. Satire. Hilarious ridicule. Some white people didn’t take too kindly to being laughed at for wearing pointy hoods or thinking they would catch something if they drank from the same drinking fountain as a Negro.
Dick Gregory paved the way for so many other comedians who came after him. He marched with Dr. King and was considered a leader in the civil rights movement. America had never experienced anything like him. And what made it all work was that he was so damn funny!
And he still is. He continues to make audiences laugh at the crazy times in which we live.
And we are honored he accepted my request for him to appear at our 3rd Traverse City Winter Comedy Arts Festival!
If you want to see an American legend, if you love George Carlin and Chris Rock and Richard Pryor and Stephen Colbert, then don’t miss this one-show-only performance from the dean of American comedy, Mr. Dick Gregory.
(At the end of the show, we will present him with our TC Comedy Fest Legends Award, previously given to Roseanne and John Waters.)
Don’t wait till this sells out — get your tickets to see Dick Gregory today!