One of my friends says Eddie Griffin is his favorite comedian. He doesn’t put Griffin in his all-time top five, but still, cites Griffin as his fave and his own inspiration for getting into stand-up comedy.
I don’t see the same things in Griffin as my friends do, but after watching Undeniable, Griffin’s newest comedy special that premiered this month on Showtime, I cannot deny my friend’s perspective.
I see a few different Eddie Griffins. There’s the impressionist — here he puts them all together in a medley tribute, wondering how Charlie Murphy, Bernie Mac, Richard Pryor, Sammy Davis Jr., and the likes of Prince and Michael Jackson are handling the afterlife in Heaven.
There’s the undercover brother who plays fast and loose with the facts but speaks in undeniable truths to the black experience in America.
And then there’s the guy who rails against organized religion while preaching his own spirituality to the masses. It’s this Griffin that makes me want to go back and re-watch his earlier comedy specials.
Griffin’s most pressing case to close, however, came earlier in his performance, when he argues that organized religion in churches is nothing but a scam — citing Joel Osteen (who closed his megachurch during the Houston hurricane, while all other nearby businesses opened their doors as shelters) as final proof. Nowhere in the Bible, Griffin says, will you find words ordering the construction of great churches, or the condoning of priests/pastors to molest your kids or sleep with your wives. The comedian says some churches now even have installed ATMs inside to milk their congregations.
“God is free, don’t forget it,” Griffin tells us. “Now here at the Eddie Griffin Church, I ain’t gonna pass the plate around. I charged your ass up front! I’m honest about my shit!”