Griffin Will Have Plenty To Talk About

Comedian Is Ready To Vent At His Lyric Appearance

December 17, 2009|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,

Eddie Griffin is steamed. And it has nothing to do with the angst-ridden reality series he recently starred in on VH1.

No, what's got the veteran comic boiling now is Tiger Woods and the tumult surrounding his recent indiscretions, specifically the high-rolling companies that all of a sudden seem to have acquired a conscience. Self-righteousness that smacks of hypocrisy just galls Griffin no end, as those planning to attend his show at the Lyric Opera House in Friday night will hear.

"Since when did Fortune 500 endorsement companies become the moral compass?" Griffin asks over the phone from his Los Angeles-area home, his voice rising in pitch with each word. "Endorsers are pulling out like Jesus just came down off the cross and said, 'You ain't coming to heaven.' These are the [guys] that stole our tax dollars - you know what I'm saying? - on Wall Street, and now we're watching them ... be the moral compass? Who are they to judge what Tiger's doing?"

Obviously, the irrepressible Eddie Griffin refuses to be repressed. Once his mouth gets going and the indignation starts pouring out, there's no telling what he'll say - or whom he'll take aim at.

"I will be dealing with what's happening," Griffin promises his Baltimore fans. "I'm touching on a peace prize while we're still at war. I'm touching on an accepting-a-peace-prize speech that was 90 percent war. Yeah, there are some interesting things going on."

That holds true in Griffin's world as well, as anyone who watched VH1's "Eddie Griffin: Going for Broke" could attest. At the end of the show's six-episode run, a nervous and financially strapped Griffin was left with a potentially lucrative deal to headline at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas hanging in the air (his audition left owner Robert Earl pleased, though not overwhelmed). He was also left with his ex-wife (and mother of two of his children) saying she'd decided to take him up on an offer to buy her and the kids a house.

Such was the story arc of "Going for Broke," as Griffin struggled to balance his responsibilities with his finances, all the while trying to wring laughs out of the situation.

So, what's happened since the final episode aired in October? Griffin's happy to continue the story line, having just finished a three-week trial run at Planet Hollywood.

"It was wonderful, it just went wonderful," he says. "I know it went very well, because they were standing up every night." He'll be back on the strip soon, Griffin promises.

And about the house for his ex? That one, apparently, has not gone as well.

"There has to be an expiration date on offers of houses to ex-wives," says Griffin, who hasn't bought anything yet. "We've been divorced three years, and that is the expiration date."

Clearly, not everything is running smoothly on Planet Griffin. Then again, what fun would it be otherwise? This is the guy who famously wrecked an ultra-expensive Ferrari while practicing for a charity racing event back in 2007.

A clip of the accident has been watched on YouTube nearly 5.3 million times and might have done more for Griffin's career than all the movies in which he's appeared (including 2002's "Undercover Brother" and 2007's "Norbit") or even the TV series through which he first rose to fame, UPN's "Malcolm & Eddie."

"Everyone says, 'What is it like to wreck a Ferrari?' Griffin says. "Man, it felt good, especially when you don't have to pay for it."

If you go

Eddie Griffin appears Friday night at the Lyric Opera House, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave. Showtime is 8 p.m., preceded by a Toys for Tots toy drive from 3 to 7 p.m. Tickets are $22-$47. Call 410-685-5086 or go to

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