Magazine article Variety

Taking a Seat on the Couch

Magazine article Variety

Taking a Seat on the Couch

Article excerpt

dick Gregory was just an amazing man. He was a great soldier for a great cause. He did it not just to benefit himself and his career. He lost his comedy for a time because he was such a great soldier.

Dick Gregory paved the way for me and for a lot of African-American comedians. He was the first to sit on the couch of "The Tonight Show." Back in the day, black entertainers could go on TV, but they couldn't sit on the sofa afterward. Dick refused to go on the show unless he could sit there too. He actually hung up on ["Tonight Show" host] Jack Paar the first time he got the invitation to do the show. He wouldn't take half an invite. Paar finally said, "You're such a sharp act, you can come on the show."

That knocked down some doors. That paved the way for myself and for Bill Cosby and for Richard Pryor. Dick was a man who was active in making things happen for people. …

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