The comedian Dick Gregory, who died last week at the age of 84, lived a full and important American life as a comic, candid social satirist, and political activist (who famously ran for president in 1968). He once said he earned $5,000 a week “for saying out loud what I’d always said under my breath.” Gregory earned a living as a first class headline interpreter who was able to communicate his satire to an appreciative, integrated audience during fractious times. His work influenced countless comedians, including Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor.
In the liner notes to Gregory’s 1961 (and first) comedy album Dick Gregory in Living Black and White, Alex Dreier wrote that Gregory is “neither Ralph Bunche nor Amos ‘n’ Andy. Gregory’s humor is not