FACT spent ten minutes with comedian Eddie Griffin ahead of his headline show at Dubai Opera over the weekend.
With over three decades on the comedy scene, what was it that attracted you to a career in comedy?
The ability to teach while making people laugh.
What attracted you to the Middle East and what are you looking forward to exploring in the city?
This will be my fourth trip to Dubai. It’s a work-cation. I’m going to get a little work in and have a little vacation. You’ve got such a beautiful ocean there, but nobody swims in it – why?
You’re here for the Dubai Comedy Festival. Does the show contain all-new material and have you had to make any adjustments to your set to suit the local audience here in the UAE?
It’s all new material. I’ve got so much material and I have some “go-to’s” that will fit the market. People can expect to laugh until their ribs ache.
What were your perceptions of the UAE before you decided to do a show here?
Dubai was more than I expected. From the decadence to the fact that the buildings are so tall.
When it comes to comedy, where do you draw your inspiration from?
It’s real-life situations. It’s world news. It’s sociology. It’s the interplay between my relationships with my wife and kids.
Do you ever worry about offending people and do you go out of your way to use your platform to push boundaries?
If you’re offended, then that’s exactly the effect I’m trying to achieve. In my opinion, there are no boundaries. Life should be boundless, so I will always push the envelope. I will jump out of the plane without a parachute.
Is Dubai your only international show planned for the year?
I’m going back to Saudi Arabia to do some things in Riyadh. Then I’m headed to London, Germany, Romania and Australia – I’m an international playboy.
The tour is called ‘Laughing through your mask.’ Do you believe that people need comedy now more than ever?
Most definitely. We have been trapped in our houses for a year and a half and it’s time to laugh. The kids have driven everybody insane and we need to escape the children.
You’ve also pivoted into a career in acting, in the likes of Undercover Brother and A Star Is Born. How do you pick your roles and which are you most proud of?
I’m particularly proud of my work in Undercover Brother and The Walking Dead, a Vietnam war drama that I did early in my career. I’m also proud of the work I did in Foolish, a movie loosely based on my life.
I’ve just got a movie in the can with Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman and Tommy Lee Jones and that one is a kicker.
What has changed the most since you began your career in comedy and what do you see for your future?
My future is so bright that I have to wear shades. The sky’s the limit! Things are getting better on race relations in Hollywood and for the most part, it’s looking up.