Comedian-activist Dick Gregory performs at Laugh Factory Chicago

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Dick Gregory, via

Here’s one thing that hasn’t changed about comedian, activist, civil rights advocate and well known rabble rouser Dick Gregory (no less than FBI head J. Edgar Hoover wanted him silenced back in the 1960s) since he started doing standup many decades ago: the man speaks his mind. And then some. “My truths,” he says, “don’t have to be validated by somebody’s else’s ignorance.”

In advance of an 8 p.m. charity event (open to the public) he’s headlining Wednesday, October 9 at the Laugh Factory (3175 N. Broadway), Gregory called from his apartment in Washington D.C. to talk about… everything.

Here’s a bit of what I gleaned after a long conversation:

He thinks Osama bin Laden was already dead before the U.S. Navy Seals entered his compound in Abbottabad.

He claims to buy “about a thousand dollars worth of newspapers every twelve days” to look for “the crack in the fabric.” (He told the New York Times $1,500 in 2009).

His top three comics of all time, in this order, are: Mark Twin, Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor. “[Twain] is so far ahead of those two, it should be a law that I couldn’t mention those other two names within two years after I mention Mark Twain’s. A genius.”

The woman who was recently shot and killed in Washington, D.C. after leading cops on a car chase from the White House to the U.S. Capitol “wasn’t in the car” and neither was the 1-year-old infant who accompanied her. Also, the car was operated “by remote control from a helicopter, just like we do drones.”

He wonders why “white women” hire black nannies to change their kids’ diapers, but will readily pick up after their dogs while taking them for walks.

If he were president of the United States, “I wouldn’t end war. I would just say that humans cannot fight wars anymore.” Then he would draft dogs instead and people would say, “God——! How come you can’t take my children like you used to?”

Why it’s good that he lost his presidential bid in 1968: “When you white folks get the first black president, you get a behaved one. You get one who went to the best shools in the world. You get one that’s gentle. N—– don’t talk loud, don’t raise his voice. If I’d have been your president, the first thing I would have done when I was sworn in was dig up that rose garden and plant me a watermelon patch.”

On his physical health:“I’ll be eighty one years old on the twelfth of this month. My wife will be 75. We don’t have a prescription between the two of us. I went out this morning and walked and said, ‘Wow, I don’t have a pain nowhere in my body.’ That’s the payoff you get from universal law.”

Dick Gregory at Laugh Factory Chicago

Wednesday, October 9 at 8 p.m.

3175 N. Broadway

*All proceeds benefit the Chicago-based charity Notre Dame Family Affordable Housing, Inc., which provides “housing, education opportunities, counseling and career training to Veterans with histories of homelessness, mental illness, incarceration and substance abuse.” (

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