Tribute: 7 Years Ago, Greg Giraldo Died
Need help? Call our 24/7 helpline. 855-933-3480

Tribute: 7 Years Ago, Greg Giraldo Died


Greg GiraldoSeven years ago today, the world lost brilliant—and I do mean brilliant—stand-up comedian and Comedy Central Roastmaster Greg Giraldo. While most will agree that anyone who is even halfway decent at stand-up comedy has to be pretty bright, Giraldo was of above average intelligence and it showed in his sharp joke writing and keen observational skills. After graduating with a BA in English from Columbia University, Giraldo went on to earn a law degree from Harvard and even worked as an attorney for nearly a year before fully committing to the stage. And it’s a good thing he did because the world is full of great lawyers but it’s starved for great comedians, of which Giraldo certainly was.

But like many exceptionally gifted artists, Giraldo struggled to balance his personal life with his love for drugs and alcohol—a hard line to walk when your income and identity relies on being the life of the party week after week in comedy clubs. Any stand-up or musician who has to travel 48 weeks out of the year will tell you how hard it is to stay grounded and sane when you’re living out of a suitcase and fueled by vending machine snacks on the road. If you like to drink or use drugs at all, the comedy club circuit will quickly turn your life into a cornucopia of crazy stories and brutal hangovers—comedy and tragedy, nothing in between.

Giraldo wasn’t secretive about his struggle with his addiction but after several stints in rehab, he managed to stay sober for some time. While it’s unclear how long Giraldo had been using drugs at the time of his death, his relapse wasn’t public knowledge. In fact, just days before his death, Giraldo was scheduled to appear at the 3rd Annual New York Recovery Rally—celebrating recovery from addiction—where he never showed up at. This, and his subsequent absence from the Stress Factory Comedy Club that evening, is what prompted New Jersey police to show up at Giraldo’s hotel room at the Hyatt in New Brunswick, where they found he had overdosed on prescription medication. He was immediately rushed to the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ and died just a few days later. He was just 44 years old.

Best known for his sharp-tongued wit on the Comedy Central Roasts, Giraldo actually had a long and accomplished career and the loss of his talent from the world was a big one—from his local fans who miss seeing him as a regular fixture as The Comedy Cellar in New York City to his global fan base whose love continues to be celebrated. But to those who knew him, that global fan base was never quite as global as it should have been; he was inarguably one of the more respected and adored talents among his uber-gifted group of comedian friends but never had the worldwide fame most anyone familiar with him knew he deserved.

Today is a day that I will remember Greg Giraldo and look back fondly upon the first and only time I ever met him. It was when I was having the horrific experience of auditioning for Last Comic Standing and Giraldo was a judge. He all but called me a hack, which should have upset me, but since he was sitting next to Andy Kindler, I figured I was in good company.

Photo courtesy of Gus Faf via Flickr [CC0 (] (resized and cropped)

Any Questions? Call Now To Speak to a Rehab Specialist
(855) 933-3480

About Author

Danielle Stewart is a Los Angeles-based writer and recovering comedian. She has written for Showtime, E!, and MTV, as well as print publications such as Us Weekly and Life & Style Magazine. She returned to school and is currently working her way towards a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves coffee, Law & Order SVU, and her emotional support dog, Benson.