EXCLUSIVE: Blake Griffin at the Laugh Factory: An offseason slam dunk
It was open mic night at The Laugh Factory, where thousands of comedians have tested their skills on Sunset Boulevard.
There was a crowd of about 50 people on Tuesday, most of them trying to make it on the big stage. The opening act was a young guy in a T-shirt, khakis and a story about growing up in Montana.
Then an older gentleman was joking about R-rated stuff that made you cringe . A younger guy, politely scolded for not checking in, who did a fun impersonation of girls getting ready to go out in Hollywood.
And then, a surprise guest. Next on the list was Blake Griffin.
Many seated in the audience looked around, wondering if that was THE Blake Griffin.
Indeed, it was the 6-foot-10 Clippers star.
Griffin had poetry to read, and it was a slam dunk for those in the small crowd.
Griffin was the fourth act in a building where the late Robin Williams, Adam Sandler, Jim Carrey, Chris Rock, Jimmy Fallon, Ellen DeGeneres and so many others have done their routines.
The sign above the building shows Dane Cook is scheduled to appear next month. Griffin’s name wasn’t in lights because it was an unexpected cameo.
Griffin didn’t write his own poetry. He got an assist from Vizio creators for the words, but he paused when it made sense, used props well and put on a great show, much like he does with those monster dunks at Staples Center.
Griffin read from a notebook, and lost his place only once but handled it well. After one reading, he wiped his forehead. No one was there to throw him a towel.
He did poetry on his mouthpiece, and after chomping on it during his routine, he threw it into the crowd: "Sometimes, I sit and wish you were alive so I could hit you with an … itty bitty high-five. Standing on a tiny pedestal. Holding a tiny ball. Bobbleheadddd, bobbleheaddddd, you know all."
Griffin was well received, even if it was just a small crowd. He wasn’t nervous.
"No, because I was able to look down and reference and read," Griffin told FoxSportsWest.com. "It’s a little different being on stage like that by yourself."
And it helped that he scored laughs.
"The first laugh is always key," Griffin said. "I’ve done some improv stuff. Once you get your first laugh, you’re good. Up until that point it’s a little nerve-racking."
Griffin wore a sweater and jeans for his debut at the Laugh Factory.
— Jill Painter Lopez (@jillpainter) September 17, 2014
One day earlier, his Vizio poetry videos debuted online. Griffin is the center of company’s beautifully simple campaign, which features the beautiful simplicities of Griffin’s game. Hence, poetry on a mouthpiece, bobblehead and warmup pants.
Griffin didn’t pen the words.
"I wish it was (mine)," he said. "I guess I had some creative input. I can’t take all the credit."
He asked if he could do a third poem, and the audience agreed he should. The final one was about warmup pants.
Longtime Laugh Factory host Harvey Dunn told comedians at the beginning of the night that they couldn’t curse and that material had to be G-rated.
Before his final poem, Griffin told the host he’d heard what he said earlier and apologized that it might be raunchy.
"It better be G-rated," Dunn told him.
Replied Griffin: "I’ll see what I can do."
It really wasn’t tasteless, but he did chat about taking off his (warmup) pants.
"I don’t need a phone booth to unveil my alter ego, Griffin said. "I just need you, my 16-button amigo. At any other job, taking off your pants would be illegal. On a basketball court, it’s damn near regal."
— Laugh Factory (@thelaughfactory) September 17, 2014
This wasn’t Griffin’s first time at the Laugh Factory. He said he’d been a few times as a patron.
"It’s amazing you can come here and catch an amazing comedian on any random night," Griffin said. "That’s what’s great about a place like this, being Los Angeles, and going to comedy clubs."
Maybe he’ll be back for another go-round. Perhaps, minus the notebook and maybe with his name in lights next time.
"We’ll see what comes my way," Griffin said. "As you can see, I’m pretty much open to anything."
Open mic, no problem. An offseason slam dunk.