Comedian Eddie Griffin comes to Hu Ke Lau

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

Ask Eddie Griffin why he's been out of the country for much of the last two years and he has a quick answer: "That's where the movies are being shot."

The stand-up comic has two new films that will be released in the next few months. Griffin starred in the Malcom & Eddie sitcom from 1996 through 2000 and has been in movies such as Undercover Brother and the Deuce Bigelow series (Griffin played the manager of the unlikely gigolo).

But don't expect a new Deuce Bigelow film among the new productions.

"We're done with that. We squeezed all of the blood out of that," he said with a laugh. "The vampires would have to go someplace else to feed."

Griffin will appear at the Comedy Connection at the Hu Ke Lau in Chicopee at 7 p.m. Oct. 29.

Besides shooting the second Deuce Bigelow film in Amsterdam, Griffin also appeared in Irish Jam, a comedy set in Ireland that was shot in Cornwall, England.

"That was interesting," Griffin said with understatement.

In Irish Jam, Griffin plays an American who wins an Irish fishing village through a poetry contest. Besides the problem that he stole the lyrics from a rap album to win, he suffers a big case of culture shock. The film is scheduled for release next month.

Griffin plays a take-off of the Robert DeNiro role from Meet The Fokkers in the film Date Movie, now in post-production, and provided the voice for Babe the Blue Ox in the animated production Bunyan and Babe. It was his first time doing voice work and Griffin declared, "It was fun."

He also made his directing debut with N.T.V., which will be going straight to DVD. When asked what the "N" stands for he offered, "Nepotism? Narcissistic? Use your imagination."

He "had a ball" directing the film.

Griffin said he likes the freedom of performing in films over his experience with television. He explained that "suits who never told a joke on stage" were experts in comedy.

Griffin added that the attitude among television executives is "if the wheel is working, we must destroy it."

Still, Griffin said he doesn't really have a preference over the different parts of his career.

"I like all of it. It takes a whole lot of different slices to make a pie," he said.

Showtime subscribers will see Griffin as Sammy Davis, Junior, in an up-coming biography he made. In describing the film, Griffin launched into a perfect Sammy Davis impersonation.

He is currently working on a similar type of film on the life and career of Richard Pryor and talked about the project in Pryor's voice.

When he was told this writer has an autographed photo of comic and film maker Rudy Ray Moore on his office wall, Griffin instantly started reciting part of Moore's seminal routine, "The Signifying Monkey."

"Everyone has professors," said Griffin. "Those are my mine Professor Davis, Professor Pryor and Professor Moore."