A trio of big-name comics — Eddie Griffin, Tiffany Haddish and Luenell Campbell — were honored by the Los Angeles City Council Tuesday to mark the beginning of Black History Month.
Councilmen Herb Wesson, Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Curren Price welcomed the comedians, who have filled stadiums and theaters and made their mark on television and film.
Luenell, as she’s known “mononymously,” has been a stand-up comic for decades, and appeared in recent films such as “A Star is Born” and “My Name is Dolomite.” But her film career truly gained traction after her cameo in Sacha Baron Cohen’s 2006 film “Borat.”
Before her career took off, she said she spent some time in Los Angeles’ Twin Towers Correctional Facility.
“We didn’t think anything like this would ever happen for black comedians in Los Angeles,” Luenell said. “Often times, we’re out there working our butt off, but we feel invisible, like maybe the people are riding with us, but the executives and other people don’t pay attention to us.”‘
Griffin, who never shies from blue language, dropped several expletives in his high-tempo speech in the Council Chamber.
The longtime comic has multiple stand-up specials to his name, along with dozens of comedy films. But he said was actually homeless for three months when he first moved to Los Angeles, living on the corner of West Fifth Street and South Hill Street after moving from Kansas City.
“To turn back around … what is this, 30-something years later, and to be here in with all you beautiful people — some of y’all ugly, but you know it,” Griffin said.
Griffin thanked the council, but then chided the city for needing to fix its streets and provide assistance to homeless people.
“You can’t Taze the homeless because that homeless person might be a diamond in the rough, might be the next (expletive) Eddie Griffin,” he said.
Haddish, originally from South Los Angeles where she still resides, was recognized by the council five years ago, when she said she bought her first home. Since then, she said she’s purchased many other properties and she wants to buy more for a cause.
“It’s good to be back,” Haddish said. “I would love to get into
business with the city of Los Angeles and maybe start putting some foster youth in those homes. Not even maybe, I’m gonna do that.”
Haddish most recently released a Netflix comedy special, “Black Mitzvah,” and she appears on the TBS program “The Last O.G.” alongside Tracy Morgan.
The council also played a video recognizing other black comedy greats such as Paul Mooney and Dick Gregory.