George Wallace (American comedian)
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Wallace in 2014
|Birth name||George Henry Wallace|
|Born||July 21, 1952|
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
|Parent(s)||George Wallace, Sr. (father)|
Mary Lou Wallace (mother)
|Relative(s)||Steve Wallace (nephew)|
George Henry Wallace (born July 21, 1952) is an American actor and comedian.
Early life and education
His mother died when he was sixteen, prompting him to move to Ohio where he found a job with Firestone Tire. As part of the company's tuition reimbursement program, Wallace enrolled in the University of Akron, in Akron, Ohio, where he studied transportation, marketing and advertising.
Upon graduation, Wallace moved to New York City in pursuit of his childhood dream of being a comedian. At first, success in comedy proved elusive and Wallace worked as a salesman for an advertising agency to pay the bills.
Wallace's break came when one of his clients opened a comedy club. The club owner was amused by Wallace's natural humor and friendly demeanor and offered him the chance to perform stand-up comedy. In 1977, Wallace walked on stage for the first time, wearing a preacher's robe and calling himself The Right Reverend Dr. George Wallace. His routine was completely improvised.
In 1978, Wallace moved to the West Coast, where he quickly became recognized as a talented young comedian. After one of his performances, producers from The Redd Foxx Show asked him to write for the popular series.
However, after only one year of writing, Wallace returned to the stage. He became a regular at The Comedy Store in West Hollywood, California, which also featured artists including Richard Pryor, Rodney Dangerfield, Roseanne Barr, Jay Leno and Robin Williams. Wallace also took his comedy show on the road, opening for George Benson, Diana Ross, Donna Summer and Smokey Robinson, among others.
Wallace, who was named the Best Male Standup Comedian during the 1995 American Comedy Awards, says that his routines are inspired by everyday moments of life. His unique brand of social commentary proved popular with radio audiences as well. Wallace was a regular on the Tom Joyner Morning Show before joining Isaac Hayes on a popular radio program on the former WRKS radio station in New York City. He also starred in his own HBO special and has appeared on many television shows, including The Tonight Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show and Late Night with David Letterman.
On May 3, 2006, Wallace performed his most famous stand-up bit, which was a diatribe against the young generation's obsession with allowances. While Wallace often jokes about the flippancy of modern youth culture (often citing the "dumb dumbs on their smart phones") this one joke in particular resonated with his audience, and he repeats it at every show.
In December 2007, Wallace suffered an on-stage injury when he fell during a private-party performance at the Bellagio resort hotel and casino in Las Vegas. Wallace sued the Bellagio, claiming negligence after tripping over loose wires on stage. In April 2014, a Las Vegas jury found in favor of Wallace and awarded him US $1.3 million. After winning his case against the Bellagio, Wallace announced that he would end his 10-year run as a Las Vegas headliner to pursue other projects. "There are so many things to do. It's time to get into something new."
Wallace has had political ambitions; in 2006, he considered running for mayor of the city of Las Vegas, Nevada. Wallace stated that as mayor, he would update the Las Vegas Strip, with an easy-to-use monorail, close the strip to vehicles, and expand the road system behind the Strip hotels.
Wallace has had supporting roles in a number of films, including 3 Strikes and the Coen Brothers film The Ladykillers (2004, as Sheriff Wyner). Wallace also appeared in Batman Forever (1995) as the Mayor of Gotham City. Other film credits include A Rage in Harlem (1991), The Wash (2001), Punchline (1988), Things Are Tough All Over (1982), Postcards from the Edge (1990), and Mr. Deeds (2002). He also made a brief appearance in the sitcom Scrubs episode "My Long Goodbye" (2007), and in the sitcom Seinfeld episode "The Checks", where he played the doctor that was distracted by the song "Witchy Woman". He also appeared in the introduction scene to the home video release of Jerry Seinfeld: I'm Telling You for the Last Time - Live on Broadway (1999) as a fictionalized version of himself. He portrayed a man in a retirement home in The Last Laugh (2019) on Netflix.
- Gurian, Jeffrey. "Make 'Em Laugh: 35 Years of the Comic Strip, the Greatest Comedy Club of All". Retrieved 12 January 2018.
- Walkow, Brett. "Part 1 – Interview with comedian George Wallace". Actors Reporter. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- George Wallace Has His Mess Right |. Affotd.com (2014-08-15). Retrieved on 2015-08-01.
- Geer Thevenot, Carri (April 8, 2014). "Las Vegas jury awards comedian George Wallace $1.3 million in suit against Bellagio". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
- Jones, Jay (April 14, 2014). "Las Vegas: Comedian George Wallace to end 10-year run on the Strip". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
- Wallace, George (August 23, 2006). "The Roe Conn Show". WLS (AM) (Interview). Interviewed by Roe Conn.
- Osborn, Dave (August 19, 2015). "Seinfeld best friend George Wallace goes on tour after decade-long run in Sin City". Naples Daily News. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
- Baird, Kirk (August 30, 2002). "World of Wallace". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
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