Sorry, University of Kentucky fans. Politically minded comedian and failed ballroom dance star David Alan Grier really wants to get his hands on a Transylvania University basketball jersey.
"I really like the name of the university," he said, "and the first time I visited Lexington, I could not obtain one because the students were on winter vacation." He does say it is nothing personal against UK.
Grier — who probably is best known for his work on the 1990s sketch-comedy series In Living Color and more recently for being the fifth contestant axed from this spring's round of Dancing With the Stars — might have a chance to get that Transy jersey this week while he's in Lexington to perform at Comedy Off Broadway.
Catching up with the star funnyman took some doing — he was on tour in Montreal last week — but during some down time between traveling, he chatted about returning to Lexington, his new book and his upcoming Broadway play.
Question: What do you think of Lexington?
Answer: I visited Lexington about a year and a half ago, and it was great. It was crazy and I had the best time; everybody was really nice, the people were great, every audience was great, and I am really looking forward to coming back.
Q: Do you always plan what you will discuss at your comedy shows, or does it just come to you once you hit the stage?
A: No. I think everybody has an act, but really, I just talk about real issues that are going on in the world.
Q: What are some of the topics you will be discussing at the shows?
A: I will probably talk a bit about Barack Obama, emotions of people during the elections and the presidential inauguration, my life and other cool things.
Q: Have you always thought you were a funny person and destined to become a comedian?
A: No. I remember I was really little, in elementary school, and one of the girls in my class came up to me and said, "My friend is sad, David. Make her laugh." I was like, "What am I supposed to do?" She said, "You're really funny and you'll make her feel better." I was like, "Wow."
Q: Who has made you laugh so hard you almost cried?
A: I just returned from the Montreal Comedy Festival and had a chance to reconnect with old friends. I will tell you that comedians Kevin Hart and Godfrey always make me laugh. Comedian Dave Chappelle is brilliant, and Dave Attell is also hilarious. ... I think there should be a festival of comedians named David. That would be nice.
Q: You have a book set to be released in the fall. Can you tell me a little bit about it?
A: The book is called Barack Like Me: The Chocolate-Covered Truth and is set to be released in October. It basically describes all of the things that occurred when Barack Obama took office and all of the things that led up to his being elected, and the actual elections.
Q: Do you have any other big projects planned for the year?
A: Oh, yes. I just found out that I will be cast in the Broadway play called Race by David Mamet. I will star along with other cast members such as Kerry Washington, James Spader and Richard Thomas. This is something that I have always wanted to do. To be able to originate a role on Broadway is always an incredible experience, and to be to work with a playwright like Mamet is crazy. ... It is set to open Dec. 6.
Q: Do you think you have accomplished the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of 2009?
A: Yes. I will tell you that, unfortunately, my (Comedy Central) show Chocolate News was canceled. That was my love. But somebody reminded me that had Chocolate News not been canceled, I never would have had the opportunity to do this play. So life is funny like that. Sometimes you have to give up something to get something else.