Showtime has acquired The One and Only Dick Gregory, a feature-length documentary about the comedian and activist who specialized in cultural disruption. The pic about the late icon will air, appropriately, on the Fourth of July — following its June 19 world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Watch a clip above that focuses on his anti-Vietnam War stance and the angry response from J. Edgar Hoover and his FBI.
Featuring interviews with Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Kevin Hart — who serves as an EP on the film — Wanda Sykes, W. Kamau Bell and others, the docu unpacks Gregory’s career as a stand-up comic, activist, pop-culture icon and thought leader who affected the lives of millions through constant disruption and awareness. He inspired a generation through on-the-ground activism, an untiring desire to help and his influential comedy. Featuring archival footage of his early career onstage, the film is bookended with Gregory’s own voice just before his death in 2017, reflecting on the impact of his life on the world as a self-described “agitator.”
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“There is no more important time than now to revisit the life of Dick Gregory,” said Vinnie Malhotra, EVP Nonfiction Programming at Showtime Networks. “His fearless voice rose to the challenges of his time, calling upon Americans to question their beliefs, in an era where you risked your livelihood – maybe even your life – to speak out. Though a comedic genius of his generation, comedy turned out just to be the beginning of one of the most unique and impactful journeys of any person we’ve seen.”
Producer Andre Gaines makes his directing debut on The One and Only Dick Gregory, which he also wrote and produced.
“Dick Gregory is as present to me now as he was when I first started filming him six years ago – a trivial length of time when compared to the nearly six decades that this one man so greatly influenced American history, comedy, activism, and nutrition,” Gaines said. “He emptied himself completely for the movement, and while the enormity of his sacrifices are rarely acknowledged, he gave every artist a master class for what it truly means to both entertain and educate. Knowing Dick Gregory was a transformative experience that not only influenced the making of this film, but me as a man.”
Valerie Edwards also produced the pic from Cinemation Studios. Hart and Bryan Smiley of Hartbeat Productions executive produce alongside Lena Waithe and Rishi Rajani for Hillman Grad Productions, Christian Gregory, Chad Troutwine and Matt Rachamkin.
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