David Alan Grier

David Alan Grier
David Alan Grier

Grier, August 2007
Born June 30, 1956 (1956-06-30) (age 55)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Occupation Actor/Comedian
Years active 1980—present

David Alan Grier (born June 30, 1956),[1] also known as "D.A.G." (DAG), is an American actor and comedian known for his work on the sketch comedy television show In Living Color.


Early life

Grier was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Aretas Ruth (née Dudley) and William Henry Grier, a psychiatrist and writer who co-wrote the book Black Rage.[2] He graduated from Detroit's magnet high school, Cass Tech and received a B.A. from the University of Michigan, and an M.F.A. from the Yale School of Drama. Immediately after graduating, he landed the role of Jackie Robinson in the short-lived Broadway musical The First, directed by Martin Charnin and written by Joel Siegel.


Grier got his start on the National Public Radio radio drama adaptation of Star Wars in 1980. He was the voice of a nameless X-Wing fighter pilot during the Battle of Yavin.

Grier was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical and won the Theatre World Award for The First. He later starred as James "Thunder" Early in the hit Broadway musical Dreamgirls. Grier made his film debut in 1983 in Streamers, directed by Robert Altman. He won the Golden Lion for Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival for the film. He also appeared in the Negro Ensemble Company production A Soldier's Play and reprised his role in the film version A Soldier's Story. Grier also appeared as a geology professor at the fictitious Hillman College in the show A Different World where he was a crush of several of the girls on the show including lead character Denise Huxtable played by actress Lisa Bonet.

In Living Color

Although primarily known for his dramatic work, Grier began to shift towards comedy, making memorable appearances in the cult films Amazon Women on the Moon and I'm Gonna Git You Sucka. Keenen Ivory Wayans, the director of Sucka, cast Grier in his new variety show In Living Color. It became a ratings hit and won an Emmy for Outstanding Variety Series. Grier became a popular cast member through his characters, which ranged from hyperactive children to crotchety old men. Among his prominent characters were obnoxious, megaphone-blaring shop teacher Al MacAfee; the elderly Mr. Brooks, whose autumn years are a never-ending verbal battle with his wife; Calhoun Tubbs, a blues musician with very limited creativity; a member of Funky Finger Productions, a production company with more ambition than resources; and, most famously, flamboyant and effeminate Antoine Merriweather in the "Men on..." sketch series. He also played Rev. Leon Lonnie Love on the TV series Martin. After his success on the show, Grier began appearing in comedies such as Boomerang (as Eddie Murphy's shy friend Gerard) Blankman (with Damon Wayans), In the Army Now (as Fred Ostroff) along with Pauley Shore and Andy Dick in 1994, and as a policeman whose car is memorably crushed and eaten by a giant pod in Jumanji. Grier also gave a strong dramatic performance as an abusive father in Rusty Cundieff's horror anthology Tales from the Hood.Grier appeared with Tom Arnold in the 1997 comedy McHale's Navy as Ensign Charles Parker. In 1999, he made a guest appearance as himself on the Aw, Here it Goes to Hollywood episode of Nickelodeon's sitcom, Kenan & Kel.[3]

After In Living Color

After the cancellation of In Living Color, Grier starred in the short-lived sitcoms The Preston Episodes, Damon (with In Living Color co-star Damon Wayans), and DAG.

Grier had a cameo in the Robert DeNiro /Edward Burns movie 15 Minutes as a Central Park mugger. In a departure from the childlike roles he often played on In Living Color, he portrayed an abusive father in Rusty Cundieff's anthology film Tales From the Hood. He began doing stand-up comedy and was an instant success.[citation needed] He hosted the Comedy Central series Premium Blend.

Grier returned to Broadway to perform in the musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. In 2002, Grier joined the cast of the improv-based ABC sitcom and Bonnie Hunt vehicle Life with Bonnie which ran only two seasons. During this time, he continued to appear in comedy films but also returned to drama in the films BAADASSSSS! and The Woodsman. He starred in his own Comedy Central stand-up special The Book of David: The Cult Figure's Manifesto. He is also a frequent guest on the Comedy Central show Crank Yankers. Grier was the host of the NBC show Thank God You're Here. He will also host his own national late night syndicated TV show in early 2007. He also appeared in the revival production of The Wiz at the La Jolla Playhouse directed by Des McAnuff.

Grier starred in Gym Teacher: The Movie playing the villain, Shelly Bragg. He appeared as Uncle Henry in the ABC 2005 television movie The Muppets' Wizard of Oz.

From October 2008, Grier hosted Chocolate News, a Comedy Central spoof of a TV news magazine show. Comedy Central did not renew the show for a second season.

Grier appeared as Sugar Bear in the 2009 movie Dance Flick. He also provided the voice for Kobe Bryant in the Nike puppet commercials.

Grier's first book Barack Like Me: The Chocolate-Covered Truth was published by Simon & Schuster in 2009.[4][5] The book recounts Grier's own life story, and was co-authored by Alan Eisenstock.

He returned to Broadway for the premiere of Race, written and directed by David Mamet, opposite James Spader, Kerry Washington, and Richard Thomas, which opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on December 6, 2009. Grier received his second Tony Award nomination for his role.[6]

Grier guest-starred in Season 6 of FOX's Bones. He played Professor Bunsen Jude the Science Dude, the host of a children's TV program.[7]


He was often referred to as the third host of the radio show Loveline, as he was a frequent guest and guest host (usually filling in for Adam Carolla). One of his most famous contributions was a bit where he began calling out various pharmaceutical drugs Dr. Drew was recommending to a caller as though they were the names of black children being yelled at by their parents. The episode aired on 09/07/2005 towards the end of the show.

Ethinyl! Estradiol! Y'all get in the house! And where is Levonorgestrel?!

Also, on one of his other infamous episodes on September 25, 2002, David stops by lamenting his recent breakup with his girlfriend of four years. He recently (at the time) found out she had been cheating on him with multiple famous actors, at one point in the show DAG coughs while saying the names to avoid legal troubles. During the show Engineer Anderson slows down the recording and plays it back, and the listeners are able to discern the names Tom Sizemore, Colin Farell and Cuba Gooding Jr. from them.

Grier's supposed last appearance on Loveline was April 16, 2006.[8] On his MySpace page, Grier posted:

To all of my loyal fans. It pains me greatly to inform you all that I will probably never be heard on the radio show Loveline again. I have been informed of this sad fact by the one and only Dr. Drew Pinsky. I know not how or why this has happened, but we must ALL move on...

On March 3, 2009, David was a guest on The Adam Carolla Podcast. He explained that the reason he was not asked back on Loveline was because the producers of the show did not want him back on despite Dr. Drew pushing for him to again be a guest. While Dr. Drew wasn't initially upfront with him about this, David has no hard feelings toward him and Dr. Drew has since apologized for what happened. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Drew explained on Loveline what had happened and expressed his intent to petition the producers for David to return, and on August 10, 2009, his request was finally granted: After over 3 years, David was once again on Loveline, joining former host Adam Carolla and Dr. Bruce Heischober.

The Adam Carolla Show

Grier has made many guest appearances on the Adam Carolla Show (97.1 FreeFM), usually to plug his improv performances. One of his recurring bits is where he enacts a heavy-set black woman named Peanut who does a terrible job answering the phones at FreeFM. He also frequently antagonizes the co-host Teresa Strasser. This is done most often by snoring loudly while Teresa reads the news. Carolla's radio show is off the air, but Grier regularly appears on the Adam Carolla Podcast.

Dancing with the Stars

David was a contestant on the 8th season of Dancing with the Stars,[9] partnered with Kym Johnson. By the fourth week of the competition, Grier announced that he had lost 26 pounds.[10] He was eliminated in the fifth week.

Other Work

Grier co-starred with Jon Stewart in Elmopalooza, as the director of Jon's production crew.

In 2008 Grier starred in the Comedy Central TV seris Chocolate News which had satirical sketches about current events and news stories. It lasted for 1 season (10 episodes).

Personal life

Grier was previously married to Maritza Rivera but they were divorced in 1995. In July 2007, he married Christine Y. Kim, Associate Curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem. Kim gave birth to their daughter Luisa Danbi Grier-Kim on January 10, 2008 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.[11] On June 9, 2009, according to TMZ, Christine filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences.[12]

Grier is a fan of motorcycles[13][14][15][16][17] and owns the rare Yamaha YZF-R1 Limited Edition[18] and on the August 10, 2009 episode of Loveline agreed to auction it to aid Bryan Bishop's Tumor Fund before storming out while Carolla and the audio engineer bickered on air.

Grier is also a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. Grier was able to showcase his skills in the 1994 film Blankman as his character, Kevin Walker (The Other Guy) was shown to be particularly adept in martial arts.

In Living Color


  • Al MacAfee
  • Antoine Merriweather ("Men on...")
  • Calhoun Tubbs
  • Cephus (Cephus & Reesie)
  • Clavelle (Funky Finger Productions)
  • David (Life with Bonnie)
  • Doug McPherson (Hemorrhoid Guy)
  • Hoke (Driving Miss Schott)
  • Jazz Mo' (Life with Bonnie)
  • Lamont Hightower
  • Leon (Snack 'n Shack)
  • Lil' Magic's Mom
  • Little Kid (Homey D. Clown)
  • Lonnie Anderson
  • Loomis Simmons
  • Mac
  • Mr. Brooks
  • Phat Man (Chocolate News)
  • Sammy (Zodiac Comedy Shack)
  • Tiny (Prison Cable Network)
  • Don 'No Soul' Simmons (Amazon Women on the Moon)
  • Candleopra (Chocolate News)
  • Seemingly homeless man in the soul diner (blurts out such classic lines as "I pop my pimples cuz they tell me to" and "I have a boil with an eye on it.")

Other notable roles / characters



  1. ^ Katsilometes, John (July 1, 2010). "Albino gorillas? Farrakhan: The Musical? With Grier, anything is possible". Las Vegas Sun. http://www.lasvegassun.com/blogs/kats-report/2010/jul/01/albino-gorillas-farrakhan----musical-grier-anythin/. Retrieved July 2, 2010. 
  2. ^ David Alan Grier Biography (1955?-)
  3. ^ "Aww, Here It Goes to Hollywood: Part 2" at the Internet Movie Database
  4. ^ http://books.simonandschuster.com/Barack-Like-Me/David-Alan-Grier/9781439154922
  5. ^ David Alan Grier brings funny to Chicago, TBS
  6. ^ http://www.playbill.com/news/article/139245-2010-Tony-Nominations-Announced-Fela-and-La-Cage-Top-List
  7. ^ "Bones Exclusive: David Alan Grier to Woo Brennan?". TVGuide.com. http://www.tvguide.com/News/Bones-David-Alan-Grier-1021996.aspx. Retrieved August 18 , 2010. 
  8. ^ http://lovelinearchive.com/
  9. ^ "Dancing’s Season Eight Cast Is Revealed! - PEOPLE TV Watch", 2009-02-09
  10. ^ Dancing with the Stars Contestant Loses 26 Pounds Us Weekly, March 31, 2009
  11. ^ Comedian David Alan Grier Welcomes a Girl - Babies, David Alan Grier : People.com
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ http://roadracingworld.com/news/article/?article=23484
  14. ^ http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/303/1447/Motorcycle-Article/2005-Seattle-100-Charity-Ride.aspx
  15. ^ http://roadracingworld.com/news/article/?article=26542
  16. ^ Gay, Nancy (July 23, 2007). "MOTOGP AT LAGUNA SECA NOTEBOOK / Sponsor re-energizes series at racetrack". The San Francisco Chronicle. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2007/07/23/SPG93R56JV1.DTL. 
  17. ^ Diamond, Jamie (August 13, 2006). "A NIGHT OUT WITH -- Adam Carolla; Is a Scallop an Animal?". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C04E5DB163EF930A2575BC0A9609C8B63. 
  18. ^ Adam Carolla Podcast, 2009-05-29
  19. ^ http://www.uic.edu/aa/college/gallery400/01_exhibit-past.htm
  20. ^ http://www.whitney.org/www/2008biennial/www/?section=artists&page=artist_arceneaux
  21. ^ a b 5/12/08 The Adam Carolla Show

External links

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