George Wallace (comedian)

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George Wallace
Birth name George Henry Wallace
Born (1952-07-21) July 21, 1952 (age 62)
Atlanta, Georgia
United States
Years active 1977–present
Parent(s) Mary Lou and George Wallace, Sr.
Relative(s) Steve Wallace
Website georgewallace.net

George Henry Wallace (born July 21, 1952) is an American comedian and actor. He is best known for his show at the Flamingo Las Vegas where he is known as "The New Mr. Vegas"[1] and for his catchphrase, "Get your mess right."[2]

Biography[edit]

Early life and education[edit]

He was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to Mary Lou and George Wallace, Sr. He grew up in a loving, religious family.

Wallace was educated at Lynwood Park Elementary School and Lynwood Park High School. Since his early teenage years, Wallace dreamed of becoming a comedian.

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. At first, success in comedy proved elusive and Wallace worked as a salesman for an advertising agency to pay the bills.

Career[edit]

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 Reverend Dr. George Wallace. His routine was completely improvised, yet it included the same imagery and delivery of the spiritual leaders who had influenced him as a child. Wallace was a hit.

He stayed in New York City for several years, perfecting his craft and living with friend and fellow comedian Jerry Seinfeld.[3]

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.[clarification needed]

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 the 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.

Among his more memorable jokes was the suggestion that African-Americans should not have to pay Social Security because their average lifespan was only 65 anyway. His best-known bit is People Say Stupid Things, in which he points out the folly of many popularly used phrases. For example, in response to the term untimely death, he asks "When is a GOOD time to die?" He follows this question with, "I wanna hear something on the news like, 'Senator Jesse Helms died today, and it's about doggone time!!!'" Wallace also pokes fun at himself for having the same name as George Wallace (1919–1998), a politician who served as Alabama Governor (1963–1967, 1971–1979 and 1983–1987) and a noted segregationist.

As of February 27, 2013 Wallace is in his tenth year headlining at the Flamingo Resort and Casino[4] on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada. Wallace produces and directs his own show doing all the marketing and advertising.[5] Additionally, he calls the Flamingo home and regularly spends time walking the hotel casino floor mingling with hotel guests.[6]

Personal life[edit]

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.[6]

He was the best man at comedian Jerry Seinfeld's wedding.[7]

Wallace's nephew, Steve Wallace, played professional football with the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs.[7]

On Tuesday, June 18, 2013, Wallace urged his Twitter followers to watch that evening's So You Think You Can Dance, on which his nephew had just been selected as one of season 10's Top 20.

Accolades[edit]

Wallace is number 93 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time.[7]

"Allowance" Performance[edit]

On May 3rd, 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.[8] The joke varies night to night, but follows the lines, "Allowance? I'll allowance you a roof over your head! I'll allowance you three square meals a day! Get your mess right!" It is largely considered to be the joke that has defined his career ever since.

Filmography[edit]

Wallace has had supporting roles in a number of films, including the Coen Brothers film, The Ladykillers (2004, as Sheriff Wyner). Wallace also appeared in Batman Forever (1995) as the Mayor of Gotham City.[7] Other film credits include A Rage in Harlem (1991), The Wash (2001), Punchline (1988), Things Are Tough All Over (1982) and Postcards from the Edge (1990). 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". His most recent role was a dealer in the 2014 film Think Like A Man Too.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Wallace, George; Ewen, Dan (2013). Laff It Off!. Chaite Press. ASIN B00FY0NOO0. 

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]