NEW YORK (AP) — Greg Giraldo, a stand-up comedian who specialized in rants and insult-filled roasts, has died. He was 44.
Giraldo died at the Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J., after being hospitalized days earlier. New Brunswick police Lt. J.T. Miller said officers found Giraldo in his room at the Hyatt New Brunswick on Saturday night.
The Home News Tribune of East Brunswick reported that Giraldo had suffered a drug overdose, citing New Brunswick police. Giraldo’s managers declined to comment Thursday.
On Wednesday’s “Daily Show,” Jon Stewart paid tribute to Giraldo. Instead of showing the show’s traditional final segment, “Moment of Zen,” the program ran a “Moment of Greg,” playing a clip of Giraldo performing.
“The comedy world lost a good man and a great comic,” Stewart said. “When you were working the clubs, he was just one of those guys that you loved to run into, because he was always a font of warmth and good humor and just smart-as-hell comedy.”
Born in New York, Giraldo initially pursued a career in law, earning a bachelor’s degree from Columbia and a law degree from Harvard. But he abandoned that path for stand-up, toiling in comedy clubs and on television.
In one stand-up bit — one of his most popular on YouTube — he questioned opponents of same-sex marriage: “George Bush says two gay people getting married would violate the sanctity of marriage. The sanctity of marriage? Is anyone here married? Does it feel like a gift from God to you?”
He starred in the ABC sitcom “Common Law” — in which he fittingly played a lawyer — but the show was canceled after four episodes. He was also a judge on the NBC reality show “Last Comic Standing.”
He was a frequent guest on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” ”Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and “The Howard Stern Show.” He often appeared on Comedy Central’s roast series. His last appearance on the network (on which he had two comedy half-hour comedy specials) was the “Comedy Central Roast of David Hasselhoff” in August.
Comedy Central said in a statement: “The tragic news of Greg’s passing hits us very, very hard. Greg has been a member of the Comedy Central family for years, injecting his energy and wicked sense of humor into countless projects. The comedy community lost a brother today. Our thoughts are with his family.”
Giraldo was divorced with three children.
News of Giraldo’s death circulated on the Internet. His website referred visitors to Giraldo’s Facebook page, where fans left their condolences.
“RIP, buddy,” wrote comedian Jim Norton on Twitter. Comedian Jim Gaffigan wrote “Goodbye Greg. I love you” — adding a lament for addiction. Comedian Aziz Ansari called Giraldo “one of the most respected comic I can think of” and said: “The world has lost a hysterical man.” Joan Rivers said that she was very fond of Giraldo and that she was very angry: “What a waste of comedic talent.”
Comedian Patton Oswalt used a savory turn of phrase to note that “If there’s a heaven then Einstein, Asimov, Voltaire and Anne Frank are” getting the daylights “roasted out of ’em tonight.”