Greg Giraldo and Direct Confrontation on Television

Comedian Greg Giraldo passing last week brought to my attention a video clip featuring him that’s both remarkable and illuminating for being such.

I knew of Greg Giraldo mainly from his appearances on podcasts and some online clips, and he always seemed like a comedian who used comedy to hunt for truth. This remembrance, written by fellow comic and friend Ted Alexandro is very affecting.

Many of the posts about Mr. Giraldo link to a particular clip from the show Tough Crowd, in which he gets into it with, comic-turned-actor, Denis Leary, as an example of his wit and fearlessness. That clip is here, the conversation is about conflict with North Korea with the relevant bit starting at 3:20 (though the whole clip worth’s watching just to see how quickly he elevates the discourse):

It’s great TV. One smart person arguing with an even smarter person, and the two going directly at each other.

What’s remarkable about it is the tension that watching it, even now, produces. I think that’s because the clip shows us something that’s surprisingly rare on television, two people disagreeing with each other without compromise.

Cable news, mainly devoted to covering a political moment in which each party thinks the other is not just wrong, but crazy, hardly ever produces that kind of direct confrontation. If we had more of it, not to mention more social commentators like Greg Giraldo, our discourse might be in better shape.

Greg Giraldo and Direct Confrontation on Television