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By Savannah Doane-Malotte, The Diamondback

From an early age, David Alan Grier realized he just couldn’t stop the jokes.

The writer, producer, director and actor’s comedic career began in his first grade classrooms, Grier told an audience of about 100 people yesterday night at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.

“I know a lot of class clowns are really smart, and they know the lessons being taught; they’re beyond it, they’re bored, so they’re just acting out,” said Grier, one of Comedy Central’s top 100 stand-up comedians of all time. “I just always have to be laughing.”

This semester’s first speaker for the Worldwise Arts & Humanities Dean’s Lecture Series — the program that brought Noam Chomsky, David Simon and Angela Davis to the campus last year — Grier later developed his knack for making people laugh into stand-up and humorous roles in Emmy-winning shows, such as In Living Color.

One of his greatest influences, his father, served as a model for Grier in having a voice and delivering a message — but not through comedy. William Grier penned Black Rage, the 1968 book revealing the complex psychological reactions black Americans have to racism.

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