James Gregory grew up watching stand-up comedy on programs such as the "Ed Sullivan Show," "The Jack Benny Program" and "The Buick-Berle Show." After continuous encouragement from his peers, he decided to start doing open mic nights throughout the Atlanta area. The rest is history.
He now performs to crowds at sold-out shows across the country. He works 48 weeks out of the year telling stories about his favorite foods and funny family members.
Gregory is a regular guest on radio shows such as "The Bob and Tom Show," "The Big Show with John Boy and Billy" and "The Rick and Bubba Show," which broadcasts to more than 220 cities nationwide.
In the beginning of his career, Gregory said people deemed him as the "Funniest Man in America," but he claims that "at that time there were only 13 states." Unlike other comedians, he has kept his jokes clean. "My mother wouldn't let me tell them if they weren't," he says. This is the kind of show that you can feel comfortable making a date night of or going to solo. Gregory works to make everyone laugh.
His comedic anecdotes have widespread appeal to almost every generation. He is bound to remind you of someone in your own family. His stories, one after another, have a lighthearted universality.
Although he makes a living joking about southern ways of living, both good and bad, it is not fair to classify his act as regional.
"To me, southern comedians are guys who get on stage and talk about pickup trucks, rifle racks and cow-tipping," Gregory says. "I don't talk about the South; just deliver my material with a southern accent. My comedy is based on the real life, the people I grew up with. My notions about food came from them. They all eat fried foods and many of them are in their 80s. Meanwhile, you read in the news how some health nut kicked the bucket jogging on the way home from the health-food store."
Gregory started his southeast tour May 10, with stops in Birmingham, Ala.; Charlotte, N.C.; Nashville, Tenn., and others. He performs July 26 at Duling Hall (662 Duling Ave., 601-351-9999). For information or to purchase tickets, visit funniestman.com.