Talkin’ Turkey

August 8, 2008

My life has been made a little better by this 1962 comedy album:

[Click picture for download]

Dick Gregory would become a flamboyant civil rights activist in the late 60s: sit-in strikes, a bid for the presidency, and the widespread circulation of this counterfeit bill:

Due to his political dalliances, it’s hard to mention Dick Gregory without pointing out his relevance this year, as we watch the ascent of the first black presidential candidate to be nominated by a major party. Incidentally, Barack and Dick have another political experience in common: in the 1966 Chicago Mayoral Election, Dick Gregory opposed Richard J. Daley, the country’s last big-city boss and the leader of a political machine that Obama struggled against as a Chicago politician.

But Talks Turkey came before all that, and though it’s rife with social commentary, it’s not as sensationally in-your-face as some of his later speeches and recordings. His voice is warm, soft and self-deprecating. His jokes draw from his Southern boyhood and the subtle absurdities of the era’s race relations. It’s as educational as it is funny. They don’t do stand-up like they used to.


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