From courtroom to standup circuit

Greg Giraldo was just too damn funny to be a lawyer.

After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1990, Giraldo spent eight months in a New York law firm before deciding he wasn’t cut out for courtrooms and depositions.

Raised in Queens, N.Y., Giraldo began hitting the open-mike circuit, on occasion finding himself in front of audiences as tough as any jury.

“Standing on a milk crate in a sports bar during the Super Bowl,” he says, “it’s hard to come off as comedically brilliant.”

It got easier. Not only did Giraldo become a hot draw in his hometown, but he was a hit at the Montreal and Aspen comedy festivals and landed gigs with latenight TV’s Bill Maher, Conan O’Brien and Craig Kilborn. He also was seen on Fox News Channel’s “The Full Nelson,” Showtime’s Latino Comedy Festival and on the BBC’s “Live at Jongleurs.”

In his own recent half-hour Comedy Central special, Giraldo skewered the dumbing-down of America, the “great obesity epidemic,” news anchors and weather forecasters, and posited that gay men have become role models because they can beat anyone at bench-pressing. Giraldo also announced that he and his wife, Mary Ann, have a baby boy: “I’m really excited about it, ’cause it’s probably my first kid.”

Seriously, though, the kid has influenced his work. “I’m not writing a whole act on being a father, but it creeps in there,” he says. “Why else have a child if not for personal exploitation?”

Giraldo recently was signed to develop a sitcom for NBC, and plans to be in L.A. this summer to look for a writer with whom he can collaborate. He’s had two such deals previously — ABC’s “Common Law,” which aired four episodes before being pulled, and the other a pilot for CBS, called “Drive,” that wasn’t picked up.

“The first time I was wildly, wildly unprepared,” he recalls. “The second time, I was mildly unprepared. Now I’m just a little bit unprepared.”

Lisa Leingang, VP of primetime series for NBC Studios, says she attended a showcase by Giraldo in May before signing the deal. “He just blew the room away,” she says. “Everyone was crying and laughing. It was great.”

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