In hard times, John Witherspoon made us laugh so hard we forgot about them

Early this morning we learned of the passing of the brilliant, hilarious, legendary comedian John Witherspoon.

I just turned 40 years old a few weeks ago and when I look back over my life, I can hardly believe it, but John Witherspoon had been making me laugh for 29 of those years. I see people on Twitter saying he goes back even longer for them, but for me, it started in 1990 with one of my favorite movies of all-time....HOUSE PARTY! My friends and I used to say soooooo many of these lines together as kids!

https://youtu.be/RNKllfR5AgA This scene alone made John Witherspoon a legend for us, but two years later, in 1990, in Eddie Murphy's Boomerang, not only did "Pops," as he was often called, take it to another level, he took his career and comedy to another level. I owned the VHS cassette of Boomerang and had a tiny little TV with a VCR in it in my bedroom, and my friends and I would literally be on the floor laughing until our sides hurt from this scene.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Viai9bgo5KM If John Witherspoon never did another movie, his role in making me laugh as a teenager was fully cemented, but as the movie series Friday took off starting in 1995, his fan base grew leaps and bounds. This scene with his son Craig, played by Ice Cube, is my favorite. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOryVF_iM9Q It's so damn funny!

I could literally share a hundred more clips here. If he was in it, he was funny. It's as simple as that. For millions of people, though, John Witherspoon was the voice of Grandad on the animated series, The Boondocks. I don't wanna say that John made The Boondocks, but he was a HUGE part of its success. Here are just some highlights from Season 1.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKxZn1O3t1s Listen - thank for comedians. Laughter is like medicine to the soul. And during hard times, John Witherspoon made us laugh so hard that we temporarily forgot times were hard. That's a gift. It's a blessing. And how wonderful is it to have lived 77 full years and have people already miss the idea that you won't be here anymore.

That's John Witherspoon. He made us laugh until it hurt. And comedians often ask me what they can do to make the world a better place - and I help them figure out how to fight for change, but I always tell them, "Please, please, PLEASE keep helping us laugh. We need it. Do that."