About Comedy Legend Wildman Steve

Wildman Steve forged a 40-year career as a DJ, media personality, comedian, recording artist and movie actor, releasing over a dozen recordings in the 1970's and 1980's, and starring in several movies. He was the first black comedian to chart on Cash Box and the first to sell a million records. On his shoulders stand the extremely popular comedians such as Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock. Though they are very widely known, Steve never changed his sometimes outrageous material to take it to a white audience, and for various reasons his body of work and his contribution to comedy remain largely unrecognized. We take it for granted now that comedians use raw language, but this has not always been the case. Wildman Steve's outrageous, high-energy comedy set the stage for comedy’s modern “anything goes” form. At a time when Lenny Bruce was being arrested for using profanity in his act, and Archie Bunker was considered cutting-edge comedy, Steve was much raunchier, and busily working a less visible circuit. The phenomenal success of his first record opened the doors to modern mainstream black comedy, and the careers of well-known comedians such as Richard Pryor were made possible because of Steve.

He was born Steve Gallon in Monticello, Florida, and grew up in Waterbury CT. He achieved great success as a radio DJ, spinning R&B music on WILD radio in Boston. As the station’s most popular DJ, he emceed and promoted concerts in the 60’s and 70’s, and worked with all the important black entertainers of the day, including Otis Redding, James Brown, the Temptations, and Nat King Cole. His comedy act grew out of his stage work fronting the shows.

Wildman Steve was a rare and unique voice, and his “tell it like it is” style of comedy has proven to be timeless and powerful. Since black comedy went mainstream in the 1970’s, it seemed to be largely about telling racial stories and jokes to white audiences, while white comedians haven’t dared to tell similar jokes. There is something refreshing and honest about Wildman Steve’s work, and though he does address some political topics such as busing, and makes biting comments about Nixon, Lester Maddox and George Wallace, race is not the focus of his work. This website is a celebration of a man at the peak of his powers, hilarious, among his own people, clearly many years ahead of mainstream comedians in addressing issues and cultural taboos. Steve's humor and belief in humanity transcend racial boundaries, in much the same way that the universal appeal of jazz, blues and gospel music have helped bridge the gulf between blacks and whites. The indomitable spirit of Wildman Steve marks him as a universal voice of comedy, who can help us all laugh and feel better.

Steve passed away on Sept 1 2004, and to the end he was as funny as ever, and those of us who loved his sense of humor and outrageousness hope to spread the word about this great man.

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