Gary Owen: ‘Exposed To Black People Way Before Whiter Media’

Actor and comedian Gary Owen has done stand-up, he’s done movies, he’s done sitcoms – he’s done just about everything.

But he’s never seen the Bengals win a Super Bowl.

“Well, you know I’m born and raised in Cincinnati,” Owen said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney, “so I’m diehard Bengals, Reds, Xavier, Bearcats, Ohio State – anything from Cincinnati, I’m a fan of pretty much.”

Owen may be a fan of the Bengals, but is he a fan of Andy Dalton, who is 0-4 in the playoffs?

“You know what?” Owen began. “A lot of people ask that question, and I always say we don’t want – and I’m being honest – we don’t want a Peyton Manning-, Eli Manning-type deal. We’ll take Mark Rypien for one year. Remember when he led the Redskins for one year? We’ll take a Brad Johnson year. We just got to get there, man. Just one year, man. One year.”

While Dalton and the Bengals are still waiting for their big break, Owen got his a long time ago – on BET, oddly enough. Why is that odd, you ask?

Because Owen is white. In fact, he has been called “Black America’s Favorite White Comic,” which Brandon Tierney finds a little odd. After all, if someone called Kevin Hart “White America’s Favorite Black Comic,” it wouldn’t fly.

“Well yeah, it wouldn’t fly,” Owen said, “but I always say you don’t choose your audience; they choose you. Most of the movies I’ve been in have black lead actors. I’ve been in two sitcoms. It was House of Payne and The Wayans Brothers – black sitcoms. And BET was the first network to put me on the air to give me some exposure. I was just exposed to black people way before whiter quote-unquote mainstream media got a hold of me like you guys. But now it’s starting to happen. I’ll take it any way I can get it.”

Owen has starred in various movies – including Think Like a Man and Think Like a Man Too – but there was a time in his life when he was more athlete than entertainer.

That time? High school.

“I was the epitome of an average high school athlete,” Owen said. “I played JV baseball my freshman and sophomore year, and then my junior year I finally got called up to the varsity. I got up and I got a base hit and next up I walked and then I didn’t get up again. And the next week I was ineligible and I never played baseball again. So what you’re talking to right now is the man with the highest batting average in the history of high school baseball – because I went 1-for-1.”

That’s very Field of Dreams.

“I aways say you can interview Ken Griffey Jr. and go with greatness, or you can interview me and get perfection,” Owens said. “It’s up to you.”

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