Scene Changer: Forget Howard Stern, This Guy Was The Original Shock Jock

petey green

WHO: Petey Greene : a drug addict, a convicted felon, a hustler and shock jock.

THE MAJOR MOMENT:  Shortly after leaving prison, he was hired by Dewey Hughes to work as a disc jockey at the AM radio station WOL in 1966 and to host his own show, Rapping With Petey Greene which aired in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s. His stature grew, and he soon found himself hosting his own television show, Petey Greene’s Washington, which ran from 1976 to 1982 on WDCA and BET.Petey Greene’s Washington eventually made Greene a two-time Emmy winner. On March 8, 1978, he was invited as a guest to the White House by President Jimmy Carter to honor visiting Yugoslavian President Josip Broz Tito. He famously quipped to the Washington Post that he “stole a spoon” during the evening gala


FAB FACT:  In the early 1980s, he had radio personality Howard Stern on his show for what was one of his first television appearances. Stern, who had just begun to pioneer the comedy style that would make him a legend on a Washington, DC radio station, showed up in blackface, which was laughed off by Greene; the audio of this interview would eventually be played as part of the 2007 Sirius satellite radio documentary The History of Howard Stern in which Stern called Greene “way ahead of his time.” The two shared a mutual admiration as they both dealt with such controversial subjects as race and sexuality, with Stern since recognizing him as an influence. Stern later called him a “broadcasting genius” in his book Private Parts.

FAST FORWARD: Greene’s autobiography, Laugh If You Like, Ain’t a Damn Thing Funny, was published in 2003. The book is a result of conversations recorded between him and author Lurma Rackley.

Greene was portrayed by Don Cheadle in the 2007 film Talk To Me, which is based on his life and career. Greene was also profiled in a 2009 episode of the PBS seriesIndependent Lens entitled “Adjust Your Colour: The Truth of Petey Greene”.



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