Interview by Vassilios Nicolaos Vitsilogiannis
Greg Kritikos was born in Athens, Greece and raised in Astoria, Queens. He is a producer, comedian, actor, voice-over artist, and creator. An event-–producing machine, his energy and creativity know no limits. His mannerisms and stage presence have often drawn comparisons to those of his idol-–the late, great Jackie Gleason. He channels his past through his comedy, making light of the darkest chapters of his life battling poverty, addiction, and obesity. His material is based on real-life— turning personal tragedy into comedy. Audiences of all types embrace his act. No matter the venue, or size of the crowd, his goal is to make sure everyone in the room leaves with a smile on their face. He is eager to greet his fans after every show, posing for pictures and signing autographs. He embraces his second chance at life with a smile. “Everybody dies, but not everybody lives. I like to laugh with life, not at life.” Greg’s comedy has taken him all over the United States— with stops in Oregon, Idaho, Ohio, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Delaware. He lives and loves to entertain the masses.
At what age did you feel acting was your way of expression? Were your parents supportive of this?
As a child I always enjoyed entertainment. In Greece, we were poor and did not have a television. My father would take a sheet, pin it in a doorway, and add some candles behind it, and there you go! Movie Magic. It was a screen. He would play with hand puppets (Karagiozi) I was mesmerized! I was also in a school play where I played the Sky God and got a taste of theatre. My parents were not supportive, unfortunately. Things were tough. Especially after my mom was hit by a drunken driver and left her handicapped. I was 12 years old.
Why did you choose comedy and what type of comedy do you perform?
I didn’t choose anything comedy chose me. After losing everything in my life, due to alcoholism, drugs, obesity and depression, I decided to go after my dream. It was my calling. My comedy is based on my hardships in life. Comedy comes from pain and I channel all my pain through comedy. People love to laugh at others’ pain. Such is life.
What motivates you and how this makes you a better person?
Being sober and in sobriety has given me a whole new meaning in life. Helping others achieve their goals really motivates me.
Was life hard on you?
Life is tough. I grew up in a totally different environment. I was taken out of my comfort zone at a young age. Coming to the United States in the 70’s and moving to a tough Irish, Italian, German neighborhood and not being excepted made it very challenging.
Does life experience have influenced your personal and professional life?
Absolutely! My experiences have made me who I am and what I’m about. My hardships are my foundation and have made me build and continuously keep building upward toward my goals.
How important is family for you?
Family is extremely important. Unfortunately, I’ve lost my parents recently. I have a son that’s a graduate of Hunter College and I keep in touch with him as much as possible. I’m also happily divorced.
Does friendship have a positive or negative denominator in your life?
Communication in life is extremely important. Conversing with my friends, and having them in my life is priceless.
Do you have any hobbies?
Shooting pool, horseback riding and love watching movies. Mostly bike riding and walking are some things I love doing.
What are some collaborations you remember wistfully?
As a young adult, I played a lot of organized sports. I was a quarterback and really enjoyed football. My father was a professional soccer player also. I miss playing sports.
What are some of your future projects and the great collaborations you’re doing with?
Working as a producer is a wonderful challenge for me. Being in the creative industry is something that I truly love. I’ve created a cartoon called “The Witless Protection Program” working with Mike Rockwitz from Marvel Comics has truly been a blessing for me. He was the youngest editor to work with Stan Lee and him and I are doing the voiceovers for the characters I’ve created. In the movie industry, I’ve recently worked with Kelly LeBrock and Burt Young in the movie I wrote and produced called “Tomorrow’s Today” which is on Amazon Prime and streaming all over now. I’m also working with James Orfanos and Teddy Orfanos in a new production called “Crooked” I’m always looking to work with great talent. I enjoy doing what I do as a comedian I’ve shared the stage with Tracy Morgan, Charles Murphy at the Bing Crosby Theater and have headlined in some of the biggest venues in New York. I’m truly blessed and living my dream. I’ve hit rock bottom in my life and today I’m blessed.