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Common Law aired September until October 1996 on ABC.
Attorney John Alverez ( Greg Giraldo), was considered a bit out of place at the conservative, upscale Manhattan law firm where he worked. Although he had a Harvard law degree, he was a Hispanic raised in blue-collar Queens, wore his hair long, strummed a guitar, and liked to look out for the " the little guy." The firm was more interested in looking out for the big guys. John's unconventional attitude was just what attracted WASPy associate Nancy ( Megyn Price), so they moved in together, which had to be kept secret since the firm frowned on interoffice romances. Henry ( David Pasquest), was a stuffy, ambitious associate, Peter ( Carlos Jacott), the insecure yuppie son of one of the firm's partners, and Maria( Diana-Maria Riva), the chattering office manager. Back in the " hood" John kept in touch with his old fashioned Dad Luis ( Gregory Sierra), a barber, who disapproved of his son's " hippie" ways.
A Review from Variety
(ABC, Sat. Sept. 28, 9 P.M.)
By JEREMY GERARD
Filmed in Hollywood by Witt/Thomas Prods. Executive producers, Rob LaZebnik, Paul Junger Witt, Tony Thomas, Gary S. Levine; created by LaZebnik; executive consultant, Nina Feinberg; written by LaZebnik; directed by Robby Benson; associate producer, Joe Catania.
Cast: Greg Giraldo, Megyn Price, Carlos Jacott, David Pasquesi, Diana-Maria Riva, Gregory Sierra, Steven Gilborn, John DiMaggio, Thom Barry, Murray Rubin, Tim DeKay, Charlie Hartsok.
"Common Law" is kind of a sitcom twofer: fish out of water meets unlikely lovers Mork and Mindy get it on. Stand-up comic Greg Giraldo plays John Alvarez, a Queens-bred, Harvard-educated associate in a fast-track midtown Manhattan lawfirm who has secretly set up housekeeping with Waspy associate Nancy Slaton (Megyn Price). Company policy frowns on interoffice romances, so John and Nancy arrive together, but take separate elevators to their offices.
John has a flamboyantly Hispanic secretary (Diana-Maria Riva), who attributes her organizational skills to Ricki Lake, and a conservative barber father (Gregory Sierra), who thinks his son looks like a gay pirate because he sports an earring and a beard. John also has an office decorated in late Filmore East, and is more often than not likely to haul out his guitar whenever things get sticky. Giraldo plays him dependably earnest, except when he's hot (or when duty to the old neighborhood calls).
Quirkily underplaying Nancy, Price may prove to be this year's Helen Hunt; she's a real find. In the premiere, John and Nancy are given the current make-or-break case, the one that's sure to tip whoever wins over the fence into a partnership. Nancy wants to work, work, work. John wants to strum a few tunes and bail out a friend in need.
And then there's the business of telling John's father that they've moved in together.
John fights Hispanic stereotype so well that one colleague judges him not Latino enough for a case in which the firm needs a token minority.
Actually, the type Giraldo plays in "Common Law" is more hippie dippy than Cheech and Chong. He's an alien in these environs not because he's Hispanic, but because the whole ethos of the office strikes him as foreign. Question is, so what's he doing here? Did someone force him into the firm? Given the opportunity of a lifetime at least on these premises John's response is so blase you want to punch him.
If "Common Law" is going to work, it's going to need to show a lot more respect for John Alvarez. Tagging him with a Harvard degree and a natural blond girlfriend won't make us love him. Giving him some smarts would really help.
A Review from The New York Times
A Sitcom, Upscale And Latin
By JOHN J. O'CONNOR
Published: September 28, 1996
ABC's ''Common Law'' is the kind of sitcom that you sense is disappearing even as you watch it. It's not bad. There's a giggle or two to be had. But it's tired. The concept, that is. And that's a shame, because the star, Greg Giraldo, a Dennis Miller look-alike, is a talented stand-up comedian. Furthermore, he's Hispanic, the kind of American who sorely needs more exposure on prime time.
In ''Common Law,'' Mr. Giraldo plays John Alvarez, a Harvard Law School graduate, born in Queens and now working for a high-powered Manhattan law firm. When not strumming his guitar, John is stoking an affair with his Upper East Side girlfriend, Nancy Slaton (Megyn Price), also a lawyer. In fact, they work together, and that's the core complication. The office frowns on workplace romances.
The regulars also include a sassy Latin receptionist, Maria (Diana-Maria Riva), whose withering sarcasm is matched only by the length of her fingernails which are painted with the nine planets and a likeness of Antonio Banderas; and John's crusty immigrant father (Gregory Sierra), a barber who doesn't want even his own son to know where he hides his money. There's also Francis (John Di Maggio), John's gorillalike friend from childhood, who has a tendency to sock in the face anyone who disagrees with his view of life.
The only touch of reality in this pilot comes at the closing moments, when a former boyfriend of Nancy's calls John an ''obnoxious grease ball.'' Nancy slugs the bigot. ''Common Law'' comes to real life for a moment.
An Article on Greg Giraldo from Entertainment Weekly
Meet the comic who gave Ray Romano a run for his money. Greg Giraldo finally makes up for ''Common'' mistakes by Bruce Fretts
In 1996, two New York City stand-ups flew to L.A. to star in their own sitcoms. One was Ray Romano. The other was Greg Giraldo. ''We'd meet after tapings, and he thought his show wasn't going great, and I thought mine was going okay,'' recalls Giraldo. As it turned out, everybody loved ''Raymond,'' but Giraldo's ''Common Law'' was revoked by ABC after only four episodes. ''Now I actually do better than Ray financially,'' cracks Giraldo. ''But he's more famous.''
Giraldo is slowly starting to catch up in the fame department thanks to his semiregular appearances on Comedy Central's late-night current-events roundtable, ''Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn,'' where his incisive one-liners have quickly made him a fan favorite. (On Iran: ''The only reason we didn't invade them first is we're doing it alphabetically, and Bush can't spell.'') ''Greg's the real thing,'' says Quinn. ''He always brings an intelligent and different angle, and people f---in' love him.''
These days, Giraldo can look back on ''Common Law'' (loosely based on his brief stint as a Harvard-educated attorney) and laugh -- almost. ''My acting was an abomination,'' he confesses. ''I had absolutely no business having a sitcom. I want to go back in time and slap myself.''
He harbors similar feelings about his legal career, which ended after just one year at a Manhattan corporate firm. ''It was completely unbearable,'' says Giraldo, 37, who says he doesn't remember why he ever went to law school. ''I feel like it's my drug past: I was a kid, it seemed like everybody was doing it.'' Not surprisingly, he doesn't dwell on his degree in his act. Explains Quinn, ''I'm not sure it's a good thing for your likability factor to say, 'I'm a lawyer.'''
Giraldo has recently broken back into network TV -- albeit at 1:35 a.m. -- with a gig on NBC's ''Last Call With Carson Daly.'' He provides merciless pop-culture commentary, skewering such worthy targets as ''Gigli'' (''I haven't even seen it yet, and I already want my 10 bucks back'') and Melissa Joan Hart's wedding-themed reality show (''I'd watch that if my other choice was drinking pig urine''). His NBC gig may increase Giraldo's name recognition, but he's still likely to suffer the indignity of being confused with another basic-cable clown: Geraldo Rivera. ''If I were starting over, I'd change my name,'' he says. ''I'd probably just go with Charo.''
An Article from the LA Times
Latino Groups Decry ABC's Pulling of 'Common Law'
Television: Supporters of the sitcom starring Greg Giraldo say the network slot didn't give it a chance.
October 18, 1996|GREG BRAXTON | TIMES STAFF WRITER
"Common Law" may have received the death sentence from ABC, but producers and supporters of the Latino-themed comedy say the series did not receive a fair trial and are hoping for a last-minute reprieve.
The low-rated series, which stars comic Greg Giraldo as a Latino, Harvard-educated attorney at a Manhattan law firm, will be pulled from the prime-time schedule after its fourth airing this week, along with two other struggling ABC shows, "Coach" and "Second Noah."
The network has not decided whether "Common Law" will return. Latino leaders argue that the show deserves a better time slot than on Saturdays at 9:30 p.m. and that its significance as the only network comedy with a Latino lead should earn it a second chance.
They also contend that the comedy should have been better promoted within Latino communities.
"This is very bad news," said writer-producer Jeff Valdez, who recently produced a Latino comedy festival for the Showtime cable network. "The networks really need to nurture this Latino market and have more shows where Latinos are not plot devices but just people."
Commented Lisa Navarette, media advocacy director for the National Council of La Raza, a national Latino civil rights organization: "The show was not given a good chance, and I'm not sure what kind of priority ABC gave it. They did not give it one of their prime time slots."
But, Navarette said, "we have to be fair to ABC, too. We're still waiting for our 'Cosby Show,' a high-quality program that can break through. I don't think 'Common Law' was that show. I hope this show is not used as an example that will keep the television industry from taking chances on Latino projects."
The comedy won few critical raves but was still praised in some circles for its portrayal of Giraldo as an educated, witty and professional minority operating in the white corporate world. Four of the six regular cast members were Latino.
ABC's decision last spring to put "Common Law" on the air was regarded as a promising step by Latino activists who had criticized the network in recent years, saying it had failed to provide opportunities for Latinos in front of and behind the camera.
ABC has not officially canceled the series, but its prospects appear slim after attracting only 9% of TV viewers last Saturday. It will not air during the November sweeps, and the network has not decided when or where to air the completed five episodes. An additional four episodes of the initial order for 13 remain to be filmed, but the producers said they do not want to move forward without some encouragement from ABC that those shows would air.
Gary Levine, president of Witt-Thomas Productions, which produced "Common Law" with Warner Bros. Television, said Thursday: "Obviously, the whole Saturday lineup was not working. The question now is whether ABC has a plan for the show. The only reason we would want to continue filming those other shows is if there is such a plan."
Levine, who is also an executive producer of the comedy, said: "We like this show a lot and would love it to have a chance during midweek. We think it's a strong ensemble and is well-written. It offers something new."
ABC executives would not comment officially but indicated that the network remains high on Giraldo, saying they are committed to developing another show for him.
Several of the show's supporters said that the failure of "Common Law" would not have an adverse effect on the development of other Latino-themed series. They said networks and advertisers were eager to tap into the Latino market.
"I really think the networks will keep trying to get that Latino hit," said Rick Najera, who is developing a Latino-themed show for UPN called "An American Family."
Here is Greg Giraldo's Obituary from The New York Times
Greg Giraldo, Insult-Humor Comic, Dies at 44
By ANAHAD O'CONNOR
Published: September 30, 2010
Greg Giraldo, a comedian famous for his stinging insult humor, disgruntled rants and frequent appearances on Comedy Central's highly watched roast series, died on Wednesday at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J. He was 44.
Mr. Giraldo had been hospitalized since Saturday night after he was found unconscious in a hotel room in New Brunswick, where he was scheduled to perform at a club. Mr. Giraldo had suffered a drug overdose, The Home News Tribune of East Brunswick, N.J., reported, citing New Brunswick police. The precise cause of death on Wednesday was unclear. A hospital spokesman said the family declined to release that information.
A former lawyer who gave up a job at a law firm to pursue comedy, Mr. Giraldo became a wildly successful stand-up comic touring the country as a headliner at many clubs and dispensing his own brand of sharp and often brutal humor. As Mr. Giraldo's following grew so did his presence on radio and television. He performed more than a dozen times on The Late Show With David Letterman and Late Night With Conan O'Brien and become a radio regular on The Howard Stern Show.
Mr. Giraldo was particularly known for his clever and exasperated rants, which he used to great effect on Comedy Central shows like Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn and Lewis Black's Root of All Evil. But it was his regular appearances on that network's roast series one of Comedy Central's most successful shows that drew particular attention. Mr. Giraldo was a mainstay on that series, taking the stage in more than a half-dozen shows to mercilessly ridicule pop-culture figures like Pamela Anderson, William Shatner, Chevy Chase I could only dream, he told Mr. Chase, of making three good movies and 40 horrible ones and, in 2009, a fellow comedian, Larry the Cable Guy.
Some people say Larry's only successful because he's pandering to the lowest common denominator, Mr. Giraldo said. Don't listen to these people, Larry. They're just bitter and jealous and right.
Mr. Giraldo's fame grew quickly, and by 2010 he was making prime-time appearances on network television. Earlier this year he was a judge on the NBC reality show Last Comic Standing and a panelist on The Marriage Ref, the Jerry Seinfeld brainchild that also airs on NBC.
But Mr. Giraldo's humor had a dark side, which he sometimes referenced in his stand-up act. He had been a heavy drinker, but in interviews in recent years he spoke of being sober with occasional slip-ups.
Mr. Giraldo was born in New York in 1965. He earned a bachelor's degree from Columbia and a law degree from Harvard. He was divorced with three children.
As something of a running joke, Mr. Giraldo was often needled by fellow roasters on Comedy Central for being the comedian no one had ever heard of. But on Twitter Wednesday night, R.I.P. Greg Giraldo was the top trending topic, and his fans posted countless notes and tributes on his YouTube videos and Facebook and MySpace pages.
Mr. Giraldo's last major appearance on Comedy Central was in August during The Comedy Central Roast of David Hasselhoff, in which he hectored Mr. Hasselhoff about his own alcohol abuse.
You used to have a car that started when you talked to it; now you have a car that won't start when you blow into it, he said.
Mr. Giraldo was one of the most widely praised and talked about comedians on the roast that evening. The show drew 3.5 million total viewers and was the highest-rated cable show of the night.
For more on Common Law go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Law_(1996_TV_series)
For The Megyn Price Picture Gallery go to http://www.watt-up.com/j_gallery/Megyn_Price/Megyn_Price.html
To watch the opening credits go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMegPfjnWHQ
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Keywords: The Cast of Common Law (Links Updated 7/25/18)