Though he became famous as host of BET’s Comic View, Hamilton native Gary Owen didn’t have what one could call an urban upbringing. “We lived in a little trailer park on Highway 27 called Island Lake Mobile Community,” he says. Shortly after graduating from high school, a friend rousted him out of bed and took him down to the naval recruitment office.
His experience in the Navy included a stint as an honor guard in Washington, D.C. “We stood outside the White House and did the funerals and parades,” he recalls, adding that it’s a tough assignment, especially for young soldiers. “When you have access to the White House and you get a speeding ticket, you can’t do it (anymore).”
Q: What’s the coolest thing about you?
Owen: I’m not vain (laughs). That’s what makes me cool. I didn’t even know that I was cool.
Q: You were in the movie College playing a guy named “Bearcat.” Was that your idea?
Owen: Isn’t that funny? Everybody says that. It’s a total coincidence. The (character’s) name was Bearcat in the script. No input from me.
Q: Who’s the coolest person you know?
Owen: You want me to namedrop? The coolest people I know are my kids. I’m sure every parent thinks this. They’re just real likeable. All the other kids like them. My son is starting to play sports, and when he’s on the field he makes friends with everybody — the opposing team, his team. Celebrity-wise the coolest person, and it’s not even close, is Quincy Jones. He is the coolest of cool.
GARY OWENS will perform at The Funny Bone on the Levee in Newport Nov. 26-30.
PHOTO COURTESY GARY OWEN