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Famous Like Me > Actor > L > Denis Leary

Profile of Denis Leary on Famous Like Me

Name: Denis Leary  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 18th August 1957
Place of Birth: Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
Profession: Actor
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Denis Leary (Born August 18, 1957 in Worcester, Massachusetts) is an Actor/Comedian/Writer/Director, whose father immigrated to Worcester from Ireland. He is a graduate of Emerson College in Boston, where he also taught comedy writing classes for five years after graduating. Leary is a distant cousin through marriage of Conan O'Brien; Contrary to popular belief, they are not actually related through a recent common ancestor. His name is often mispelled as "Dennis", instead of "Denis".


Leary first became famous through an MTV-Sketch in which he ranted about R.E.M. He has also released two records of his stand-up comedy: No Cure For Cancer (1993) and Lock 'N Load (1997).

In 1994, his Sardonic Commentary-song about the American lower-middle-class male, "(I'm an) Asshole", Achieved much notoriety. It was voted #1 in a major Australian youth radio poll, the Triple J Hottest 100, and the video became a late-night MTV-Staple. Due to it's obvious explicit and controversial content, however, it received limited airplay on mainstream American radio stations, which were mainly concerned for right-wing and christian audiences mostly, but gives sometimes in to popularity of certain songs.

Although he says he is most at home on stage doing stand-up, Leary has appeared as an actor in over 40 Movies, including Monument Avenue, M Hostile Hostages, The Match Maker, The Virgin Suicides, The Ref, Wag the Dog, and Demolition Man. He has also starred in two television series, The Job and Rescue Me. He also provided voices for characters in animated film's such as the saber-toothed tiger Diego in Ice Age and 'Francis' in A Bug's Life. Leary has also produced (and still produces) numerous movies, television shows, and specials, including Comedy Central's Shorties Watching Shorties and the movie Blow, through his production company, Apostle (Interestingly enough, that's a Bible name).

Material Controversy

For many years, Leary had been friends with fellow comedian Bill Hicks. However, when Hicks heard Leary's 1993 release No Cure For Cancer, he was very upset and claimed Leary was stealing his material, due to the similarity in topics covered and some punchlines of Hicks', particularly those on Hicks' releases of 1989 (Sane Man) and 1990 (Dangerous). The friendship ended abruptly as a result. Leary has said he wanted to patch things up before Hicks died in 1994, though this confession happened several years after Hicks' death.

While it has never been proven conclusive that Leary actually leeched any of his jokes from other comedians other than from Hicks (A claim he fiercely denies), some comedians (Notably Joe Rogan and Greg Giraldo as pro-Hicks comedians against Leary) and especially fans loyal to Hicks consider aspects of Leary's act and persona to be stolen. However, many other comedians (Including Janeane Garofalo and Colin Quinn as the pro-Leary comedians against Hicks) have formed close personal and/or professional relationships with Leary, which suggests that the opinion of him as a material thief is not shared by everyone within the profession.

This controversy was addressed in The Bill Hicks Story by Cynthia True:

Leary was in Montreal to host the Nasty Show at Club Soda and Colleen (One of Bill Hick's managers) was coordinating the talent so she was standing backstage when she heard Leary doing material that sounded incredibly similiar to old Hicks guitar riff's, including his perennial Jim Fixx-Joke: ("Keith Richards outlived Jim Fixx, the runner and health nut. Dude, The plot thickens.") When Leary came off-stage, Colleen said, more stunned than angry (but still mad), "Hey, you know that's Bill Hicks' material! Do you know that's his material?" Leary allegedly stood there, stared at her without saying a word, and apparantly briskly left the dressing room."

The book cites several other examples of lines in No Cure for Cancer that Leary used from older Bill Hicks rants, but left out his "intellectual" stuff, such as philosophy.

Leary Firefighters Foundation

On December 3, 1999, Six firefighters from Leary's hometown of Worcester were killed in a massive warehouse-fire. Among the dead were Leary's cousin, Jerry Lucey, and his close childhood-friend, Lt. Tommy Spencer. In response, the comedian founded the Leary Firefighters Foundation, which has since distributed over $2.5 million (USD) to fire departments in the Worcester, Boston, and New York City area's for equipment, training materials, and new vehicles and facilities, since its creation in the year 2000.--Official Site

A separate fund run by the Leary's foundation, the Fund for New York's Bravest, has distributed over $2 million (USD) to the families of the 343 firemen killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks, as well as provided funding for necessities such as a new mobile command center, first responder training, and a high-rise simulator for the FDNY's training campus.

As the foundation's president, Leary has been active in all of the fundraising, and usually presents large checks and donated equipment personally. The close relationship he has developed with the FDNY, as well as individual firefighters across the New York/New England area, has resulted in Leary's most recent television show, Rescue Me, A drama-comedy on FX. In the pilot episode of the show, he is seen wearing a Leary Firefighter Foundation 9-11 Memorial T-Shirt.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Denis Leary