Comedian, radio host, friend. Big Daddy Graham passes away at 68
Local radio host and comic legend Big Daddy Graham, who lived in Mullica Hill has passed away at the age of 68. No details of the cause have been given but he had been battling health issues for the last few years that confined him to a wheelchair. That didn't stop him from living his life and trying his best to entertain you.
That's just who he was.
I first met Big Daddy back in the late '80s when I was hosting shows at "The Comedy Works" in Philadelphia. I brought him on stage and after a killer performance and he said, "You're my good luck charm, I want you to bring me on all the time." That was Big Daddy making me feel like part of things. He was very good at that.
In 2003 when I opened Coffee Dot Comedy which was an internet cafe/comedy club in Sea Isle City, I got a call from Big Daddy, who vacationed there and would eventually get a place offering to play my club for much less than he would normally get. He would do at least 2 dates every season and pack the place. He was also very kind to my family and employees who were all working the place and thanked us after each show. In reality, it was us who should be and we did thank him.
When I started doing sports radio back in 2006, I loved crossing over with Big Daddy because we would talk comedy and music and eventually, maybe, sports. That's what I loved about listening to his show. He talked about everything with a childlike curiosity that made you really think about the subject no matter what it was. He'd also make you laugh through it.
When Big Daddy was stricken with throat cancer in 2010, the last show he did before going into the hospital was with Robert Klein, whom he loved at my Sarcasm Comedy Club in the Cherry Hill Crowne Plaza. His standing ovation was written about in the Philadelphia Daily News. When Big Daddy got out of the hospital the first club he played was Sarcasm where he returned to another standing O.
Big Daddy's radio and comedy career were so extensive that it would take pages to list. He was a major part of the Philadelphia comedy, music, and sports scene. He was also a friend to everyone he met. He would talk to you about any subject you wanted and was genuinely interested in what you had to say. He would give you his opinions not in a know it all way but in a way that was respectful to what you thought as well.
Big Daddy Graham as far as I'm concerned was also the hardest working man in radio. On a given night he could be performing comedy, hosting quizzo, and then down to the radio station to host the best overnight show in the city.
That's what I'll always remember about Big Daddy Graham. No matter how hard he worked or how much he hurt due to his health problems. It was never too much to make you laugh. He had that talent.
Big Daddy's opening song on his radio show set the tone of what was to come and when I think of it, I think of Big Daddy and the best advice he would give his listeners. "When You're Smiling, the whole world smiles with you".
RIP Big Daddy. Salute!
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. Any opinions expressed are Steve's own. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday-Thursday from 7pm-11pm. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.