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For more than 30 years, John Kiesewetter has been the source for information about all things in local media — comings and goings, local people appearing on the big or small screen, special programs, and much more. Contact John at johnkiese@yahoo.com.

Spend New Year's Eve laughing with comedian Gary Owen

Showtime premieres "Gary Owen: Black Famous" 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31.
Mathieu Young
Showtime premieres "Gary Owen: Black Famous" 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31.

Cincinnati native and Talawanda High School graduate Gary Owen has always been popular with African-Americans, as he explains in his New Year's Eve Showtime concert, Gary Owen: Black Famous (9 p.m. Showtime).

"I'm Black famous," he says. "Black people stop me, even if they don't know my name. They just know they've seen me on somethin'. They're like: 'That's my boy! That's my boy right there!' "

Ebony magazine calls Owen "Black America's Favorite White Comic." He grew up with six brothers and sisters in a trailer near Oxford, and enlisted in the Navy after graduating from Talawanda in 1991. Owen was named the "Funniest Serviceman in America," and later won a "Funniest Black Comedian in San Diego" contest.

Owen, 47, and his wife, Kenya Duke, who is Black, lived in Liberty Township with their children for many years. Black Famous, taped at Memorial Hall in Over-the-Rhine in October, opens with the comedian talking about his wife filing for divorce March 19.

"I’m going through a very messy and public divorce. I thought it was going to be private. My wife had other plans," he says.

Kenya requested $44,000 a month in spousal support,"the amount Gary would normally deposit in her account to pay credit cards and finance her personal spending," TMZ reported in May.

"I read that I’m a deadbeat dad, even though all my kids are grown. You can't be a deadbeat to adults," he says in the concert film.

Owen made his TV debut on BET's Comic View in 1997. His credits include Think Like A Man, Think Like A Man Too, plus Meet The Blacks, The House Next Door: Meet The Blacks 2, Ride Along, House of Payne, Daddy Day Care, The Wayan Bros., Undercover Brother 2, Definitely Divorcing, many cable TV comedy concerts and hosting TruTV's Upload sketch show with Shaquille O’Neal.

Owen doesn't dwell on divorce the entire hour. He also jokes about everything from football coach Urban Meyer, Netflix, Magic Johnson, A&E's First 48, prayer warriors, COVID-19 and funerals, to the Cincinnati Zoo.

"We have one of the nicest zoos in the country. But that neighborhood around it? Them animals aren't escaping the Cincinnati Zoo!" he says.

He also reveals his vision for the afterlife: "I think everyone in this room are all going to Heaven because I've never been to a funeral where someone is going to Hell."

Showtime premieres Gary Owen: Black Famous at 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31.

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.