Owen was always the class clown growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio. After high school, he got serious and enlisted in the Navy. He was chosen for the prestigious Presidential Honor Guard. However, spinning rifles and carrying flags for George Bush and Bill Clinton turned out to be the wrong job for a funny guy. I was always smiling, he remembers, I got yelled at for smiling all the time.
After leaving his ceremonial position, Owen became a military police officer at the Naval Installations on Coronado Island in San Diego, but he says he was too much of a pushover to be a cop. Owen only made two arrests in three years, but during that time he embarked on his true calling: stand-up comedy. One night while hanging with his service buddies, Owen worked up the nerve to go at a nightclub. After only a year of doing stand-up, he was named Funniest Serviceman in America.
Owen continued doing stand-up in San Diego, and had a huge African American fan base. He went onto win the Funniest Black Comedian in San Diego contest. That led to his first big gig at the Comedy Store in Hollywood.
Then in July of 1997 he auditioned for BET's ComicView. Two appearances on the multi-cultural comedy showcase won him his own one-hour Grandstand show. At the end of the season he was selected from the year's four Grandstanders to be the host. Not only is Owen the only white man to have ever hosted Comicview, but he is the only white on-air personality the network has ever had. Owen has produced two stand-up DVDs, Breakin' Out The Park and this year's Urban Legend.
Gary Owen Facts