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The Grateful Dead Meets Stewie Griffin


I’ll preface this with a confession. Like so many others, I am a fan of the wonderfully distasteful and frequently offensive animated tv show, Family Guy. So if you consider yourself an evolved intellectual too good for such base humor… now would be a good time to get over it.

I came across this video quite a while ago and as I do with everything Stewie Griffin says, I cracked up laughing for a good 30 seconds. Watching it now, with my senses keen on the Grateful Dead, I had some different thoughts.

Is it funny, and if so why? If you’re not familiar with the Grateful Dead, is it still funny? Is it offensive to Deadheads? What does it say about the Grateful Dead culture?

Breathe, these aren’t essay questions. Just one curious mind proposing questions to another.

As for myself, I thought it was funny when I saw it months ago and I still find it funny. This may be mostly because, as mentioned earlier, I laugh at most of what Stewie Griffin says regardless of the subject. It’s also because, as someone raised on the Grateful Dead, I was thrilled to see it referenced in such popular culture. Even as a young, casual listener, I think I always understood that the Grateful Dead and their Deadheads were often written off and cast aside. Here, it’s as if Stewie gave me proof that the Grateful Dead are an important, indispensable part of American history that continue to seep into our lives whether you welcome it or not.

In terms of how a Deadhead may be negatively depicted here, I’ll defer to two popular sayings:

  • “If you can’t laugh at yourself, who can?” Don’t take yourself too seriously, life’s no fun that way.
  • “Imitation is the best form of flattery.” A 25+ year history of SNL has proved this. And it’s true here too.

That’s all the media analysis I have in me tonight. I leave the rest up to you. Be sure to comment below or send your thoughts to

“Well I ain’t often right but I’ve never been wrong
It seldom turns out the way it does in the song
Once in a while you get shown the light
In the strangest of places if you look at it right”

Scarlet Begonias

5 Comments leave one →
  1. 04/27/2010 10:28 pm

    I actually think that there is someone “in the know” with regards to Dead culture who is in on the writing. If you’ve ever experienced the circus-like culture of the parking lot outside of a Dead show, then you you’ve experienced the universe of vendors that inhabit them. Everything is available for money or for barter and the array of Deadhead-made food is always pretty wild. Phil-zone Stir-Fry, Dancing Bear Burritos, Kind PB&J’s and even Miracle Grilled Cheese.

    • 04/28/2010 4:00 pm

      I wouldn’t be surprised if you were right. Some of my favorite comedy, references, and images I see in film or tv seem to be influenced by the open minded experimentation representative of groups like the Grateful Dead. Many times I’ve watched Family Guy and thought, ‘you know they’re blazed when they’re writing this!’

  2. 04/28/2010 2:54 pm

    as a fan of both the Dead AND Family Guy — I can both laugh at it and appreciate it…for same reason you still hear people referring to that “Don’t eat the brown acid!” guy from Woodstock; it’s a valuable piece of pop culture and it teaches us a lesson — that too much of a good thing can get you into trouble.

    also – scarlet begonias is one of my favorite songs!

  3. 05/03/2010 7:48 pm

    As a professional deadhead and wide eyed t-shirt hawker It was very funny and right on.

    Love the psychedelic gleam in his eye at the end.

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