Tyler Craig, the Atlanta-based comedy legend, has died at the age of 54. Craig’s cause of death has not been made public.
Radio host and fellow comedian Rickey Smiley confirmed Craig’s death on the morning of August 7, posting a photo of the funnyman accompanied by the words, “Rest in peace.” Smiley also tweeted, “I’m saddened this morning to find out about the death of comedian Tyler Craig. Watch him grow into a great talent. Rest In Peace King!!!”
Another friend and comedian, Willie Brown, paid a lengthy tribute to Craig on Facebook. Brown wrote in part, “He by far is one of the funniest men to set foot on stage and television.” In that message, Brown made reference to Craig as being survived by his wife and children.
Craig made his comedy debut on BET’s Comic View. In 1997, Craig appeared on HBO’s Def Comedy Jam and on Jamie Foxx’s Laffapalooza! as well as Martin Lawrence’s 1st Amendment Stand Up. During his career, Craig opened for comedians including Cedric the Entertainer and Chris Tucker. According to Craig’s IMDb page, he also appeared in several movies over the years, the most recent being 2018’s Unkillable alongside Tom Sizemore.
Craig Will Forever Be Remembered for His Catchphrase: ‘And the Moral of the Story Is…’
Craig is perhaps best known for his catchphrase, “And the moral of the story is…” His association with the phrase is mentioned on his Twitter biography. Craig said in an interview with NBC Memphis that the catchphrase originated when he was auditioning at a comedy club. Craig said, “One of my jokes at the end, I said, ‘And the moral of the story is be yourself,’ and that’s where it started. Cause I feel like you have to learn something after each trial and tribulation you go through. So you’re really not losing, you’re learning how to win.”
During the same interview, Craig was asked why his comedy appealed to such a broad audience. Craig said, “What I try to do is try to keep the old with the new comedy but I like to talk about situations that all people are in so that you can look at your attitude to life.”
Despite His Acting Career, Craig Said He Would Always Prefer Stand-Up Comedy Because ‘the Audiences Are Never the Same’
Craig was a native of Atlanta, Georgia. In an October 2019 interview on the Comedy Chatter Podcast, Craig said he began his career at Club 550 in Atlanta.
One promo for an appearance by Craig described his style as “appealing to individuals from all walks of life.” In an interview with CBS Memphis in June 2019, Craig said that despite his acting roles, he would always prefer stand-up because of the live audience and the “audiences are never the same.” During that interview, Craig mentioned his fandom for the Atlanta Hawks.
In August 2010, WSB-TV in Atlanta reported that Craig was arrested and accused of failing to pay over $13,000 in child support. Craig was taken into custody at the Atlanta comedy venue, the Tapas Lounge.