Happy Birthday Richard Speight, Jr.!

Yesterday, perhaps so we can all celebrate his birthday today in style, Richard Speight, Jr. released his first music video from his first CD with his band Dick Jr. and the Volunteers. The song, ‘Goin’ Straight’, will get stuck in your head in the most enjoyable way possible, and the video itself is brilliant!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMdsL-oQatw&feature=emb_logo

Leave it to Richard to give us a toe-tappin’ way to celebrate with him.

As Supernatural comes to an end, I’m more nostalgic than usual and feeling incredibly grateful to the people who have made the show the phenomenon that it is. Richard is one of those people.

He joined the show early on to play The Trickster and captured the fandom’s hearts. Over the years, the character returned, eventually revealed as Gabriel.

Richard went from acting on the show to directing, even proving his versatility by directing himself as both Gabriel and Loki! I’ve chatted with Richard over a dozen times over the past thirteen years about acting and directing Supernatural, and his insights never cease to amaze me. He’s been an integral part of the show since almost the beginning.

He’s come a long way from our very first chat back in 2007!

Photo: Lizz Sisson

In fact, Richard has developed his own distinctive style as a director, and has brought his vision to some of our favorite episodes. He collaborated with writer Jenny Klein to direct ‘Just My Imagination’ which is still one of the episodes I go back to watch again and again. He then went on to direct many more, including four episodes in Supernatural’s final season.

Photo: Chris Schmelke

Here’s our most recent chat, in which Richard shares fascinating insights and behind the scenes looks at directing Supernatural Season 15, and what it felt like to finish that final episode.

Behind the Scenes with Director Dick

But that’s not all.

Richard came to a Supernatural convention early on, rather reluctantly and not knowing what to expect, and ended up becoming the host of the whole damn thing – as well as joining Rob and Matt for countless hilarious R2M panels and joining Louden Swain onstage to rock out at countless Saturday Night Specials. He took the sparsely attended Friday night karaoke and turned it into a free event that everyone could enjoy. He helped make Louden Swain the house band. Perhaps more than anyone else, Richard turned Supernatural conventions into something special – which has helped keep them going for almost fourteen years!

Richard wrote a chapter for Fan Phenomena Supernatural with all his trademark wit and humor but also a lot of serious appreciation for the Supernatural fandom. I’m so grateful that he also contributed a chapter to There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done: Actors and Fans Celebrate the Legacy of Supernatural – in it, he puts his finger squarely on what makes this show so special, and why its legacy will live on. He also expresses his appreciation for the show and the fandom that changed his life. He’s eloquent, and I think what he has to say in his chapter will be a comfort and an inspiration to fans grieving the end of the show.

What would this show and this SPNFamily have been without Richard as such an important part of it? I think it would have been different. The conventions would have been different, and maybe they wouldn’t have taken off in the unprecedented way they did. I’ve long said that the conventions have helped keep the show going just as the show has kept the fandom going, so who knows? One thing I’m sure of – we would have missed out on so much incredible artistry and creativity from Richard.  The iconic characters, the memorable episodes he’s directed, the hilarious convention panels, the Kings of Con series and the equally hilarious podcasts with Rob, the toe tappin’ music and the video to go with it. Richard Speight, Jr. has enriched this fandom in so many ways, and I’m so grateful.  And I have no doubt that more great things are on the horizon.

But enough from me. My partner in crime, Kim Prior, has a few things to say about Richard too – and some of her beautiful photos to help her express herself!

Kim: One of the things I love about Richard is watching him perform at the Saturday Night Special during the Salute to Supernatural Conventions. I have listened to him sing several different songs, but my favorite is his rendition of “Copperhead Road”. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him perform this song three times – first, in Pittsburgh in 2017, then later that year in Hawaii, and again in 2018 in Nashville. It’s a great song, and he brings such fire and passion to the performance.

I also love to watch him play alongside Rob. And Billy. Listen, that’s just J-O-Y in it’s purest form.

I also love love love Richard’s incredible comedic ability. To be honest, his quick wit is kinda intimidating. Watching him just rif – so randomly and with such ease – on stage at the conventions; and listening to his podcast with Rob (And My Guest Is Richard Speight… Junior) where the quips and jabs and oneliners flow as freely as the whiskey – I just know I could not possibly hold my own in a conversation with him. All I can do is laugh. Oftentimes uncontrollably. I have quite literally laughed until I’ve cried, my cheeks aching, my sides hurting. His made-up-on-the-spot version of the Rules and Regulations at the conventions… the way he sees an opening in the innocent comment of another, usually Rob, and turns it into an entire Bit… the way he suggests that Billy is a home-wrecker, the Patron Saint of Not Giving a Shit… it’s not even sarcasm, because he just rifs and goes and jabs, and who knows what is even real anymore. So I’ll just call it what it is – Comic Genius.

Music and comedy aside, Richard is also a phenomenal actor. Band of Brothers is the single greatest mini series, ever. Period. Don’t even bother trying to argue with me, because this is simply fact. Richard has often said that experience was one of the most memorable, most important experiences of his career. I know how the series affected me as a viewer; I cannot imagine how it must have felt to be there, doing it, filming it, feeling it. Kudos to you, Mr. Speight. Now I’m just gonna go to my corner and cry for a little bit, thinking about that Band of Brothers and all they sacrificed. #somanyfeels #muck

In all these roles, Richard Speight, Jr. has enriched Supernatural and the fandom that has grown around the show – and we have no doubt there’s much more to come. We appreciate you, Richard.

Happy birthday – keep doing all the things!

–Lynn and Kim

You can read Richard’s (and all the actors)

chapters in There’ll Be Peace When You Are

Done, at the amazon links on the home page or at

peacewhenyouaredone.com

 

 

2 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Richard Speight, Jr.!

  • Rich truly has been an invaluable asset to Supernatural, in the wonderful characters he has brought to life and his incredible directing. I also cannot imagine cons without him. You’re so right Lynn, there are times he made me laugh so much at con that my face muscles hurt (and trying not to laugh only makes it worse)!
    Thank you for such a wonderful tribute to one of my absolute favorite guys!!

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