The Humor Mill

on This Day In Comedy… In 1941, Paul Mooney Was Born!

Posted Aug 4, 2015

Comedian, writer, actor, Paul Gladney (Paul Mooney) was born in Shreveport, Louisiana.

His first role as a performer came in the form of ringmaster with the Gatti-Charles Circus, where he wrote and told jokes.  This lead to his writing for Richard Pryor and such comedy classics as the race routine between Pryor and Chevy Chase on Saturday Night Live, Pryor’s live stand up concert films and comedy albums.  They also co-wrote together on Redd Foxx’s Sanford & Son and Mooney served as head writer for Pryor’s NBC sketch show, The Richard Pryor Show, where Mooney was also casting director and introduced to the public Robin Williams, John Witherspoon, Sandra Bernhard, Marsha Warfield and Tim Reid.

Paul Mooney has acted in many memorable comedy films.  He was in Hollywood Shuffle, Which Way is Up? and Bustin Loose.   Mooney played Sam Cooke in The Buddy Holly Story and Junebug in Spike Lee’s Bamboozled.

Mooney’s influenced has spanned generations.  He was the head writer for In Living Color on Fox and created Homie the Clown.   He was Negrodamus (a parody of Nostradamus) on Chappelle’s Show, where he made outrageous and hilarious predictions to questions such as “Why do white people love Wayne Brady?” Negordamus’ answer – “Because Wayne Brady makes Bryant Gumbel look like Malcolm X.”

Paul Mooney’s career has been laced in controversy.  From the time he called black mayor of Los Angeles, Tom Bradley, “Uncle Tom Bradley” at a city function to the time he ran Tracee Ellis Ross out of the showroom at the BET Comedy Awards following a typical Mooney rant about Ross’ mother, Diana’s DUI arrest and the mountain climbing death of Ross’ step-father, Arne Naess Jr. to the time he was yanked from the Apollo Theater stage for talking about then president George W. Bush and his mama.  Paul Mooney does no tongue biting.

Mooney is legendary for his stance on race.  He wrote the book, Black is the New White.   He released the comedy albums, Race and Master Piece.    He did the DVD Know Your History: Jesus Is Black; So Was Cleopatra.   He was even indirectly involved in the Michael Richard’s N-Word revelation when Richards snapped on black patrons at the Laugh Factory in 2006.  Mooney publically swore off ever using the word again a pivotal word in his act) and forgave Michael Richards for using it.    Mooney himself has slipped and used it, but must be given an E for effort.

By Darryl “D’Militant” Littleton

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