RICHMOND – Paul Mooney, the Godfather of comedy, will be performing his Out of Darkness, Last Stand tour at the Black Repertory Group Theatre in Berkeley, December 26 through 31.
Mooney was one of the most prolific black comedy writers of the 1970s, penning many of Richard Pryor’s routines. He also gained a reputation for giving many young stand-up comics such as Robin Williams, Sandra Bernhard, Marsha Warfield, John Witherspoon and Tim Reid, their first break into show business.
Mooney also wrote for a slew of successful sitcoms, including Redd Foxx’s “Sanford and Son,” “Good Times,” and also acted in several cult classics including “Which Way Is Up?” “Bustin’ Loose,” and “Hollywood Shuffle.”
When asked about what to expect of his upcoming show, Mooney replied simply: “It will be funny.”
Mainstream TV channels have a tendency to put black people in a bad light over the holidays, Mooney said. “They are roasting black people on these shows.” His upcoming performance aims to make people feel good again, to help people let go of all the negativity, he said.
Even though Mooney is under doctor’s orders to lay low while recovering from recent surgeries, the 72-year old comedian escaped to host his annual charity toy giveaway on Dec. 21, dressing up as Santa and giving away donated gifts to local children at the Black Repertory Group Theatre.
“I’ve always been a giver,” said Mooney, who reports he is feeling great. “The holidays are a time to volunteer and help and give.”
When questioned on the racial violence in America such as the death of Oscar Grant and Trayvon Martin, Mooney spoke with seriousness.
“America has always experienced racism,” he said. Americans often point to the racism in other countries, trying to pretend it’s not here, he said.
“They’re going to lynch you mentally, not physically,” said Mooney. “My job is to wake people up, no matter what race they are.”
It’s about ownership, said Mooney. “We were their [white people’s] property and that’s the problem.”
“Why would you want to give your cow freedom?” he said.
“Property is a trip, okay? You can hit a deer on the freeway and maybe you won’t go to jail. But if you hit a cow you’re going straight to jail. You better try to give it mouth to mouth. Cause its property,” Mooney said.
When asked if California feels like home, Mooney responded: “Oakland claims me because my grandmother lived there and I have a lot of relatives. But actually I lived in Richmond.”
“I feel at home wherever I am. I am the Dr. of comedy. I may be the last. I’m doing what I’m supposed to.”