Monday, January 25, 2010

Negrodamus Has a Brand New Book - Black Is The New White

Do You Remember Negrodamus ?

Chappelle's Show
Negrodamus - Wayne Brady
Buy Chappelle's Show DVDsBlack ComedyTrue Hollywood Story

We're Talking about Paul Mooney. Paul was most recently a writer and character on the Dave Chappell Show - Paul Mooney is brilliant and his comedy legacy is just as rich. he was the writing partner to Richard Pryor, Yes I said Richard Pryor. he was also in the Blazing Saddles Crew.  wayyyyyyyy back then.


Check out this skit from The Richard Pryor Show - which was co written by Paul Mooney. everyone remembers The Rev. James L. White. let the chuuch say Amen. this was always one of Richard Pryors most requested characters. seeing him brought to life was surreal. the combination of these two funny men was meant to happen. otherwise we'd have missed a whole lot of serious social commentary. remember kramers slip at the Laugh Factory a couple years ago ?  I do; and Paul was the first one to speak frankly on it.

(btw, this is our music monday selection)

Paul has written a new book on Race Relations in america. I definantly plan to read this book. from all reviews it's all the stuff we of course knew he would say, which is what we are all thinking; but don't want to say.

if you're looking for a good read, why not pick it up and read it with me for February. I'm going to be reading and reviewing a book a month starting this month.

later this week we'll all get a chance to discuss my impressions of "Push" by Sapphire. I read the book ; yes before I plan to see the movie. and yes I am glad I did read the book FIRST. it really made me understand alot of the complexity of the characters. Lots more on that later this week.

Ok lets get ready to check out my friend and yours - Paul Mooney; the Most Honest man in comedy today.

Kick It Paul,

'Black Is the New White' by Paul Mooney

Too black for Hollywood? Paul Mooney was Richard Pryor's most trusted ally, in high times and low. Together they fought racism with comedy -- and suffered the blowback.

By Steve Ryfle - January 19, 2010 - LA Times

Paul Mooney recalls the day he became Richard Pryor's shadow partner. It was 1968, and the two young comics were sitting in a Hollywood greasy spoon, with Pryor nursing another hangover, so Mooney lightened the mood with an off-the-cuff, X-rated one-liner that made his buddy convulse.

Pryor copped the joke in his act. Later, he slipped a $10,000 watch onto Mooney's wrist as a token of thanks, and so began a friendship that lasted until Pryor's death in 2005. Pryor was a self-loathing, drug-addicted genius, Mooney an industrious teetotaler, but they bonded over laughs and a distrust of the white Hollywood power structure.

"Black Is the New White" is Mooney's unvarnished memoir of that friendship. At a time when comedians -- even African American icons such as Bill Cosby -- never talked about race, Pryor (aided and abetted by Mooney) dared to confront the elephant in the room. Mooney, who has also written for "In Living Color" and "Chappelle's Show," also traces his own path from humble Deep South roots to a comedy elder statesman known for his incisive riffs on racism.

Pryor was already consuming narcotics, booze and women (his proclivities are well-documented in his 1995 autobiography, "Pryor Convictions") when the men first met. Mooney faced a choice: avoid the madness or become Pryor's writer, mentor, confidant and designated driver. "Even though I have a feeling that sooner or later it's all going to crash, I still accept Richard's friendship," Mooney writes about the choice he made. "He is irresistible."

And Pryor was already successful. He'd done movies, television, Vegas and had recorded a comedy album. But Pryor's comedy was still safe and sanitized, a far cry from the profane routines and street characters for which he would later become famous. He felt like a black comic who'd sold out for white acceptance.

The early chapters of "Black Is the New White" cover Pryor's transformation in the late 1960s, when he shunned the Sunset Strip comedy clubs for places like Redd Foxx's Jazz Go-Go and Maverick's Flat in South Los Angeles -- clubs that "bring in black audiences and feature the kind of comedy that nobody is ready for on the Strip." The change was complete when Pryor assumed a street-smart, improvisational style and, most important, Mooney says, he transformed the n-word into a weapon and trained it on the status quo.

Hollywood wasn't ready. Foxx and Norman Lear hired Pryor and Mooney as writers on "Sanford and Son," but NBC preferred its stable of white scribes. Mel Brooks wanted Pryor to play the black sheriff (a character Pryor created) in "Blazing Saddles" but Warner Bros. vetoed the move.

The duo's penchant for boundary-pushing made network censors nervous, and in 1977, when Pryor landed an NBC variety series (with Mooney as head writer, casting director and occasional actor), he complained of network interference and, drug-addled and fearing failure, canceled the show after four episodes.

That failure led to the crash Mooney expected all along, culminating in Pryor's 1980 self-immolation while freebasing cocaine. Mooney believes it was no simple suicide attempt: "I've never seen anyone more messed up over success than Richard Pryor. For him, it's a constant battle between success in the white world and keeping it real for his black self. . . . he loves the approval and women and celebrity, but it costs him his soul. So he lights himself on fire. He's freebasing himself, burning off the white impurities."

Mooney is widely respected among African American audiences and his comedy peers, though not instantly recognizable to the masses. "Black Is the New White" recounts the struggles that earned Mooney that respect, such as leading a strike against the Comedy Store in the 1970s, which ended with the club agreeing to pay up-and-coming comics (Jay Leno and David Letterman, among others) for the first time. Mooney also revisits his public renouncement of the n-word after Michael Richards' racist outburst onstage at the Laugh Factory in 2006.

But the book's strength is the story of two opposites who kindled one another's creative embers -- it serves as an elegy for Pryor, a troubled savant who couldn't quite harness his immense talents.

"When I think about Richard, I think about keeping it real," Mooney writes. "I think about never losing my voice, never giving in, never selling out, always keeping black, always sticking to the street. Staying neighborhood and not Hollywood."

Ryfle is writing a book about Hollywood during the civil rights era.

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I have had the great fortune of seeing Paul Mooney live. He is a living legend. Can't wait to buy that book.

RE Ausetkmt said...

solomonsydelle, I've never seen him live but I try to subscribe to all his videos on the internet. he is quite a writer. I watched Blazing Saddles today and couldn't help but think of his contribution to that movie; which will always be one of my comedy favs.

askcherlock said...

RE, I haven't laughed so hard since the last time I saw Blazing Saddles or a Richard Pryor re-run show. In this short video Paul Mooney captures the differences between Blacks and Whites and he is sooo right. From the "guilt" to putting folks "under the jail" to the Betsy Ross story, this man could write a history book better than most of those so-called pundits. Thanks for sharing this. You made my day!

Tina T said...

I have never heard of Mooney, and I have to admit I thought that Richard Pryor was solely responsible for his comedic genius. This sounds like a great book.

BTW, My EC widget is officially gone, but I will still be stopping by regularly.

RE Ausetkmt said...

hey Cher, did you love Blazing Saddles ? I watched it again today and the comic genius of Paul Mooney was still there. I think sometimes people make too much of the N word and also try to hard to differientiate us one from another. he makes it clear that under the skin we are all still the same, messed up.

I knew about his richard pryor connection but this is a must read book because for me; because anything about Richard I wanna read. I just love that man, still. I thought we were due for as lil comic genius to help distract us from Haiti for a bit.

thanks for your comment sweets.

RE Ausetkmt said...

Tina you got fed up ? I understand girlfriend. I drop when I feel like it maybe a couple times a week. otherwise I visit blogs, comment and just generally socialize in my network.

didn't you just love the Rev. James L. White ? I could eat him off a popsickle stick. Richard was a one of a kind, and now we know he had the straight genius keeping him on track. Thank God for Paul Mooney.

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

I'm one of those ignorant white chicks who grew up loving Richard Pryor. I was in junior high and high school scraping up any recordings I could of stand-up comedians including Pryor and Cosby and Redd Foxx. But admittedly I didn't know about Paul Mooney, so thank you for that!

RE Ausetkmt said...

Hey Nanny Goats in Panties, you were just like the rest of us, buckin the system and gettin our laugh on.

it amazes me always how many whitepeople really love black comedians. I think sometimes that only blackpeople know about some of these things, like Paul Mooney. I have happily been proven wrong.

think I'm gonna write about rudy ray moore and see how many folks remember him and moms mabley. some of the real pioneers.

Jacqueline said...

Don't you love it when people are not shy about telling the truth regarding issues that stare us all in the face. :-)

RE Ausetkmt said...

Ms Jacqueline it seems Paul Mooney is Never Shy about saying anything. I wonder how it goes at his house ? his personal life is such a mystery. I'm gonna have to see who he's kickin it with. that might show us a lil bit more about "I say what I wanna say". one thing I noticed is that all the comments are by women. apparently No Men seem to like the comedy. ;( wonder why ?

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

OMG! Chicks with guns! Chicks with guns! I just got it. I just saw your badge and put it together. It's chicks with guns, right?

Sorry for that totally random comment that nothing to do with the current post, but I just got all excited about seeing your badge.