Renowned comedy writer Paul Mooney died at 79 years old. Mooney was born on August 4, 1941, in Lousiana as Paul Gladney. His family eventually moved to Oakland, California where he started up his comedy career and lived up until his last day. One of Mooney’s most notable credits is as the head writer for comedy legend Richard Pryor on The Richard Pryor Show. He also worked side-by-side with Pryor on his comedy album and writing sketches for Saturday Night Live. Some of his other writing credits include Sanford and Son, Good Times, In Living Color, Pryor’s Place, The Larry Sanders Show, Chappelle’s Show and Real Husbands of Hollywood. He also wrote a memoir titled “Black Is the New White.”
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In addition to his impressive writing career, Mooney also appeared on-stage and on-screen as a stand-up comedian and actor. His comedy was renowned as cutting-edge and was dubbed a trailblazer in the realm of stand-up comedy. His sets focused on social issues like race. He also played comedic roles in several movies including The Buddy Holly Story, Bustin’ Loose, Hollywood Shuffle, Spike Lee’s Bamboozled and Meet the Blacks in 2016. He also graced the small screen on Dave Chappelle’s Comedy Central show as Negrodamus.
Variety confirms that Mooney died on Wednesday, May 19 at 79 years old. Mooney died in his home in Oakland, California after suffering from a heart attack. His representative Cassandra Williams confirmed his passing. Mooney is survived by his four children Dwayne, Daryl, Spring and Shane whom he had with his ex-wife Yvonne Mooney. A tweet was also issued from Mooney’s Twitter account to announce the devastating news. In this tweet, he is dubbed “The Godfather of Comedy” in reference to his 2012 comedy special.
Thank you all from the bottom of all of our hearts …you’re all are the best!…… Mooney World .. The Godfather of Comedy – ONE MOON MANY STARS! .. To all in love with this great man.. many thanks🙏🏾
— Paul Mooney (@PaulEalyMooney) May 19, 2021
Mooney reached legendary status in the world of comedy and was renowned and respected by many of comedy’s greatest. Mooney prioritized collaborating with other notable Black comedians. In addition to Pryor, Chappelle and Spike Lee, Mooney worked with comedy greats Eddie Murphy, Red Foxx, Patti LaBelle and many more. During an era of heightened segregation and racial discrimination, Mooney was able to break boundaries along with these other comedy greats to establish a profound career.
Mooney was, fortunately, able to immortalize his impressive comedy career with several TV specials including Paul Mooney: Jesus Is Black – So Was Cleopatra – Know Your History, Paul Mooney: It’s the End of the World, Paul Mooney: The Godfather of Comedy and Paul Mooney: A Piece of My Mind – Godbless America. Those looking to learn more about the comedy legend would do well in watching these specials.
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Source: Variety, Paul Mooney
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