Tag Archives: stand up

Richard Pryor

He was the first recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Comedy Central named him the number #1 comedian of all-time. He co-wrote ‘Blazing Saddles’. Name a comedian that started their career after his. Go ahead. Name one. Okay you did? They name him as one of their major influences. How is it that I know that? Because know one that has laughed since Richard Pryor started getting on stage hasn’t name him as a major influence.

Richard Pryor famously lit himself on fire after free basing cocaine. Instead of shying away from the incident he bravely made it ten plus minutes of his material.

I can’t find the source for it but it doesn’t matter because it’s true and it’s right. So there for he said it. I don’t need to find a source. Bill Cosby once said about Richard Pryor, “Richard Pryor drew the line between comedy and tragedy as thin as one could possibly paint it.”

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Bernie Mac

Bernie Mac is sneaky good. I’m sure there are people out there that are huge Bernie Mac fans but, I don’t know any. But, ask anyone if they like Bernie Mac and they will say yes. They will either say they like him in ‘Friday’ or ‘Ocean’s 11’ or ‘Bad Santa’ or for his very underrated TV show ‘The Bernie Mac Show’. I’m having difficulty choosing clips for him. But, this is probably the funniest scene in ‘Ocean’s 11’ and it’s almost purely Mac.

His stand up was vulgar. From a quantity stand point but, it doesn’t come off as vulgar for some reason. It’s probably because of the playfulness he exhibits. Take for insists this clip. The joke isn’t that it’s vulgar. The joke is how much fun it is to be vulgar.

Bernie Mac died in 2008 at 50. He worked almost non-stop his entire life. Just look at his IMDb page. From his first movie to his last movie he had almost two movies every year. Which is lucky for use because he left behind so many films and material for us. He had talked on David Letterman before he died about retiring because he had worked so much. It should be of noted that before Lous C.K. called his daughter an “asshole” Bernie Mac called his daughter a “bitch motha fucka”. He was a forward thinker.

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Eddie Murphy

Today is Eddie Murphy. To celebrate the Oscars we maybe could have had. You know, where Eddie Murphy hosted and George Clooney won best Actor and Rooney Mara won Best Actress and black women weren’t winning Oscars for the same typecast, stereotypical, borderline racist portrayals they won Oscars for in the 1930’s. I’m not the only one thinking that.

I highly recommend that you read Bill Simmon’s, equally entertaining and long, essay (?) he wrote about Murphy. I really can’t add anything that isn’t said in there. Except some YouTube clips.

Eddie Murphy started on ‘SNL’ and in a matter of years became one of the biggest stars on the planet. He had two stand up comedy specials, ‘Delirious’ and ‘Raw’, that helped launch him to fame.

But, it was really ’48 Hours’ that broke him out. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you watch it. It’s edgy in a way comedians aren’t now post-PC. Maybe one day they will but, it goes places that only the bravest and most skillful stand-ups do today. The best example of it being. This scene:

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Dick Gregory

It’s a miracle that Dick Gregory survived the 60’s.

Not only was he one of the most famous faces of the Civil Rights moment, but he stood on a stage and mocked those that opposed him. He wrote an autobiography, in 1963, titled “Nigger”. In the forward he said to his Mamma, “Whenever you hear the word ‘Nigger’ you’ll know their advertising my book.To get some understanding of what he was dealing with why don’t you watch this video.

There’s not a lot of footage of  him performing in the early days of the 60’s. He performed on ‘The Tonight Show with Jack Parr’. But, the footage of it was more than likely destroyed. In the early days of television they didn’t think people would be interested in watching old television. Just think of all the performers they could be screwing out of residuals right now? What’s also amazing is that ‘Tonight Show’ performance was before the much more ‘friendly’ Flipp Wilson performed on  “The Tonight Show”.

He was actively involved in woman’s rights and the anti-apartheid movement. It also should be noted that he is a conspiracy theorist. Believing that the truth about 9/11 and the Kennedy assignation have never truly been revealed. You can’t blame a man who lived through the Civil Rights movement in thinking that the government might be up to something sinister. He also probably is the only comedian that can say the FBI tried to get the mob to ‘neutralize’ him. This isn’t fake. You can look it up at ‘The Chicago Tribune‘. Crazy right? That is putting it lightly, fucking ridiculous, is close but still a little light.

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Paul Mooney

Day : Night :: Bill Cosby : Paul Mooney.

Paul Mooney is probably most famous for Negrodamus that he performed on ‘Chapelle’s Show’ but his influence is far more reaching than that.

He was the head writer on ‘The Richard Pyror Show’ (also was a collaborator with Pyror for year)  and the first head writer of ‘In Livin’ Color’. He also wrote for ‘Sanford and Sons’.

Paul Mooney’s stand up is aggressive to put it lightly. Watching his YouTube clips make me uncomfortable sometimes. He is not to be fucked with. These are good things.

Mooney stands in contrast to other “aggressive” and “vulgar” comedians because he is so calm in his delivering. He is leaning on or sitting in a stool most of the time. He is monotone, rarely raising his voice. He speaks slow and calm. This style doesn’t give off the feelings of an angry emotional rant rather, a thoughtful logical argument. Like the most acute, obscene liberal arts professor in Dartmouth history.

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Tracy Morgan

Tracy Morgan’s father severed four tours in Vietnam after which he returned home addicted to heroin. He would have PTSD nightmare’s and wake up screaming. Tracy was six years old.

Later in life Tracy would sell crack to make ends meet. His best friend was murdered by someone they went to junior high with. His father died of AIDS. Here’s Tracy Morgan talking about his father on NPR’s ‘Fresh Air’:

And he was sitting outside, and I don’t know how he found the strength to climb down four flights of stairs. He had lost all his teeth. He was just about on his way out, and I looked at him, I said, dad, why are you sitting out here? And he couldn’t talk. He had lost that ability, and he just looked at me, and he mumbled: I needed air. Take me upstairs. And I picked him up in my arms, and I carried my father upstairs, and then as we was going through the door, he cried. He looked at me, and I said, what’s wrong, dad? He said: I remember when I carried you through the door when you was a baby.

When someone has lived a life like that they don’t understand why people take everything else seriously. That is some real shit to live through. All before he graduated high school, by the way. Someone that lives that life doesn’t understand why people would get upset about saying Sarah Palin is “masturbation material” on a live broadcast on  TNT’s NBA Pre-Game show. Lucky for us he has a sense or humor about these things.

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Bill Cosby

Dave Chapelle says that after he read the article from the ‘Time’ magazine above he announced to his family he wanted to be a comedian. At the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor ceremony Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld said he inspired their careers. Bill Cosby turned down the honor twice because he was offended by the profanity used at the first Mark Twain Humor Award in 1998. Bill Cosby is decidedly not blue. How not blue is he? When I texted my brother-in-law if there was a term for a not blue comic he, not knowing what I was working on, replied: Bill Cosby.

His show in the 80’s is one of only three shows to be a number one show for five consecutive years. But, I would dare say the most important thing about Bill Cosby’s show is it wasn’t a show about a black family. It was a show about a family. Not that ‘The Jeffersons’ or ‘Different Strokes’ weren’t about family. But, they were regularly addressing the fact that they were black. The Cosby’s happened to be a family that was black. Cosby decided not to address race issues on the show. His belief being that having a successful show and getting more white audiences was better than alienating them. That white people relating to a black family and seeing that they have the same problems and difficulties as a white family was a better message to send. He appears to have been right. In 1990 apartheid South Africa ‘The Cosby Show’ was the number one show among whites.

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Black History Month Stand up: Three for Friday!

To make up for missed days you get three comedians today! How about that?

Redd Foxx

Of course Redd Foxx is famous from Sanford and Son which was a top ten rated show in the early ’70’s. Which again paved the way for show like The Cosby Show. His clip may be my favorite of all of the clips I will show during this edition. There are more, but I think this 44 second clip tells you all you need to know about Foxx.
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Donald Glover

Donald Glover is my most recent  massive man crush. You may recognize him from the NBC show Community. But, he is so, so much more than that. He is a stand up comedian, he won an Emmy for his writing on 30 Rock, he is also a rapper that goes by the name Childish Gambino. This is him rapping. 

He’s come up during the time of Obama and the rise of “the Black Nerds” (his words not mine). Which has become so popular of an idea that Key and Peele stole it on an interview on NPR. 

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Tim and Tom

Tim and Tom were America’s first interracial comedy-duo. Tim is Tim Reid (black) and Tom is Tom Dressen (white). 

They met in 1968 the year Martin Luther King was assassinated. They were attacked on stage once. A man put a cigarette out in Tim’s face and proceeded to beat Tom. Hear them tell that story and more in an interview with David Letterman below. 

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