I’m obsessed with old school comedians. I’ll use any excuse, find any pretext to mention Don Rickles, Redd Foxx, Totie Fields, Henny Youngman or Fat Jack Leonard to name drop but a few. Some of my friends call me Shecky because of my fondness for puns and shticky humor. I like the nickname because it’s a bow to the great Shecky Green. This is a long, roundabout way of saying that I’m interested in show biz history and shit that makes people laugh. Moms Mabley always made me laugh: from her frumpy floral house dress to her bucket hat to her toothless delivery, she was hilarious. Moms sounded like a bullfrog and looked like a demented old bat, but she was sharp as a freaking tack.
Whoopi Goldberg has produced and directed a documentary for HBO about Moms Mabley and it’s a winner. Using talking heads, teevee clips from late in her career, and sound bites from her many elpees, Goldberg paints a portrait of a pioneer African-American female humorist with a sly, sarcastic, and subversive wit. I learned a lot from Whoopi’s film including the fact that Moms was *very* political as well as naughty, and that she looked sharp in men’s clothing when wearing her dentures. Most of all, Moms was funny, funny, funny. Check out the documentary on HBOand the clips below: