As I am sitting here listening to Moms Mabley “I Got Something to Tell You”, I found myself wanting to do nothing but watch old stand up comedy from comedic greats such as Lawanda Page, Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor. My love for great comedy started at a very young age (which is probably one of the attributes to my use of foul language) when I was exposed to what in my opinion is one of the greatest African-American movies of all time “Harlem Nights” the cast of comedians is undeniably one of the best, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Robin Harris, and the legendary Redd Foxx (Who is a St. Louis Native). Till this very day this movie is always just as funny as it was the first time.
It is very rare that a stand up comedian can transfer his “funny” onto the silver screen, mainly because unlike their stand up routine their lines are scripted by someone who more than likely isn’t nearly as funny as them. However, Richard Pryor mastered the art and on-screen acting and brought his own brand of comic relief to every role he played. He made a mockery of his own life story in “JoJo Dancer This is Your Life”.
There are many good comedians even today but none compare to those who have paved the way. From Moms Mabley, to Lawanda Page, Dolemite and Paul Mooney. All of these comics were (are) one of a kind. Out of all the kings of comedy, none of them compare to the genius of Richard Pryor, he explored real life situations and problems and brought them to life through laughter. He most definitely tops my list as the greatest African-American comedy of all time. Coming in at a close second is Eddie Murphy, then Redd Foxx, Robin Harris and Lawanda Page. Don’t get me wrong I love comedians like Martin Lawrence and Chris Rock, Bernie Mac and Rickie Smiley, but they have nothing on the legends.
“Waaaaay down in the jungle deep…the bad ass monkey stepped on the signifying monkey’s feet. The monkey said Muthafucka can’t you see, why you standin’ on my feet?!”~Dolemite