This year, as in many years past, Godfather of Comedy Paul Mooney has returned to his roots at the Black Repertory Group Theater in Berkeley for performances every night from Dec. 26 through Jan. 2, with three shows on New Year’s Eve. Tickets are selling fast, so call right away: (510) 652-2120 or the hot line, (925) 812-2787. The legendary comic genius will be debuting material from his new book, “Black Is the New White.”
“The Black Repertory Group Theatre, located in the heart of Berkeley, is the birthplace where many musicians and comedians got their start,” Apollonia Jordan wrote for the Bay View in her review of last year’s show. “Sean Vaughn Scott has been taking care of the theatre, which was headed by his grandmother and mother and passed down to him. He makes sure that he showcases the talent of young people in the Bay Area.
“’This theatre was built and founded so that Black people could have an opportunity to discover or rediscover their Black heritage,’ Sean stated to me before the Paul Mooney Comedy Show, adding, ‘I wish more people who showcased their talent here would come and give back to the community like Paul is doing.’”
“Paul is coming back to the Bay Area showing love to the theatre that helped him achieve his goals of being a great comedian,” Apollonia noted, then added another good reason to see the show: “Paul will have you laughing your socks off! … Some people – well, white people – may find some of his comedy offensive, but the only word I can describe it with is real.
“Paul is as real as real can get. ‘Forget saying “pulling the race card”; I’m pulling the reality card,’ Paul yelled from the center of the stage during his show. ‘I lived through this and I know what it is to be looked down upon as a Black person.’”
Bay View arts editor Wanda Sabir wrote in her review of last year’s show: “Paul Mooney is an American comedian, writer and television and film actor. Born in Louisiana, he grew up in Oakland. Mooney wrote some of Richard Pryor’s routines for his appearance on Saturday Night Live, co-wrote his material for the ‘Live on the Sunset Strip,’ ‘Bicentennial Nigger’ and ‘Is It Something I Said’ albums and Pryor’s film ‘Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling.’ As the head writer for The Richard Pryor Show, he gave many young stand-up comics, such as Robin Williams, Sandra Bernhard, Marsha Warfield, John Witherspoon and Tim Reid their first break into show business.”
“Paul Mooney is to be commended for his commitment to the Black Repertory Group Theatre, the great community organization he supports with his time and skills each year in the annual fundraising show,” Wanda observed, adding, “It is one of my favorite ways to jump the broom into the New Year, from Kwanzaa principle ‘Nia’ into ‘Imani,’ ‘Purpose’ into ‘Faith,’ the substance of things hoped for whose time has come.”
All shows so far have sold out. But tickets, starting as low as $25, are still available for the following performances:
- Monday, Dec. 28, 7 and 9 p.m.
- Tuesday, Dec. 29, 7 and 9 p.m.
- Wednesday, Dec. 30, 7 and 9 p.m.
- New Year’s Eve, Thursday, Dec. 31, 7, 9 and 11 p.m.
The Black Rep is easy to find: 3201 Adeline St., Berkeley, only one block south of Ashby BART and one block north of Alcatraz. Call (510) 652-2120 or the hot line, (925) 812-2787, for tax deductible tickets at $25, $50 or $100. New Year’s Eve tickets are also available at $45.
Paul Mooney with Block Report Radio in KPFA
Paul Mooney was interviewed live by Minister of Information JR of POCC Block Report Radio and Dennis Bernstein, host of Flashpoints, on Flashpoints, KPFA’s premiere investigative news magazine, on Tuesday, Dec. 29. Listen in. The whole show is fascinating; to go direct to the Paul Mooney segment, push the slider to 40:30.
Click to listen (or download)
Another Block Report interview by JR with Paul was broadcast the previous evening, Monday, Dec. 28, 9 p.m., on Greg Bridges’ show, Transitions on Traditions. Click here to listen; push that slider to 59:30.