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Paul Mooney
Photograph: Chris PizzelloPaul Mooney

Five reasons to see stand-up Paul Mooney

Comedy writing legend Mooney, whose first gig was working for Richard Pryor, gives plenty of cause to see him perform.


1. The man has clout and longevity. Mooney has written for Redd Foxx and In Living Color; he’s worked for Richard Pryor and Dave Chappelle; nearly 50 years later, he’s still at it.

2. He doesn’t mind courting controversy. Mooney speaks his mind, regardless of consequence. He was, for example, famously yanked offstage during a taping of Showtime at the Apollo for cursing the Bushes and comparing Barbara Bush to the Quaker Oats guy.

3. When most comedians clamor for eyes and ears, Mooney holds court. At age 72, this comic has no need to waste energy. He calmly sits center stage, a cane in one hand and champagne flute in the other. He doesn’t ask for your attention; he commands it.  

4. His tenacity smashes through the audience’s defenses. Mooney’s relentlessness regarding issues of color and class eventually hits everyone in a sensitive spot, but this is part of the fun. The delicate may want to stay home, but all who relax will enjoy themselves.

5. The jokes will give you something to talk about. Whether he rips stories from the headlines or talks about Michael or Jesse Jackson, his politically charged point of view will give you plenty to dissect postshow.

Paul Mooney performs at B.B. King Blues Club and Grill Thu 16.

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