There wasn’t a stadium-packed crowd here tonight at Carolines on Broadway, mainly due to the fact that it is Superbowl Sunday. The crowd is definitely an intimate one, where at every turn you can easily see the range of people: old, young, white, black, etc. We all had one thing in common that night—to laugh our asses off in order to forget about the real world for just a few hours. And with tonight’s headliner, the legendary Paul Mooney, we were geared to do just that. Mooney has written for several shows, including In Living Color, where he created characters like “Homey the Clown.” He started out in comedy by writing for his longtime friend and perhaps the greatest 20th century comic, the late Richard Pryor. In recent years, he’s gained younger fans from his appearances on Chappelle’s Show. Despite his many years in show business, Mooney has never considered himself to be a “star”: “I’m not Hollywood, I’m neighborhood,” he states proudly. Mooney never censored his voice as both a writer and comedian in order to gain mainstream acceptance. His gift as a comedian is his fearlessness. He is not afraid to make the subject of race the focal point of one of his shows and people can relate to him. We all related to him tonight because there’s no pretense, no need to hide anything. Instead, Mooney is engaged in a conversation with his audience and we’re all eager to listen to what he has to say.
Shannon J. Effinger