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Whoopi Goldberg Eyeing Moms Mabley Broadway Run Which She'll Star In

by Tambay A. Obenson
October 9, 2013 5:22 PM
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"Probably the next thing I’ll do [on Broadway] is a one-woman show about Moms Mabley. I can do her material, and the material still works."

Whoopi Goldberg responding to a question from, while on the red carpet at the Neil Simon Theatre on October 7, at an event to celebrate the opening night of Big Fish.

It certainly would make sense, following the feature documentary of Mabley that she directed, titled Moms Mabley: I Got Somethin' to Tell You, which had its world premiere at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival, and was later picked up by HBO.

In the film, Goldberg explores Mabley's legacy through recently unearthed photography, rediscovered performance footage and the words of numerous celebrated comedians, entertainers and historians, including Eddie MurphyJoan RiversSidney Poitier, Kathy GriffinHarry Belafonte, Bill CosbyQuincy Jones, Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara.

Mabley tackled topics such as gender, sex and racism, making her one of the first triple X-rated comedians on the comedy circuit. Once billed as "The Funniest Woman in the World," she performed on stage and in television and film up until her death in 1975.

"Moms Mabley has been a huge inspiration to me and so many others, but not a lot of folks outside of the comedy world know about her legacy," said Goldberg in a statement. "There are a lot of us who wouldn't be working today without pioneers like her. HBO gave me my first break on TV, so it's only fitting that Moms has a home there now."

While Whoopi didn't actually appear in the Broadway adaptation of her hit movie franchise, Sister Act, she was one of its producers. She last appeared on the Broadway stage during the 2007-2008 season, in a production of Xanadu, as a performer replacement; before that was her 1-woman show, Whoopi, during the 2004-2005 season.

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  • Roof Pounder | October 15, 2013 12:51 PMReply

    Bringing Moms Mabley's legacy to the forefront is long overdue. Not only is she an important figure in the history of American comedy, she was genuinely funny - and her routines are still comically potent today. I remember seeing Moms Mabley on The Ed Sullivan Show when I was very young. I was too young to get the jokes, but still found her appearance and delivery funny. Now that I get the material, my respect and appreciation for her talent continues to grow. I must confess... I frequently use one of her lines when referring to a person's advanced age. "He's older than his birthday!" It never fails to get a laugh.

  • moviergoer90 | October 13, 2013 6:17 PMReply

    Although I've never really heard any of Moms Mabley's material, I've heard my mother talk about how she was, and I've recently listened to a couple of her bits, and I agree. Whoopi's sarcastic yet smart approach will make for an interesting and entertaining show, and I hope I get to see it.

    This also got me thinking about the number of black female comics that are still working and how I would love to see more of them on primetime TV and in more films. The only relevant black comediennes that I can think of right now are Wanda Sykes and Loni Love. It would be great to see them and other black comediennes alike come together and maybe form a tribute show to Moms Mabley.

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