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Paul Mooney is an American comedian, writer, social critic, television and film actor. He is best known for his appearances on the Chappelle’s show and as a writer for the comedian Richard Pryor, but here are some facts that aren’t as well known about him.
1. Mooney was originally born in Shreveport, Louisiana but later moved to Oakland, California.
2. Paul Gladney is his birth name. The name Mooney was given to him by his grandmother (known as “Mama” among his family). She never explained to him where she got the name from or what it even means!
3. Mooney was in the circus. He became a ringmaster with the Gatti-Charles Circus. During his time as ringmaster, he always found himself writing comedy and telling jokes, which helped him land his first professional job as a writer for Richard Pryor.
4. In addition to being the head writer for The Richard Pryor Show, Mooney also wrote for Redd Foxx’s “Sanford and Son” and “Good Times.”
5. Homey D. Clown was Paul Mooney’s brain child. He was the head writer for the first year of Fox’s “In Living Color”, creating the character Homey D. Clown, played by Damon Wayans.
6. Mooney once had beef with Diana Ross. At the 2005 BET Comedy Awards Mooney awarded Ross and made numerous jokes about Ross’ 2002 arrest for DUI. According to people who were in attendance, Mooney also made light of the death of Ross’ ex-husband Arne Næss Jr., who fell while mountain climbing in 2004. Tracee Ellis Ross, Ross’s daughter and Næss’s stepdaughter, was also in attendance. She reportedly was so offended and embarrassed that she left the room and was comforted by host Steve Harvey. Backstage in the press room, Mooney was asked if he felt his performance was “over the top”. Mooney replied:
“How can somebody get arrested for (being under the influence) and go to jail and I be over the top? I think that’s over the top, don’t you? Agree or disagree, folks. No, comedy is not over the top. When you are a celebrity and you do crazy stuff, that’s the game.” When asked if he knew that Tracee Ellis Ross was in the audience he said, “I didn’t know … her mama could’ve been in there, that’s not the point. I didn’t drive drunk. Now I’m responsible for Diana Ross? If you scrutinize Jay Leno and David Letterman the same way you scrutinize me, then I’ll agree with you, but if you don’t touch them white folks don’t touch me. They say whatever they want to say every night.”
7. Paul Mooney made some very controversial remarks about the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings. Mooney allegedly joked “white people in Boston deserved what they got and (it was) OK to lose a few limbs… as long as no blacks got hurt it was OK.” Numerous audience members stormed out and the show’s producer cancelled the remaining shows.