Mr. Paul Mooney

Stepsun Music Entertainment, 1993


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Here's a quick warning for anyone who still lives in the "O.J. Trial" mentality: Don't listen to the album Race if the word "nigger" offends you.

Mr. Paul Mooney, a comic whose influence has been quietly felt for a long time now (especially in the work of Richard Pryor), might shock some people with his usage of the word. Being an African-American, one might think that he would be the last person in the world to use it. But in his no-holds-barred style of comedy (which calls into question many forms of prejudice), not only is Mooney not afraid to use the word, but he's also quick to slam whites my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 and blacks for the stupid things we all do.

Such an attitude might be controversial. But I find it refreshing -- and, speaking from the viewpoint of a white male, no, I'm not offended by some of the things Mooney has to say about whites. If one is truthful about it, Mooney is actually harder on blacks than whites. Race was an album that suckered me in with some of the titles of the bits, and it still remains a disc I listen to often, six years after its release.

What is it about Mooney that I find so hilarious? Maybe it's the way he mocks the stereotype of the word "nigger" ("White people make up the word... then don't want me to say it."). Maybe it's the way he takes even-handed shots at some of the stars of 1993, from Hammer ("I didn't think I'd live this long to see [someone] dance for a piece of chicken.") to Woody Allen. Maybe it's the give-and-take he has with his audience, even with those who apparently did not enjoy his on-stage act.

Whatever the case, Race dares to call the shots as Mooney sees them. And for the most part, each shot hits the mark. Sure, Mooney isn't as sterilized with his comedy as someone like Bill Cosby was/is -- and that's why I'm thankful that such an album was made. Anyone can recognize the cultural differences and similarities that we all share. Mooney glorifies as many as he can fit in a short time, all done with the same amount of irreverence he shows throughout his act.

Race is a comedy album that challenges all of its listeners, no matter what race you are, to think. And while it's not one for the kiddies, Mooney belongs on a pedestal with the likes of George Carlin in that both were not afraid to face the slings and arrows of criticism because they talked about subjects not normally discussed in the open. Mooney reminds us what freedom of speech is about - and we all should be thankful for that.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Stepsun Music Entertainment, and is used for informational purposes only.