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Black Is the New White Paperback – July 6, 2010


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Black Is the New White + Paul Mooney's Analyzing White America
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; 1 Reprint edition (July 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416587969
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416587965
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #179,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Paul Mooney is a comic legend who has written for Chappelle's Show, In Living Color, The Richard Pryor Show, Saturday Night Live, Good Times, and Stanford and Son. He played Sam Cooke in The Buddy Holly Story. His first comedy album, Race, was nominated for a Grammy, and he recently appeared in his own comedy special, Know Your History: Jesus Was Black . . . So Was Cleopatra. He performs stand-up comedy to sold-out croweds around the country. He lives in New York City and Los Angeles.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

CHAPTER 1

I'm sliding into a booth in a coffee shop on Santa Monica Boulevard, slapping the table to wake Richard Pryor from his hangover nod.

"Man," I say to him, "I just saw a lady so pretty, somebody should suck her daddy's dick for a job well done."

Richard stares at me. Early afternoon, too early for Richard. I smell the brandy he doses his coffee with. He is a little slowed-down by all the poisons in his blood, but even slowed-down Richard Pryor is quicker than any other human being on earth.

He laughs. I'm not saying Richard just laughs like an ordinary person laughs. I mean he laughs. His face lights up like a Times Square billboard and his whole body wags like a dog happy to see its owner.

You know you can die happy when you can make Richard Pryor laugh. It's this huge blast of appreciation, hipness, and intelligence. He gets it. His laugh is like ripping open a bag of joy, letting loose a storm that blows you head over heels. It is that powerful.

The greatest comics -- and Richard is bar none the greatest -- always have the greatest laughs.

Later on, as the hard living takes its toll and the MS takes over, most of Richard's laughs will turn into fits of coughing, as though he's trying to hack up his liver. But a Richard Pryor laugh is still and always will be like getting a high five from God.

California yellow sun and Pacific blue sky. That September day in 1968, Richard and I are in Duke's Coffee Shop, the original one, in the old Tropicana Motel. Two dudes, two dudes, like Richard starts one of his routines. We are the only black guys who can make the scene in Hollywood. We are groundbreakers, accepted at all the clubs, invited to all the parties. When we break into it, Hollywood is still a closed, racist town. The place has never seen anybody like us. We are fearless. We go everywhere. We break down barriers. We still get harassed by bigots and cheated by the system, but it never stops us.

Later that night my wife, Yvonne, gets dressed up and we go to Troubadour on Santa Monica to hear Richard perform his stand-up routine. He's a different comic when I am in the audience. He hears my laugh and he shifts gears, elevating his act to a higher, edgier level. I can tell he is trying to make me laugh, but I'm not going to give it up that easy. I make him work for it. He pushes himself.

From the stage of the Troub that night, I hear Richard do the line I gave him earlier in Duke's coffee shop.

"Coming here tonight, I saw a woman so motherfucking beautiful gorgeous that it made me want to suck her daddy's dick for a job well done."

The joke kills. The way Richard tells it, it kills. The audience practically vomits laughter.

Later that same night -- or is it early morning by then? -- Richard tells me to hold my arm out.

"What for?"

"Just hold it out, motherfucker."

He slips a watch on my wrist. A good watch -- I can feel its heavyweight mass on my arm -- a $10,000 beauty. The kind of watch you call a timepiece.

"What's this for?"

"The bit," he says.

"What bit?" I play dumb.

"The suck-her-father's-dick bit."

"Oh, that," I say. "That's just you and me talking. I could hardly tell if you were awake when I told you that."

"Take the fucking watch. You don't like it, motherfucker, sell it. Take the money, Mr. Mooney."

He always calls me that. Mr. Mooney. Off that character on the The Lucy Show.

I take the watch.

The funniest man on the face of the earth wants me to write for him. It begins to click. I think: This thing we have, this Batman-and-Robin thing, can somehow turn into something that means money and good times for both of us. I toss lines to Richard. He puts them out to the audience. The audience flings money at him. Richard throws money at me.

The truth is, it's never about the money for me. I love Richard. I am his biggest fan. I get off on him doing one of my jokes. It means so much to me. I want Richard to be happy and to succeed. My loyalty is to Richard, and my relationship with him is authentic, as though he is my brother. On all of Richard's albums, you can hear me laugh. I always laugh long and loud.

Those first days together in 1968 are the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Copyright © 2009 by Louis Get's On My Nerves, Inc --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Customer Reviews

I read both books and both were very entertaining.
G. Ahmad
I really never knew what Paul Mooney was all about other then an angry black guy, but really this book was a great read.
R. CAOC
I would definitely recommend this book, and I would gladly read it again.
CallieJL78

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Charles H. Brown III on November 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This makes for a tremendous read. It's an absolute page turner and a must have for both Mooney lovers and haters alike. As usual Paul Mooney pulls no punches in this project. Not wanting to give too much away, he goes indepth about his personal and professional relationships w/ Richard Pryor as well as many other of Hollywood's (and "Homeywood's") biggest comedians. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Martin Perna on November 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I am a 34 year old fan of Paul Mooney's who grew up on All in the Family, Richard Pryor, In Living Color, and other works that Paul Mooney has lent his brilliance to, but didn't match the material to the face until a few years back on Chappelle.

Paul Mooney's work and analysis on America is some of the most important analysis out there. This book gave a sincere and candid look "behind the curtain" as Mooney writes, into his life in Louisiana and Oakland, discovering his talents and self-confidence, and breaking into Hollywood on his own terms, much of that with his right hand man Richard Pryor.

There's a lot more to write about, but I certainly can't do it justice. Buy this book and educate yourself about Paul Mooney. America will be better off for it!!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Pamela Jarmon-Wade VINE VOICE on December 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Paul Mooney is one of my favorite comedians...so this book was a must read. I did not know what to expect, but I should have known that Paul Mooney would absolutely keep it real, keep it truthful and keep it funny. The man is awesome and the book reveals the layer below the surface. I have seen Mooney live before and witnessed his realness make a few audience members walk out. After reading the book, I now know why he does that. Not saying that I agree, but I do understand.

He discusses his rich history with Richard Pryor and a host of other comedians (both old and new). I did not know that his career and journey was so deep and extensive. He is a living legend and full of history when it comes to the old greats like Moms Mabley, Flip Wilson, Red Foxx and others. This book was long overdue.

His experience with racism all during his life comes through in his jokes and stories. It was his life experience be it good or bad and he has the absolute right to deal with it anyway he chooses. I enjoyed the information on the old days when various musical stars crashed at his apartment, his grandmothers' wisdom, how Huey P. Newton of the Black Panthers became his friend, the whole Richard Pryor & Dave Chappele experience, his Hollywood journey of working on scripts etc., and the story about working at a department store with the future Mrs. Aaron Spelling.

Paul Mooney's life has been in living color and you will enjoy. It is a worthy read.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ms. 90 on September 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This was on my "to read" list for the longest time and I finally got a chance to dive in. I was disappointed. Mooney is my favorite comedian and I really expected to read a lot more about his life. What I got was A LOT about his life with Richard Pryor. It got to the point that I questioned whether Mooney had any other friends besides Pryor and did he do anything besides be Pryor's friend. I understand Pryor was his best friend, but I wanted more about Mooney's career - HIS acting/writing/comedy/family - not all the dish about his experiences with Pryor.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By ozcanuck on January 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First things first. Mooney's brilliant and a real original in a world where there aren't many originals. The book is well written and easy to read. It has a good mix of humour and behind the scenes stories.

Second thing. It's not all about him. This is more a book about Richard Pryor than it is about Paul Mooney. And given that Pryor was his best friend and collaborator, means that the book is worth a read. Mooney is surprisingly honest and "real" about Pryor's personal life, given that he obviously has enormous affection for the man. That fact alone means Mooney did a great job on the book.

The only thing I wish the book had was more detail. There's a lot of surface area covered and there would definitely be room to expand and for Mooney to go deeper.

I'm not asking for lurid details or a "tell all" trashy autobiography -- just a bit more "heart" to go with the reportage. For example, when the death of his son is covered less than half a page, and the death of Pryor on two pages - you have to ask yourself why we don't get more detail. He does a great, insightful (and emotionally affecting) job of talking about Pryor burning himself up but seems to pull his punches on a few other areas that could be fleshed out.

But to close this review let me go back to what I said at the top. Read this book, you won't regret it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By CallieJL78 on September 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really didn't know what to expect when I bought this book. I have always been a fan of Paul Mooney, so I gave it a try. Because Paul is so close (both personally and professionally) to Richard Pryor that this story is just as much about Pryor as it is about Mooney. It offers a different perspective on Hollywood, what it means to make it in Hollywood. As serious as this book is, it also has some very well placed comedy. It is book that I found myself reading aloud so that others could experience it with me.

As mentioned before, there is much to learned about Richard Pryor through the eyes of his best friend. Mooney makes know excuses nor offers any apologies; however his glimpse into Pryor's psyche is heartfelt.

I would definitely recommend this book, and I would gladly read it again.
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