Paul Mooney, the legendary comedian who was known to address racism in his work, has reportedly passed away. Mooney was 79.
The announcement comes after broadcast personality Roland Martin took to Twitter on Wednesday, May 19, to report the unfortunate news that Mooney died in his Oakland, California home, from a heart attack. He tweeted, “BREAKING NEWS: Rudy Ealy, the cousin of @PaulEalyMooney, told me that Paul had been suffering with dementia for some time and had been living with him. Rudy said Oakland paramedics valiantly tried to save him after suffering a heart attack this AM. #RolandMartinUnfiltered.”
Almost 15 minutes later, Mooney’s family released a statement on Twitter. In the statement, the family said, “Thank you all from the bottom of all of our hearts …you’re all are the best!…… Mooney World .. The Godfather of Comedy – ONE MOON MANY STARS! .. To all in love with this great man.. many thanks🙏🏾.”
Fans shared their sweet thoughts and memories of Mooney in the comments. One person tweeted, “One of the last great truth tellers. He was so much more than a comedian! This hurts. May all who knew and loved him be surrounded with peace and love. #RiPPaulMooney.”
Someone else said, “Gonna miss you @PaulEalyMooney! You always presented truths and delivered them as only a genius like you could! Rest In Power! May God comfort and strengthen his family, friends, loved ones and fans all over the world!”
Remembering one of his favorite jokes by him, DJ and radio host Nik Carter tweeted, “Somebody said Paul? How do we end racism… And I said… Kill.. All the white people”!. One of the funniest jokes I’ve ever heard! That guy was absolutely fearless, his fukc basket was completely empty, a legend, huge loss to culture, not just comedy. 🙏🏽 rest in power Mr. Mooney.”
Born Paul Gladney in Louisiana, Mooney had a love for comedy that began when he was working as a ringmaster at Gatti-Charles Circus. He decided to make a career out of telling jokes and moved to Los Angeles in the early ’60s. He met Richard Pryor in the latter part of the ’60s. The two hit it off and moved to the Bay area together.
He became Pryor’s writing partner and contributed to some of the “Harlem Nights” actor’s standups. This led to Mooney becoming the head writer of Pryor’s shows like “The Richard Pryor Show.” Mooney wrote for other popular Black shows such as “Sanford and Son,” “In Living Color” and “Chapelle’s Show.”
Mooney, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2014, continued to perform and do comedy shows despite having to use a cane and sometimes wheelchair to get around.