It's the last week of the year, which means hardly a creature is stirring in the theater scene aside from a few New Year's Eve stand-up shows. You've got Sandra Bernhard and Marga Gomez doing their thing over in the City, and here in the East Bay you have the Black Comedy Explosion at the Paramount, Will Durst at the Julia Morgan and the Dean Lesher, and for a full five days Paul Mooney back at Berkeley's Black Repertory Group doing two shows a night starting Thursday. On the fifth day of Mooney, the Black Rep gives to you three New Year's shows full of the sort of incendiary and often downright nasty truth-telling that has the audience making that gut-punched "OH!" sound as much as laughing. (As Mooney likes to say, "Oh, I can get worse!")
Born in Louisiana and raised in Oakland, Mooney has left an indelible mark on the last few decades of African-American comedy, behind the scenes as head writer of both The Richard Pryor Show and In Living Color, as well as in stand-up and on the screen, appearing in movies from The Buddy Holly Story to Bamboozled and on Chappelle's Show in off-the-cuff Q&A "Ask a Black Dude" and "Negrodamus" segments. This year he put out a stand-up DVD titled Know Your History: Jesus Was Black; So Was Cleopatra — the rest of the line, by the way, is "and so is everybody else." Sometimes credited with having coined the catchphrase, "Nigga, please," Mooney publicly swore off using the N-word that had always loomed large in his act after his friend Michael Richards' appalling comedy-club meltdown. We'll see how that goes. Mooney appears Thursday through Sunday at 8 and 10 p.m. and Monday at 7, 9 and 11 p.m., December 27 through 31 at Black Repertory Group, 3201 Adeline St., Berkeley. Tickets cost $25-$100, available at 510-652-2787 or BlackRepertoryGroup.com.
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