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Moms Mabley at the Playboy Club – Audio CD


SKU: 145:LGH1158.2 Category:

Product Description

For the first time ever, this fabulous comedian’s albums have now been released on CD format. Recorded in 1961 at the famous Playboy Club, Moms does her stand up in front of a live audience and is funnier than ever. At one time the most successful woman stand-up in America—she remains the highest-charting comedienne in Billboard history—social satirist Jackie “Moms” Mabley is largely unknown to contemporary audiences, but her impact on successive generations of both female and African-American comics remains estimable. Born Loretta Mary Aiken in Brevard, NC on March 19, 1894, her early life was marred by tragedy—one of a dozen children, when she was 11 her father, a volunteer firefighter, was killed when his fire truck overturned and exploded, and her mother was later fatally struck by a mail truck. Before the age of 13, Aiken was also raped twice—once by an older black man, then by Brevard’s white sheriff; both violations resulted in pregnancy, and she ultimately left her children in her grandmother’s care and relocated in Cleveland, Ohio, living with a minister’s family. There she began singing and dancing in local shows, befriending local entertainers including Jack Mabley, who became her boyfriend; their relationship proved ill-fated, and when Aiken’s brother expressed embarrassment over his sister’s stage career, she adopted Mabley’s name for her own—“He took a lot off me,” she told Ebony in 1974, “so the least I could do was take his name.” The newly-christened Jackie Mabley—the sobriquet “Moms” was later bestowed as a nod to her maternal understanding and compassion for younger performers—was soon touring vaudeville on the so-called “chitlin’ circuit” of African-American venues; the cancerous racism she encountered on the road would later inform her stand-up comedy. In 1921 she began touring with the husband-and-wife team Butterbeans and Susie, soon making her debut at Harlem’s legendary Cotton Club; Mabley was also a fixture of New York City’s emerging black theatre, and in 1931 collaborated with writer Zora Neale Hurston on the Broadway production Fast and Furious: A Colored Revue in 37 Scenes. Two years later, she made her film debut in Emperor Jones. But it was Mabley’s forays into comedy that proved most enduring—appearing onstage in housedresses and oversized hats (a wardrobe inspired by her own grandmother), her matronly image belied her saucy routines, which were laden with sexual innuendo as well as cutting observations on the state of race relations in the U.S. As several observers pointed out, her no-frills, little-old-lady appearance not only endeared Mabley to fans, but made it that much easier for audiences of all races to swallow her more biting material—even few male comedians of the time were as pointedly topical or as salacious, and most of them were white on top of it.