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Furiously FunnyComic Rage from Ralph Ellison to Chris Rock$
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Terrence T. Tucker

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780813054360

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813054360.001.0001

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Dick Gregory, Moms Mabley, and Redd Foxx

Dick Gregory, Moms Mabley, and Redd Foxx

Bridging the Gap between Comedy, Rage, and Race

(p.69) 2 Dick Gregory, Moms Mabley, and Redd Foxx
Furiously Funny

Terrence T. Tucker

University Press of Florida

This chapter links the development of comic rage in African American literature to similar and perpendicular changes in stand-up comedy. While Dick Gregory embodies the convergence of the civil rights movement and the emergence of stand-up as a critical form of expression, this chapter also traces influential figures like Moms Mabley and Redd Foxx to identify the elements from which Gregory pulls in his deployment of comic rage. Mabley’s embrace of community allowed her to challenge patriarchal assumptions about sexual and gender relations while Foxx’s performance of, what I call, the Comic Bad Nigger produces a tone of fearlessness that Gregory imbeds in his act. Gregory’s ability to maintain the balance of both elements creates a space where he and his audience constructively explored race in a way that mirrored the push for integration and equality.

Keywords:   stand-up comedy, Moms Mabley, Redd Foxx, Dick Gregory

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