'Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley' review
San Francisco Chronicle - over 3 years
Look at any YouTube clip of her working shows like "The Ed Sullivan Show" and "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour," and for a white audience, she may seem like an odd throwback to the way African Americans used to be portrayed in Hollywood films.
Taking the name Jackie Mabley, she became a megastar on vaudeville's "chitlin circuit" and in 1939 became the first female comic to play Harlem's Apollo Theater.
In spite of her immense popularity with African American audiences, she was barely known to the general public until she played Carnegie Hall in 1962 and began appearing on TV variety shows.
What audiences saw was a woman dressed in a baggy print house dress, with a shapeless hat on her head, a pronounced shuffle and no teeth.
Interviews with Eddie Murphy, Joan Rivers, Sidney Poitier, Kathy Griffin, Harry Belafonte, Anne Meara, Bill Cosby and others provide ample evidence of Moms' enduring influence.
San Francisco Chronicle article