Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley

Watch Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley

  • TV14
  • 2013
  • 1 hr 11 min
  • 7.9  (341)

Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley is a 2013 documentary film directed by Whoopi Goldberg which explores the life, career, and legacy of Jackie "Moms" Mabley, a pioneering African-American comedian and performer who rose to fame in the 1920s and remained popular until her death in 1975 at the age of 81. The film features interviews with comedians, actors, and activists who were influenced by or worked with Mabley, as well as archival footage of her performances and interviews.

The film opens with a brief overview of Mabley's background and early career, including her time as a teenage runaway, a singer, and a performer on the vaudeville circuit. From there, it explores her rise to fame as a comic, focusing on her signature style of raunchy, irreverent comedy that tackled taboo subjects like sex, race, and politics. Clips from her appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, and other popular television programs showcase her raucous humor, as well as her poignant insights into issues facing African-American communities during the Civil Rights era.

Throughout the film, Goldberg and other interviewees reflect on the impact Mabley had on their own lives and careers. Comedian Kathy Griffin describes watching Mabley on The Flip Wilson Show as a child, while actor Harry Belafonte recalls seeing her perform in Harlem as a young man and being moved by her powerful social commentary. Other celebrities interviewed include Joan Rivers, Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, and Bill Cosby, all of whom attest to Mabley's enduring influence on contemporary comedy.

The film also delves into Mabley's personal life, including her relationships with women, her struggles with poverty and discrimination, and her later years as a mentor figure to younger comedians. Friends and colleagues like biographer Chris Lamberth and comedian Eddie Brill share little-known details about Mabley's life, painting a picture of a complex and compassionate woman who used humor as a tool for social change.

One of the film's most moving sections explores Mabley's groundbreaking involvement in the Civil Rights movement, including her work with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and her famous satirical song "Abraham, Martin and John." Interviews with civil rights leaders like Congressman John Lewis and former NAACP head Julian Bond place Mabley's activism within a wider historical context, highlighting the importance of her contributions to the struggle for racial equality in the United States.

Throughout the film, Goldberg pays homage to Mabley's legacy by performing some of her most beloved routines in character as the comedian. These scenes, interspersed with interviews and archival footage, create a dynamic and engaging portrait of Mabley as both an artist and a social critic.

Ultimately, Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley is a heartfelt tribute to a trailblazing figure in American comedy, whose impact on the genre continues to be felt to this day. By shining a spotlight on Mabley's life and work, Goldberg offers a compelling reminder of the power of comedy to bring people together, heal wounds, and effect real change.

Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley is a 2013 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 11 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.9.

Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 11 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.9  (341)