The comedy world took a loss earlier today (May 19) after it was revealed legend Paul Mooney passed away in his Oakland home as a result of a heart attack. His death has been met with heartfelt tributes, including one from his friend, collaborator and fellow comedian, Dave Chappelle.
During a recent interview with TMZ, Chappelle admitted that the day “is a tough one” before acknowledging the accolades of Mooney.
“The best that ever did it passed away today,” he said. “His legacy will live forever. He did everything from ‘The Richard Pryor Show’ to the ‘Chappelle’s Show.’ He was one of the first Black people ever in the Writer’s Guild [of America]. Paul Mooney will be sorely missed and wildly remembered. I’ll see to that.”
Throughout his career, Mooney acted in films The Buddy Holly Story and Bamboozled, worked alongside Eddie Murphy and wrote some of Richard Pryor’s material. He is also known for his work on “Chappelle’s Show,” where he initially appeared on sketches and later took on the recurring role of Negrodamus, the Black version of Nostradumus.
In 2007, Mooney detailed some of his life story in his memoir, Black is the New White and continued to tour, performing his stand-up act through the early 2010s. In recent years, he lived with his cousin as he battled dementia.
On Wednesday morning (May 19), he suffered a heart attack. Emergency responders attempted to revive him but were unsuccessful. He passed away around 5:30 a.m. PT at 79 years old. His family has since released a statement thanking fans for the years-long support of the comedy legend.
“Thank you all from the bottom of all of our hearts... you’re all are the best!” they wrote in a statement. “Mooney World... The Godfather of Comedy — ONE MOON MANY STARS!... To all in love with this great man... many thanks.”
The life and accomplishments of Mooney will be highlighted tonight (May 19) amid a tribute that will appear on “Roland Martin Unfiltered.”
Watch Dave Chappelle pay homage to Paul Mooney below.