(NEW YORK) — The View co-host Whoopi Goldberg joined ABC’s This Week Sunday morning to discuss her new documentary I Got Somethin’ to Tell You, about influential African American comedian Moms Mabley, who Goldberg described as a trailblazer.
“She was the first and only woman standup for forty years, black or white. She’s the only one doing it,” Goldberg said on the This Week Sunday Spotlight. “This is a woman whose name deserves to be not forgotten again.”
Goldberg, who directed I Got Somethin’ to Tell You, said she was surprised to see the scope of Mabley’s impact.
“It was a surprise that so many people felt so deeply about Moms… and how she’s sort of influenced comedy,” Goldberg said. “Because without her, so many of us – black, white, Asian, Hispanic – would not do the kind of work we do.”
“She was able to talk about – at least in the 60s and the late 50s – about the issues that were pertinent to America, being segregation and how to change it, and how black youths should be… in a way that you don’t even realize that’s what she’s doing. So she was putting a lot out there in a subtle, smart way,” Goldberg said. “I look back on it now and go, ‘Wow. You know, that’s pretty ballsy what she’s doing.’”
“And what I discovered – which I was thrilled about – was that the comedy holds up. It’s still funny,” Goldberg added of Mabley, known for her unconventional dress and for not wearing her teeth during performances.
Goldberg, an Oscar-winning actress and iconic comedian in her own right, discussed her close affinity with Mabley and what drove her to make the documentary.
“She moves with me. She’s in me. When I think about her – and she kept me up for a good five, six months saying, ‘You have to make this about me, you have to tell them who I am.’… When we showed it, we showed it on the big screen and in the back of my head I could hear her think, ‘Well, it’s about time Whoopi. It’s about time.’”
Goldberg’s film premiered last month at the Tribeca Film Festival.
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