The entertainment world honors a legend today, celebrating the life of comedian Paul Mooney. The writer, actor, and comic died on Wednesday, May 19, at 5:30 a.m., due to a heart attack. According to his cousin Rudy Ealy, Mooney’s health had been deteriorating for some time. Mooney had a groundbreaking career writing for comedian Richard Pryor, on Sanford and Son, Good Times, In Living Color, and on Chappelle Show, where he also appeared in sketches like the infamous “Negrodamus.” “It’s a tough one,” Chappelle told TMZ of the loss. “I want to shout out every comedian on Earth, the best who ever did it, paved the way today, his legacy will live forever. He did everything from Richard Pryor Show to Chappelle’s Show. He’s one of the first Black people ever in the Writers Guild. Paul Mooney will be sorely missed and wildly remembered. I’ll see to that.”
Remembered for his comedy demolishing boundaries of political correctness, his fearlessness inspired generations of Black entertainers, from comedians like the Kid Mero, W. Kamau Bell, and Lil Rel Howery to filmmaker Ava DuVernay and actress Viola Davis. See how Hollywood is honoring the life and legacy of Paul Mooney with anecdotes, praise, and his own words below.