This Week in Milford

June 16, 2021

Paul Mooney Might Have Appreciated It

The world of comedy lost a pointed social critic last month with the passing of Paul Mooney at the age of 79. Younger TWIMers probably know Mooney from his roles on Chapelle’s Show, but the old heads will remember him for his collaborations with Richard Pryor. Pryor gave Mooney his first break in comedy by offering Mooney a job as a writer while Mooney was working as a circus ringmaster. Mooney would go on to write material for Pryor’s standup routines, much of which ended up on several of Pryor’s live albums that were big sellers during the ’70s.

During the 1975 television season, a new live sketch comedy show, Saturday Night, was flagging in the ratings and needed a boost. Producer Lorne Michaels thought Pryor was just the man to do it and approached him to guest-host an episode of the show. Pryor agreed but only if certain demands were met, including having Gil Scott-Heron as the musical guest and that he bring his own writer – Paul Mooney – to write his sketches. The story, possibly apocryphal, that Chevy Chase approached Mooney to write him into a sketch with Pryor who, also possibly apocryphal, didn’t care much for Chase, led to the infamous “Word Association” sketch that put SNL on the map and created the seven-second delay.

By all appearances the Milford Library Board panel interview has the look of sliding into a similar word association game. I leave it to you gentle readers to offer your own word associations, none of which I hope will be as controversial and potentially offensive as the one Paul Mooney wrote for Richard Pryor and Chevy Chase.

A couple of minor points of observation:

a. When would a high school student ever have the need to do a user survey?

2. Who said anything about a bookmobile? Is Abel looking for something else to fill his ample free time besides complain about the library budget?

iii. How is the goateed Library Board member holding his vape pen, exactly? His thumb doesn’t extend out far enough to support it from behind.

This links to the only clip I could find of Gil Scott-Heron from that SNL appearance. I used to be able to drop clips into posts, but apparently I now have to “upgrade [my] plan to use this premium block.” We here at TWIM will have to figure out if we can afford such luxury. It might even cost as much as a computer at a public library.


  1. Have you ever done a user survey, Brito? What the fuck does that even mean? The library board is looking at these two with general amusement like it’s the Bugs Bunny/ Daffy Duck skit and are probably thinking “ they both are full of shit and need to nip this in the bud, pronto… we sure don’t need to do any extra work “.

    Comment by franku2016 — June 16, 2021 @ 11:16 am

  2. What in the wide, wide world of library douchebaggery is going on here?!

    Comment by Jive Turkey — June 16, 2021 @ 11:25 am

  3. …and THE ENTIRE FUCKING TOWN IS THERE LISTENING TO THIS BULLSHIT…Fuck, Rubin,…this is too fuckin stupid, even for you….

    Comment by franku2016 — June 16, 2021 @ 12:30 pm

  4. Um… Yeah…

    Literally every one of the issues I’ve mentioned during this arc are still 100% valid and remain unaddressed, so I won’t bother to repeat them.

    Comment by Hitorque — June 16, 2021 @ 6:25 pm

  5. I have no idea what these nimrods are talking about, or even who is saying what. Such compelling storytelling.

    I have one of (Mr.) Paul Mooney’s CDs, Race. It is high octane comedy. Powerful stuff. I never knew the any of the SNL stories with Pryor. I do remember the SNL album had the word association sketch on it and I heard that a lot. It makes sense that that’s written by Paul Mooney. As a fan of absurdism, the sketch about the Smuckers probably resonated more with me. “With a name like Mangled Baby Ducks, you know it’s got to be good.”

    I have the first three or four DVD sets of SNL and I have probably only watched about 10 percent of the sketches as the quality of comedy is sooo uneven and/or dated. Fortunately, all the musical performances are included. The Gil Scott Heron performances were pretty cool, especially since he wasn’t exactly a TV friendly act so there aren’t many performances to see online. The musical acts were all over the place. Leon Redbone, Betty Carter, Jimmy Cliff, Patti Smith, Tom Waits, Keith Jarrett, Sun Ra, etc. I love it, especially since all that stuff was treated as disposable when the legend of SNL was written featuring way more over indulgent mugging by Chevy Chase and mediocre Belushi silliness than I can stomach.

    Comment by nedryerson — June 16, 2021 @ 6:43 pm

  6. P3-Kids, don’t try this at home.

    Comment by tdrewhardin — June 16, 2021 @ 8:36 pm

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