Moms Mabley performing a comedy act (1948) one of her lines “Cab Calloway once call me a dog. I would like to be a dog if Cab Calloway would be my tree.”
Moms Mabley (comedian) 1948
Mabley, a trailblazing African-American 20th century comedian, in the late 1930s, Mabley became the first woman comedian to be featured at New York’s legendary Apollo Theater. Mabley’s standup routines were riotous affairs presented by an older, harmless, housedress-clad figure. Mabley holds the distinction of appearing on the theater’s stage more times than any other performer.
During the Civil Rights struggle her courageous commentary on racial bigotry. The cutting comments, which originated for African-American audiences, gained national attention when she became a television regular appearing on numerous television shows. The exposure introduced Mabley to a multi-racial baby boomer audience resurging her career.
On stage Moms created the image of a “wise ole sage”; but offstage she had a glamorous, chic look. Mabley lived her life as a proud lesbian.