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Pioneering comic Paul Mooney dies aged 79

Mooney’s friendship and collaboration with Richard Pryor began in 1968 and lasted until Pryor’s death in 2005.

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Paul Mooney in Los Angeles in 2016 (Eric Charbonneau/Meet The Blacks via AP)

Paul Mooney in Los Angeles in 2016 (Eric Charbonneau/Meet The Blacks via AP)

Paul Mooney in Los Angeles in 2016 (Eric Charbonneau/Meet The Blacks via AP)

Paul Mooney, a boundary-pushing comedian who was Richard Pryor’s longtime writing partner and whose sage, incisive musings on racism and American life made him a revered figure in stand-up, has died aged 79.

Cassandra Williams, Mooney’s publicist, said he died on Wednesday morning at his home in Oakland, California, from a heart attack.

Mooney’s friendship and collaboration with Pryor began in 1968 and lasted until Pryor’s death in 2005.

Together, they confronted racism perhaps more directly than it ever had been before onstage.

Mooney chronicled their partnership in his 2007 memoir Black Is The New White.

Mooney was not as widely known as Pryor, but his influence on comedy was ubiquitous.

As head writer on In Living Colour, Mooney helped create and inspire the Homey D Clown character.

He played the future-foretelling Negrodamus on Chappelle’s Show.

Mooney was also an actor who played Sam Cooke in 1978’s The Buddy Holly Story and Junebug in Spike Lee’s 2000 film Bamboozled.

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