Gearing to finish the project by fall, Whoopi Goldberg is set to direct the approximately 90-minute documentary titled I Got Somethin’ To Tell You. The doc will be on the life of Jackie “Moms” Mabley, the African American stand up comedy pioneer, who died in 1975.
Mobley was known as the innovator of the “Chitlin’ Circuit” of African American vaudeville. Mabley, who was nicknamed Moms later in life as she became a mother figure to comedians in the 50’s and 60’s, came out as a lesbian at 27 years of age; she became one of the first comedic acts to be rated triple-X.
Goldberg is hoping for distribution of I Got Something via cable and/or arthouse release. She has already set up a list of stars to be featured in the project, which is produced by Goldberg, Tom Leonardis and George Schlatter.
Goldberg told Variety, “It’s really about her impact on comedy, on comics, on women and the idea that she was able to maintain a standup career pretty much from 1930 to 1975, which is pretty extraordinary. So I want to revisit some of those periods of time and talk to people who were there and people who were impacted like myself.”
Goldberg begins directing I Got Somethin’ To Tell You next week in Los Angeles. Also, aside from her hosting gig on ABC’s The View and serving as a producer of the Sister Act national tour, she is also developing a new series for the Nickelodeon program NickMom.
It’s no wonder why Goldberg would be interested in documenting the late pioneer comedian. Goldberg based her early stage performances on Mabley in the 1980’s.
“She could say stuff that nobody else could say. She talked about homosexuality, she talked about ageism, she talked about racism. She could be really risque, and she did all these great double-entendre jokes and talked about all this stuff without using one bad word.” Golberg tells Variety
Watch the clip below of Moms Mabley.