15 Quotes by Moms Mabley

I must confess until now I was not familiar with the work of African American comedian Jackie “Moms” Mabley. I stumbled on her work by accident on YouTube and I was intrigued by her. So naturally I went in search of some information about her, as well as some quotes by Moms Mabley.

Born Loretta Mary Aiken, she adopted the stage name Moms Mabley and she was a veteran of the Chitlin’ Circuit of African-American vaudeville. She also appeared on legendary American television shows such as the Ed Sullivan Show and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. She is one of the earliest examples of women in comedy too.

Born in 1894, Moms Mabley was one of 16 children and like most African Americans of her day, particularly women she’d had a tough early life. At the encouragement of her grandmother, she ran away and joined a travelling minstrel show where she sang and entertained.

Her stage persona was that of an older, dishevelled woman. Certainly she was a woman on whom life had left its mark. For instance by age of 14, she had been raped twice (at age 11, by an elderly black man, and age 13, by a white sheriff) and had two children who were given up for adoption.

At the age of 27 she came out as a lesbian becoming one of the first openly gay comedians. That wouldn’t have been easy in the less enlightened age in which she lived and worked.

So if you’re not familiar with Moms Mabley, I recommend you take a closer look at her work, but not before you read these 15 quotes by Moms Mabley.

  1. Quit it if you can’t do nothin’ with it. ~Moms Mabley
  2. Use those brains that God put in your head. ~Moms Mabley
  3. It’s no disgrace to be old but damn if it isn’t inconvenient. ~Moms Mabley
  4. [On old age:] You wake up one morning and you got it. ~Moms Mabley
  5. [Advice to children crossing the street] Damn the lights. Watch the cars. The lights ain’t never killed nobody. ~Moms Mabley
  6. You know Moms has been accused of liking young men and I’m guilty. ~Moms Mabley
  7. Any time you see me with my arms around an old man, I’m holding him for the police. ~Moms Mabley
  8. My husband was so ugly, he used to stand outside the doctor’s office and make people sick. ~Moms Mabley
  9. Love is like playing checkers. You have to know which man to move. ~Moms Mabley
  10. Ain’t nothin’ an ol’ man can do but bring me a message from a young one. ~Moms Mabley
  11. I don’t want nothing old, but some old money. Buy me some young ideas. That’s what I’m gonna do with it. ~Moms Mabley
  12. The teenagers aren’t all bad. I love ’em if nobody else does. There ain’t nothing wrong with young people. Jus’ quit lyin’ to ’em. ~Moms Mabley
  13. Never lose your head, not even for a minute. You need your head. Your brain’s in it. ~Moms Mabley
  14. Without that basic foundation in showmanship, an act can’t remain at the top. Half of the children nowadays don’t even know how to take a bow. ~Moms Mabley
  15. Black women, white women; all of them. I’m colorblind. I don’t know the difference. I only know you’re a human being and you’re my children. ~Moms Mabley

Did you find these quotes by Moms Mabley interesting? Perhaps you’d like to experience a little more of her work. Then here’s a video from YouTube which offers an album from 1968 entitled The Best of Moms Mabley.

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© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2018. All Rights Reserved

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