Thursday, July 14, 2005

Cheese and Crackers

Last weekend, I received the second best compliment I've ever received (and you know I've gotten my fair share). But before I bask in the glory of that Great Moment in Negro History, allow me to explain my admittedly superficial philosophy on flattery. A compliment isn't a compliment unless the complimenter possesses the qualities which he or she admires in the complimentee. In other words, it counts more when the person that praises your intelligence is intelligent herself, just as it counts less when she is a little bit retarded. Makes sense, right? Of course it does.

Last weekend, I got a great compliment when I went to see the Negro comedian Paul Mooney perform his stand-up routine at the Houston Improv. The Improv is one of the nicer comedy clubs in the city, with a decent amount of space and a well-decorated interior. When the big name comedians come through Houston, this is where they play.

As you might guess, Mooney's set was mostly about race relations in America. His delivery consisted of long rants on one injustice or another punctuated by quick punch lines. More often than not, his routine was more about the message than the joke. (That message, simply stated, was to kill whitey.) Mooney did his best to make the white folks in the audience uncomfortable in their skin, which a Sometimes Funny Negro like myself found inspiring. He did things his way.

"I wish this nigger would stop being mean, and start dancing and singing," Mooney said in the nasal voice that Negro comedians use when they're mocking white folks. Of course, there would be no dancing and singing. Or shuckin' and jivin'. "I do whatever the hell I want to do," Mooney said. "That's why I scare y'all." If the white folks weren't scared, they were probably offended.

After the show, Mooney went to the lobby bar just outside of the club's main hall. From a tall bar table, he sold (or attempted to sell) his CDs and DVDs to whomever was interested. A handful of Negroes from the audience crowded around him as they exited the hall. As a Fellow Negro, I joined them. (I'm usually not one for celebrity worship, or in this case, minor-celebrity worship, but I was excited to be in the presence of a Real Negro Comedian.) For about an hour, we listened to Mooney and a Negro from St. Croix discuss the definitive Negro origins of world civilization. It was the kind of conversation that, depending on your political persuasion, sounded like conspiracy theory or revelation. Or maybe something in between.

After talking for a while, it became clear to me that we Negroes risked overstaying our welcome -- Mooney looked like he was ready to leave. Coincidentally, his cell phone, which he wore on his wrist, rang at that moment and gave him the chance to slip away. His conversation was brief, however, and when I noticed that he was free and away from the other Negroes, I asked to take a picture with him. My Lady, who never leaves the apartment without her camera, jumped into position to take the shot.

And now we come to the aforementioned Great Moment in Negro History: my second best compliment in life. I put my arm around Mooney and smiled for the camera. Just as My Lady was about to take the picture, I exclaimed loudly enough for Mooney and a few others to hear, "Cracker Ass cracker," (which, if you think about it, makes about as much sense as saying, "Cheese"). Paul Mooney looked at me. "Ha. You're funny."

Me? Funny? Ha.


Blogger Stephane King said...

fool, that wasa a long ass story aboout nothing...

9:36 AM  
Blogger nin said...

nice reading...

10:40 AM  
Blogger sJea said...

i'll agree with're funny...

10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those sure are some handsome Negros gracing the walls! Are you really in a comedy club in that photo?

1:00 PM  
Blogger The Quintessential Negro said...

I would never lie to my people.

11:10 PM  
Blogger ... jacek ... said...

but would you lie to whitey? ;)

9:09 AM  
Blogger The Quintessential Negro said...

I would never.

1:55 PM  
Blogger sJea said...

qn...why'd you take the picture down?

8:32 AM  
Blogger ... jacek ... said...

you know, you really are one funny dude :)

4:07 PM  

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