Moms Mabley

Loretta Mary Aiken (March 19, 1894 – May 23, 1975),[1] known by her stage name Jackie “Moms” Mabley, was an American stand-up comedian and actress. Mabley began her career on the theater stage in the 1920s and became a veteran entertainer of the Chitlin’ Circuit of African-American vaudeville.

She came out as a lesbian in 1921 at the age of twenty-seven, becoming one of the first openly gay comedians.[13] During the 1920s and 1930s she appeared in androgynous clothing and recorded several “lesbian stand-up” routines.[14]

During the 1950s, Mabley—influenced by the maternal role she was filling for other comedians on the circuit—adopted the name “Moms” and the appearance of a toothless, bedraggled woman in a house dress and floppy hat. Mabley also credited the name to her grandmother, who had been a driving force in the pursuit of her dreams.[15] The non-threatening persona aided her in addressing topics too edgy for most comics of the time, including racism, sexuality and having children after becoming a widow.[16][17][18] A preference for handsome young men rather than “old washed-up geezers” became a signature bit.

Mom’s Mabley:
Don’t Sit On My Bed

Moms Mabley – Don’t Sit on my Bed (1948)

Moms Mabley – Don’t Sit on my Bed (1948)

In the 1960s, Mabley became known to a wider white audience, playing Carnegie Hall in 1962,[19] and making a number of mainstream TV appearances, with multiple appearances on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.[20][21] 

Music became a regular part of her act, and a cover version of “Abraham, Martin and John” hit No. 35 on the Billboard Hot 100[1] on July 19, 1969, making Mabley, at 75, the oldest living person to have a U.S. Top 40 hit.[22] She played the Harlem Cultural Festival during this time.[23]

“Moms Mabley.” Wikipedia, Accessed 16 July 2022.

Moms Mabley
CBS Television, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Whoopie Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley documentary:

Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley | OPENING | A Film by Whoopi Goldberg & Tom Leonardis

Whoopi Goldberg’s directorial debut dives into the legacy of Moms Mabley, the first female stand-up comedienne. Subscribe to the channel:…

Wanda Sykes Plays Moms Mabley in the Marvelous Ms. Maisel

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