Redd Foxx- A Funny Motherfucker

Redd Foxx. born John Elroy Sanford on Dec. 9, 1922, was as a funny motherfucker. These videos are compiled from his best LP– You Better Wash Your Ass which was
recorded live at the Apollo at the height of his Sanford & Son fame in the early 70’s.
He was raised in St. Louis and later Chicago where he attented DuSable High School where most of Sun Ra’s Arkestra (John Gilmore, Pat Patrick, Marshall Allen) amongst others went.
He never graduated. He hit New York in the late 40’s and got a job washing dishes. The other dishwasher at the joint was Malcom Little, later Malcom X. Redd was known as Chicago Red, Malcom as Detroit Red. As recounted in his autobiography (The Autobiography Of Malcom X, co-written by Alex Haley, I can’t find my copy but it’s easy to find so you don’t need the publishing info) they had some wild times together.
Foxx made his name first on the chitlin’ circuit, recorded dozens of LP’s for the Dootone label in L.A., and became a huge draw in Vegas where stars like Frank Sinatra and Elvis showed up nightly to catch his act and be insulted. He even cut some decent R&B discs, here’s one from Savoy cut in ’48– Let’s Wiggle A Little Woogie, and here’s one from his own Foxx label from the 80’s — Pussy Footin’. Not great but not bad at all, certainly better than anything that’s hit the top ten this century. His sound didn’t change much in forty years. Redd Foxx was the only entertainer invited to Elvis’ wedding. Later Elvis gave him a watch worth $100,00 (in 1968 dollars), it was later sold at auction by the IRS. In the early 70’s Foxx found mainstream fame on TV as Fred G. Sanford in Sanford and Son, a remake of a British show called Steptoe and Son. Fred G. Sanford was the name of his late real life brother. My favorite episode is when Fred and son Lionel (Demond Wilson) find the Blind Mellow Jelly 78’s and donate them to the library, then steal them back when they find a record collector willing to pay $20 a pop for ’em. On Sanford and Son he hired many of his chitlin’ circuit pals like Lawanda Page as Aunt Esther, Whitman Mayo as Grady, Slappy White as Melvin, Leroy “Sloppy” Daniels as Leroy, not to mention Stymie from the Little Rascals (Mathew Beard) who appeared in a couple of episodes as Otis Littlejohn.
Foxx also made a memorable film appearance in Ossie Davis’ Cotton Comes To Harlem which was based on the Chester Himes novel (with the classic evil cop duo Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson, all of Himes’ books are worth reading, but the Grave Digger/Coffin Ed series are essential).
I saw Redd Foxx perform several times (and I hate stand up comedy) and he was one of the greatest performers I’ve ever witnessed.
He was brutal on anyone who caught his attention, especially hecklers. The last time I saw him he walked out onstage with a breast shaped pitcher full of some sort of alcohol and quipped– “I got this from Betty Ford”. Then he looked at a guy at a front table (this was at the Desert Inn in Vegas) and said– “Last thing I seen that ugly had a string hangin’ out of it”. Well, it when he said it, it was funny. Anyway, if the three clips above don’t make you laugh, have somebody take your pulse, you’re probably dead.
Addendum: Great interview with Iggy on the subject of Ron Asheton can be heard here.
Very sad, I’m not sure I ever heard Iggy cry before.