Paul Mooney is an Evil Comic Genius.
He's evil, because he can coax out hysterical giggles from people who, outside of his presence, would never even think to laugh about the subjects he discusses with glee, precision and even cruelty -- racism, the "N" word, white privilege, that Mormon girl who was kidnapped and held captive for two years half-a-block from her home and Jennifer Aniston's horse-faced ugliness.
Genius, because of his scary-good timing, Silly-Putty facial expressions, ability to size-up (and chastise and argue with) the audience, and an economy of language that puts any and all pretenders to shame. Dane Cook wishes he could tell a story like Mooney. Lisa Lampanelli probably breaks multiple Commandments coveting his withering put-downs. Any one of the Wayanses Mooney used to work with can only dream of having his relevance.
And damn, Mooney is funny. Wicked smarts are one thing, but they don't necessarily make a good comedian. The world is full of purported comedians spewing tortured one-liners whose truth, they assume, makes them funny. ("Men are nuts because they won't ask for directions." "What is the deal with women and shoes?") But turning truth-telling into laughs is an art. And perched on his stool at Cobb's last weekend, Mooney proved he's gifted.
SFist Karen S. contributing