A toothless explosion of hilarity, Jackie Moms Mabley was a star on “the chitlins circuit” for years and well known to the African-American community before finding a wider audience on ’60s and ’70s variety shows starring Rowan and Martin, Flip Wilson, and the Smothers Brothers. She was one of that era’s most luminous novelty acts along with fellow weirdos Tiny Tim and Mrs. Miller, who all made it OK to be clinically insane. In ’74, Moms got to star in her very own feature film called Amazing Grace, which looks amazing, all right, from this trailer I dug up in the vaults of YouTube. Moms plays a cantankerous Baltimore woman who battles shady politicians while strangely chanting “Grace ain’t coming! Grace ain’t coming!” Well, I am, just from watching this crazy-assed thing. Check it out and see if you think the woman was the original Wanda Sykes.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 30, 2008