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Paul Mooney, Friend of Redd Foxx

Paul Mooney never holds his tongue, during interviews or when he hits the stage. "The people in the industry know what I can do," he says "I get respect. It's all right if I'm not a household name. Some very good comics respect what I do." Among Mooney's biggest fans were the late Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor, with whom he wrote episodes of Sanford and Son. Foxx, the show's star, would call him just to get a laugh. But Mooney, who performs tonight through Sunday at the Improv, doesn't care that he has never amassed more than a cult following. "You have to tell it like it is — or at least I do," he says. "In television, there are gatekeepers. It's free to do what you want when you do stand-up. I take advantage of that freedom every time I take the stage." The Improv is at 2000 Sycamore in the Flats. Tickets are $20. Show time is 8 p.m. Thursday, 8 and 10:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 7 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 216-696-4677. — Ed Condran

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