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Redd Foxx

Biography

Anyone who's experienced the joys of basic cable is well-acquainted with Redd Foxx via the ever-present reruns of Sanford & Son on TBS; not everyone is familiar with the infamous stand-up routines that established his name prior to the show's 1970s heyday. It might be fitting to describe what he was doing back in the '50s and '60s -- documented on numerous hard-to-find LPs from the era -- as "avant-garde comedy," as his hair-curling blue routines predated just about everyone who would one day make a living out of cursing profusely on record. But there was more to his stage act than mere vulgarity: his candid, sharp-edged comments on race, poverty, sex and other taboo subjects were delivered with great comic timing, an unmistakably ornery presence, and just enough wit to get by. He's been superceded by much filthier comics in recent years, but his gravel-throated, perpetually grouchy diatribes remain surprisingly current.
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