Speed Reads

R.I.P.

Paul Mooney, comedian and Richard Pryor Show writer, dies at 79

Tributes are pouring in for Paul Mooney, who's being remembered as a "giant" of comedy.

The comedian and writer died on Wednesday at his home in Oakland, California, after suffering a heart attack, his representative confirmed to Variety.

Mooney is perhaps best known for his work with Richard Pryor, as he was head writer on The Richard Pryor Show and worked on several of Pryor's albums and Saturday Night Live sketches, Variety notes. He also wrote for Chappelle's Show and had a recurring role on the Dave Chappelle sketch series as Negrodamus, and he wrote for numerous other shows including In Living ColorGood Times, and Sanford and Son.

Speaking to TMZ, Chappelle honored Mooney as "one of the best that ever did it," adding that his "his legacy will live forever."

Viola Davis also paid tribute to Mooney as a "comedy legend," writing that he was "both funny and poignant" and that she was "so happy to have witnessed [his] genius live," while filmmaker Ava DuVernay reflected on how the "comedy giant" spoke "freely and fearlessly about feelings and experiences others found difficult to express" on his album Race. Comedian and CNN host W. Kamau Bell shared his memories of opening for Mooney, writing that doing so "was a master class" and honoring him as "one of the greats," and comedian Ron Funches also wrote that he "learned so much" from Mooney, a "legend."

A tweet from Mooney's official Twitter account on Wednesday thanked fans "from the bottom of all of our hearts," adding, "To all in love with this great man .. many thanks."