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Slappy White (born Melvin White, September 20, 1921, Baltimore, MD, died November 7, 1995, Brigantine, NJ) was an American comedian and actor. He worked with Redd Foxx on the Chitlin' circuit of stand-up comedy during the 1950s and 1960s. He appeared on the television shows Sanford and Son, Blossom, and Cybill and in the films Mr. Saturday Night and Amazon Women on the Moon.



Slappy White's official biography reported that he actually "ran away to join the circus" as a child. White's most notable success in later years was his being a fixture at the infamous Friar's Club "Roasts" where he routinely delivered memorable performances that stood toe to toe with roast legends like Milton Berle, Jackie Vernon, Pat Buttram and Dick Shawn. White was very well known as a reliable "heavy hitter" by the roast organizers, capable of "saving" a roast that had lost momentum due to lesser comics bombing.

In contrast to the ability to hold his own in the off-color humor world of the Friars Roasts, Slappy White also wrote and performed a highly respected and innovative "straight" routine using one black and one white glove while reciting his poem about equality between men. Performed many times at the height of the civil rights movement in America, White once recounted that President John F. Kennedy gave it a heartfelt standing ovation.

Although not as well known today, Slappy White was one of several unsung heroes who paved the way for the enormous success of the generations of black comedy performers who followed him. White has enjoyed somewhat of a minor renaissance after his death owing to some select "bootleg" recordings of the Friars Club Roasts becoming available through outlets of comedy records.


Among the many of Slappy White's risque' routines performed at the roasts was a joke about an early spiritual black man questioning God about his physical features this way: "... and so the black man said to God... Lord why is my skin this dark?" "... and the Lord replied My Son, it is so that the intense sun in Africa will not burn you" "... and then he said Lord, why is my head covered with large mass of kinky hair?" "... and the Lord replied My Son that is so that the mosquitoes and other insects in Africa cannot bite your head" "... so this Black dude says ... Then God, why am I in Detroit?"

"I went into a new barbershop in my neighborhood and told the brother, "Give me that Afro look". Well, I fell asleep in the chair. And when I woke up, I had a bone in my booty."

"One morning I went to a diner and ordered some pancakes. The waitress asked me if I wanted Jiffy Mix or Bisquick pancakes. I said 'I'm black fool! I want the Jiffy Mix!'"

"Once on an island there was a strawberry, an apple, and an orange. They saw a genie and the genie said each one could have a wish granted. The apple wished to get off the island, the orange wished for a new car, and the strawberry wished for some damn booty!"

"Hey you with the pompadour! Down in front!"

"You know back in the 40s, a brother couldn't always get into a classy strip joint. Sometimes, we just had to peel our bananas and throw pennies at them!"

"You know what? There's an owl outside my house that hoots all night. An owl! I ain't been gettin' any sleep for days. Tomorrow night I'm going to moon it. I bet it won't hoot no more!"

Partial filmography

External links



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