HBO Picks Up Whoopi Goldberg’s Documentary on Comedian Jackie ‘Moms’ Mabley

With the Tribeca Film Festival under way in New York, HBO has snapped up U.S. broadcast and home video rights to one of the selected docs.

By Jorge Rivas Apr 18, 2013

HBO announced on Thursday that the cable network has acquired all U.S. broadcast rights to "Moms Mabley: I got somethin’ to tell you," from first-time director Whoopi Goldberg. The feature-length documentary follows the life of Jackie "Moms" Mabley, the late African-American comedian who became one of the first bona fide female stand-up comedy superstars.

HBO describes the film:

Breaking racial and sexual boundaries as a pioneering comic talent, the African-American stand-up comedienne Jackie "Moms" Mabley has long been an icon in the comedy world. In I GOT SOMETHIN’ TO TELL YOU, Goldberg explores Mabley’s legacy through recently unearthed photography, rediscovered performance footage and the words of numerous celebrated comedians, entertainers and historians, including Eddie Murphy, Joan Rivers, Sidney Poitier, Kathy Griffin, Harry Belafonte, Bill Cosby, Quincy Jones, Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara.

Mabley tackled topics such as gender, sex and racism, making her one of the first triple X-rated comedians on the comedy circuit. Once billed as "The Funniest Woman in the World," she performed on stage and in television and film up until her death in 1975. A true passion project for Goldberg, MOMS MABLEY: I GOT SOMETHIN’ TO TELL YOU shows Mabley’s historical significance and profound influence as a performer vastly ahead of her time.

"Moms Mabley has been a huge inspiration to me and so many others, but not a lot of folks outside of the comedy world know about her legacy," said Goldberg in a statement. "There are a lot of us who wouldn’t be working today without pioneers like her. HBO gave me my first break on TV, so it’s only fitting that Moms has a home there now."

"Moms Mabley: I got somethin’ to tell you," will have its world premiere at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival on Saturday, April 20.