We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.


Several years ago, watching Rudy Ray Moore perform at the Aristocrat Club in Memphis, Tenn., I saw one particularly enthusiastic devotee in the audience. After each joke, this fellow would erupt from his seat and began slapping his own ass. Sometimes he would sprint forward, and sometimes he would circle his table, all the while convulsing like a parishioner seized by the Holy Spirit. After a time, even Moore himself began staring at the twitcher as if to say Boy, that joke is 20 years old, and it wasn’t that damn funny then. But in a way, I identified with that man. Even after growing up on the canon of blaxploitation—The Mack, Shaft, Superfly—as a lad, I, too, was woefully unprepared for the chino-wetting epiphany that was Rudy Ray Moore. Here was someone who took black machismo to cartoonish extremes with a persona named Dolemite, an ass-kicking, sass-flicking pimp with a hard-on of gold. Dolemite was a lover and a fighter; when he wasn’t kicking tail, he was chasing it. Despite possessing a face that wasn’t too easy on the peepers, Dolemite used his carnally comedic couplets and sexual prowess to leave heartbroken women and jealous husbands in his wake like some kind of libidinous Taz. Before Moore broke onto the silver screen, in 1975, he was making comedy records on the Kent label and touring clubs throughout the country, spreading his message of raunchy redemption. Now Moore returns with new material (and some of those 20-year-old gems). I just hope your mudflaps can handle the slaps when he performs at 9 p.m. Friday, March 26, at the State Theatre, 220 North Washington St., Falls Church. $15–$25. (703) 237-0300. (David Dunlap Jr.)