Actually, “Sanford and Son do Othello.” Who remembers this show from the 1970s, starring Redd Foxx as the title character, and his son Lamont? Lived in a junk yard? Used to grab his chest in mock heartattack at least once per episode and shout “This is the big one!”
Well in this episode, Lamont is taking acting classes and will play….Othello. It’s a weird performance. Gives off this sort of Richard Pryor vibe (and I feel racist even saying that, for some reason). And the audience is laughing during it. This is part 1 of 3, and if you look in the related section you can find all 3 parts. In part 2 the dad comes home and finds out what’s going on. Best line of the episode? “This is the big one, Elizabeth! I’m coming to join ya honey! Our son is in the house choking a white woman!”
It’s hard now to look at clips from 1970s television shows. Look at the pimp outfits. Listen to the dialogue (“If I’m lying I’m flying and my momma’s home crying?????”). Does anybody think that the black guy playing Othello rather than Hamlet or Romeo is a coincidence? I don’t. Don’t miss the bit of dialogue at the end of the first part where Lamont says that he’s interested in all the arts, namely “acting, directing, and tap dancing.” Wow.
There were times when these shows were groundbreaking. There was famous episode of All In The Family where Sammy David Jr kissed Archie Bunker right on the lips. Or in The Jeffersons, where George Jefferson (a black man, if you’re unfamiliar with the show) gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation(?) to a white supremacist. These days that episode would end with everybody happy. The actual show ended with him saying, “You should have let me die.”
They were certainly a sign of the times, I’ll give them that. I want to see Huggy Bear do Richard III.