Redd Foxx (aka John Sanford) wasn’t just the filthy comic who made “party records” in the 60s, or a s sitcom star in the 70s, but the pioneer who paved a smutty path for even more raw African-American comedians like Richard Pryor or Eddie Murphy. And while a sitcom like Sanford and Son may not play to kids today like it did in the un-PC All In The Family era, you have to admit it was remarkable how a show about a junk man and his kid also contained a subversive social message.
In his personal life, Sanford went through 4 wives and one adopted daughter — so nobody is saying he’s a role model of modern parenting. But, you’re not reading this for tips on sleep training and when to start rice cereal. You’re looking for the collected wisdom of a man who called his on-screen son “dummy.”
On Superficial People
“Beauty may be skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone.”
On Low T
Fred Sanford: I still want to sow some wild oats.
Lamont Sanford: At your age, you don’t have no wild oats, you got shredded wheat.
On Kids Being The Death Of You
“Ow my heart. I think I’m having a heart attack. You hear that Elizabeth I’m coming to join you honey. Your dummy son has made me a wooden overcoat. Oh, Elizabeth.”
On Knowing Your Place In History
“If you can see the handwriting on the wall … you’re on the toilet.”
On Moderation In Moderation
“Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.”
“[Sanford And Son] doesn’t drive home a lesson, but it can open up people’s minds enough for them to see how stupid every kind of prejudice can be.”
On The Importance Of Hygiene
“Hygiene. That’s the important thing. Hygiene. The toughest thing in the world: [you] have to turn to your mate one night and say: ‘You gotta wash your ass!’ Shit. Knowing how difficult it is, I said it for you : You gotta wash your ass.’
“My first wife, I’ll never forget her — and I’ve tried.”
On ‘How Poor Were You?’
“We were poor. If I wasn’t a boy, I wouldn’t have had nothing to play with.”