For those who thought Rudy Ray Moore's stand-up scenes in his earlier movies were the highlights of those pictures, RUDE will come as a revelation: A full-length "live" film of his stand-up act that's every bit as inept as his fiction films, as well as being painfully unfunny and
"Mr. Dolemite, the king of comedy records," is introduced and launches into a string of profanity-laced, scatological and sexual jokes punctuated by his trademark line, "I ain't lyin!" During a break in the performance, comedy duo Leroy and Skillet (Leroy Daniels and Ernest Mayhand from Moore's
PETEY WHEATSTRAW THE DEVIL'S SON-IN-LAW, 1977) put on an act so dreadful it's almost a joy to welcome Moore back to the stage. He takes questions from obvious audience plants and adopts the worst British accent in history, as well as an even worse Italian one. Finishing in character as his
character "Dolemite," he proclaims, "The stars, the sun, the moon refuse to shine without first consulting me."
It's a wonder they could fit his ego on the stage. Born in Arkansas, Moore was an inspirational church proselytizer in his youth before becoming a dancer in Milwaukee's Flame nightclub and moving on to a career including singing R&B in Cleveland. After a stint in the army he moved to LA in the
early 1960s, where he recorded his first comedy LP, Below the Belt for the Dooto label (run by Dootsie Williams, Redd Foxx's manager). At first his risque records were sold strictly under the counter, but his reputation spread by word of mouth and in 1970 he had a breakthrough with the album EatOut More Often on his own Comedian International label. Featuring Moore's "toasts" (epic rhyming poems) over musical backgrounds, the album introduced Dolemite, a character adapted from stories Moore had heard. He followed up with a string of similar LPs featuring crude stories and one-liners,
unabashedly obscene language, and a chunky Moore surrounded by naked women on the covers.
His records and films featuring Dolemite and even more ludicrous characters have been heavily sampled by rappers, and Rudy Ray himself has appeared in videos from the likes of Snoop Doggy Dogg, Luke Campbell, Eric B& Rakim, and Big Daddy Kane. After the disappointing box office of DISCO GODFATHER
(1979), he returned to the stage and in 1980 enlisted Cliff Roquemore (director of his best films, HUMAN TORNADO, 1976, and PETEY WHEATSTRAW, 1977) to film the results as EAT OUT MORE OFTEN (sanitized for video first as THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO RUDY RAY MOORE, then finally as RUDE). Badly shot,
execrably edited, and with dreadful sound that switches from live to poorly-synched overdubs and back again in the course of a single sentence, the film is a chore even for Moore's staunchest supporters to sit through. The audience on the other hand is frequently seen screaming with laughter in
cutaway shots that make one wonder whether someone was pumping nitrous oxide through the air conditioning vents. Sample joke: How do you keep flies out of your kitchen? Keep a bucket of crap in the living room. Only Moore of course doesn't say "crap." A variation of the same joke is repeated
later, this time with female genitalia the punchline. Material from his films is similarly recycled, and there's zero shot-to-shot continuity--which, in an odd way, is actually a plus. At least it grants the viewer the limited enjoyment of watching for details like the flower in Moore's lapel
appearing and disappearing randomly throughout this supposedly live performance. Also on the plus side, the audience fashions are stupendous. (Adult situations, extreme profanity.)
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