It is hard to understand why the Laugh comedy CD people released Ready Or Not ... Here's Godfrey Cambridge and then stopped at that single CD and did not release Them Cotton' Pickin' Days Is Over, The Godfrey Cambridge Show, or G.C. Toys With The World. It is just as hard to figure out why Laugh.com let this great stand-up comedy CD by one of the pre-eminent (Black) comics of the sixties go out of print. The good news is you can still find a copy of Ready Or Not ... Here's Godfrey Cambridge through Amazon and the price is usually very fair.
Godfrey Cambridge is halfway between Bill Cosby and Dick Gregory. Like Cosby, Cambridge tells stories more than jokes and like Gregory there is a very acute awareness of the racial struggle of the time.
Like Cosby, Cambridge's material has aged well, aside from a few cultural references that are lost 40 years later, like Gregory the rage is subtle and in a black velvet glove. As a comedy record of the issues of the day, Godfrey Cambridge ... Ready Or Not is an interesting and funny time capsule. What makes it a must in any serious stand-up comedy fan's collection is that the material has survived extremely well.
Released in 1964, this Godfrey Cambridge comedy CD is sometimes topical such as its references to Barry Goldwater, Cary Grant, lunch counter integration, and block busting. It closes with a very funny take on the Sidney Poitier classic The Defiant Ones.
The most politically and racially aware material is track 4, Arthur Uncle, where an old black actor explains his kowtowing to the man.
A lot of the humor on Ready Or Not is acerbically funny. An example is the Florida hotel where there is a black pool and a white pool. "The black pool has no water and the diving board is higher."
Cambridge also gets a lot of laugh from the exaggeration of the ridiculousness of race relations in the sixties "by the time it took me to get another bus property values had dropped fifty percent".
Ready Or Not ... Here's Godfrey Cambridge is a must for any fan of stand-up comedy. Granted it is a period piece but it has survived some forty years extremely well. Here's hoping laugh.com gets around to issuing the other comedy CDs by this great Black stand-up comedian.
You can also enjoy Godfrey Cambridge in his classic Purlie Victorious reviewed here.