Redd Foxx is a popular comedian who was the star of television’s “Sanford and Son” which aired in the 1970’s. To be honest, if this show tried to make it to network television in the current climate of political correctness it would end up on the cutting room floor — from day one. Foxx, who played the character of Fred , was surrounded by his aunt Esther, son Lamont, friends Grady and Bubba, and several other characters who would drop in from time to time. The unseen character who was regularly present was his late wife, Elizabeth. As Fred he was what one might call a bit rascally, highly-opinionated, and extremely caustic to certain individuals that he interacted with, particularly Esther.
His humor was sexist, racist from almost every angle, and he didn’t care much for anything to do with religion or politics. He could be seen as the poster child for American greed — everything was about the dollar. Yet for all that he was still a rather funny individual since in comedy a lot depends on the timing and the placement of certain jokes. In his era this show was considered to be one of the funniest around, though many people in this day and age would no doubt lobby to take the off the air without any hesitation. It’s safe to say that Fred Sanford is a product of a bygone era that some are glad is gone, while others, those that can see past the act, tend to think that it was both humorous and even entertaining.
Here is a list of the top 10 Fred quotes of all-time. If you haven’t been convinced yet of his edgy or outrageous humor, depending on the degree of your personal sensitivity you might want to look away or stick around. Some of the jokes require a historical and cultural context, which is provided.
10. You big dummy!
This was a hallmark saying of Fred’s and it was directed at his son a lot of times. Today people might see this as something negative, and it likely was meant as that during the show, but when you look at it this is probably the most innocent confrontation that Fred had with anyone on the show. Plus, his own ignorance left him nearly incapable of seeing the redeeming qualities in anyone. Shows today manage to depict a lot worst than this moment.
9. Yeah they can walk in Los Angeles, but they’ll still be running in Watts.
If anyone can recall the riots in Watts it was a bad time in LA as the level of violence and confusion received a great deal of coverage from the media. Racism was a hot issue in Watts as attempts were made to clean the area up. Unfortunately the community was eventually undermined by a strong gang presence that wouldn’t let go.
8. All the way. See, this is America, where a right makes might, where justice is blind, where law is king, where a man should be able to pursue his democratic right no matter what it costs him in time, effort or money.
There’s no secret that Fred was kind of a skinflint when it came to money. When he had a chance to present a case that might make him a great deal of money he gave it up when the lawyer told him that he needed $10 to file the complaint that would have started the process. Fred didn’t like to let a single penny go unless it meant that he was going to get more than it was worth.
7. You gonna have this baby on purpose?
Teenage pregnancy was still a possibility back in these days but it wasn’t quite as common as it is now. The idea of having kids out wedlock however was something that caused a huge stir back in the 60’s and 70’s.
6. You just dumb, son. You just dumb.
This isn’t something many parents would likely say in public to their children for far of being seen negligent towards their child, but it’s definitely something a lot of us would like to say at times. Fred was never shy about speaking his mind however as he would say just what he was thinking, even if it wasn’t particularly nice.
5. You gotta always wash your hands before you eat, and from the looks of you, you must have the cleanest hands in town.
A lot of people won’t speak the obvious truths that come to mind at times, but once again Fred wasn’t shy when it came to pointing out people’s flaws. In case it’s not coming to you, he’s alluding to someone’s weight in this quote.
4. You hear that Elizabeth? I’m comin’ to join you honey!
This is one of the worst acts that Fred ever pulled and it was pulled constantly on his son to try and get his way. He’d fake a heart attack to get Lamont’s sympathy and to get him in an agreeable mood. It didn’t always work, but when it did one had to wonder just why Lamont put up with it.
3. And as you got older, it was cursed by Father Time
Fred and Esther were always going at it, and despite what people say the arguments of today’s sitcoms are really no better in many regards. They’re only made to be more PC-sounding so that they’ll pass by the censors.
2. No I wouldn’t hit a lady, but I’d hit her.
To be honest Fred was about as crude as it got and he likely would never have touched Esther, but their fuses were both notoriously short and there was no getting along for either of them when they were close by each other.
1. Your uncle Edgar told the truth, and the judge gave him six months.
Fred obeyed the letter of the law but didn’t have a lot of faith in the legal system regardless. Of course these were different times, despite the fact that we seem to be reliving those times some years.
“Sanford and Son” was both funny and controversial, like the “All in the Family” series of the same generation that ran for more than a decade. Both had controversial lead actors, but “Sanford and Son” wasn’t quite as popular, largely because Redd Foxx was just as crude off the air as he was on. Plus, the setting and the fact that he was an African American leading star didn’t help back in that time.