Flip: The Inside Story of TV's First Black Superstar

Flip: The Inside Story of TV's First Black Superstar

Kevin Cook / May 25, 2019

Flip The Inside Story of TV s First Black Superstar The rags to riches story of a groundbreaking beloved entertainer When The Flip Wilson Show debuted in black faces were still rare on television black hosts nonexistent So how did Clerow Flip W

  • Title: Flip: The Inside Story of TV's First Black Superstar
  • Author: Kevin Cook
  • ISBN: 9780670025701
  • Page: 352
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The rags to riches story of a groundbreaking, beloved entertainer When The Flip Wilson Show debuted in 1970, black faces were still rare on television, black hosts nonexistent So how did Clerow Flip Wilson go from Jersey City grade school dropout to national celebrity, heralded on the cover of Time as TV s First Black Superstar Flip is a candid, entertaining biographThe rags to riches story of a groundbreaking, beloved entertainer When The Flip Wilson Show debuted in 1970, black faces were still rare on television, black hosts nonexistent So how did Clerow Flip Wilson go from Jersey City grade school dropout to national celebrity, heralded on the cover of Time as TV s First Black Superstar Flip is a candid, entertaining biography of a consummate comedian who changed the face of American popular culture Kevin Cook chronicles Flip s meteoric rise through the Chitlin Circuit of segregated nightclubs to his breakthrough on Johnny Carson s Tonight Show to his hit variety show, on which he created such outrageous and hilarious characters as the sassy Geraldine and flock fleecing Reverend Leroy As one of the biggest stars of his time, he performed and partied with Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, and other stars of the 1970s Drawing on interviews with family, friends, and celebrities, Cook delivers the inspiring story of a complex man who broke the prime time color barrier, blazing a trail for generations of African American performers who followed him.

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    • ñ Flip: The Inside Story of TV's First Black Superstar || ☆ PDF Read by Î Kevin Cook
      352 Kevin Cook
    • thumbnail Title: ñ Flip: The Inside Story of TV's First Black Superstar || ☆ PDF Read by Î Kevin Cook
      Posted by:Kevin Cook
      Published :2018-09-19T06:01:44+00:00

    About "Kevin Cook"

      • Kevin Cook

        Kevin Cook, the award winning author of Titanic Thompson and Tommy s Honor, has written for the New York Times, the Daily News, GQ, Men s Journal, Vogue, and many other publications, and has appeared on CNN and Fox TV He lives in New York City.


    768 Comments

    1. I'm 33. The Flip Wilson Show never aired in real time programming for me. However even as a kid I was a sucker for Nick-at-Nite which spawned TV Land and a host of pretty funny variety shows of yesteryear. This autobiography spans across Flips neglected childhood of unfortunate circumstances, his chitlin circuit tours, his lifetime drug abuse, faithless husbandry, devotion to self and disregard of racial barriers prevalent during this time. There are also many exchanges and connections with ente [...]


    2. I was one of the few people of my age who didn't watch Flip Wilson while I was growing up - one of the main writers for "The Waltons" went to our church, so that's what our family watched - but my husband grew up with "The Flip Wilson Show" and he strongly recommended the book. "Flip" is the deeply researched and well-written story of a tortured man, one that gives equal play to his strengths and his demons. It surprised me how HARD the man worked for the success he obtained; you don't often con [...]


    3. I LOVED THIS BOOK! This book is now in my pantheon of top 5 books I have read all time. This biography is continually compelling and reads like a novel you can not possibly put down. The fact that it is about Flip Wilson, a comedy icon whose memory and relevance is lost to our current generation, makes it even more of a good read.Jokeslots of jokes!! The humor in the book is probably my favorite part. The author was very adept at putting jokes into the work in a manner that mimics real life (our [...]


    4. Nicely done bio of the first African American comedian to have his own big hit TV show. Flip Wilson's gift was to come off as a self-confident and charming guy. But he worked like mad and used a lot of drugs to maintain this persona. His life story is a classic rags-to-riches tale and instructive to any student of comedy or making it in America. Redd Foxx, George Carlin and Richard Pryor guest star.


    5. This zippy little bio gives readers the whole scoop on both Flip, the man, and the worlds he inhabited. Something of Flip's almost supernatural likability permeates the book, rendering even his flaws entertaining.


    6. I was 7 when Flip’s variety show premiered. While I don’t know if I caught that first episode, I was a fan throughout his 4 year run. I was a dedicated TV watcher, and Flip was one that I watched religiously. He was a king of the catch phrase, which came in handy the next day at elementary school. And I watched his guest appearances on all the other talk shows I watched, like Dinah Shore, Mike Douglas, and Johnny Carson. But when his show disappeared, so did he, at least to me. I always wond [...]


    7. LJ Reviews 2013 March #2Website: libraryjournalCook (The Last Headbangers: NFL Football in the Rowdy, Reckless '70s) traces the groundbreaking and ultimately heartbreaking career of Clerow "Flip" Wilson, the athlete TIME magazine called "TV's first black superstar." After an emotionally and physically scarring childhood and a stint in the Air Force, Wilson moved on to the African American-friendly performance venues known as the Chitlin' Circuit, where he took a scholarly approach to comedy. Suc [...]


    8. This is a well-researched, brisk read about the man (and woman--Geraldine!) who was probably my first exposure to African-American anything, growing up as I did in rural Ohio. I was 4 or 5 when his show aired, and I remember loving it, and loving Geraldine especially.After a horrible, Dickensian childhood, Clerow Wilson joined the Air Force, discovered his talent for comedy, and spent 15 years struggling on the Chitlin' Circuit until he made it to the Tonight Show and his own program. After endi [...]


    9. When I was 9 or 10, Flip Wilson was probably my favorite comedian, and I looked forward to watching his show each week. But then he went off the air, and in the years to come, I rarely gave Flip any thought at all. Kevin Cook, however, remembered Flip Wilson enough to be motivated to write this biography.The book was fast moving. Too fast moving. I would have appreciated a bit more depth. Not necessarily Robert-Caro-style depth, but I think the book would have been better if it was about 400 pag [...]


    10. As a child I heard people saying "The Devil made me do it!" and "What you see is what you get!" and I thought Flip was funny, but I had no idea how groundbreaking the man behind the mirth really was. Cook does a super job placing Wilson in context of the racial tensions of the day. Like so many comic geniuses, Wilson had a terrible childhood. I had such a clear picture of his dedication to "the funny" thanks to Cook, and enjoyed his layered look at a deeply troubled man. He was incredibly loyal [...]


    11. Totally readable biography of the funny guy of my childhood, Flip Wilson. I was so excited to see this book come out. We loved his tv show when we were kids. I remember that it was on opposite the Waltons -- When Grandma babysat, we had to do some sophisticated negotiation to get to choose the channel. It's no surprise that it's a tale of a sad and uncertain childhood. It seems to be the case for so many comedians. Still, Wilson comes off as likable and Cook moves the narrative along at a good c [...]


    12. I loved Flip Wilson as a kid but little did I realize that his life was so full of turmoil and strife. The book is well written a fast read and intriguing. We tend to think of Cosby as the king of TV trendsetters but Wilson is right up there and should be given his due.


    13. I really enjoyed Kevin Cook's biography of Flip Wilson. I wish there was a little bit more detail about some of the ventures later in his career (particularly Wilson's SNL appearance), but that's a minor criticism. Overall, it was an excellent look back at one of our greatest comedic personalities.


    14. A very well researched biography, sprinkled throughout with Flip's jokes and recaps of some of the more "stand-out" episodes of the show.


    15. Great writing and piercing overview of Flip the man and his incredible work ethic. I hope this book inspires a biopic


    16. This is a lean, heavily-padded bio of a man the author claims was "TV's First Black Superstar." Flip Wilson, of course, was not. He was a transitional variety show host that took some of the boundaries set by Carol Burnett or Sonny & Cher, then applied his own black cultural perspective. He wasn't ground-breaking other than adding his urban humor to the format.The book, however, sets him up as an icon similar to Bill Cosby. Cosby had already been on TV for years, won Emmy awards, and ended u [...]


    17. Insightful biography of the comedian whose 1970-1974 variety show was a breakthrough for black performers. The show introduced the characters Geraldine and the Rev. Leroy, whose phrases — to use a term from today — went viral in the early '70s. For a short time, the show was "must see TV." The book chronicles Wilson from being raised poor in New Jersey, through his struggling years to make it in show business (with his race as an additional anchor), to his early '70s stardom. It details his [...]


    18. We can thank Flip Wilson for George Carlin and Richard Pryor. If you loved his 70s variety show, it’s worth a read.


    19. Why I chose to read this book requires some explanationWhen I was young, I, like Flip, was fascinated at what made things funny. I would watch people who told jokes and would commit any joke I heard to memory (the jokes I have in my mind are still the one that I knew by the time I was 10). And my parents had a number of Flip Wilson records. As an 8 year old, I never understood why my friends didn't laugh, understand, or recognize my Geraldine impressions. So I always kind of assumed he was an "a [...]


    20. I remember watching the Flip Wilson Variety Show when I was a little girl, and I loved it. My favorite character, of course, was Geraldine "What you see, is what you get, honey!"--with a snap of the finger. Flip was so ahead of his time, and paved the way for so many comedians today, like Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor and Tyler Perry. He made dressing up in drag the thing to do, and how groundbreaking was that!But, like with most comedians, Flip had his fair share of demons to combat--marijuana an [...]


    21. My favorite books since childhood have been biographies. Rarely do I read one I do not like.This one was a fast read. I loved following Flip's rise to fame. It sadden me to read about his unfortunate upbringing which haunted him and his relationships the rest of his life. He was a troubled soul but my, was he funny! I loved Josephine and her"You better watch out."The humor and timing of "the devil made mebuy this dress" remains superb in the comedy world. I hope to introduce my daughters to the [...]


    22. Very enjoyable insight in to the life of Flip Wilson! From start to finish you learned about his childhood, people who influenced his life as well as many famous comedians and what they went through to get into the business, like Richard Pryor, Moms Mabley, Redd Foxx etc. I would recommend this book to all who are Flip Wilson fans as well as general readers. His perspective of how to present himself to the public during the time of the 50's and 60's and how other comedians viewed his style. Mr. [...]


    23. Although I marked this book as "read", technically I did not -- reason being that I simply could not finish it. The book was an impulse pick up for me on CD at the local library. I anticipated light listening full of interesting details. After starting the 1st of 7 disks, I thought -- this book is going places I do not want to go -- foul language, foul content, anger, bitterness, drugs. So I popped out disk 1 after about 20 minutes and did something I never do -- I went to the last disk to see i [...]


    24. Terrific biography of the 70s TV superstar. The book is often funny, sometimes sad, and consistently interesting. I listened to the audiobook, which is very well read by Mirron Willis, who, in the sections that quote directly from original comedy material, manages to give a feel of how it might have sounded without doing an impersonation.


    25. I used to love the Flip Wilson Show when I was a little kid, so I was anxious to read this book to find out what happened to him. It turns out his rags to riches story is far more interesting than what he did after ending his show. High recommended if you liked the show or are interested in mid-20th century comedians (e.g Bill Cosby, Red Foxx, George Carlin, Richard Pryor).


    26. Sometimes it's better not to know what celebrities are really like. Flip Wilson is a pleasant memory from my childhood. I could have done without knowing about the drug use, promiscuity, and lack of fatherhood skills. But, given his miserable early family years, it is a miracle he was able to survive, persevere, and make us laugh as a nation.


    27. I really enjoyed this book. It is clearly an inspirational work about a guy who overcame many obstacles including poverty and an extremely difficult childhood.I highly recommend this work. It's entertaining and very funny. Worth the read!


    28. I remember watching the Flip Wilson Show and how hip and cool I thought the show was at that time. I was very interested in learning more about Flip Wilson's personal life. An in depth biography of this groundbreaking comedian is long overdue.


    29. I read this sentence in another review that really sums it up."Flip" is the deeply researched and well-written story of a tortured man, one that gives equal play to his strengths and his demons.



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