John Witherspoon YouTube channel cooking

John Witherspoon/YouTube

John Witherspoon posted YouTube cooking video hours before his death

He was making a dish called ‘poor man’s gumbo.’


Josh Katzowitz


Posted on Oct 30, 2019   Updated on May 20, 2021, 12:13 am CDT

In the hours after his untimely death on Tuesday, comedy legend John Witherspoon’s family said in a statement that the 77-year-old was “one of the hardest working men in show business.” Indeed, the day before his death, Witherspoon—probably best known for playing Ice Cube’s father in the Friday movie franchise—uploaded a cooking video to his YouTube channel that featured him cracking jokes while preparing what he called “poor man’s gumbo” to his 175,000 subscribers.

After appearing in late 1970s and early 1980s TV mainstays like What’s Happening, Good Times, and WKRP in Cincinnati, Witherspoon—who later had a long run on The Wayans Bros. TV series—appeared in feature films like House Party, Boomerang, and Vampire in Brooklyn. Witherspoon landed his most famous role of Mr. Jones in Friday in 1995. He reprised that role in Next Friday (2000) and Friday After Next (2002). He was slated to return to that franchise in the upcoming Last Friday.

Witherspoon has steadily worked since he began his show business career in 1977. He started his YouTube channel in 2009, where he featured himself in a “cooking for poor people” series. He only posted videos a few times a year, but in those vlogs, he showed fans how to prepare chicken feet, chili, pig tails, and meatloaf.

Before his most recent upload on Monday, Witherspoon hadn’t made a video since October 2018. But his latest vlog is an entertaining one, showing him working on his latest creation. “When you’re hungry,” said a shirtless Witherspoon, covered by a yellow apron with his face on it, “anything tastes good.”

The video shows him extolling the virtues of using “old grease” to form a roux and trying to exterminate a pesky fly with a dish towel (he was successful in the former but failed in the latter). All the while, he gave social commentary on the Popeye’s fast-food franchise running out of chicken sandwiches, the lawyers who represented Bill Cosby and the attractiveness of the women who accused him of sexual assault, and why somebody should just build Donald Trump a wall.

“I had a wall built at my house about two weeks ago,” Witherspoon said. “I started to call the White House [and say,] ‘Tell Trump to come and watch this wall being built.’ That’s how you build a wall.”

After finishing the cooking process, he sampled the gumbo, declared it delicious, and recommended you wash it down with a glass of Mad Dog 20/20.

Before he signed off for the last time, Witherspoon raised a spoon toward the camera in salute and said, “Love each other.” Here’s the entire video.


H/T Vibe

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*First Published: Oct 30, 2019, 10:11 am CDT