If you haven’t even seen an episode of “Good Times,” especially if you’re over 35, your black card may have to be revoked. Just about everyone from that era remembers the joys and struggles of the Evans family who loved each other despite the harsh conditions in their Chicago project. Jimmie Walker, who played the family’s oldest son J.J. Evans on the show for its 6-year-run from 1973-1979, has penned his memoir, called, appropriately enough “Dy-no-Mite!”
In it, Walker recounts his life story. Now 65, the Bronx, N.Y. native never married nor had children. He started his career as a standup comic and landed on “Good Times” with no audition. At one point, Walker was one of the top standup comics of the 60’s and 70’s, working with future comedy legends Jay Leno and David Letterman. At one time, he was the official comic for The Black Panther Party. A friend of Richard Pryor’s “Good Times” changed his career.
The “J.J.” character eventually became viewed as stereotypical even by the show’s cast members with both Esther Rolle (Florida Evans) complaining about the portrayal and John Amos eventually exiting the show. Walker is now far right politically from his Black Panther days and is an avowed conservative, writing in his book that we went from being “too black” to “not black enough.” One of the book’s biggest revelations is that Walker says that despite the show’s popularity, he’s never seen an episode of “Good Times.”
"Never — because I was always busy doing other stuff," Walker told “The Today Show’s” Matt Lauer. "I had my writing staff, as you may or may not know — Jay Leno, David Letterman, Louie Anderson, all these guys. What we did was we met all the time. So during the time the show was on, we just never had a chance to watch.”