Black comedy is a light in the darkness, no matter what one may be enduring, a good laugh can soothe the soul. African American comedy is a poignant genre. The genre extends beyond the laughs. Black comedy can express faults in America’s justice system among other sensitive matters, making it satirical. Most black comedians, if not all entertain a vast, diverse audience, no matter how offensive the jokes may be. Stand-up comedy was founded by some of the greats like the late Redd Foxx, Richard Pryor and Bernie Mac. Black comedy reigns even after decades of making folks cry and holler, as Southerners say.
History of Black Comedy
Redd Foxx is one of the most influential comedians springing raunchy punch-lines in his stand-ups. He defies the ‘black face’ stigma making him the first Black comedian to crossover entertaining white people, according to The Observer. He became a leading sitcom regular on his own syndicated show, Sanford and Sons in the 1970s.
Richard Pryor’s stand-up comedy was another raunchy approach with a mix of a lot of offensiveness. During the 70s, the rebel comedian switched to films eventually, causing a comedic ruckus in Hollywood.
A decade or two later, Bernie Mac hit the scene in the early 90s, making appearances on the forever legendary ‘Comic View.’ Comic View is a platform where a multitude of iconic Black comedians got their start. In the early 2000s, Bernie also earned his own syndicated sitcom, The Bernie Mac Show.
As we mentioned before, some famous Black stand-up comedians took their talents to Hollywood, creating timeless films that will remain on favorite lists for a lifetime.
4 Timeless Black Comedy Films
Harlem Nights is a Black gangster comedy that projects the trope of Black wealth and independence in 1918 Harlem. Greats like Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx, Eddie Murphy, Charlie Murphy and Arsenio Hall were a mix of unadulterated raw comedic gold.
According to IMDB, Chris Tucker took his hand at comedy, making his debut in 1992 as a regular on Def Comedy Jam. Although Tucker is a known potty mouth, his performances were nun-vulgar. Teaming up with Jackie Chan, the two actors demonstrated action, comedy and crime while remaining family friendly in the movie, Rush Hour.
Queens of Comedy
We cannot forget the ladies, of course! Over the decades women starting disowning their innocence and started getting frisky like the fellas. The four Queens of Comedy hail Sommore, Mo’Nique, Adele Givens and Laura Hayes rocked the nation with obscene jokes on national TV. The Queens of Comedy is a timeless comedic masterpiece that is an irreplaceable gem.
Last but not least, Friday. Friday is the ultimate timeless Black comedy that is so hilarious that watching it feels like the first time every time you watch it. Ice Cube crossed over into comedy after catapulting his career in gangster rap. The movie was a box office success. The film introduced classic actress Nia Long and included a special appearance from Bernie Mac. The movie is the second funniest Black film of all time, according to Pure Wow.