There are many reasons why we as a community cherish our comedy scene. From the Chitlin’ Circuit to today’s greats that are making millions crack up hysterically, these comedians learned to laugh at their pain, and gave us an outlet and safe place to do so as well.
As we wrap up this season’s Unsung Presents Best in Black, we’re saluting the following comedians for their amazing contributions to the culture!
1. Flip Wilson
If you are a fan of comedy, then you should know who Flip Wilson is to the genre!
America was infatuated with the late comedian, and faithfully watched his sketch show, The Flip Wilson Show. The Flip Wilson Show was one of the earliest African American-hosted television shows to achieve ratings success.
From his popular catchphrase to his iconic characters, the late Flip Wilson will forever be one of the greatest comedians.
2. Richard Pryor
The great Richard Pryor changed the entertainment industry, and we couldn’t get enough of the late comedian!
After identifying his comedic specialty, Pryor strategically dismantled stereotypes and eloquently discussed societal issues, pushing the envelope and becoming one of the best comedians to ever take the stage.
We can’t even begin to dare name one of our Richard Pryor stand-up specials, and or movies, because they had us all in tears!
3. Robin Harris
Say it with us now, “We don’t die, we multiply!”
The beloved Robin Harris was best known for his hilarious Chicago style “old school” humor. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Harris had no trouble finding work on the big screen. In Keenan Ivory Wayan’s hilarious parody of 1970s Blaxploitation films, I’m Gonna Get You Sucka, Harris had a promising acting debut as the film’s wise cracking bartender.
However, his next film, Spike Lee’s phenomenal Do the Right Thing, was where Harris truly made a name for himself. From there we loved in films like House Party, and most importantly for his iconic comedy act of Bebe’s Kids!
4. Whoopi Goldberg
Next on our list is EGOT winner Whoopi Goldberg!
Whoopi Goldberg is one of the most recognizable and well-respected actresses, let alone comedians in American pop culture!
With her quick wit, and brilliant one woman show entitled The Spook Show in 1983, Whoopi was able to garner the attention of the prestigious director Mike Nichols, and Steven Spielberg.
After retitling the one woman show to Whoopi Goldberg, it made its way to Broadway. From that show, she earned the lead role in the hit movie The Color Purple and continued to gain millions of fans each film she starred in afterwards.
Her comedic viewpoints are just pure gold! If you haven’t watched her stand-ups, what are you waiting for??
5. Martin Lawrence
When it comes to naming our top favorite comedians, Martin Lawrence is often mentioned!
Martin pretty much ruled the comedy scene in the 1990s, from his hosting days on the beloved Def Comedy Jam to his brilliant sitcom series Martin.
This man gave us so many laughs when we needed them the most! And we can’t thank him enough.
We want to know what your favorite episode of Martin is!
6. Bernie Mac
The late Chi-town native will forever have a special place in our hearts. From his no-nonsense demeanor in his appearances on Def Comedy Jam, House Party 3, and Friday to his hilariously sweet portrayal of Uncle Bernie on The Bernie Mac Show.
7. Redd Foxx
Last, but certainly not LEAST is none other than uproarious Redd Foxx!
Generations of comedians have been affected by his kind of comedy, which included coarse language and extremely mature themes. Causing him to break an innovative mold in the then comedy scene.
Foxx has influenced generations of comedians from Richard Pryor, Bernie Mac, Chris Rock and more. And he still is considered one of the GOATs of comedy as he continues to be an influential figure.
Tell us who your favorite comedian is! And tell us your favorite stand-up special below. Be sure to watch an all-new episode of Unsung Presents Best in Black: Comedians, Sunday, May 7th at 9P/8C!