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Black Comedy

You know what’s great about America? Well, for one, superfunny black comedians. From Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor to Eddie Murphy and Dave Chappelle, African-American standups have repeatedly stayed one laugh ahead of the censors, skewering middle-class-white prejudices and underclass-black foibles with a healthy seasoning of misogyny and potty humor and a blazing onslaught of expletives. The First Amendment never laughed so hard.

Chris Rock’s special blend of impeccable timing, deadpan outrage, and blunt wit caught the public’s fancy at about the same time Murphy turned “respectable.” An example of a riff that’s pure Rock: “You know how they talk about busing to get a better education and that shit? I got bused to school in a poor white neighborhood. Ain’t nuthin’ scarier than poor white people! Even poor white people are scared of poor white people! And they hated my guts. They hated me ’cause my family had more money than them. Nothin’ a white guy with a penny hates more than a niggah with a nickel!”

Fri., Dec. 28, 7:30 p.m., 2007


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