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
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Peter Breslin