Category Archives: African American Comedians

Wanda Sykes

Wanda Sykes is an American comedian, writer, actress and voice artist. She was first recognized for her work as a writer on The Chris Rock Show, for which she won a Primetime Emmy Award in 1999. In 2004, Entertainment Weekly named Sykes as one of the 25 funniest people in America. She is also known for her role as Barb Baran on CBS’ The New Adventures of Old Christine and for appearances on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Marina Franklin

“Really funny… A really fresh eye…”
—– Jay Leno
“I agree with Jay Leno.”
—– Gail Stocker

New York-based Marina Franklin is emerging as one of the hottest comedians in the comedy scene today, with notable appearances on FX’s Louie, Craig Ferguson’s Late Late Show and Showtime’s Women Who Kill. Marina previously appeared as a correspondent on The Jay Leno Show, and on Awkward Comedy Show, Chapelle’s Show, Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, NBC’s Last Comic Standing Season II, VH1’s Black to the Future, Fusion TV Live, Comedy Central’s Premium Blend, MSNBC, Showtime at The Apollo, and John Oliver’s New York Stand-up Show. Marina was also one of a handful of comics selected by Wanda Sykes and The OWN Network for Oprah’s Herlarious special and has recurred on Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer.

Marina is a favorite in comedy festivals across the world, such as the Melbourne Comedy Festival, Scotland’s Glasgow Comedy Festival, BBC’s World Stand’s Up, Rotterdam’s Comedy Factory, Montreal’s Just For Laughs, Ireland’s Kilkenny Comedy Festival, and Nashville’s Bonnaroo Music Festival.

Franklin’s career in entertainment wasn’t always in stand-up comedy; originally from Chicago, she made her acting debut at the Illinois Rep Theatre. She then quickly realized her love for acting and went on to pursue a MFA in acting at Syracuse University. On the film side, Marina will next be seen in Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck coming to theaters in July 2015.

Marina recently appeared on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore and currently hosts the successful FriendsLikeUs podcast which is in negotiations with a major network.

Marina is viciously likeable, if there is such a thing.

Chris Rock

Chris Rock is an American comedian, actor, screenwriter, producer, and director.

After working as a standup comic and appearing in small film roles, Rock came to wider prominence as a cast member of Saturday Night Live in the early 1990s. He went on to more prominent film roles, and a series of acclaimed comedy specials for HBO.

He was voted the fifth-greatest stand-up comedian in a poll conducted by Comedy Central. He was also voted in the United Kingdom as the ninth greatest stand-up comic on Channel 4’s 100 Greatest Stand-Ups in 2007, and again in the updated 2010 list as the eighth greatest stand-up comic.

D.L. Hughley

D. L. Hughley is an American actor, political commentator and stand-up comedian. He’s best known as the original host of BET’s ComicView from 1992-1993, the eponymous character on the ABC/UPN sitcom The Hughleys and performed in The Original Kings of Comedy. Additionally, he has been the host of CNN’s D. L. Hughley Breaks the News, a correspondent for The Jay Leno Show on NBC, and a local radio personality and interviewer in New York City. In early 2013, D.L. Hughley landed in 9th place on Dancing with the Stars.

Hannibal Buress

A native of the Austin neighborhood of Chicago, Hannibal Buress has been featured in The Awkward Comedy Show special on Comedy Central, and alongside comics Baron Vaughn, Eric André, Marina Franklin, and Victor Varnado, and on the FX sitcom Louie. He currently co-stars with Eric André on The Eric André Show on Adult Swim. In July 2010, Buress made Variety magazine’s “Ten Comics to Watch in 2010” list.

From the New York Times:
Hannibal Buress Evolves From Cult Star to Showman
By JASON ZINOMANFEB. 9, 2015
At the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Sunday night, Hannibal Buress did not backtrack from what was probably the most consequential joke told in recent memory, the now famous bit about sexual assault accusations against Bill Cosby.

But he did play down his role in leaving the older comedian’s reputation in tatters, blaming the news media instead. “They acted like I was a detective on the case,” Mr. Buress said toward the end of his hour-and-a-half set. “Like I found a Coogi sweater with roofie dust on it or something.” He made a joke about being paranoid about Cosby-hired assassins, then dropped the subject.

In video from a Philadelphia show that went viral, Mr. Buress, 32, said that he wanted to make it weird for you to watch reruns of “The Cosby Show.” He did more than that, of course, galvanizing outrage in a way that news reports about the allegations had not, inspiring protests and a national scandal. It was a startling example of a rape joke’s raising social consciousness and confronting rather than trivializing sexual assault.

A supremely gifted and respected comic who has been on the verge of stardom for so long that he was at risk of getting stuck, Mr. Buress has shined as a sidekick (“The Eric Andre Show”) and a supporting player (“Broad City”). He’s put out three strong specials and has been one of the most reliably funny stand-ups performing regularly in New York. He often opens for headliners at major theaters and arenas.

What he hasn’t done is find the vehicle that allows him to cross over. His writing stint at “Saturday Night Live” was brief, and the deal he signed with Fox for a show with Jonah Hill hasn’t resulted in anything on the air. In some ways, his Cosby joke has been his biggest breakthrough, reaching an audience beyond the comedy crowd. It’s a surprising situation for a comic not known for provocative moral stands. He’s less likely to do hard-hitting diatribes about race, gender or politics than to mock rap songs or pick apart figures of speech (like his joke on why raping and pillaging are often paired).

Only briefly exploring the fallout of the Cosby controversy may be something of a missed opportunity, but it’s understandable that he skillfully sticks to safer ground in his new show, his first theater tour, called “The Comedy Camisado.” It does represent an ambitious shift, but one of style more than substance.

Making the jump from cult favorite to star has always been about more than timing, delivery and jokes. For decades, it’s also pointedly about getting a television show with your name in the title. But in the current stand-up boom, that route may no longer be the only one as comics like Tig Notaro and Maria Bamford steadily build careers through live performance, moving from intimate rooms to bigger venues.

In the last few years, Mr. Buress has expanded his act in subtle but significant ways. He used to be a quirkier performer, using a laid-back drawl that moseyed its way through a premise and into the punch line, maintaining a steady rhythmic pace. His trademark was carefully crafted absurdist jokes, which earned comparisons to Mitch Hedberg.

As Mr. Buress has played bigger rooms, he’s evolved from that rigorously low-key style. He has sped up his delivery and expanded into a rambling, layered series of jokes that often imagine alternative histories or pet theories in theatrical scenes. He still has some stand-alone one-liners that require a patient approach with a strategic pause, including a nicely bizarre one about the particularly gross request of a fortune teller, but he’s more likely to get laughs now from verbose monologues alternating with Ping-Ponging dialogue.

Roy Wood Jr

Hailing from Birmingham, Alabama, Roy Wood started his comedy career at 19 while still in college at Florida A&M Univ. in 2002 Roy was selected by Comedy Central as one of nine national finalist in their Laugh Riots Competition. He has since gone on to appear on “CBS’ Star Search” where he reached the semi-finals, “BET’s Club Comic View”, and “It’s Showtime at the Apollo”

During this same time Roy has spent five years in morning radio in Birmingham which has given him the chance to release two full length prank call CDs. 2003’s “My Momma Made Me Wear This” and 2005’s “Confessions of a High School Benchwarmer”. Roy’s prank calls can now be heard in various markets across the country including “The Tom Joyner Morning Show”, “The Rickey Smiley Morning Show” in Dallas as well as SIRIUS Satelite Radio and XM radio. In the fall of 2005 XM also broadcast a full hour long show of Roy’s comedy live from the Laff House Comedy Club in Philadelphia

Roy’s energetic style and dedicated work ethic have also earned him the right to work with a range of acts spanning from D.L. Hughley to Ron White to Tomy Davidson.

Rondell Sheridan

Rondell Sheridan has the ability to transform ordinary occurrences into hilarious and hearty tales. This is a mark of a truly great comedian: In an age where stand-up is under attack for its bawdy content, Sheridan disarms his audiences with a wholesome ease, a mixture of playful physicality, facial expressions and a gift to continually shift comedic gears and personas.

“Minor Adjustments” was co-created by Sheridan and will forever be remembered as the first and only show to premiere on one network (NBC) then to be sold and aired on a second (UPN) during the same TV season.

“Minor Adjustments” proved to be a perfect vehicle for Sheridan, it was a family comedy described as a cross between “The Bob Newhart Show” and “The Cosby Show.” Sheridan portrayed a child psychologist, who was the voice of sanity amongst his dysfunctional co-workers, family and friends.

Michael Che

Michael Che is a stand-up comic from the Lower East Side of Manhattan. As the youngest child of seven, he has been his family’s source of comic relief since he was old enough to wear diapers. Growing up with much older siblings, Che became familiar with stand-up comedy at a very young age when he watched Eddie Murphy and Damon Wayans’ specials. However, it wasn’t until he attended LaGuardia Music and Performing Arts High School that he realized performing could be a future career. As a performer, Che cites Patrice O’Neal and George Carlin as his biggest influences. He appreciates performers that can identify humanity in the most controversial actions and convey it to the audience through humor — which is the approach he takes with his comedy. Che has been featured at major comedy clubs throughout Manhattan, but has built a name for himself playing alternative rooms in New York’s downtown scene.

Larry Wilmore

Larry Wilmore began his career as a Stand-Up comedian and writer for other comedians. His first break as a writer in television was on IN LIVING COLOR, where he received an Emmy nomination. He went on to write for several sitcoms and co-created THE PJ’S, with Eddie Murphy, which was also nominated for an Emmy. He then created the critically acclaimed THE BERNIE MAC SHOW.Larry won an Emmy, a Peabody, and a Humanitas award for his outstanding work as creator and executive producer of the THE BERNIE MAC SHOW.

Recently Larry has returned to his performing roots and has appeared on THE OFFICE as well as THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART.

Dwayne Perkins

Brooklyn native, Dwayne Perkins is a young vet in the Comedy game. With appearances on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Late Late Show, and Premium Blend Dwayne has earned a spot in today’s class of elite Stand-up Comics. Dwayne is a regular crowd pleaser in New York, Boston and Los Angeles. The recent culmination of Dwayne’s talent and work has resulted in his very own Comedy Central Presents half hour special. The very well received special showcases Dwayne’s unique way of looking at life and unparalleled ability to convey it in a hilarious manner. In many ways still a newbie himself, Dwayne is already inspiring newer comics.

With his comedy well grounded and still growing, Dwayne now sets his sights on acting and writing. Look for Dwayne in the HBO movie the Gristle, but don’t look away you might miss him. Still, Dwayne offers a very memorable cameo as the lost “stereotype”in the bar scene. Catch Dwayne on The Learning Channel teaching a Seattle fireman a thing or two about comedy on the show “Faking It.” Dwayne’s comedy instincts and acting skill shine through in the soon to be released independent film “Target Audience 9.1″ In a movie rich with talent, where Breakfast Club meets Night of the Last Comet, Dwayne’s offers much comic relief as the funny likeable geek.

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