Racial Observational Comedy

What do people here think of the type of comedy typically currently done by a lot of Black comedians in America? I am speaking of observational humor focusing on race-relations mostly between Blacks and Whites, but also occasionally between Blacks and Latinos, Blacks and Asians, etc.? Do you ever find it funny, or do you find it offensive? What do you think of comedians like Katt Williams, for example (other than that he swears and blasphemes a lot)? As a multi-racial person I find a lot of the observations very funny but sometimes I cringe at the things he says. His “killed by a tiger” routine is the perfect example. I won’t post the link because of the profanity and also it probably is very offensive to some people here. You can find it on your own if you want to.

For years there has been so much not to like in the “comedy” performed by African-American “comedians.” There is nothing in to make one admire African-Americns, and if I were one, I think it would make me ashamed.

Several decades ago Bill Cosby did a program entitled “Black History: Lost, Strayed, or Stolen,” in which, among other things he criticized Stepin Fetchit for his demeaning portrayal of African-Americans (Stepin Fetchit sued, but lost the suit). I don’t see a lot of difference in the comedy of Stepin Fetchit and the comedy of Chris Rock, when you boil things down to their basics, except that you could take the kids to the movies that SF was in.

I found it so hard, years ago, to find ANY comic that does not swear and/or blaspheme, that I stopped watching them altogether. In fact, most all TV programs.

I see it as a positive expression of a darker side of human nature. If you don’t laugh at these things, then you’ll cry.

I find Gabriel Iglesias funny. “I’m not Fat… I’m Fluffy!”

I like Mike Birbiglia’s “Cracker/Cracka” bit where he turn the tables on black racial jokes.


I’m a fierce opponent to political correctness, but I don’t like racial jokes. The reason is that the only reason they are funny is because racism is real. By joking about it, we are not allowing ourselves to move on and become better people.

I think they can be in good taste. Mike Meyers’ parody of his Jewish MIL (Linda Richman) poked fun at lots of stereotypes, and he even made up fake Yiddish words for the show, yet I don’t think it was inappropriate at all. :shrug:

I tell Norwegian jokes, but then I am of Norwegian ancestry. Most people who tell Norwegian jokes are themselves Norwegians. The rest of the people are too smart to understand them :stuck_out_tongue:

I like Richard Pryor, but other than that, I really don’t care for most racial humor (though Chappelle’s Show had some funny stuff).

Sometimes the best comedy is in questionable taste. As far as I’m concerned, when you went out of your way to hear it and can feel to walk out on it, when you realize that you’re in a medium where the performer can tell some slice of the truth with such hyperbole that the justice or injustice of it can get lost without anyone truly being misled, that’s OK…that is, if it is kept within the boundaries where slander laws don’t apply.

I think a stage is like the flip side of a court of law. In court, strict justice gets so much preference that the truth might be obscured. In comedy, the truth gets its day and strict justice takes the back seat. (And sometimes, comedy comes into the courtroom for just the same reasons that law invades the stage…someone is going over a line!)

I believe in the boundaries of polite behavior, but IMHO there is a real danger in extending those boundaries to all times and all situations. When that has happened in the past, I think a certain falseness inevitably crept in, not to mention a suffocating pretentiousness. Comedians, poets, playwrights, and writers of fiction are a guard against that: they are the enemies of the false and the pretentious. For instance, George Carlin was totally inappropriate for “polite” company, but he put the spotlight on the dangers of euphemism. He didn’t just make people laugh. He reminded them to have a healthy wariness for “pretty talk”. That is a very good thing.

Of course, the other thing that comedy does is hold up a mirror so honest that you have to either laugh or throw something. That’s not such a bad thing for the human race to learn to love, either! As St. Thomas reportedly said, “The devil is a proude spirit, and cannot endure to be mocked.” All pride is like that, and humor is a good weapon against it.

Really good post. I especially liked the bolded statement.

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