UC Berkeley Library

Why We Laugh

Celebrates African-American comedians and their cultural influence on American society. Includes performances, interviews, and insights from some of the most celebrated and outspoken comedians of all time. Icons of comedy Chris Rock, Bill Cosby, and Keenan Ivory Wayans, among others, all weigh in on what it means to be a black comic in America, while cultural critics, noted scholars, and prominent politicians trace the evolution of black comedy from the days of Stepin Fetchit and blackface minstrels straight through to Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam, highlighting the ways in which individuals can inspire cultural change. Based on the book Black comedians on Black comedy : how African-Americans taught us to laugh by Darryl Littleton (Main (Gardner) Stacks PN2286 .L58 2006) Contents: Expression and inspiration -- Minstrel era -- Main stream in America -- Redd Foxx & Dick Gregory -- 1970/1980 comedy TV shows -- Chris Rock & Whoopi Goldberg -- Urban culture on TV -- Kings of comedy -- Taking responsibility -- Dignity does matter. Performers: Cornel West, Chris Rock, Bill Cosby, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Whoopi Goldberg, Spike Lee, Russell Simmons, Sherri Shepherd, Katt Williams, Steve Harvey, Mo'Nique, Eddie Griffin, D. L.Hughley, Richard Pryor, Dick Gregory, Dave Chappelle, Eddie Murphy. 2010. 86 min.