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Famous Black Comedians

Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy is an American actor, voice actor, film director, producer, comedian and singer. He is the second-highest grossing actor in motion picture history. He was a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1980 to 1984, and has worked as a stand-up comedian. His early comedy was characterized by frequent swearing and sketches lampooning a diverse group of people (including White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPs), African Americans, Italian Americans, overweight people, and gay people). Murphy released two stand-up specials. Eddie Murphy was his first album, released in 1982. Delirious was filmed in 1983 in Washington, D.C. Due to the popularity of Delirious, his concert film Eddie Murphy Raw (1987) received a wide theatrical release, grossing $50 million; the movie was filmed in the Felt Forum section of Madison Square Garden in New York.

Eddie Murphy

Dave Chappelle

Dave Chappelle (born August 24, 1973) is an American comedian, screenwriter, television/film producer, and actor. In 2003, he became widely known for his popular sketch comedy television series, Chappelle's Show. Comedy Central ranked him forty-third in the list of the 100 greatest stand-up comedians.

Early works
His stand-up comedy career started at the age of 14 performing in Washington, D.C.'s comedy circuit. After graduating from high school, Chappelle moved to New York City to pursue his stand-up comedy career. He gathered the courage to perform at Harlem's famed Apollo Theater in front of the infamous "Amateur Night" audience. The performance resulted in him being booed off the stage. Chappelle has described the experience as the moment that gave him the courage to continue his show business aspirations. He quickly made a name for himself in the New York City comedy circuit, even performing in the city's parks. At the age of 19, Chappelle made his film debut as "Ahchoo" in Mel Brooks's Robin Hood: Men in Tights. That same year, he had a small but showy role in the film Undercover Blues. On the strength of his performances in these films, Chappelle was offered the role of Bubba in Forrest Gump, which was in a pre-production stage. Not realizing the impact this future Best Picture Oscar would have, and concerned about what seemed to be a racially-demeaning character, he turned down the part. He has since admitted to regretting the decision. Chappelle played another supporting movie role in 1994's little-seen Getting In.

Chappelle's Show
In 2003, Chappelle debuted his own weekly sketch comedy show on Comedy Central called Chappelle's Show. The show parodied many aspects of American culture including racial stereotypes, politics and pop culture. Along with comedy skits, the show also featured musical performances by mostly hip-hop and soul artists. Chappelle's pointed social and political commentary quickly helped the show garner critical and commercial success as well as controversy.[6] Richard Pryor, one of Chappelle's comedic influences, was a fan of the show and stated that he had "passed the torch" to Chappelle. He received two Emmy nominations for the show.

Dave Chappelle

Richard Pryor

Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor (December 1, 1940 – December 10, 2005) was an American stand-up comedian, social critic, and actor. Pryor was known for uncompromising examinations of racism and topical contemporary issues, which employed colorful vulgarities and profanity, as well as racial epithets. He reached a broad audience with his trenchant observations and storytelling style. He is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential stand-up comedians of all time: Jerry Seinfeld called Pryor "The Picasso of our profession" and Bob Newhart heralded Pryor as "the seminal comedian of the last 50 years". Dave Chappelle said of Pryor, "You know those, like, evolution charts of man? He was the dude walking upright. Richard was the highest evolution of comedy." This legacy can be attributed, in part, to the unusual degree of intimacy Pryor brought to bear on his comedy. As Bill Cosby reportedly once said, "Richard Pryor drew the line between comedy and tragedy as thin as one could possibly paint it."

Pryor won an Emmy Award (1973) and five Grammy Awards (1974, 1975, 1976, 1981, and 1982). In 1974, he also won two American Academy of Humor awards and the Writers Guild of America Award. The first-ever Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor was presented to him in 1998. He was listed at Number 1 on Comedy Central's list of all-time greatest stand-up comedians.

Richard Pryor

Chris Rock

Christopher Julius Rock is an American comedian, actor, screenwriter, television producer, film producer and director. He was described by Comedy Central as the fifth greatest stand-up comedian of all time.

Stand-up success
He starred in his first HBO comedy special in 1994 titled Big Ass Jokes. But it was his second stand-up special, 1996's Bring the Pain, that reinvented Rock as one of the best comedians in the industry. His routine, which featured commentaries on race in America, stirred up a great deal of controversy. Rock won two Emmy Awards for that special. Adding to his popularity was his much-publicized role as a commentator for Comedy Central's Politically Incorrect during the 1996 Presidential elections. Rock also was the voice for the "Lil Penny" puppet who was the alter ego to basketball star Penny Hardaway in a series of Nike shoe commercials from 1994-1998.

Rock later had two more HBO comedy specials: Bigger & Blacker in 1999, and Never Scared in 2004. Articles relating to both specials called Rock "the funniest man in America" in Time and Entertainment Weekly, respectively. HBO also aired his talk show, The Chris Rock Show, which gained critical acclaim for Rock's interviews with celebrities and politicians. The show won an Emmy for writing. His television work has won him a total of three Emmy Awards and 15 nominations. By the end of the decade, Rock was established as one of the preeminent stand-up comedians and comic minds of his generation.

Chris Rock

Kevin Hart

Kevin Darnell Hart (born July 6, 1979) is an American actor, comedian, writer, and producer. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Hart began his career by winning several amateur comedy competitions at clubs throughout New England, culminating in his first real break in 2000 when he was cast by Judd Apatow for a recurring role on the TV series Undeclared. The series lasted only one season, but he soon landed other roles in movies like Paper Soldiers (2002), Scary Movie 3 (2003), Soul Plane (2004), In the Mix (2005) and Little Fockers (2010).

Hart's comedic reputation continued to grow with the release of his first stand-up album I'm a Grown Little Man (2008), and performances in the films Think Like a Man (2012), Grudge Match (2013), Ride Along (2014), About Last Night (2014) and Get Hard (2015). He also released four more comedy albums, Seriously Funny in 2010, Laugh at My Pain in 2011, Let Me Explain in 2013, and What Now? in 2016. In 2015, Time Magazine named Hart one of the 100 most influential people in the world on the annual Time 100 list. He currently stars as himself in the lead role of Real Husbands of Hollywood.

Stand-up

Hart's first gig was at The Laff House in Philadelphia under the name of Lil Kev, which did not go well. His career suffered a slow start, as he was booed off stage several times, once even having a piece of chicken thrown at him. After those initial unsuccessful shows, Hart began entering comedy competitions throughout Massachusetts, and his fortunes soon turned for the better.

It took time for Hart to develop a unique comedic style. After an early period of attempting to imitate comedians like Chris Tucker, he found his own rhythm by delving into his insecurities and life experiences. "Because of what I do, it has to be an open book," he has said. "But right now this is a book that is being written."

Hart's comedy tours began in 2009 with his act titled "I'm a Grown Little Man," followed by "Seriously Funny" in 2010, "Laugh at My Pain" in 2011, and most recently, his TV special titled "Let Me Explain" in 2013. Hart grossed over $15 million from "Laugh at My Pain", making it one of the year's top-selling comedy tours. Hart also has a game available through iTunes called "Little Jumpman." His Facebook page, Twitter account, and YouTube channel are all connected to and accessible through this app. Most overseas fans of Hart discovered him on YouTube, as well.

It was announced in October 2013 that ABC will be making a 30-minute pilot based on Hart's stand-up act. Hart does not plan to star in the sitcom, but does plan on having a recurring role.

Kevin Hart

Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby is one of the United States' most popular and admired entertainers, known for his wit and warmth both onstage and off. A veteran stand-up performer, he got his start working clubs and making comedy albums, then moved into television with a vanguard role in the 1960s action show I Spy. He later starred in his own series, The Bill Cosby Show, in the late 1960s. He was one of the major characters on the children's television show The Electric Company for its first two seasons, and created the humorous educational cartoon series Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, about a group of young friends growing up in the city. Cosby also acted in numerous films, although none has received the acclaim of his television work.

Bill Cosby