Top Black Comedians

The Best Black Comedy Actors, By Decade

Whether strictly stand up black comedians or black comedy actors, who have solely starred in comedy films and movies, African Americans have come a long way to almost dominating the comedic world.  From the early days of comedy with Flip Wilson, to the great Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy, to the rise of the Wayans family, to today’s generation with Kevin Hart on top, there have been many to paved the way for black comedians.

With platforms like Def Comedy Jam, BET’s Comicview, Showtime at the Apollo, and before all, the local Chitlin’ Circuits, many black comedy actors and comedians have had the chance to showcase their talent to audiences all over the country.  Today, social media, whether YouTube or Instagram, has created similar opportunities for comedians and striving to be comedians to also showcase their talent.  To be clear the list below will showcase many comedians that have had long careers that expanded well into multiple decades, but each comedian is placed in their peak year, whether it is when they started to gain stardom or when they were at their best.

Black Comedy Actors and Comedians: 1960s and Before

The true pioneers of the comedy world for African Americans were the likes of Pigmeat Markam and Moms Mabley, while there were other earlier comedians, actors and performers, like Stepin Fetchit. During the 1960s comedians like Redd Foxx and Slappy White would get an early start on their careers as there were numerous rising stars who were beginning to emerge during this era of the 1950s and 1960s.

Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby initiated his career in the entertainment industry during the 1960s, beginning with standup comedy and subsequently producing approximately 20 humor-infused albums throughout years. However, he gained the most recognition for “The Cosby Show,” a popular 1980s television series that ran for eight seasons. Prior to this, he began his career in television on the program “I Spy” and later designed the renowned animated series “Fat Albert.”

black comedian

Redd Foxx

Foxx was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, and began his career in the 1940s, originally performing in African-American vaudeville shows and comedy clubs. He gained popularity for his adult-oriented humor, often incorporating risqué jokes and social commentary about race, politics, and everyday life.

His comedic style was marked by his ability to use foul language creatively, adding a raw and edgy element to his performances. While his career was taking off and becoming a success during the 1960s, in 1972, Redd Foxx achieved mainstream success with the launch of the hit television show “Sanford and Son.”

LaWanda Page

Starting her life in entertainment at a very early age during the 1940s, LaWanda Page began her career as a unique stage performer and dancer.

LaWanda Page eventually moved on from dancing and ventured off into the comedy world.  In comedy, she recorded a number of comedy albums, toured while performing her comedic routines on the Chitlin Circuit, and starred in a few hit television shows, all during her peak from the 1960s to the 1980s.

Flip Wilson

Flip Wilson

Known for his charm, charisma, and memorable characters, Flip Wilson was a pioneer for black comedy actors on television. He became a significant figure in the comedy scene during the 1960s and 1970s. Wilson’s rise to fame began with appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show” during the 1960s.

His personality and ability to connect with diverse audiences quickly made him a household name. In 1970, he launched his own variety show called “The Flip Wilson Show,” which became an immediate hit and ran for four seasons.  Wilson’s comedic genius earned him numerous accolades, including two Grammy Awards and an Emmy Award.

Pigmeat Markham

Pigmeat Markham rose to fame during the mid-20th century. Born in 1904 in Durham, North Carolina, Markham began his career as a singer and tap dancer before transitioning to comedy. Markham’s comedy routine often revolved around racial stereotypes, highlighting race and inequality in a humorous and light-hearted manner. He became renowned for his ability to impersonate various characters, including his most famous persona, “Leroy,” a mischievous and street-smart young boy.

Markham’s career spanned several decades, and he achieved significant success during the 1950s and 1960s. He appeared in popular TV shows such as “The Ed Sullivan Show” and “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In,” as well as numerous films and stage productions. Additionally, he released several comedy albums, including the hit “Here Comes the Judge,” which became one of his signature catchphrases.

black comedy actors

Moms Mabley

Another pioneer in the comedy world, and not just for African Americans, but for also for women in the industry. Moms Mabley began her career as early as the 1920s, eventually becoming a beloved figure, with ability to find humor within adversity. Many of Mabley’s routines were filled with double entendre and innuendos, often tackling controversial subjects during a time when such topics were considered taboo.

Moms Mabley had an extensive career that spanned several decades into the 1970s, performing in vaudeville shows, nightclubs, and even making appearances on television. She released a number of successful comedy albums, such as “The Funniest Woman in the World” and “The Funniest Woman in the World Encore.” Her influence on the world of comedy cannot be understated. Mabley paved the way for future generations of black comedians, breaking down barriers and inspiring others to follow in her footsteps.

Dick Gregory

Dick Gregory

Dick Gregory might be recognized by some as a social advocate, however, he gained fame for his stand-up comedy in the 1950s and 1960s. Later, he became notable for his frequent appearances on several late-night talk shows, his release of more than a dozen albums in the 1960s and 1970s, and authoring over ten books. All this, he accomplished alongside his involvement in political activism.

George Kirby

George Kirby was an American stand-up comedian and impressionist who rose to fame during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. Known for his remarkable ability to mimic celebrities and historical figures, Kirby’s comedy style revolved around his spot-on impressions.

He appeared on numerous variety shows, including “The Ed Sullivan Show,” “The Dean Martin Show,” and “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” He also starred in B-movies, such as “The Cool Ones” (1967) and “Don’t Make Waves” (1967), and his most notable performance, his appearance in the film “The Nutty Professor” (1963) as the character Mr. Kelp.

Nipsey Russell

Nipsey Russell came into everyone’s sight through his appearances on various television shows, most notably as a regular on the game show Match Game and as a frequent guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He also made appearances on other popular game shows like Hollywood Squares and To Tell the Truth.

Known for his dapper appearance, Russell became known for his trademark bowler hat, colorful attire, and well-crafted rhymes. His talent for wordplay and clever one-liners made him a favorite among audiences and fellow comedians alike. Nipsey Russell appeared in several films and Broadway productions. Some of his notable film credits include “Barefoot in the Park,” “Car 54, Where Are You?,” and “The Wiz.”

Slappy White

Slappy White initially began his career in entertainment as a singer but eventually transitioned to comedy. White gained popularity for his memorable appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show, and The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast. He was one of the first black comedians to break through racial barriers and perform for predominantly white audiences.

Known for his distinctive gravelly voice and suave demeanor, White would often deliver hilarious punchlines with a deadpan expression.  White’s career spanned several decades, and he remained a respected and beloved figure in the comedy world until his death in 1995.

Don Bexley

While Don Bexley was best known for his role as Bubba Bexley on the hit television sitcom “Sanford and Son,” he began his showbiz career as a member of an all-black traveling minstrel show in the 1930s. Later, he ventured into stand-up comedy and gained recognition for his unique and hilarious storytelling style.

black comedy actor

Godfrey Cambridge

Mr. Godfrey Cambridge initially started his career in theater, which led to him receiving a Tony Award. Cambridge’s comedy style was characterized by his ability to master various accents, voices, and characters, making him a versatile performer. Cambridge first ventured into the spotlight during the early 1960s alongside other notable black comedians like Bill Cosby and Redd Foxx. He appeared on various talk shows, comedy albums, and even had his own short-lived television show, The Godfrey Cambridge Show, in 1973. He also acted in films, including the critically acclaimed Watermelon Man (1970).

He often utilized this talent to address racial issues, challenging societal norms and shedding light on racial discrimination in the United States. As an African-American comedian performing during the civil rights movement, he played a significant role in bringing attention to racial inequalities in his stand-up routines.

Butterbeans and Susie

Butterbeans and Susie were a popular vaudeville comedy duo that were active during the early 1900s. Comprised of Jodie Edwards (Butterbeans) and Susie Hawthorne (Susie), they gained recognition for their unique style of comedy that mixed slapstick humor, musical numbers, and witty banter. Throughout their career, they achieved much success, performing on circuits, in theaters, and even on Broadway.

Butterbeans, a tall and robust man, possessed a booming voice and a knack for physical comedy. He was known for his energetic stage presence, often using his large frame to create humorous situations and sight gags. Susie, on the other hand, was a petite and lively woman who complemented Butterbeans with her quick wit and sassy personality. Her comedic timing and ability to deliver punchlines added an extra layer of humor to their performances.

Black Comedians and Comedy Actors: 1970s

The 1970s were significantly influenced by the late Richard Pryor, from his often timeless stand-up acts to his roles in many iconic movies. Although there were other leading comedians of the time such as Garrett Morris, John Witherspoon, George Wallace, Paul Mooney, and a handful of others, as well as several comedians who started their careers during the 1950s and 1960s and persisted into the 1970s, it’s undeniable that Richard Pryor was the symbol of the 1970s comedy scene.

black comedians

Richard Pryor

Hailing from a small town in the heart of Illinois, Richard Pryor embarked on his remarkable career in the early 1960s, showcasing his talent in nightclubs and gracing late night television shows. His career really gained momentum in the 1970s, extending into the 1980s, marked by an array of unforgettable standup performances and roles in many iconic movies.

Garrett Morris

Garrett Morris

Garret Morris, often overlooked as one of the greatest black comedians, originally embarked on his entertainment journey via music, taking on roles and performances in various musicals. His major breakthrough came in the 1970s when he starred in Saturday Night Live, which paved the way for his prosperous television career. He went on to co-star in popular shows such as Martin, the Jamie Foxx Show, and 2 Broke Girls.

John Witherspoon

John Witherspoon

John Witherspoon is often identified for his roles in premier sitcoms and films of the black community from the 1980s, 1990s, and the 2000s. However, the true initiation of his prosperous career was in the 1970s, starting with standup comedy followed by brief appearances on popular TV programs.

George Wallace

George Wallace initially pursued a career in advertising and marketing before discovering his passion for comedy. George Wallace began his career during the 1970s, but began to make an impct in the comedy world during the 1980s and 90s with his relatable and genuine stage presence. One of Wallace’s trademarks is his catchphrase, “I be thinkin’!,” which he often uses to introduce his punchlines or humorous observations.

Paul Mooney

Paul Mooney

Paul Mooney is a great comedian, writer, and actor who is renowned for his sharp wit, fearless social commentary, and thought-provoking humor. He first became famous for his work as a writer for the iconic comedian Richard Pryor, helping shape Pryor’s stand-up routines in the 1970s. In addition, Mooney worked as an actor, appearing in TV shows and movies such as “Chappelle’s Show,” “The Richard Pryor Show,” and “Bamboozled.” He also released several comedy albums, including “Race,” “Analyzing White America,” and “Know Your History: Jesus Was Black, So Was Cleopatra.”

Black Comedy Actors and Comedians: 1980s

Just as in the 1970s, the 1980s were significantly marked by the exceptional Eddie Murphy, ranging from his stand-up performances and specials, such as Delirious and Raw, to his blockbuster films like Coming to America, 48 Hrs. and Beverly Hills Cop.

Other prominent African-American comedians who initiated their comedy careers in the 1980s, or at least started gaining recognition, include Robin Harris, Michael Colyar, Damon Wayans, J. Anthony Brown, Tommy Davidson, among others. However, Eddie Murphy’s career and influence undeniably outshone any other comedic performances during this comedy epoch.

black comedy actors

Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy first came onto everyone’s television during the 1980s as a cast member of Saturday Night Live, where he became famous for his celebrity impressions.

In addition to his success on SNL, Murphy has enjoyed a highly successful film career. Some of his most notable movies include Beverly Hills Cop, Coming to America, Trading Places, and The Nutty Professor. His charismatic performances and comedic timing have made him one of the highest-grossing actors in history. Aside from acting, Eddie Murphy is also a talented stand-up comedian. He released multiple comedy albums, including the critically acclaimed “Eddie Murphy: Delirious” and “Eddie Murphy: Raw.”

Keenen Ivory Wayans

Keenen Ivory Wayans rose to prominence as the creator, host, and executive producer of the ground-breaking sketch comedy television show “In Living Color,” which aired from 1990 to 1994. Wayans comes from a talented family of entertainers, commonly known as the Wayans family. He is the eldest among his siblings, including Damon Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans, and Kim Wayans, who have all achieved success in the entertainment industry.

Aside from his work on “In Living Color,” Keenen Ivory Wayans has also acted in various films, including “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka,” “A Low Down Dirty Shame,” and “Scary Movie.” While making his most memorable career moments during the 1990s, the 1980s is where his introduction came, appearing in films like I’m Gonna Git You Sucka and Hollywood Shuffle.

Damon Wayans

Damon Wayans first gained recognition as a cast member briefly on the sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live in the 1980s. However, he achieved widespread fame and critical acclaim for his work on the sitcom “In Living Color” created by his brother Keenen Ivory Wayans.

The show, which aired from 1990 to 1994, showcased Wayans’ versatile comedic skills and his ability to impersonate various characters.After “In Living Color,” Wayans went on to star in his own sitcom called “My Wife and Kids” from 2001 to 2005. Apart from his television work, Wayans has appeared in numerous films such as “The Last Boy Scout,” “Major Payne,” and the “Lethal Weapon” film series, where he played the role of Detective Roger Murtaugh.

Robert Townsend

Townsend is best known for his work in film and television during the 1980s and 1990s. He began his career as a stand-up comedian and later transitioned to the film industry, making his directorial debut with the 1987 comedy film Hollywood Shuffle, a satirical take on the struggles of African-American actors in Hollywood.

In addition to his directorial work of films like The Five Heartbeats, Townsend has acted in various films and television shows. He appeared in movies like A Soldier’s Story, American Flyers, and The Mighty Quinn, showcasing his versatility as an actor. He has also made guest appearances on television shows such as “The Parent ‘Hood” and “Living Single.” He also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003.

Robin Harris

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Harris developed an interest in comedy from a young age and started performing stand-up comedy in the late 1970s. His comedic style was often characterized by his witty observations on black culture, family dynamics, relationships, and the struggles of everyday life. In addition to his stand-up career, Harris also pursued acting, appearing in several films and television shows. He had notable roles in movies such as “House Party” and “Eddie Murphy Raw.”

Michael Coylar

Michael Colyar began his career as a stand-up comedian in the 1980s, quickly gaining popularity for his energetic stage presence and rapid-fire delivery. He would later become a regular on the comedy club circuit and appeared on various television shows such as “Def Comedy Jam” and “ComicView.” He also released several comedy albums and performed in comedy specials.

Black Comedians and Comedy Actors: 1990s

The 1990s is the true golden era for black comedians as large platforms like Def Comedy Jam and Comicview brought the talent to the people.

Martin Lawrence

Born in Frankfurt, Germany, but grew up in various locations, including Maryland, New York, and North Carolina. Lawrence’s comedic talent was evident from an early age as he began his career performing stand-up comedy in various clubs before gaining recognition on the television show “Star Search” in the 1980s.

Lawrence gain the most fame for hosting Def Comedy Jam and later starring on his own TV sitcom, “Martin,” which aired from 1992 to 1997. Aside from his success on television, Lawrence has had a prolific film career, starring in several hit movies, such as Bad Boys (1995) and its sequels, House Party, Boomerang (1992), Big Momma’s House (2000) and its sequels, Blue Streak (1999), and several more.

Cedric the Entertainer

St. Louis’ own, Cedric the Entertainer first became renowned as a stand-up comedian, performing in various comedy clubs and touring extensively in the 1990s and early 2000s. In addition to his success as a stand-up comedian, Cedric the Entertainer has enjoyed a successful career in film and television. He has appeared in numerous movies, including “Barbershop,” “Johnson Family Vacation,” and “The Original Kings of Comedy,”.

Cedric has also made several television appearances and hosted numerous shows. From appearances on BET’s Comicview to co-starring on The Steve Harvey Show to hosting the hit game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” from 2013 to 2014. Additionally, he starred in his own television sitcoms, like “The Soul Man” from 2012 to 2016, and recently The Neighborhood.

Chris Rock

Chris Rock first appeared in the 1990s on the sketch comedy shows Saturday Night Live and In Living Color. Throughout his career, Rock has been credited with pushing the boundaries and challenging the norms of comedy. His stand-up specials, such as Bring the Pain (1996) and Bigger & Blacker (1999), are considered iconic and have earned him critical acclaim and several Emmy Awards.

He has also found success as an actor. He has starred in films such as Lethal Weapon 4, Dogma, and The Longest Yard. He wrote, directed, and starred in the semi-autobiographical sitcom Everybody Hates Chris, which aired during the 2000s, and the HBO series The Chris Rock Show which aired during the 1990s and early 2000s for multiple seasons.

DL Hughley

One of the original members of “The Original Kings of Comedy,” DL Hughley began with a successful standu-up career. He starred in his own sitcom, “The Hughleys,” which aired from 1998 to 2002. He has also appeared in various films and television shows, including “The Brothers” and “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.” In recent years, he has been a frequent guest on political talk shows and has hosted his own radio and television shows.

black comedians

Bernie Mac

“I ain’t scared of you mother****ers” the famous line on Def Comedy Jam that introduced Bernie Mac.  Before having his own successful sitcom, The Bernie Mac Show, Bernie Mac had minor, but very iconic and memorable, roles in movies. This include 1990s classics like Friday, How To Be A Player, Player’s Club, Life, and Booty Call .  Not until following The Original Kings of Comedy did Bernie Mac begin to receive recognition that he deserved and that was long overdue.

While Bernie Mac began his career performing in small comedy clubs around the city of Chicago, his comedic style with its boldness and unapologetic approach quickly made him into a star. Bernie Mac’s charismatic stage presence, combining his natural storytelling ability with impeccable comedic timing, made him one of a kind.


Mo’Nique was first introduced into comedy during the 1990s performing on various comedic and standup television shows. She woul later gain prominence in the early 2000s through her stand-up performances, television appearances, and critically acclaimed roles in movies.

Mo’Nique began her career in the comedy clubs of her hometown Baltimore, Maryland, where she developed her style of humor, blunt, frank, and fearlessness. In 1999, Mo’Nique gained nationwide recognition with her role as Nikki Parker in the television sitcom “The Parkers.” The success of the show led to numerous guest appearances on various television programs, including hosting the late-night talk show “The Mo’Nique Show” from 2009 to 2011.

Eddie Griffin

Born on July 15, 1968, in Kansas City, Missouri, Griffin started his career in comedy at a young age, performing in various comedy clubs and theaters. Eddie Griffin has appeared in numerous films and television shows. Some of his most notable roles include the title character in the sitcom “Malcolm & Eddie” and supporting roles in movies like “Undercover Brother,” “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo,” and “Scary Movie 3.”

One of Griffin’s strengths as a comedian is his ability to blend humor with social commentary, often dissecting racial stereotypes and challenging societal norms. He fearlessly addresses controversial topics, using his platform to shed light on important issues while entertaining his audience.

Steve Harvey

Hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, Steve Harvey started his comedy career in the late 1980s, making appearances in various comedy clubs. His breakthrough came in the mid-1990s when he became a finalist in the Second Annual Johnnie Walker National Comedy Search. This led to multiple stand-up comedy specials, including Steve Harvey: One Man and Don’t Trip…He Ain’t Through with Me Yet!, and becoming the host of Showtime at The Apollo.

He starred on his own television show, “The Steve Harvey Show,” from 1996 to 2002, which earned him multiple NAACP Image Awards. Now, with growing fame, Harvey is also known for hosting the popular game shows “Family Feud” since 2010 and “Celebrity Family Feud” since 2015.


Sommore began her career in comedy in the 1990s and quickly gained recognition for her distinct style and bold delivery, providing fans with a unique mix of intelligence and humor. Over the years, Sommore has performed on numerous comedy stages, including the famous Def Comedy Jam.

She has released several successful comedy specials, such as “The Queen Stands Alone” and “Chandelier Status.” In addition to her stand-up career, Sommore has made appearances in popular television shows, including “The Parkers” and “Comic View,” as well as starring as part of the “Queens of Comedy” tour alongside other renowned female comedians, such as Mo’Nique, Adele Givens, and Laura Hayes.

Bill Bellamy

Bill Bellamy gained prominence in the 1990s as one of the most successful comics of the era. Hailing from New Jersey, Bellamy began his career as a stand-up comedian in the early 1990s. He quickly rose to fame with his appearances on HBO’s Def Comedy Jam. Apart from his stand-up comedy, he notably hosted MTV Jams, the reality talent show “Last Comic Standing” and the game show “Who’s Got Jokes?”

Additionally, Bill Bellamy has also showcased his acting skills in both television and film projects. He has appeared in several movies, including “How to Be a Player,” “Love Jones,” and “Any Given Sunday.” He has also had recurring roles in television series like “Fastlane” and “Mr. Box Office.”

Honorable Mentions: Bruce Bruce, Aries Spears, Earthquake, Luenell, DC Curry, Adele Givens, Arnez J, Guy Torry.

Black Comedy Actors and Comedians: 2000s

Continuing into the 2000s with the same energy as the 1990s, there were over a dozen of black comedians that made a name for themselves. Mike Epps, Katt Williams, Dave Chappelle, Kevin Hart, and many others would all get their start or have their true introduction to stardom in the comedy world during the 2000s.

Dave Chappelle

Dave  Chappelle began his career in the early 1990s, gradually gaining popularity through his stand-up and appearances in several films, like The Nutty Professor, Half Baked, Blue Streak, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, and Undercover Brother.

His career would take off following his Comedy Central sketch comedy series, Chappelle’s Show, which aired from 2003 to 2006. The show became a cultural phenomenon, with its satirical skits and memorable characters like Tyrone Biggums, Rick James, Lil Jon, Clayton Bigsby, and many more.

In 2005, Chappelle took a hiatus from his flourishing career, but made a notable comeback during the 2010s during stand up, which led him to releasing a series of Netflix stand-up specials.

Patrice O’Neal

Patrice O’Neal started initially during the 1990s before becoming a household name during the 2000s for his sharp wit, provocative insights, and animated delivery. O’Neal’s comedic style predominantly revolved around addressing taboo subjects, fearlessly tackling and challenging mainstream opinions, and exploring complex social issues.

Known for his unfiltered and often controversial observations, O’Neal had a unique ability to provoke both laughter and introspection. He would often dissect the absurdities of human behavior and societal dynamics, shining a light on uncomfortable truths with a blunt and unapologetic approach.

black comedians

Mike Epps

Mike Epps entered the comedy world officially during the late 1990s and early 2000s with his energetic, animated style of comedy that has made him a popular figure in the entertainment industry. Epps’s comedic career took off with his performances on the Def Comedy Jam tour. He then went on to star in several iconic comedy films, including Next Friday, Friday After Next, All About the Benjamins, and The Hangover series.

Epps has had a successful career on television as well, starring in the sitcoms Uncle Buck and The Upshaws. What really set Mike Epps apart was the release of several classic stand-up comedy specials, including Inappropriate Behavior and Don’t Take It Personal.

Tracy Morgan

Tracy Morgan originally began during the late 1980s, performing stand-up comedy in local clubs. While he first came into the spotlight as Hustle Man on the Martin television show during the 1990s, Morgan gained nationwide recognition as a cast member of Saturday Night Live from 1996 to 2003. His memorable characters and impressions, such as Brian Fellow and Astronaut Jones, endeared him to audiences and showcased his comedic talents.

But the 2000s is when Tracy Morgan became a superstar, starring in the hit sitcom 30 Rock, which earned him a Primetime Emmy Award nomination, and films like The Longest Yard, Cop Out, The First Sunday, and Death at a Funeral.

Katt Williams

Williams began his career as a stand-up comedian in the late 1990s and steadily gained a following with his appearances on various comedy shows and tours. He accumulated national attention with his breakout performance in the comedy special “Katt Williams: Pimp Chronicles Pt. 1” in 2006, which propelled him into the mainstream comedy scene. This was followed by multiple classic and iconic stand-up specials throughout the course of his career.

Aside from stand-up, Williams has also had a successful acting career, appearing in both film and television. Some of his notable film roles include Friday After Next, Norbit, and Scary Movie 5. In television, he had a recurring role in the hit show Wild ‘n Out and made guest appearances in popular shows like The Boondocks and Black Dynamite.

Wanda Sykes

Wanda Sykes began her career in stand-up comedy in the late 1980s, performing in local clubs. Her breakthrough came in the late 1990s when she caught the attention of comedian Chris Rock, who invited her to join his writing team for The Chris Rock Show. Her work on the show earned her a Primetime Emmy Award.

Sykes gained further popularity with her own HBO comedy specials, such as Wanda Sykes: Tongue Untied (2003) and Wanda Sykes: I’ma Be Me (2009). She has appeared in numerous TV shows and movies, including Curb Your Enthusiasm, The New Adventures of Old Christine, and Black-ish. She has also lent her voice to animated films and TV shows, such as “Ice Age” and “BoJack Horseman.”

Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart’s comedic career began in the early 2000s before receiving his first major break with the film Paper Soldiers and an appearance in the film 40 Year Old Virgin. His true breakthrough came with his stand-up special I’m a Grown Little Man in 2009, followed by Seriously Funny in 2010, which catapulted him to mainstream success.

He has since released several more successful stand-up specials, including Laugh at My Pain (2011), Let Me Explain (2013), and What Now? (2016). He often uses self-deprecating humor to connect with fans and is known for his catchphrases, such as “Alright, alright, alright!” and “You gon’ learn today!”

He has appeared in numerous films, often in comedic roles, including Ride Along, Central Intelligence, and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Beyond his comedic talents, Hart is also a successful producer and entrepreneur. He has produced and starred in various television shows and films, and he founded the production company HartBeat Productions.

Honorable Mention: Lil Duval, Leslie Jones, Lavell Crawford, Corey Holcomb, Deon Cole, Michael Blackson, JB Smoove, DeRay Davis, Craig Robinson, Tony Rock.

Black Comedians and Comedy Actors: 2010s & 2020s

In the realm of comedy, Kevin Hart stood as the reigning star of the 2010s, following the pattern of a prominent black comedian in each generation. During his era of dominance, successful comedians from the 2000s continued to thrive, while a new wave of talent emerged through various traditional and digital platforms.

The notable figures during this period have include the likes of Tiffany Haddish, Lil Rel, or Jerrod Carmichael, but this era was truly centered around comedians that utilized social media platforms. This included DC Young Fly, Ha Ha Davis, Desi Banks, Jess Hilarious, Druski, and a host of others who built large followings on Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.

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