With the Sundance documentary, Why We Laugh, heading to DVD on April 27th we thought it was the perfect opportunity to open up a discussion about the vital role comedy has played in the black experience.
Inspired by the Darryl Littleton’s book “Black Comedians On Black Comedy: How African Americans Taught Us To Laugh,” Why We Laugh is a documentary that features performances and interviews from some of the most celebrated and outspoken comedians of our time, including Dave Chapelle, Whoopi Goldberg, Katt Williams, Chris Rock, Steve Harvey, Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor and Bill Cosby. Watch the following clip, exclusive to BOSSIP this week, below:
The film raises some excellent points about Black comedy, things that actually meet many of the aims this site works toward regularly — laughter is important — particularly in a community that is harder hit by poverty, racism and violence than most others. How important do you think comedy is to basic Black survival? Are their any instances you can think of where comedy is the most effective way of addressing certain issues? Does there need to be more of a balance — particularly in the kind of films that represent the Black experience (more drama instead of comedy)? When is, or when has, the joke been on us???