I’ve spent much of my career working with Black comedians – some of them A-listers who have risen from the comedy clubs up the food chain to cable TV, talk show host/movie star, network sitcom star/radio show host and back down again. For everyone’s who’s really made it, I can name you five that should have and another five funnier than the funniest network late night talk show hosts.

But for the longest time, the powers that be have used a sort of quota system to keep the majority of Black comedians at one level, only elevating one or two at a time. This is especially true over the last 15 years or so.  Things were different back in the 70s. At least it seemed like they were.

Redd Foxx, Flip Wilson, Richard Pryor and Bill Cosby were all thriving comedians who transitioned from the stage to film and TV. If there was beef amongst them, we didn’t know about it. Of course, there was no Twitter back then either.

Maybe Redd Foxx did call Bill Cosby on his rotary phone and curse him out, but if that did happen, they kept it to themselves.

I recently asked Sinbad, one of the best, what was going on with comedians like Mike Epps, who recently had a Twitter beef with Kevin Hart and then instigated a physical altercation with another comic. (By the way, Kevin and Mike have mended their conflict and publicly announced that they’re still cool.)

Bad broke it down like this. He said that Black comedians are pitted against each other because only one can achieve mainstream Golden Boy status, even though there are many who are just as funny. He’s absolutely right. Kevin Hart is funny, but I’ll bet he would be the first to admit that he isn’t the funniest of all the black comedians working right now.

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10 thoughts on “The Power Of One

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  2. Not related to the topic. Tom I want to register for the Text Tom Club but can’t seem to find it on the site. Would you please help on old lady out how is not all that computer savvy.

  3. Tmoney on said:

    Bob Hope did not make the top 20 list why?.. At what point are we not at the mercy of Hollywood? Maybe we need to do more to promote and support these comics. Create and promote movies that showcase these talented people instead of crappy reality TV.

    • Tmoney: True that….on “crappy reality TV.” I no longer watch most of it. It’s to fake/phoney, and predictable

  4. Good article Tom. For those throwing shade at Kevin; let him have his shining star while it lasts. Overall as a group Black people are very judgmental. I imagine is bc of a number of reasons including jealousy, envy, and insecurity. We need to be glad when one of us makes it. There is one type of comedy. Hart is different than say Katt Williams, Chappelle is different than Sinbad, and Rock, etc. Quite frankly Epps has never been (really) funny to me. But he’s funny to lots of other people. As for late nite talk; for whatever reason(s) people didn’t support Arsenio in large numbers. It was a good show that provided a nightly showcase for Black talent of all genres. But the numbers weren’t there so subsequently unfortunately it was canceled

  5. smdh on said:

    That’s ok Tom, because we get to see a plethora of talented comedians on the cruise every year. MAINSTREAM AMERICA’S LOSS!

  6. seriously on said:

    Kevin Hart is liked by the establishment because he is a Sambo…He will throw other blacks under the bus for a crumb. Kevin Hart stated that dark skinned females have no credit and that he likes the lesbian and gay community better. Kevin Hart is no where near light-skin and I am sure that goes for his parents as well. Not to mention his support will come for dumb ass black America who supports this type of samboism. Biggest geneocide of Black America-self-hatred.

  7. Kevin Hart hasn’t been funny since “Soul Plane”. His characters now are way too BUFFOONISH now. Mike Epps was right, just because you have ” Hollywood Notoriety” doesn’t mean your “FUNNY”. Hell, they made ‘Taylor Swift’ a star. ” Only in America’s Hollywood”!!!! #WetheUnitedNuwaupianNationYamasseeTribalFamiliesDemandtheReleaseofourPresidentHEDrMalachiZKYorkElChiefBlackThunderbirdEagleReturnedbacktoourTerritoryLands

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