Not since Richard Pryor have black comedians really challenged America’s views on race, especially as it pertains to black America. While Chris Rock and Paul Mooney will always hold their own in the genre of social critique comedy, most current black comedians today seem to steer clear of injecting their routines with edgy talk of racial taboos.
Since the mainstream pre-occupation with racial humor will never subside, some can argue that successful white comedians have borrowed these attitudes for their own material. For comedians like Bill Maher and Louis C.K. talking about race and mocking their own white privilege creates a balance of saying, “they can’t talk about that,” with “damn, he’s right.”
Most black comedians being pushed by the mainstream aren’t producing as challenging social commentary. For instance, Kevin Hart, though wildly funny is probably most recently known for making fun of rappers with his Chocolate Drop persona (Check out the hilarious “battle” with T-Pain.)
Maybe you can call it the post-Chappelle’s Show era. Dave Chappelle’s show built a multimillion-dollar success off of biting racial commentary, and skits that hurled barbs at the black middle class, as well as white and black American of all backgrounds.
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