This is a list of Black Comedians, and Comedic Actors both past, and present.
Highly influential, and always controversial, African-American actor/comedian who was equally well known for his colorful language during his live comedy shows, as for his fast paced life, multiple marriages and battles with drug addiction. He has been acknowledged by many modern comic artist's as a key influence on their careers...
Redd Foxx began doing stand-up comedy on the infamous "Chitlin' Circuit" in the 1940s and 1950s. Foxx was one of the premier "blue humor" comedians. Blue humor was very dirty, too dirty for white audiences. For years his party albums were not available in white record stores. In the 1960s his records became available...
Edward Regan Murphy was born April 3, 1961 in Brooklyn, New York, to Lillian, a telephone operator, and Charles Edward Murphy, a transit police officer who was also an amateur comedian and actor. After his father died, his mother married Vernon Lynch, a foreman at a Breyer's Ice Cream plant. His siblings are Charlie Murphy
and Vernon Lynch
Bill Cosby is one of the world's most well-known entertainers and comedians. William Henry Cosby, Jr. was born on July 12, 1937, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Anna Pearl (Hite), a maid, and William Henry Cosby, Sr., a U.S. Navy sailor. After tenth grade, Cosby joined the Navy and completed high school through a correspondence course...
Keenen Ivory Wayans
Keenan attended college at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama but dropped out his senior year to persue comedy full time. His comic influence is Richard Pryor.
Damon Wayans is an American actor, comedian, writer and producer, and member of the Wayans family of entertainers. Wayans performed as a comedian and actor throughout the 1980s, including a yearlong stint on the sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live
, although his true breakthrough came as a co-creator and performer on his own sketch comedy show...
One of the hard-working, unappreciated African-American actors of Hollywood's "Golden Era" who produced good work with what he was given. He starred alongside some of film's great comedians including the Marx Brothers, Bob Hope, Laurel and Hardy and three films with Shirley Temple. In addition to being a talented comedian and character actor...
One the most successful entertainers of the Black vaudeville stage, also known as the Chitlin Circuit, was Jackie "Moms" Mabley, born Loretta Mary Aiken in 1894. At the apex of her long career, she was earning $10,000 a week at Harlem's Apollo Theatre. Mabley focused on conventional topics such as family and others not normally covered by comedians of the era...
Best remembered for his raunchy humor, Robin Harris became famous in supporting roles in movies such as Do The Right Thing as Sweet Dick Willie and House Party. He has left a legacy that fans and actors will truly miss due to his career which was cut by a massive heart attack at the age of 36. Spike Lee dedicated Mo'Better Blues to Harris after his untimely death.
David Alan Grier
David Alan Grier was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Aretas Ruth (Dudley), a schoolteacher, and William Henry Grier, a psychiatrist and writer. He trained in Shakespeare at Yale University, where he received an MFA from the Yale School of Drama. Grier began his professional career on Broadway as Jackie Robinson
in "The First"...
Hughley is the second of four children. His father was an airline maintenance worker and his mother was a homemaker. He grew up in L.A.'s South Central where he was a member of the Bloods gang after getting kicked out of high school. However, he turned his life around after a cousin was shot. He quit the gang and got a job as a telemarketer for the Los Angeles Times...
Bernard Jeffrey McCollough was born in Chicago in 1957. He grew up in Chicago, in a rougher neighborhood than most others, with a large family living under one roof. This situation provided him with a great insight into his comedy, as his family, and the situations surrounding them would be what dominated his comedy...
Christopher Julius Rock was born in Andrews, South Carolina and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York. He is the son of Rosalie (Tingman), a teacher and social worker for the mentally handicapped, and Julius Rock, a truck driver and newspaper deliveryman, whose own father was a preacher. Rock has been in stand-up comedy for several decades...
Robert Townsend transcends any medium he touches whether he's performing stand up, acting, writing, directing, producing, or running a television network. A Chicago native, Townsend is often referred to as one of the "Godfathers" of the Independent Film World." With over 30 years in the business, he has made an indelible mark in Hollywood with an extensive list of credits...
Davidson started his career as a stand-up comedian in Washington DC, earning an ardent following with sheer hard work in various comedy clubs. As one of the cutting-edge, young stand-ups, he was spotted by major concert promoters, who booked him as the opening act for A-list touring acts, including Patti LaBelle
1 brother (deceased) - per TV series "UnSung Hollywood - Bill Bellamy" (S3 Ep7) Recently aired on TVOne as a repeat on 11/16/2016, It's a Documentary show which details archival film footage and personal, revealing interviews, about the lives and careers of some of the world's most highly talented but sometimes forgotten celebrities from the industry. Credits: Gary Anthony Williams (Narrator).
Jamie Foxx is an American actor, singer, and comedian. He won an Academy Award for Best Actor, BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, and Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy, for his work in the 2004 biographical film Ray
. The same year, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the action film Collateral
Monique received a standing ovation when she stepped on stage for the first time in the hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, giving her confidence to pursue a career as a stand-up comedian. After numerous stand-up performances, she took a leap forward with one of the starring roles in The Parkers
A class clown since his earliest years, Mark quickly learned that a wild sense of humor could take him places. While working at a drugstore after quitting college he honed and polished a comedy act that he regularly practiced on customers. It was these customers, as well as his family and friends, who finally encouraged Mark to try his stand-up routine at area comedy clubs...
Multi-talented actor/comedian Katt Williams was born in Cincinnati and raised in Dayton, Ohio. He currently resides in Los Angeles, California, where he is simultaneously working on several projects on camera and behind the scenes for your viewing pleasure in the near future. Throughout his journey...
She is the half sister of Nia Long
who played in the first Friday. She and Long share the same father and have never been in the same movie. She attended Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia (where movies like Drumline and Stomp the Yard were filmed). Sommore appeared with Monique in the Original Queens of Comedy, and the Parkers.
Dave Chappelle's career started while he was in high school at Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC where he studied theatre arts. At the age of 14, he began performing stand-up comedy in nightclubs. Shortly after graduation, he moved to New York City where he quickly established himself as a major young talent...
Lenworth George Henry was born on August 29, 1958, in Dudley, West Midlands in England to a family of Jamaican immigrants. He made his TV debut on a talent show called "New Faces" in 1975 at the age of 16. He won and went on to things such as The Fosters
, which was when his career as a comedian took off...
He symbolized the 70s American dream of success -- the former kid from the ghetto who rose to wisecracking TV superstardom. While in his element as the broadly strutting, gleamy-toothed J.J. Evans of the popular urban-styled sitcom Good Times
, Jimmie Walker lived the extremely good life. Following the series' demise...
Acting Career - Hailing from the Windy City, Kel Mitchell began his acting career at the young age of 12 with the ETA Creative Arts Foundation. Young Kel wowed audiences with his on-stage performances in Chicago theatrical productions such as "Kasimu & the Coconut Palm" and "Dirt." But it was his outstanding performance in "Eden" at the historic Victory Gardens Theater...
Guy Torry is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. Known as "Torry" by college friends, Guy attended Southeast Missouri State University, the alma mater of fellow comedian and St. Louisan, Cedric The Entertainer. His comic genius was evident to fellow students during these college years. Guy often held impromptu comedy "slams" in dorm breakrooms...
“ AKA Ms. Dupree ” - bigboijp
Perry was born and raised in New Orleans, to Willie Maxine (Campbell) and Emmitt Perry, Sr. His mother was a church-goer and took Perry along with her once a week. His father was a carpenter and they had a very strained and abusive relationship, which led Perry to suffer from depression as a teenager...
Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson
The son of a minstrel and circus tightrope walker, Eddie Anderson developed a gravel voice early in life which would become his trademark to fame. He joined his older brother Cornelius as members of "The Three Black Aces" during his vaudeville years, singing for pennies in the hotel lobby. He eventually moved his way up to the Roxy and Apollo theaters in New York...
Tisha Campbell's first TV appearance was at the age of 8, on episode #006 of the PBS show The Big Blue Marble
. The show featured stories on the life and culture of children from around the world. In her segment, Tisha was shown playing with her brother, going to school with her mother who was also her voice coach, and singing at a jazz concert in New York's Greenwich Village.
Noted for portraying characters older than his actual age, Whitman Mayo was in his early 40s in the early 1970s when he first played the sexagenarian "Grady" on "Sandford & Son" -- a role that popularized the expression "Good Goobily Goop!" Nearly thirty years later his "Grady" role had just about caught up with him in terms of age and...
Best known for her role as Aunt Esther Anderson on "Sanford And Son", she appeared in many films including "Don't Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood" (1996), "Friday" (1995), "The Legend of Dolemite" (1994), "West From North Goes South" (1993), "The Meteor Man" (1993)...
Thomas "Nephew Tommy" Miles has built a career that encompasses radio, television, film and more. Thomas' role as co-host of the nationally syndicated Steve Harvey Morning Show puts him in front of a live radio audience of more than 8 million listeners daily. Nephew Tommy provides a key role in the morning show...
Thelma McQueen attended public school in Augusta, Georgia and graduated from high school in Long Island, New York. She studied dance with Katherine Dunham
, Geoffrey Holder
, and Janet Collins
. She danced with the Venezuela Jones Negro Youth Group. The "Butterfly" stage name, which does describe her constantly moving arms...
Scatman Crothers was born Benjamin Sherman Crothers on May 23, 1910 in Terre Haute, Indiana. Songwriter ("Dearest One"), actor, composer, singer, comedian and guitarist who, after high school, appeared in nightclubs, hotels, films and on television. He made many records, including his own compositions...
Although his brand of humor has been reviled for decades, black character actor Mantan Moreland parlayed his cocky but jittery character into a recognizable presence in the late 1930s and early 1940s, appearing in a long string of comedy thrillers . . . and was considered quite funny at the time! Born just after the turn of the century in Louisiana...
Nipsey Russell was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1918. He got his start in Rock and Roll Review and other music revues in the 1950s. In the 1960s Russell achieved his first major role as Officer Anderson in Car 54, Where Are You?
. After being on the show for a year, Russell was a mainstay on variety shows, appearing on Laugh-In...
At one point in time, Chris Tucker was the highest paid actor in Hollywood. Tucker was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to Mary Louise (Bryant) and Norris Tucker, who owned a janitorial service. After graduating from high school, Tucker made a change to move to Hollywood from Georgia to pursue a career in show business...
Willard Carroll "Will" Smith, Jr. (born September 25, 1968) is an American actor, comedian, producer, rapper, and songwriter. He has enjoyed success in television, film, and music. In April 2007, Newsweek called him "the most powerful actor in Hollywood". Smith has been nominated for five Golden Globe Awards, two Academy Awards, and has won four Grammy Awards...
Wanda Sykes has been called one of the funniest stand-up comics by her peers and ranks among Entertainment Weekly's 25 Funniest People in America. Her smart-witted stand-up has sent her career in many different areas. She was recently seen in Comedy Central's Wanda Does It
, where she tried various non-showbiz jobs...
Sherman Hemsley played characters known to be wise-cracking, "Weezy" loving, boisterous fools which America and the entire world laughed with kindheartedly. Sherman Alexander Hemsley, Air Force veteran and actor, was born on Feb. 1, 1938 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His father, William Hemsley, worked at a printing press while his mother worked at various factories during the war...
Whoopi Goldberg was born Caryn Elaine Johnson in the Chelsea section of Manhattan on November 13, 1955. Her mother, Emma (Harris), was a teacher and a nurse, and her father, Robert James Johnson, Jr., was a clergyman. Whoopi's recent ancestors were from Georgia, Florida, and Virginia. She worked in a funeral parlor and as a bricklayer while taking small parts on Broadway...
Ricky Harris was born October 5, 1965 in Long Beach, California as Richard George Harris II. He was an actor known for roles in Everybody Hates Chris (2005-2009), Bones (2001), Moesha (1996-2001), Poetic Justice (1993), and Dope (2015). He gained fame after appearing on HBO's Def Comedy Jam in the 1990s...
He first made a name for himself in the late 1970s and early 1980s, performing several shows of raunchy comedy a day at outdoor parks in New York City, most notably in Washington Square Park, where he competed for crowds with musicians, Frisbees players, jugglers and other entertainers. Charlie was...
Her trademark sass complimented by a distinctively adenoidal voice that could out-snarl Eartha Kitt
and Fran Drescher
put together, short (4'11"), round, and robust Nell Carter was one indomitable, in-your-face firecracker...and it made her a star. She was born Nell Ruth Hardy in 1948 in Birmingham...
Armed with an acid dry wit and a full arsenal of sarcasm and sass, African-American character comedienne Marla Gibbs showed up on 70s TV with a bang in middle age (44). Landing the feisty maid role on the popular ground-breaking CBS comedy, The Jeffersons
, eventually led to her very own sitcom, 227
Sammy Davis Jr.
Sammy Davis Jr. was often billed as the "greatest living entertainer in the world". He was born in Harlem, Manhattan, the son of dancer Elvera Davis
(née Sanchez) and vaudeville star Sammy Davis Sr.
. His father was African-American and his mother was of Puerto Rican ancestry. Davis Jr. was known as someone who could do it all--sing...