Red Foxx’s raunchy (for their time) party albums brought black comedy from the underground into homes all over the country. In his later years, the comedy legend would become an unlikely sitcom star on the 70s hit Sanford and Son.
(NBCU Photo Bank via AP Images)
This largely unsung legend once deemed “the funniest woman in the world” broke ground with bits on racism and sex. Mabley became a star very late in life and left a series of hit comedy albums in her wake.
Besides being a scathing satirist for over forty years, Gregory has also been a tireless social activist. He even ran unsuccessfully for president in 1968 on an anti-war ticket.
(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Cosby is perhaps the most financially successful black comedian of all time. His accessible storytelling crossed over big time to white audiences. His routines about his childhood and children hold up to this day.
( AP Photo/ H. Rumph Jr)
Arguably the greatest stand up comedian of all time, Pryor brilliantly brought his troubled personal life into his routines. He wrung humor out of near death experiences and was unafraid to confront ugly truths about race through irreverent humor. Unfortunately the world lost his great talent when he succumbed to complications from M.S. in 2005.
Some would say Mooney was the brains behind some of Pryor’s best material. But in his own right, Mooney’s merciless wit and unapologetic brashness have made him the consummate comedian’s comedian.
(AP Photo/Ric Francis)
Murphy left stand up long ago and began a wildly successful movie career—but his classic routines (“Ice Cream Man”) and impressions (James Brown, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder, to name a few) left an indelible mark on comedy that will always remain.
(AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
Before his mainstream comedy movies like Big Momma’s House, Lawrence’s outrageous stand up specials like You So Crazy were controversial and incendiary. Still, Lawrence has consistently kept audiences in stitches.
(AP Photo/Evan Agostini)
Sykes’ one-of-a-kind timing and style have made her the most popular black female comedian in America right now. Unafraid to tackle taboo topics, she has secured a late night show in an otherwise lily white landscape.
(AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Chris Rock is probably the most influential and celebrated black comedian since Pryor and for good reason. His incisive observations about race, gender and pop culture have been on point for nearly two decades now.
(Image from the film ‘Good Hair’)
Bernie Mac was beloved by fans for his no-nonsense persona and distinctive delivery. Sadly he died far too young due to complications from pneumonia. Still, we have his many films and television appearances to keep us laughing.
(AP Photo/Ronald McDonald House Charities, Aynsley Floyd)
Chappelle’s laconic stoner style made him a stand up favorite, but it was his unforgettable (and far too short lived) Chappelle’s Show which made him a comedy legend.
(AP Photo/HO/ Courtesy Rogue Pictures/D. Lee)
Before her breakout Academy Award winning dramatic role in Precious, Mo’Nique had audiences rolling in the aisles with her in-your-face stand up that bucked stereotypes about whether or not women are funny.
(AP Photo/Jeff Christensen, file)
Morgan just might give us too much information when he gets behind the mic (case in point, this picture). But his scatological stand up is an acquired taste that fans of 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live have grown to know and love.
(AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
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Death at a Funeral opens this Friday and features a who’s who of big black comedy talent. This embarrassment of riches got theGrio staff thinking: who are favorite African-American stand ups of all time? Funeral stars Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence and Tracy Morgan all made our list. Did your favorite funny person make the cut?