Five Black comedy documentaries to stream right now

Dick Gregory, Moms Mabley and more get highlighted in these documentaries on the history of Black comedy in America.

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From A&E’s new limited series “Right to Offend” to various deep dives into the lives of Richard Pryor, Moms Mabley and others, theGrio has picked five notable comedy documentaries to stream right now.

American comedian and political activist Dick Gregory, shown in March 1965, was the first black comedian to perform for white audiences. (Photo: Harry Dempster/Express/Getty Images)

Right to Offend: The Black Comedy Revolution

First up is “Right to Offend: The Black Comedy Revolution” on A&E, an intimate look at the history of Black comedy in the United States. Unlike other documentaries highlighting just one or two great comedians of the past, “Right to Offend” specifically draws the line linking late legends like Mabley and Redd Foxx to the biggest comedians of today like Tiffany Haddish and Key & Peele.

Outside of comprehensive dives into the lives of comedians from Pryor to Dave Chappelle, “Right to Offend” also features contemporary comics sharing how certain icons have impacted their lives and often times inspired their careers. Voices in the series include Kevin Hart — who produced the project through Hartbeat, his company, and Time Studios — Haddish, W. Kamau Bell, Michael Che, Steve Harvey, Sherri Shepherd, Wayne Brady, Aisha Tyler, Amber Ruffin and Katt Williams.

“Right to Offend: The Black Comedy Revolution” is available to watch now on A&E.com.

The One and Only Dick Gregory

If you’re looking to explore the fascinating life of Dick Gregory, look no further than Showtime’s feature-length documentary, “The One and Only Dick Gregory.” Now more than ever is a perfect time to look back at the career of Gregory, a true pioneer who was able to fuse his comedic talents with fighting for civil rights. This documentary uses personal reflections from the late comedian himself, as well as archival footage, to tell his story as he fought for social justice.

Chappelle, Chris Rock, Wanda Sykes and others join the documentary as well, sharing their own stories about how Gregory directly impacted their careers and inspired them.

“The One and Only Dick Gregory” is available to stream now on Showtime.

Phat Tuesdays: The Era of Hip Hop Comedy

Available to stream now on Amazon Prime Video, “Phat Tuesdays: The Era of Hip Hop Comedy” is a must-watch for comedy fans. Looking back on the famed all-Black comedy night of the same name that launched at The Comedy Store in 1995, “Phat Tuesdays” shines a light on a time that birthed the careers of some of the biggest names in comedy today.

“It was one of the great renaissances of Black comedians being ushered in,” Cedric the Entertainer recalls in the trailer for the series. With confessionals from stars like Anthony Anderson, Steve Harvey, Regina King, Snoop Dogg and more, the series takes things back to the 1990s in an inspiring and uplifting way.

Check it out now on Amazon Prime Video.

Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic

Another Showtime documentary, “Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic,” takes an intimate look at one of the biggest and most influential comic minds. With appearances from an array of comic talent, this film details the comedian’s history while also recounting his “culture-defining influence” on the genre. While “Right to Offend” and other specials certainly touch on Pryor, “Omit the Logic” is perfect if you’re craving an even deeper look at him.

“Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic” is available to stream now on Showtime.

Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley

“I don’t know whether it was the voice or the clothes,” Whoopi Goldberg gushes in her documentary on boundary-breaking comedienne Moms Mabley. “There was something about her.”

Mabley, who is also touched on in “Right to Offend,” was an American comedienne who became the “first” in many regards. For instance, she was the first female comedian to have a solo act at The Apollo Theater in Harlem.

With various albums and TV appearances in the 1960s, Mabley was truly able to cross over, paving the way for many Black female comedians who would come after her, including of course, Goldberg.

“Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley” is available to stream now on HBO Max.

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