More congratulatory than insightful, "Why We Laugh" provides an entertaining oversee of African-Amerihave the right to comedic talent over current years.

You are watching: Why we laugh black comedians on black comedy

More congratulatory than insightful, “Why We Laugh” provides an entertaining overcheck out of African-Amerihave the right to comedic talent over recent decades. Not neglecting to spotlight its own co-director/producers, Robert Townsend and also Quincy Newell, docu sticks to a safe tenor that raises provocative problems only in vaguest terms. Nonetheless, the wealth of archival clips and also scattered penetrating comments make the broadcast-tooled feature a painless watch.

Following brief (then much-reprised, as if reminding viewers after commercial breaks) glimpses of the early minstrelsy, blackconfront and Hollyhardwood stereoforms that once passed for babsence entertainment imagery, pic focuses on a more-or-less chronological succession of talents that slowly conquered the mainstream via more honest, challenging personae. Interviewees include Cock Gregory, Bill Cosby, Chris Rock, Eddie Griffin and the Wayans Brothers. Seen only in clips are Flip Wilchild, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, Dave Chappelle and others both living and dead. (Female comics from Moms Mabley to Whoopi Goldberg and beyond are listed but underrepresented.) Gushing narration review by Angela Bassett emphasizes incentive, while criticism of latter-day “cooning” — milking social stereoforms and also vulgarity — is softpedaled by a skittish absence of cited examples. Packaging is cable-enough.


Why We Laugh: Babsence Comedians on Babsence Comedy


Production:A Codeblack Entertainment presentation, in association via Townsfinish Prods., of a Codeblack production. Produced by Robert Townsfinish, Quincy Newell, Darryl Littleton, Angela Northington. Executive producers, Jeff Clanagan, Richard Foos.Directed by Robert Townsend, Quincy Newell. Written by Newell, John Long, based upon the book "Black Comedians on Black Comedy" by Darryl Littleton.

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Crew:Camera (color, HD), Johnny Simmons; editors, Skip Robinboy, Agusta Einarsdottir; music, Ronald Jones. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (Spectrum), Jan. 17, 2009. Running time: 90 MIN.With:With: Bill Cosby, Chris Rock, Sherri Shepherd, Keenan Ivory Wayans, Katt Williams, Michael Eric Dychild, Cornel West, Stanley Crouch, Sommore, Bill Bellamy, Eddie Griffith, Penis Gregory, Maxine Waters, Kwesi Mfume. Music By:

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