DAR Comedy: The Pros & Cons Of 6 Black Comedians

By @TrueGodImmortal

Comedy is such an important piece of our culture and in black comedy, there are many elements that make you a legend and who you are. However, no comedian is flawless and they all have their moments where they struggle. Today, we briefly discuss the pros and cons of 6 of the top black comedians from their respective eras and times. I wanted to go with the legendary Eddie Murphy, the controversial Katt Williams, the universal GOAT Richard Pryor, the iconic Dave Chappelle, the incomparable Martin Lawrence, and the current favorite of the mainstream, Kevin Hart. We will look at the quotable nature of each comedian, what they do best, and how they have excelled at their highest and what could be improved on, and what elements of their comedy fall short most of the time. Let's take a look.

*Eddie Murphy

-When we look at his movies and his standup comedy, is there anyone nearly as quotable as Eddie? I mean, his entire Delirious special is one some of us know word for word and his Raw standup special has always been one of my favorites. From the discussion of marrying and not having a prenuptial agreement to a ton of other hilarious bits about women and everything in between, Eddie could tell any joke and it worked. As for the cons in his comedy, perhaps at times he ran the joke too long, like his family jokes on both specials and some of his jokes in the movies he would appear in. Still, Eddie was as good as they get in terms of comedians and he is still one of my all time favorites for this very reason. There are many pros and very few cons with Eddie Murphy in comedy. Unless, of course, we talk about his stint in family films. Which, we won't.

*Richard Pryor

-What is crazy to me is that Pryor is regarded as the God of comedy and a part of me struggles to see why. It isn't that I don't find Pryor funny at all, because he is, but what loses me sometimes is his storytelling. He has some great moments, some high profile standups, and classic movies. While he isn't my personal favorite, the biggest pro to his comedy is that Pryor held the audience's attention with relative ease. His stories were great, though sometimes not funny, but more so engaging. That is what I remember the most about Pryor and his comedy. He engaged his audience, he worked the stage, and you never knew what he was going to say next. That made him such a great comic. The cons? As I said, Pryor had a tendency to  substitute laughs for shock and awe, and his jokes sometimes missed the mark. Still, his comedy is the blueprint so many people followed. 

*Dave Chappelle

-If I had to pick a GOAT, this is my choice. It is either Eddie or Chappelle for me. Chappelle is one of the best at storytelling and perhaps the best ever at it. Chappelle leads the pack in terms of the storytelling and the way he tells his jokes and executes his comedy is mostly just flawless. He tells every joke in typical conversational tone, and it works. Honestly, it is hard to find a flaw in his comedy, except that when he was younger, he hadn't found his lane yet. Since 2003, he has been pretty much untouchable in his lane, but before he found that lane, he struggled at times. Chappelle still has jokes that miss the mark at times, but those are few and far between for the most part.

*Katt Williams

-He is controversial now, with news headlines and comedian beef dominating his legacy recently, but in his prime, he was hilarious. In movies, television, and even on standup, Katt has a charisma that pops off the screen. His comedy is abrasive, aggressive, and to the point with some honesty sprinkled in through the jokes, and that's what works for him. The cons of his comedy are that he drifts from time to time and loses his way in a joke. He has his moments and his Pimp Chronicles standup is classic, but his other standup just hasn't made me laugh in the same way. He lacks the consistency in standup, but he shines well in scripted situations too. Katt can do it all, he just needs to up his consistency just a little bit more.

*Martin Lawrence

-It is weird... Martin has very few memorable standup bits, outside of a few lines in You So Crazy and his "ride this muthafucka until the wheels fall off" line from Runteldat, but on television and in movies, he excels with ease. On Martin, his own sitcom, he was on fire, leaving us with quote after quote. However, as a standup comedian, Martin tends to just be a bit too abrasive and not always funny. He is a fun watch of course, but his comedy translates better on the small screen and big screen. The cons of his comedy seem to be that sometiems Martin is just not ON, much like he wasn't in Black Knight, his most recent Showtime special, and the failed sitcom comeback with Kelsey Grammar. Martin is a legend, but his comedy has been flawed at various times and moments in his career.

*Kevin Hart

-Love him or hate him, Kevin Hart is quotable. In his movies? Honestly, not so much, but his standup comedy? Let's be honest. If you are not a fan of his, you'll instantly disagree but this is not about personal bias really. When you think of the terms "go night night nigga", "peel his muffin cap back blue", "alright, alright, alright", and even on a lower level "bum bump", the first thing that comes to mind is none other than Kevin Hart. Is he the type of comedian that will leave you wanting more and more of his standup or his films? Not really, but every standup he has ever done leaves you with something that you won't forget or that you wish you could forget. He may not be my favorite or the popular choice amongst us anymore, but at one point, Kevin was dazzling audiences all over. He deserves credit for that. However, that aside, Kevin has moments where you feel he overdoes it and just doesn't have enough to make you laugh as consistently as he used to. His last few standups have been hit or miss, and despite that, he still has amazing success. However, Kevin Hart is probably the worst of the comedians listed, but all of their success is still undeniable.



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