Black audiences and black people in general have always found the popular stereotypes of themselves to be quite funny—in certain contexts.
Recorded on November 14, 2009.
Scholars Gerald Early and Werner Sollors join forces with Glenda Carpio, author of Laughing Fit to Kill: Black Humor in the Fictions of Slavery (2008), for a discussion examining the rich and radical tradition of black humor, satire, and wit. Together they explore how comedy has been used to confront the injustices of slavery and racism in America. Early and Carpio illustrates the discussion with clips of Bill Cosby and Wanda Sykes.
Presented in partnership with the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Above: Photographs of Richard Pryor.
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