On the Real Side: A History of African American Comedy from Slavery to Chris Rock

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Chicago Review Press, May 1, 1999 - Humor - 672 pages
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This comprehensive history of black humor sets it in the context of American popular culture. Blackface minstrelsy, Stepin Fetchit, and the Amos 'n' Andy show presented a distorted picture of African Americans; this book contrasts this image with the authentic underground humor of African Americans found in folktales, race records, and all-black shows and films. After generations of stereotypes, the underground humor finally emerged before the American public with Richard Pryor in the 1970s. But Pryor was not the first popular comic to present authentically black humor. Watkins offers surprising reassessments of such seminal figures as Fetchit, Bert Williams, Moms Mabley, and Redd Foxx, looking at how they paved the way for contemporary comics such as Whoopi Goldberg, Eddie Murphy, and Bill Cosby.
 

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Contents

INTRODUCTION
Slavery dont nobody know my name but me
Race Records and Black Films sounds and visions inblack andblue
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

MEL WATKINS is a professor of economics and political science at University College, University of Toronto. He is an editor of "This Magazine" where he writes the Innis Memorial Column.

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