Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sabiyha Prince on "Race And American Comedy"

Sabiyha Prince just put up this great piece over at Huffpost.


[Shows like SNL, The Daily Show and Colbert Report] only paint a portion of the picture of political acumen and resistance on the American comedic landscape. What about the black political variety on U.S. television? To whom have Richard Pryor and Dick Gregory passed the baton of African American comedic observation? The absence of Dave Chappelle's cackle-punctuated prescience has left a woeful gap in an, already, floundering genre and while I'm not taking anything away from Chris Rock or D. L. Hughley, these two are yet to find sustainably lucrative vehicles for their politically-oriented work on television. 

[...] OK, women who challenge the sexual status quo deserve some sort of credit but where are the black equivalents to Tina Fey, Janeane Garafalo, and Stephanie Miller? Who are the sistah-friend humorists of Wanda Sykes, Nancy Giles, and Frangela?

The channels for black, female, political humor on American television are blocked. This dearth is fostered, in part, by limiting, age-old notions of femaleness and the funny which have been examined by such scholars like Regina Barreca and others. Juxtaposed against perceptions of race and class in American life, these views intersect to create an atmosphere uniquely ghettoizing of African American women comics.

Prince is currently working on an ethnography examining "black female standup life to show how raced and gendered ideas about status and identity affect the experiences of black women doing comedy today."  How cool is that?  

No comments:

Post a Comment