This week, I take a break from sitting down and chatting with comedians and let Corin Wells do all the work. Corin, along with Darryl Charles, Chris Cotton, Blythe Wimbush and Setoiyo gathered to talk about the state of Black comedy in Philadelphia. They discuss their own experiences as well as their thoughts on the city, past, present, and future. You can listen here, or subscribe on iTunes.
After an all-out brawl at last week’s meeting ending in an arrest, my panel of experts; Suge Knight, Steve Guttenberg and Eartha Kitt,( who could not join us today); decided it would be in everyone’s best interest to, rather than rank a few of the trailblazing comedic women of color, like Moms Mabely or Whoopi Goldberg, we should highlight a some of today’s up and coming African American comediennes. You know… to avoid further conflict… So here is a short list of women in sketch, improv and stand-up who are doing the “damn thang” as they say. Check them out.
Elite Delta Force 3 “Saving the world… one sketch at a time.” Nefetari Spencer and Angela Yarbrough created this sketch super group, in 2009 and with the help of Robin Thede, Leshay Tomlinson-Boyce, Nikea Gamby-Turner, and Indira Gibson, Elite Delta Force 3 has become one of the most sought sketch groups in the country. The all-female sketch ensemble “tackles current events, politics, celebrity gossip and more all while incorporating original characters, impressions, parody songs and sometimes even dance into dynamic original and uproarious sketches.” Since their sketch video, The Real Housewives of the Civil Rights Movement, went viral, the ladies of EDF3 have been featured in Essence Magazine and various other print and online publications. Each of these women have resumes that are comparable to seasoned comedy veterans, some of them having trained at the top improv theaters in the US, including iO West, The Groundlings, and The Second City Chicago and LA. P.S. I’m in love with Robin Thede.
Doppleganger “That black girl who does improv.” Forming in March of 2010, this New York City based long-form improve troupe has already made a name for themselves throughout the improv community. Students and Affiliates of The UCB Theater; Nicole Byer, Sasheer Zamata, and Keisha Zollar; were nominated for Best Improv Group ECNY Award in 2011. They have performed all over the country and Canada at various festivals including Best of Fest Vancouver International Improv Festival 2011, Women in Comedy Festival 2011, and SF Sketchfest 2011, just to name a few. They use” a free flowing organic form to BLOW YOUR MIND.” They currently play at UCBeast every Wednesday night at 7:30PM. I have yet to see these ladies perform, but based on their videos and reviews, I am missing out.
Marina Franklin “viciously likeable, if there is such a thing.” New-York based Marina Franklin is emerging as one of the hottest stars in the comedy scene today. Her notable televisions appearances include Chapelle’s Show, Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, NBC’s Last Comic Standing Season II, and Comedy Central’s Premium Blend Whether she’s talking about her long list of ethnically diverse boyfriend choices or her confusing white/black experiences as a kid, she always comes out ahead with her razor-sharp humor. With a decade of performing stand-up in New York, Marina is taking some serious steps in building her name . Her stand-up caught my attention because her style is very different from what I’m used to seeing in African American female stand-ups. She relates to the new generation of funny women of color.
The Panel of researchers: Suge Knight – the founder and CEO of Black Kapital Records and co-founder and former CEO of Death Row Records. Murderer of Tupac Shakur… probably.
Eartha Kitt- An American singer, actress, and cabaret star. Catwoman to Adam West’s Batman. Deceased.
Steve Guttenberg- An American actor and comedian. Would be bigger were it not for Tom Hanks. Nickename: The Gute.