Comedy has always been part of the black community and with the revolution of the 60s, blacks were finally given a chance to shine in the media. From the Jeffersons to Girlfriends, black comedy shows have done well on tv, but it’s been a different story at the movie theatre. Many have come and gone unnoticed and unsupported in the community, and some have done their part to degrade black culture and set back what few strides were made in those days of revolution. Still, there have been manymovies that have been noticed and that have made us laugh. This top 5 shows a wide range within the culture and represents movies that are are or will be classics in the future.
5) Scary Movie
Starring: Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans,
The Wayans family as a collective have written, directed, produced and starred in numerous movies, and garnered reputations and names for themselves in the comedy business.
The first of four in the Scary Movie series was released in 2000 during a good time for African American movies at the box office and turned into the most successful movie ever directed by an African American, big brother Keenan. The movie successfully brought back the spoof comedy to the masses and since has spawned many sequels and spin offs.
The movie itself stars Marlon and Shawn along with Carmen Electra, Franchise regular Anna Faris and many others and is a parody of slasher films, in particular, Scream 1 and 2 and I Know What You Did Last Summer. Scary Movie was a great success but has polarized some in opinions. It finds its way here mostly on popularity and influence.
4) House Party
Starring: Kid, Play, Tisha Campbell, Martin Lawrence
Kid N’ Play got their acting break with the release of House Party in 1990. The movie was a hit both at Sundance and when released to the public, dwarfing their music careers, making movies their focus from thereon. Set in LA, the movie follows Kid and his friend Play through the course of a day. Kid gets into a fight at school and is grounded by his father, Robin Harris, on the night of the biggest party of the year, being thrown at Plays house. Kid sneaks out, and from then on we see him trying to get there with the bullies and the LAPD on his tail. Once he gets to the party the movie really begins to shine and we get a look at an almost perfect house party.
Starring: Ice Cube, Chris Tucker, John Witherspoon
Ice Cube had been famous for many things prior to Fridays release in 1995. As the toughest gangsta rapper in NWA, and in his film debut ‘Boys in the Hood’ but ‘Friday’ changed it all, and laid the groundwork for the family friendly Ice Cube of today. Friday is essentially another hood flick but this time a comedy. Cube stars as Craig, whose weed addicted friend Smokey (played by Chris Tucker) gets high off the supply he’s supposed to sell and in turn owes local kingpin, profits he doesn’t have. With their lives on the line from Worm and Deebo, local bully, we see how they manage to survive the Friday.
2) Coming To America
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, John Amos
Coming to America was Eddie Murphy’s last commercially and critically successful movie of the 80s, released after the zenith of his popularity, Beverly Hills Cop.
The movie stars Murphy as Prince Akeem, a perpetually bored prince of an African country who is scheduled to marry a woman he has never seen before and flees to America to start a new life. He brings with him his faithful right hand man, Semmi, played by soon to be talk show host, Arsenio Hall. Once in America Akeem and Semmi decide to live their lives as if they had no money and find work at a local restaurant chain where Akeem meets the owners daughter and without showing his past tries to win her affections.
The movie shows Eddie Murphy at his most charming, his funniest and most versatile. He plays numerous characters, as does Arsenio Hall. Coming To America still stands today as one of the funniest African American comedies.
1) I’m Gonna Git U Sucka
Starring: Keenan Ivory Wayans, Damon Wayans, Dawn Lewis
Written and produced by Keenan Ivory Wayans, I’m Gonna Git You sucka was the first foray of the Wayans family into mainstream comedy on the big scale. The movie features the comedic style that has followed the family through In Living Color, the legendary sketch TV series, Keenans’ failed talk show, and the offshoot sitcoms and movies of the other siblings.
I’m Gonna Git U Sucka perfectly satires 70’s blaxploitation movies and blends it with 80s street culture. Jack Spade, played by Keenan comes home to find his neighborhood has been taken over by a crime boss, Mr Big and with the help of the great black heroes of his youth, Jack decides to finally rid the city of Big’s influence.
The movie stars Damon and Kim Wayans and ‘A Different World’ alumni, Kadeem Hardison and Dawn Lewis and blaxploitation movie legends, Isaac Hayes, Antonio Fargas, The movies non stop humour made such an impression that Wayans was offered his own little heard of TV show, Slade, Hammer and Slammer as a result. While that failed, it and this movie acted as the perfect precursor to In Living Color.