Black Laughs Matter

Jeremy Julian

Black History Month has come to a close and with it came many celebrations and performances honoring black people and culture as a whole. These celebrations come in the form of music, dance, film, art and other aspects of entertainment and fine art.

One aspect of black culture that has had its hand in overall pop culture is comedy. Comedians like Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Cedric the Entertainer and more have been known worldwide for bringing their comedic skills to film but even more so to the stage. 

The “Hella Funny” comedy group is a Bay Area based collective of comedians who perform standup comedy in venues primarily throughout the Bay Area. Cobb’s Comedy Club is a widely known San Francisco venue for stand up comedy located in the North Beach neighborhood. This club is where the Hella Funny group puts on many of their showcases.

The nights of February 26 and 27th at Cobbs brought a free event from this comedy troupe for Black History Month. The name of the event was “Black Laughs Matter” and was hosted by Oakland-based comedianBryant Hicks, a member of the group

The free Black Laughs Matter show generated a packed house at the comedy club. Bryant Hicks was the first one out as he delivered a short set before he played host throughout the night, introducing the five other comedians who had ten minute sets each. 

“I like y’all, you’re not as black as I thought you would be,” said Hicks in response to seeing the racial diversity of the crowd in the venue. The other comedians who had sets at the event were Alexandria Love, Stroy Moyo, James Mwaura, Jalisa Robinson and SF State alum Ahmed Abelrahman. 

Each comedian had their own unique style but one aspect that was similar between them is how they were all able to use their stories of the black experience in their comedy. Abelrahman was a stand out in the show as he is one of few Sudanese comedians out there. 

“I didn’t want to just work so I went and I tried out at an open mic and I’ve just been doing it ever since.” said Abelrahman. Abelrahman has been doing comedy for six years and he recently graduated from SF State. 

“Nobody’s really the same, in terms of black comedy versus white comedy, there is a huge difference,” he said. This has been a notable aspect of black comedians as compared to their white counterparts. Comedy from different cultures, just like most other things, will have a distinct flavor to it and it may come off differently depending on who the audience is.