The Importance of 'ComicView' and Black Comedy Culture

The 2024 class and alumni reflect on how ComicView shaped their lives and influenced a generation of Black comedians.

At a time when comedy is relegated to social media apps in the form of "skits" or professional comedians find themselves at odds with our current culture, the "ComicView" revival exists to remind us how essential and cathartic black comedy is, without stepping too far over the line. Here's what five featured comedians had to say about how the show impacted a culture. 

Bresha Webb on raising a generation 

I feel like ComicView has raised so much of our generation. We would try out some of those jokes. I would sneak downstairs and watch ComicView until my dad was like ‘You’re getting these jokes a little too good, you can sit next to me and watch it.’ This was something we used to do all the time, try out the jokes on each other, take it to school . . . It’s a part of our culture, it’s a part of black life.

ComicView's Class of 2024

Tommy Davidson on Then vs. Now

Without Def Jam or ComicView half the comedians working right now over the last 25 yrs, you wouldn’t know who they are — Mike Epps, Kevin Hart, everybody. It’s a vehicle for us. And especially to be back during these times, because a lot of black comedians don’t come out and do comedy on stage, we do it on the phone. They just get comments and people say “Oh that’s funny,” but knows one’s laughing out loud

Mike Epps on legendary programming

I’m an alumni of ComicView. I’m one of the guys who actually did ComicView back in the day. Kevin Hart is right now one of the top leaders in the comedy game so I felt it was really essential for us to connect and bring it back. I think what made ComicView so popular is that it was on BET at a time where they had Rap City, Martin, In Living Color, all these different shows on BET that were really fun and cool. It was the standup comedy platform for that group of shows that was on at the time.

Tony T. Roberts on doing it clean 

It means more than people think. We had no avenue. Def Jam was cool, but [ComicView] came out and it was cleaner. Family-wise, ComicView was the first avenue we had. 

Tacarra Williams on comedy without fear

ComicView, for Black comedy and Black culture in general, it was an outbreak, a space for us to be ourselves, for us to talk about situations and lifestyles that only we understand. For us to not be ashamed and fearful of what our life was, and most importantly, to say in front of a crowd that got it.

The new season of ComicView is streaming on BET+.

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