The Crossover: 15 Black Comedians Loved by the Mainstream

These comedians have names that ring bells.

The Crossover: 15 Black Comedians Loved by the Mainstream

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#WeMadeIt - These comedians did more than just the unthinkable. Not only did they become famous, they became world famous. Check out who followed the blueprint and came out like Hov (get it?). (Photo: BET)


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Chris Rock - Chris Rock helped set a new standard for comedians everywhere in the '90s. If Richard Pryor begot Eddie Murphy, then Eddie Murphy begot Chris Rock. His keen take on race, relationships and politics laid the groundwork for comedy specials everywhere. Don't believe us? Re-watch BET Awards 2014, which he hosted, and tell us otherwise. (Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for BET)

"I. Flight of the Navigator" - There's no rapping on this one. Childish Gambino instead uses a harp to back his mechanically altered speaking voice as he recalls a girl from his past. He then channels his inner-Cody Chestnutt to sing over the unfiltered track.(Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

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Donald Glover - When you come up as a comedy writer under Tina Fey, star in the cult TV series Community and perform at various millenial music festivals, it's safe to say you've garnered mainstream success. (Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)


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Dave Chappelle - Prior to his show on Comedy Central, Chappelle had made a name for himself through Def Comedy Jam and roles in the films like Half-Baked and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. With his show, Chappelle managed to fill a void in comedy that had been missing for a while: a variety show with witty, raunchy and unfiltered racial and political humor with a hip hop twist.  (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Maya Rudolph

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Maya Rudolph - Maya Rudolph's tipping point for mainstream success was when she debuted on SNL. She held the spot for roughly seven years and has since branched out and appeared in various movies, including the hilarious Bridesmaids. (Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

Your Master of Ceremony

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Wayne Brady - Wayne Brady's first commerically-recognized appearance was as a regular on Whose Line Is It Anyway? Throughout the years, he managed to maintain a family-friendly image that even your grandmother could love. That same image helped him score his role as host on Let's Make a Deal which, much to your grandmother's delight, airs every day of the week. (Photo: Larry French/BET/Getty Images for BET)

We See You - Key and Peele watch as their latest comedy skit plays on the big screen at 106 & Park, November 6, 2012. (Photo: John Ricard / BET).

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Key and Peele - Interestingly enough, Key and Peele's show on Comedy Central fills a void that Chappelle's Show left once it ended: a hilarious mix of racial and social satire in the form of clever sketches. (Photo: John Ricard / BET)


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Bill Cosby - Who can deny the Cos? He (and his sweaters) were a fixture on primetime in the '80s and '90s and, let's face it, you're probably still eating pudding because of him. (Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images)


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Tracy Morgan - Tracy Morgan was a hilarious fixture on SNL for many years, but his turn on 30 Rock as Tracy Jordan (a character inspired by himself) made him a primetime regular that America looked forward to watching. (Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Eddie Murphy: April 3 - The comedy icon turns 52.   (Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

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Eddie Murphy - It wasn't just Eddie's stand-up that made him famous, it was his lead roles in just about every '80s comedy classic: The Golden Child, Coming to America, Beverly Hills Cop — the list goes on. In the '90s he went the family-friendly route with movies like Dr. Dolittle and The Nutty Professor, making him a viable commercial success once again. (Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

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Bernie Mac - Throughout the '90s, Bernie was known for his unfiltered comedy and achieved some success doing cameo roles in various films. However, after his stand-out performance in The Original Kings of Comedy, Mac catapaulted to another level of stardom and even got his own sitcom on FOX. Sadly, he passed away in 2008, leaving behind a legacy that will forever be remembered in the hearts and laughs of those who got to witness his humor. (Photo: UPI Photo/Jim Ruymen /Landov)

Whoopi Goldberg

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Whoopi Goldberg - Much like Eddie, Whoopi's stardom came in the '80s and '90s with roles in The Color Purple, Ghost and Sister Act. Her comedic side coincided with her rise to stardom, as she also performed alongside the likes of Billy Crystal and the late Robin Williams during HBO's Comic Relief specials. (Photo: Heidi Gutman/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

Jay Pharoah

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Jay Pharoah - Much like Maya Rudolph, Jay Pharaoh's path to glory came when he began as a regular on SNL. His most recent crossover moment? Being featured during the 2014 VMAs. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images for ESPY)

Wyatt Cenac

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Wyatt Cenac - Wyatt Cenac is best known as a correspondent on The Daily Show. His deadpan humor mixes well with the political satire for which the show is known. (Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for OneKid OneWorld)

 J.B. Smoove - Before he was a Real Husband, Smoove helped expand his comedic visiblity by appearing on Comic View.  (Photo: Tyler Golden / BET)

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J.B. Smoove - J.B. Smoove's crossover moment was Curb Your Enthusiasm. He also hosts a show on MSG, but Curb really launched him into a different stratosphere. It was a point of discussion during the first season of Real Husbands of Hollywood. (Photo: Tyler Golden / BET)

Host With the Most - We can always count on Hart to deliver the funny at awards shows. He did a killer job hosting the BET Awards in 2011, and has also emcee'd the BET Hip Hop Awards and BET Comic View.  (Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

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Kevin Hart - Yes, Kevin has crossed over. Chris Rock even made it a point to mention he's been in, like, every movie and he's hosted the BET Awards and the VMAs. Oh, he also got his start as a host on Comic View during its original incarnation and he also stars in the fakest reality series ever, Real Husbands of Hollywood, which returns on October 14!(Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)