Forget every other race, when black comedians pick up the mic, their side-splitting jokes and antics leave audiences in stitches. They usually have a special connection with the audience, making you feel like you grew up with them by bringing up some life experiences that most people can relate to and making one big joke out of it. Over time, we have seen a lot of them come and go with some falling off the radar while so many others have remained relevant to date. In fact, the number of successful comedians of the black race makes it kind of difficult to make a list of just 10 influential black comedians who are shaking things up in the industry.
Notwithstanding, we put together a list comprising of ten out of the many influential black comedians who have kept us entertained.
Influential Black Comedians Making Waves In The Industry
These talented comedians have not only used their innate skills to crack hilarious jokes while talking of some life experiences and societal issues, but they also tapped into this opportunity to make a lot of money for themselves. This goes a long way to say that the influential black comedians today are not just funny but are swimming in a pool of fortune. They have really set the bar very high.
In no particular order, let’s meet some of the comedians below.
1. Martin Lawrence
Named after civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., Martin Fitzgerald Lawrence was born in West Germany on April 16, 1965. His African-American parents were serving in the military at the time of his birth. He tried a few things including boxing and later grew up to become one of the best in his career path as an American stand-up comedian, actor, producer, talk show host, and writer.
He found fame in the 1990s with movies like House Party, Boomerang, Bad Boys, Wild Hogs, Blue Streak, Big Momma’s House, A Thin Line Between Love & Hate and many others. His 2018 estimated net worth of a show-stopping $110 million is proof he is on the right path.
2. Eddie Murphy
These days, we mostly remember him for his numerous Hollywood films which are usually funny but before he went all movie star on us, Eddie Murphy had his time on stage as a stand-up comedian, arguably the best at the time. Now, that’s the Eddie we miss so much as he has been taking things slow these days.
Right from the 1980s, Eddie entertained the world with his jokes and once got ranked #10 on Comedy Central’s list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time. Currently, his acting portfolio has taken the center stage of his career, but that doesn’t mean his comic exploits have been forgotten. He is popular for a lot of movies, some of which include 48 Hrs., Norbit, the Beverly Hills Cop series, Dreamgirls, Trading Places, Coming to America, Shrek (voice role), The Nutty Professor, and the list can go on forever. Needless to say, he has many prestigious awards under his belt. The American comedian, actor, writer, singer, producer, and box office darling sits on a net worth of $85 million.
3. Kevin Hart
He is among the youngest (born 6 July 1979) and richest on the list of influential black comedians and we are not surprised at all. Raised by a single mother with his drug addict father making frequent trips to jail, Kevin Hart didn’t have it easy growing up. He briefly worked as a shoe salesman before trying out stand-up comedy, making a great impression with his performances at clubs in Philadelphia.
Today, he is a world-class American comedian, actor, and television host. Some movies to check him out on include Scary Movie 3 (2003), Think Like a Man (2012), Ride Along 1&2 (2014 & 2016), About Last Night (2014), Get Hard (2015), Central Intelligence (2016), The Secret Life of Pets (2016), Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017), and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017). He has been nominated for several awards and won many. His handsome net worth which hovers around $120 million says the dude is doing a lot of things right.
4. Chris Rock
With four Emmys and three Grammy Awards to his name, Chris Rock is no doubt good at his job as an American comedian, actor, writer, producer, and director. He has featured on every list of best stand-up comic acts in the world including a poll conducted by Comedy Central where he ranked fifth.
Born on February 7, 1965, the funnyman is popular for movies like Down to Earth (2001), Head of State (2003), The Longest Yard (2005), the Madagascar film series (2005–2012), Grown Ups 1&2 (2010 & 2013), Top Five (2014) and the sitcom Everybody Hates Chris (2005–2009). He wrote and narrated the sitcom which was based on his life while growing up.
Forbes recognizes him as one of the richest in the game, the comic star has accumulated a worthy net worth of $100 Million from his career.
5. Steve Harvey
Born on January 17, 1957, the younger generation might know Steve Harvey as an American comedian, television host, producer, radio personality, actor, and author who anchors a lot of TV shows like The Steve Harvey Morning Show, Family Feud, Celebrity Family Feud, Little Big Shots, and the Miss Universe Pageant (where he once crowned the wrong queen). But before he was all that, the funnyman did all sorts of jobs to keep body and soul together. He was a salesman, mailman, boxer, and more prior to his first stand-up gig in 1985 which paved the way for his star to shine.
As an author, Harvey published the popular Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man book in 2009, followed by Straight Talk, No Chaser: How to Find and Keep a Man. For his TV and entertainment exploits, the legendary comedian has six Daytime Emmy Awards, two Marconi Awards, in addition to being a 14-time NAACP Image Award winner. He took the accolades home in different categories.
For the most part, no matter what Harvey is working on, he will make you laugh while he smiles to the bank with a $120 million net worth. This feat secures him as one of the influential black comedians we have today.
6. Dave Chappelle
A well celebrated and decorated entertainer, Dave Chappelle is one of the best American comedians both on stage as a stand-up comic and as an actor, writer, and producer. He has been making waves in the industry since the early 1990s. Some of the movies he starred in include The Nutty Professor, Con Air, You’ve Got Mail, Blue Streak, Undercover Brother and Half Baked. Above all, he became more popular for his sketch comedy television series, Chappelle’s Show. Often called “comic genius of America”, Dave Chappelle sits on a $42 million estimated net worth.
7. Bill Cosby
Let’s just pretend like more than 50 women did not accuse him of behaving inappropriately towards them which led to him being found guilty of sexual offenses; Bill Cosby was once the bomb in American stand-up comedy. He discovered his forte in comedy quite early and started performing in clubs. The television sitcom The Cosby Show, which he starred in, became number one in the country and maintained the feat for years.
The stand-up comedian, actor, musician, author, and convicted sex offender has a massive net worth of $400 million despite the controversies trailing him.
8. Mike Epps
He is an American stand-up comedian, actor, film producer, writer, as well as a rapper. Born November 18, 1970, Mike Epps is popular for roles he played in movies like Next Friday, Friday After Next, The Hangover, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, and Resident Evil: Extinction. He became a stand-up comic as a teenager and now sits on a $6 million fortune as net worth.
9. Chris Tucker
He tasted prominent international fame with his role in the Rush Hour film franchise which earned him an MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo, alongside co-star Jackie Chan. Born on August 31, 1971, Chris Tucker would use his family and classmates as his audience while he mastered his comedic skills as a teenager. Inspired by the likes of Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, and Robin Harris, Tucker made the decision to pursue comedy and acting professionally – look where that choice got him today.
The Rush Hour film series made him one of the highest-paid actors at the time but due to bad spending habits, the talented comedian has been in debt with a payment plan in place with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), leaving his once colorful net worth on deficit.
10. Cedric the Entertainer
He is best known for playing a part in The Original Kings of Comedy in 2001. He also starred on The Soul Man and lent his voice to characters in Ice Age (2002) and Madagascar (2005). Among his recent works is the CBS comedy, The Neighborhood. Asides acting and comedy, Cedric whose real name is Cedric Antonio Kyles is also a game show host with Who Wants to be a Millionaire as one of his shows. He has a net worth estimated at $15 million.