Stand-up comedy is an exciting and daring art form. Comedians face the challenge of captivating a wide audience while staying true to themselves. If you’re a fan of stand-up, prepare to be delighted by an array of talented and diverse comedians who bring a unique perspective to various subjects. Brace yourself for a laughter-filled adventure as you explore the vast collection of hilarious Black comedy specials available on popular platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Comedy Central. Get ready to witness the brilliance of comedy legends such as Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle, as well as the fresh and innovative styles of Trevor Noah and the Lucas Brothers.
These comedy acts cover a wide range of topics, and some even delve into the realm of American politics. Michael Che, for instance, shares his experiences as a Black man within the justice system with a dry wit that will leave you in stitches. On the other hand, Hannibal Buress prefers to tackle lighter subjects. From joking about pickle juice to humorous encounters involving Beyoncé and his mom, Buress fearlessly intertwines serious topics with comedic gold.
Now, let’s embark on a delightful journey together and explore these incredible Black stand-up specials. Which ones do you consider the absolute best? Are you more drawn to the latest releases or do the classics like Richard Pryor hold a special place in your heart? If you’re a true comedy enthusiast, share your favorites below and join in the fun!
1. Dave Chappelle: Killin’ Them Softly
Dave Chappelle: Killin’ Them Softly is a comedy documentary film from 2000. It was written by Dave Chappelle and directed by Stan Lathan.
Actors: Dave Chappelle, Albert Precourt
Directed by: Stan Lathan
2. Eddie Murphy: Delirious
Delirious is a hilarious stand-up comedy TV special featuring the comedic genius, Eddie Murphy. This side-splitting 70-minute show, which hit the screens in 1983, showcases Murphy’s most daring and risqué material. The uproarious performance was recorded on August 17, 1983, at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., and boy, was it a hit! The success of Delirious paved the way for Eddie Murphy Raw, a concert film that followed suit. Oh, and let’s not forget about The Bus Boys, who kick off the show and are playfully referenced by Murphy throughout.
Actors: Eddie Murphy
Directed by: Bruce Gowers
3. Dave Chappelle: For What It’s Worth
Dave Chappelle: For What It’s Worth” is a TV special from 2004 featuring the hilarious stand-up comedian Dave Chappelle. He performed at The Fillmore in San Francisco, California in June 2004, and the special first aired on Showtime on September 4 of the same year. It received two Emmy nominations, which is pretty impressive. If you missed the original broadcast, no worries! The DVD was released on August 16, 2005, so you can still catch all the laughs
Actors: Dave Chappelle, Greer Barnes
Directed by: Stan Lathan
4. Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip
Live on the Sunset Strip is this hilarious comedy album by Richard Pryor that you gotta check out. It was recorded back in 1982 and let me tell you, it was a huge hit. Like, seriously, it made a ton of money compared to all of Pryor’s other concert films.
Now, let’s get into the juicy stuff. In this album, Pryor opens up about his drug addiction. Yeah, he doesn’t hold back at all. He talks about that wild night on June 9, 1980 when he accidentally set himself on fire while doing some crazy freebasing with cocaine. Can you believe it?
And guess what? This album won a freaking Grammy for Best Comedy Recording in 1982. I mean, that’s pretty damn impressive, right? So go ahead and give it a listen. You won’t regret it!
Actors: Gene Cross
Directed by: Joe Layton
5. Chris Rock: Bring the Pain
The comedian performs.
Actors: Chris Rock
Directed by: Keith Truesdell
6. Mike Epps: Indiana Mike
Mike Epps: Indiana Mike” is a hilarious American stand-up comedy special from 2022, directed by the talented Alfonso Johnson. In this special, the incredible Mike Epps takes us back to his hometown of Indianapolis, where he shares his thoughts on his wild basketball days and his not-so-successful stint as a drug dealer. He also takes a trip down memory lane, reminiscing about the cherished moments he spent with his parents. Get ready for a night of laughter and heartfelt storytelling with Mike Epps in “Indiana Mike.
Actors: Mike Epps
Directed by: Alfonso Johnson
7. Kevin Hart: Seriously Funny
Kevin Hart: Seriously Funny is a 2010 TV movie directed by Shannon Hartman
Directed by: Shannon Hartman
8. Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain
The comedian performs his stand-up routine.
Actors: Taraji P. Henson, Harry Ratchford, Na’im Lynn, Dwayne Brown, Nate Smith
Directed by: Leslie Small
9. Kevin Hart: I’m a Grown Little Man
Kevin Hart: I’m a Grown Little Man is a documentary comedy film from 2009. It was written by Kevin Hart and directed by Shannon Hartman.
Directed by: Shannon Hartman
10. Richard Pryor: Live in Concert
Richard Pryor, a legendary comedian, had a significant impact on comedians from all backgrounds. His sharp and biting style of satire is showcased in a live concert performance recorded in Southern California during the 1970s. With his exaggerated facial expressions, liberal use of profanity, astute observations, and his background in acting, Pryor delivers engaging monologues on various subjects including race, sex, family, and much more. This documentary also features musical performances by the talented Patti LaBelle.
Directed by: Jeff Margolis
11. Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain
Comic and actor Kevin Hart is back with a follow-up to his 2011 film “Laugh at My Pain.” This time, he takes the stage in two sold-out shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The film aims to capture the sheer hilarity, electric energy, and utter chaos of Hart’s 2012 international “Let Me Explain” concert tour. And boy, did it deliver! This tour was a huge success, raking in a mind-boggling $32.7 million in ticket sales.
Actors: Kevin Hart
Directed by: Leslie Small, Tim Story