Shades of Black and the BCE


The Black Comedy Experiment worked (!). Who knew? Crowds packed The Tank for the final night of shows on Saturday. If there’s any one show that defines the "experiment," it’d have to be Shades of Black, because that stand-up showcase exists to prove that there’s no singular definition for a black comedian. Michelle Buteau hosted and had the crowd rolling with her issues — "Who said it? Yeah, I said it!" — while Baron Vaughn killed with bits about his girlfriend’s voice mails and the silliness of the KKK Website. Donald Glover deftly told the crowd to lower its expectations before telling funny stories and delivering impersonations of Barack Obama, Tracy Morgan on a PTA visit (whom he writes for on 30 Rock) and Chris Rock in a reinterpreted bit called "Black People vs. Vampires." BCE creator/producer Elon James White followed and challenged the audience by saying he was afraid of "retard babies" and didn’t think his girlfriend was hot like a Pussycat Doll (White told me later that he’d killed with 15-20 minutes earlier that night at Laughing Liberally, so he wanted to switch things up). Victor Varnado closed the show with solid energy, and noted his albino status right up front, asking Shades of Black: "How far are they going to take it?" Varnado has a great new(?) bit about playing a practical joke on his white girlfriend.

Earlier: My interview with Elon James White.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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