We need to talk about black women in comedy: VH1’s “All Jokes Aside”

If you think it’s still tough out there in the comedy trenches for a woman wanting to make it as a stand-up, then just imagine what it must be like for a black women.

Heck, don’t imagine it. Go out and talk to some black women in comedy.

That’s what the new short documentary, All Jokes Aside, for VH1 digital did. Over the course of 22 minutes, the camera follows Tiffany Haddish, Luenell, Amanda Seales and other women around Los Angeles, from their homes to the comedy clubs and back. Tichina Arnold (Martin) and Debra Wilson (MADtv) talk about what’s changed and what still needs to change.

Last night in YouTube’s NYC space, the documentary premiered before a select audience in the room, followed by a livestreaming panel — moderated by Franchesca Ramsey — talking to Ellen Cleghorne, Michelle Buteau, Naomi Ekperigin and Azie Dungey about how the comedy industry views black women and how comedians often have to, can and have taken control of their own narratives.

Here’s the full hour, in case you missed it last night:

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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