The producers of the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) will celebrate their 25th anniversary in 2021 with the launch of a spin-off festival for coemdian.

Big-name comedians, including Kevin Hart, Cedric The Entertainer, Mike Epps, Rickey Smiley, Craig Robinson, JB Smoove, have performed or appeared at the film festival in years past. But the ABFF Comedy Festival aims to find and showcase new Black and Brown comedians and comedy writers. Kenya Barris (black-ish) will serve as the festival’s Ambassador. The inaugural ABFF Comedy Festival will air virtually online from June 2-6, 2021, with live and pre-recorded content on ABFF Play streaming service.

Highlights will include four national competitions; one for stand-up comics and the other three for writers of comedic short films, webisodes and podcasts as well as live stand-up comedy performances, panels, conversations and master classes, plus digital screenings of studio and network films and television content in the comedy genre. The festival will culminate with “Black Comedy Live,” a global pay-per-view special featuring top headline comics. 

 “We are proud to expand our legacy of supporting Black talent in the early stages of their careers with the launch of the ABFF Comedy Festival. I’m very appreciative and excited to have Kenya Barris serve as our inaugural Ambassador. He is one of my favorite writers and sits amongst the most prolific content creators in the comedy arena,” says Jeff Friday, ABFF Ventures CEO.

Barris: “I’m thrilled to be partnering with American Black Film Festival on their very first ABFF Comedy Festival. Jeff and Nicole have built a long legacy of identifying new Black talent over the past 25 years, and as someone who shares their passion for championing and amplifying Black and Brown voices, I am excited to see them expand the ABFF imprint in this way. To be a part of something that will provide greater exposure, access, and opportunities to these comedians and comedy writers while also giving our community a reason to laugh together….this was a no-brainer and I’m honored to lend my support.”

For comedians and comedy writers, the deadline to enter the competitions is March 8, 2021. Contestants must be age 21 or older, of African descent, or who identify as Latinx, or Native American, who reside, and are eligible to work, in the U.S.  For additional information, please visit https://www.abff.com/comedyfest/