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This comprehensive history of black humor sets it in the context of American popular culture. Blackface minstrelsy, Stepin Fetchit, and the Amos 'n' Andy show presented a distorted picture of African Americans; this book contrasts this image with the authentic underground humor of African Americans found in folktales, race records, and all-black shows and films. After generations of stereotypes, the underground humor finally emerged before the American public with Richard Pryor in the 1970s. But Pryor was not the first popular comic to present authentically black humor. Watkins offers surprising reassessments of such seminal figures as Fetchit, Bert Williams, Moms Mabley, and Redd Foxx, looking at how they paved the way for contemporary comics such as Whoopi Goldberg, Eddie Murphy, and Bill Cosby.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781556523519
ISBN-10: 1556523513
Format: Paperback
(228mm x 152mm x 34mm)
Pages: 672
Imprint: A Cappella Books
Publisher: A Cappella Books
Publish Date: 1-May-1999
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Mel Watkins

Mel Watkins is a former editor at "The New York Times Book Review." He is the author of "Dancing with Strangers: A Memoir." He lives in New York City.

Books By Author Mel Watkins

Darkest America by Mel Watkins

Darkest America

Hardback, August 2012
Stepin Fetchit by Mel Watkins

Stepin Fetchit

Paperback, December 2006
Dancing with Strangers by Mel Watkins

Dancing with Strangers

Paperback, July 2002
African American Humor by Mel Watkins

African American Humor

Paperback, January 2002