As discussed on previous episodes, recent decisions – like the cancellation of Lovecraft Country and the culling of HBO executives – following the Warner Brothers Discovery merger of 2021 would seem to suggest a retracting of HBO’s commitment to platforming Black creators. But also, in recent months, HBO renewed Issa Rae’s Rap Sh!t, won an Emmy for Jerrod Carmichael’s Rothaniel, and licensed the Quinta Bruson sitcom Abbott Elementary on their streaming platform. Black comic creators seem to be sustaining their prominence within HBO.
On this episode of The American Vandal Podcast, Matt Seybold discusses the often precarious role of Black comic creators with two scholars of race, gender, and comedy in the U.S.
Jalylah Burrell is Assistant Professor of African American Studies at Loyola Marymount University. She is currently working on a book, “Capacity For Laughter: Black Women & the American Comedic Tradition,” a selection from which recently appeared in Women’s Studies Quarterly. In 2020, she presented on Era Bell Thompson at our Quarry Farm Symposium and appeared in our episode of “Dave Chappelle & Killjoy Comedy.”
Danielle Fuentes Morgan is Associate Professor of English & Ethnic Studies at Santa Clara University. Her book, Laughing to Keep from Dying: African American Satire in the Twenty-First Century (U Illinois, 2020), is part of the New Black Studies Series and was featured in The New York Times “New & Noteworthy” book review section. She also recently published an essay on Dave Chappelle at Vulture.
Thanks again to The Snarlin’ Yarns for providing this season’s theme song, “Don’t Go Fishing.”
Quinta Brunson, Quinta vs. Everything (Facebook, 2017-2018)
Bo Burnham, Inside (Netflix, 2021)
Jalylah Burrell, Bambi Haggins, Maggie Hennefeld, & Matt Seybold, “Dave Chappelle & Killjoy Comedy” (The American Vandal, 12.1.2020)
Destiny’s Child, “Independent Women” (2000)
Paul Laurence Dunbar, “We Wear The Mask” (1895)
Rita Felski, “Everyday Aesthetics” (Minnesota Review, Spring 2009)
Jesse David Fox, “The Special Special” (Vulture, 5.23.2022)
Caroline Framke, “’I just wanted it to be a regular story about black people’: Issa Rae on creating and starring in HBO’s Insecure“ (Vox, 10.9.2016)
Ashley Lee & Alexandra Del Rosario, “Quinta Brunson Wasn’t Bothered, But Jimmy Kimmel’s Dead-Body Gag Bombed At The Emmys” (LA Times, 9.12.2022)
Jane Mulkerrins, “Issa Rae: ‘So much of media presents blackness as fierce and flawless. I’m not.’” (The Guardian, 8.5.2017)
Eddie Murphy, Delirious (HBO, 1983)
Jason Parham, “A People’s History of Black Twitter” (Wired, 7.15.2021)
Mary Pattillo, Black Picket Fences: Privilege & Peril Among The Black Middle Class (U Chicago P, 1999)
William Petterson, “Success Story, Japanese-American Style” (New York Times Magazine, 1.9.1966)
Issa Rae, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl (2011-2013)
Lacey Rose, “Lena Dunham’s Original Pitch for Girls“ (Hollywood Reporter, 2.6.2017)
Deanne Stillman & Anne Beatts, Titters: The First Collection of Humor By Women (Collier, 1976)
Frazier Tharpe, “Jerrod Carmichael’s 12-Step Truth Program” (GQ Magazine, 6.15.2022)
Ali Wong, Baby Cobra (Netflix, 2016)