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tv   The History of Comedy  CNN  December 4, 2021 8:00pm-9:00pm PST

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an in minnesota. i won the first by 312 votes which that's funny. thank you so much. when they say this show features living color, you better believe it. >> spear chukker. white trash, jungle bunny, [ bleep ] -- >> i'm not allowed to say certain things. i can make fun of jewish people, but i'm not allowed to make fun of other ethnic groups. >> they don't arrest anybody that kills rabbits. if you want to get away with murder, all you've got to do is shoot somebody in the head and put a demo tape in their pocket. >> when you laugh, it's a racial joke. when you don't laugh, it's a
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racist joke. >> just for the record, my arash friends, i don't do any arab jokes in my act. it's not that i don't think you're funny, i don't know, i don't want to die. [ laughter ] ♪ [ applause ] thank you, thank you, thank you. thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. i did a festival in telluride, colorado. a ski town.
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not a lot of minorities there. i was talking to this dude. he says, yo, man, before you go, i got to ask you one thing, where are you from? i went, i'm from south carolina but my parents are from india. he went, what? but you talk exactly like i do. and then i showed him a video of an asian kid rapping and his head exploded. >> the state of diversity in comedy is the same in this country. comedy is more diverse now as it's ever been but not near enough as it should be. >> who is racist, black or white people? black people because we hate black people too. >> comedy is anger, fear, insecurity and self-denigration. >> it's like the civil war going on with black people. and there's two sides. there's black people and there's -- and they've got to go. >> the jewish kid asks his father for $50.
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the father says, $40, what do you need $30 for? i can tell that joke because i'm jewish and even though i'm making a jewish stereotype, i'm denigrating myself. >> i didn't play violin. [ cheers and applause ] >> i didn't [ bleep ] woody allen. >> it's just about, oh, we want to hear the real truth. and that's what comedy is, is the real truth. >> we can look at society in such a way that we have to stand outside of it a little bit. we're racial referees. that's the super power. >> right before the u.s. went to war with iraq, they warned iraq. we are going to come to your country and kill you. >> oh, yeah. you kill me? oh [ bleep ] you!
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i kill me. >> asian men are the sexiest. they got no body hair from the neck down. >> it's like making love to a dolphin. because of my appearance and my race and gender, it was really hard to welcome people into this idea that a person who looked like me could be funny. >> comedy comes from pain. when you look at oppressed groups, there's a lot of comedy that comes from those groups. a lot of times that comedy takes its roots from how those groups chose to deal with their oppression or whatever their particular plight was. >> i was raised muslim. oh, really? that's never happened before. i was raised muslim. woo. we're not all doing that?
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just me? woo. >> any time you're upset, there's a joke there. and so the more frustrating something is, the more ripe it is for humor. therefore, racism is very frustrating, therefore, it's ripe for humor. >> i got a jury duty notice. you have to fill it out and send it in and they select you randomly. i'm filling out this form and everything and my friend is like, why don't you write something really inappropriate on the form like, i hate chinks. i wanted to do it but i don't want people to think i'm racist. i just wanted out of jury duty. i just filled out the form and i wrote, i love chinks. >> i was surprised, i was upset. i felt very frustrated. >> when a racial joke goes bad, people are hurt. people are angry. it's painful.
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it's like, you can feel the air. >> calling a chinese person a chink is the same thing as calling a black person a nigger. this is the way we take it. we don't think racial slurs should be used in this kind of way because it gives people the permission to use it in less appropriate situations. >> correct. >> i believe comedy reflects society. i feel that joke is a joke that points a finger at racism just like it's your job to point your finger at racism. >> i think you're giving yourself too much credit. i think that -- first of all, i understand satire. she said it was taken out of context. said there's no context. >> his intention isn't to hurt your feelings. his intention is to present you with something you'll think about and laugh at the same time. people get so hung up on words nowadays. it's not the words that are bad. it's the intent behind the words that are bad. >> what you could have said, she could have said, i hate chinese people. i love chinese people. okay, funny joke, ha-ha, and that would have been over with. >> that's not the point of the joke. >> i learned really huge lessons
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which is, i'm not going to be for everybody but i certainly do not want to be seen as a racist because it came from the opposite place. you know, i could have said dirty jew but it wouldn't as been as funny because i'm a jew. it's safe. it's too safe. >> you know, when you're playing with racial slurs, you're playing with fire. and if you're playing with fire, expect to get burned. >> oh you know what, that was so jack ass. let me tell you. the tempur-pedic breeze° makes sleep...feel cool. because the tempur-breeze° transfers heat away from your body... ...so you feel cool, night after night. save up to $500 on select adjustable mattress sets during the tempur-pedic black friday event. this holiday season, give your family the gift that keeps on... going? our very own energizer bunny! energizer ultimate lithium. [snowball splat and windshield wiper] the #1 longest-lasting aa battery.
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having a lot of money and doing the best you can with very little. the not having and always a great place for humor. >> i'm hungarian and puerto rican, which is strange in itself. i couldn't figure how my parents met, a gypsy and puerto rican. i asked my mother. she said they were on the subway trying to pick each other's pocket. talk about being puerto rican, there's prejudices. i think if you can take a prejudice to the most ridiculous degree and make somebody laugh it's not prejudice and eventually you wipe it out. the beautiful thing about ethnic humor is while you're making observations about us, hey, we're making observations about you. we are. we're looking in the rearview mirror going, look at those caucasians. what a waste of space. only two people in that big car. >> when you are fighting a power that you cannot defeat, you will tend to find other outlets so that you can survive. one of those natural outlets is humor. >> it is the huge resort hotel which is the best bet for the city dweller who is looking for
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the same amusements he has in town. >> it began after world war ii. you had a lot of middle class jewish families living in the city. they were looking for a place to go, there were these hotels and people could go up there and have a relatively economical vacation. >> as soon as you walk off the airplane, you walk right into a propeller. even people come here for the reading of their will or what? come on. these are jokes. this is it. >> the root of a lot of jewish humor is it's attacking back with our minds because judaism is a religion that encourages study, encourages questioning, encourages embracing of nuance. words were for many years the way that jews fought back. >> this past winter, so that was in palm springs. she says where?
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he says palem springs. it's not palem springs. she says, it's palm springs. you're right, i had it confused. with palem beach. >> the guys working at the hotels and doing stand-up at hotels became the big jewish comics of the '50s and '60s. >> it was a tremendous training ground. when you were up here in the social staff you stayed there for a whole ten weeks. you got used to the people, the audience. and you honed your craft. i don't do jokes. i don't do -- i do characterizations. the fun comes from the character. it comes from what he's doing, what he's thinking about, what he's thinking of doing. so, that's the way i do comedy. i don't go out and just tell a string of jokes. >> we'll see you on you january 26th on a sunday night. >> abc, abc, abc. >> can you hear me? is the sound on, mr. hempstead? is the sound -- the sound is on? the air is off. the air is off. the air is off!
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>> a show is usually as good as its top banana and writers. we had writers that you couldn't touch. >> you had jewish writers. neil simon, carl reiner, mel brooks, woody allen. anything you laughed at in the second half of the 20th century was provided by them. >> do you recognize this voice, al? >> hello, al. remember me? i used to encourage you. i helped you in those desperate years when you needed help so very much. i guided you and encouraged you and did so much to mold your character and make you the person you are today. >> can i hear it again? >> your show is now looked at by comedy mavens as one of the great early comedy shows if not the great early comedy sketch show. a precursor by many, many years of "saturday night live" and everything that followed.
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>> al, al, i wonder if you would tell our audience exactly who this lady is. >> i don't know who she is but it's all right with me. >> one of the fastest rise into comic commentators is young woody allen. >> the telephone company has a service for emotionally disturbed called dial-a-prayer. there's a number you dial if you're an atheist. you don't hear anything on the other end of the phone. >> stand-up comedians before woody allen were sharp talking guys in good suits and fast talkers and really snazzy guys. here comes woody allen, this schlameal. this was something new in stand-up comedy. >> where do you get your humor? >> it's like a genetic mutation. i say it and it comes as a great shock to me. it's like a pleasant surprise to hear myself say it. it's like i'm not even conscious of the thing happening. >> he happened to be an
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incredible craftsman of jokes. when you listen to a joke of his, it's almost like a little haiku. he was conscious of the writing of the joke, and that's also inspirational. >> woody allen is about as secular a jew as they come. he never felt judaism as a religion. woody has always been much more interested in the big questions than the day to day. he's still asking about the nature of existence and is there a god. it's a theme he works again and again in his movies. >> mom, come out. >> of course there's a god, you idiot. you don't believe in god. >> but if there's a god, then why is there so much evil in the world? just on a simplistic level, why were there nazis? >> tell him, max. >> how the hell do i know why there were nazis. i don't know how the can opener works. >> jewish history filled with persecutions and oppressions and expulsions inclines jews to be pessimists. judaism, on the other hand, is
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optimism. thus we end as worried with optimist on our face. >> can you admit that you are in danger of misacceptance? >> one is i'm making progress towards it but let's not exaggerate success of "annie hall." i'm going to make decisions to make acceptance by the masses. i'm going to make all those decisions counterproductive to my best interest. ♪ ♪
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the areas in which jewish and african-american humor meet would be in dealing with issues of oppression and issues of persecution. >> there was an unwritten law that black folks couldn't work white nightclubs. you could sing, you could dance, but you couldn't stand flat-footed and talk. [ applause ] >> do you know how to make love? >> all my natural life. that's all i have done. >> you're a heavy lover? >> very heavy lover. >> the chitlin circuit, as it was called, was a series of black venues that featured black performers for exclusively black audiences in various locations.
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>> did you all hear the one about the guy that -- did i say something funny? >> the entertainment in the venues on the chitlin circuit, it was more realistic. black comedians were able to be themselves in terms of the authenticity of their comedy in a way they had not felt before. >> this is a country that was built on slavery. you know, it was built on the backs of free labor. and with that in mind, that means slavery is this country's recesssive gene. >> african-americans are not allowed to represent themselves. so out of that comes a world of popular entertainment where white people are allowed to represent black life. where the slave is represented as happy. as foolish. >> you had better have my dinner cooked if you know what's good for you. >> if i do, you better not eat any if you know what's good for
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you. >> any time a black entertainer goes on stage and wants to make the audience laugh, especially if it's a white audience, you have that legacy of black behind you, haunting you. >> up until the early '60s comedy, especially stand-up comedy, was a very segregated proposition. and dick gregory changed all of that single-handedly. >> baseball player in trouble, that's a great sport for my people. that is the only sport in the world where negro can shake a stick at a white man and won't start a riot. >> i realized that if i made people laugh, they would stop talking about me. so, that's what i set out to do. >> dick gregory is one of the first black comedians who crossed over to the mainstream and did so in a way where he kept his integrity. there wasn't the sense he became less culturally black or less committed to his race because he played white rooms.
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>> you heard what bobby kennedy. he said 30 years from this year negro can become president. so treat me right or i'll get in there and raise taxes on you. don't get me wrong, i wouldn't mind paying income tax if i knew it was going to a friendly country. >> there's something about giving somebody a fact or piece of information that may be a little confrontational that people may object to, but if you can turn it into a punch line, they're much more open to it. gregory understood the power of comedy. >> one day in new york, the phone rang. my wife said, jack's office. get on the phone, hi, dick, would you come on the show tonight? i said, no, thank you. and i hung up. because a black person couldn't sit on the couch. okay. the phone rang again. it's paul. dick, mr. paar, how come you don't want to work my show? i said, because a black person never sit on the couch. he said, come on.
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i said, no, no. he said, well, come on in, i'll let you sit on the couch. that's how it happened. >> what kind of car you got? >> a lincoln, naturally. >> well, that's -- that's -- >> to have dick gregory on jack paar in the early '60s was an indication of things to come. television and comedy will be a space where one will see a strong african-american presence going forward. >> the movement came and something came over me. civil rights, oh, man. >> dick gregory was actually getting arrested time and time again for making the marches, but then what he would do is he'd get bailed out and then he'd do a show that night. and what had happened that day would all be fodder for his comedy. >> you wear tight shoe, you get a corn. you keep the shoe on long enough, you get a callous, then a bunion, then it is shoe is worn out. the negro have a callous around its soul. if you shoe don't back up, we in
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trouble. >> i would never stoop to the level to believe i could wipe out slavery and racism with some [ bleep ] jokes. i didn't go down there to tell jokes and make people laugh. i went there for liberation. >> white audiences accepted him. it just opened the door for every african-american comedian who came after that. >> football can be combined with history. as i found out sitting in history class thinking of football. >> bill cosby speaks the idea of there's more than one style of black comedy. bill always said, i don't want just black to get my jokes. i want everyone to get my jokes. when he started he did talk about he decided to make a choice. >> i played football. i played in service. we played a prison team. and, no really. they're a gas. they've got the greatest football players in the world. mostly because they have nothing
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to lose. their starting 11 came off death row. they didn't care about nothing. just kill, tackle in the huddle, everywhere, you know. >> bill cosby felt it would work for him to come on stage and be the exact opposite of the stereotype of what an african-american comedian was about. he forced white audiences to accept him as a human being. >> ever calm, suave and sophisticated, mr. richard pryor. ♪ >> earlier dad didn't curse yet. it was very clean. he was physical in wait that he did it. a charlie chaplin-esque. >> there was a guy in my school named terry austin. he was a real killer because he used to say things to you in school. he'd say things like, after school i'm going to bite off your foot. and you believe him because he always walk around with a shoe
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in his mouth. >> in the early '60s richard pryor is very much trying to imitate the success of bill cosby but richard pryor, of course, is not bill cosby. by the late '60s he's actually quite frustrated because he's not been able to fully articulate his own voice. there's this famous story, a legend, perhaps, of richard pryor in las vegas deciding he'd had enough. >> dad had that moment. it was being on stage and telling these jokes. you look around and the audience is like predominantly white and you're like, i have something, though, i really need to be saying. and there was that moment of, screw this. demonstrating the power of purpose. through your work, your caring, your dedication to being wherever you're needed, becoming part of families, bringing more confidence to the comeback, and delivering the essentials to people's doors, you give over a hundred million people
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♪ the barnes firm injury attorneys ♪ ♪ call one eight hundred, eight million ♪ richard pryor leaves las vegas and moves to the bay area. he's in the bay area in the late '60s, the time when you have the emergence of the black panther party. the student left. richard pryor is right in the middle of this, and his comedy starts to change because he's hanging around with black writers. hanging around with revolutionaries. he's learning to observe things in a very different way.
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>> -- know how to get out -- they do. white folks panic and run to the door and -- get outside and argue, i left my money in the [ bleep ]. >> once he said [ bleep ], bill cosby and became richard pryor, it was that person finding that they had been singing in falsetto their whole career and finding their voice. >> it's the fun part when the white people come back and find out -- stole their seats. weren't we sitting here, dear? i believe -- we were sitting here. weren't we? we were sitting right there. well, you ain't sitting there now [ bleep ].
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>> even after slavery it was not permissible for black people to openly make fun of, mock, ridicule white people. by the time you goat richard pryor, richard pryor decides he's not going to speak in code. he's going to talk to mainstream audiences the way black people talk in private. >> had a choke hold here, though. they choke -- to death. that means you be dead when they're through. did you know that? they're going, yeah, we -- white, no, i had no idea. yeah, two grab your legs, one grab your head. oh, [ bleep ], broke it. >> what it does is give people who have never had a way to talk about their struggle, because you can quote a richard pryor joke. then it gives people who never thought about the black struggle a way to hear about it through humor. richard pryor is delivering it in a way that's funny so you go, ha, ha, ha, huh. i wonder if that's true.
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all of a sudden your imagination is cracked open a little bit because he's explaining his experience. he's not just going, white people are bad, white people are bad. he's explaining the experience. and that, to me, is the difference. >> after you saw live in concert or sunset strip you went back and thought, i need to change what i do. >> we do all the work. nobody else wants to do it. if an immigrant is taking your job, then you got a [ bleep ] up job. >> i think that any comedian that has ever been influenced by richard pryor, he made you do something you didn't want to do, which was talk about the pain and the darkest times in your life. >> you know, you just don't want to drive through tennessee when you look like this. it's [ bleep ] not fun. it's not. i got to know the ku klux klan
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way too well. i don't mean to judge but they're [ bleep ]. they really are. >> richard pryor really changed race because he was unafraid to be black in a white world. i wanted to challenge and provoke in the same way that there was a way to do it even though i wasn't black and i wasn't white. >> one of the main components of being a comic is feeling like an outsider. whether you actually are or you're not, the more of an outsider you are in this game, the more perspective you gain. >> straight to the kitchen and pour me a cup of coffee and make it like i like my men. hot, black and strong. >> race in popular culture come together in really interesting ways in the '70s. there's this decade of what i like to call firsts. you start to see black situation
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come to dislike "sanford&son," "good times" and "the jeffersons". >> do you know what you're doing, george? >> of course i do. >> that's what you said on our honeymoon. >> is he a brother? >> no but what difference does it make? >> it makes a whole lot of difference to me. >> pop, haven't you seen that bumper sticker that says, good neighbors come in all colors. >> he'll come in good colors too. i put my -- >> it's one hell of a day in my neighborhood. a hell of a day for a neighbor. >> once every 10,000 years there's a golden child. i think it's like an athlete. they have all the tools, all the talent and all the hard work. eddie murphy and michael jordan to me are the same thing. >> the problem is when i move in, y'all move away. >> eddie murphy for me was everything. he did a sketch "white like me" where he became white. and it was to this day, i feel like every joke that i say, that's in its dna.
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♪ >> what are you doing? >> i'm buying this newspaper. >> it's all right. there's nobody around. go ahead, take it. >> slowly i began to realize that when white people are alone, they give things to each other for free. >> to have a dude that became that big on television, that big in movies and was that hot in the stand-up clubs, i don't know if we'll ever see that again. it was as if richard pryor and bill cosby had a baby together and he had a leather suit. that's what it was for me. >> brothers act like they couldn't have been slaves back 200 years ago. they like the [ bleep ] to like that [ bleep ]. i wish i was a slave. i would have [ bleep ] somebody up. the first dude that got off the boat said that [ bleep ] you. that [ bleep ] keep on going.
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keep that [ bleep ] away from me. >> richard pryor was very self-deprecative and talked about his lacks. eddie murphy was never deprecative. what eddie murphy brought to it was a much more macho presence, more macho persona on stage and it was something african-americans longed for at that time. >> nobody brought it in the way eddie brought it in. it was like, look, these are my idols, too, and they're phenomenal, but watch what i'm doing with what they did.
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certain rooms will let you have a little bit more of a pass. a white room is a lot times more quirky. the jokes have to have a wittiness to them. a lot of times i felt i was playing a black room, you got to go for it. you got to go hard, make sure you're not backing down. you have to be right there in their face or they'll eat you up. but when you can take your set and go from room to room to room and not really adjust it, you know you've done it. [ cheers and applause ]
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>> what's the big thing this year? election. colin powell. he should run. he can win. colin can win. he should run. he can't win. colin powell can't win. he got a better chance of winning the bronze in female gymnastics. >> chris rock, to me, is an intellectual power and he's an amazing satirist. but his talent and gift lies in how he makes observations. >> the white man thinks he's losing the country. you watch the news, we're losing everything. we're [ bleep ] losing. affirmative action. illegal aliens. we're [ bleep ] losing the country. losing? shut the [ bleep ] up. white people ain't losing [ bleep ]. if you're all losing, who's winning? it ain't us. >> chris was able to connect
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with black audiences and white audiences with the same words. >> [ bleep ] there ain't a white man in this room that would change places with me. none of you. none of you would change places with me. and i'm rich. >> chris is not differential to white or black people. the more powerful they are. >> i'm not talking about rich. i'm talking about wealth. a white man gets wealthy, he builds walmarts and makes other white people have some [ bleep ] money. a brother gets rich, he buys some [ bleep ] jewelry, okay? >> chris rock is unveiling the idiocy of our society and the courage is amazing. because, again, he criticizes blacks and he, in fact, fell out of favor with blacks with some of the stuff he was saying. >> chris doesn't want to be predictable. he thinks the worst thing comedy can be is predictable. if the audience knows your
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political perspective, they'll stop laughing because they see the joke coming. >> dave is a definite genius. the guy is jazz. he is our myles davis. >> welcome to chappelle. i still haven't been canceled yet. but i'm working on it. and i think this next piece might be the one to do it. >> excuse me. not sure we're in the right place. we're looking for clayton bigsby. >> look no further, fellow, you found me. >> clayton bigsby, the author. >> what, you don't think i can write them books? just because i'm blind don't mean i'm dumb. >> how could this have happened? a black white supremacist. >> one of the greatest sketches, top of all time, all time, is that klansman sketch. the blind klansman sketch is
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fantastic. it's just juxtaposition after juxtaposition after juxtaposition in that sketch. >> we don't like your kind around here. >> you better get out of here before something bad happens. >> that's right. that's right! >> come on, clayton. we got to go. >> oh, that monkey was beating my hood. white power! >> dave grew up around white people. as did i, in my large white family, so we could observe black people and white people with the same amount of acuity. ♪ >> good evening and welcome to the first and maybe only racial draft here in new york city. folks, this is for all the marbles. what happens here will state the racial standing of these americans once and for all. >> seated behind me on the stage here is the various representatives. believe it or not, the blacks
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have actually won the first pick. >> black delegation. tiger woods. >> no surprises there, fellows. >> many of those jokes are just frontal attacks on racism. and what he's really saying is we know this is going on. stop kidding yourself. it's happening. you know it's there. you're pretending it's not there. >> well, it seems as though tiger woods is happy to be black and that's a good thing. because i just received word that he lost all his endorsements. >> oh, that's a tough one. >> oh, and wheaties, the whole shebang. tough break. >> "entertainment weekly" is reporting dave chappelle turned himself into a mental health facility in april. >> david chappelle is speaking
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out in an interview telling "time" magazine he's not in drug rehab or mental hospital, as some have reported. >> one story he tells is about a skit that he had done and he says, as the skit's being performed he notices an older white guy laughing and he realizes the guy is laughing at him as opposed to laughing with him. when chappelle came to terms with this, he recognized the power of his comedy and also the fact no matter how funny he was, some of the racial issues in american society don't change because he tells a good joke or performs in a good skit. >> i'm out. [ applause ] won't clog pores 97% found their fit fit all of us fit me foundation only from maybelline new york. my hygienist cleans with a round head. so does my oral-b my hygienist personalizes my cleaning. so does my oral-b
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to give a few ski lessons. the time for getting back together is now. find it on vrbo. woah, this is so cool. oh yeah, yeah. ok, well it's time to go. -no, no, no, no, no! dad, we have to go back to lowe's. ho, ho, ho! dad! the tire! this it? -yeah! the holidays being at lowe's, where you'll find all you want during winterfest. ugh, carolers. let's go back to lowe's. yeah, let's go back to lowe's. c'mon! yeah!
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big bitch in the house. that's right! and i got some big-ass feet. that's right. i got some big-ass feet. i wear a size 12. when i walk into pay-less it gets quiet. >> laughter is a way to deal with some of the stress you might otherwise encounter and i think black comedians over time have always been individuals who have been able to say, you know, this situation is really [ bleep ]ed up. >> the criteria was always, what
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is funny, and then we can massage is later. has to be funny first. then it can be racial. if you start from a racial place, you're painting yourself in a corner. >> ah -- ah -- >> are you getting this? >> what is up? >> ah -- let's go. let's go! >> ain't that some [ bleep ]. >> these are some racist mother [ bleep ]-ing zombies. >> there should always be an element of problem-solves in racial comedy. >> hi, kids. >> in white person hoodie, it's the problem solving that's the wonderful surprise. ♪
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>> let's use people's racism against them to make the comedy work. once again, the comic has become the truth-teller. the comedian the person who pulls back the curtain. >> all right johnson clan. everybody fit into this so we can tear it up on saturday? >> zach's going to teach me to snowboard. >> thanks again for inviting me on your trip. my family usually teaches literacy at the prison for mlk day. >> how come we don't do anything for martin luther king's day? >> because we're black all yearlong. they're white. they have to do thing for extra credit. >> i wanted to do a family just a family but specifically a black family and their relationship to being in a world that wasn't specifically black. >> this is serious stuff, son. kids are dying in the street. >> hold up.
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kids are dying? we're kids! [ chanting ] >> my son beau at the time was 6. we were watching the ferguson indictment and he turned around and he said, why are all those people so mad? for our show we don't try to rip things from the headlines but we try to do what this family would actually be talking about. some of those stories sometimes are a little scary to do because some of them are not within the realm of what our comedy is talking about. that's why doing a family show will help. families will find comedy in anything. [ cheers ] >> i think you can make anything sound racist or hateful, with the right tone in your voice, the right inflection, you can make anything sound hateful. let me see if i can create a racial slur right now. sir, you sitting right there. what is your ethnicity, where are you from? >> shut up, kit-kat! quit laughing, kit-kat!
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>> everybody wants to tell their own story. i think one of the reasons comedians focus on race is because most of our stories were told through the lens of white people. russell peters, margaret cho, they want to tell their own story. part of that means take the things you've said, turn them on your ear so you know those things are wrong. >> the pow is when people can't find a way to express how they're feeling about something and a joke of a comics, so well-crafted and insightful will speak for however they're feeling. >> i never saw asian people on television or in movies. so my dreams were somewhat limited. i would dream -- maybe some day -- i could be an extra on "mash." >> it's hard, man, because security at the airport,
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customs, immigration. they really need to learn the difference between a terrorist and an indian. we're not the same. we're not! >> america is very focused when they say racial comedy. they picture black and white. that's the problem, and i checked the box of other. you got to understand, after black and white there's far more many others. i'm speaking to the unspoken to. >> most racism comes from the fear of the unknown. >> when things are out in the open, that's when they become not scary anymore. >> for all of you white people that are just pissed at me when i [ bleep ] you, i want you to know what it feels like when you're an american. some people spend their entire lifetime jumping a fence, swimming here like elian gonzalez' mother. we sacrificed. we betrayed a country to be americans. >> some people can be moved by a wonderful piece of rhetoric. some people can be moved by a
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stirring speech, but everybody can be moved by something that makes them laugh. everybody. and it's a great, great force that can be used to mold a mind. [ laughter ] >> it's a funny thing. i never thought about how to find humor here. i thought how can i not find humor here? humor is a way to diffuse things, to take the air out of something. >> it doesn't have to be tuesday for me to eat tacos. i don't need somebody to tell me that today i can have tacos. >> white people will ask me how are you friends with so many black people? i said, i don't know. it's weird. i just treat them like human beings. >> people go, do the indian accent. you can't. you have to physically become the indian accent. like, i'm talking to you like this, but if i had to change, suddenly my body has changed. my hands, eyes, everything is different. >> we have to morph. and that's really what it's
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about. you know? to understand humanity is to understand the sweet, lovely, wonderful foolishness of the human condition. >> the best comedy comes from your living experience. >> every comic sees the world through a prism that the average person doesn't see through. >> all we do is point out the obvious really and then twist it somewhere. >> i just can't believe the way people are, what is it with humanity, what kind of world do we live in? >> you're not alone ultimately. i think that's what the comic's saying. >> reality is fodder for comedy. because it's what we have, so, where else can we find comedy if not in real life? >> as opposed to what? fake life? you know. life is real, yeah. we got that.

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