Let’s think about this: Are there any stand-up comedians better than the three best stand-up comedians? There’s Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, and Bill Cosby, then there’s everyone else. Bill Hicks, old Dennis Miller, Billy Connelly, Patton Oswalt, Chris Rock — all fantastic, but no one can really compete with the three greatest (at least in their stand-up primes). Call it bad parenting if you want, but I grew up on the stand-up specials from Murphy and Pryor, and listened to Cosby’s on a record player. A record player, people!
Where’s my point? Oh yes: There’s going to be a documentary tonight on Showtime called Why We Laugh, which will explore the influence of black comedy, which will track the evolution of black comedy from Steppin Fetchit to Dave Chapelle, with stops on “Good Times,” Def Comedy Jam, and The Original Kings of Comedy along the way. If you’ve got Showtime, check it out. I have no idea how good it is, but if there are clips from Murphy, Cosby, and Pryor’s routines anywhere in the film, it’ll probably be worth your while. Here’s a trailer: