Make 'Em Laugh: The Best Black Female ComediansMar 07, 2023 03:00PM ● By Boitumelo Masihleho
Comedy is among the most treasured forms of art today. Through it, comedians talk about pertinent issues, make light of moments, and pass on enlightening information. Black female comedians have been on top of their game for a while now.
Many funny black women have found success in other aspects of the entertainment industry. They will not only give you a great laugh but are also talented actresses with award-winning roles in films and television shows in Hollywood and South Africa.
Whether you’re into political humor, commentary on romance, or sketch comedy, there’s something for everyone on this list of Black female comedians.
1. Loni Love
A proud Detroit native, Love was raised in the same Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects as Diana Ross. Love also earned an electrical engineering degree, until later launching a career in stand-up comedy. She was the runner-up on Star Search 2003 and was named among the "Top 10 Comics to Watch" in both Variety and Comedy Central in 2009. Love is the Executive Producer of Little Women Unfiltered: Atlanta - an after-show for Little Women: Atlanta, season six on Lifetime. Love is a proud ally of the LGBTQ+ community, she holds the 2022 WOWIE award for Best Queen Comedian. She was one of the co-hosts of the syndicated daytime talk show The Real.
2. Nicole Byer
Nicole Byer is a comedian, actress, and television host. She is known as the host of the Netflix comedic reality bake-off series Nailed It!, for which she received two Primetime Emmy Award nominations. Byer gained recognition for her work in the commentary series Girl Code. Byer's first full-length special, Nicole Byer: BBW (Big Beautiful Weirdo), premiered on Netflix in December 2021 and earned her an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special. Byer described Whoopi Goldberg, Tina Turner, and Mo'Nique as her early inspirations.
3. Leslie Jones
She started doing stand-up comedy in 1987 and was a cast member and writer on Saturday Night Live from 2014 to 2019. In 2017 and 2018, Jones was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her work on SNL. In 2008, Jones was part of Katt Williams's It's Pimpin' Pimpin' tour, and Netflix signed Jones for a stand-up special slated for 2020.
4. Tiffany Haddish
Tiffany was born on 3rd December 1979 in Los Angeles, California, to an Eritrean-Jewish father and an African American mother. She started doing comedy after graduating from high school and got her first big break in 2006. Her Netflix special, Black Mitzvah, dropped on her 40th birthday, describes her long road to womanhood, her discovery of her Jewish heritage, and singing and dancing that’s bound to make you laugh out loud.
5. Wanda Sykes
Wanda Yvett Sykes is a stand-up comedian, actress, and writer. She was first recognized for her work as a writer on The Chris Rock Show, for which she won a Primetime Emmy Award in 1999. In 2001, she won the American Comedy Award for Funniest Female Stand-Up Comic. Aside from her television appearances, Sykes has also had a career in film, appearing in Monster-in-Law, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, and Evan Almighty, as well as voicing characters in animated films such as Over the Hedge, Barnyard, Brother Bear 2, Rio and UglyDolls. In 2015 she won the Activism in the Arts honor at the Triumph Awards.
6. Maya Rudolph
The daughter of legendary singer Minnie Riperton, Maya Rudolph, has managed to make a career outside of the shadow of her mom as a hilarious part of the SNL cast. The comedian actress started as a singer before pursuing comedy and has been one of the famous performers on Saturday Night Live since 2000. Since 2017, she has voiced various characters in the Netflix animated sitcom Big Mouth, including Connie the Hormone Monstress, which won her Primetime Emmy Awards in 2020 and 2021. For her portrayal of United States senator and vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris on SNL, Rudolph won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.
7. Yvonne Orji
Yvonne Anuli Orji is a Nigerian-American actress and comedian. She is best known for her role in the television series Insecure, for which she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award and three NAACP Image Awards. She gave a speech at TEDxWilmingtonSalon in 2017 titled, "The Wait is Sexy". In the talk, she explains her reasons for abstaining from sex before marriage. In 2021, she began development on a series for Disney+ titled First Gen. The series is based on her personal life and is produced by Oprah Winfrey and David Oyelowo. Orji is the author of the book Bamboozled by Jesus.
8. Sheryl Underwood
Sheryl Patrice Underwood is an American comedian, actress and television host. She first rose to prominence in the comedy world as the first female finalist in 1989's Miller Lite Comedy Search. Underwood is one of the hosts of the CBS Daytime talk show The Talk, becoming the show's longest-running co-host, a role she first stepped into in September 2011. She has received one Daytime Emmy Award with seven nominations. Underwood is also a member of the National Council of Negro Women and the NAACP. She also founded the African-American Female Comedian Association.
9. Quinta Brunson
Quinta Brunson is an American writer, producer, actress, and comedian best known for creating, executive producing, co-writing, and starring in the ABC comedy series Abbott Elementary. Brunson gained prominence for her self-produced Instagram series Girl Who Has Never Been on a Nice Date. For Abbott Elementary's first season, she was named Time's 100 Most Influential People of 2022. At the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards, she became the first Black woman nominated three times in the comedy category. She won the Emmy for Outstanding Writing For a Comedy Series for the show, making her the first black woman to win that award solo. In August 2022, Brunson signed a multi-year overall deal with Warner Bros. Television, the co-production studio of her show.
10. Celeste Ntuli
Among her many achievements, Celeste is listed as the first local female comic to record a one-woman show DVD, ‘Seriously, Celeste.’ Celeste Ntuli impressed the judges in the second season of SABC 1’s So You Think You’re Funny competition in 2009, making her a finalist. Since then, her star has been shining, leading her to perform in huge shows like Blacks Only comedy showcase in 2010 and 2012, the first Stand Up Zulu comedy show.
Let's look at some ladies who have led the road and left their mark in their different sectors. Read More »
11. Janelle James
Janelle James is an American comedian, actress, and writer. She is best known for her role as Ava Coleman in the television series Abbott Elementary, for which she won a Black Reel Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and an NAACP Image Award, in addition to nominations for a Primetime Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Critics' Choice Award, and an Independent Spirit Award. She was named one of Variety's 10 Comics to Watch for 2020 and will host the 2023 Writers Guild of America Awards.
12. Sherri Shepherd
Sherri Shepherd is an American actress, comedian, author, broadcaster, and television personality. She currently hosts the daily syndicated daytime talk show Sherri. She also starred in many sitcoms like The Jamie Foxx Show and recurring roles on the sitcoms Suddenly Susan and Everybody Loves Raymond in the late 1990s. In 2009, Shepherd won the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host alongside her co-hosts from The View.
13. Tumi Morake
Tumi Morake is a South African comedian, actress, TV personality, and writer. Some comedy festivals she has performed at include Heavyweights Comedy Jam, Blacks Only, Have a Heart, Just Because Comedy Festival, The Tshwane Comedy Festival, The Lifestyle SA Festival and Old Mutual Comedy Encounters. She has hosted shows, including Our Perfect Wedding, Red Cake and WTFTumi (her talk show). The Free State native was the first African female comedian to have her own set on Netflix. She is also the first female comedian to host Comedy Central Presents in Africa.
Sommore is an American comedian and actress. Known as the “Diva of Contemporary Comedy,” her comedic style features biting sarcasm and frank discussions about money, sex, and equality between the sexes. She appeared in the films Friday After Next, Soul Plane, and Dirty Laundry and has received the Richard Pryor Award for Comic of the Year. Her father was the poet Doughtry “Doc” Long, and her half-sister is actress Nia Long. Most of Sommore’s subsequent solo specials also have debuted on Showtime, but this year, her solo special called Queen Chandelier was picked up by Netflix.
More Black female celebs are taking the reigns and being a part of major production deals to give us diverse projects. Check out the list below for five Black women who have secured big p... Read More »
Let's see whether this revival can stand on its own or if it can fill the massive shoes that the first show did so quickly. Read More »
Boitumelo Masihleho is a South African digital content creator. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Rhodes University in Journalism and Media Studies and Politics and International Studies.
She's an experienced multimedia journalist who is committed to writing balanced, informative and interesting stories on a number of topics. Boitumelo has her own YouTube channel where she shares her love for affordable beauty and lifestyle content.
Read more from Boitumelo Masihleho:
While BHM is a great time to brush up on our history and our ongoing journey to overcome, any month in the year is a good time to look at our varying stories, perspectives, and messages c... Read More »
She is representing Jalen Hurts, an American football quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. Read More »