Five Black Female Comics to Watch

For when you want to learn and laugh.

Like just about every white person I know, I’ve been trying to listen and learn and work at becoming an anti-racist activist. The danger we face as we embark upon this journey is becoming so overwhelmed by just how little we’ve been paying attention, how much we’ve ignored and what all we’ve allowed to happen right under our noses, that we just stop. Stop reading. Stop watching. Stop listening. Because it’s hard…and we’re white…and we can just choose to go back to our ignorance.

If and when you reach that point, may I recommend shifting, rather than stopping? Comedians are the great social commentators of our time, and there are some excellent Black comedians out there who make us laugh and think…and sometimes cringe. Chris Rock, Dave Chappell and Trevor Noah are just a few that likely come immediately to mind, but I wanted to highlight a few of the female comics who are out there engaging our brains while still making us laugh.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of funny Black women who have something to teach us, but this list is a good place to start. (Full Disclosure: some clips may contain strong language.)

Sasheer Zamata @thesheertruth

An alum of SNL, Zamata has gone on to solo, movie and podcasting projects. She’s also a celebrity ambassador with the ACLU.

Dulce Sloan @dulcesloan

Sloan is a member of the Daily Show reporting team. You can also check out her stand-up special on Comedy Central.

Phoebe Robinson @dopequeenpheebs

Robinson is the half-of the Two Dope Queens podcast/HBO special duo along with Daily Show Alum Jessica Williams. She’s also the author of the must-read No, You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain.

Wanda Sykes @iamwandasykes

The veteran of the group. As a Black, lesbian, cancer survivor female comedian, she has had just a few things to overcome–and she’s still making us laugh.

Amber Ruffin @amberruffin

Ruffin is a head writer on Late Night With Seth Myers and has emerged as a regular contributor and commentator. She is an incredible storyteller. I’ve shared two clips below. One has more gravitas than the other, but they are both must-sees.

This clip is low on laughs, but incredibly powerful. Be sure to watch.
Still powerful, but also funny.

Don’t stop learning. Don’t stop listening. May laughing along the way (especially at ourselves) help us to keep going.

Rev. Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently based in New York City. Doubting Believer provides tools and encouragement for the rollercoaster ride of your faith journey. Follow me on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube. You can also follow on TikTok. Get emails to keep up with all that is happening.

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