Pain, struggle, conflict et al. It seems like we’re nearing that point where we get numb to it. It’s not like before where we could turn from the news or put down the paper because social media is omnipresent and even deeper, it’s right THERE in our faces when we leave the crib. If there exists any solace in the present tumultuous times, it is that we will eventually come out on the other side, and we may get some of the most profound art seen in at least a half century. Well at least us. If it’s one thing that the Colored, Black, Negro, Afro/African American race can do is flip the turmoil and create works of art. While music is perhaps the most dominant form of expressing these ailments, comedy has been just as real.
That’s what made the A&E Network two-part documentary event “Right to Offend: The Black Comedy Revolution” so dope as it explored the progression of Black comedy and the comedians who have used pointed humor to expose, challenge and ridicule society’s injustices and to articulate the Black experience in America. Executive produced by Kevin Hart’s HARTBEAT and TIME Studios, the documentary examined Black comedy through a unique lens, tracing the evolution and social awakening of the courageous comedians who dared to push against the constraints of their time and spoke truth to power. “Right to Offend: The Black Comedy Revolution” debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival and currently is available on demand and to stream on the A&E app and aetv.com.
The documentary traces the history of Black comedy and its under-appreciated legacy of driving social change across the 20th and 21st centuries. From Redd Foxx, Moms Mabley and Dick Gregory during the Civil Rights Movement, Richard Pryor in the ’70s, Eddie Murphy and Whoopi Goldberg in the ’80s, to the power of In Living Color and Def Comedy Jam in the ’90s, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle in the 2000s and groundbreaking modern-day comedians and creators like Key & Peele, Issa Rae, Amber Ruffin and Tiffany Haddish. Across four hours, “Right to Offend” explores the rare position these artists and many more hold in our society as both entertainers and truth tellers that speak to audiences in ways no other performers can.
Featuring interviews with some of the greatest comedy minds of all time as well as a rich collection of archival material, the two-part event reveals the personal stories and tribulations faced by many Black performers in attaining greater acceptance and opening the doors for a true representation of the Black experience. The documentary also traces how each generation of comedians built upon the foundations created by their predecessors to help evolve and push the boundaries of comedy as a means for social change and fought for a greater definition and understanding of what it means to be Black in America.
Through his business venture HARTBEAT has been making quite a dent. Founded by Kevin Hart, HARTBEAT is the global, multi-platform media company creating entertainment at the intersection of comedy and culture with a mission to keep the world laughing together. HARTBEAT delivers comedy through its three divisions: HARTBEAT Studios, which finances, develops and produces innovative content; HARTBEAT Media, which connects with consumers around the world through events and the company’s extensive distribution network; and PULSE, the company’s branded entertainment studio that serves as a creative and cultural consultancy to brand. HARTBEAT’s flagship consumer brand, the LOL! Network reaches audiences across its O&O social media, audio, and OTT partners.
Led by an award-winning team, HARTBEAT is a valuable partner to the biggest entertainment companies, platforms, and brands in the world, driving cultural currency and generating sales, subscriptions, buzz, and conversation with some of the most coveted audiences.
Not to be lost however is the method in which Hart was allowed to make his impact: the stage. Which is where we’ll find Kevin Hart alongside Chris Rock for the ROCK HART: ONLY HEADLINERS ALLOWED series produced by Live Nation, the exclusive arena run kicks off July 21 at Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh, N.Y. stopping at Prudential Center in Newark, Madison Square Garden in New York, and PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, before wrapping in Brooklyn at Barclays Center on July 25.
“When Chris and I realized we were both going to be on tour this year we immediately knew we needed to do something special. We have been friends and mentors to each other for 20 years, but we have never shared a headlining stage together—until now!!! I cannot think of a better way to celebrate the return of live comedy than to co-headline a show with my brother Chris Rock. This is a major moment in comedy and one for the history books,” said Kevin Hart.
The area dates are:
Thursday, July 21—Wantagh, NY – Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
Friday, July 22—Newark, NJ – Prudential Center
Saturday, July 23—New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
Sunday, July 24—Holmdel, NJ – PNC Bank Arts Center
Monday, July 25—Brooklyn, NY – Barclays Center
Spares ticketing is still available at livenation.com, but move fast.
Also, this weekend ahead we have another legendary performer slated with the great Damon Wayans at Caroline’s (1626 Broadway, between 49th and 50th) July 14 through July 16.
That’s it for me. Over and out. Holla next week, til then, enjoy the nightlife.