We figured that if we were going to make comedy out of a black man and a white man sharing the same stage, it would have to be equal-opportunity comedy. Race wasn’t the punch line in our routines, it was the vehicle. The aim was to get people to see, and to laugh at, the irony of racial attitudes in America.
And that’s the challenge and the opportunity that comedy about race faces today. The presence of the Obama family in the White House means that it can’t be business as usual any more.
America, black and white, won’t be amused by humor that trades on the old stereotypes of interracial social encounters, impressions and fears. Like it or not, change has come. O.J. is in prison, and a black man is in the White House. Is everybody happy now?
So just as we’re entering a new and hopeful world in American politics, we’re also beginning one in comedy that could be just as exciting.