Laughing mad: The black comic persona in post-soul America

Bambi Haggins

Research output: Book/ReportBook

101 Scopus citations


Prior to the civil rights movement, comedians performed for audiences that were clearly delineated by race. Black comedians performed for black audiences and white comedians performed for whites. Yet during the past forty-five years, black comics have become progressively more central to mainstream culture. In Laughing Mad , Bambi Haggins looks at how this transition occurred in a variety of media and shows how this integration has paved the way for black comedians and their audiences to affect each other. Historically, African American performers have been able to use comedy as a pedagogic tool, interjecting astute observations about race relations while the audience is laughing. And yet, Haggins makes the convincing argument that the potential of African American comedy remains fundamentally unfulfilled as the performance of blackness continues to be made culturally digestible for mass consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherRutgers University Press
Number of pages275
ISBN (Print)9780813539843
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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