Bert Williams, 1921 (Original photo by Samuel Lumiere)

Screening & Live Event
The Color of Comedy

Part of Changing the Picture (2016)
Saturday, February 6, 2016, 1:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m.

Part of the series Changing the Picture, sponsored by Time Warner Inc.  

Museum of the Moving Image continues its annual collaboration with the Black Filmmaker Foundation (BFF) for a third consecutive year on Saturday, February 6, 2015, with an afternoon forum on the intersection of race and the media. Following the success of Massa’ Gaze (2014) and Endangered by the Moving Image (2015), this year's forum, titled The Color of Comedy, will explore how comedy is used as an artistic tool to address social issues that are often uncomfortable and contentious in public discussion. The afternoon-long event will feature a screening followed by a town hall forum of comedians of color whose comedy is rooted in issues that remain fractious social concerns. Warrington Hudlin, President of BFF and Vice Chairman of the Museum, is the host and curator of the program. 

Part One, 1:00–2:00 p.m. 
Screening: A Time for Laughter: A Look at Negro Humor in America
Courtesy of Harry Belafonte Enterprises and the Paley Center for Media, the Museum will present a rare public screening Harry Belafonte's groundbreaking 1967 ABC TV special. The program’s extraordinary cast included Sidney Poitier (as host), Diahann Carroll, Dick Gregory, Redd Foxx, George Kirby, Moms Mabley, Pigmeat Markham, Godfrey Cambridge, and a young Richard Pryor. This TV special was rooted in and reflective of the U.S. civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Part Two, 2:30–4:30 p.m.
This session presents an open discussion forum with a multicultural group of comedians whose humor continues the tradition of comedy as an artistic means of social commentary. Each of the participating comedians will be introduced by a video clip of their work.
Participating artists:
Joyelle Nicole Johnson
Leighann Lord
Freddie Ricks

Alaudin Ullah
Ruperto Vanderpool
Tim Wynn
Mike Yard
and others to be announced.

MC & Interlocutor: Warrington Hudlin

About the image above: Bert Williams (1874–1922) was one of the pre-eminent entertainers of the Vaudeville era. Williams was a key figure in the development of African-American entertainment. In an age when racial inequality and stereotyping were commonplace, he became the first black American to take a lead role on the Broadway stage, and did much to push back racial barriers during his long career. He was the first African American to use comedy as a tool to address racial justice, the theme of the Color of Comedy program.

Tickets: $20 ($15 members at Film Lover and MoMI Kids Premium levels / free for Silver Screen members and above). Order tickets online(Members may contact [email protected] with any questions regarding online reservations.)

All tickets include same-day admission to the Museum (see gallery hours). View the Museum’s ticketing policy here. For more information on membership and to join online, visit our membership page.