Since the early days of cinema, comedy has been a genre that has never gone out of relevance. Comedies, while being funny, are also sometimes socially relevant and speak of issues other genres wouldn’t deal with. Despite the genre being so popular, there was never enough representation of minorities in American comedies earlier. The 1970s saw the rise of blaxploitation films where we saw the first black movie heroes that an entire generation could look up to.
Another man who started making his name in the late 80s was Spike Lee. With his sophomore feature, ‘Do The Right Thing’ (1989), Lee took the American audiences by storm and depicted the lives of black and other minority people in a way that was never done before. Talking about comedies involving a black cast, we’ve compiled some of the finest flicks from this genre. Here’s a list of really good black comedy movies on Netflix that are available to stream right now.
12. She’s Gotta Have It (1986)
This was the debut of director Spike Lee, and it immediately showed that America was being introduced to a rather unique voice. The movie is about a woman who dates three men simultaneously and does not wish to settle down. However, the three men get to know of her situation and confront her. The film is about the choices women have to make in a society dominated by men. It received critical acclaim and also gave birth to a TV series of the same name. The movie also helped Spike Lee establish himself as one of the most important directors of the 80s. Lee would go on to make other vastly important films like ‘Do The Right Thing’ (1989), ‘Malcolm X’ (1992), and others. Tracy Camilla Johns plays the lead character in the movie.
11. Fatherhood (2021)
‘Fatherhood,’ directed by Paul Weitz, is a comedy movie starring Kevin Hart as Matthew “Matt” Logelin. It follows Matt as he tries to raise his daughter, Maddy, after his wife passes away. A disheartened and depressed, Matt comes to accept the challenge of parenthood and learns of the joys his daughter brings into his life. However, he faces hilarious challenges, devises some quirky solutions, and receives help from unexpected sources. The film received mixed reviews from critics, but Hart’s performance and the emotional narrative were generally praised.
10. Resort to Love (2021)
Directed by Steven Tsuchida, ‘Resort to Love’ follows Erica Wilson (Christina Milian), a former up-and-coming pop singer whose career fizzles out before it properly started and whose fiancé of over four years, Jason, ends things with her. Her best friend, Amber, convinces her to accept a job as a singer at a luxurious resort in Mauritius. Although she struggles, things start to get better for her. Erica meets Caleb, a former Navy Seal, and runs into Jason. Much to her horror, she discovers that Jason is there to get married to the new woman in his life, Beverly, and she is supposed to sing at their wedding. Moreover, Caleb is Jason’s estranged brother. Erica agrees to Jason’s pleas to keep their past a secret from Beverly, who comes to think that they are just friends.
9. Holiday Rush (2019)
‘Holiday Rush,’ directed by Leslie Small, follows an African American family whose life of luxury and comfort abruptly ends. Romany Malco stars as Rashon “Rush” Williams, a widowed DJ who loses his job just before Christmas and must take care of his four spoiled children, who are used to a luxurious life. The family downsizes and moves in with Rush’s sister and bonds with each other. The film brings a fresh take on privilege and family values with strong performances and hilarious writing.
8. The Trap (2019)
Directed by Erik White, ‘The Trap’ revolves around Sonny (T.I.), a talented chef employed at a Michelin-star restaurant. He is about to receive the promotion he has always wanted and become the chief chef at a new restaurant in Los Angeles. This is when his older brother, Dutch (Mike Epps), reaches out to him and informs him about their mother’s deteriorating health and the poor condition of their family-run chicken restaurant. This prompts Sonny to return to Atlanta, where his brother has nearly run the family business to the ground. With their mother needing critical surgery, Sonny and Dutch must come up with a lot of money quickly. This leads the brothers to come up with the plan of mixing weed into their chicken to increase sales.
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7. Sextuplets (2019)
The first entry starring Marlon Wayans in this list, ‘Sextuplets’ tells the story of a soon-to-be father, Alan. Feeling the pressure of impending parenthood, he suddenly decides to find his birth mother. That search leads to an unforeseen consequence when he realizes that he was born with five siblings. He subsequently decides to locate each of them before he himself becomes a father. This film is Wayans’ active effort to place himself in the same league as Eddie Murphy and Dave Chappelle, as both of these comedy icons have portrayed multiple characters simultaneously on-screen. Unfortunately, the film garnered largely negative reviews following its release, but that hasn’t deterred Wayans from continuing with absurd comedies.
6. The Lovebirds (2020)
In Michael Showalter’s romantic action comedy ‘The Lovebirds,’ Jibran (Kumail Nanjiani) and Leilani’s (Issa Rae) four-year-long relationship seems to have entered its final phase. Exhausted by the constant arguments, the two decide to have an amicable split. Shortly after the separation, Jibran ends up running over a cyclist with his car. But before they can help him, the man flees. Another man suddenly arrives, takes their car by proclaiming himself to be a police officer, and kills the first man with Jibran’s car. The second man is then about to kill Jibran and Leilani but is forced to leave as the police arrive. Although Jibran wants to surrender to the police, Leilani argues that they will likely be blamed for all this. The erstwhile couple subsequently realizes that they have to work together if they want to survive this terrible ordeal.
5. Dolemite Is My Name (2019)
Director Craig Brewer’s biopic, ‘Dolemite Is My Name,’ marks the long-awaited return of Eddie Murphy to mainstream cinema. In the critically acclaimed film, Murphy portrays the 1970s stand-up comedian Rudy Ray Moore, who is most known for starring in the 1975 movie ‘Dolomite’ and its sequels: ‘The Human Tornado’ and ‘The Return of Dolemite.’
This is arguably the best performance that Murphy has ever delivered, as well as his most personal. ‘Dolemite Is My Name’ is a celebration of showmanship and an artist’s inherent desire to entertain their audience. At the start of the movie, Moore works at a radio store and wants to reach more people. He dresses up in flashy clothes, declares himself as Dolemite, and gives an unrefined but still hilarious performance called ‘The Signifying Monkey.’ For his outing as Dolemite, Murphy won numerous accolades, including several Best Actor awards.
4. Naked (2017)
Directed by Michael Tiddes, ‘Naked’ directly released on Netflix in 2017. Marlon Wayans plays the role of Rob Anderson, a teacher at a school who is reluctant to accept a full-time teaching job. However, his girlfriend, Megan, is a successful doctor, and they wish to marry soon. But on the day of his marriage, Rob gets stuck in a time loop and has to apply various tactics to get out of it and reach the church on time. Regina Hall plays the role of Rob’s girlfriend.
3. The After Party (2018)
‘The After Party’ is the story of a rapper who is trying to make it big in the industry. His name is Owen, and his childhood friend from school, Jeff, is his manager who is desperately trying to get him gigs or a record deal. Jeff does manage to get Owen into a major show, but he collapses on stage and vomits on Khalifa. This comedy focuses on the needs of a modern rapper and explains to us how difficult it is to break into the music industry. Kyle Harvey and Harrison Holzer play the two lead characters in the movie. It is directed by Ian Edelman.
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2. Deidra & Laney Rob a Train (2017)
This is the second feature film by Sydney Freeland. It is the story of two young girls whose mother has been arrested, and they also have a younger brother to take care of. Deidre, the oldest, believes that she needs money to make sure her siblings are not placed in foster care and also to bail her mother out. The only way she believes this can be done is if she manages to rob a train. The movie is hilarious and had premiered at the Sundance Film Festival before releasing on Netflix.
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1. The Incredible Jessica James (2017)
‘The Incredible Jessica James’ is about a fiercely independent woman named Jessica, who is trying to recover from her recent split with her boyfriend. Jessica is a drama instructor for children, and as she wants to get her life back on track, she comes across a man with whom Jessica likes to spend time. His name is Boone, and he is a divorcee. However, both of them keep stalking their exes. The movie deals with Jessica’s life problems and how she deals with her emotional status. The movie has received critical acclaim, with some even saying that Jessica Williams is one of the finest black actors working in Hollywood.
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