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Black Sitcoms
20th Century Sitcoms
Love it or hate it, no African-American sitcom has ever been more popular, financially successful or culturally significant as this one.
What is The Cosby Show
This memorable show about a successful drycleaner and his wife “movin’ on up” to a luxury Manhattan apartment has the distinction of being the longest running show with a predominately black cast in television history.
What is The Jeffersons
Emmy winner Jackée Harry (pictured) was the breakout star of this high-rated show set in a predominately black DC neighborhood and starring Jeffersons veteran Marla Gibbs.
What is 227
First aired in 1928, this was the first all-black television sitcom. It was widely popular among diverse audiences and the show portrayed black businesspeople, judges, lawyers and policemen. After over 70-odd episodes had been broadcast, it was finally taken off the air after protests from specific groups including the NAACP, who alleged that the show engaged in stereotyping. Afterwards, there were no all-black sitcoms shown in the U.S. until the 1970s.
What is the Amos 'n Andy show
This 21st century black sitcom aired more episodes (a total of 254) than any other television series (of any genre) with a predominantly African American cast, surpassing The Jeffersons (253 episodes), Family Matters (215 episodes) and The Cosby Show (201 episodes).
What is Tyler Perry's House of Payne
This series, set in and around a Philadelphia-based black church, was another success for Jeffersons star Sherman Helmsley (he played the shifty Deacon Frye) and was part of a heyday for African-American shows on NBC (which was airing The Cosby Show, A Different World and 227 at the time).
What is Amen
Comedian Martin Lawrence created a host of hilarious characters (such as Sheneneh, Roscoe and Jerome) on this popular show which eventually led to an even more successful movie career.
What is Martin
This sweet, critically praised throwback sitcom which aired from 2005-2009 recreates comedian Chris Rock’s childhood growing up in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn during the 1980s. The show ended on the same note Rock’s teen years did—the lead character drops out of high school to become a stand up.
What is Everybody Hates Chris
The the plot of this show is based on twins who were separated at birth and by chance meet each other in a shopping mall
What is Sister Sister
Based on the real-life experiences of comedian D.L. Hughley, this sitcom centers on Darryl Hughley (a character who is Part Archie Bunker, part George Jefferson; with an opinion about everything) who moves his family from the inner city to the suburbs, and the neighborhood hasn't been the same since.
What is The Hughleys
Airing on the WB from 1997-2002, this sitcom was a launchpad for several of today’s black comedians, including Cedric the Entertainer. It took black ensemble comedy out of the living room and into the workplace, with its premise of second-chances and self-renewal.
What is The Steve Harvey SHow
NBC (1971-1977)- This uproarious show about an aging, irascible junk collector and his patient son proved to be the perfect vehicle of comedy genius of Red Foxx. Foxx became an unlikely star in his 50s, although his character’s trademark faux heart attacks became less funny after he succumbed to one himself in 1991.
What is Sanford and Son
One of the few major network shows to be centered on African-American women, this show was one of the most popular black sitcoms of the 90s as it proved to audiences that Queen Latifah could act as well as rap. Moreover, it also proved that women that were plus sized could star on a sitcom as beautiful, full figured women, without being deemed as asexual
What is Living Single
Airing from 1996-2000, this black sitcom starred a familiar face from the Cosby Show alongside comedian Eddie Griffith
What is Malcolm and Eddie
Premiering in 2006 on the CW, this show is a spin-off of "Girlfriends" featuring a group of women who all have relationships with professional football players. This show was picked up by BET in 2009.
What is The Game
The critically acclaimed sitcom (the show won won the Peabody Award, the Humanitas Prize and an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, just to name a few) which starred a late great comedian, proved that the comic legend’s distinct brand of no-nonsense straight-talk couldn’t be stifled by the family sitcom genre.
What is The Bernie Mac Show
Building off of its Cosby Show lead in, this light-hearted portrayal of life at fictional Hillman University was a big hit with white and black viewers. Some have credited it with increasing enrollment at HBCUs like the one portrayed on the show.
What is A Different World
J.J. Walker’s antics (“Dyn-o-mite”) in later years overshadowed this sitcom’s initial stronger seasons which did an effective job of humanizing the struggles of an inner-city family in the projects.
What is Good Times
This show showcased the talents of two brothers who were already well-known from the sketch comedy show In Living Color along with the comedic talents of John Witherspoon that was aired from 1990 to 1994
What is The Wayans Bros.
These sitcom veterans Damon Wayans (In Living Color) and Tisha Campbell (Martin) join together to star in this black sitcom comedy which centers on the character of Michael Kyle, a loving husband and modern-day patriarch who rules his household with a unique and distinct parenting style.
What is My Wife and Kids
This 1976 sitcom which was loosely based on Cooley High (which some consider the black answer of American Graffiti), followed the daily lives of working class teens Raj, Dwayne, and Rerun (pictured) as they come of age in Watts. While the show was never a huge hit, Rerun’s dancing remains legendary.
What is What's Happening
Will Smith is currently best known for his blockbuster action films and his Academy Award nominated work in films like The Pursuit of Happyness. But TV fans will always cherish the comedic chops he displayed as a fish-out-of-water title character on this show.
What is The Fresh Prince of Bel Aire
Although criticized at the time by some African-Americans for not being ‘radical’ enough, this sitcom did break ground as the first network show centered entirely on a black character who wasn’t a servant or a stereotype. Actress Diahann Carroll won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her performance in the title role.
What is Julia
After his comedic breakout on In Living Color, this comedian, singer, songwriter, radio show host, and award winning actor headlined this black sitcom from 1996-2001.
What is the Jamie Foxx Show
An American sitcom that aired on UPN from August 30, 1999, to May 10, 2004 was A spin-off of UPN's Moesha.
What is The Parkers