Comedy can transcend boundaries, challenge societal norms, and shine a light on often-overlooked communities. Black comedy movies have emerged as an exciting genre that delves into the complexities of life through the lens of African American culture and perspectives.
This article will celebrate the rich tapestry of black humor by presenting the 27 best black comedy movies of all time, each a testament to the creativity and wit of black filmmakers and actors. These movies perfectly navigate the realms of race, identity, and social commentary combined with sharp-witted comedy to challenge preconceived notions and confront prejudices among audience members.
From the unapologetic hilarity of Coming to America to the absurdity of White Chicks, here are 27 of our favorite black comedy movies to put on your watchlist.
1. Coming to America (1988)
When it comes to the funniest black comedy movies of all time, no list is complete without Coming to America. This 1998 film stars Eddie Murphy as the iconic Prince Akeem, an African prince who is to marry a woman he doesn’t love.
Akeem and his friend Semmi journey to America to find a woman that Akeem loves. This laugh-out-loud comedy helped launch Eddie Murphy into stardom and will surely be enjoyed by future generations.
2. Friday (1995)
Starring Ice Cube and Chris Tucker, Friday follows Craig Jones after he gets fired for stealing from his workplace. The film–which eventually evolved into a franchise–chronicles the two friends on a Friday night as they search for money owed to their neighborhood drug dealer.
3. Do the Right Thing (1989)
Equally as comedic as tragic, Do the Right Thing follows Mookie (played by director Spike Lee), a pizza delivery man navigating life on the hottest day of the year in Brooklyn. As the temperature rises, so do the racial tensions within Mookie’s neighborhood, culminating in a shocking and thought-provoking ending–with no shortage of laughs throughout the journey.
4. Are We There Yet? (2005)
Ice Cube makes another appearance on our list of the funniest black comedy movies for his work in Are We There Yet? This film follows Nick, a man who hates children, as he attempts to forge a relationship with Suzanne, a single mother and the woman Nick is in love with.
5. The Nutty Professor (1996)
Another classic starring Eddie Murphy, The Nutty Professor follows Sherman, an overweight scientist who creates a solution to become magically thinner–with a few caveats. As Sherman becomes increasingly selfish, his actions become reckless–and hilarious. Perfectly acted by Eddie Murphy, The Nutty Professor is a must for anyone seeking the best black comedy movies ever.
6. Harlem Nights (1989)
Another Eddie Murphy film–and the only film the actor also directed–Harlem Nights tells the story of Sugar Ray and his son, Quick, as they run an illegal gambling house/nightclub together in Harlem during the 1930s. When Sugar Ray and Quick get into trouble with one of their competitors, they become the target of corrupt law enforcement and mobsters wanting to tear their establishment down.
7. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
Starring Eddie Murphy as a detective attempting to solve his best friend’s murder, Beverly Hills Cop might sound like a clean-cut drama, but this is far from the truth. This epic comedy helped skyrocket Murphy’s career and cemented him as a legend in black comedy films.
8. Rush Hour (1998)
Rush Hour is a must-see for any fan of the classic buddy-cop genre. Featuring stellar performances from Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan, Rush Hour follows Lee, a police officer that travels to America and teams up with Detective Carter to rescue the kidnapped daughter of a Chinese diplomat.
9. Deliver Us From Eva (2003)
An undeniable classic for fans of romantic comedies, Deliver Us From Eva stars Gabrielle Union in the titular role. Ray, played expertly by LL Cool J, is charged with seducing Eva by her sisters, who aren’t fans of Eva’s antics. Despite the ploy, Ray falls in love with Eva, and hijinks ensue as the pair grow closer and closer.
10. House Party (1990)
Starring hip-hop duo Kid and Play, House Party follows the pair as they plan to throw a massive party when Play’s parents are out of town. The high school party gets out of hand quickly, causing a series of hectic events that are undoubtedly hilarious.
11. Sorry to Bother You (2018)
With stellar performances from LaKeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson, Sorry to Bother You is a surrealist comedy that will have you laughing just as often as it will have you staring at your screen, jaw dropped. The film provides insightful social commentary while balancing its heavier moments with timely humor to keep audiences engaged with this often bizarre–but always entertaining–tale.
12. Boomerang (1992)
Yet another Eddie Murphy flick worthy of its place as one of the funniest 90s black comedy movies, Boomerang follows Marcus (Murphy), a sexist, womanizing executive who is suddenly subject to the same treatment he doles upon others when his female boss turns out to be quite similar to him.
13. Barbershop (2002)
Led by the talented Ice Cube, Barbershop tells the story of Calvin, a man who inherits–and instantly sells–his late father’s barbershop. Once he’s made this decision, Calvin begins to have a change of heart, and through a series of hilarious events, he does his best to get the barbershop back from the loan shark he sold it to.
14. Soul Plane (2004)
Led by well-known actors like Kevin Hart and Snoop Dog, Soul Plane tells the story of Nashawn (Hart), a man who has just started his own airline company and starts facing issues right before his first plane is about to take off.
15. Bad Boys (1995)
Another classic buddy-cop movie, Bad Boys follows Mike and Marcus, played by Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, two detectives investigating a case of stolen drugs from a police vault–that may or may not involve the mafia. The high-stakes storyline combined with the actors’ incredible chemistry and comedic abilities makes Bad Boys an undeniable classic for 90s black comedy movies.
16. Girls Trip (2017)
Women-led films are often overlooked in conversations about cinema, which is too often true for black women-led movies. Girls Trip is not only notable for its stellar female cast, consisting of talents like Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall, and Tiffany Haddish, but for its stellar comedy and women-led narrative.
Following the four women as former college friends going on a trip to New Orleans, Girls Trip is packed with fun, laughter, and emotion, and there’s never a dull moment with this crew.
17. Life (1999)
When it comes to the best black comedy movies of all time, it’s impossible to not have tons of Eddie Murphy movies on the list. He’s just that good!
Life follows Murphy and Martin Lawrence as two people who are framed and convicted for a murder that they did not commit. As both men are sentenced to life in prison, they begin developing a bond and are soon working together to prove their innocence.
18. Dear White People (2014)
This satirical comedy stars four black college students–played by Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson, Teyonah Parris, and Brandon P. Bell–navigating life in a predominantly white and heavily racist Ivy League school. Despite its subject matter, Dear White People tackles real-world issues and injustices gracefully and with humor, allowing for important discussions without being too heavy for audiences.
19. About Last Night (2014)
Starring Kevin Hart and Regina Hall, About Last Night chronicles the journey two couples go through after initially meeting in a bar. As the audience watches their relationships develop, hilarity ensues, and the couples are put through test after test as their relationships become more serious.
20. Hitch (2005)
Following Alex Hitch Hitchens, played expertly by Will Smith, Hitch is a hilarious romantic comedy that’s equally endearing and charming as it is hilarious. Despite his interest in Sara (Eva Mendes), Hitch must navigate his romantic hang-ups to get with the girl of his dreams.
21. White Men Can’t Jump (1992)
Helmed by top talents Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson, White Men Can’t Jump is a fun story of two men, a black and white basketball player, who come together to win a basketball tournament against the odds. The chemistry between the two leads is only one aspect of White Men Can’t Jump that makes it a film to remember.
22. I Think I Love My Wife (2007)
If the title alone isn’t enough to interest you in this movie, the premise surely will. Led by top talents Chris Rock, Kerry Washington, and Gina Torres, I Think I Love My Wife follows Richard (Rock), a married man fantasizing about being with other women, whose fantasies are tested when he comes across an old friend (Washington).
23. Dope (2015)
As one of the more recent entries on our list, Dope shows that the black comedy genre is still going strong today. Starring Shameik Moore and Kiersey Clemons, Dope follows Moore as Malcolm, a geek who finds himself in a tough spot after having suspicious items stashed in his bag at a party by a drug dealer. As Malcolm and his friends embark on an adventure to right these wrongs, Dope gets increasingly funnier–and more absurd.
24. Dolemite is My Name (2019)
The first biographical film on our list, Dolemite is My Name is one of Eddie Murphy’s most recent films and undoubtedly deserves its spot in the best black comedy movies ever. Following Murphy as Rudy Ray Moore, a real-life filmmaker, Dolemite is My Name chronicles the man’s experiences as a blaxploitation actor and the trials and tribulations the role brings him.
25. Blue Streak (1999)
Another film starring Martin Lawrence, Blue Streak tells the story of a former convict just released from prison and looking to complete the diamond heist that got him in trouble in the first place. With high stakes and endless laughs, Blue Streak makes its mark on black comedy films and is a classic for decades to come.
26. Just Wright (2010)
Just Wright is another film led by Queen Latifah and a classic when it comes to black romantic comedies. Following Leslie, a physical therapist, the film chronicles her journey as she falls in love with the basketball player who she’s taking care of after he faces a career-threatening injury.
27. White Chicks (2004)
Starring brothers Marlon and Shawn Wayans, White Chicks tells the hilarious story of two FBI agents going undercover and posing as white women–and twins–to keep an eye on a potential abduction victim. Effortlessly funny, White Chicks is a classic with endless re-watchability.
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