Stand-up comedy got here from blackface and minstrel presentations (by means of Penn State Information). As Kliph Nesteroff paperwork in “The Comedians,” one of the crucial first performers we’d acknowledge as doing fashionable comedy did so in blackface. “Just about the entire singles [solo acts] began to blackface,” a supply instructed Nesteroff. “However it wasn’t like old-time minstrels who attempted to painting a personality; those new minstrels simply placed on black and talked white.” An astonishing number of vintage Hollywood stars did blackface (by means of The Hollywood Reporter), from Judy Garland to Bob Hope.
Recent comedy has been reckoning with blackface lately. Episodes of “30 Rock” (by means of Vulture), “The Sarah Silverman Program” (by means of CNN), and “Little Britain” (by means of Vulture) have all come below fireplace for his or her “ironic” use of blackface. Fallon is not even the one “SNL” performer to put on blackface. Billy Crystal’s Sammy Davis Jr. impact used blackface for years, Darrell Hammond incessantly performed Jesse Jackson, and Fred Armisen performed The united states’s first Black president. “It is not about race,” Lorne Michaels mentioned of the casting selection, as reported within the Washington Submit. “It is about getting a tackle Obama, the place it serves the comedy and the writing.”