Black Comedy in America

Course Dates: 
8 weeks: March 26, April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, May 7, 14, 2018
Mondays, 2-4:30 p.m.
Randy Robins
Course Catalogs: 
2018 Spring

Through lecture and audio and video media, we will trace the evolution of the African American experience in comedy from the era of slavery to the present day. We will explore the role of comedy that originated secretly in the fields and slave cabins in the south, through minstrel productions that were popular in the 19th century, and the massive appeal followed by the demise of the Amos and Andy franchise on radio and television in the 20th century. We will also meet the modern-day icons of black comedy, among them Dick Gregory, Redd Foxx, Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy, as well as a host of others into the present. Participants should be prepared for challenging, sometimes harsh topics and graphic language and lots of laughter as we view and hear the best work of these comic giants.

Course outline

Randy Robins ( is a teacher, comedian and actor. He is a native New Yorker who has taught film classes featuring his comic heroes Mel Brooks, Sid Caesar, Woody Allen, Billy Crystal, Steve Martin and Gene Wilder since 2015 and stand-up comedy classes at College for Seniors since 2012. Randy was a special education teacher in NYC for 34 years. He will be performing in Guys and Dolls at the Hendersonville Community Theatre this spring.