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Black Comics in Drag: A Trend?

Friday, January 30, 2009


Take a black male comedian, give him a show or movie ... and sooner or later the lipstick and wig comes out.
Is it coincidence or do black male comics all have the same schtick? What schtick? The schtick of mimicking women, complete with heels, stockings and in some cases, a girdle?
With the upcoming release of the full-feature length "Madea Goes to Jail" by the wunderkind Tyler Perry the debate will no doubt stir again. Perhaps more comics will see this as a way to enter the business.
Reminded I am when Spike Lee made a thinly veiled plea to Perry to take on an MLK biopic, I wonder what the fascination is with Hollywood seeing black men in drag.
Of course, there are PLENTY of This textothers (sidenote: Remember that movie, HavPlenty? WTF now?) who have donned the makeup, including A-listers such as Tom Hanks, who got his renown from a little sitcom where he performed in drag. Don't get me wrong, I get it. It's funny, at times. But does it seem that Hollywood has enabled black comics to put on that dress a little too eagerly? Perry's Madea blows them all away because her character is central to almost all of his other plays. But some say that the portrayals feed into the line of thinking that "If a black comic wants a blank check from Hollywood, he has to put on a dress." I don't know. What do you think?

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