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Black Hack Stand-Up Comedy FAQ

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BY Steve Silberberg


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HACK (from the British word Hack-neyed) adj. Over
used and thus cheapened, trite. (From THE


 1.Who or what is a Black Hack? 
 2.Where do you find Black Hacks? 
 3.Staples of the Black Hack 
     1.The rap music intro 
 4.The Black Hack and Whitey 
     1.Are you afraid of me? 
     2.Don't listen, white people 
     3.Jungle fever 
 5.Black Hack cliché repository 
     1.I'm gonna kick yo' ass! 
     2.My old lady's a ho' 
     3.The N Word 
 6.Typical Black Hack topics 
     1.Back in the 'hood 
     2.We used to get whupped 
     3.We were so po' . . . 
     1.Michael Jackson 
 8.Propogating stereotypes 
     1.I'm out stealing your shit right now 
     2.Can I have some of your fried chicken? 
     3.Ax, Bee-atch, Ah gots ta, and assorted jive. 
     1.Yo mama is so . . . 
     1.Naming yourself 
     2.Naming your dick 
 11.Workin' blue - - profanity 
     2.Eating pussy 
     3.Grabbing your body parts 
 12.Topics untouched by black hacks 
     1.Observational humor 
 13.Wait a Second... I be a Black Hack! 

Section 1. Who or what is a Black Hack?

Black Hacks don't have to be African American. But the
overwhelming majority are. When you watch a black hack, you get
the uneasy feeling that you're watching a third rate Richard Pryor.
Black hacks are generally not considered "clean" acts. Black hacks
often have to emasculate their performances to play for network
TV. This demonstrates how heavily they rely on profanity and use it
as a crutch. 

Obviously, not all blacks are hacks. However, the second you see
one reach for their groin, you've found a live one. (This is true
irrespective of race). 

Section 2: Where do you find black hacks?

Everywhere. Check out Def Comedy Jam, Evening at the Apollo, or
BET. In Living Color was a notable exception to this. The other
venues regularly showcase a wide assortment of black hacks. But
you can also find them in most comedy clubs. You could sit in the
bathroom for an entire show and know when the black hack is on
stage by listening for rap music. 

Section 3: Staples of the Black Hack

Originality is not the forte of the Black Hack. Usually their acts can
be traced back to Bill Cosby, Eddie Murphy, or Richard Pryor.
However, none of these artists seem to be responsible for the
ubiquitous . . . 

3a Rap music intro

Say, here's something that's never been done before. As you're
introduced, walk on stage and have the club play rap music! Then,
when you're on stage, dance a bit, and tell the audience to put their
hands together. Will the innovation never cease? 

Now this may seem to you like an original idea, but it's so common,
that audiences are surprised when they don't hear it. If you don't
want to be a black hack, don't do it. 

Section 4: The Black Hack and Whitey

Many blacks perform before mixed race or all white audiences.
Society has put an unnatural tension between white audiences and
black comics. Some black comedians play upon this well. Others are
just black hacks.

4a. Are you afraid of me?

Black hacks like to play upon the threat of violence. Usually a black
hack can get a laugh by picking a lily white woman out of the
audience and saying, "Don't be scared". This hack works really well
if the comic is about as threatening as Gary Coleman. 

4b. Don't listen, white people!

Sometimes a black hack can lose a white audience when they get
into using jive. A good way to pull them back is by telling them not
to listen. I'm not sure who started it, but Shirley Hemphill is the first
I saw do it. It works pretty well.

4c. Jungle Fever

Interracial couples are a feeding frenzy for the black hack. It starts
out with a comment about jungle fever. Eventually, it becomes,
"Since you'll never go back, try me" or some other obvious pick-up
attempt. Audiences love it every time they see it.

Section 5: Black Hack cliché repository

Black hacks use the same hackneyed clichés to win over their
audiences. The following are used so often, you'd think it was a

5a. I'm gonna kick yo' ass!

Black Hacks say this more than Eddie Murphy says, "dick". I am in
utter amazement and disbelief at how many times an audience will
laugh at the EXACT SAME hack punch line. A talented black hack
can get an audience to laugh at this particular line 40, maybe 50
times in a single performance.

5b My old lady's a ho'

Most black hacks are apparently related to a whore. Although truly
innovative black hacks are also related to a bitch.

Section 6: Typical Black Hack topics

Black hacks tend to congregate around a few popular topics.
Microbiology is not one of these topics. To be fair, microbiology is
not a popular topic among whites either. 

6a. Back in the 'hood

OK, so you grew up in the 'hood. What's that? It was tough? What
a surprise.

6b. We used to get whupped

We all know every black hack was whupped as a kid. And each was
whupped in a very unique way, right? Come on. This is a rehash of
Bill Cosby's "belt" routine. 

6c. We were so po'

Even Monty Python has done this routine to the limit. (We lived in a
paper bag, etc. etc.)

6d. The N Word

Use this in reference to yourself or an audience member. Use it over
and over and over again. The laughs are yours for the taking
because it is so taboo.

Section 7: Impressions

Like White Hacks, Black Hacks have their own repertoire of hack

7a. Michael Jackson

Let's see now. Move your hips, sing in a falsetto voice, and as a
topper, touch yourself! Then tell a joke about molesting children. 

7b. Urkel

I actually tend to like Urkel impressions, even though they're hack.
So feel free to do as many of these as you want! 

7c. Rerun

You're a fat black hack with a hat. You're Rerun.

Section 8: Propagating stereotypes

We all know the stereotypes. Blacks play basketball, eat
watermelon, and break dance. Black hacks have not overlooked

8a. I'm out stealing your shit right now.

The idea here is to talk to someone in the audience and find out
where they live. Once you have found out their location, tell them
that you're going out to rob their house during the show. Or tell
them that your buddy is out stealing their car right now. Here are
some examples. You get the idea. 

Don't worry,... as long as I'm on stage ... your house is safe. 

Wouldn't you rather see me on stage than coming thru your
bedroom window?!! 

Last time I was in lights this bright I was in a line up!! 

8b. Can I have some of your fried chicken? 

This is an example of self-deprecating humor. Black hacks try to fit
the stereotype to get a few laughs. Alas, it usually works.

8c. Ax, Bee-atch, Ah gots ta, and assorted jive.

Slip into some jive and the audience is right there with you.
Whatever you do, make sure not to use proper English, lest your act
suffer from an outbreak of audience comprehension.

Section 9: Insults

Insults are key to determining King Cock amongst black hacks. The
loudest, biggest put down wins the prize. Sometimes they're original.
But usually they refer to...

9a. Yo' mama is so...

Usually followed by ugly or fat. She scares Jabba the Hut. Her car
has stretch marks. It looks like someone put a fire out on her face
with an ice pick. Yeah, I know this kind of put down can be funny,
but towards the end, did you EVER laugh at any of Johnny Carson's
"It was so hot" jokes? Doubt it. It's been done repeatedly, even if
the punch line is clever.

Section 10: Persona

Many Black Hacks (and white ones) develop a persona integral to
their success. This persona has absolutely nothing to do with their
performance. It's hack, in much the same way that many rock
groups, composed primarily of rich, upper class kids, wear long hair
and appear rebellious.

10a. Naming Yourself

If you want to create a persona, give yourself a name, like
Hamburger. When you say something outrageous, follow it up with
your name. I'm not even sure why this is funny, but audiences seem
to love it. At least Carrot Top doesn't say "Oh, Carrot Top, Uh
Huh" after every punch line.

10b. Naming your dick

I'll bet nobody in the history of mankind has ever named their dick.
You call yours "Little Mike Tyson"? Ha ha ha ha ha!

Section 11: Workin Blue -- Profanity

Profanity. Now THAT'S funny. Remember, the nastier your act, the
more a thinking audience respects you. A black hack's act is entirely
incomplete without gratuitous, ubiquitous profanity. Every other
sentence in such an act can contain the word "fuck" and people will
still think it's be funny. Come on. Not only is it not funny, it's major
hack. An occasional dick joke is great, as is a well placed swear
word. But the black hack never feels that working blue and using
the same swear words repeatedly, is limiting. I don't really know

11a. Dicks

My ho's lips are sooo big ... they almost fit around my dick. OK, so
blacks have huge wangs. And I'll bet YOU'RE the only one ever to
notice that! 

Grab your dick a lot on stage! Go ahead. Everybody's doing it, so do
it and get your share of laughs at this cerebral approach to comedy.

11b. Eating Pussy

Always remember to include the most detailed, graphic description
of cunnilingus. Spare no expense here. The more vivid the
description, with the most analogies to tuna, tacos, and watermelon,
the better. Talk about how your friends do it. Talk about how
lesbians do it. Talk about how yo' mama does it. Say anything about

11c. Grab your body parts.

We've already mentioned how hacks grab their dicks. But grabbing
your ass is hack too. Or your breasts. 

Section 12: Topics Untouched by Black

Believe it or not, black hacks steer entirely clear of some subject
matter. If you hear any of these topics on stage, your performer is
likely not a black hack.

12a. Observational Humor

Why is it that door screens always look like they have that weird
pattern on them? I don't really know, but for what it's worth neither
does the black hack. For whatever reason, black hacks have no
interest in observational humor (which has become hack itself).
Seinfeld can rest easy.

12b. Politics

Did you hear the one about Strom Thurmond? Not in a black hack's
act. For some reason, the black hacks steer entirely clear of politics.

12c. Props

Black hacks don't use props. Thank God for small miracles. 

Section 13: Wait a Second... I be a Black

I have no advice for you other than to say, try your act without
profanity. If it's not working, start writing new material. That way
you won't be limited to non-network TV roles.

Many thanks goes out to: 

    Steven Rosenthal 

for all their help in putting this together. 

This FAQ is Copyright (C) 1995 by Steven J. Silberberg, and is
made available as a service to the Internet community. It may not
be sold in any medium, including electronic, CD-ROM, or database,
packaged with any commercial product, or published in print,
without the explicit, written permission of the author and FAQ
maintainer, Steven J. Silberberg 

Steve Silberberg
Suburban America is the melting pot of lowest common denominator
gastronomical mediocrity.  -- Holly Moore

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