Three-part documentary about weekly all-Black comedy nights at The Comedy Store premieres on Prime Video Feb. 4.
Black stand-up comedy culture has birthed so many stars and projects over the last 30 years despite once being marginalized as the ‘chitlin’ circuit.’ Prime Video chronicles how it shaped the careers of many of today’s comedy stars with a new docuseries, Phat Tuesdays: The Era of Hip-Hop Comedy, premiering Feb. 4.
The streaming service has given a sneak peek at the 3-part series that dives into the world of Black stand-up in the 90s.
Guy Torry, host of ‘Phat Tuesdays.’ Still provided by Amazon Studios.
The Comedy Store in Los Angeles is renowned for comics who honed their craft on its stages, oftentimes leading to success in Hollywood for people like Robin Williams, David Letterman and Jim Carrey.
Comedian Guy Torry wanted to give fellow Black comedians a similar platform in the world-famous comedy club. He was tired of Black comics being shut out of the mainstream, so in the 1990s, he took it upon himself to host a weekly showcase at The Comedy Store.
Torre was granted Tuesday nights but the pressure of delivering weighed on him.
“I’m representing Black comedians who need this opportunity,” Torry says in the clip. “And if I f— this up, you ain’t never getting this opportunity again.”
But Phat Tuesdays, the all-Black comedy night at The Comedy Store, became a big success and a launching pad for comics like Cedric the Entertainer, Dave Chappelle, and Lil Rel Howery, an outlet for female comics like Tiffany Haddish and Kym Whitley, and a place for other marginalized comedians of different ethnic backgrounds, like Russell Peters and Jo Koy.
Episode one sets the stage with the backstory of how comics like Martin Lawrence, D.L Hughley and Robin Harris had to find venues in South Los Angeles to do stand-up after being shut out of mainstream white clubs.
Episode two documents Phat Tuesday’s history of breaking Black comics. We see how celebrities like Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, and Mike Tyson would flock to the club, and how up-and-coming comics like Nick Cannon, Chris Tucker, and Bill Bellamy transitioned their appearances into Hollywood success.
In the final episode, Chappelle and Steve Harvey explain the science of being onstage. Whitley and Haddish share how Phat Tuesdays became a haven for them in the face of a sexist industry.
And it details the crossroads Torry found himself at when trying to decide whether he should expand on his success or maintain the weekly showcase.
Anthony Anderson, Regina King, Aries Spears, Chris Tucker and Torry’s brother and fellow comic, Joe Torry, all also appear to talk about the impact Phat Tuesdays had on the culture.
Watch the trailer below:
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