October is #blackhistorymonthuk and to celebrate I'll be writing a completely personal history of 20 of the most influential #BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers in my life. Okay let's get started...
To viewers of a certain age instantly recognisable. A loved – adored – kids’ TV presenter: they often are aren’t they, the perfect adult, kind and funny, shows you interesting things, never tells you off 1/3
#blackhistorymonthuk #BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers ImageImageImage
I was slightly too old for his early Play School/Play Away incarnations but remember him from numerous in soaps, movies like Up Pompeii and a ton of sitcoms. 2/3
#BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers #blackhistorymonthuk Image
Like so many of the people we'll be looking at this month, Griffiths is also a talented musician. He wrote a lot of the music for Bod, and was a singer in his own right. 3/3 #BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers #blackhistorymonthuk ImageImage
Celebrating my Top 20 #BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers as part of #BlackHistoryMonth

I worked with Jocelyn when she was starting out and she was a brilliant guest on what might have been her stand-up debut on the topical TV show Blouse And Skirt... Image
@LilMisJocelyn made two great shows 10-15 years ago: hidden camera 3 Non Blondes + lovely character-driven sketch Little Miss Jocelyn. Plus a 1 Non Blonde follow up in 2010. Time for a new series...? #BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers #BlackHistoryMonth
Today's #BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers celebrated as part of #BlackHistoryMonth
3 TRIX WORRELL Trix’s impact on black British TV comedy has been huge. He created Desmond’s, one of the most successful Channel 4 sitcoms, the longest running in the channel’s history. 1/3 Image
He went on to create the spin-off Porkpie starring Ram John Holder. Trix made the oft-taken journey of talented British black writers and performers and worked as a writer and producer in Hollywood for many years. #BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers #BlackHistoryMonth 2/3 Image
Haven’t seen him in 25 years but according to Wikipedia, he is (like all us 60something children of immigrant families) writing his first novel. #BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers #BlackHistoryMonth 3/3 Image
Day 4 celebrating #BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers for #BlackHistoryMonth
4 GARY WILMOT @garywilmotactor is one of those multi-talented singer-dancer-mimic-comic types best known for hosting Saturday evening TV shows but has enjoyed an amazing career on the West End stage. 1/5 Image
Gary's family were in showbiz (his dad was a professional singer) but like many comedy stars he was dyslexic, and ended up working on a building site. His breakthrough came thanks to the BGT of our generation, New Faces 2/5 #BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers #BlackHistoryMonth Image
It wasn't an easy start. "It was only when I came into musical theatre that I became aware of people saying 'He's black, he can't play that' or 'They're white, they can't do that'."
3/5 #BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers #BlackHistoryMonth Image
His big break was Me And My Girl. Over the next 30 years he broke those barriers and played a massive range of characters: Fagin, Caracticus Potts and many others from the great musicals.
4/5 #BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers #BlackHistoryMonth ImageImageImageImage
Comedy musicals bring hugely diverse audiences to theatre and they're our lifeblood. It's tragic they're being left to die. I hope they - and Gary - come back soon. 5/5 #BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers #BlackHistoryMonth Image
Coming to the end of the first week of my personal choice of the 20 most influential #BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers as part of #BlackHistoryMonth Thanks for all your interest so far.

Who’s the funniest man in Britain? @CurtisWalkerDon is easily in my top 5. 1/5 Image
If you want to know what the "Don" refers to in his handle, think “The Godfather” – this is not arrogance on Curtis’s part, it’s how the black comedy audiences see him. 2/5
#BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers #BlackHistoryMonth Image
You may only know him from TV sketch show The Real McCoy, but as a stand-up Curtis has the ability to articulate what everyone’s thinking about what’s going on in the world and then make it funny. #BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers #BlackHistoryMonth 3/5 Image
I hope stand-up comes back soon because there is no experience quite like going to an evening of black stand-up comedy, and if Curtis is on the bill he blows you away.
#BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers #BlackHistoryMonth 4/5 Image
Happily you can see the master in action right now - every Sunday, live on Facebook! With @EddieNestorMBE and @angielemar facebook.com/watch/?v=29947…
#BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers #BlackHistoryMonth 4/5
Welcome to WEEK 2 of my personal take on 20 top #BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers as part of #BlackHistoryMonth 1/8
To recap
4 GARY WILMOT @garywilmotactor
5 CURTIS WALKER @CurtisWalkerDon
Which brings us to
6 CHARLIE WILLIAMS “me old flower” Loved hearing a comic on TV sounding normal. I’m from Leeds and before him the thought I'd work in comedy was as likely as becoming an astronaut.
But accent wasn’t why he stood out was it? 2/8 #BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers #BlackHistoryMonth Image
Charlie was the first black lots of things: successful black comic on British TV, black quiz show host, black footballer for Doncaster Rovers. He never wanted that to be what defined him – sadly everyone else did. 3/8 #BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers #BlackHistoryMonth ImageImage
Not everyone was comfortable with his persona. Playwright Dotun Adebayo: “He was in a time and place and did what he had to do to survive. But that has consequences.” Also racists hated seeing a black man on TV. 4/8 #BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers #BlackHistoryMonth Image
And the middle classes. There’s a sad moment in the lovely @IMcMillan radio doc where a posh presenter asks him to comment about him trading on white prejudices. His response is instantly recognisable as a laugh of despair. 5/8 #BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers #BlackHistoryMonth
“Only one race as far as I’m concerned and that’s the human race," Charlie replied, "if I can make them all laugh I’ve done my job.”
6/8 #BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers #BlackHistoryMonth
Wish he’d been around to hear the wise words of @robertoblake “It’s okay if you’re talking about your identity and you don’t get it right, especially in a world where you haven’t had permission to explore it.” 7/8 #BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers #BlackHistoryMonth Image
As @IMcMillan points out, none of this mattered in Barnsley, where they loved him as one of their own, and thousands lined the streets for his funeral. This is a lovely radio show, listen if you can:
8/8 #BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers #BlackHistoryMonth Image
Welcome to today's #BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers as part of #BlackHistoryMonth
Five years ago this month E4 broadcast Chewing Gum. Written by and starring @MichaelaCoel as a 24 year old trying to lose her virginity and understand how the world works 1/5 Image
The show was an instant hit, and deservedly so.
1 It was funny
2 Blew away the well-meaning consensus that had held black comedians back (liberal producers nervous at showing flawed black comedy characters) 2/5 #BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers #BlackHistoryMonthUK Image
I almost didn't include @MicahelaCoel as part of #BlackHistoryMonth but a lot of history has happened in five years. She is still very current, her show I May Destroy You described as the highlight of 2020 so far. 3/5 #BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers Image
But equally important to past and present, Michaela is the future. She turned down a $1m deal with Netflix to hold on to her copyright
#BlackHistoryMonth #BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers
With giant corporations dominating comedy and government seeking to cancel the BBC, it's getting harder for comic talent to hold on to their creative integrity. Michaela shows us it can be done! 5/5
#BlackHistoryMonth #BlackWritersAndComedyPerformers Image

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More from @DaveCohencomedy

1 Sep
When did the Tories stop loving left-wing comedy?

In the 1980s, when I was writing for Spitting Image, they loved it. Couldn't get enough of it. What did they care? They had the power.

The angrier we got the more they enjoyed it. 1/6
There were no right-wing comics then. Tories wore their lack of sense of humour as a badge of honour.

Sure there were sexists and racists, but back then they were cancelled by market forces. Advertisers preferred non-sexist non-racist comedy. And the BBC followed suit. 2/6
The Simpsons was created at Fox TV. At any point Rupert Murdoch had the power to cancel it. Why should he?

Back then, powerful people loved us angry lefties mocking them. "Did they base Montgomery Burns on me? What do I care? Look at the $$$ he's making me." 3/6
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