Viewers love these top African American comedies for many reasons. They often portray life in the Black community and the inner-workings of an African American family. Often they have interesting or eccentric characters and they’re just downright funny. Although there have been good Black sitcoms and not-so-good Black sitcoms, these are some of the best African American comedy shows you can watch, old or new, including some of the best Black sitcoms of the decade.
The best Black sitcoms on TV today are descended from an interesting heritage. The first Black sitcom-type program, Amos ‘n’ Andy, began its run in 1950, but it inspired controversy - protests against it claimed that it portrayed Black people in an unfavorable, lower-class light. Black sitcoms began to come into their own with Sanford and Son, which many critics believe readied the general public to receive The Cosby Show in the 80s. A far cry from Amos ‘n’ Andy, The Cosby Show featured Black characters who were educated and intelligent, earning it a spot as one of the best African-American comedy shows. Fast forward to the 2010s and shows like Black-ish and its spinoffs showcase a new era of black family sitcoms.
Of course, some of the best Black sitcoms have faded in popularity with age. Remember 90s Black sitcoms like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air? Although the Fresh Prince no longer holds a prime time spot, Will Smith is still one of the funniest Black characters (and actors) of all time. Other unforgettable African American characters that earn their shows a place on this list include Martin Payne (Martin) played by comedian Martin Lawrence, Weezie (The Jeffersons), and Arnold Jackson (Diff’rent Strokes).
With many Black sitcoms to choose from today, viewers shouldn’t be at a loss for great African-American comedy shows. Black sitcoms may have changed over the years, but the best Black comedy shows will continue to be enjoyed for years to come. What are television's best Black sitcoms? Vote up the Black sitcoms and comedy series you think are the best and see where your favorites rank.
- Martin Lawrence, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Tichina Arnold3,308 votes
- Will Smith, James Avery, Daphne Maxwell-Reid3,668 votes
- Queen Latifah, Kim Coles, Erika Alexander1,819 votes
- Redd Foxx, Demond Wilson, Whitman Mayo2,019 votes
- Lisa Bonet, Kadeem Hardison, Jasmine Guy2,003 votes
- Keenen Ivory Wayans, Jim Carrey, Kelly Coffield Park1,740 votes