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Cosby, Pryor, and the Biography of African-American Comedy

DEC 15, 2014 | 6:30 PM TO 8:00 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue


1201: Elebash Recital Hall


December 15, 2014: 6:30 PM-8:00 PM




Leon Levy Center for Biography


Gary Giddins conducts a conversation with Scott Saul, Mel Watkins, and Mark Whitaker on the evolution and polarities of African-American humor, particularly as illuminated in the work of Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor, and on some of the pitfalls of writing biography, made clear by the recent devastating accusations against Cosby. Mark Whitaker, a former editor of Newsweek and CNN Worldwide, is the author of the much-discussed Cosby: His Life and Times, a rich cultural history. Scott Saul is the author of the revealing Becoming Richard Pryor, which uniquely tracks the artful rise of that comedic genius. Mel Watkins wrote the definitive study, On the Real Side: A History of African American Comedy from Slavery to Chris Rock and the biography of perhaps the most controversial of all black comedians, Stepin Fetchit: The Life and Times of Lincoln Perry.

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