One of the biggest evidence that shows that Spoken Soul (Ebonics)is thriving well is its use among black comedians. Black comedians use Spoken Soul to enrich their comic routines and use it in contrast with Standard English. Black comedy has been recognized since 1893, with Bert Williams and the 2 Real Coons. In the 1920s, due to segregation, blacks in the midwest and the south had to perform under the auspices of an organization known as the Theatre Owners’ Booking Association (TOBA). With black comedians, the humor lies in the swapping of voices, a principle that was common in the 1920s with Sammy Davis Jr., in 1975 with Richard Pryor, TV shows like GoodTimes, and is still seen today with black comedians’ live performances, such as seen on BET’s Comic View.
The contrast between black and white styles of speech are usually exploited for humorous effects, as seen in Steve Harvey’s 1997 live performances There are two workers who are about to be fired by their boss, Tom, one white (Bob), one black (Willie). What makes these types of comedy routines humorous is that one can obviously see the cultural contrast between Bob and Willie. Its easy to see the difference in rhetorical styles, the way the voices sound, their demeanor, Bob seems nave, and more willing to accept the situation, while Willie seems more savvy and confrontational. This is a recurrence in black humor, where blacks are portrayed as being sharp, and more capable of being self assertive, contrary to the dominant society’s stereotype that blacks are less articulate.
Another thing found in black humor is that black comedians are quick to poke fun at black folks in general. This routine also shows how blacks in this country are able to go back and forth in their everyday life from “soultalk” to “standard english”, depending on who they are talking to, the situation, and circumstancesBibliography: