When four of the world's funniest black stand-up comics came together to celebrate their crownings as the "Kings of Comedy," acclaimed filmmaker Spike Lee decided to film two of their most memorable shows. The result is THE ORIGINAL KINGS OF COMEDY, a raucous concert film that takes its cue from classic performers such as Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy. The host of the evening, Steve Harvey, spends most of his time criticizing modern music--namely hip-hop--for forgetting to include love in its songs, missing the days when black music was passionate and romantic. D.L. Hughley focuses on universal topics such as work, as well as taking his time to criticize certain unfortunate audience members. Cedric "The Entertainer" makes a series of clever points about the differences between white and black people in addition to using his large frame to dance and run around the stage to hilarious effect. Capping off the film is Bernie Mac, a frustrated 42-year-old who is sick of sex and believes that people should tell it like it is, no matter whom they might offend. As funny as each individual is, they also take the time to make poignant observations about race, relationships, and popular culture, giving the film a sincerity that is truly refreshing.
Cedric the Entertainer
D.L. Hughley - comedian, ORIGINAL KINGS OF COMEDY
Bernie Mac - American comedian/actor, THE BERNIE MAC SHOW
David Gale - Producer, VARSITY BLUES (1999)
Steve Harvey - comedian, ORIGINAL KINGS OF COMEDY
Spike Lee - African American director, DO THE RIGHT THING (1989)
Shelton Jackson Lee - African American director, DO THE RIGHT THING (1989)
Barry Alexander Brown - Editor, INSIDE MAN (2006)
Van Toffler - EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Malik Hassan Sayeed - Cinematographer
Butch Robinson - ORIGINAL KINGS OF COMEDY
Rylyn Demaris - ORIGINAL KINGS OF COMEDY
Wynn Thomas - Production Designer, INSIDE MAN (2006)
Wynn P. Thomas - Production Designer, INSIDE MAN (2006)
Michael Warren - TV/Film Actor
Angelia Price - ORIGINAL KINGS OF COMEDY
With this feature-length documentary filmed the evenings of February 26 and 27, 2000, at the Charlotte (NC) Colleseum, Spike Lee captures the spirit of the "Kings of Comedy" tour, focusing on stand-up geniuses Steve Harvey, Cedric "The Entertainer," D.L. Hughley, and Bernie Mac. The tour began in 1997 and has since grown in scope and popularity to its present status as one of the highest-grossing and most highly lauded black comedy shows. However, until Lee stepped up to the challenge of documenting the tour on film, it was also a well-kept secret among its attendees. Now these "Kings of Comedy" and their high-volume acts can be enjoyed by audiences everywhere.
Theatrical release: August 18, 2000. The film was shot on location at the Charlotte Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina, on February 26 and 27, 2000. Spike Lee shot on digital video to better capture the spontaneity of the performers. Created in 1997 by Walter Latham, the "Kings of Comedy" tour has become the highest-grossing comedy tour in history while remaining relatively ignored by white America. Gene Seymour of Newsday named the film one of the 10 best of 2000.
"...Their comedy gives audiences that have never seen anything like it a hilarious window on a new world....There's an energy that comes from their rapport with their crowd..." - 08/18/2000 New York Times, p.E12
"Spike Lee does more than merely film a concert....A laugh riot..." -- 3.5 out of 4 stars - 08/18/2000 USA Today, p.1E
"...Sly and hilarious moments..." - 09/01/2000 Entertainment Weekly, p.59
"...It's a worthwhile artifact and a hoot..." - 01/01/2000 Total Film, p.104
"...A dynamite film concert....The convergence of these sensational comedians is reason enough to film them in performance on the same bill..." - 08/18/2000 Los Angeles Times, p.C8