On this day in comedy on September 14, 1992 Comic View premiered on BET!
Created by producer Curtis Gadson, this poor man’s Def Comedy Jam began as a showcase for comedians nationwide featuring in-studio performances as well as those shot across the country and inserted as “The Comic Cam”. The first host was D. L. Hughley, who liberally used the audience; picking on select members to clown between introductions filmed at the Normandie Casino showroom in Gardena, California. After a 64 show successful season, the show returned as a comedy competition featuring three competitors per episode with the winner of each placed in contention to become the next season’s host. The first winner of that competition was a then unknown Cedric, the Entertainer. Subsequent hosts were Sommore, Don “DC” Curry, Montanna Taylor, Gary Owen (the only white host on this black comedy format), Lester Barrie, Rickey Smiley, Bruce-Bruce, Arnez J, J. Anthony Brown, Sheryl Underwood and later Kevin Hart (Comic View One Mic Stand) and a returning Sommore would host reboots of the program after its initial run.
The competition portion for Comic View stayed intact once introduced for several seasons, but other aspects came and went. The aforementioned “Comic Cam” was a one season wonder as was the playful banter and flirting of host, Cedric the Entertainer and his comedy foil, Miss Laura Hayes in a kitchen setting during season 3. The kitchen remained in season 4, but this time Miss Laura was being courted by writer /producer /comedian, D’Militant in the absence of Cedric. This unrequited love dynamic was also changed for the next two seasons when Gadson created a comedy soap opera starring Miss Laura called Nuthin But a Woman (later retitled The Blackberry Inn). The ongoing story of Laura owning a hotel and her wacky staff was inserted at the end of competition segments and featured comedian / impressionist Dante as well as Bo P, D’Militant (Darryl Littleton), Ada Luz Pla, Mailon Rivera, L. Anthony Ramos, Cheryl Francis Harrington, Charlene Blaine and narrated by Angelique Perrin.
Once The Blackberry Inn was forced out after two seasons, Comic View returned to a showcase format. During one season if comedians weren’t deemed funny, comic strip bubbles were placed over their heads with disparaging remarks. The program also saw changes in location during its run (Atlanta, Miami, New Orleans). It holds the distinction of being recorded in Louisiana one week prior to Hurricane Katrina.
By Darryl “D’Militant” Littleton
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