Friday night I attended The New Negroes show at Bossanova Ballroom. Not only was I going because I wanted to check out eight vastly different Black comedians, all conveniently collected onto one bill, but also because Comedy Central recently decided to create a show based on Baron Vaughn and Open Mike Eagle’s comedy showcase—so it must be good!
Surprisingly (but also not surprisingly, because, Portland), the vast majority of the audience last night was white. At first, I looked around and thought “Am I at the wrong show? Where are all the Black people?” Only Portland’s own Marcus Coleman made a crack about it.
Baron Vaughn was, of course, the host for the show, and he gave me a chuckle with his spot-on “British documentary voice.” I also liked his musings on how shitty it must be for anyone who went into a coma in 2009 with Barack Obama in office, and are now awaking to find—and not believe—that Trump is POTUS. The night was heavy on Trump- and apocalypse-related jokes, which was to be expected, since comedic material is literally the only thing Donald Trump is good for.
Kicking off the night was Greg Coleman, a “bouncer at an elementary school.” His comedy centered mostly on his questionable teaching practices while working with children.
I really chuckled when Nigerian comic Chinedu Unaka said “Trump could make history…” adding that he could be “the first president to get shot at and deserve it.” Not killed, but shot at. Chinedu is also the only comic I didn’t snap any photos of, because ironically, he was too gorgeous for me to take my eyes off of long enough to take a pic. And now I am sad.
I also enjoyed Yedoye Travis, AKA “Hipster Frederick Douglas,” and former phone-sex addict Kevin Avery. But among my favorite acts of the night were the two women on the bill. Shalewa Sharpe, who’s apparently older than Stella when she got her groove back, explained that as a Black woman, once you cross the threshold of 200 pounds, people expect you to be a fountain of wisdom, especially when you wear long dreadlocks like she does. She also discussed what it was like getting hired (to handle snacks) on Election Day, and accidentally becoming the office oracle.
Pat Brown was my absolute favorite of the night, and this was her first time coming to Portland. She was the only comic of the night who threw shade at our fair (seriously, really fair) city for its lack of Black people. Of noticing a plethora of Black Lives Matter signs in one neighborhood, Pat asked “Damn. What did you do to Black people that you needed all these reminders?” I LOL’d: HAHAHAHAHA IT'S BECAUSE REDLINING AND GENTRIFICATION!
She also joked that with the amount of strip clubs we have per capita, she assumed we must have a surplus of hot girls. She quickly discovered that we actually just have a surplus of poles. I also enjoyed her admission that she creepily watches couples as if she were gawking at sports cars (“ooh I want one of those in Black!”) and getting really excited about the sex Barack and Michelle are clearly having. Brown is the one comedian of the night that I had to immediately follow on Twitter so I wouldn’t forget her. (And also because she told us all to do it right then and there.) Brown recently made an appearance on Conan, but check out this clip of her on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.