DeRay Davis said the one thing he wishes fans of Black comedy could know is that there is a legacy behind the funny memes that get shared online today.
In an interview with Shadow and Act, Davis, Kym Whitley and J.B. Smoove talked about the upcoming Amazon Prime docuseries Phat Tuesdays, which details the legendary comedy showcase and the popular acts who got their start there.
Davis said that while he had fun researching everything that went into the documentary, he wishes there were more paper trails as far as which comedian said what joke. Not only would that be great for him to continue to learn the craft, but it would also be a way for people nowadays to know the history behind some of their favorite jokes.
“I wish all these cameras were there back then and showing how powerful comedians were because…then a lot of these memes that y’all be posting would make a lot more sense,” he said regarding the proliferation of social media users rehashing jokes from deep cuts of Black comedy, including shows Whitley, Smoove and Davis have starred on from the ’90s and ’00s. Davis had a stint on My Wife and Kids, Smoove was on Everybody Hates Chris and Whitley was on The Parkers.
“These memes come from jokes on Comic View that [doesn’t] air any more…We don’t have a guild…We have a writer’s guild but there’s no guild [to document jokes]….This is important because that is my legacy my dream.”
He mentioned how the Wayans brothers would write together, such as for their self-titled sitcom in the early ’00s, but wouldn’t even tell each other jokes because they didn’t want the other person to steal it. “It’s that important,” said Davis.
“I wish we had a lot more footage of who invented what and plant those seeds so we can do true documentation of who said what…more documentation of our material,” he said.
Phat Tuesdays is streaming now on Amazon Prime.