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White Dude, Black Dude

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"Yo, white dude runs for president like this..."
Jon Stewart, The Daily Show

This trope is when a comedian takes a mundane activity, like driving a car or dialing a phone, and describes how one group of people stereotypically performs it differently than another group. The different ways they approach the activity are supposed to humorously highlight the cultural differences between the groups. A typical example of the trope compares white and Black people, as suggested by the trope name.

Historically, a lot of Black comedians based routines on this format, which was shocking, transgressive and deeply satisfying for Black audiences when they first heard it in the late '70s and early '80s. As part of the "blaxploitation" movement where Black people started reclaiming and accepting certain Black stereotypes as positive rather than negative portrayals of Black culture, especially of Black masculinity, male Black stand-up comics started to turn white stereotypes of Blacks being "uncivilized" and "dangerous" on their head, recreating the stereotype as white men being over-civilized, timid and cowardly while Black men were powerful, independent and cool. Comedians such as Richard Pryor and Steve Harvey were early pioneers of the trope, and later comedians followed suit.

Over time, this style of comedy has become an Undead Horse Trope, and still it continues to live on, and on, and on as a Stock Joke. Successful comedians like Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle have become very successful with their own take on the format, often taking great care to find fresh new angles that work off of audience expectations. Younger and less talented comics, however, play the trope very straight to create cliche jokes for cheap laughs. If a fictional comedian starts employing material like this and plays it all straight, it is more often than not a shorthand for him being a milquetoast performer who deliberately appeals to the Lowest Common Denominator or even an outright lazy hack.

Generally, only minority comedians really can get away with using this trope without massively offending people, unless maybe the white dude is using it for Self-Deprecation or to call out racist attitudes.


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  • Bo Burnham generally makes fun of everything, but one of his bits criticized the trope for reinforcing tensions between the races.
    Bo: Here's some racial humor for you guys. White people are like this: "Ah!" Black people are like this: "Uh!" We're destined to fight forever! Blood in the streets.
  • Richard Pryor was an originator of the trope, one of the first comedians to make it big while mocking white people. He frequently invoked his N-Word Privileges, even releasing albums called That N***r's Crazy and Bicentennial N***r. Pryor stopped using the word following a visit to Africa, where he realized that this was just making the divide between white people and Black people worse. (Pryor's love of the word "motherfucker", however, remained undiminished.)
  • Steve Harvey was another early adopter of the trope, though in his case it's an instance of Unbuilt Trope; he always made sure to show that the Black guy was just as screwed up and idiotic as the white guy, being so focused on doing things the "Black way" that he screwed himself over.
  • Eddie Murphy used the trope occasionally in his stand-up, and in some of his movies actually plays white characters with the use of makeup.
    • Eddie had actually touched off some minor controversy with his The Nutty Professor remake, in which the Richard Simmons Expy (played by Murphy) was so convincing, people were accusing him of "reverse blackface."
    • It may not be the first example, but when he was a regular on SNL he did a bit where he got made up (pretty well, actually) in "whiteface" and went "undercover". One memorable bit was him attempting to pay for a newspaper, only to be told by the (white) shopkeeper "What are you doing? There's nobody around, just take it."
  • Dave Chapelle is noted for using this trope. His "white guy" voice is lifted from previous comics such as Pryor and Harvey.
  • Mike Birbiglia, a white comedian, makes fun of this trope by inverting it, using the slur Cracker as a replacement for the N word.
    In his high pitched, lame "white people voice": "So me and my cracka friends were drivin' down the street in my Volvo station wagon when I'm like, "Hey cracka, pass the Sun Chips!' And he was all, 'Not 'til we get to the picnic cracka!' And I'm like, 'Cracka please!' And he's all, 'Cracka whaaaaat?!"
    • He goes further to state his love of that joke because of the voice.
      "That voice makes all white people sound like British detectives. I feel sorry for the one guy in the world who talks like that." Then, in voice: "This is preposterous! Wait till I get my hands on that Black fellow! But first, I gotta dance!"
  • Russell Peters' act tends to go along the lines of "white people are like this (insert lame stereotype), but Indian people are like this (even lamer stereotype)".
  • The comedy team of "Tim and Tom" (Tim Reid, later famous as Venus Flytrap on WKRP in Cincinnati, and Tom Dreesen, still a working standup) not only used this trope, but embodied it. Performing in the late '60s and early '70s, they were the first — and last — "interracial comedy team" in America. Reid and Dreesen told the story of their brief career as "Tim and Tom" in a 2008 book, Tim and Tom: An American Comedy in Black and White.
  • Margaret Cho does a variation which could be accurately described as "Gay Dude, Straight Dude". Bonus points in that she is herself bisexual.
  • Jim Gaffigan has a variant making fun of his whitebread background, saying that when people see a Black guy they think "Wesley Snipes, Samuel L. Jackson", but when they see him they think "I gotta do my taxes."

    Comic Books 
  • Johnny Ryan did a parody of this trope with Magneto doing a stand-up routine about "mutants do it like this". Ending with him getting carried away and blowing up the Earth.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Down To Earth (2001) starred Chris Rock as a Black comedian suddenly reincarnated in the body of a wealthy old white man. This proves to be an obstacle when he tries to win audiences over with his trademark racially-based comedy.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 30 Rock has this as the staple of Tracy Jordan's comedy. Also used as parody once to illustrate how Tracy was growing distant from his fanbase:
    "Have you ever noticed St. Bart's people be eating their lobster like this ..."
  • Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip had a variation where two cast members go to see a Black comedian that is supposed to be a rising star in the stand-up scene, hoping to add more diversity and a new viewpoint to the predominantly-white writing staff. Unfortunately, his act is nothing but Black stereotypes and cliches, including outdated White Dude, Black Dude jokes, and they leave in disgust that he is just reinforcing the stereotype.
  • The Daily Show featured Jon Stewart trying it, inspired by Barack Obama's debate comedy.
  • While Chappelle's Show did this straight on occasion, one particular skit parodied the concept, with Dave telling his White Dude, Black Dude comedy routine through interpretive poetry:
    "When white people's power goes off, they panic...but when Black people's power goes off, they plan it!"
  • Carlos Mencia plays this trope straight, in-your-face, crude and often at the expense of Latinos to the point where it's a tad uncomfortable for some people.
  • In Living Color! made use of the trope. In one sketch, it lampshades the trope as one of the quintessential types of stand-up comedy, along with "Old Guy Who Complains About the Present", "Self-Deprecating Woman" and "Crazy Prop Guy".
  • Hanna-Barbera's Legend of the Superheroes (a rare live-action show for HB) featured a superhero roast attended by Ghetto Man (Brad Sanders) who made such observations as "White superheroes have magic words like 'Shazam.' Black superheroes have magic words like 'Kareem.' " It was even less funny than it sounds.
  • In an episode of Good Times, J.J. dreamed that he'd been replaced by a white guy. Said white guy wanted eggs benedict for breakfast, wore a pullover sweater, and said things like "Surely you jest!".
  • Community:
    • "Origins of Vampire Mythology" had a very odd version of this in The Tag: Abed does an extremely specific Stand-Up Comedy bit about differences in the way he and Troy brush their teeth. Naturally, only he and Troy get it.
    • Another odd variant is used in "App Development and Condiments". Jeff's comedy routine is all about how "Twos", "Threes", and "Fours" act differently from each other.
  • Parodied on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, in his segment on the War on Drugs.
    John Oliver: That reminds me of a joke. Black people who commit drug offences, [makes hand gesture as though he's in handucffs], they go to jail like this, whereas white people don't go to jail at all.
  • Saturday Night Live's "Black Jeopardy!" sketches often rely on this, with the Token White contestant on a Black version of Jeopardy! (or a non-American Black man like Drake or T'Challa) getting the answers comically wrong. One version featuring Tom Hanks, however, subverted it, with Hanks' blue-collar, MAGA-hat-wearing white guy getting a lot of the answers right and the Black host and fellow contestants often echoing his bigotry and Lower-Class Lout behavior so long as the subject of race relations never came up. The joke is that, save for the racial divide, many Black people aren't so different from white Trump voters in terms of their religious and cultural attitudes.

    Web Comics 
  • This strip from Daisy Owl:
    Roland: So Black bears be walkin' all like this! But brown bears be walking all like this!
    Mr. Owl: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Whoa. Are you using bear color as a proxy for human race? Because that is not cool.
    Roland: I have no idea what you're talking about, but you just ruined a perfectly good joke about bears.
  • Parodied in Cyanide and Happiness. "White guys walk like this. Black guys walk like this. Zarcbukloids walk like this."
  • Mocked in this early strip from Chainsawsuit. Apparently white people and Black people make different sounds while eating, and simply pointing this out is the "greatest comedy ever" and will earn you a giant pile of money.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons
    • Has an early parody of the trope, in which Homer watches a typical stand-up special featuring a Black comic in front of a brick wall delivering trite impressions of how Black and white people drive. Homer bursts into hearty laughter, shouting, "It's true! We're so lame!"
    • Homer tries his own hand at this style of comedy in another episode, saying, "See, white people have names like Lenny, while Black people have names like Carl." He laughs hysterically, while no one else reacts.
    • Groundskeeper Willie did a stand-up routine comparing how people from North and South Edinburgh play golf. He does get a laugh from the lone Scotsman in the audience.
  • Parodied in Family Guy (from "Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story"): Mahatma Gandhi is a stand-up comic, and says, "...and the Black people are always like 'Hey, bitch!' and the Indian people, we do not call our women in such a way." In some syndicated airings, "Black people" is Bowdlerised to "Americans".
  • King of the Hill had Bobby copy the routine from a Black driver's safety course instructor who taught through comedy, voiced by none other than Chris Rock. Rock's character advises Bobby to find humor from his own life as a white kid, however his research leads him to a white supremacist website and things go downhill from there.
  • Done on the Futurama episode "My Three Suns" with a Trisolian comedian doing a routine about the difference between those who live under the yellow sun and those who live under the red sun. Fry laughs his ass off and agrees, despite having been on the planet for about half an hour. Which tells you oh so much.
  • An episode in Gary And Mike featured a typecast reality TV Show, with Mike's brother as one of the contestants. There was also "The Black Stand-Up Comedian", whose shtick is these jokes, in a Malcolm Xerox vein.
    "When white man wets his bed, it's just 'oh he wets his bed', but when a Black guy wets his bed, they say he's ruining the bed!"
  • Basically the plot of the SpongeBob SquarePants episode 'Squirrel Jokes'. Nervous first-time comedian SpongeBob kills with jokes about how squirrels are dumb, much to the chagrin of his squirrel friend Sandy Cheeks, who happens to be the smartest person in town. At the end of the episode, he realizes it was wrong to single out Sandy and indulges in stereotypes about every different type of creature in the audience.

    Real Life 


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Black Dude White Dude, White Man Black Man


It's True, We're So Lame

Homer can't enough of an 80s era Black comic describing how Black guys drive vs. how White guys drive.

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