Revival of ‘ComicView’ Series Seeks to Foster Next Generation of Comedians: Recognized for Its Role in Cultivating the Black Comedy Scene

Kevin Hart’s Hartbeat Productions Introduces Stellar Lineup Including DC Young Fly, Jess Hilarious, Jay Pharoah, Bresha Webb, T.I., Mike Epps, and More on Stage

D.C. Young Fly on "ComicView" (BET+)

“It’s been over 30 years since the original ‘ComicView’ debuted on BET, serving as a launchpad for the careers of numerous comedians, including D.L. Hughley, Sommore, Cedric the Entertainer, and more. Now, fellow alum Kevin Hart and his production company aim to replicate this success with Hartbeat’s revival of the stand-up comedy series.

“It was so instrumental in really growing the Black comedy scene for so many years,” remarked Bryan Smiley, Hartbeat co-president and chief content officer. “We wanted to keep the DNA of what a great stand-up is intact. It is very much an art form that is tried and true. We’re just kind of updating the look of it, the feel of it. But that said, we brought back people that really understood the structure of stand-up comedy. And for us, because you haven’t seen it in so long on television, we really think we’re reintroducing that to a new generation of people as well.”

The concept for the revival of “ComicView” — now rebranded as “Comic View” — originated from Hartbeat co-president and chief distribution officer Jeff Clanagan, known for his involvement in producing several of Kevin Hart’s productions, including the successful comedy special “Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain.” Clanagan, serving as the executive producer for “Comic View,” proposed the show’s comeback in 2022.

“Jeff Clanagan said, ‘What if we brought that back? We should be supporting the next generation of comics, whether that’s fresh voices or even voices that have been around a long time that we haven’t seen in a while,’” Smiley said. “Kevin loved it, I loved it, and we went to BET with it. Over the course of a year or so, we found the path forward with the project.”

The original “ComicView” aired from 1992 to 2008, with an initial revival in 2014.

In this iteration of “Comic View,” a blend of both established and emerging comedians take the stage. Alongside today’s comedians like Jay Pharoah, Tacarra Williams, Bresha Webb, Jess Hilarious, and DC Young Fly, longtime comics such as Tommy Davidson and Tony Roberts are also slated to perform. Additionally, the show will feature the televised stand-up debut of Grammy-winning rapper Tip “T.I.” Harris. Hosting the show is the talented Mike Epps, known for his role in “The Underdoggs.”

“A lot of the people that performed on this run, we’ve been in business with a long time, or people that Kevin has known a long time,” explained Smiley. “It was a combination of people in our Hartbeat ecosystem, and also people we just think are hilarious and need a stage to perform.”

Smiley also expressed his pride in reviving a show that held significant meaning for communities of color.

“I remember watching it as a young adult on television, and it was that go-to show every night… It was just a fun, safe place to laugh on your couch, and I think that’s true for a lot of families across America, especially a lot of families of color. So honestly, it’s been a real privilege and honor to watch it come back to life in a way that gives that experience to people who are now adults in our current time.”

“Comic View” premiered with four episodes on BET+ on March 14. Watch the trailer below: [Link to the trailer]

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