NO B/S! is a season of films and events that celebrate the many tones of Black comedy. Across December and January, we'll explore the power of Black Satire, celebrate Black British TV Comedy legends, and enjoy some classic Buddy Movies. We hope No B/S! will encourage audiences to look behind the laughs and the role of Black comedy to challenge, heal and reveal much of what is wholesome and what is problematic in our transatlantic society. The season is curated by Come the Revolution. It is part of Comedy Genius, a nationwide celebration of comedy on screen, led by BFI, the Independent Cinema Office and BFI Film Audience Network, supported by funds from the National Lottery. We are thankful to our Bristol partners Watershed, Arnolfini, Colston Hall, The Station Bristol, Patwa Creative and Ujima Radio 98fm. For screenings happening across the UK click here.

The Strands

Celebrating Black UK Comedy feat. The Real McCoy Reloaded

Saturday 8th December, 18:30, The Station

Our special TV comedy strand will be contextualised by special guests John Simmit, Eddie Nestor and Leo Muhammad in “The Real McCoy Re-Loaded” (December 8th). This immersive format will combine the best elements of Black comedy stand-up with Black tv/film (a rare event in Bristol). It is a unique opportunity to celebrate the contribution of Black comedic performers by providing an insight into the continuities between past and present. Black life on both sides of the Atlantic is not static and there are few better ways to trace the cultural, socio- economic shifts within Black communities than through comedy. Shows such as The Fosters (1977-1977), Desmond's (1989-1994) and The Real McCoy (1991-1996), capture the identity interplay between first and second generation African and Caribbean Brits. One understands through these shows that Black British identity is a shifting dialogue between the Caribbean, Britain and the USA.

Black Satire

Our satire strand considers how Black comics explore and explode tropes of Blackness. and how performers navigate the negative tropes demanded by a white film industry. Comedic performance serves an important role in communal well being and offers a lens through which one can observe societal change. The trickster is part of a body of oral history passed down by storytellers, musicians and entertainers who in slavery and freedom have used these tales to entertain, teach, preach, cope and to heal. The discrepancy between white perceptions of Blackness and Black realities remains the creative spark for Black satire. It would be easy to critique individual performers, but their choices must be seen in the context of the racism of the time, the hegemony of white expectations and the narrow opportunities for Black performers to break into film and television. Newly released Sorry to Bother You (2018), the rarely screened Bamboozled (2000), and TV drama Shoot the Messenger (2006) capture the power of satire to say that which has become uncomfortable.

(clockwise from top) Bamboozled (2000), Sorry to Bother You (2018), Shoot the Messenger(2006), Hollywood Shuffle (1987).

Satire Screenings

  • Fri, Dec 7th, 18:00, Watershed Cinema - SORRY TO BOTHER YOU Tickets
  • Tue, Dec 11th, 19:00, Colston Hall - SHOOT THE MESSENGER Tickets
  • Sun, Dec 16th, 14:00, Watershed Cinema - HOLLYWOOD SHUFFLE Tickets
  • Sun, Dec 16th, 18:30, Colston Hall - BAMBOOZLED Tickets

Buddy Movies

The Buddy Movies strand considers how this popular vehicle has introduced Black performers to the mainstream audience. US comedy Girls' Trip (2017) brings to the big screen a celebration of Black female humanity and friendship through the kind of humour traditionally reserved for men. One might say that the Black female performer is doubly pioneering given that the heritage of Black performance – folklore, traditions, - rarely mention women as comedic agents


  • Fri, Jan 18th, 18:00, Arnolfini - STIR CRAZY - Tickets
  • Fri, Jan 18th, 20:00, Arnolfini - BAD BOYS - Tickets
  • Sat, Jan 19th, 17:00, Arnolfini - GIRLS' TRIP - Tickets
  • Sat, Jan 19th, 19:00, Arnolfini - JUMPIN' JACK FLASH - Tickets
  • Sat, Jan 26th, 13:30, Malcolm X Centre - ANNIE - Tickets
(clockwise from top) Bad Boys (1995), Jumpin' Jack Flash (1986), Stir Crazy (1980), Annie (2014).
Created By
Come The Revolution

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