Lisa, Diane and the Birth of Black Comedy at The Proper Cafe

To keep it totally "100" with my "oldheads" and "young'uns," Lisa Angel Ray and Diane Gibbs, the founders of Non-Stop Entertainment masterminded and gave birth to weekly Black Comedy shows in Queens, New York City.

For me, prior to attending "Tuesday Night Comedy" at The Proper Cafe in 1991, my exposure to Black Comedy had been limited to seeing the Richard Pryor film "Live on Sunset Strip" in 1982 and going to the Eddie Murphy "Raw" concert at Madison Square Garden in 1987. Well, I should also include sneaking into my dad's record collection and listening to the raunchy adult comedy of "Wild Man Steve" and Redd Foxx, I'm just saying. I won't even front, and act like my homegirls and I were traveling to Manhattan to "Caroline's on Broadway" because we weren't. Besides we needed our weekly dose of the latest Hip Hop bangers and knew we wouldn't hear those at Caroline's.

Lisa and Diane created an atmosphere that die-hard Hip Hop Enthusiasts like me and my homegirls fell into perfectly, every Tuesday night.  Non-Stop Entertainment "Tuesday Night Comedy" was a natural progression for those of us who partied at Fantasia (the first Hip Hop club in Jamaica, Queens) in the late seventies and Club Encore throughout the eighties and nineties.

At The Proper Cafe patrons could get their "grown woman" and "grown man" on, as we all moved into our twenties, began to raise families and start careers. The best thing about those Tuesday Night Comedy shows for me was seeing old friends from Junior High School 72 Queens and my old neighborhood near Merrick Boulevard and 118th Avenue. Prior to the current age of Facebook it was a place to reconnect amid the backdrop of banging Hip Hop beats.  It was not uncommon for DJ Jam Master Jay, Tupac Shakur or the FUBU designers (@TheSharkDaymond) to "come through."

As the @TheProperCafe prepares to host it's last Tuesday Night Comedy show with current promoter Mook Diamond, Lisa and Diane will be in the building on October 24, 2017 at 7:00 PM before this community institution closes it's doors for good. Comedy Historians take note that your favorite successful Black Comedians most likely appeared on stage at The Proper Cafe prior to "blowing-up" on Def Comedy Jam.

Talent @TalentDaComedian, Wanda Sykes @IamWandaSykes, Tracy Morgan @RealTracyMorgan, Bill Bellamy @BillBellamy, Drew Fraser @DrewFraser123, Rob Stapleton @RobStapleton, Capone, Mike Epps @Eppsie, and countless other professional comedians should definitely send "social media love" to Lisa and Diane for providing a platform for them early in their careers. 

What an honor for me to salute in words - two pioneering women of Black Comedy promotions. #RockOn Lisa and Diane.

Written by:
Eva Marie King, MS
p/k/a Hip Hop's First Lady Historian
on Sunday, October 22, 2017
at Pioneer Women of Hip Hop from the 1970s
in SouthSide Jamaica, Queens, New York City USA

Contact Lisa Angel Ray on social media:
Instagram: @TheReal_LisaRay


Contact Diane Gibbs on social media
Instagram: @DGibbs_16


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