Is it because I is black?

Blackwood: Oxbridge and racism are holding me back

Richard Blackwood says that the comedy scene is inherently racist and dominated by Oxbridge types.

He believes it is that which is holding his career back - which is why he is so desperate to make it big in America.

Talking about himself in the third person, he said: "The powers that be haven't really accepted and respected Richard Blackwood. They just look at me and think, 'I don't remember him in the dramatic society.'

"Most of them come from Oxford or that kind of stock. It's like a little fraternity. And here's me coming from the street.

"There are only four black people [in the UK] who have been given their own show - me, Trevor McDonald, Lenny Henry and Ian Wright.

"There is a black comedy circuit, but the mainstream scene is only going to let so many of us through at a certain time. I was the lucky one who got discovered, got accepted. But there are still some brilliant black comedians just doing their thing who won't ever get that."

But Blackwood has no doubting his own ability, which he says is influenced by the personal stand-up of Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor and Bill Cosby.

In a lengthy interview in today's Guardian, he said: "I can make you laugh from beginning to end. And that is a great skill. It might just sound like I'm talking, but there is a great skill and thought that goes into that process. I think America can relate more to my style of comedy."

Talking of the success of such well-paid stars as Jerry Seinfeld or Oprah Winfrey, he says: "Everything I've been doing up until this point, be it MTV or the Richard Blackwood Show, has always been to get myself set up for that ultimate level.

"I don't feel like I've gone as big as I could go.

"I'm in the gym a lot, because I need to get myself looking a bit different. Richard's got to look sexy now. I need to make sure that, when I get to Hollywood and they tell me to take off my shirt, they're in trouble."

Published: 5 Oct 2002

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