Started Out:Performing his profanity-laden stand-up routine at comedy clubs, including the same Bay Area Comedy Club as Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg.
Big Break: In 1980, after much back and forth, Murphy joined the cast of the NBC sketch comedy show 'Saturday Night Live.'
Factoid: Murphy was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as James "Thunder" Early in the big screen movie remake of the Broadway musical 'Dreamgirls.'
Started Out: Appearing at the downtown Baltimore Comedy Factory Outlet.
Big Break: Starred on the hit UPN sitcom 'The Parkers.'
Factoid: Born in 1967, Mo'Nique (real name: Monique Imes) is the author of 'Skinny Women are Evil: Notes of a Big Girl in a Small-Minded World' and the cookbook 'Skinny Cooks Can't Be Trusted.'
Started Out: Performing in New York City nightclubs alongside other acts such as Bob Dylan and Woody Allen.
Big Break: Playing the role of a drug-addict piano player in 1972's 'Lady Sings the Blues.'
Factoid: The release of his third comedy album, 'That Nigger's Crazy,' in 1974 led to a Grammy for best comedy album.
Started Out: Appearing on the sitcom 'Martin,' where he played 'Hustle Man.'
Big Break: Morgan's claim to fame came in 1996 when he began appearing on 'Saturday Night Live.'
Factoid: Andrew Dice Clay inspired Morgan to pursue comedy.
Started Out: Began doing stand-up in the mid-1980s and was a finalist in the second annual Johnnie Walker National Comedy Search in 1989.
Big Break: Hosting the nationally syndicated TV series 'Showtime at the Apollo.'
Factoid: Born in 1957, Harvey (real name: Broderick Steven Harvey) made his literary debut with the New York Times best-selling relationship/advice book 'Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man,' in 2009.
Started Out: Cutting his teeth on the New York City comedy circuit.
Big Break: He co-wrote and starred in the 1998 stoner film 'Half Baked.'
Factoid: Born in 1973, Chappelle (real name: David Anand Khari Webber Chappelle) helmed his eponymous Comedy Central show, which was wildly popular until he walked away in the middle of its third season.
Started Out: Making an appearance on the national talent show 'Star Search,' which ultimately led to a gig on 'What's Happening Now!'
Big Break: Hosting the groundbreaking comedy series 'Def Comedy Jam.'
Factoid: In 1989, Lawrence was engaged to 'Saved by the Bell' actress Lark Voorhies.
Started Out: Small parts in TV shows such as 'Roseanne' and 'Hangin' with Mr. Cooper.'
Big Break: Playing Ice Cube's sidekick in the 1985 comedy movie 'Friday.'
Factoid: Born in 1972, Tucker endorsed Barack Obama rather than Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primaries even though he traveled overseas with President Bill Clinton.
Started Out: Began her stand-up career at a Coors Light Super Talent Showcase in Washington, D.C.
Big Break: Played multiple roles on Chris Rock's Emmy Award-winning HBO show.
Factoid: During a Las Vegas gay rights rally in November 2008, Sykes proclaimed she was "proud to be gay."
Started Out: As a stand-up comedian in Chicago's Cotton Club.
Big Break: A performance on HBO's Def Comedy Jam thrust him into the spotlight.
Factoid: Born in 1957, Mac (real name: Bernard Jeffrey McCullough) passed away August 9, 2008 -- one day before his 'Soul Men' co-star Isaac Hayes.
Started Out: Doing stand-up in the northern New Jersey area while attending Rutgers University.
Big Break: Appearing on HBO's 'Def Comedy Jam,' where he pioneered the popular term "booty call."
Factoid: Bellamy was the voice of Skeeter in Nickelodeon's hit action-comedy series 'Cousin Skeeter.'
Started Out: While in his early twenties, Cosby appeared on various well-known variety programs including 'The Ed Sullivan Show.'
Big Break: In 1965, he appeared as Alexander Scott in the Emmy Award-winning flick 'I Spy.'
Factoid: Beginning in 1965, Cosby scored the Grammy Award for best comedy album six years in a row.
Started Out: Doing stand-up comedy in 1985 in New York City's Catch a Rising Star Comedy Club.
Big Break: Was a cast member of the popular sketch comedy series 'Saturday Night Live.'
Factoid: Born in 1965, Rock won a Grammy for best spoken comedy album in 1999 for the project 'Bigger & Blacker.'
Started Out: As a stand-up comic on the syndicated TV show 'Solid Gold.'
Big Break: Starred in the hit 1990s sketch comedy show 'In Living Color,' along with family members Keenan Ivory Wayans, Kim Wayans, Marlon Wayans and Shawn Wayans.
Factoid: Born in 1960, Wayans served as the executive producer of '413 Hope St.,' a short-lived drama on the FOX network starring Richard Roundtree and Jesse L. Martin, which premiered in 1997.
Started Out: Griffin began his acting career the 1991 action-thriller 'The Last Boy Scout.'
Big Break: In 1996, Griffin showcased his talent on a national scale when he landed the role of Eddie on the TV series 'Malcolm & Eddie.
Factoid: Suffered a heart attack in 1996 while taping an episode of 'Malcolm & Eddie' following a scene in which he did the salsa dance.
Correction: A previous version of this slide misspelled Griffin's last name as "Griffith."
Started Out: As the original host of BET's 'Comic View' in 1992.
Big Break: As the star of the ABC/UPN sitcom 'The Hughleys,' which aired on ABC and UPN from 1998 to 2002.
Factoid: Born in 1964, the father of three hosted the late-night talk show 'Weekends on the DL' for Comedy Central and CNN's weekly 'D.L.Hughley Breaks the News.'
Started Out: Appeared on BET's 'Comic View' in 1999.
Big Break: Was a cast member on 'Saturday Night Live' in 2003.
Factoid: Born in 1972, the University of Miami graduate authored the book 'Your Girlfriends Only Know So Much.'
Started Out: Appearing as regular at the Apollo Theater and on 'The Tonight Show,' 'Laugh-In' and 'The Ed Sullivan Show.' Wilson landed his own show, 'The Flip Wilson Show,' in 1970.
Big Break: Winning two Emmys and two Golden Globe Awards for the popular variety show, in which his alter ego, Geraldine Jones, became a household phenomenon.
Factoid: Though Time magazine referred to Wilson as "TV's first black superstar," Wilson devoted more time to being a father once he got custody of his children and quit show business in 1979.
Started Out: Doing a completely improvised routine in a New York City comedy club circa 1977.
Big Break: Worked as a writer for 'The Redd Foxx Show.'
Factoid: Born in 1952, Wallace owns and operates one of Las Vegas' most popular stand-up comedy shows -- his very own at the legendary Flamingo.
Started Out: Performing at Harlem's Apollo Theater.
Big Break: In addition to making a number of mainstream TV appearances in the 1960s, Mabley performed at Carnegie Hall in 1962.
Factoid: Beginning her career at the age of 14, Moms Mabley adopted her original stage name from an ex-boyfriend, Jackie Mabley.
Started Out: Acting on a dare (from a girlfriend) and competing in an open-mic contest at a comedy club in 1989.
Big Break: Playing the comely date-challenged Wanda on 'In Living Color.'
Factoid: As of 2009, Foxx (real name: Eric Marlon Bishop) has released three music albums: 1994's 'Peep This,' 2005's 'Unpredictable' and 2008's 'Intuition.'
Started Out: In 1995, Epps was making his rounds on the scene through the 'Def Comedy Jam' tour.
Big Break: Epps caught his big break as Day-Day in the sequel to Ice Cube's sleeper hit 'Next Friday.'
Factoid: Throughout his career, Epps has played four characters named Reggie.
Started Out: While in pursuit of a career as an comedian, Whiterspoon started as a model for various catalogs.
Big Break: Witherspoon brought his unique flavor to a national audience in the 1990 comedy 'House Party.'
Factoid: Witherspoon is the cousin of legendary singer-songwriters Lamont Dozier and Reggie Dozier.
Started Out: As a writer for the groundbreaking sitcoms 'The Richard Pryor Show' and 'Sanford and Son.'
Big Break: Creating the character Homie the Clown for the irreverent sketch comedy show 'In Living Color.'
Factoid: Born in 1941, Mooney recorded racially charged comedy albums - via Stepsun Records - during the 1990s and gained newfound notoriety as Negrodamus on the hit Comedy Central series 'Chappelle's Show.'
Started Out: Making his rounds as a stand-up comedian on the "chitlin' circuit" during the 1940s and 1950s.
Big Break: Starring in the BBC spinoff 'Sanford and Son,' which premiered on NBC in 1972 Hometown: St. Louis.
Factoid: Foxx, whose real name was John Elroy Sanford, passed away in 1991 while rehearsing on the set of his show 'The Royal Family.'
Started Out: Underwood's talent saw the light of day in 1989 when she became the first female finalist in the Miller Lite Comedy Search.
Big Break: In 1998, the comedienne landed the role of Bad Mouth Bessie in Master P's 'I Got the Hook Up.'
Factoid: Over the years, Underwood appeared as a on-air radio personality on the 'Tom Joyner Morning Show.' She is also a devout member of the black Greek organization Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
Started Out: Working a day job as a legal secretary while doing stand-up comedy at night.
Big Break: Became the co-host of ABC's long-running talk show 'The View' in 2007.
Factoid: Born in 1967, Shepherd is renowned in the Christian entertainment industry and is often booked for her "clean" comedy.
Started Out: Making seven appearances on 'Star Search' and beating comedian Dennis Miller led to his role as Byron Lightfoot on the 'The Redd Foxx Show.'
Big Break: Landing the role of Coach Walter Oakes in 1987 on the 'Cosby Show' spinoff 'A Different World.'
Factoid: Sinbad replaced Chris Spencer as host of Vibe magazine's short-lived late-night talk show in October 1997. The series ended in the summer of 1998.
Started Out: Becoming the first woman to host BET's 'Comic View' from 1994-1995. Shortly following her stint as host, she received the Richard Pryor Award for comic of the year.
Big Break: The comedienne gained a wider fan base while being a part of the record-breaking 'Queens of Comedy' tour. The tour's Showtime special went on to be the highest-rated and longest-running special in the history of the network.
Factoid: Sommore and actress Nia Long are siblings.
Started Out: In 1984, her one-woman show - directed by Mike Nichols -- became a Broadway hit.
Big Break: The Steven Spielberg-directed movie 'The Color Purple,' in which she made her debut and won an Academy Award nomination.
Factoid: Born in 1955, Goldberg (real name: Caryn Elaine Johnson) became a co-host of ABC's long-running talk show, 'The View,' in 2007.