You probably know Jordan Carlos, by face if not by name, or at least by nickname: He's Stephen Colbert's Black Friend, a comedian who sounded off in this weekend's Washington Post about the dearth of black faces among the comedy crowd, and his own experience as a black comedian. Here's a telling excerpt:
Entering the comedy world as a black man means you always stand out, even during off hours, such as one Christmas evening in New York at my first holiday comedy mixer. All of Gotham's comedic glitterati were there. I cornered a "Daily Show" writer, doing my best to get the inside track on a possible actor/writer gig. We broached the subject of black correspondents. He told me that they "tried a black guy once, but it didn't work out." I nearly threw my imported beer in his face. Tried it once and it didn't work? You say that about Toyotas, not a whole race of people. But to date, comedy writing is pretty whitewashed. As of this season, "Saturday Night Live" has no black writers. "The Daily Show" also doesn't have any, and neither does "The Colbert Report," a show on which I've played Stephen Colbert's black friend "Alan," a member of the staff. That's right. "The Colbert Report" had to hire an actor to play a black person who works on the show.
Carlos, whose photo has appeared on "The Colbert Report" umpteen times as a gag, was called in for the shot with a friend and ushered out after. There has been no follow up: "I had hoped to parlay it into a job; instead I got a lot of MySpace 'friends.'" Sort of a sobering look at the reality behind the joke, and the irony of its — what was that word? — ah, yes, truthiness.
Carlos' MySpace has a video clip of him doing standup, using a few of the jokes he references in the piece. It's pretty funny, smart stuff. Hopefully someone will put it to good use one of these days.