Humour reveals culture and values. It exposes taboos and comforts pain. In breaking down barriers it invariably reveals who is the ‘in group’ and who is considered an ‘outsider’. Laughter might be universal but not all humour is.

Comedian Dane Baptiste, comedy producer Carlton Dixon and author of Think Like a White Man, Nelson Abbey, discuss what shapes and informs black humour and what that says about Black British society.

About The Comedian

Headshot of Dane Baptiste

Dane Baptiste

Original and provocative, Dane Baptiste is hailed as one of the most exciting and unique acts in British Comedy. The London born stand up made history in 2014 as the first Black British act to be nominated for a comedy award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the first nominee for best newcomer at the Chortle awards in the same year.

Dane also created; wrote and starred in his own sitcom; ‘Sunny D’ (BBC Three/One), which was the first sitcom commissioned by the BBC in 20 years with a Black British cast and is now being reformatted for a remake in the United States. His extensive TV credits include Live at the Apollo (BBC Two), Mock the Week (BBCTwo), 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown (Channel 4), The Stand Up Sketch Show (ITV2), Black, British and Funny (Channel 4), Frankie Boyle’s New World Order (BBCTwo), Roast Battle (Comedy Central), Comedians Giving Lectures (Dave), Hypothetical(Dave), Tonight at the London Palladium (ITV1), Live from the BBC (BBC Three), Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled (Dave), Comedians Solve World Problems (Comedy Central)and more.

In 2021 Dane launched his Chocolate Chip Tour to critical acclaim with shows continuing this year, leading to a nomination for best tour show at the National Comedy Awards. Dane also hosts his own hugely successful podcast Dane Baptiste Questions Everything, which was recently acquired by Acast in 2020; and nominated for best podcast at the National Comedy Awards in 2021.

About The Speaker

Nelson Abbey

Nels Abbey is a writer, media executive and satirist. Prior to moving into media, he was a banker. 

Nels is the author of Think Like A White Man (Canongate 2019) and the upcoming The Hip-Hop MBA, a book on what we can all learn from the business of rap music.

Nels is a columnist for the Financial Times and a regular contributor to The Independent, Foreign Policy, The House (the parliamentary magazine) and the Bookseller

He is also co-founder of the Black Writers Guild.


Headshot of Carlton Dixon

Carlton Dixon

For many years Carlton worked in both television and in the music industry as a concert promoter. Some of the artists he worked with include Erykah Badu, Anita Baker, A Tribe Called Quest, En Vogue, Annie Lennox and The Spice Girls.

As an actor his credits include No Problem! Desmonds, For Queen and Country (with Denzel Washington) and Noel’s House Party where he worked with names such as Joan Rivers, Mel Brooks and Robin Williams. As a presenter, Carlton fronted Sky Sports coverage on British Basketball before hosting Channel 4’s coverage of the NBA. As a writer his credits include The Real McCoy, Blouse and Skirt and The Lenny Henry Show.

During his 15-year tenure at the BBC, Carlton produced the Urban Talent Comedy Initiative, a nationwide talent search which uncovered the stand-up Ava Vidal and Chizzy Akudulu (Casualty). While working as a producer on Trevor Nelson’s Lowdown he discovered a young singer called Adele Sandé, who later changed her name to Emeli. He produced Life of Pryor, a documentary about Richard Pryor for BBC2 and series produced Lenny Henry’s Race Through Comedy for UK Gold, which examined the history of racial diversity in comedy on British television.