Several top Black comics are discussing the importance of comedy as a survival mechanism.

In TVLIne‘s “Shades of Funny” virtual roundtable, comedians including Nicole Byer, J.B. Smoove and others open up about the function that comedy plays within Black culture.

“Comedy is a defense mechanism, a survival technique,” says W. Kamau Bell (who directed recent Showtime documentary Showtime documentary “We Need to Talk About Cosby).

READ MORE: Nicole Byer Recalls The Time She Accidentally Got Drunk At The Gym

“We are very resilient people,” adds Gina Yashere of CBS comedy “Bob Hearts Abishola”. “We’ve gone through a lot of cruelty and a lot of hardships, and it didn’t break us. Music and humour have been our way of coping and passing on messages — and still creating happiness.”

According to “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star J.B. Smoove, comedy is a form of catharsis. “Comedians being honest, they can relate to you and they make it funny. We’re therapists on stage, but we’re also the patient laying on the couch,” he explained.

“Black people tend to be very funny during very dark times,” noted Nicole Byer, star of NBC’s “Grand Crew” and host of Netflix’s “Nailed It”. “It’s, like, in our DNA.”

Even more can be seen in the video above.

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