This interview originally appeared in the July/August 2020 issue of ESSENCE magazine, available on newsstands now.
Loni Love and six other unapologetically smart, sexy comedic voices keep us giggling as we navigate our way to better times. See who’s on our short list of funny girls we’re loving right now.
Receipts: The Emmy Award winner stays busy as a cohost on Fox’s hit
talk show The Real and the radio program Café Mocha.
Fun facts: A proud Detroit native, Love was raised
in the same Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects as Diana Ross. Love also earned an electrical engineering degree and had an impressive position
at Xerox with “good benefits” before her entry into the field.
Up next: Her hilarious and inspirational memoir, I Tried to Change So You Don’t Have To, is out now, and this fall Love is set to narrate WE tv’s Bridezillas.
Quotable: “I attribute my comedy to everybody in the city of Detroit. They’re all funny—from the wino to the Sunday school teacher. They’re real. They got a joke, even in hard times. I grew up in the crack era, and even then we were able to find laughter. Laughter is healing.”
Receipts: Hilarious held her own on MTV’s Wild ‘N Out and starred alongside industry vet Sinbad in Fox’s sitcom Rel.
Crown snatcher: The proud mom to precocious 8-year-old son Ashton, Hilarious was homecoming and prom queen at her predominately White high school.
Up next: Her viral roundup of news and pop culture, Jess With The Mess, will be moving to a network soon.
Quotable: “My generation doesn’t really think far ahead. But this quarantine made me ask, How can I be useful now? I’m exploring different business ventures that are essential, whether we have corona or not.”
Receipts: Yashere cocreated, executive produces and stars in the CBS series Bob Hearts Abishola and has her own segment in The Stand Ups series on Netflix. She’s regularly featured on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Trevor Noah as a British correspondent.
House hunter: Born to Nigerian parents, Yashere is a real estate mogul in the making and presently owns property in England, Los Angeles and Thailand.
Up next: She’s penning a book about her life and the culture clash of being an African Brit living in America.
Quotable: “I wasn’t a popular kid at school. I was a child of African immigrants at a time when African immigrants were not fashionable. I used my comedy and humor to get out of a lot of situations. The fact I’m able to do it for a living is a bonus. So when we found ourselves in these current times, it just came naturally to try using it to help people keep their minds off things.”
Hometown: Columbia, South Carolina
Receipts: She’s best known for her hysterical viral sketches and VH1.com named her a top Black comedienne in the online humor space.
Money maven: The former army brat has earned a bachelor and masters degree in accounting and is on a mission to educate young women about the importance of financial literacy.
Up next: Luv was recently tapped to be an ambassador for Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty clothing line.
Quotable: “I receive messages all the time from women sharing how I have inspired them to start their own channel, which is great, especially in times like this when jobs are uncertain.”
Receipts: She’s the breakout star of BET’s Boomerang reboot, but her die-hard fans were cracking up with her on social media well before the series.
Bilingual beauty: The budding screen star holds a bachelor degree in Spanish, in which she’s fluent; a skill she hopes pays off for future roles.
Up next: Milan has her sights set on working behind the scenes and, starting with her own podcast, intends to write and star in projects.
Quotable: “I get messages from people saying thank you for keeping up the content. It feels good to be appreciated. I definitely do this because I enjoy it. But to know that people are [also] enjoying what I do, that makes me feel great and means a lot to me. I’m trying my hardest to keep it consistent.”
Hometown: West Palm Beach, Florida
Receipts: Brown was a cast member on 50 Cent’s 50 Central television series and frequently sells out shows on her hilarious alter ego Toya Turnup’s Rent Due Tour. She can also be seen as the host of Kevin Hart’s Laugh Out Loud Comedy Sketch Show on Bounce TV.
Funny foodie: Born to a Jamaican father and a Trinidadian mother, Brown is a sucker for authentic Caribbean cuisine. One of her all-time favorite dishes is roti. She confesses, “It is so good. I can’t get it anywhere.”
Up next: A self-professed “crockpot hustler,” Brown has a few delicious projects in the works. “I have things in my pot that have been simmering and slow-cooking over the years. When ready, they’re going to be perfectly seasoned.” One of those dishes is the B*A*P*S adaptation stage play. Brown will flex her acting chops in the role of Nisi, the character portrayed by Halle Berry in the hit 1997 movie. “We were supposed to be on the road already but since this pandemic happened, we had to push everything back,” explains Brown.
Quotable: “A very smart person told me that you should always steer your boat with your stronger hand. I guess at the time [I started my career], my stronger hand was comedy. So, it was something that I just said yes to.”
Hometown: South Central Los Angeles
Receipts: Elaine, who was a finalist on NBC’s Last Comic Standing and a writer on TBS’ The Last OG, created two wildly popular social media video skits: “Women Over 40 Be Like” and “Women Over 30 Be Like” humorously depicting things women say during those decades.
Teacher’s pet: An only child, Elaine is a former preschool teacher who worked with special needs children. After seven years she accepted the profession wasn’t her true calling although she did find the job rewarding. “I love kids and I love the sense of accomplishment I received teaching them things.”
Up next: The comic has a pilot in development called “Dirty 30s” which is loosely based on her life after turning 30. She also has an introspective podcast called I’m Grown Now detailing her experience with familial toxicity. “Everybody has experienced something [traumatic], but you’re not defined by what happened to you. You’re more defined by how you recover from it. What do you look like after all of that? The podcast is not funny at all. If you find it funny, it’s by accident. You might laugh at one or two things that I say, but yeah.”
Quotable: “We are in unprecedented times, but everything can be looked at with a positive perspective. As far as Black voices, because of what’s happening, we are becoming more and more heard. It’s not just one person to speak for an entire group of people. It’s different voices, different stories, different ideas. I feel like it’s going to be a positive world on the other side. I have no choice but to expect positivity.”
Bridgette Bartlett Royall (@blkbridalbliss) is an ESSENCE research editor and founder of BlackBridalBliss.com.Share :