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The Best '80s Black Sitcoms

Updated July 13, 2020 3.0k votes 855 voters 81.6k views22 items

List RulesVote up your favorite African American comedy shows that aired in the 1980s.

Although the Black sitcom boom happened in the '90s, the 1980s had a ton of hilarious African American comedy shows as well. Black sitcoms have been around since the early days of network television, but shows like The Cosby Show and Diff'rent Strokes are arguably more famous than any other Black sitcoms throughout TV history.  

Which shows appear on this list of the top '80s Black sitcoms? A Different World and What's Happening Now!! top our list. Other shows include Benson, Amen, and The New Odd Couple. 

Where do your favorite 1980s funny Black sitcoms fall on this list? Be sure to vote up the best ones, and share your thoughts in the comments section. Then, check out our list of '80s black TV shows.

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    The Jeffersons

    Sherman Hemsley, Isabel Sanford

    PremieredJanuary 18, 1975

    The Jeffersons is an American sitcom that was broadcast on CBS from January 18, 1975, through July 2, 1985, lasting 11 seasons and a total of 253 episodes. The show was produced by the T.A.T....  more

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  • 2
    251
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    The Cosby Show

    Bill Cosby, Phylicia Rashad

    PremieredSeptember 20, 1984

    The Cosby Show is an American television sitcom starring Bill Cosby, which aired for eight seasons on NBC from September 20, 1984 until April 30, 1992. The show focuses on the Huxtable family, an...  more

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    210
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    A Different World

    Lisa Bonet, Kadeem Hardison

    PremieredSeptember 24, 1987

    A Different World (NBC, 1987) is an American sitcom created by Bill Cosby, and a spin-off of The Cosby Show. A group of students struggles to make it through college as they attend a renowned Black...  more

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    #39 of 54 The Best NBC Comedies Of All Time#50 of 89 The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows

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    Diff'rent Strokes

    Conrad Bain, Gary Coleman

    PremieredNovember 3, 1978

    Diff'rent Strokes is an American television sitcom that aired on NBC from November 3, 1978, to May 4, 1985, and on ABC from September 27, 1985, to March 7, 1986. The series stars Gary Coleman and...  more

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  • 5
    157
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    Sanford

    Redd Foxx, Dennis Burkley

    Premiered1980

    Sanford is an American situation comedy, which was the revival of the 1972–1977 sitcom Sanford and Son....  more
  • 6
    152
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    227

    Marla Gibbs, Hal Williams

    PremieredSeptember 14, 1985

    227 is an American situation comedy that originally aired on NBC from September 14, 1985, until May 6, 1990. The series stars Marla Gibbs as a sharp-tongued, inner-city resident gossip and housewife,...  more
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    127
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    Amen

    Sherman Hemsley, Clifton Davis

    PremieredSeptember 27, 1986

    Amen is an American television sitcom produced by Carson Productions that ran from September 27, 1986 to May 11, 1991 on NBC. Set in Sherman Hemsley's real-life hometown of Philadelphia, Amen stars...  more

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    Gimme a Break!

    Nell Carter, Dolph Sweet

    PremieredOctober 29, 1981

    Gimme a Break! is an American sitcom which aired on NBC for six seasons from October 29, 1981 until May 12, 1987. The series stars Nell Carter as the housekeeper for a widowed police chief and his...  more

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    What's Happening Now!!

    Martin Lawrence, Fred Berry

    Premiered1985

    What's Happening Now!! is an American television situation comedy that serves as a sequel series to the 1970s sitcom What's Happening!!, focusing on its main characters as adults. The show ran in...  more
  • 10
    90
    36

    Benson

    Robert Guillaume, James Noble

    PremieredSeptember 13, 1979

    Benson is an American television sitcom which aired from September 13, 1979, to April 19, 1986, on ABC. The series was a spin-off from the soap opera parody Soap; however, Benson discarded the soap...  more

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  • 11
    56
    10

    Family Matters

    Reginald VelJohnson, Judyann Elder

    PremieredSeptember 22, 1989

    Family Matters is an American sitcom which originated on ABC network from September 22, 1989 to May 9, 1997 and then aired on CBS network from September 19, 1997, to July 17, 1998. A spin-off of...  more

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    84
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    Webster

    Susan Clark, Alex Karras

    Premiered1983

    Webster is an American situation comedy that aired on ABC from September 16, 1983 until May 8, 1987, and in first-run syndication from September 21, 1987 until March 10, 1989. The series was created...  more

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    The Redd Foxx Show

    Redd Foxx, Rosanna DeSoto

    Premiered1986

    The Redd Foxx Show was a short-lived sitcom that premiered January 18, 1986 on ABC. The show was cancelled after 3 months, partly due to low ratings in its Saturday-night timeslot. Although the first...  more
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    40
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    Bustin' Loose

    Jimmie Walker, Vonetta McGee

    Premiered1987

    Bustin' Loose is an American situation comedy that was loosely based on the 1981 film of the same name starring Richard Pryor. The series premiered in first-run syndication in 1987 and lasted for a...  more
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    33
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    Checking In

    Ruth Brown, Marla Gibbs

    Premiered1981

    Checking In is an American sitcom that aired on CBS in April 1981. The series is a spin-off of The Jeffersons, which itself had spun off from All in the Family....  more

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    25
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    Charlie & Co.

    Gladys Knight, Jaleel White

    Premiered1985

    Charlie & Co. is an American sitcom that originally aired on CBS from September 18, 1985 to May 16, 1986. Created by Allan Katz, the series stars Flip Wilson and Gladys Knight. Charlie & Co. is...  more
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    24
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    The Littles

    Jimmy Keegan, Bettina Bush

    Premiered1983

    The Littles is an animated television series, originally produced between 1983 and 1985. It is based on the characters from The Littles, a series of children's novels by American author John...  more

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    17
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    He's the Mayor

    Pat Corley, Kevin Hooks

    Premiered1986

    He's the Mayor is an American television sitcom that first aired on ABC on January 10, 1986 on Friday Night at 9:30pm. It starred Kevin Hooks as a 25-year-old man who is elected mayor of his hometown....  more
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    19
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    The Robert Guillaume Show

    Robert Guillaume, Wendy Phillips

    Premiered1989

    The Robert Guillaume Show is a short-lived sitcom vehicle for Robert Guillaume, the former star of the ABC hit series Benson and of the popular Soap. It aired during mid-1989 on the ABC television...  more
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    16
    39

    The New Odd Couple

    Ron Glass, John Schuck

    Premiered1982

    The New Odd Couple is an American sitcom that aired on ABC from 1982 to 1983, and was an updated version of the 1970s television series The Odd Couple. The New Odd Couple was the second attempt to...  more
  • 21
    29
    86

    Frank's Place

    Tim Reid, Robert Harper

    Premiered1987

    Frank's Place is an American comedy-drama series which aired on CBS for 22 episodes during the 1987-1988 television season. The series was created by Hugh Wilson and executive produced by Wilson and...  more

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  • 22
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    Melba

    Melba Moore, Lou Jacobi

    Premiered1986

    Melba is an American television sitcom which aired on CBS from January 28, 1986 until September 13, 1986. The series was a vehicle for singer/actress Melba Moore....  more