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About

The Black Version
The Black Version
The Black Version
The Black Version
The Black Version
The Black Version

The Black Version is a completely improvised show that started at the Groundings Theatre in Los Angeles in 2010 to sold out crowds and great reviews. Rolling Stone magazine calls the show “Hot” and the cast a “Comedic A-Team”. LA Weekly says the show is “Red Hot” and “Scores more than its share of belly laughs” while the LA Times calls the show “A Winner”.

The all African American cast of regulars includes show creator Jordan Black along with other comedy veterans Cedric Yarbrough, Gary Anthony Williams, Daniele Gaither, Phil Lamar, and Nyima Funk all under the direction of Karen Maruyama. Special guest performers include Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele of Key & Peele (former original cast members), Wayne Brady, Maya Rudolph, Tiffany Hadish, Niecey Nash, Jerry Minor, Angela V. Shelton, Misty Monroe, and others who come and perform in the show from time to time.

This talented cast has vast film and television credits ranging from Mad TV and Saturday Night Live, to The Boondocks and Reno 911. The show begins when the director asks the audience to suggest a popular film title and then the cast, right there on the copy, improvise the “Black Version” of that film. The show regularly performs at the Groundlings Theater and the Largo at the Coronet.

About

The Black Version is a completely improvised show that started at the Groundings Theatre in Los Angeles in 2010 to sold out crowds and great reviews. Rolling Stone magazine calls the show “Hot” and the cast a “Comedic A-Team”. LA Weekly says the show is “Red Hot” and “Scores more than its share of belly laughs” while the LA Times calls the show “A Winner”.

The all African American cast of regulars includes show creator Jordan Black along with other comedy veterans Cedric Yarbrough, Gary Anthony Williams, Daniele Gaither, Phil Lamar, and Nima Funk all under the direction of Karen Maruyama. Special guest performers include Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele of Key & Peele (former original cast members), Wayne Brady, Niecey Nash, Jerry Minor, Angela V. Shelton, Misty Monroe, and others who come and perform in the show from time to time.

This talented cast has vast film and television credits ranging from Mad TV and Saturday Night Live, to The Boondocks and Reno 911. The show begins when the director asks the audience to suggest a popular film title and then the cast, right there on the copy, improvise the “Black Version” of that film. The show regularly performs at the Groundlings Theater and the Largo at the Coronet.

The Black Version
The Black Version
The Black Version
The Black Version
The Black Version
The Black Version

Cast & Crew

Click on the images below to read a member’s bio

Jordan Black

Jordan Black

Nyima Funk

Nyima Funk

Daniele Gaither

Daniele Gaither

Phil Lamarr

Phil Lamarr

Karen Maruyama

Karen Maruyama Director

Gary Anthony Williams

Gary Anthony Williams

Cedric Yarbrough

Cedric Yarbrough

Jordan Black

Jordan Black is a former writer for “Saturday Night Live,” “The Last OG,” and a former writer/producer for “Last Man Standing” and the reboot of “Punky Brewster”. He’s currently a writer/producer on the reboot of “The Wonder Years” on ABC. As an actor he has appeared in such shows as “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “The Mindy Project,” “2 Broke Girls,” and “Key and Peele” among several others including a recurring role on “Community” as “Dean Spreck.” As a voice actor he’s worked on many shows including “South Park,” “The Cleveland Show,” and “American Dad”. Black is an alum of The Groundlings, the Los Angeles-based improvisational and sketch comedy theater and where he created the all black improv group The Black Version.

Nyima Funk

Nyima Funk joined The Second City Main Stage in Chicago and won a Joseph Jefferson award for Best Actress. Her television credits include Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Key & Peele, Barely Famous, Son Of Zorn, The Soul Man, Wild ‘N Out, The George Lopez Show, Why? With Hannibal Burress, Chasing Life, Basketball Wives LA, According To Jim, Girlfriends, Thank God You’re Here, and The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Daniele Gaither

Improvess, Actor, Impressionist, Singer and Dancer. Partial credits: MADtv, The Great North, Bob’s Burgers, American Dad, Family Guy (Fox). Bojack Horseman, Battle Kitty, The Woman Across the Street from The Window (Netflix). The Thundermans (Nick), A Black Lady Sketch Show (HBO), 2 Broke Girl$ (CBS).

Phil Lamarr

A Los Angeles native, Phil is an alumnus of Yale University and The Groundlings Theater and is best known as one of the original cast members of MAD TV, “Hermes” on FUTURAMA, “Marvin” in PULP FICTION, “Green Lantern” on JUSTICE LEAGUE and as the voice of SAMURAI JACK.

His work on camera and behind the mic also includes TV shows such as STATIC SHOCK, FAMILY GUY, SUPERGIRL, GET SHORTY, LUCIFER, CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM and VEEP; feature films like MADAGASCAR 2, INCREDIBLES 2, and THE LION KING (2019) and video games including FORTNITE, SHADOW OF MORDOR, and the METAL GEAR SOLID, INJUSTICE and MORTAL KOMBAT series.

His stage work includes the Matrix Theater’s award-winning production of “We are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884 – 1915” by Jackie Sibblies Drury and Phil also portrayed “Cowboy Curtis” in “The Pee-wee Herman Show” both at The Stephen Sondheim Theatre on Broadway. Currently, in addition to writing and producing the animated series “GOBLINS”, he is appearing in CRAIG OF THE CREEK, THE BOOK OF BOBA FETT, AMC’s COOPER’S BAR and a new season of FUTURAMA.

Karen Maruyama

Karen not only enjoys acting and improvising but also teaches all class levels as well as having the privilege of directing Main shows, Sunday shows, Gas Shows, and the Black Version at the Groundlings. She is also currently part of the directing faculty at the American Film Institute. Some of her recent television credits include playing a forensics tech on Bosch, a gynecologist on Shameless, and a body waxing mother/grandmother on Tacoma FD. She has also appeared in Two Broke Girls, Dead To Me, Arrested Development, Nip/Tuck, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Whose Line Is It Anyway? Her movie credits include Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar, Life of the Party, The Campaign, and The Bucket List. She has done voiceovers on The Simpsons, American Dad, Futurama, and Deadendia.

 

Gary Anthony Williams

Williams’ film credits include the newly released Block Party, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, The Internship, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Undercover Brother, Soul Plane and The Factory.
On television, Williams recently starred in the sitcom The Crew, Reno 911! The Hunt for QAnon, and as Santa in the Disney Channel Original Movie Christmas Again. His additional television credits include I’m Sorry, Boston Legal, Blue Collar TV, The Neighborhood, How I Met Your Mother, Whose Line is it Anyway?, The Soul Man, Raising Hope, Malcolm in the Middle and Weeds. He is also the voice of the award-winning music show Unsung.

An accomplished voice actor, Williams is best known for voicing Uncle Ruckus on The Boondocks. His additional voiceover credits include Disney Channel’s Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, based on Marvel’s hit comic books, Oddballs, Hailey’s On it, The Lion Guard, Star Wars Resistance, Star vs. The Forces of Evil, Puppy Dog Pals, Love, Death & Robots, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Bob’s Burgers, Rick and Morty, Family Guy, American Dad! and Rugrats.

Gary and his writing partner wrote a comedy feature for Lionsgate. In addition, they are creators of the DreamworksTV show; Life Hacks For Kids and the NBC/Universal TV show Life Hacks For Kids on the Road. Gary also wrote and directed the animated short, Baby Stache, for Nickelodeon.

He is also a proud member of the all-black improv show, The Black Version. Born in Fayetteville, Georgia, Williams currently resides in Los Angeles.

Cedric Yarbrough

Cedric Yarbrough is a multi-hyphenate performer who just wrapped production on the new AMC series, LUCKY HANK, starring opposite Bob Odenkirk and Mireille Enos. Cedric stars “Paul Rourke,” a poetry professor at Railton College who self-identifies as the rival to Odenkirk’s “Hank.” He also shot several feature films including the indie comedy, THE DONOR PARTY, starring opposite Malin Ackerman and Rob Corddry, the Netflix feature, UNFROSTED, directed by and starring opposite Jerry Seinfield, and the Universal Pictures/Apatow Productions feature comedy, PLEASE DON’T DESTROY, starring opposite Conan O’Brien and Bowen Yang.

Cedric was recently seen in the RENO 911! holiday special for Paramount+, IT’S A WONDERFUL HEIST, and continues to recur on the ABC series, THE GOLDBERGS. He starred on the CBS series CAROL’S SECOND ACT and spent three seasons starring on the ABC series SPEECHLESS.

A native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Cedric started his film and television career as a series regular on the Comedy Central series RENO 911!. He also starred in the series revival RENO 911! DEFUNDED for Roku, and the Paramount+ movie RENO 911! THE HUNT FOR QANON, which was nominated for a 2022 Emmy regarding Outstanding TV Movie. Since then, Cedric has gone on to appear as a series regular, recurring character, or guest star in close to 100 numerous series over the course of his illustrious career.

Additionally, Cedric is a talented voice-over artist working on many hit animated shows such as BOJACK HORSEMAN, PARADISE P.D., MIKE TYSON MYSTERIES, BUGS BUNNY, FAMILY GUY and THE BOONDOCKS.

In the feature world, Cedric has worked with titans of comedy such as Steve Carrell in GET SMART and THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN, Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler in THE HOUSE, and Melissa McCarthy in THE BOSS.

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17

April
8:00 pm

Monday

The Black Version

The Groundlings Theatre, 7307 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90046 United States
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$20

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