Not a Genuine Black Man

Not a Genuine Black Man Not a Genuine Black Man

Not a Genuine Black Man

Written and performed by Brian Copeland
Developed by Brian Copeland and David Ford
Directed by David Ford
Special Presentation · Osher Studio
18 performances · April 23–May 31, 2014

Running time: about 2 hours, including one intermission
Tickets: $30–45 / half that if you’re under 30

“In 1972, The National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing called San Leandro, California a ‘racist bastion of white supremacy.’ Fair Housing advocates considered it one of the most racist suburbs in America. The U.S. Commission in Civil Rights conducted hearings. And then, we moved to town.” So begins Brian Copeland in Not a Genuine Black Man, the longest-running one-man show in San Francisco history—back for its 10th anniversary at Berkeley Rep! In a monologue that’s both entertaining and poignant, Brian explores how surroundings make us who we are. “Very funny,” raved the Chronicle. “Copeland is a winning, magnetic performer. More than that, he’s got an important tale to tell!”

Berkeley Rep offers an advisory about any stage effect of potential concern to patrons’ health. We will post this information as soon as it’s available. We don’t offer advisories about subject matter, as sensitivities vary from person to person. If you have any concerns about content, please contact the box office.

Season sponsors

BARTSan Francisco Chronicle / SFGate.comWells Fargo

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The venue

Not a Genuine Black Man plays in the new Osher Studio. Located in the Arts Passage on Center Street between Shattuck and Milvia—just a block from Berkeley Rep—this new black box theatre seats 200. Click here to see inside the Osher.

For this show, our website will assign you the best available seats. To choose specific seats, please call the box office at 510 647–2949, Tue–Sun, noon–7pm, to make your ticket reservation.

Not a Genuine Black Man calendar

Brian Copeland · Writer / Performer

Brian CopelandBrian Copeland has been in show business since he first stepped on the comedy stage at the tender age of 18. Soon he was headlining clubs and concerts across the country and opening for such artists as Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, Ringo Starr, and the queen of soul Aretha Franklin, in venues from the Universal Amphitheater to Constitution Hall in Washington, DC. Soon, Copeland branched out into television, appearing on comedy programs on NBC, A&E, and MTV. He spent five years as co-host of San Francisco FOX affiliate KTVU’s breakfast program Mornings on 2 and two years hosting San Francisco ABC affiliate KGO’s Emmy Award-winning afternoon talk show 7Live. In 1995, ABC affiliate KGO Radio premiered The Brian Copeland Show. Its unique mix of talk and entertainment soon made it the most listened to program in its time slot. In 2004, Copeland premiered his first solo play, Not a Genuine Black Man at the Marsh. This critically acclaimed exploration of race and identity created an audience-pleasing blend of laughter, tears, and sociology that led to the show becoming the longest-running solo play in San Francisco theatrical history. Successful runs in Los Angeles and off Broadway and a bestselling book adaptation followed. Copeland’s other theatrical work includes The Waiting Period, a solo play about his lifelong struggle with depression, and the Christmas play The Jewelry Box, which opened November 2013 at the Marsh. Visit

(Photo by Joan Marcus)

“Copeland’s ability to captivate an audience rivals many a celebrated solo predecessor from Ruth Draper to Spalding Gray to Whoopi Goldberg…Copeland is a genuine discovery.”—LA Times

“Engaging…Copeland knows how to spin a dramatic yarn.”—New York Times

“A beautiful mix of wry humor and heartbreak, indignation and inspiration, a singular story of extreme isolation that speaks to anyone who’s ever felt out of place.”—San Francisco Chronicle

Check out this CBS-5 interview with the creator and performer of Not a Genuine Black Man.