10 of the Greatest Black TV Nerds of All Time

Black nerds on TV

James ‘Toofer’ Spurlock

James Spurlock, or Toofer as he is called throughout his two seasons on 30 Rock, is a TV Blerd played by Keith Powell whose role was specifically included to act as opposition to the stereotypes of Black men in media. In the show, he believes Tracy Morgan embodies every stereotype that the media has created about Black men and is extremely offended when he is referred to as the N-word. He was given the Toofer nickname after Jack Donaghy referred to him as a “two-for-one” because he was both “a Black guy and a Harvard guy.” Even his own office mate couldn’t help but point out the perception that Black nerds are hard to come by. Frank, the colleague he shares an office with, once asked him if there were other Black nerds other than him and Steve Urkel.

Barney Collier

Barney Collier

Barnard “Barney” Collier, played by Greg Morris, was the electronics and mechanics expert on the original Impossible Missions Force team from the Mission: Impossible TV series. Each of the secret government agents on the team played specific roles, and it was clear right away that Barney was the resident nerd of the group. He was a master at building infrastructure, film editing, voice mimicry, piloting helicopters and could easily figure out any and all things electronic. In many instances, Barney managed to quickly build advanced super computers that could do everything from reading playing cards while they were face down on a table or easily defeating the world’s best chess players.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5


  1. You needed to add animated characters… It would have been really good to see Valerie from 'Josie and the Pussycats' wasn't on the list. She was like Velma from Scooby Do except really hot and sultry not "nerd sexy."

  2. Great list. Striking that there is only one female blerd! We need more representation on screen?

  3. Sorry! Meant to put a period. 🙂