1961, "comedy that deals in themes and subjects usually regarded as serious or taboo," from black (adj.), in a figurative sense of "morbid," + comedy. Compare French pièce noire, also comédie noire "macabre or farcical rendering of a violent or tragic theme" (1958, perhaps the inspiration for the English term) and 19th-century gallows-humor. In a racial sense, from 1921.
c. 1600, "a buffoon who practices gesticulations" [Johnson], from French mime "mimic actor" (16c.) and directly from Latin mimus, from Greek mimos "imitator, mimic, actor, mime, buffoon," a word of unknown origin. In reference to a performance, 1932 as "a pantomime," earlier (1640s) in a classical context: The ancient mimes of the Italian Greeks and Romans were dramatic performances, generally vulgar, with spoken lines, consisting of farcical mimicry of real events and persons.
formerly also enterlude, c. 1300, from Old French entrelude and directly from Medieval Latin interludium "an interlude," from Latin inter "between" (see inter-) + ludus "a play" (see ludicrous). Originally the term for farcical episodes ("generally short and coarse" - Century Dictionary) drawn from real life introduced between acts of long mystery or morality plays. In 17c.-18c. it meant "popular stage play;" transferred (non-dramatic) sense of "interval in the course of some action" is from 1751. Related: Interludial.