Like its theatrical and artistic predecessors and contemporaries, Outcault's Yellow Kid comics played race and ethnicity for laughs
while excluding the butt of the joke from the community.
Outcault featured black children in his comics, but drew
them as if they were wearing blackface makeup, with very
dark skin and large lips (that are sometimes white, sometimes
red). Such portrayals bound the white community together;
at the least, they may have thought, they were superior to
blacks, and perhaps even the Irish, also an underdog ethnic group at the time.
Like the black minstrel show character, the Kid and his friends
were inherited from a tradition of Irish comedy previously
found in minstrel shows, variety theater, and vaudeville.