Godfrey's parents are from Nigeria. They immigrated to the USA to escape the Nigerian Civil War. Godfrey is a nephew of Nigerian musician Sonny Okosun.
Godfrey was born in Lincoln, Nebraska on July 21, 1969. Soon after, the family settled in Chicago where Godfrey grew up. He attended Lane Technical College Preparatory High School and received an academic scholarship to the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, where he majored in psychology.
At the University of Illinois, he made the varsity football team and performed at a traditional talent show for new team members. He stole the show, performing impressions of his coaches and teammates and discovered his comedic talent.
Godfrey honed his stand-up skills at the All Jokes Aside comedy club in Chicago in the early 1990s. In 1995, Godfrey made his New York debut at Carolines on Broadway and the Comic Strip Live and was soon signed by the William Morris Talent Agency. He began working regularly in television, first behind the cameras as a warm-up comedian for The Cosby Show and Soul Man. His first on-camera appearance featured him performing stand-up comedy for NBC's Friday Night Videos, followed by more small television and film roles. In 2000, Godfrey appeared in the Aspen Comedy Festival and on Comedy Central's Premium Blend. He also played a comical role in the movie Soul Plane, acting as an African pilot. He has also been in numerous episodes of BET's Comic View.
A self-styled karate master, he continues to do film and television work alongside his stand-up career in New York. His first one-hour special, "Godfrey: Black by Accident" was shot for Comedy Central on January 22, 2011 at the Gramercy Theatre in New York City to a standing room only audience.
As a guest of Mike Ward's show called "F*ck les varietes", part of the Just for Laughs 2012 festival of Montreal, his performance was highly acclaimed. In the following year, he had his own solo show called "The Godfrey Complex" in the same festival for a whole week.
His second one-hour special, "Godfrey: Regular Black" was shot in Chicago, his home town, on August 12, 2016.