- Comedian D. L. Hughley
grew up in South Central, Los Angeles, a neighborhood that could not be any more different than the one he performed in this weekend. Taking center stage at Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center
Saturday night, he is undoubtedly one of America's funniest and most cutting-edge comedians and political satirists of our day. Hamptons.com was able to catch him en route prior to his appearance.
This was Hughley's first time performing in the Hamptons and I asked what he was expecting when he got here.
"I've never been to the Hamptons, so I have no idea what to expect. But I've read about Puffy's parties and I have fallen upon episodes of "Real Housewives of NYC" (when my wife is watching, of course) so I gotta see this for myself."
"I've never been to the Hamptons," Hugley said, "I gotta see this for myself."
Enormously popular on the comedy nightclub circuit, Hughley is best known to television viewers for his hit television sit-com on ABC
, "The Hughleys," and for his role as Turk's brother on "Scrubs." He has appeared in almost a dozen films from the voice of the Gagetmoble in "Inspector Gadget" to his role as Albert in last year's "Spy School," however, his most acclaimed film performance was his appearance as himself in the Spike Lee
docu-film, "The Kings Of Comedy," which was a critically heralded, box office hit. I asked Hughley, after the untimely passing of Bernie Mac last year, if there were any plans in the works to again tour "The Kings Of Comedy" road show.
"We were in talks to put together a new tour, had been for a long time, prior to Bernie's passing. It was something we all wanted to do, but of course, we all had our different projects and ultimately, it just didn't work out timing wise, trying to get us four together. And now with Bernie gone, it's not anything we think about doing without him."
He has obviously inspired other young comedians and I wondered who inspired or mentored him.
"Well Pryor was a big influence, I would definitely say that. But there were other cats - Robin Harris for example, that were huge influences on my comedy. And its a huge compliment to say I inspire other young comics. I hosted HBO
's "Def Jam" last year and I finally felt like the old dude - remembering how I started off on that show and how I looked up to the other guys. But to think I'm an influence - you never imagine you'll be THAT guy."
Although his show was recently canceled, Hughley's, "D. L. Hughley Breaks The News" was a breath of programming fresh air on the often dry 24/7 news network CNN
. His provocative, street-smart and sometimes irreverent commentary was apparently more than they bargained for in the network's attempt to stem the growing popularity of MSNBC
's shows like "Countdown" with Keith Olbermann.
"Working with CNN was a great experience overall. They took a chance with me, I took a chance with them, and we did some great things together."
Hughley remains a West Coast contributor to CNN, so I asked for his appraisal of President Obama's first 100 days.
Hughley is known for his cutting-edge humor and impeccable timing.
"He came in with a lot of work to do, and I think he's lived up to it. Not a lot of people come into work everyday ready to really work. Come on now, you know, most of us take that first hour to check our emails, have a donut, talk about our weekends...."
I asked Hugley if he has noticed any impact from the economy on his performance schedule or in attendance?
"I understand that it's hard for people, the economy being where it is right now so I promise, I'm going to deliver a show that makes it worth them hiring a babysitter for. I promise to make them laugh so hard they hurt themselves."
As a kid, Hughley was a member of the infamous LA gang, The Bloods, and unlike many was able to extricate himself with his life intact. Working as a telemarketer at the Los Angeles Times
, he met his wife of 23 years, LaDonna, who was the first to encourage him to bring his brand of urban humor to the stage. They have three children, one of whom suffers from Aspergers Syndrome, a form of autism, which Hughley discusses freely and to which he lends his professional support in an attempt to find a cure.
So what's coming up for Hughley after Westhampton? "I'm working on a few projects - continuing working with CNN, working on my own radio show. I got a few projects up my sleeve! I don't stop. You've seen it." (Laughs)
Frequently mistaken for the "Most Interesting Man in the World" from the Dos Equis commercials and the iconic gray-bearded Sean Connery, DMH is the Senior Contributing Editor at Hamptons.com. www.hamptons.com