Comedian D.L. Hughley on comedy, new book and social injustice

Comedian D.L. Hughley on comedy, new book and social injustice
Comedian D.L. Hughley (Photo Credit: Shannon McCollum)

D.L. Hughley is one of the rawest and most honest comedians of our time, always telling it like it is. You probably know him from The Original Kings of Comedy, where director Spike Lee captured the lives of Hughley, Steve Harvey, Cedric The Entertainer and Bernie Mac as they sold out countless arenas and brought laughter to the people. Today, Hughley is still as funny as ever on his BET show, “The Comedy Get Down.” Hughley has used comedy to speak out about the police brutality against Black people that has become commonplace in America. Hughley spoke to rolling out about his new book and upcoming Atlanta comedy show.

When did you know that comedy was your passion?

It wasn’t really hard to discover. It was the only thing I was ever good at. I wasn’t bright, I wasn’t an athlete, I wasn’t good looking, I wasn’t a hustler. All I could do was make people laugh.

How did you get your break in the comedy industry?

I would never be able to point out a specific thing, but [it was] when I was able to gradually start making a living doing comedy. It was a little thing here and a little thing there, and 28 years later, I’ve been doing it for a living.

You’re in town for your show, The Comedy Get Down, at the Fabulous Fox Theatre on Saturday. What is it like to be on a comedic tour like this?

They can expect to laugh. I’ve been a part of a lot of comedy tours, and I don’t know if I’ve had more fun. Ced [Cedric the Entertainer] and I were together on many tours, including “The Kings of Comedy,” which speaks for itself. Comedy is in a precarious place, and it’s nice to be with cats who love comedy as much as I do. They are fearless and unflinching in their comedic vantage point, and there has been a time that was more important for that kind of vantage point. I love working with these cats, and it’s as close to brotherhood as I think you can get.

 Tell us about your new book coming out on June 26 and what inspired you to write it.

The book is called How Not to Get Shot: And Other Advice From White People because it seems like White people are experts on everything. The genesis of the book started when I went on Megyn Kelly’s Fox News show to talk about police brutality and injustice, and she had Mark Fuhrman on. He was such a corrupt cop he got a murderer off. That’s the vantage point White people have ’cause they couldn’t even see how hypocritical that was. He lectured me on Philando Castile and what he should’ve done and not done. I decided right then the only way to have a conversation with the public about brutality is satire because its the only thing people get. I pitched the book and HarperCollins bought it, and it’s my third book.

What are your thoughts on Trump’s policy that is separating children from their parents to combat illegal immigration?

I think that separating children from their parents happened during slavery, to the Native Americans, the Italians and the Japanese during World War II. People always ask how it can happen and it’s simple: the brutal people who had slaves had grandchildren, and they are descendants of those people who had no problem separating children. If you look at what happened just before the rise of Hitler, it’s not much different than what’s happening now. If you can put children in cages in front of the world and not flinch, then I think that’s pretty much akin to shooting someone and getting away with it.

If you could describe comedy in one word, what would it be?

Necessary. I think it’s always been the thing to cut through the clearest. Mark Twain is one of my favorite satirists of all time, and he talked about slavery in a time when you could get hung for doing so. He was so masterful in the way he portrayed it in a comedic sense that people got it. I think when your an artist your job is to use your talent to expound on what you see, and nothing does that like comedy.

I don’t think there’s any room to not be clear on what you believe and what you stand for.

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