Some of the biggest names in comedy will be taking part in the third annual Atlantic City Comedy Festival, a two-day event that will be held over the Labor Day weekend.
On Sept. 1, Eddie Griffin, Earthquake, Tommy Davidson, Damon Wayans Jr., and others will perform. And on Sept. 2, comics such as Tony Rock, Mark Curry, D.L. Hughley and more will take the stage.
Hughley said it’s simple why there seems to have been so much growth in comedy. “People want to laugh,” he said. “Plus, comedy shows are less expensive than other forms of entertainment, and comedians tend to mirror a lot of what people are experiencing. When anxieties are high, comics can address the various issues with clarity and honesty that people can really relate to.”
Darryl Lynn Hughley, who prefers being known simply as D.L., is happy to be included in that selective group of people who can make other people laugh. Despite the odds stacked against him — he grew up in Los Angeles’ South Central neighborhood where he was a member of a gang — Hughley, 49, managed to work hard and turn his life around.
Inspired by such well-known performers as Redd Foxx, Richard Pryor and Dick Gregory, Hughley took his time getting into the business of comedy. But it was the Spike Lee film, The Original Kings of Comedy, a documentary about four comedians, that evenutally sent him into superstardom.
Appearing in the film with Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer and the late Bernie Mac, Hughley said nobody had any idea the film would become a classic. The best-selling film and subsequent comedy tour of the same name launched Hughley’s successful career.
“We worked hard on that film and enjoyed it all, but were never sure how others would respond to it,” Hughley said. “We didn’t know it would make history. We just knew that we were passionate about it and were having a lot of fun. I think the cameras caught all that.”
Today, Hughley admitted that the rest of his career has also afforded him fun and fame. He scored another hit in his own self-named sitcom, The Hughleys, and as a regular on Real Times with Bill Mahr. He currently stars in a cable special titled Unapologetic. Taped before a live audience, it features his take on issues like immigration, Cuban refugees, airplane restrictions, the “n” word and more.
Hughley launched his feature film debut in 2005 in the dramatic feature, Shackles. And now, the L.A.-based comedian is hoping to return to his radio show in the near future, and excited to get his own show under way.
“We have a sitcom that we’re gonna get back into,” he said. “So far, we have three offerings that we’re considering, so we’ll see where we go. I would never write for anybody else. At this point, I’m just too selfish.”
But the likeable comic is not too selfish to share his observations with others in hopes of bringing laughter into his audiences’ lives. “I have no desire to slow down. I want to be one of the best who ever did what I do. I don’t know if you can ever attain that, but this is what I love doing even though I could never have imagined myself doing it.”
And with it all, Hughley said he’s very, very happy to be returning to Atlantic City so he can take his audiences “on a journey; a journey, hopefully, they’ll never forget.” ••
For show times and ticket information, call 1-800-745-3000.