A.C. welcomes the comedy kings

At­lantic City’s Com­edy Fest­iv­al, com­ing Labor Day week­end, will fea­ture top comedi­ans, in­clud­ing D.L. Hugh­ley.


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.

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