mogul Russell Simmons

Def Comedy Jam

Popular late-night HBO cable show created in 1992 by rap mogul Russell Simmons. Originally hosted by Martin Lawrence, Def Comedy stood out from the glut of televised comedy by exclusively showcasing black stand-ups and emphasizing forcefully delivered blue jokes.

Weekly, a series of raunchy turns would whip the Def Comedy Jam audience into a burlesque frenzy with material that flew directly in the face of political correctness, driving a wedge into African-American class and gender divides.

DCJ apologists argue that the overwhelming number of pussy jokes from male comedians is redeemed by the quantity of dick jokes from the show’s female stand-ups; black superstar Bill Cosby, on the other hand, called the program a “minstrel show,” noting that “HBO tells African-Americans, ‘You can’t come on the show unless you undignify your Africanness.’”

Def Comedy Jam moved to Los Angeles for its seventh season, in February 1997. New features included live-action… Continue reading