D.L. Hughley hasn’t had a regular TV gig in awhile but as a stand-up comic, he continues to make a living hitting comedy clubs around the country. He will be at Uptown Comedy Corner tonight and tomorrow, April 24 and 25 for a mid-week gig.
In some ways, these types of shows are better than weekend shows because they bring out the more dedicated fans. At the same time, he said in a brief phone interview last Friday, “the stakes are higher.”
Like other stand-up comics, Hughley enjoys the fact he’s beholden to no one, with no corporate meddling. It’s just him, a mic and a crowd. And he likes Atlanta.
“The audience is smart,” he said. “You get people from all over the country. There’s no specific viewpoint.”
His routine blends contemporary topics, like the Secret Service sex scandals, to relationship jokes. “I try to leave room for something that just happened in the news,” he said. “Someone will certainly do something dumb before now [April 20] and the time I get to Atlanta.”
Hughley was about to do a gig in Memphis last weekend. After his time in Atlanta, he will do shows in New Jersey, then for the first time, Qatar, Saudi Arabia for what is likely a very lucrative concert. “If I don’t do well, I hope I don’t get beheaded!” he said.
And like any star who has had his own TV show, as Hughley did for four years from 1998 to 2002, he’s seeking a way back. He had a brief run hosting a comedic weekend talk show on CNN in 2008 and 2009. He has a pre-taped stand-up special set for the summer on Showtime. And he said he will be part of another comedy show forthcoming this fall on a major cable network he cannot name yet.
Hughley said politically based humor is as hot as ever. T.J. Holmes, formerly of CNN, is planning to do a politically based humor show for BET this fall. “I’ve worked with him,” Hughley said. “He had a good chance of being successful.”
Lately, he has been writing occasionally columns for the Huffington Post. His latest topic was about Trayvon Martin. “I’ve never seen a situation where a black man has garnered this much sympathy,” he said. He is also perturbed by a country where politicians no longer seem to care about compromise and solutions but to merely win ideological style points. “The stakes have never been so high,” he mused. “But people have never been pettier. It’s amazing. It’s like the ship is going down and people are arguing over the keys to the cabin on the waterfront.”
8 p.m., 10 p.m. Tuesday, April 24, 8 p.m., 10 p.m., Wednesday, April 25.
Uptown Comedy Corner, 800 Marietta St. NW, Atlanta.
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk