Family & Companions
Popular comedian D.L. Hughley translated his experiences and observations as a young man from South Central Los Angeles into a highly successful career as a stand-up comedian, actor, and even political commentator. After a period spent as a gang member in his teens, Hughley settled down with a steady job and family, but his true aspiration - stand-up comedy - beckoned. Success at a local open mic competition and on the hard-scrabble comedy club circuit eventually led to spots on specials like "Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam" (HBO, 1992-2008). From there it was a short jump to primetime television exposure with his sitcom "The Hughleys" (ABC, 1998-2000/UPN, 2000-02). It was, however, his inclusion in the massively influential comedy documentary "The Original Kings of Comedy" (2000) that officially put him and fellow funny men Bernie Mac, Steven Harvey, and Cedric the Entertainer on the pop culture map. After the success of the film, there was literally no endeavor not considered by Hughley, who earned acting credits on Aaron Sorkin's short-lived drama "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" (NBC, 2006-07) and the medical drama "Heartbeat" (NBC 2016), in addition to hosting his own political/topical events news program "D.L. Hughley Breaks the News" (CNN, 2008-09) and being a season 16 contestant on "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ). Without a doubt, Hughley followed his dreams from his humble beginnings to become a contemporary comedic renaissance man of stage, film, and television.
Born Darryl Lynn Hughley on March 7, 1963 in Los Angeles, 'D.L.' was the third of four children raised by his mother, Audrey, and father, Charles, a maintenance worker at Delta Airlines. Growing up in L.A.'s rugged South Central neighborhood, Hughley was expelled from high school in the 10th grade for fighting. After a regrettable period of involvement with the notorious street gang the Bloods, Hughley wisely chose to distance himself from the thug life after his cousin was murdered. From there it was on to a telemarketing job with the Los Angeles Times, a position he held for nearly a decade, during which time he met his future wife, LaDonna. Although he enjoyed the stable life of a family man, Hughley still hankered for something more, yearning for a chance to utilize his greatest natural gift - his sense of humor. The opportunity came when, at the urging of his wife, he entered an open mic night at a local comedy club and won. Encouraged, he launched into a grueling daily routine of working at the telemarketing job during the day, and doing stand-up at night. Ultimately, the demands of the schedule dictated that one of the gigs had to be left behind. Hughley stuck with comedy.
Early on, Hughley's career consisted largely of any bookings he could pick up on the comedy club circuit. Before long his good-natured barbs were gaining him a reputation with audiences, and early televised appearances on specials like "One Night Stand" (HBO, 1989-1992) in 1992 were gradually gaining him wider exposure. Things really began to break for the comedian when he hosted the stand-up series "BET's ComicView" (1992-2008) for its first two seasons, and began a string of recurring appearances on "Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam" (HBO, 1992-2008). He reached even more viewers with the highly-rated special "HBO Comedy Half-Hour: D. L. Hughley" (HBO, 1994) and as a regular on the short-lived sitcom "Double Rush" (CBS, 1995). All the hard work and long hours paid off when he landed a series of his own in the form of "The Hughleys" (ABC, 1998-2000/UPN, 2000-02). With a concept that vaguely mirrored his own reality, D.L. played Darryl Hughley, a business owner from the inner-city who moves to an affluent California suburb after achieving financial success. Similar to the plight of sitcom character George Jefferson decades earlier, much of "The Hughleys" humor was derived from Darryl's discomfort with living in a predominantly white neighborhood.
Although Hughley garnered mostly respectable reviews for the show, which he also produced and helped script, the primetime network format hardly gave him the scatological free reign that had made him popular on the club circuit. After two seasons of middling ratings, ABC let the program go to UPN, where it lasted another two seasons before ending its run. While "The Hughleys" had helped increase his profile, it was another career milestone that would propel him to an entirely new level of stardom. After headlining his second cable special, "D.L. Hughley: Goin' Home" (HBO, 1999), Hughley and fellow stand-up comics Steve Harvey, Bernie Mac, and Cedric the Entertainer appeared together in the comedy documentary feature "The Original Kings of Comedy" (2000). Directed by Spike Lee, the film chronicled the final two evenings of the foursome's hugely popular live comedy tour, during which time they had sold out not only traditional comedy venues, but large stadiums, as well. The movie became an unqualified hit upon its release in theaters, and spawned more than one similarly structured comedy film in the years that followed.
Hughley also enjoyed some crossover success as an actor in films, co-starring in the African-American ensemble drama "The Brothers" (2001), along with supporting roles in the comedies "Chasing Papi" (2003), "Scary Movie 3" (2003) and "Soul Plane" (2004). Attempting to branch out into David Letterman/Jay Leno territory, he hosted the odd talk-sketch, comedy-musical variety amalgam "Weekends at the D.L." (Comedy Central, 2005) for one season before its cancellation. He kept busy the following year with a dramatic role as Simon Stiles, a cast member of a fictional late-night sketch comedy show in Aaron Sorkin's over-hyped "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" (NBC, 2006-07). Completing his trifecta of single-season projects, Hughley briefly served as the host of "S.O.B.: Socially Offensive Behavior" (BET, 2006-07), a hidden-camera show with a culturally satiric edge. A frequent guest panelist on "Real Time with Bill Maher" (HBO, 2002- ), Hughley took a decidedly political bent with his next stand-up special "D.L. Hughley: Unapologetic" (HBO, 2007). Other efforts included a short-lived entertainment news program "D.L. Hughley Breaks the News" (CNN, 2008-09), as well as guest turns on the series "Glory Daze" (TBS, 2010-11) and "Hawaii Five-0" (CBS, 2010- ), and a supporting role in the crime-comedy feature "Cat Run" (2011). Turning to reality television, Hughley was a guest host on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" (ABC/syndicated, 1999- ) before being announced as a contestant on the 16th season of "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ) in early 2013. After appearing in the documentary "Dying Laughing" (2015) about the offstage lives and creative processes of comedians, Hughley took on an atypically dramatic role in the medical drama "Heartbeat" (NBC 2016).
Cast (Feature Film)
Special Thanks (Special)
Hosted BET's stand-up series "Comicview"
Performed in highly-rated "HBO Comedy Half-Hour: D. L. Hughley"
Made TV series debut as regular on short-lived CBS comedy "Double Rush"
Wrote, executive produced and starred on "The Hughleys" (ABC, 1998-2000; UPN, 2000-02), loosely based on his own experiences as a black man living in a predominantly white neighborhood
Starred in own HBO comedy special "Going Home"
Featured alongside Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, and Bernie Mac in Spike Lee's concert film "The Original Kings of Comedy," based on successful stand-up tour
Co-starred in comedy drama feature "The Brothers"
Voiced the Gadgetmobile in "Inspector Gadget 2"
Co-starred in genre spoof "Scary Movie 3"
Starred opposite Snoop Dogg in "Soul Plane," a comedy about the maiden flight of a black-owned airline
Guest hosted "The Late Late Show" (CBS) to fill in for Craig Kilborn
Cast in "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" (NBC) as one of the stars of a late-night sketch comedy show
Hosted current events and talk program "D.L. Hughley Breaks the News" (CNN), also executive produced
Hosted New York-based radio program "The D.L. Hughley Morning Show"
Starred in HBO comedy special " D.L. Hughley: Reset"
Competed on 16th season of "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC) with professional partner Cheryl Burke
Was cast as Dr. Myron Hackett on the medical drama "Heartbeat."
Was featured in "The Comedy Get Down"