The Crusader Newspaper Group

25 years of Def Comedy Jam: The laughter that started it all

By Barry Anderson,

In July of 1992, HBO premiered Def Comedy Jam, a half-hour stand-up comedy series that was raw, uncut, and, just down right funny before people started using “LOL” and “LMAO.” Hosted by Martin Lawrence (with DJ Kid Capri providing the sounds on the 1s and 2s), this series was from the mind of Russell Simmons, and introduced the world to talented African American comedy stars to the mainstream—including Lawrence, Chris Tucker, Dave Chappelle, Bernie Mac, and Adele Givens. It did this while easily taking down its competition in the ratings on Friday nights for six years.

Netflix announced this morning that they would be airing a Def Comedy Jam 25th anniversary special this fall. And because they are Netflix, the line-up features a who’s who of black comedians, including Chappelle, Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, Bill Bellamy, Cedric the Entertainer, Mike Epps, and many, MANY more.

Before the 25th Anniversary reunion show airs, we take a look back at some of the funniest, ground-breaking Def-Comedy Jam acts over the years.


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