Dave Chappelle, Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, Martin Lawrence, Kevin Hart, Tracy Morgan and Adele Givens are among the famous comedians in Def Comedy Jam 25. The special, out on Netflix September 26th, celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Def Comedy Jam series, which nurtured the careers of numerous black comics.
"All you millennials may be asking, what the hell is Def Comedy Jam?" Cedric the Entertainer said. "That's why we hate you little motherfuckers. Y'all don't know shit."
Def Comedy Jam, produced by legendary music executive Russell Simmons, originally aired on HBO from 1992 to 1997. It was rebooted for a short run from 2006 to 2008. This December, Simmons is bringing six episodes of a similar series, All Def Comedy, to HBO.
In an op-ed for The New York Times last year, Simmons suggested that series like Def Comedy Jam and All Def Comedy were more necessary than ever to combat de facto segregation in the comedy world. "There is a ton of black, Asian and Latino comedy talent in Hollywood now," he wrote. "But these performers are segregated into a few performing spots. Politically, of course, Hollywood is very well intentioned and liberal. Culturally, it's a backwater. In the current setup, black comedians are restricted to black comedy nights in various clubs, like Mo' Betta Monday."
"The industry's current gatekeepers seem to have forgotten just how potent – creatively and economically – the black community can be," Simmons added. "Whatever … I'm paying attention, and it's my great honor and pleasure to present all this new talent to the world."