D.L. Hughley, the brilliant, unbridled comic megastar known for his controversial takes on politics, religion and race, will take the Castle Theater stage at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center on Saturday night during a brief mid-Pacific stop on his extensive international "Unapologetic Tour."
Hughley grew up in South Central Los Angeles. A high school dropout and member of the infamous "Bloods," he turned his life around after his cousin's death from a gang-related shooting. While he was working in the marketing department at the L.A. Times, his wife encouraged him to give stand-up a try. In 1992, BET caught his routine, liked what they saw and asked him to be the first host of a new series called "Comic View." Hughley's career took off like wildfire, landing him his own sitcom, "The Hughleys," on ABC and a starring role in the now-classic, emblematic film "The Original Kings of Comedy" alongside Cedric the Entertainer, Steve Harvey and Bernie Mac.
From 2008 to 2009, Hughley had his own show, "D.L. Hughley Breaks the News," on CNN, which highlighted his inimitable brand of commentary on current headlines. He drew some fire when he likened the crowd at the 2008 Republican Convention to Nazi Germany, but it was all in a day's work for the cutting-edge, unflinchingly honest comic.
Photo courtesy of the Maui Arts & Cultural Center
Comedian D.L. Hughley says he’s “brushing up on his ‘mahalos’ and ‘alohas’ in anticipation of his Castle Theater show Saturday.
If there's a sacred cow in the room, Hughley will fire up the barbeque. From Michael Jackson to Barack Obama to Dick Cheney, no one emerges unscathed. Now that Hughley has his own radio show on Kiss FM in New York, he opines (hilariously) every morning. His take on former controversial radio personality Don Imus?
"I don't know why anyone would take him seriously. That **** looks like a werewolf that didn't finish changing. Like he started changing and the moon went down and he was like, 'Damn! Where's my cowboy hat?' "
His 2007 HBO special, "Unapologetic" - now on DVD - garnered gushing reviews from critics and audiences alike. The Hollywood Reporter said, "The likable Hughley is the real deal, a guy who comes with his A-material and nails every line with smarts and savvy connecting with the audience from the first minute through the last."
During a phone interview from Germany earlier this week, Hughley was upbeat, measured and very personable. We discussed the tour, which he called "life-changing," his upcoming show at the MACC, and, of course, a little bit of politics.
"I've been in England, Belgium, Holland, France and, now, Germany. I go to New York to wash clothes and check in, then fly to L.A. to see my family (he and his wife have three children), then fly back out."
It sounds exhausting, right? Not for the energetic star.
"I love what I do," he said, "the devil is in the details, you know? I never get tired of being onstage or on the radio."
Having followed Hughley for years, admiring his willingness to "go there" when it comes to politics and race, I couldn't help but ask how he's feeling about the political climate in the U.S.
"I think it's impossible to live in this world and not be political," he said, "and there's so much to talk about right now. It's the witching hour, I think, for our country. We're at a crossroads and, historically, these times (of economic uncertainty and political unrest) have made us stronger. I'm not in a hurry for us to get out of this."
Hughley was a vocal critic of the Bush administration and a supporter of Obama, whom he called "a tall Urkel dude" (referring to the bespectacled star of the '90s sitcom "Family Matters"), but he's not weighing in on our president's performance yet.
"He's learning what all presidents have learned: the difference between running for office and running the country. It's unfair to have a verdict right now. Let's see how he handles it."
Hughley can't wait for his impending, if brief, visit to Maui.
"It'll be a vacation for me!" he gushed. "I've been hanging out in a Bavarian forest, man! I love to play golf, so that's definitely something I'm going to do. I've been brushing up on my Hawaiian, my 'mahalos' and 'alohas.' There's only 19 letters in the Hawaiian alphabet, so I figure I should be able to handle it."
n D.L. Hughley will perform in the Castle Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $39, $49 and $79 (including VIP seating with a meet-and-greet) plus applicable fees, available at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center box office, online at www.mauiarts. org or by phone at 242-7469.
Mana'o Radio personality and stage performer Kathy Collins is in New York this weekend, appearing in Lincoln Center's out-of-doors "La Casita" project. She will be one of the spoken-word artists performing free for the public at Lincoln Center on Saturday and at Pregones Theater in The Bronx Sunday.
Drawing from her "Tita" performances on Maui, Kathy will perform two of her Pele stories, in pidgin, for the New York audiences. Her written piece, "May Day is Lei Day" (previously published in her "Tita" column in Maui No Ka 'Oi magazine), will be published in a program book handed out free to the Lincoln Center and Pregones Theater audiences. The engagement was booked by Maui-based agency Karen Fischer/Pasifika Artists Network.
On Friday, Aug. 20, keep the giggles going with The Comedy Hui in the Maui Arts & Cultural Center's McCoy Studio Theater. Maui's premier family-friendly sketch-comedy troupe blurs the line between audience and performance. A good time is guaranteed for all! For tickets ($22, $11 for kids 12 and younger, plus applicable fees) and more information, call the MACC box office at 242-7469 or go online: www.mauiarts.org.