Hughley, D. L. 1964–

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D. L. Hughley 1964

Comedian, actor

Precarious Road to Success

Turned to Comedy

Scored a Hit


Comic actor D.L. Hughley (pronounced HEW-glee) has been considered an overnight sensation since his ABC sitcom, The Hughleys, became an instant hit in 1998. However, since 1991, Hughley has been a stalwart of the African American comedy circuit. As he watched fellow performers such as friend, Chris Rock, begin to achieve wider success, Hughley admitted that he occasionally lost his focus. But Hughleys perseverance ultimately paid off, and he earned offers for two HBO comedy specials, and a spot as the first host of Black Entertainment Televisions Comic View.

The Hughleys, however, provided his big break. The show is based on Hughleys own life experiences as an upwardly mobile, young African American man who moves his family to a largely white suburb. Reviews of the show have been positive, and ratings have remained high. Jet reported that The Hughleys was the most-watched show with Black audiences and in the Top 20 for all audiences. Joy Bennet Kinnon noted in Ebony that, a year after its debut the show was ABCs highest-rated new show and had won a nomination for a Peoples Choice Award.

Precarious Road to Success

Darryl Lynn Hughley was born March 6, 1964, in Los Angeles. His mother, Audrey Hughley, was a homemaker and his father, Charles Hughley, worked as a maintenance employee for Delta Airlines. Growing up in the Compton area of Los Angeles, an environment that did not emphasize the potential rewards of achievement, Hughley quickly fell through the cracks. He was a class clown, he explained to Ebony, because I felt intimidated and didnt know the answers. Sucked into gang life by the age of 12, Hughley was a member of the notorious Los Angeles gang, the Bloods. He was kicked out of high school in the tenth grade and never returned. Of his gang membership, Hughley told People Weekly, I watched people do a great deal of physical harm to each other. He added, You know its wrong, but you dont have the courage to be different. In the early 1980s, a gang incident gave him the courage he needed to break away. Hughleys cousin, a member of the rival Crips gang, was killed and his body dumped on his mothers doorstep. In a 1997 interview with the Ann Arbor Michigan Daily, Hughley said, It was a terrible

At a Glance

Born Darryl Lynn Hughley, March 6, 1964 in Los Angeles, CA Son of Charles Hughley, an airlines maintenance worker, and Audrey Hughley, a homemaker; married LaDonna, 1986; children: Tyler, Ryan, Kyle.

Career Stand-up comedian, actor. Sales clerk, sales manager, los Angeles Times, 1981-91; appeared at venues nationally as a stand-up comedian; appeared on HBOs Def Comedy jam; first host of Slack Entertainment Televisions Comic View; appeared in trouble Rush CBS, 1995; actor, writer, co-producer, The Hughleys, ABC, 1998-.

Addresses: HomeWest Hills, CA, Business Creative Writers Agency, 9830 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212-1825.

thing. And what was even worse was that he was in a rival gang. So I couldnt even go to his funeral, or I mightve been shot. Fearing what the future might hold, Hughley explained to People, I was afraid Id do something you cant walk away from. Finally realizing that he wanted to be a productive member of society, he quit the Bloods.

Hughley went to work in the circulation department of the Los Angeles Times as a telemarketer, where he met his wife, LaDonna. The couple married in 1986 and had three children, daughters Tyler and Ryan, and son Kyle. Hughleys telemarketing job with the newspaper eventually evolved into a position as circulation manager. Referring to his job with the Los Angeles Times, Hughley told Newsweek, I worked there ten years, had all my kids there, bought my house there and used all their medical insurance until I left to do [comedy]. Most people had odd jobs trying to make it. I had a real job.

Turned to Comedy

Although Hughley was earning a steady income as an assistant circulation manager, the family was faced with a financial crisis when LaDonna experienced complications during a pregnancy. The rent check bounced, Hughley told People in 1998. We had no food in the house, and the electricity was cut off. I remember thinking, I will never let this happen again. Hughley recalls the date he first ventured out on stage in search of an audience: February 14, 1988. There was no turning back, he told the Michigan Daily, When they put that microphone in my hand, I knew stand-up would be my life.

After three years of local engagements, Hughley quit the Los Angeles Times to pursue comedy on a full-time basis. He was asked to host auditions for HBOs One Night Stand series, and appeared on HBOs Def Comedy Jam. Hughleys second HBO special, according to Ebony, was nominated for a CableACE Award for Best Comedy Special and became one of the cable networks highest-rates specials ever. In 1995, he was cast as Marlon on the doomed CBS series, Double Rush.

Over the next few years, Hughley continued to work the comedy circuit, routinely selling out venues throughout the United States. He rose through the comedy ranks with comedians such as Kennan Ivory and Damon Wayans, Martin Lawrence, and Chris Rock. Hughley watched with envy as his colleagues achieved movie deals and greater fame. I wondered what I was doing wrong, he told Jet. I wondered what I was doing or not doing to get invited to the party. It was tough to stay focused.

Hughley continued to work hard, and he was eventually able to move his family from Baldwin Hills to the upscale West Hills neighborhood in 1996. For the first time in his life, he was living amid white people. This situation provided comic opportunities for Hughley. In 1997 Hughley, along with his agent, created a comedy showcase to which they invited executives from all of the major television networks. The material in the showcase consisted of stories from Hughleys real-life experiences in the suburbs. The comedy showcase was a tremendous success, and Hughley was offered several opportunities to create a new television show.

Scored a Hit

When The Hughleys debuted on ABC in 1998, it was an instant hit. Hughley wrote seven of the first seasons 23 shows, and served as co-executive producer along with Chris Rock and Matt Wickline. Although there were allegations of racism in some of the scripts, Hughley dismissed these concerns. Some white people think Im a racist. Some Black people think Im a racist, he told Jet. But Im not doing the show from anybody elses voice but mine. I hope people understand that Im telling it the way I see it. Its just my experience. Hughley credited the shows success to the fact that it focuses on family issues and concerns that are universal. As he told Ebony, Every group has its own idiosyncracies, but at a certain point we are all human. We all have the same aspirations. We all want to keep our cable on. We all want our kids to eat. My comedy is very relatablethats one of the greatest things Ive ever been told.

In addition to acting, writing, and producing, Hughley enjoys spending time with his family, swimming, and listening to jazz. He also continued to pursue other projects as well, releasing a comedy album in late 1999, and touring through the end of the century with the toprated Crown Royal Kings of Comedy Tour. Hughley is both exhilarated and grateful for his success. Im truly blessed, he told the Michigan Daily. I love what I do. Ive been all over the world, and Ive even performed before [President] Bill Clinton. How can I not like what I do? Theres nothing better.



Ebony, September 1999, p. 158.

Entertainment Weekly, September 11, 1998, p.48.

Jet, December 7, 1998, p.54.

Newsweek, October 26, 1998, p.73.

People Weekly, November 9, 1998, p.117.

Rolling Stone, February 4, 1999, p.69.


Additional information for this profile was obtained from the Internew Movie Database at; The Michigan Daily Online at; Live at; and the WCHS-TV8 website at

Ellen Dennis French

Hughley, D. L. 1963– (Dio Hughley)

views updated

HUGHLEY, D. L. 1963
(Dio Hughley)


Full name, Darryl Lynn Hughley; born March 6, 1963, in Los Angeles, CA; son of Charles (a Delta Air Lines maintenance worker) and Audrey Hughley; married LaDonna (a social work student), February 22, 1986; children: Ryan, Tyler, Kyle. Education: G.E.D., 1988. Avocational Interests: Jazz, swimming.

Addresses: Agent ICM, 8942 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211. Manager 3 Arts Entertainment, 9460 Wilshire Blvd., 7th Floor, Beverly Hills, CA 90212.

Career: Actor, comedian, producer, and writer. Appeared in comedy clubs; appeared in television commercial for 1800CALLATT, 2002; previously worked as a telemarketer and sales manager for the Los Angeles Times.

Awards, Honors: Image Award nomination, outstanding lead actor in a comedy series, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, People's Choice Award nomination, favorite male performer in a new television series, 1999, all for The Hughleys; Image Award nomination, outstanding performance in a variety series/special, 2000, for D. L. Hughley: Goin' Home; CableACE Award nomination, best comedy special.


Television Appearances; Series:

Host, BET's Comicview, Black Entertainment Television, 19921993.

Marlon, Double Rush (also known as Lickety Split ), CBS, 1995.

Darryl Hughley, The Hughleys, ABC, 1998then UPN, 20002002.

Host, Premium Blend (also known as Comedy Central's Premium Blend ), Comedy Central, 2003.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Math Who Needs It?!, PBS, 1991.

HBO Comedy HalfHour: D. L. Hughley, HBO, 1994.

(As Dio Hughley) Himself, The 26th Annual American Music Awards, ABC, 1998.

Host (Las Vegas), Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve '99, ABC, 1998.

The 30th NAACP Image Awards, Fox, 1999.

TV Guide Awards, Fox, 1999.

Host, The 15th Annual Walt Disney World Happy Easter Parade, ABC, 1999.

D. L. Hughley: Goin' Home, HBO, 1999.

E! RackNRoll: Behind the Scenes, E! Entertainment Television, 1999.

The 2nd Annual Soul Train Christmas Starfest, syndicated, 1999.

Canned Ham: The Original Kings of Comedy, Comedy Central, 2000.

Host, America's Funniest Home Videos: A Tribute to Moms, ABC, 2000.

Host, America's Funniest Home Videos: Stupid Cupid, ABC, 2000.

AllStar Bloopers, ABC, 2000.

The 31st Annual NAACP Image Awards, Fox, 2000.

MTV Icon: Janet Jackson, MTV, 2001.

Host, The 2001 Essence Awards, Fox, 2001.

Host, A Motown Christmas, 2002.

Himself, Inside TV Land: African Americans in Television (documentary), TV Land, 2002.

Himself, Diet Coke with Lemon Celebrates 40 Years of Laughter: At the Improv, 2002.

Himself, Richard Pryor: The E! True Hollywood Story (documentary), E! Entertainment Television, 2003.

Himself, Uncensored Comedy: That's Not Funny, Trio, 2003.

Host, VH1 Big in '03, VH1, 2003.

Richard Pryor: I Ain't Dead Yet, #*%$#@!!, Comedy Central, 2003.

Comedy Central's Bar Mitzvah Bash!, Comedy Central, 2004.

Honoree, 100 Greatest StandUps of All Time, Comedy Central, 2004.

Also appeared in a The Best of Def Comedy Jam, HBO; Def Jam's Comedy AllStars, HBO; MTV's Comedy HalfHour, MTV.

Television Appearances; Pilots:

Host, Liar, CBS, 2004.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Keith, "Ain't No Business Like Show Business," The Fresh Prince of BelAir, NBC, 1993.

Hank, "Slime Party," Sister, Sister, The WB, 1997.

Himself, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NBC, 1998.

Himself, The Chris Rock Show, HBO, 1998.

Himself, Late Night with Rita Sever, 1998.

Guest, Late Show with David Letterman, CBS, 1999, 2003.

Darryl Hughley, "Who's Your Mama?," The Parkers, UPN, 2001.

Himself, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC, 2001.

Himself, "Comedians Special," Weakest Link, NBC, 2001.

Himself, The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, CBS, 2003.

Kevin Turk, "My Brother, My Keeper," Scrubs, NBC, 2003.

Guest host, The Sharon Osbourne Show, syndicated, 2003.

Himself, "Rebel without an Oz," The Osbournes, MTV, 2004.

Also appeared in 48 Hours, ABC; Celebrity Undercover; OneNight Stand, HBO; Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam, HBO; as guest host, Later; Reggie James, The Watcher, UPN; himself, "Clash of the Comedies Week," Family Feud, syndicated; himself, Real Time with Bill Maher, HBO.

Television Work; Series:

Creator and producer, The Hughleys, ABC, 1998UPN, 20002002.

Television Work; Specials:

Executive producer, D. L. Hughley: Goin' Home, HBO, 1999.

Film Appearances:

Voice of Gadgetmobile, Inspector Gadget, Buena Vista, 1999.

Derrick West, The Brothers, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 2001.

Rodrigo, Chasing Papi, Twentieth CenturyFox, 2003.

John Wilson, Scary Movie 3, Dimension, 2003.

Himself, Bitter Jester, 2003.

Johnny, Soul Plane, MetroGoldwynMayer, 2004.


Television Specials:

HBO Comedy HalfHour: D. L. Hughley, HBO, 1994.

D. L. Hughley: Goin' Home, HBO, 1999.

Television Episodes:

The Hughleys, ABC, 1998then UPN, 20002002.



Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 23, Gale Group, 1999.

Newsmakers, Issue 1, Gale Group, 2001.


Ebony, September, 1999, p. 158.

Entertainment Weekly, August 11, 2000, p. 42.

Jet, December 7, 1998, p. 54.

Newsweek, October 26, 1998, p. 73.

People Weekly, November 9, 1998, p. 117.