For some of us, D.L. Hughley is that man we love to hate because of his candor. Well, say what you will but Hughley, one of the original Kings of Comedy, has certainly made a name for himself in Hollywood. After starring in his own self-titled sitcom, hosting his own evening talk show on Comedy Central, and touring the country cracking jokes, Hughley is preparing to deliver his unconventional point of views on CNN’s “D.L. Hughley Breaks the News.” ESSENCE.COM chatted with the funnyman about hanging with Sarah Palin supporters, Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama, and electing Flava Flav for president.
ESSENCE.COM: Congrats on your return to the tube. What’s the allure of late-night television?
D.L. HUGHLEY: I always wanted to do late-night show. It’s the third one for me. Of course I had my show “The Hughleys” and then the one on Comedy Central, and I always wanted to be in New York so it’s been great. Also, it’s the closest to standup that you’ll ever get. You get to engage yourself with a live audience and be spontaneous and it’s always no holds barred. Plus, I have a point of view that is different from other late-night talk-show hosts because my experiences are different. I happen to be fortunate enough to be paid to share my thoughts and how I perceive things and I love it.
ESSENCE.COM: So word on the street is that you attended a Sarah Palin rally in North Carolina. How did that go?
HUGHLEY: It was very interesting. I’m not gonna lie, I was nervous for a minute, but I made it back (laughs). Let’s just say Sarah Palin supporters don’t have a great sense of humor.
ESSENCE.COM: (Laughs.) Well, how much do you think Obama’s candidacy has influenced networks like CNN to take a chance on having a Black comedian like yourself headline a weekly late-night news show?
HUGHLEY: I think it has put us in different circumstances. It will challenge Black people’s perspective about themselves. For example, we look at a Tiger Woods and we say he’s a Black golfer, not just a golfer. I think we will hear a lot of talk about accountability and responsibility. If you really think about it, it’s amazing that the first Black president was raised outside of this country by White people. I don’t believe that Obama could have been raised in America and run because he has a broader scope of life and people in general because of where he was raised and who raised him. As a people, we will have to be more introspective because here we have this dynamic brother [Obama] who has gone this far, but it will even challenge Black women who have issues with interracial marriages, because Obama wouldn’t be here if a Black man didn’t have this child with a white woman. It’s all very deep.
ESSENCE.COM: As a Black man, how has Barack Obama’s candidacy affected you?
HUGHLEY: It’s an irresistible force. This is a pivotal moment in American history. Now, I don’t trust politicians because I give you my vote and money and can only hope that you’ll keep good on your word. If [Obama] does what he says he’ll do, then it’s all good and this country needs that. If he doesn’t, he’ll be a typical political. But I believe that people like Clarence Thomas and Condoleeza Rice will vote for Obama [on the low]. I really do.
ESSENCE.COM: Well, one influential Republican already has. What do you think of Retired General Colin Powell’s endorsement of Obama?
HUGHLEY: Powell’s endorsement is huge. He made a sober choice in deciding who he felt was the better candidate. All the criticism he’s received is interesting because no one criticized him when he voted for the war, but they do when he votes for Obama? Rush Limbaugh is gonna say that of course [Powell] would endorse Obama because basically “they” (meaning us Black folks) stick together, but I bet that Powell has voted for more White men than he’s ever voted for Black men. Personally, I’ve never had an opportunity to vote for a Black person and you know why? Because all of our 43 presidents were White, so I don’t understand why any White person would use that as an argument. That’s 43 to 1. What are they so afraid of? It’s not like once you vote Black, you’ll never go back! (Laughs.) They must think we’ll have Flava Flav running for the next term (laughs).