Today in Hip-Hop: ‘Def Comedy Jam’ Premieres on HBO
On this day, July 1, in hip-hop history...
1992: Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam premieres on HBO, creating a portal for a new generation of raucous, hip-hop-influenced jokesters to leave their mark on the world of comedy.
A ground-breaking show, Def Comedy Jam was known for helping fortify an era of "yo mama" jokes and all sorts of aggressively irreverent snaps from comedians like Bernie Mac, Adele Givens, Chris Tucker, Mike Epps and Martin Lawrence, who hosted the show from 1992-1993.
After ending its initial run in January of 1997, Def Comedy Jam briefly returned to TV when it was inserted into HBO's fall lineup. After that, the show was, as people first knew it, pretty much done for good. Still, it left plenty of indelible memories in its wake.
In July 2017, Simmons announced that Def Comedy Jam would be getting a reboot, noting the way the original iteration of the show introduced the world to comics they wouldn't have known about otherwise.
“I have witnessed firsthand how the most cutting-edge, seemingly alternative comics become the driving forces in mainstream comedy,” the Def Jam co-founder said in a press release. “I’m thankful to HBO for allowing me to give these new voices access to mainstream audiences everywhere.”
The current status of the Def Comedy Jam reboot is unknown.
See 60 Hip-Hop Albums Turning 20 in 2018