It’s been 25 years since the birth of HBO’s Def Comedy Jam and on Sunday night, every single legendary comedian gathered at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles to celebrate the brains behind the 90’s show, Russell Simmons.
“I feel like a lot of these artists are so accomplished. I’m inspired to have a had a chance to work with them all,” Simmons told HipHollywood while on the red carpet. “And the fact that they are all doing well still, is really for me, the greatest product.”
From female comedians to the faces of the golden age of comedy, there was no shortage of funny specimen in the room. “Def Jam opened up opportunities for me,” Girls Trip star Tiffany Haddish told HipHollywood exclusively.
She added, “I started getting booked at comedy clubs across the country and I even got a campaign with Planned Parenthood in Oklahoma.”
Martin Lawrence, one of the most memorable faces of the former comedy show explained that Def Jam “gave us an outlet. Gave us a voice. A chance to be as raw as we want to be, say what we want to say and do it … just have fun with it.”
HipHollywood also caught up with Bill Bellamy who praised the show for being the catalyst behind an entire era. “Not only did we make people laugh, we were the springboard for such a burst of energy into the comedy world. All these young talented people start making movies and TV shows,” he told us.
Even Katt Williams expressed why DFJ was so imperative to the path of comedy and the Black community. “This was something that represented not only what we were but who we were speaking to,” Williams explained. “And the fact that there was a market for both of those is what was impressive.”
The event not only drew out famous comedians, but mega A listers including Estelle and Nia Long. “I remember when Russell did the very fist show,” Nia told us. “I remember how I felt seeing all the Black comedians on one stage and I think that he always has a wonderful way of giving the Black community of the very thing that we are missing,”
The event celebrating Def Comedy Jam and Russell will air on Netflix later this month.