D.L. Hughley has turned a comedy career into a multi-faceted brand that has landed him on TV, as both an actor and political commentator. As an author of three best-selling books and on the airwaves of a hugely popular syndicated radio show.
The California native is the perfect example of taking your talent and making the most of it.
Hughley sat down with RADIO FACTS magazine to discuss his journey into the world of TV and radio. It wasn’t an easy one but its clear, it has been rewarding.
Here are highlights from the interview:
KEVIN ROSS: So let’s talk about radio. You’ve been doing it now for what, about 25 years?
D.L. HUGHLEY: It’s funny. I did it at KJLH [Los Angeles] when I was the morning man. I did it at Kiss-FM [the former WRKS/New York] and I’ve been doing the current show [Reach Media/Radio One syndication] for about five years or so. I have always loved the medium. And it’s funny because I never got a chance to do it this continuously. But I didn’t necessarily understand it or it’s input. From a consumer’s outlook, I’ve always understood it because when I lived in LA and I didn’t know anything, it was my entry into the world. But I understand how, you know, from this side of the microphone, how important it is to be clear. And so, uh, I’ve done it, you know, off and on, I would say about 12 years, but I understand how important it is to be clear in how important it is to make sure you take a side. You’ve got to take a side.
KEVIN ROSS: So you’ve done TV. They even tried to get you on the political TV circuit. What was the situation with that? Why didn’t that work out?
D.L. HUGHLEY: Oh, well, CNN used to get a million people a weekend. And what happened was at the same time we were doing the show, the huge economic downturn happened. The bottom fell out of the economy. So all the things people have money for, in terms of frivolous, things like a black dude doing a political show or a news show – they didn’t have the money for it. And you know, it’s like everything else. Last ones hired, first ones fired, but I enjoyed the experience.
KEVIN ROSS: …You have a very interesting background. I know that I’ve heard you in various interviews talking about how you had some issues with your mom growing up. Give me a little more information about that and how, with those circumstances, you make a decision to go either left or right.
D.L. HUGHLEY: I don’t know if you make the decision to do that. Listen, I’m a lot luckier than I am gifted. And I understand that, but I think now, I know so much now about growing up and what it meant, and that I think a lot of people have a tendency to put their parents in a certain place and, in the end, they’re just human beings. My mother was a very young woman. My mother was about 16-years, 17-years-old. So imagine being a kid and raising someone, and you didn’t like the father and the little boy reminds you of the father. I think that played itself out a lot of times. But I don’t have malice and I do understand.
One of the things that relationship taught me is if you’re not certain whether you’re loved in your home, it gives you more freedom than I think a lot of people have. Because once you have affirmation, when you’re young, then you seek it when you don’t have it. It’s like if all of a sudden I was blind and everybody cut the lights off, I wouldn’t know the difference. And I think it has felt like that to me.
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