An interview with D.L. Hughley about how he turned his life around after joining a gang as a teenager, where he gets his work ethic from, how to create a more equal society, why comedy is effective in addressing political and social issues, and his best career advice.
Welcome to the 94th episode of 5 Questions with Dan Schawbel. As your host, my goal is to curate the best advice from the world’s smartest and most interesting people by asking them just 5 questions.
This episodes guest:
My guest today is standup comedian, radio host, and author, D.L. Hughley. Born in Portsmouth, Virginia, D.L. grew up in South Central, Los Angeles where he spent his teenage years in a gang and was eventually kicked out of high school. After turning his life around, which we will explore in this episode, he got his first job at the Los Angeles Times. From there, he hosted ComicView on BET before writing and starring in the TV sitcom series, The Hughleys. D.L. went on to star in the Spike Lee film, The Original Kings of Comedy, with costars Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, and Bernie Mac. More recently, he is the host of the talk show The D.L. Hughley Show which is syndicated in more than sixty markets and is the author of the new book, “Surrender, White People!”. I caught up with D.L. to learn more about his perspectives on the political and social issues that we are facing in America for this podcast episode.
The 5 questions I ask in this episode:
- After joining a gang and getting kicked out of high school as a teenager, how were you able to turn your life around so that you could pursue your career?
- In the last episode, Al Roker told me that his father said to him in high school, “you’re going to have to work twice as hard and be twice as good to get half as far as the white kid next to you”. Does this statement reflect your life experience and if so, what did you have to do in order to overcome it?
- The killing of George Floyd created a national conversation about racism, oppression, and inequality that’s existed in our society for over 400 years. What can individuals and institutions do to address these issues in order to create a more inclusive, equal, and prosperous society? You’ve tackled race issues throughout your entire career as an entertainer.
- Why do you think comedy is such an effective vehicle for addressing the social and political issues we face?
- What is your best piece of career advice?
Follow D.L.’s journey: