BILL VAUGHAN’S TASTY CLIPS: ‘Def Comedy Jam Collection’ offers laughs galore

By Bill Vaughan

Entertainment Writer

When “Russell Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam” premiered on HBO in the winter of 1992, the nation’s cool kids took notice. The “for mature audiences only” show aired Fridays at midnight, leading legions of college students and young adults to exit the clubs and find TVs — or not go out at all — so they could catch a half-hour glimpse of the would-be stars who made them laugh, and the hip-hop stars and superstar athletes who were in the studio audience.

It would go on to become one of the service’s earliest mega-hits, and by the late ’90s it was the No. 1 comedy show to ever air on pay TV and cable. In fact, no other modern-day comedy tour or series can boast a run so successful that dozens of its denizens were skyrocketed from regional obscurity to international superstardom, including Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Chris Tucker, Dave Chappelle, Tiffany Haddish, Tracy Morgan, Bernie Mac and Steve Harvey.

Now, in time for the holiday season, Time Life brings this smash series to comedy lovers everywhere with “Russell Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam Collection,” a 12-disc DVD set featuring the very best episodes from the biggest, groundbreaking, star-making comedy show of all time.

Included in the jam-packed set are 36 episodes across all nine history-making seasons — over 23 hours of non-stop laughs from comedy giants such as Bill Bellamy, Earthquake, Mike Epps, Adele Givens, D.L. Hughley, Queen Latifah, Sheryl Underwood, Damon Wayans Jr., and many more.

Aside from far too many celebrity cameos to mention, the set also includes a bonus episode of “2 Raw 4 TV,” a 24-page collector’s booklet, and a bonus DVD: “Shaq & Cedric the Entertainer Present: All Star Comedy Jam,” including stand-up performances by Kevin Hart, Tommy Davidson, Aries Spears and DeRay Davis.

This library of laughter is all exclusively available at timelife.com.

THAT’S WHAT’S UP: According to a survey by ticket service Fandango, upcoming Marvel movies take up the first three positions of 2023 Most Anticipated Movies. Topping the list are “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3;” “Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse;” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.”

The rest in order are “John Wick: Chapter 4;” “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny;” “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom;” “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One;” “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of the Songbirds and Snakes;” “Creed III;” and “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.”

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: The next American Black Film Festival (ABBF) Honors will be held in Los Angeles March 5, with two-time Emmy-nominated writer, actor and comedian Deon Cole returning as host.

ABFF’s annual award season gala honors Black artists who have made significant contributions to the motion picture and television industry, as well as those who champion diversity and inclusion in Hollywood.

BONAFIDE: Gordon Parks Jr.‘s “Super Fly,” Haile Gerima’s “Bush Mama,” Reginald Hudlin’s “House Party,” Dee Rees’ “Pariah,” Marlon Riggs’ “Tongues Untied,” Thomas Reichmann’s “Mingus,” Cinda Firestone’s “Attica,” Nikolai Ursin’s “Behind Every Good Man” and Cab Calloway’s Home Movies made a list of 25 films selected this year for the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry. TCM plans to show some of the inductees on Dec. 27.

TASTY QUIP: “My passionate friends, I wanted to give you a long-awaited Black Adam update regarding the character’s future in the new DC Universe. … Black Adam will not be in their first chapter of storytelling. However, DC and Seven Bucks have agreed to continue exploring the most valuable ways Black Adam can be utilized in future DC multiverse chapters. … I will always root for DC (and Marvel) to win and WIN BIG. You guys know me, and I have very thick skin – and you can always count on me to be direct with my words.” – DWAYNE JOHNSON

CLIPPETTES: Whitney Houston fans are gifted this week with a new biopic in theaters “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” starring British actress Naomi Ackie (as the late superstar), as well as a never before released song by Houston called “Far Enough”

The 10-time Grammy-winning Arturo Sandoval leads a “Swinging Holiday” at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Dec. 23 with his Latin jazz stylings

Rumors appear to be confirmed that “Snowfall” star Damson Idris is now dating Michael B. Jordan’s ex-girlfriend Lori Harvey …

Straight No Chaser – The 25th Anniversary Celebration is happening Dec. 28 at the Kavli Theatre

Drake is making plans to go on tour in 2023. It will be his first such foray since 2018’s “Aubrey & The Three Migos Live!” Tour

Durand Jones & The Indications are at Anaheim’s House of Blues on Dec. 29

Twenty years after being finalists on season two of “American Idol,” singers Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken are reuniting for a 2023 tour. For more information, visit rubenandclay.com.

TV HONORS: Married couple Al Roker (of NBC’s “Today”) and Deborah Roberts (of ABC’s “20/20”), Soledad O’Brien, Rachael Ray, Hallmark Media CEO Wanya Lewis, CBS Sports’ Jim Nantz and AMC’s “The Walking Dead” have been announced as 2023 inductees into the Broadcasting+Cable Hall of Fame. The ceremony will take place May 3 at New York City’s Ziegfeld Ballroom.

TC ON TV: Dec. 23 – “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” (Netflix): One of the year’s best movies is sure to break records for the streaming service that financed it. Director Rian Johnson’s lush witty sequel has some surprising cameos and a stellar cast including Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Kate Hudson, Janelle Monáe, Dave Bautista and more. “Strange World” (Disney+): An animated sci-fi movie featuring the voices of Jake Gyllenhaal, Gabrielle Union, Lucy Liu and Dennis Quaid. “A Miracle Before Christmas” (BET): Starring LeToya Luckett, Romeo Miller, Keith David, Demetrius Shipp Jr. and Paula Jai Parker. The 24th Annual A Home for The Holidays at The Grove” (CBS): Hosted by Gloria Estefan. “THE SHOW: California Love, Behind the Scenes of the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show” (SHO): The 90-minute feature offers an exclusive look at the making of one of the most iconic musical performances of the year bringing hip hop to the world stage via music legends Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar and 50 Cent. “Christmas Party Crashers” (BET): Two corporate holiday party crashers find themselves in over their heads when they are invited into an influential family’s home to plan their Christmas Eve bash. Directed by Sheldon Epps (author of the memoir “My Own Directions: A Black Man’s Journey in The American Theatre”) with Skye Townsend and Cocoa Brown. “A Football Life” (NFLN): Franco Harris

Dec. 24 – “Gospel Superfest Holiday 22” (BET/BET Her): Rocsi Diaz hosts this special featuring performances by Donnie McClurkin, Shirley Caesar, Sounds of Blackness, Bryan Popin, Earnest Pugh, D.O.E., Martha Munizzi and Rizen. “The Recipe: Holiday Edition” (BET/BET Her): With David & Tamela Mann.

Dec. 25 – “The Witcher: Blood Origin” (Netflix): Michelle Yeoh stars in this prequel to the popular fantasy series. “The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse” (Apple TV+): An animated short film based on the internationally best-selling children’s book featuring the voice of Idris Elba. “Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade” (ABC): Black Eyed Peas, Ne-YoZiwe” (SHO): The second season concludes with this episode on “Juneteenth.”

Dec. 26 – “The Year 2022” (ABC): Robin Roberts and many of ABC’s top news anchors, including David Muir, Michael Strahan, George Stephanopoulos, Juju Chang, Linsey Davis, Janai Norman and Ginger Zee recap the popular stories in this two-hour special. “Celebrity IOU” (HGTV): “Wilmer Valderrama’s Garage Reno”

Dec. 27 – “José Andrés and Family in Spain” (Disc+): The six-part series follows the larger-than-life chef and humanitarian on a gastronomic adventure across his homeland with his three American-raised daughters.

Dec. 28 – “Encanto at The Hollywood Bowl” (Disney+): An unprecedented concert spectacular as the original voice cast of the Academy Award-winning animated film reunites. “The 45th Annual Kennedy Center Honors” (CBS): All hail Gladys Knight, George Clooney, Tania León, Amy Grant and U2.

Dec. 29 – “Popstar!’s Best of 2022” (CW): Based on polls from the magazine, this special will count down the most memorable moments and trends of the year. The Best of All The Smoke with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson” (SHO): RZA

END QUOTE: “The new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.” – AMANDA GORMAN

As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment columns in the nation, serving nearly one million weekly readers. Bill Vaughan may be reached at tastyclips@yahoo.com, via Twitter @tastyclips, or Instagram @tasty_clips.

 

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