Despite shifting from gang member to telemarketer to comedian and actor, D.L. Hughley, who opens a five-show run on Friday at Cobb’s, does not see himself as a role model.
“No,” says the Los Angeles native and father of three, “but I do see myself as a person who lives out in the open. I have the kind of relationship with my children where they’ll know instantly whether I did something I’m accused of or didn’t.”
Of his two-decade career, probably the most unusual résumé entry so far is a recent stint as host of “D.L. Hughley Breaks the News” on CNN.
“It was an amazing experience,” he says of the news-based talk show, “and something I’ll always remember.” It wasn’t easy and he recalls watching “some ‘hardened news veterans’ kinda raise their eyebrows” at his efforts.
What’s raising Hughley’s eyebrows these days? Politics, of course, and race and all the other topics he has expertly skewered over the years in his raw, freewheeling style. “Comedy is all about being countercultural,” he says, “and a little profane … a little offensive.”
“I think it is ironic,” he suggests, “that as a country we are so polarized and so acrimonious that we got our credit reduced. That’s like your mother and father arguing so much that the bank decides to take the house away.”
He paraphrases the movie “Cool Hand Luke” by saying he thinks the country has reached a failure to be able to communicate.
“When I have an argument with my wife, things don’t come out fully formed. You have to work your way into how you feel. Imagine not being able to do that. People are so afraid that every word they say is picked apart and parsed out.”
What offends Hughley? “Deliberate ignorance is offensive to me.” He cites a recent news report of racism-provoked vehicular manslaughter involving a white driver and black victim.
“White people got to be shocked and black people got to be angry,” he says. “I just wish the country would stop pretending that they don’t know this kind of animus exists. Or that black people would stop pretending [they don’t know] that most black people are killed by other black people in this country.
“That kind of deliberate ignorance just pisses me off. There are more black men in prison than ever were slaves but we’re more angry about slavery.”
IF YOU GO
Where: Cobb’s Comedy Club, 915 Columbus Ave., San Francisco
When: 8 and 10:15 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 8 p.m. Sunday
Contact: (800) 431-3462, www.cobbscomedyclub.com