Russell Simmons’ DEF COMEDY JAM ALL STARS returns


By Jéri Jacquin | November 8, 2022


Jeri Jacquin

On DVD is an incredible laugh-filled collection of Time Life is Russell Simmons’ DEF COMEDY JAM ALL STARS 12-disc collection set.

In 1992 I got cable channel HBO (known as Ho-Bo at the time) and a new series came up – Russell Simmons Def Comedy Jam and it was an instant hit. Friday nights would never be the same after that! Friends came to my house with food and good times as we all gathered to giggle and jaw drop at what we heard.

Martin Lawrence would take the stage first for the series offering his own take on black culture and humor. He explains that “def” is what a black person says when something is cool or off the charts. This comedian also introduced the world to Chris Tucker and later Bernie Mack and Bill Bellamy.

Continuing to show viewers even more, Dave Chappelle came on strong. To keep the audience on track, Heavy D., Kid n’ Play, Kenny Anderson, Big Daddy Kane, Pepa, Q-Tip, the Wu-Tang Clan and Wesley Snipes will take their turn in the spotlight. HBO acknowledged what Simmons already knew, that the show was a marvel in its own right with originality.

Time Life continues to bring classic collections of never-before-seen TV shows for fans to revisit and remember what made television so special. Time Life released Mama’s Family, CPO Sharkey and The Tonight Show and they now remind us of a time when sex and politics were up for grabs with ROWAN & MARTIN’S LAUGH-IN. To learn more about what Time Life has to offer fans of classic television, visit

Bonus features of the set include Bonus Episode “2 Raw 4 TV”, Bonus DVD: Shaq & Cedric the Entertainer Present: All Star Comedy Jam et un
24-page Def Comedy Jam collector’s booklet.

Russell Simmons grew up in Queens, New York and would literally become a mogul part of anything he could get his hands on. From music as co-founder of Def Jam Records to clothing with the Phat Farm and Baby Phat lines, Russell has even written seven books about success. Thanks to DEF COMEDY JAM, the world of laughter would come to know so many other comedians who still make us laugh today.

Martin Lawrence soared into his own stratosphere, jumping from the TV screen to the big screen with films such as DO THE RIGHT THING, BOOMERANG and BAD BOYS. Cedric the Entertainer continues with The kings of comedy and also to movies like MADAGASCAR and BARBERSHOP.

Bill Bellamy would take his appearances on DEF COMEDY JAM and make it even more successful hosting MTV JAMS and on the 90s movie HOW TO BE A PLAYER (which is one of my sons favorites). Earthquake and Mike Epps also made their comedy stand on the Def stage.

Let’s not forget the funny ladies either! Adele Givens was the 1990 Grand Prize winner for comedy at Chicago’s historic Regal Theater and would also become one of the QUEENS OF COMEDY. His talent came to television with Moesha
and The Hughleys before hitting the big screen with THE PLAYERS CLUB and BEAUTY SHOP (one of my personal favorites).

Tiffany Haddish made her young appearance on Def Comedy and quickly went to The Carmichael Show and hit the big screen with Queen Latifah in GIRLS TRIP. The Queen also took to the stage later in the run of the show, but made a lasting impression.

Sheryl Underwood took the Def Jam stage and also appeared in the movie BEAUTY SHOP (well, sort of, but she’s awesome) and hosted the Daytime Emmy Awards. That’s all that speaks of success for the Little Rock native.

Another well-known name in comedy is that of Kevin Hart. It was just the beginning as Hart worked his way through television, the big screen and friendship with Dwayne Johnson. This relationship brought fantastic chemistry to the screen in the movie JUMANJI.

DL Hughley brought his own brand of comedy to the stage and it translated to the BET show comic view and possibly on television with The Hughleys. Steve Harvey also brought his comedy to the show and eventually became part of the KINGS OF COMEDY. In addition to its funny side that we find on family quarrelit has a very philosophical side with a daytime show.

Another totally recognizable comedy name is that of Tracy Morgan from Saturday Night Live FRIDAY celebrity and movie star Chris Tucker. Finally, Wayans royalty as Damon Wayans Jr. takes his turn to make audiences laugh despite having already done so with his 1994 film BLANKMAN.

Time Life recognizes the great wealth of what Russell Simmons brought to HBO and recognizes the best and brightest performances. This 12-disc DVD set, not only for those of us who remember it from the very beginning of the show, but for every generation after to see where these extraordinary performers took their talent.

Just like I did in 1992, Russel Simmons’ DEF COMEDY JAM made me laugh a lot and probably even harder now. Of course, there’s the thing of seeing them all so young and remembering “oh my god, was I ever so young too?”, it was a nice moment of excessive laughter,

So round up the ’90s buddies and relive a classic comedy, then add to the group because the food will be good, the company will be great, and the laughs will be non-stop!

In the end – see how excellence in comedy is born!




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