The HBO exclusive stand-up special, All Def Comedy, revives an original show to its former glory on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 10 p.m..
Russell Simmons, producer of the original 1990’s Def Comedy Jam, is back on the scene as executive producer of All Def Comedy. The original show was known for bringing African-American comedians into the national spotlight and launched the careers of stars like Dave Chappelle, Jamie Foxx, Bernie Mac and Martin Lawrence.
Hosted by Tony Rock with DJ Drama, All Def Comedy features a handful of rising comedians: Chris Powell, Zainab Johnson, Kevin Tate and Robert Powell. The special ends with a high energy set by one of Def Comedy Jam’s regular and beloved comedians, Tony Roberts.
The comics each bring their own unique styles to the stage. They point their comedic fingers at trends they see in today’s society such as abusing social media, dying relationships and their own candid and fresh take on social issues.
This HBO exclusive special was taped before a live audience of about 200 people on Sep. 7 in Los Angeles. The panorama-style set up of the crowd allowed the comedians to connect with the audience at times by asking questions as well as taking jabs at them. Since they are all emerging and somewhat amateur comedians, their jokes at times did not resonate like a star comedian’s jokes would.
As the third comic in the rotation, Kevin Tate was the first to get a standing ovation with his bit on his relationship insecurities.The next comedian was Robert Powell, who received a mix of laughter and shocked gasps with his first joke and warned the crowd that that was the least offensive joke of his set.
Robert Powell’s arsenal of jokes is a rapid fire of offensive statements wrapped in a blunt kind of truth that either leaves the viewer busting a gut or in complete disbelief of what was just said. The comedian even joked about Beyoncé and Jay Z’s cheating scandal.
The crowd especially got into the show during Robert Powell’s set and then even more so when Tony Roberts took the stage. Roberts has been performing stand up on television specials, including Def Comedy Jam, since the early 2000s.
By the time his performance ended, the audience gave a full standing ovation and remained clapping as Rock and Simmons took the stage to conclude the show.