Editorial, Film, Improv, Media, Satire, Social Media, Stand-up, Television — November 21, 2016 12:17 pm

Why ‘Def Comedy Jam’ Gets No Respect

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def_comedy_jam_photoBy Jason Zinoman, New York Times | Before “Veep,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Sex and the City,” there was “Def Comedy Jam,” one of the first hit comedies on HBO, often beating its network competition in ratings on Friday nights throughout much of the 1990s.
That this trailblazing showcase for black comedy is routinely overlooked in discussions of the most important television shows is partly because of timing (after the comedy boom went bust, and before television’s new golden age) and genre. Shows filled with stand-up sets get less respect than even soap operas. “Def Comedy Jam,” which is returning for the second time with a new title, “All Def Comedy,” for one episode on Saturday, also faced the same issues that black comics of the era did: being pigeonholed by critics who single-mindedly focused on the profanity and applied moral standards never used for their white counterparts.

 

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