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The Most Notable Stand-Up Comics from Def Comedy Jam

Updated July 13, 2020 458.0k views63 items

A thorough list of Def Comedy Jam performing comedians, with photos! Russell Simmons classic HBO stand-up comedy showcase ran from 1992 until 1997, and then returned in 2006. The show helped to launch the careers of dozens of top popular and famous Black comedians, including Bernie Mac, Dave Chappelle, Bill Bellamy, Damon Wayans, Jamie Foxx, Mike Epps, and Chris Tucker. Most of the funny Black comedians who were first featured on the show went on to achieve fame and influence. 

Who are the most famous Def Jam comedians? Though a variety of "Best Of" collections were released of the classic '90s episodes, featuring old Black comedians, only the 2006 revival series has had all its episodes collected for DVD. This list includes the notable male and female African American comedians who stepped on the Def Comedy Jam stage on their way to the big time. (Be sure to check out more great comedy every week on Cannon's Countdown!)

  • Photo: Metaweb / CC-BY
    Adele Givens, known professionally as Adele Givens, (born July 1, 1960 or September 10, 1960) is an American comedian, actress and writer. Beginning her career during the late–1980s in comedy, Givens television appearances include The Hughleys, Moesha, The Parkers, Comedy Central Presents, Def Comedy Jam, Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry, Martin, Tracey Takes On... and The Steve Harvey Show....  more

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  • Photo: flickr / CC0
    Aries Spears (born April 3, 1975) is an American stand-up comedian, actor and writer from New York City. Spears was a regular on Fox's sketch comedy series MADtv, appearing in 198 episodes, making him the second longest-serving cast member on the show behind Michael McDonald. In 2011, he released a special called Aries Spears: Hollywood, Look I'm Smiling....  more

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  • Bernard Jeffrey McCullough (October 5, 1957 – August 9, 2008), better known by his stage name Bernie Mac, was an American comedian, actor, and voice actor. Born and raised on Chicago's South Side, Mac gained popularity as a stand-up comedian. He joined fellow comedians Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, and D. L. Hughley in the film The Original Kings of Comedy. After briefly hosting the HBO show Midnight Mac, Mac appeared in several films in smaller roles. His most noted film role was as Frank Catton in the remake Ocean's Eleven and the title character of Mr. 3000. He was the star of his eponymous show, which ran from 2001 through 2006, earning him two Emmy Award nominations for...  more

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  • William Bellamy (born April 7, 1965) is an American actor and stand-up comedian. Bellamy first gained national notoriety on HBO's Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam, where he is credited for creating or coining the phrase "booty call", described as a late night call to a potential paramour with the intention of meeting strictly for sex....  more

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