Interview: D.L. Hughley worries about Chicago

D.L. Hughley has been keeping a close eye on Chicago. He can't help it. Besides being one of his three favorite cities in the U.S., it's also often in the news, unfortunately, because of its high murder rate. The controversial comedian and regular guest on HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher" has publicly expressed his concerns but, in typical Hughley fashion, has also tried to find humor in the hot-button issue.

"It's sad that Chicago has had over 40 murders already and its only January!" Hughley tweeted last month. "At this rate the state bird is gonna be a police helicopter!"

Here, Hughley — who will perform Saturday at the Arie Crown Theater with Mark Curry, Sommore and Bruce Bruce as part of the Royal Comedy Tour — discusses Chicago's violence as well as some of the city's famous figures:

On Bernie Mac: "The hardest he ever made me laugh was the first time I saw him on 'Def Comedy Jam.' Having conversations with him and working with him so much, I knew what was coming. We played all over together. No matter where we'd go, he always had to buy (Miller Genuine Draft), pork skins and hot sauce. He would have his MGD, pork skins and hot sauce and we would just talk (expletive) all night."

On Michael Jordan: "I respected him as a great basketball player, but I wasn't one of those cats who became a Bulls fan because of him. I'm a Los Angeles Lakers fan. It was hard to put up with Bernie (Mac) when the Bulls were winning championships. I met (Jordan) a few times. I remember we were in a restaurant in Miami and I said something about golf, kidding, and he said 'You have a better chance of beating of me in basketball than golf.'"

On his feud with Lupe Fiasco: "I disagree with what he said, but he's entitled to his opinion. (Hughley criticized the rapper in September for encouraging people not to vote, setting off a brief Twitter war between the two.) Expressing yourself and your beliefs in 140 characters is an exercise in folly. I do know that given the limitations of the medium, he said what he had to say and I said what I had to say. It was never about changing his mind. I'm just glad that people didn't do what he asked them to do, and that's not vote. We would be having a different argument about gun limitations if people hadn't voted and there was a different guy in office. After 28 people got killed (in Newtown, Connecticut), the politicians would have had a day of mourning and then we would go on to the next shooting."

On Barack Obama: "My daughter worked on his campaign. I didn't campaign for him. I do agree with and share some of the cynicism (toward Obama), but I tend to ask the question, '(Which candidate) will do the least damage?' He fits that bill. He at least is trying to give us health care and do something brave we don't see politicians do. He basically ran on 'Make sure we get health care and tax the rich and make them pay their share.' You never see a politician win on that. He has character and courage."

On Rev. Jesse Jackson's legacy: "It depends what happens in the next few years. (Jackson) watched Martin Luther King Jr. and was groomed for greatness. But those moments of greatness that would lift him to Martin Luther King Jr.'s level never came. It's unfortunate."

On Rod Blagojevich: "I filmed an episode of my CNN show (the short-lived 'D.L. Hughley Breaks the News') with Blagojevich in Chicago. I think he was just made an example of. Isn't it like four of the last nine governors there have done time? He was good at his gig."

On Chicago violence: "I think it's a shame that the perception of one of the three greatest cities in the country is that it's very violent. It's a big city that feels like a small city. It's rare for a big city to be so hospitable, but you wouldn't know it by the murder rate. It's a shame the city is taking this kind of hit."

On the decision to film the syndicated "Steve Harvey" talk show in Chicago: "I wouldn't call him brave. Steve Harvey (was raised in) Cleveland. Even people from Chicago don't mess with Cleveland."

Royal Comedy Tour
7 p.m. Saturday
Where: Arie Crown Theater, 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive
Tickets: $55-$90 at

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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