Hughley packs Quinnipiac

Published: Friday, February 6, 2009
By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff

HAMDEN — Students and others lined the walls of Quinnipiac University’s Alumni Hall Thursday to hear comedian D.L. Hughley speak about the election of the first black president and its importance for the country — which he did in his own distinctive way.

“I have seen things that I never believed I would see,” he said. “We got a black president, the white people finally got O.J., so Santa brought everybody a little something.”

The 1 1/2-hour talk was part of the university’s Black History Month celebrations, which take place each February.

Hughley is host of the CNN show “D.L. Hughley Breaks the News” and starred in the sitcom “The Hughleys.”

Early in the evening, a child in the audience asked Hughley — who alternated between serious and funny modes when discussing current events — why it is important for “kids just like me” to learn about the historical significance of President Barack Obama’s election.

“You literally live in a world where you can shape your own destiny … and I think it’s so important that you understand that,” he told her. “You can embrace things that I never thought were possible and I hope you do.”

Hughley stressed the importance of speaking one’s mind and creating opportunities through hard work. In response to a question about political correctness, he called it “the bane of our society.”

“I think that people aren’t allowed to feel how they feel,” he said. “We don’t have honest dialogue because people are afraid to be vilified for what they feel.”

He carries that philosophy to his CNN show, he said, where he combines comedy, news and analysis.

“At the end of the day, I hope that I say the things that annoy people, I hope I say the things that I believe, I hope I say some things that make me nervous that I believe,” he said.

He added: “I don’t sit behind a keyboard and blog, I say what I see and deal with it head-on.”

Hughley also answered questions on the importance of voting, efforts to cut arts education, the proposed economic stimulus package and the recent vote banning gay marriage in California.

Hughley repeatedly expressed his admiration for the university students in the audience. “I always feel like a liar when I come to a university because I never was formally educated,” he said, noting that he learned to read at 19. “When I look around and see so many bright individuals I say, ‘(Expletive), I shoulda done this.’”

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