Even with the sexual assault allegations swarming around Def Records mogul Russell Simmons HBO had reported that the Simmons’ produced stand-up series, ALL DEF COMEDY was going to go forward.
The series did just that on Friday, December 01 at 10:00pm but there was one huge noticeable change. Russell Simmons was nowhere in sight. The show, just like its prior incarnation, DEF COMEDY JAM, was titled with “Russell Simmons Presents” attached. He always stepped out on the stage to welcome the audience and introduce the host at the beginning and appeared to thank his guests at the end of each show. That was to be the expected norm this time around too but HBO purged Simmons just the night before the comedians showcase instead. HBO released the following statement:
“HBO will be airing All Def Comedy as planned. However, Russell Simmons will not appear in the new series and we will be removing his name from the show moving forward. The series is a platform for promising and upcoming comedians and we do not want to deprive them of an opportunity to showcase their talents to a national audience. We have no other projects with Russell Simmons.”
Evidently, HBO has ownership of the content and could go to the editing bay and expunge Simmons name from the show and crop out his appearances in the series. HBO took such action to distance itself from Russell Simmons due to the allegations of sexual assault of writer Jenny Lumet, daughter of director Sydney Lumet. ALL DEF COMEDY will run for six episodes. It was taped before a live audience on October 10 and 11 at the Avalon Theatre in Los Angeles, with Tony Rock (All of Us, The Tony Rock Project & Apollo Live) hosting. Featured comedians include DeRay Davis, Alex Babbitt, D’Lai, Jess Hilarious, Chris Powell, Kevin Tate and Zainab Johnson.
HBO is one to always look for new talents. It has writing workshops, it keeps its eye on webcasts and podcasts to find fresh talent and it gives attention to young stand-ups in a program like this. The attention should have never been for Russell Simmons anyway. It is about giving the talent a chance. Keep your eye on the names here because they could grow to be bigger at their game in the future.