D.L. Hughley was launched into stardom by The Original Kings of Comedy, a Spike Lee film based on the 1999 comedy tour featuring Hughley, Bernie Mac, Steve Harvey and Cedric the Entertainer. Hughley also created, produced and starred in his own ABC and UPN sitcom, The Hughleys, for four years. His subsequent television credits include an HBO special, D.L. Hughley: Going Home, and a Comedy Central special, Shocked and Appalled. On the big screen, he has acted in The Brothers, Shackles, the upcoming Doubting Thomas and more. Most recently, he hosted his own late-night weekend talk show for Comedy Central, Weekends at the DL, on which he and his guests talked over cigars and a bottle of red wine. Next, he'll be co-starring alongside Matthew Perry and Steven Weber in an upcoming NBC drama, set behind the scenes of a long-running sketch-comedy series.
Wine Spectator: How did you get the idea to have wine on Weekends at the DL?
D.L. Hughley: When we were conceptualizing the show, I knew that after [comics] finished performing, they'd go to a hotel lobby and have a glass of wine. ... [Now] people are sending us wine to drink on the show. I think that's really great. And I give bottles of wine to guests on the show. There's something about having a great bottle of wine and a great cigar. Nothing compares to it.
WS: How did you get interested in wine?
DLH: I think my father-in-law introduced me to it. He used to drink Syrah all the time. I drank a couple glasses of it; I thought, "I could drink that. It's pretty cool." So I started drinking Syrahs a lot. When I first started drinking wine, I wondered how people could say they get cherries or whatever. I didn't get that.
WS: Do you get those flavors now?
DLH: Now I get how it happens. My manager had a wine-tasting dinner. I had never been to one before. People started describing wines as young, or backwards or whatever. They were going around the table and someone described a wine as a "young slut." I'm thinking to myself, "Young slut?" And then someone else described a wine as a "young stud." Young stud? When it was my turn, I said, "If I would have known it was a young slut, I would have worn a condom. If I knew it were a young stud, I would have drunk a beer."
WS: What wines do you drink?
DLH: I like Italian, I like wines from Argentina, from Chile. Most of what I drink is from California. I drink Pinot Noir a lot, Zinfandel, I like Merlot and I just started drinking Cabernet.
WS: If someone wanted to bring a bottle of wine to the show, what would you suggest?
DLH: A 2001 Stewart Cab. It tastes so good. I bought a couple of cases of that.
WS: What's in your cellar at home?
DLH: The coolest wine I have is a wine Burt Reynolds gave to me. We were working on a movie [Cloud Nine] together, and he gave me a 1958 Bordeaux. I know what I like in wine, but Burt really knows all the details.
WS: Do you ever travel to wine country?
DLH: My wife and I go to Napa every year. [Last year] I visited Rutherford Hill, Coppola and Opus One. ... I went to eat at La Toque and liked it. And I went to the French Laundry, and I didn't get it. I spent $2,500 for a dinner for four. I let them pick the wines and do the pairings. I bet they saw me coming.