You’ve been criticized for playing to stereotypes. Here in Hawaii—from grass skirts to mai tais—we’re about as stuffed with stereotypes as an apple in the mouth of a pig on a spit. What “Hawaiian” stereotype are you anticipating most?
You know what, I want to be called a “haole”! Wouldn’t that be interesting? What can I say about the Hawaiians? They only have 13 letters in their alphabet so I’m pretty sure even I would have gotten an A in English.
Your CNN program D.L. Hughley Breaks the News seemed like a natural fit in this Daily Show era, but it didn’t last. Any plans for a revival?
With what I do, I don’t really have an overall plan. Those kind of things, TV shows, radio shows, they’re kind of catch-can. I just keep doing what it is I do, and see what happens.
Who’s on your clown list these days?
I think Sarah Palin is a clown. I think Brett Favre is acting like a clown, and LeBron James. They’re topping the clown list right now, I’d say.
Is there anything you’ve ever said that you wish you could take back? Of what you’ve said that’s stirred controversy, what are you most proud of?
I don’t know that I’ve tallied the costs like that—nothing jumps out at me that I wish I hadn’t said, and by the same token, nothing seems to pop at me that I’m especially proud of. It’s not something I sit and take notes about or even think about that much. It’s not that planned to me.
You’ve been quoted as saying, “If you’re an entertainer on the stage, I don’t think that you can be happy and comfortable in your career. I just don’t.” Can you elaborate on that?
Anything that feels comfortable makes you lazy. Look at our country. Comfort becomes an insidious disease and robs you of any potential greatness. What’s comfortable is usually also bad for you: comfort food, comfort chairs. When you want to be stronger you stretch your mind, your body. Comfort is akin to atrophy, so no, I don’t ever like to feel complacent onstage.
Thus far, what’s been your biggest highlight of 2010?
Well, I just had a chance to tour a bunch of military bases and I have to say, it has been one of the most life-changing experiences. To see those young kids in tough situations, fighting for a way of life that many haven’t had a chance yet to even experience—that was very eye-opening for me.