Russell Simmons Announces New Season Of Def Comedy Jam

Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam has been green lighted for two new seasons from HBO, with a new season that starts taping in September in Los Angeles, California.

While Simmons remained tightlipped about the upcoming season's host, he did reveal that the popular series has set a new standard for cable pay channel HBO.

"Def Comedy Jam is the longest running show in the history of HBO and I'm still amazed at the number of talented young comedians who deserve exposure," Simmons told "It's been a blessing to serve that community."

Def Comedy Jam, which launched in July of 1992, is noted for launching the careers of superstar comedians like Chris Tucker, Martin Lawrence, Steve Harvey, Bernie Mac, Dave Chappelle and numerous others.

Last season's half-hour series was hosted by comic actor Mike Epps, while previous hosts have included Martin Lawrence, Joe Torry and Ricky Harris.

Def Comedy Jam was created by Russell Simmons and veteran director-producer Stan Lathan.

The episodes are directed by Lathan, who along with Simmons also serves executive producer of the Peabody Award-winning HBO series Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry, which is also directed by Lathan.

"The stakes seem to be higher for everybody," Lathan said in a previous interview. "Back 15 years ago, very few of the folks that we booked even had agents. Now we have hundreds of agents and managers and comedians beating down our door to get on the show. We are much more aware of the kind of commerce that has developed in the comedy community, that there is this phenomenon of the black stand-up comedian. Thus, there's a lot more struggle to make deals and just manipulate the whole monster."

In related news, Russell and Kimora Simmons will host Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation's annual Art for Life benefit at Simmons' East Hampton mansion this Saturday (July 28).

Superstar actress Gabrielle Union, model Petra Nemcova, designer Tommy Hilfiger actress Nia Long, Forest Whitaker, Ivanka Trump, Antonio "L.A." Reid, actress Kerry Washington, Damon Dash and numerous others are expected to attend the swanky fundraiser.