This Sunday, July 6, 2014 file photo Dave Chappelle performs at the Essence Festival in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert,File)

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) _ There was no YouTube when “Def Comedy Jam” premiered on HBO in 1992. The only way for standup comedians to find an audience beyond the club circuit back then was to score a spot on TV, and “Def Comedy Jam” provided that opportunity for Black comics, including Martin Lawrence, Dave Chappelle, D.L. Hughley, Sheryl Underwood and Cedric the Entertainer.

Those comedians were joined by Steve Harvey, Tracy Morgan, Craig Robinson and others at the Beverly Hilton Hotel Sunday to tape “Def Comedy Jam 25,” a Netflix special airing later this month that celebrates the 25th anniversary of Russell Simmons’ groundbreaking comedy showcase.

Actor Craig Robinson attends the “Get On Up” premiere at The Apollo Theater on July 21, 2014 in New York City.( Jemal Countess/Getty Images North America)

“It put me on the map,” Robinson said before stepping into the Beverly Hilton Hotel’s International Ballroom to tape the special. His first-ever TV appearance was on “Def Comedy Jam” in 1992.

Lawrence hosted the original “Def Comedy Jam” series as the same time he was starring in his own network sitcom in 1992.

“It blew up my career, along with the `Martin’ show and everything,” Lawrence said on his way into Sunday’s taping. “I’m just so happy to be a part of all this.”

Tracy Morgan poses for a portrait while promoting “The Last O.G.” during the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour on Thursday, July 27, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Casey Curry/Invision/AP)) less

Morgan compared the event to a high-school reunion.

D.L. Hughley

Hughley, who hosted “Def Comedy Jam” in its later incarnations, said he didn’t initially appreciate the show’s impact.

“I didn’t know that it was going to be as explosive and special as it was,” he said. “Now I don’t know a person that was associated with this (show) that doesn’t work.”

In this Aug. 5, 2017, photo, Tiffany Haddish attends the Black Girls Rock! Awards at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, N.J. Actress and comedian Haddish is having a full-circle moment. The breakout star of the summer movie hit “Girls Trip” launched her career on “Def Comedy Jam,” the long-running HBO series spotlighting black comics, and now she’s appearing on its 25th anniversary tribute. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Tiffany Haddish, the breakout star of the summer movie hit “Girls Trip,” launched her career on “Def Comedy Jam.”

She remembers watching the show as a kid, then auditioning incessantly as an adult until she finally got airtime in 2008.

Now a bona fide movie star, Haddish said she’s “grateful and thankful and honored that they even thought to call me” for the 25th anniversary special.

“I feel like a magical creature,” she said. “It feels great to come full circle.”

“Def Comedy Jam 25” is set to premiere on Netflix on Sept. 26.

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Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen at www.twitter.com/APSandy .

 

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