Whoever said women aren’t funny, never met Adele Givens. Born as Willadele Givens in Chicago, Adele has risen to comedic fame for her raunchy, but funny brand of humor. Her television appearances include The Hughleys, Moesha, The Parkers, Def Comdey Jam, Martin, and The Steve Harvey Show, among others.
One of her claim-to-fame phrases is her love of being, “such a f**king lady.”
Growing up, Adele Givens loved listening to comedians on television and radio. Being poor, she learned how to laugh to keep from crying from her mother, Nellie Bell, whom she described as the “funniest lady you ever heard.”
Adele soon showed friends and family that she was naturally funny. No matter where she was, or what she was doing, she was able to find the humor in it.
At the time, Givens worked four days a week for Social Security Administration and part-time as a waitress at a popular West Side nightspot.
“I was a waitress at the Rose Cocktail Lounge. I used to go around serving and getting tips. I was telling jokes to people one-on-one and they used to love and tip me.”
So with the encouragement of her friends, Adele entered a local comedy competition.
“They were calling me telling me that I needed to do it and if I had heard about it,” explains Givens to The Chicago Defender. “I thought everyone was crazy. You know how Black folks are—everyone just like to laugh and crack jokes. I thought I was a part of that, even my sisters and mom were calling my phone telling me about the contest. That’s when I realized I was funny when I started getting those calls,” she said. “I knew I was funny but I thought everyone else was just as funny.”
The night of the competition, she introducing her raunchy, street-smart comedy to an audience ready to see a young, funny talented black woman that was funny. From that night, her love of performing as a standup comic and her commitment to pursuing a career in comedy grew.
Givens began a successful career performing in comedy clubs and comedy shows on cable television, which soon led to appearances in television series and films.
She was performing in a club in New York when she met Def Jam Records’ President Russell Simmons, who was looking for fresh and upcoming talent for his new project.
“Russell Simmons came up to me and told me he was going to do a new show. I pinched his jaw and said, ‘okay, call me.’ Back then, everyone was jockeying him but I was like, ‘Yeah, okay—everybody has a project.’ I wasn’t disrespectful. I came home and a couple of months after that, he called me—they sent me a ticket and I went to tape Def Comedy Jam. It didn’t come out until 1992. That was my first television debut.”
Since her first appearance on the hit HBO series, her name and…