Friday, July 14, 2006

Dave Chappelle Is Dead. Long Live Chappelle.

So if you didn't see this, the final three episodes of Chappelle's Show, which are apparently far from "Lost", are available on the internet. Defamer and blogger Jackson West are on leak detail.

Meanwhile, over at the dead-frog they have one of the episodes up via you-tube, leading off with the sketch that Dave Chappelle told Anderson Cooper was the one that really triggered his feelings of social responsibility.

Here's the Anderson Cooper segment/video on CNN.

I don't think any of this is really new. The Chappelle "I'm Not Crazy" Tour has pretty much been the same show, and seen by everyone who's interested at this point. But it's probably time for it to stop, as the inevitable backlash (the only things certain in this world are death, taxes, and haterade) is starting to build. No one wants to hear about a guy turning his back on 50 million the way Chappelle did for too long. It's sort of like Diddy's Making The Band 2, where no one wanted to hear these kids, especially Dylan, "complain" about particular aspects of what overall looks like an incredible opportunity that just about anyone would love to have, and just about no one will.

I can understand being tired of the schpiel, and maybe I've sipped too much of the Chappelle Kool-Aid, but the apparently growing sentiment that Chappelle's an asshole who needs to grow up is incredibly short-sighted and reeks of jealousy. Let's go over Ray Richmond's points:

#1: "I watched the first of three 'Chappelle's Show: The Lost Episodes' installments Sunday night on Comedy Central, and here's my take: It's funny, but not as funny as the first two seasons were." -- You've already lost me here, right out the gate. I saw the first episode and it wasn't as funny as the last two seasons. First off, obviously everyone's going to be looking at the show with an extra air of scrutiny. Second, a season has 3-5 sketches, a season might have 50 or more.

#2: He says he was initially understanding of the situation, "But once it became clear that Chappelle was not in fact returning, my attitude began to turn." -- If you're in fact understanding and empathetic, you don't turn it off when they do something you don't like. If a drug addict, or someone who has some cyclical problem (don't we all?) falls down or fucks up somehow, you don't turn on them. Or at least not if you're family or a good friend and care about the person. We were all unhappy to see Chappelle's Show go, but no need to turn sour on the guy for it.

#3: "He just held court last week with Anderson Cooper on CNN and continued to find fresh new ways of saying essentially nothing." -- As I mentioned before the I'm-not-crazy tour is getting old, but after seeing Chappelle say "essentially nothing" over again, it's clear to me that obviously he's still wrestling with the issues. And faced with the overwhelming pressure of needing to provide the media some "definitive answers" (lest they call him a crackhead instead of confused) he has to say something. I find his interviews feel like he's going through a repeated series of breakups with different girls, girls that he liked, but has to part with, for reasons he's unsure about. In that situation, you might hem and haw, and try to explain your philosophy on life and love. But if you ask the girl, she'd probably be annoyed and say you offered "essentially nothing." Meanwhile the guy feels he's saying a lot, he's baring his soul.

#4: "The truth is that Chappelle let down a lot of people who depended upon him and his show for their living." -- this is the start of the choicest graf, where I think we find the "jealous ones envy" reveal, "I personally know a lot of people who can't find work and struggle to make ends meet, and here's a guy who has it all and chucks it seemingly on a whim." -- first off, before chappelle's show became a beast, what were these people doing for a living? My guess is you're not going to find any people talking about how they wish they never got involved with Chappelle's Show in the first place. Two seasons of work is a lot more than other get, and there's probably no great programming on television more reliant on the talents of one person (including 24, since keefer madness doesn't write). If you're trying to get to hollywood from NY, and you're walking, and I'm driving, and I offer you a ride, but can only take you part of the way, for whatever reason, you can't complain I didn't take you all the way. Fuck that. I'll take you back to where you started ni**a. Get to walking.

#5: "What irks me the most, however, is Chappelle's gall in acting as if he didn't really owe Comedy Central a thing." -- Clearly this guy is a talentless no-talent dweeb with no talent. The rest of the piece he basically talks about how Chappelle is violating a contract, and is treating the NETWORK Comedy Central poorly. Entertainers, artists, etc do not get big paydays handed to them. These are businesses. If Chappelle gets 50 million, rest assured he's made this company a lot more than that in ad revenue and dvd sales. Big scores like this are not like job interviews where you beat out the competition. These are thank you gifts. Thank you for making us a lot of money. If you gave someone fifty mill to do some work, and they just took it and said, "fuck you, i'm feeling a little foggy in my head, I'm gonna just chill with your money." you would do what you can to get the money back, and promptly sever ties with the asshole. If CC has legal options to force Dave's hand, they're not going to be the "bigger person" and say, " whatevs." But instead of that you have CC president Doug Herzog saying the door is still open. Why? Because Chappelle made him a lot of money, and could make him a lot of money again.

Here endeth the TAN-getting-in-Ray-Richmond's-ass part of the show.

I can definitely empathize with Dave, some of my content can make me feel a little awkward in certain contexts, and multiply that by Dave's platform and exposure and, voila, you're in africa wondering why you do what you do. If a white guy somehow finds the frequency that allows him to satirize and have fun with racial humor, and he blows up, at some point he'll have to start wondering if he's some sort of racist-monger or whatever. Dave's negroness allows him to do a show like this, but it doesn't exempt him from having a conscience. Obviously he loves what he does, he's been doing it more than half his life and he's not even 40. It's not a "work" thing, it's about your legacy. If you get ten million or one-hundred million, at that point it's not about the dollars, it's about you and your mark. And if your "gift" is to make spot-on racial sketches, and allow millions of people to feel at ease using the word, "bitches" and "ni**a" that could give you reason for pause. A very long pause. Don't hate cause he's rich and can do what he wants. We all want the same thing. Respect what got him into the position.

And with that, I think I hear the "wrap that shit up" music playing in the background. So I'm out ... bitches.


  1. a moving, photo, for sure, but, gosh. Lucky me, eh? I live about thirty minutes from a real photo that still haunts the piss out'a me.

    T'grab a couple of kids out'a jail or wherever and hag them is so very uncalled for.
    And, not that the boys hanging there aren't enough of a shock to yer system, but, the crowd.

    The moustached hitler bastard pointing to the deed (sorry, I rarely curse on any blog, but, the event really brings it out'a me) as if t'say, "this is what you'll get from here" and that ugly broad behind him, smiling, wonderin if she'll get any tonite.

    Marion is very close to where I am now, and I know for a factr they hate t'see that picture anywhere cause it, you know, hurts their "image".....
    If I was good enough, I would have already painted it on m'barn, along with the date and place.

    Then again, I'm out in the middle of a cornfield, and not enough folks would see it there.

    Maybe on a billboard out on I-69, one south of the marion exit, one north.

  2. AS a longtime hater of just about everytihng, I must say that the best way to avoid becoming a hater is not too become too much of a fan. I odn't mind chappelle doing what he did, because he never really blew up to the point that is was obnoxious, and I think he got out at the exact right time. I'm with you, TAN, Chapelle aint so bad.

  3. that was perfect TAN. well spoken. chappelle is great and it's his life ... let him do what he wants. be who he wants to be.

  4. Anonymous7/14/2006

    I loved that roots sketch in your picture.

  5. This is annoying and tiresome....People are stuggling to find jobs that pay enough to just get by and he's bitching about cracking jokes that make "white" people snicker?????? He's built his entire career on minstel show comedy so why now does he have a conscious?????? Grow up and take the money and make people laugh, cry, think, but don't expect sympathy from me when you have the oppurtunity of a lifetime to make an impact and you coward away from it..............

  6. little miss sunshine man7/14/2006

    I will never understand why motherfuckers feel like they're entitled to this shit.

    Grow up? Grow Up?!?
    oh man, this is too much.

  7. Well stated, TAN. This is probably one of the more thoughtful, even-handed arguments I've read lately. Certainly better than the 'bring me the head of Dave Chappelle' poppycock swirling around. Now I can officially retire my interest in the subject.

  8. Anonymous7/15/2006

    0-face - he can still make an impact, he stopped doign the show, he didn't kill himself.

    TAN, I was sort of falling into the anti-chappelle camp, but this convinced me to come on back. good breakdown.

  9. I've seen the dead-frog clip and have to say it was hysterical -- that is, until Chapelle did the white man's stereotype. Not because it cut too deep but because it didn't cut deep enough.

    A white stereotype could have been much more devastating than what Chapelle did. Why not a redneck or a devout liberal who'd "never let a n---r in daddy's firm," ala a young Randolph (as in '& Mortimer') Duke?

    I don't think the problem was that the blackface portion was socially irresponsible: it's that the white guy on the set probably didn't have the exact opposite reaction when he saw the white stereotype. Even if he laughed, it should've burned a little.

  10. awesome. i didn't download the lost episodes. i'll wait for them to come on Sundays.

    long live chappelle.

  11. Anonymous7/15/2006

    It's impossible for celebrities to avoid the backlash forever. They get a break when they fall victim to a disease, but that's it. Black celebs have it worse. Chappelle was smart enough to see it coming. Look at all of his standup specials--he talks about how he doesn't trust the fame, and that white folks will turn on him in a minute. And while he sped up the process, they eventually would have turned on him anyway.

    All popular comedy has to have fans who "get it" on different levels. Before "The Simpsons" sucked, some fans loved it primarily for the slapstick and zaniness; others felt special when they got the references to art, philosophy, history, etc. Chappelle had that too with the silliness, the scatalogical humor, but it becomes more complicated when you introduce blackness.

    What harm is there in fans reducing "The Simpsons" to a series of "Homer is a stupid, drunk slob" jokes? Chappelle certainly seems to think there is harm, however, in white frat guys becoming the most vocal fans of his show and parroting the "niggas" and "bitches", without really bothering to understand, the absurdist racial humor.

    It's not Comedy Central's fault that he blew up, but it is what it is. He didn't want to be responsible for a coon show, and he bolted. A little irresponsible, yes, but it takes some principles to do something like that.

  12. Anonymous7/15/2006

    Even though we see Chappelle apologizing for his rare style of comedic activism, which btw I believe had more of a positive impact than negative, there's reason to believe somebody and/or something else made him cease his routine which was seriously reaching critical mass, AMONG ALL PEOPLE.
    I can say, at least among younger folk, in the south no less; that Chappelle was actually bringing more people together than separating with his style of humor. White dudes, Black dudes, Hispanics, Asians, etc. all laughing about a multitude of Chappelle skits they heard the night before; knowing the lines word for word and hearing it recited like it was sacred scripture or something, and it sparked the same reaction among ALL these people. It sparked COMMUNICATION among all these people.
    I found it pretty gotttdamn genius for a man to be able to use what others thought was politically incorrect and/or racially insensitive and actually implement it in such a way to make people of all races and backgrounds laugh their collective asses off.
    They were all IDENTIFYING with him.
    Of course, Richard Pryor is also credited for working the same kind of magic.
    Chappelle was touching on something real, and nobody else was doing that. Nobody else could and get away with it like Chappelle was.
    IMHO, if you watch him, really listen, really pay attention to his work, I believe he was trying to use racism against itself, he and his fellow writers/performers are all brilliant.
    At least we still have the Boondocks.

  13. Great post couldn't have said it better *well* just joking man.....I'm really curious as to who all these Anonymous folks are.....I got ideas but.....1

  14. when is TAN gonna rach critical mass. sometime soon Ithink.

    you should be angry chappelle's off TAN, you could have gotten sketches off there.

    chappelle is dead. long live tan.

  15. Anonymous7/17/2006

    Now I am not a big conspiracy person.At all.

    But I dont believe this was all Daves decision to leave CC.

    And while I think he did not want to be recognized as the head-coon-in-charge; DC recoginze that eventully he would have to dilute his message/or make folks less comfortble with his brand of comedy. I think DC was just not going to stand for that type of massa-level interference.

    Recall that the goverment/FBI attempt to censor Richard pryor had him fleeing to Hawaii and holed-up in a compound.

  16. I'm split on this issue personally. I love the show, loved his humor, loved his stand-up, but...he was really unprofessional about the whole thing, especially how he left Comedy Central in limbo by bailing for weeks during the shooting of the series. Hey, it's cool to disagree with your boss, you have the right to quit, but there's a professional way to do it. All of us reading this blog, many of us have proper jobs where we're not thrilled with our bosses or what we have to do, but most of us give two weeks' notice before leaving.

    If Chappelle isn't happy, sure he should leave. He gave back the money on the contract, cool. But to leave so unprofessionally then keep attacking Comedy Central in the press and in interviews, he's starting to sound like a crybaby in my opinion. In one of his interviews he even accused Comedy Central of trying to pit blacks against latinos by using Carlos Mencia as a replacement. It's getting laughable now. (Besides, there are lots better reasons to hate an unfunny shmuck like Mencia).

  17. could you either shorten your posts, or write a coupla fucking books or something?

  18. wait a minute... TAN, I thought you were Dave Chappelle... :runs off confused:


  19. Thanks for all the links to check out. I love HIM!!! And I think block Party was brilliant.

    Nice to see you, I've been running around travelling and it feels food to see a familiar face, er, ah blog I mean.


  20. Richard P7/17/2006

    the questions is, what about chris rock?

    aren't chappelle and rock cut from the same cloth. what's allowed rock to maintain sanity and Dave to go off the deep.


  21. aren't chappelle and rock cut from the same cloth. what's allowed rock to maintain sanity and Dave to go off the deep.

    Because Rock realizes that your guranteed nothing and its better to be rich and go see a therapist rather than be broke and bitch and moan on Anderson Cooper...

  22. Julian8/19/2006

    I saw Dave live and let me make a suggestion. Before eveyrone stats to rant on how he turned his back and doesnt care about anyone else cry baby crap. Why dont u go watch one of his shows and hear what he really has to say. The media does a great job to make people out to be what they want but let me tell you this, i left the show in pure shock. The guy is much smarter then given credit for, not to mention he is a deep guy. After the show my friends and i all agreed he is the best comedian around, ya the Chappelle show is over, but catch him live its 200 million times better.

  23. Anonymous10/06/2006

    dave chapelle isn't insane,crazy etc. if you watched oprah you'd know. +if he did go crazy it would be OBVIOUSLY due to people who have no lives and major OBSESSIONS.
    ILOVE chapelle show=)

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