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January 23, 2013 1:15 AM   Subscribe

10 years ago marked the debut of Chappelle's Show. Grantland's Rembert Browne pits the 64 most watched sketches on Comedy Central in a tournament to decide the funniest sketch of the 2.something seasons the show produced. (SPOILER warning - the final 8 are linked inside!) posted by mannequito (25 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Chappelle's Show came out when I was a sophomore in college, which was the perfect time to be amused by something edgy. I remember being blown away (mostly with shock) by the Clayton Bigsby skit; it was so different to hear that language on TV, probably the only time I thought "you're allowed to do that??" You could get a PhD studying the racial dynamics, anger, and good-humored self-loathing portrayed in the show.

On the other hand, it made it fashionable for white kids to say the n-word for a couple years. I don't think that was Dave's intent.
posted by Turkey Glue at 4:15 AM on January 23, 2013


Not only was it not his intent, it provoked the crisis of conscience that caused him to quit.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:24 AM on January 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


10 years ago. That makes me feel so old.

Grantland's Bill Simmons included a list of Comedy MVPs by year in an article a while back, giving Chappelle the title 2 years in a row. Dead right.

Everything I've heard about why he walked away when he did makes me like the guy even more. Even though that is directly responsible for me having to endure Carlos Mencia (though I did learn to change the channel).
posted by DigDoug at 4:34 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Chappelle is a genius.
posted by odinsdream at 4:41 AM on January 23, 2013


I remember walking down a street in New York hearing different groups of people holler "I'm Rick James, bitch" and their friends breaking up. That show was huge. I can't believe it's been so long.
posted by Diablevert at 4:41 AM on January 23, 2013


My father passed away in 2004, ten days after my 24th birthday. The entire family convened at his house in a tiny town in Westmoreland County, PA, well outside Pittsburgh. He left a mountain of papers, bills, and unsorted mail which had piled up during his battle with cancer; all of which had suddenly fallen on my head.

The evening after delivering his eulogy, I found a Chappelle's Show marathon was on Comedy Central. And boy howdy, did I need it. I was exhausted, but I stayed up until midnight as the rest of my father's family turned in one by one. Excepting my grandmother, who stayed the latest. She was about to retire before the last episode of the night, but I suggested she watch because I knew it was going to be the Wayne Brady episode. And we. were. rolling.

Which sort of demonstrates to me why it's so important for Black folks to have our own entertainment, particularly comedy. Not to go all political or anything, but it's very easy to miss the fact that we don't really have fora for discussing Black culture (i.e., the ways it differs from White, "default" culture in America) that aren't open to exploitation. Chappelle's Show was such a great release valve, and a method of discussion/commentary on "urban" issues (the Reparations sketch is a great example), which was shut down because Chappelle saw that some white folks (although the story is one person on set during the filming of a sketch laughed in a way that he wasn't comfortable) using his comedy to uphold racial stereotypes.

It sucks that we lost that, although the Boondocks on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim did a good job of commenting on Black issues (e.g., Black folks vs. "niggaz"); but again, see the controversy from people like Bill Cosby regarding the show's use of the "n-word" because they were concerned about the same thing; having it co-opted. But I'm really glad for the memory of that night, sitting up with my last surviving grandparent, laughing hysterically at Wayne Brady shattering his good-guy, Mr. Bojangles, even "house nigger"-ish image; self-consciously skewering it, while also doing a hilarious parody of Training Day. And I still get to tell people how my grandmother loved the Wayne Brady episode of Chappelle's Show (she also emails and texts, much to folks' surprise; my grams is pretty cool).
posted by Eideteker at 4:43 AM on January 23, 2013 [26 favorites]


"And that, children, was the first time I sucked a dick for crack."

One of my favourites : Black Clansman - Edit - which is the Clayton one listed above - doh!


Yeah, that's my favorite too. As much as I enjoyed the Rick James bit along with everybody else I really feel like Clayton was the pinnacle.

I wish Dave was around more, even if not doing the show or that same type of humor, he is just a fun guy to watch whatever he is up to.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:55 AM on January 23, 2013


Interesting... I've got a lot of admiration for Mr. Chappelle in spite of having not watched the show while it was on the air. My experience of him is through interviews and his film Block Party; they paint a great picture of a truly gifted fellow.

Thus, I'm seeing this stuff for the first time (except the Charley Murphy bit on Prince's blousy ways) and, damn, I just can't can't get through the Niggar Family skit. It's transgressive in a way that brings cringes. Had to finally turn it off with the intrusion of the milk man into the scene and his 'Niggar, please.'

I get that word and I use that word, but rarely in front of anyone not black. Occasionally in drunken bitterness it burbles out, but then there's regret swiftly coming. Part of me sees it as a private object for me and mine; part of me just doesn't feel the need to trample on other people so harshly (it generally evokes the shock you'd want it to as America's Most Dangerous Word).

But another side says white people don't need it; they have enough of this world already. Why do they need our language? We worked long and hard for it and they'd only mangle it if they tried. Sure seems like it every time I hear a white person try to use it in a sentence.
posted by artof.mulata at 5:14 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Prince sketch is not only my favorite Chapelle Show sketch, but easily in my all-time favorite comedy sketches. So, so good. There's a lot of over-the-top stuff in both that sketch and the show as whole, but the simplicity of Chapelle-as-Prince casually-yet-regally declaring "This bores me." is probably one of the single funniest things I have ever seen.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:15 AM on January 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Was walking down the hall the other day and randomly the "Who knows black people" jeopardy-type skit popped into my head. Specifically the "Is pimping easy?" question with the guy responding "Hell ya!". Still cracks me up
posted by slapshot57 at 5:15 AM on January 23, 2013


and his film Block Party;

One of my all time favorite soundtracks. And super enjoyable film.

PS: Chappelle Show's entire run is on Netflix.
posted by DigDoug at 5:49 AM on January 23, 2013


One of my favorite Inside the Actor's Studio episodes is with Chappelle. Warning, for copyright reasons and to keep the video from getting kicked off YouTube, almost all performance clips are cut out.
posted by marsha56 at 6:30 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


If the Wayne Brady "Training Day" bit doesn't win, then the entire contest is rigged.
posted by DWRoelands at 6:56 AM on January 23, 2013


The Wayne Brady skit would have been my pick...and I can only imagine how much funnier it would have been if I'd known who Wayne Brady was.

I remember reading an interview with Chappelle after he quit and he cited the "pixie" sketch, but also that he'd had a vision of spending the rest of his life being approached by people yelling "I'M RICK JAMES, BITCH!" Kudos to him for getting out before it was too late.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:08 AM on January 23, 2013


Game, blouses.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:37 AM on January 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Huh. I had no idea Training Day existed. I just thought that bit was Chappelle getting Wayne Brady to do hilarious stuff.
posted by ericales at 7:40 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Chappelle is great. Has he really been completely out of the publIc eye since 2008? That's an achievement in itself.
posted by Artw at 8:02 AM on January 23, 2013


Ah, the Austin thing and the Lipton thing were 2012, so never mind.
posted by Artw at 8:08 AM on January 23, 2013


I'm Rick James bitch!

What, somebody had to say it
posted by Ad hominem at 8:35 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ways to stay out of the public eye: 1. Live in Ohio... 2. That's it.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:43 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


The parody of MTV cribs, I think it was in the lost seasons collection, has the 2nd most hilarious 20 seconds of media I've ever seen (the first being the car crash scene set to Creedence in The Big Lebowski - could seriously watch that on repeat for hours and still laugh, but anyway).

Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMLRg8xSgjs

So Dave walks us through this absurd house, in his typical over the top fashion, exaggerating how baller he is. And then goes to cook something in the kitchen. And there are t-rex eggs in the fridge. And he starts to cook one... and the other starts hatching.... and just go watch it.

and holy christ on toast if "I just wish I had.... had.... MY SCISSORS!" doesn't still provoke fits of fall-to-the-floor laughter in my house.

But yeah, the Wayne Brady skit is classic.
posted by ish__ at 12:26 PM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Late to the party, as usual. Chappelles Show is something that still primarily makes me really sad.
I was living in Richmond at the time and the (primarily) white college kids how were throwing bi-weekly "pimp and ho" parties saw the popularity of this show as an excuse to run around yelling nigger and bitch without the usual sly shame that accompanies that type of behavior.
Here's this guy, this really smart guy who's using comedy to point up some really hard, painful, ugly truths about ingrained and lasting American racism and the very people who should be getting a serious message about themselves from this show are instead co-opting it as a defense of their continual perpetuation of same. A year later when I got to DC I saw the exact same behaviors acted out by Hill workers and lawyers, white guys in thier 30's shouting "Rick James, bitch!".
There was zero surprise when Dave saw the same thing and decided to just dip right out, I don't think embarrassed is the right word, exactly but, yeah, sad.
posted by mikoroshi at 4:20 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it was truly like the universe failed Chappelle.
posted by odinsdream at 6:44 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow. Never before today did I realize how similar Dave Chappelle's white male character voice is to Barack Obama's presidential character voice.
posted by anarch at 1:47 AM on January 25, 2013


Yeah, it was truly like the universe failed Chappelle.

If ever a man deserved a better audience, you know?
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:36 AM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


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