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"You people are stupid."
June 22, 2004 10:06 AM   Subscribe

"You people are stupid."

That's what Dave Chappelle had to say to a crowd of 4000 plus after he had walked off the stage in Sacramento in protest. What got the comic so riled up? According to Chappelle, it was audience members who wouldn't "shut up and listen - like you're supposed to." Chappelle then went on to vent his frustration on the success of his TV Show and the extra attention it has brought him.

Chappelle's harshest words thou were addressed to those audience members who worship entertainers and athletes.

"Stop listening to celebrities," he said. "They do what they do for money - that's all. I don't even know why you're listening to me. I've done commercials for both Coke and Pepsi. Truth is, I can't even taste the difference, but Pepsi paid me last, so there it is."
posted by Dreamghost (103 comments total)

 
He's right.
posted by moonbiter at 10:18 AM on June 22, 2004


It's like 'The Silence of the Lambs.' Without the silence.

Priceless. And a good article. It's kind of nice to see that Chappelle just wants to get up there and do his act, and isn't interested in "celebrity." He's a funny, funny man, and believing his own hype would probably ruin that. That's not to say, of course, that it's a good idea to go around insulting people who paid good money to see you. But I do think that refusing to pander to the crowd that just wants to hear him get up there and talk about being Rick James, bitch, is what he ought to be doing.
posted by uncleozzy at 10:22 AM on June 22, 2004


The most revealing comment here: "You know why my show is good? Because the network officials say you're not smart enough to get what I'm doing, and every day I fight for you. I tell them how smart you are. Turns out, I was wrong."
posted by ed at 10:26 AM on June 22, 2004


That's hilarious and awesome. I love Dave Chapelle. For the record, you may have wanted to include in the post that he came back onstage two minutes later.

Also, for more funny hijinx with audiences who won't shut up, watch David Cross's DVD Let America Laugh. There are some wonderfully funny moments, including a guy who keeps "whoo"ing during the show, as if he's at a rock concert.
posted by The God Complex at 10:33 AM on June 22, 2004


Applauds this Dave Chappelle, whoever he is.
posted by Blue Stone at 10:37 AM on June 22, 2004


Dave's tickets sold out so fast in my city, they added a second, 11pm show. Kudos to him for handling his audience like a pro, instead of letting them trample all over his act.
posted by junkbox at 10:41 AM on June 22, 2004


You know, there are catch phrases for every generation. While some are more edgy and esoteric it always has the same after effect. To many watercooler comedians doing their impression to show they are "in" on the new joke. Yeah its annoying, yeah it misses the point, but this is what happens when you hit the mainstream.

On another note Maddox misses the law of exponential comedy. After a plateau of diminishing humor with respect to a repetition of a line the joke rises exponentially.
posted by Dr_Octavius at 10:45 AM on June 22, 2004


I've heard he's actually going to play Rick James in a TV movie. And good for him, but maybe he should stick to small clubs--if you're playing big places, you're going to get people that only want to see the tv bits.
posted by amberglow at 10:56 AM on June 22, 2004


Anybody who wouldn't shut the fuck up to listen to Dave Chapelle should be walked out the door. The Rick James sketch was hilarious ("Nick Cannon's hilarious Daddy!"), but it pales in comparison with Chapelle's bets stand-up.
posted by yerfatma at 11:21 AM on June 22, 2004


Excellent stuff. IMHO, Dave Chappelle is the funniest man alive right now. The first time I saw "Knee High Park" I gasped for breath as it was simultaneously hilarious and shocking. Just when I thought that couldn't be topped, he put on the 50's sitcom sendup about a white family named "the Niggars". It's not exactly cerebral (though it kind of is), but it hits all the buttons that blow apart racial and social clichés, while still "keepin' in real". Only through watching Chappelle do I get a glimpse of what (I'm told) people of my parents' generation saw in Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor... that combination of social satire that sometimes makes you so uncomfortable, all you can do is laugh.
posted by psmealey at 11:37 AM on June 22, 2004


I have a live audio bootleg of a show of his from April, and he's right, the audience was being a pain in the ass. For the last half of the show it seems like he was holding back from just telling the audience to be quite so he could do his act. Nonetheless, he did a damn good job of keeping his composure, and basically just improvised with the audience for the last 20 minutes.
posted by bitpart at 11:44 AM on June 22, 2004


Ridicule the people that hired you to perform! Seems like an interesting business model. If he was playing the audience for a joke, he shouldn't have taken their money in the first place.
posted by PrinceValium at 11:45 AM on June 22, 2004


I really like Dave Chappelle. He's one of the most talented standups ever. His show is clever and cute, and one of the best things on television, and it still pales next to his "real" humor.

Prince Valium: just because they paid to see him doesn't mean they get to dictate his act. He is offering a performance, and the audience can choose to take it or leave it.

You don't get to buy a ticket to see "Troy" and then complain loudly in the theater to try to get the projectionist to change the film to "Dr. Strangelove".
posted by Ynoxas at 11:50 AM on June 22, 2004


...and don't forget "When Keepin' It Real Goes Wrong."

My favorite is still the Racial Draft. "Konichi-wa, bitches!"
posted by RakDaddy at 11:56 AM on June 22, 2004


Dave Chappelle, stand-up comic, is funny.

Chappelle's Show is not funny.

If he doesn't want people shouting lame-ass catch phrases at him, he should stop saying them on his lame-ass show.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:56 AM on June 22, 2004


People who talk through live shows should be fed to the squid. I had a great concert nearly ruined last week due to people YAKKING.
posted by JoanArkham at 11:57 AM on June 22, 2004


"They [celebrities] do what they do for money - that's all..."
Actually, money is a pretty wholesome motivation, and we would to take that "only doing it for money" phrase out of our conversation. Compare making money to it some other prevailing motivations for activity: To convert someone to your religion; to impress Allah; to impress a potential sexual partner; to obey the voices in your head; to feel like a big man; to hurt someone; to pass the time; to get high; to support a political candidate; to advance the proletarian revolution; and so on. And making money --what's wrong with that?
posted by Faze at 11:58 AM on June 22, 2004


Dave Chappelle, stand-up comic, is funny.

True.

Chappelle's Show is not funny.

False.
posted by Bonzai at 12:00 PM on June 22, 2004


Blue Stone, you are not alone.
posted by Outlawyr at 12:04 PM on June 22, 2004


I'm liking Dave Chapelle more and more. Try as I might, I can't not laugh at his Pepsi commercial when he resigns, "Vacuum cleaner ate my pants... there was nothing I could do."
posted by Robot Johnny at 12:14 PM on June 22, 2004


ok, this guy walks out on his audience for not listening to them, then tells them not to listen to him because he's a celebrity. erm, ok.

i caught his show once and at that time found his delivery irritating, and his subject matter too american to be universally funny.
posted by t r a c y at 12:22 PM on June 22, 2004


Chapelle Show is funny, but the musical act kills it. Look, a musical act is almost tolerable on SNL, because it gives you two bathroom breaks in an hour and a half show (plus, you can go to bed when the second musical break starts--nothing funny is coming after that). Mad TV squeezes in a musical act that disrupts the flow of the show. It's annoying, but doesn't completely ruin the show. And Leno and Letterman et.al rely on the musical acts as filler. No problem.

Chapelle Show is thirty precious minutes, and when you waste five of them on a group that doesn't add any funny, it weakens the show. Disagree? Picture if The Daily Show had a musical guest. It just doesn't work in a half-hour format.

(This, of course, would be alleviated if they gave Chapelle a whole hour, but I think that would be beyond his slacker work capacity...he's said so himself.)
posted by ColdChef at 12:22 PM on June 22, 2004


Chappelle's Show is not funny.

False.


Well, now that you've explained it that way, I can see that I am, in fact, quite wrong. Thanks for setting me straight!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:26 PM on June 22, 2004


ColdChef: MadTV doesn't need a musical act to ruin it as the show takes care of that itself.
posted by xmutex at 12:44 PM on June 22, 2004


The number of people who worship The Daily Show and this Dave Chapelle guy tells me one thing: American comedy is dead, dead, dead. If indeed it was ever alive. Americans don't get "funny".
posted by reklaw at 12:45 PM on June 22, 2004


Dave Chappelle has become one of my favorite comedians because he's upfront, he's honest, he's sharp and he's really damned, damned funny.

And he's right, people seem to get all moon-eyed around celebs and they're no better or worse than anyone else, well they're probably worse but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

His show is excellent and I always end up busting up good because of him. He's worth watching and listening to, so hey, you rowdy lot up front? Shut the hell up so the man can say what he's got to say!

On Preview: reklaw, I suppose Eddie Izzard is funny? Please don't tell me what I think is funny. I like The Daily Show, I like Chappelle's show, I like South Park, I like Futurama, I like The Family Guy. They make me laugh.
posted by fenriq at 12:48 PM on June 22, 2004


reklaw, if it weren't for American comedy, you'd be telling jokes in German right now! No, wait-- that can't be right.
posted by yerfatma at 12:49 PM on June 22, 2004


If User (Watching.Dave.Chappelle) = Laughs (Value = 8), Then User (Heart.Beating)

If User (Watching.Dave.Chappelle) = Laughs (Value=0), Then User (Heart.Anthracite.PodPerson)
posted by ed at 12:54 PM on June 22, 2004


fenriq: Eddie Izzard? No thanks. I'll give you South Park and Futurama, occasionally, but they tend to fail more often than they shine. Family Guy? Ick.

yerfatma: Warum kreuzte die Hähnchen die Strasse? An die andere Seite zu gelangen!
posted by reklaw at 12:54 PM on June 22, 2004


Well, now that you've explained it that way, I can see that I am, in fact, quite wrong. Thanks for setting me straight!

crash, I love your posts, but don't you realize that Bonzai's "False" was no different from your pronouncement that "Chapell's Show is not funny"? Making absolute pronouncements about what is or isn't "funny" is about as useful as declaring blue "the best color." (Which it totally is, by the way).
posted by pardonyou? at 1:03 PM on June 22, 2004


I'm RICK JAMES, BIA-TCH!!!
posted by Jeremy at 1:21 PM on June 22, 2004


Jeremy, somebody HAD to do it. Thanks.

Reklaw, I get your ick on Family Guy, half the time I feel worse for having watched it but sometimes it really is amazingly funny. Of course, the show would suck without Stewie.

So who or what is funny?
posted by fenriq at 1:26 PM on June 22, 2004


people are stupid, yeah that reminded me of the david cross bit on that video of the guys 'whoooing' thats why we cant have nice things.

that rick james skit was too funny for its own good. it was funny and had a catchy saying and has just spread like wildfire, reaching the morons that 'just dont quit'

i understand why the show is so short, i doubt if him and Neal Brennan could come up with enough original material for an hour show, it couldn't all have the same bite to it. It would be like a five minute ramones song.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 1:29 PM on June 22, 2004


False.

Well, now that you've explained it that way, I can see that I am, in fact, quite wrong. Thanks for setting me straight!


Glad to help.
posted by Bonzai at 1:36 PM on June 22, 2004


is about as useful as declaring blue "the best color." (Which it totally is, by the way).

True. Wait, which shade?

Also, thanks for getting my point.
posted by Bonzai at 1:38 PM on June 22, 2004


yes. I couldn't take it anymore....
posted by Jeremy at 1:39 PM on June 22, 2004


Actually, money is a pretty wholesome motivation, and we would to take that "only doing it for money" phrase out of our conversation. .... --what's wrong with that?

Nothing wrong with his motivation, but I think he's making the point that if someone drinks Pepsi because 'Dave Chappelle pretends he likes it best' is an idiot.

Obey your thirst.
posted by Bonzai at 1:41 PM on June 22, 2004


So who or what is funny?

What's funny? In no particular order (this list is seriously sublime-to-the-ridiculous): Father Ted, Blackadder, Little Britain, Harry Hill, Brass Eye, The Office, Graham Norton, 2DTV, Monkey Dust, Keeping Up Appearances, Fawlty Towers... My sense of humour is a bit too BBC/Channel 4, I suppose. I'd say that Lenny Henry is Dave Chappelle done right, but I'd probably get laughed outta town for that.

Maybe I was a bit hard on America -- it did produce Third Rock from the Sun and Becker, after all, and they're two favourites of mine -- but the quality of American stuff just tends to be so... patchy. Things are allowed to run on for way too long, and tuning in to watch something from America too often gives me the "oh not this one again" (The Simpsons) or "what in the hell happened to this?" (Frasier).

Then there's the way you all seem to rave about the Daily Show as if it's the best thing on TV. The Daily Show can be summed up thus: hey, I thought of something vaguely funny and news-related. Watch while I explain it really slowly. Isn't that funny!? Let's discuss it for a while. Did you get it!? Maybe I should explain it again. You know, I thought of something else too... (for The Daily Show done in a funny way, see The Day Today).

[end British comedy-snobbery]
posted by reklaw at 1:48 PM on June 22, 2004


Reklaw please tell me what is funny so I can have something to laugh at tonight. Preferably something I can rent at Blockbuster's Video.
posted by chaz at 1:51 PM on June 22, 2004


Never mind, looks like you posted before I did.

One word: Becker.

Now THAT is funny.
posted by chaz at 1:53 PM on June 22, 2004


Yeh...money is a wholesome motivation, alright....

[shakes convulsively] Wait... by comparison with what?! Drug addiction? Pedophilia? Sure.

By comparison with the urge to, say, better onesself? Make a good world for one's children? Help make the community a better place? Oh, yeah, hell yeah, way more wholesome than those...

Money per se as a motivation is actually pretty piss-poor, IMHO. If all you want is money, and you can't think of anything to do with it or can't imagine something that it means, then you need to do some serious self-examination.

(And that's the generic "you", by the way, not the specific....)
posted by lodurr at 1:53 PM on June 22, 2004



Maybe I was a bit hard on America -- it did produce Third Rock from the Sun and Becker, after all, and they're two favourites of mine -- but the quality of American stuff just tends to be so... patchy.


then


Then there's the way you all seem to rave about the Daily Show as if it's the best thing on TV. The Daily Show can be summed up thus: hey, I thought of something vaguely funny and news-related. Watch while I explain it really slowly. Isn't that funny!? Let's discuss it for a while. Did you get it!? Maybe I should explain it again. You know, I thought of something else too... (for The Daily Show done in a funny way, see The Day Today).


cut to me laughing hysterically that anyone could like third rock from the sun or becker and then have the guts to get into a "snobby" pissfest.

It's hard to be a snob when you find the worst of mainstream american comedy to be funny.

(see how this "what i think is funny is funnier than what you think is funny" thing works? it's fucking awesome!)
posted by The God Complex at 1:54 PM on June 22, 2004


reklaw: I once had a dog with no nose.

Also, I get to see most of the shows you mention thanks to BBC America or Bittorrent. I'd say enjoying both British and American comedy gives me more options. The weird thing is, I can't stand 3rd Rock or Becker. So I guess we're down to "To each according to his own," just like always.
posted by yerfatma at 1:56 PM on June 22, 2004


The God Complex: yeah, it is pretty funny. And the worst of mainstream American comedy is, obviously, Friends (which we've done a nice job of trying to emulate lately with dreck like Coupling and My Family). I like Third Rock from the Sun when I can catch an old episode on the Paramount comedy channel, but again it went on for too long and went to crap (the Frasier effect). I quit watching Becker at some point, so I imagine the same happened there. There's something about American comedy that's very restrained -- and when you find something funny, you beat it to death. That said, some British person will be along any moment to laugh at my choices from over here, too.

Shite like the Daily Show or Dave Chappelle just aren't funny, though, at least to me. Maybe it's just a very yank-specific sort of humour. You like your comedy predictable, I guess -- to me, that sort of stuff is on a level with that Late Show with David Letterman/Conan O' Brien/whoever else rubbish they show on ITV2 sometimes. Absolutely dire.

yerfatma: Yep, all taste. If someone could point me to where the best of American comedy is, though, it'd be nice.
posted by reklaw at 2:06 PM on June 22, 2004


Reklaw, thank goodness you didn't point to crap like Everybody Loves Raymond, which is, almost certainly the most unfunny comedy show in the history of the world.

I truly wish someone would kidnap Ray Romana and treat him like an Iraqi POW.

As an aside, I couldn't stand Becker but Third Rock definitely had its moments.

And yeah, sorry but the Daily Show is comedy genius. It might be to localized for your tastes but trust me when I tell you that Jon Stewart is among America's foremost comedy secret weapons.

And thank you for not trying to foist the Absolutely Fabulous as humor.

For what its worth, I miss The State (a short lived sketch comedy show on MTV and about the only worthwhile show they've had in the last decade) and, of course, The Kids in the Hall (though their humor was more let's-dress-up-like-women based than I'd usually find funny).
posted by fenriq at 2:06 PM on June 22, 2004


I saw Chapelle do standup at a small Toronto club about 7 years back and he was fucking hilarious and I thought this article was right on. Haven't seen his show yet, but looking forward to.
posted by dobbs at 2:10 PM on June 22, 2004


Yeah, Everybody Loves Raymond and Absolutely Fabulous are both really bad.

I can see how the Daily Show could possibly be funny... but it's just so... slow. His delivery is so... god, it's just overexplained to hell. Seriously. And over-politicised. Even something like Have I Got News For You blows it right out of the water. In my opinion.
posted by reklaw at 2:12 PM on June 22, 2004


...Graham Norton...

He's ours now, bitches! We're coming for Chris Morris next!
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 2:15 PM on June 22, 2004


(for The Daily Show done in a funny way, see The Day Today).

Well there goes credibility out of the window. The Daily Show churns out a complete season's worth of The Day Today every couple of weeks, or so. It's like comparing a punk single, with an opera, when you don't like opera.

I loved BrassEye, but could you see Morris keeping that up 4 days a week, for what, 36 weeks a year, year after year? A better comparison would have been the 11 o'clock show. Which really, truly, other than Ali G, did suck.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 2:20 PM on June 22, 2004


Warum kreuzte die Hähnchen die Strasse? An die andere Seite zu gelangen!

Nein, nein. Er kreutztet um seine Dokumente zu zeigen.

My 90-year-old grandma loves Keeping Up Appearances. If Hiacynth solved mysteries, that would have been adapted to CBS years ago.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:21 PM on June 22, 2004


the funniest part about the daily show isn't the five minutes of jon stewart doing news (that part is ok). the funny part is the bits and his interviews with guests (which are above par as far as hollywood interviews go).
posted by The God Complex at 2:23 PM on June 22, 2004


I loved BrassEye

That deserved a few more episodes. That was perhaps the funniest show I've ever seen on any form of broadcast TV.

Have you got any "Cat"? I'll give you a tenner for one Clarky Cat.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:24 PM on June 22, 2004


Yeah, the 11 O'Clock show was really horrible.

As for Chris Morris: you guys probably could take him without anyone noticing for three years or so. It's certainly true that he doesn't turn out very much (I think my HIGNFY comparison is a better one, probably) -- but that's part of my point. American comedy in general seems to be all about quantity, and screw the quality.

And Mayor Curley: it's not quite the same, but there is "Hetty Wainthrop Investigates". And who made you the boz boz?
posted by reklaw at 2:25 PM on June 22, 2004


reklaw, I can see where you are coming from, except for switch "American Comedy" for "British Comedy." Ugh, I hate British comedy (well, except for "The Office," which is alright).

Moral? COMEDY IS SUBJECTIVE. The Daily Show makes me belly laugh on a daily basis. Monty Python does not (I mean, I get it, technically. I can see that it is funny. It just doesn't do anything for me).
posted by Quartermass at 2:31 PM on June 22, 2004


I don't find Monty Python funny either (blasphemy!), but yeah, comedy is completely subjective, like music and art and what have you. I'll shh now, and you can go back to discussing that "I'm black, and that's funny!" guy.
posted by reklaw at 2:37 PM on June 22, 2004


Raymond is bad?!? Then how would you describe Yes, Dear, The World According To Jim, or any half-hour on the WB? Family comedies may not be everyone's cup of tea -- but considering how your hands are tied in the genre, I think Raymond does a good job.

We've still got Larry David here in the states, so I'll take our comedies against all comers, thank you very much...
posted by herc at 2:51 PM on June 22, 2004


"I once had a dog with no nose."

Really? How did he smell?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:52 PM on June 22, 2004


American comedy is, by nature of the audience being a little different than the rest of the world, a different animal. Chappelle, Stewart, Chris Rock, Larry David, -- who else, Lewis Black? I'm sure there are others, but not all that many, considering -- really are on to something in shaping modern American Humor.

Don't dis U.S. comics because there aren't as many good ones per capita as there are in Canada or even the UK. (Other languages and cultures largely don't factor, unfortunately.)

Chappelle's Show, being essentially a non-ensemble piece (I know, he has a team of writers, but if he's not carrying the funny, then the whole damn show won't fly), has no business being as consistently good as it is, catchphrases and all. I am amazed at how good that show is, given their budgetary and time constraints.

And that rant is probably something he's had moving toward the front of his head for a while now. The fact he's finally successful enough to say that to a public that might even hear it is a credit to how far he's come and how much respect he's engendered along the way. Yay-uh!
posted by chicobangs at 3:03 PM on June 22, 2004


Wenn ist das Nunstuck git und Slotermeyer?
Ja! Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!

posted by milnak at 3:05 PM on June 22, 2004


I don't find Monty Python funny either (blasphemy!), but yeah, comedy is completely subjective, like music and art and what have you. I'll shh now, and you can go back to discussing that "I'm black, and that's funny!" guy.

It's one thing to say you don't think someone is funny but something else entirely to pretend to admit different humour is for different people while you reduce a black comic to "he's funny because he's black."

Chicobangs, I agree except that I can't understand the appeal of Lews Black ;)
posted by The God Complex at 3:09 PM on June 22, 2004


"apparantly, the white people go crazy when they hear the electric guitar."

my...god...

heard sister wanda sikes at the DC improv a while back...she's right there with DC...
posted by aiq at 3:09 PM on June 22, 2004


The Chappelle Show is the best half hour of comedy on television right now -- at least, until the Family Guy is back on the air.

Did you see his take-off of AND1 sports clips? "Wait till you see him hit!"
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:13 PM on June 22, 2004


"Turn them shits up!"
posted by sonofsamiam at 3:18 PM on June 22, 2004


you reduce a black comic to "he's funny because he's black."

That's not what I said -- I just think he overdoes the whole jokes-about-being-black thing, taking potshots at white people and the different ways people of different races get treated and all that. A good cause, but not all that funny (there's that politicisation-of-comedy thing again). It's not his whole schtick by any means, but it seems to be a large part of it.
posted by reklaw at 3:20 PM on June 22, 2004


cool for dave.

just wanted to throw this in for reklaw - the daily show is great because - sad as it is - is the only mainstream american 'news outlet' that will talk about the things that need to be discussed. Add that to the fact that they do it in simple terms and with humor and you have a means of educating joe public about important shit.

Instead of trying to explain how enron fucked californians, or the significance of the ashcroft memo, ill download a daily show clip for my parents.

also - third rock - brilliant.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 3:22 PM on June 22, 2004


Not really seeing eye-to-eye with reklaw here, despite also being British. Mind you, I do live in Canada, so maybe I've gone soft. To summarize: Daily Show+, Chapelle+, Friends-, Coupling+, Office+, Morris+, 3rdRock-, Becker-------- (are you for real? Becker? You are having me on, mate.)
Chappelle is hilarious - glad to see I am not the only one who, as much as I don't want to, finds that Pepsi ad funny.
posted by pascal at 3:25 PM on June 22, 2004


Americans don't get "funny".

But reklaw, we think you're "funny."
posted by Ayn Marx at 3:29 PM on June 22, 2004


I just think he overdoes the whole jokes-about-being-black thing, taking potshots at white people and the different ways people of different races get treated and all that.

See, now I think he transcends the "white people walk like this" crap. As for overdoing it, hard to say unless one were black in America today. Also, chicobangs, do not sell Charley Murphy short.

Awful.
posted by yerfatma at 3:30 PM on June 22, 2004


I think Dave Chappelle's show is too strongly geared toward American pop culture to appeal. I like it, but sometimes the skits go nowhere.

My current favorite is Larry David's show.

I've seen Black Adder and Fawlty Towers and I liked them both, but the latter was much better.
posted by john at 3:54 PM on June 22, 2004


"I once had a dog with no nose."

Really? How did he smell?


Terrible!

Thank you! Thank you!

I absolutely love Family Guy.

I may be biased, as I am the same age as the creator and apparently the entire writing staff. I get almost every joke and every reference. And I howl at virtually every episode.

Very few things in this world have brought me as much pleasure as the Family Guy DVD set. And my motorcycle. And my wife's vagina.

And cake. And Cake.
posted by Ynoxas at 3:58 PM on June 22, 2004


On the subject of comedy, I don't think I'll ever be as loyal to a series as I was to Strangers with Candy, although Aqua Teen Hunger Force is pretty close behind in terms of sheer jokes-per-second.

And the mere mention of Becker in a thread about comedy makes me want to hurl myself from a tall building. A Canadian building. Ya'll got any tall structures up 'ere in Toronto?
posted by dhoyt at 6:05 PM on June 22, 2004


Yeah, there's one or two of 'em.

And definitely add Amy Sedaris to my list of great American comedians above.
posted by chicobangs at 6:10 PM on June 22, 2004


And they're making a movie!!!
posted by dhoyt at 6:24 PM on June 22, 2004


coming into the conversation late, so here comes the mega-multi-reply....

I'm RICK JAMES, BIA-TCH!!!
Thank you for perfectly illustrating maddox's point by doing it wrong. Rick James (or Chappelle as Rick James) says "Bitch," Snoop Dogg says "Biatch." This is also a perfect example of bastardizing something that's funny/cool when done by 1 person (snoop) and retarded for everyone else. Ditto with fer shizzle/fer sheezy/etc.

If someone could point me to where the best of American comedy is, though, it'd be nice.
Most of it gets taken off the air because, as Chappelle rightly surmised, most of america (at least america that watches tv from 8-10 every night) is stupid. I'd heavily recommend Sports Night and Arrested Development, which just barely made it back for a second season. I've heard Freaks and Geeks fell into this category as well, but I've never watched it myself.

re: Daily Show
I love it, but could see why it wouldn't fare so well accross the pond. Lewis Black is the shit, anybody catch his HBO special a little while back? Speaking of HBO specials, what are people's thoughts about Chris Rock? Chris Rock is traditionally associated with racial humor, but his most recent HBO special was almost entirely about male/female relations. Maybe this is just a phase for Chappelle too?

Raymond is bad?!? Then how would you describe Yes, Dear, The World According To Jim, or any half-hour on the WB? Family comedies may not be everyone's cup of tea -- but considering how your hands are tied in the genre, I think Raymond does a good job.
To answer your questions: Yes. Crap. Crap. Megacrap. Check out the aforementioned Arrested Development for family comedy done right.

As for the black=funny debate, if you pay close attention, Dave mostly makes fun of the clash between black and white, not one side or the other. Basically he's making fun of the whole issue of race. e.g. Clayton Bixby (the white KKK leader), the Niggar family (who were white), the "Mad Real World" (with six crazy black people and one white guy), and the "white people dancing" sketch with john mayer (note: did not just make fun of white people). In general, I'd say that race is a huge part of his humor, but only because he is mocking the subject as a whole.

Finally, I can't believe that the article, and more people in this thread, haven't mentioned the overuse of the Lil' Jon stuff. If I had a nickel for everytime I'd heard someone at a party yell "WHAT?!?" "O-KAY!!!" or "YEA-UH!!!", I'd have a shitload of nickels.


Next overused Chappelle's Show reference: "I'm Wayne Brady, Bitch! Riverside, Motherfucker!"
posted by rorycberger at 6:37 PM on June 22, 2004


I disagree that comedy is completely subjective. I doubt it has a clearly definable essence capable of being explicitly listed as a series of finite descriptive statements in language, but to channel John McDowell and Wittgenstein, any person adequately familiar with the practices of comedy is capable of apprehending humour in the same way they're capable of understanding aesthetic value. It's a matter of communicating the salient points in such a way as to emphasise and explain their roles within the practice.

Personally, I find Dave Chapelle's stand-up comedy to be funnier than his show, but only because I find the format's requirement for short sketches rather than elaborate routines to do a disservice to his talent.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 6:42 PM on June 22, 2004


Freaks and Geeks fell into this category as well, but I've never watched it myself.
Freaks and Geeks was perfect, and caught the era really well, but wasn't a comedy--more a drama with comic parts to it (like life is).

and Lewis Black's comedy routines (and his rants on Daily Show) are hysterical. Definitely one of the funniest around.
posted by amberglow at 6:44 PM on June 22, 2004


I'd heavily recommend Sports Night and Arrested Development, which just barely made it back for a second season. I've heard Freaks and Geeks fell into this category as well, but I've never watched it myself.

Those are three great shows that don't get mentioned nearly enough. I just downloaded the entire Freaks & Geeks collection this afternoon and am watching it as we speak. Not riotously funny but very sweet and addictive.

Preview: what amberglow said, too
posted by dhoyt at 7:08 PM on June 22, 2004


I haven't seen anyone mention Reno911
A guy I work with raves about it. I have watched a few episodes trying to figure it out. Alas, either I don't get it, or it is total crap.

I like Chappelle. His show is sometimes a little weak, but his standup is pretty funny. His HBO special from a few years ago was good enough to guy on DVD.

The Tyrone Bibbums skits are funny. And the white newscaster is hilarious.

He does tend to walk a fine line of really offensive material, read that as the skit with the black white supremacist that was blind. But damn if it wasn't funny.

Humor is opinion based, so don't bash on each other if you disagree.
posted by a3matrix at 7:12 PM on June 22, 2004


To all the Brit-comedy snobs out there, I have one thing to say:


Only Fools and Horses.

ouch.
posted by dvdgee at 7:16 PM on June 22, 2004


dhoyt, ATHF is laugh out loud funny. Incredibly stupid but still way too funny.
posted by fenriq at 7:17 PM on June 22, 2004


read that as the skit with the black white supremacist that was blind. But damn if it wasn't funny.

That was one of the funniest things he's done, i thought...also when the group of guys went back in time to slave days.
posted by amberglow at 7:19 PM on June 22, 2004


Lewis Black's HBO special was great. See it if you can.

amberglow,

That group would be the player-haters. The Time travel skit was good, but the original one was much better.
posted by john at 7:34 PM on June 22, 2004


ahh..i'll have to watch for the original.
posted by amberglow at 7:40 PM on June 22, 2004


There was also the "bad decisions back through time" sketch, which went back to africa and chappelle as a native saying something like "Hey look, some white people in boats! I'm going to go see what they want."
posted by rorycberger at 8:01 PM on June 22, 2004


I can see how the Daily Show could possibly be funny... but it's just so... slow. His delivery is so... god, it's just overexplained to hell. Seriously.

Oooh, my hip just broke from sadness :(
posted by filmgoerjuan at 9:11 PM on June 22, 2004


Freebird!
posted by jbrjake at 9:41 PM on June 22, 2004


I normally like Lewis Black, but I didn't think his HBO special was on par with the rest of his material I've heard. But the ball-washing bit, that was comedy gold. And his Back in Black rants on The Daily Show are excellent.

Dave Chappelle's at his best when he takes on race issues. The blind, black white supremacist who thought he was white, that was fantastic. The John Mayer/?uestlove bit about dancing was funny, but I'm not as impressed by "black people do X like this, and white people do X like that!" jokes.
posted by emelenjr at 9:51 PM on June 22, 2004


I think chapelles show is great, but there are points where he falls back on character gimmicks, or gets the pacing off, especially in the first season, but very admirable for having such limited resources, as has been pointed out before, he gets passed the "black people walk like this, white people walk like this" (though sometimes not too far). His musical segments can be hit or miss, and there is sometimes a sense of trying to pad out the episode, with the clips in the audience, unnecessarily long skits, etc. but I still laugh my ass off consistently. He is a great comedic actor and switches between characters as well as bob+dave or the kids in the hall.

The daily show may not translate well outside of the U.S., but I rarely find political humor funny, usually it has too much of an agenda, is too obvious and caters to one political view without acknowledging the faults of others. The Daily Show is not one-sided. It is becoming more and more obvious that Jon Stewart is pissed at the current administration, but he doesnt hold his tongue against kerry either. With the exception of a few commentaries and photoshop jobs, it is the news, and is about as accurate as any of the major networks and more balanced without claiming to be. It has also managed to raise interest in current events and politics to a younger demographic by making it accessible, and funny. If some episodes are less than perfect it is largely beacause it is, well, daily (well, almost) as opposed to british sit coms which average, what, a whole SIX episodes a season. They regularly get interviews with politicians, major journalists and analysts. Jon Stewart has grown into a very skillful interviewer, and can balance insight and humor without being pandering or self-serving.

I think The family guy, on the other hand, sucks. It is a good indicator of everything that is wrong with American comedy, the characters are gimmicky 2-dimensional vehicles for mean-spirited jokes and utterly unsympathetic. The most popular character is stewie, who -- while intelligently written -- is nothing more than a gimmick, everything he says is utterly predictable and never gets beyond the "hey, what if the baby in look who's talking was, like...evil". The "humor" as it is presented, is generally little more than a reference to some piece of 80's pop-culture, sometimes with an obvious twist, and has cultivated a following largely because it is unchallenging, uninsightful and inspires a feeling of familiarity in the people who remember what it references and tear it apart, relying on charicatures of charicatures (like when the family met William Shatner), or combining references to two different shows that havnt been around for 20 years (Bob Ross painting the portrait from "family ties". People identify with it because there is comfort in realizing somebody else wasted their time watching and remembering what they considered crap. Consider those references to the references made in early simpsons, which can usually be classified as homages, referencing out of respect, acknowledging their influences (I wont mention the very obvious parallels between the two families).

South Park bothered me at first with the out of place references, but the fact that they have so expertly straddled the line between funny and offensive (as has Dave Chappelle, in an era of shock comedy where most have failed), and manage to consistently make timely, biting satire quite often with a sensible, realistic moral that does not take any popular sides.

I liked futurama, but it rarely made me laugh. Same with King of the Hill, but I didnt get it until it was in syndication.

Dont even get me started on the crapheap that is "friends".
posted by lkc at 10:34 PM on June 22, 2004


I haven't seen anyone mention Reno911
A guy I work with raves about it. I have watched a few episodes trying to figure it out. Alas, either I don't get it, or it is total crap.

Reno911 is a strange show. Not the content, but the reaction. I used to think it was really stupid too, until I watched it with a group of people who loved it. then suddenly I thought it was hilarious. I guess a little of that might have been "peer pressure" to laugh, but I honestly think that some people (myself included) need to be taught how to enjoy it. It's humor comes from a very different place than most of what I normally laugh at. I'm still not entirely sure where I stand on the show...maybe it's just inconsistent?

I normally like Lewis Black, but I didn't think his HBO special was on par with the rest of his material I've heard.
With his style of comedy (loud, angry, intelligent, etc.) its got to be hard to maintain that energy for any extended period of time. Especially when most of his audience - and he, himself - is/are used to his 90 second bits on the daily show. Also, HBO comedy specials in general are incredibly good, so he had a big standard to live up to. Now that I think about it, he is by far the least well known comedian I've ever even watched an HBO show of. Typically its Chris Rock, Bill Maher, George Carlin, Dennis Miller, etc.
posted by rorycberger at 10:42 PM on June 22, 2004


He really can't tell the diffrence between coke and pepsi?

Pepsi tastes much better then coke.
posted by delmoi at 11:18 PM on June 22, 2004


reklaw:

You seem to be on the wrong side of the english channel.
posted by delmoi at 11:31 PM on June 22, 2004


Let me get this straight: reklaw thinks Becker is funny, thinks Monty Python isn't, and has missed completely the fact that Jon Stewart possesses pretty much flawless comic timing. (Just half an hour ago, I watched him - Stewart, not reklaw - turn a seemingly irredeemable dud of an interview with Ashley Judd into something full-on hilarious.) And with these dubious credentials, reklaw manages to turn an entire thread into a referendum on his own taste in comedy. It's like letting a tone-deaf person write a music review, and then debating it.

Even by the standards of a your-favourite-band-sucks-style thread, that's pretty remarkable.

Toot on, reklaw. Toot on!
posted by gompa at 12:27 AM on June 23, 2004


I watched the first episode of Chappelle's Show and found most of it was not that funny. But there were a few highlights I must say, in particular the blind white-supremacist character who didn't know he was black, was comedy gold. Judging from everyone's comments here I'll have to check it out again, but I think we're still getting season 1 here in Oz...

On the topic of American comedy and audiences, why do American's clap so much after jokes? It's bemusing watching David Letterman, for example (perhaps an extreme one?), where you can't hear the laughter for the clapping half the time. I think audiences over here only clap for the most amusing things, it's more of "well done" for something particularly amusing.

PS. I thought Becker was decent in its first couple of seasons. I watch Friends and find it intermittently funny. The Daily Show can often be as unfunny as Friends can be. Ray Romano sucks.
posted by Onanist at 2:00 AM on June 23, 2004


I could be wrong and de-sensitized to it, but the over-clapping seems to be more of a talk-show thing, maybe because you can ask an audience for applause, but you can't tell them to laugh at a shitty joke in a hastily written monologue
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 5:12 AM on June 23, 2004


And with these dubious credentials, reklaw manages to turn an entire thread into a referendum on his own taste in comedy. It's like letting a tone-deaf person write a music review, and then debating it.

Yeah, well, I never claimed the things I like were universally funny -- I only mentioned them because of someone's inevitable "so what do you think is funny?" type response. But still, neither Chappelle's Show nor the Daily Show are funny. Most people around here seem to like them because they tackle "issues" that no-one else does, but if you're living outside America these issues seem somewhat facile, obvious, and predictably handled -- "hey, let's go back in time and make jokes about slavery", "hey, let's make jokes about how black people get put in prison really easily", "hey, let's have a blind black guy who's a white supremacist" -- these are not funny concepts, they're obvious, and the execution of them takes far too long. You can usually see the punchlike of something coming about 2-3 minutes before it hits.

(And Jon Stewart possesses nothing even resembling comic timing -- he completely stumbles through his routines and interviews, saying "um, err" a lot and interrupting people who are about to say something funny or interesting with a bad joke of his own.)

Plus, laugh tracks in general make me want to scream -- but especially when they're done in that typically American "HAHAHAHA WOOO CLAP CLAP WOOOO" way.
posted by reklaw at 6:12 AM on June 23, 2004


What you're missing, reklaw, is that this race stuff is not at all obvious to the folks who live it every day. Between our deep unconscious biases and the ironclad taboo against talking about race, Chappelle's material is fresh, shocking, difficult, and not a little revolutionary.

For a point of reference, my favorite British comedy is The Vicar of Dibley, so what do I know?
posted by sudama at 6:32 AM on June 23, 2004


re: Lewis Black. I think Lew is one of the most outrageously funny and intelligent comedians around today, if you ever saw him on the episode of Colin Quinn's "Tough Crowd", you'll know what I mean. I don't think he'll ever be asked back, as he was miles funnier than anyone else on the show. His HBO special, while good, fell short with me only because I had heard most of the material before. I highly recommend "The White Album" and "The End of the Universe", which are the two funniest comedy albums I have heard since the untimely death of Bill Hicks.
posted by psmealey at 6:46 AM on June 23, 2004


reklaw, is "There's no universal comedy standard, but you're all obviously wrong" an effective paraphrase of your point? Curious, especially when so many people here seem to disagree with you.

But I'll buy that you are a lighthouse of sanity in a raging sea of humorless pop-comic swill. Get out of this thread now, then, while you still have a soupcon of genuine wit about you.
posted by chicobangs at 6:52 AM on June 23, 2004


chicobangs: It's more like "there's no universal comedy standard, but damn it I still don't get how you can find this stuff funny". But meh, point taken.
posted by reklaw at 7:22 AM on June 23, 2004


WHOO CLAP CLAP WHOO
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 8:26 AM on June 23, 2004


Re: Brasseye:

Any Brits want to send me a tape of it? I got the "pedophile" episodes from filesharing. Hilarious.

"This pedophile has disguised himself as a very large building, and is moving slowly..."
posted by 4midori at 11:13 AM on June 23, 2004


No one here has mentioned Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn. The fact that Greg Giraldo is on at least 3 times a month is reason enough to like it.

The first season of Last Comic Standing was gold, so far the second ain't to bad either (although the world could use a lot less of Ant.)
posted by Mick at 11:01 AM on June 24, 2004


I think The family guy, on the other hand, sucks.

Yeah? Well, I think your dog is ugly.

You've completely overanalyzed and "missed the point" on the Family Guy so badly that it's a lost cause to try to get you back on track.

Suffice to say that your criticisms are exactly what makes it funny.

Also, I think people needing "validation" on what they think is funny and what isn't is kinda sad. If you laugh at it, it is funny. No expansion necessary.
posted by Ynoxas at 1:14 PM on June 24, 2004


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