“The Chappelle Show” may have only ran for two and a half seasons on Comedy Central, but it’s memorable sketches have been long remembered. Dave Chappelle even showed up on “Saturday Night Live” in 2016, bringing his show back to the forefront of people’s minds as they remembered the unique characters he created and the outrageousness of its content.
“I’m rich, Biotch!”
Season one of the Chappelle Show broke ground in comedy television, allowing ruder and cruder sketches to air. Some of my highlights of season one are The Mad Real World and Reparations. It also had Tyrone Biggums as well as Paul Mooney’s segment “Ask a Black Dude” and Ice-T as part of the “Player Hater’s Ball”. Some guests were Mos Def, Dame Dash, Redman and Wu-Tang Clan. Charlie Murphy was a standout cast member and would end up having many hilarious moments on the show, sometimes even overshadowing Dave Chappelle. One of my favorite episodes of the show is in this season; the one with the “Piss on You” skit along with World’s Greatest Wars and Deep Impact. The Season ends with a performance from Talib Kweli and Mos Def.
Season 2 is probably one of the funniest seasons of television and brings out all of the iconic sketches. The first Episode of the season is one of my favorites. It starts with Dave as Samuel L Jackson promoting his own beer and then right into the Racial Draft. This season was jam-packed with guest appearances; Questlove from the roots and john Mayer, Rashida Jones, Rick James, Paul Mooney, The cast of Making the Band, Nick Cannon, Big Boi, Wayne Brady, Joe Rogan, Lil Jon, Ron Jeremy, Q-Tip, Arsenio Hall, Anthony Anderson, Snoop Dogg and Sally Jesse Raphael. Some of those people doubled as musical guests along with Mos Def, Anthony Hamilton, Common, Kanye West, Erikah Badu, Wyclef Jean and Freeway.
A very popular sketch was Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Story with one featuring Rick James and the other involving Prince, which has been confirmed by people present. Before Prince passed, he used to talk about “The Chappelle Show” sketch and how he liked it. We also saw the return of Tyrone Biggums, a new segment called “When Keeping it real goes wrong” and Paul Mooney created a new segment called “Negrodamus”. Another favorite of mine is the Making the Band sketch where Dave plays Dylan and Diddy. Another thing I noticed watching it again is that his segment called “I Know Black People” seemed awfully similar to a recent SNL skit, “Black Jeopardy”. The season ends with a skit about a black President Bush.
Then, Dave Chappelle left and the third season was in jeopardy. There were enough sketches to make a 3-episode season with Donnell Rawlings and Charlie Murphy as hosts. The few skits that were shown were okay. The two standouts for me were the Howard Dean and Hip-Hop News skits. There were a couple guests like Charles Barkley and Susan Sarandon, but no musical guests. There is also an awkward Q and A about a sketch involving racist pixies because of some comments Dave made to Time Magazine. The audience watched the sketch and the rest of the second episode involves gathering the opinion of the audience. It sort of drags down the atmosphere.
Overall, I really enjoyed the first two seasons of “The Chappelle Show.” The Lost Episodes were unfortunate, but it made sense from Comedy Central’s perspective. The star up and left for Africa, literally. They spent the money on producing those sketches and I’m sure there were contracts that needed to be fulfilled, but it tarnishes the legacy of a truly funny and ground breaking show. I don’t think “The Chappelle Show” would be welcomed today with the expansion of the internet since it’s cancellation. We’ve become a society too afraid to laugh at each other’s differences. When comedians do make these types of unsensitive jokes, they do it gently and more on the safe side. For a score, I’d give the series a 75%. The lost episodes drag the score down a lot. If those weren’t released, it would’ve been at least ten points higher. Thankfully, Dave has a few Netflix specials coming up. Nice to see Dave getting a second chance.