Comedy Central sketch comedy show, starring comedian-turned-actor Dave Chappelle, in two (or two-and-a-half) short seasons. It is mainly known for spawning a slew of catchphrases (including the above mentioned Rick James quote) and became the one of the poster boys for being too good to last.A stealth hit (Chappelle joked in a season two promo that the show was only renewed because Comedy Central needed a show to fill in time on the schedule until Reno 911! came back), the series came into its own with its second season, becoming a massive ratings and critical hit. As such, there was much hype and anticipation for the show's third season as Dave signed a massive contract with Comedy Central that granted him a large paycheck and a considerable cut of DVD sales for the show. It looked like smooth sailing for the show from there on in.Or at least that might've been the case, as it was reported that Chappelle went missing after filming three episodes worth of sketches for his show, ultimately resurfacing in South Africa, while the season three premiere date came and went with no show in sight.As fans would find out, Dave Chappelle had become disillusioned with fame and the show: his edgy, in-your-face racial humor was being taken at face value by his now predominately white fanbase, culminating in him coming to the conclusion that he had become the very thing he was mocking with his racially charged material. Adding to this was Comedy Central, who had given the show free rein for seasons one and two, suddenly sticking their noses into the production of the program and Chappelle falling out with Neal Brennan, Dave's partner and co-creator of Chapelle's Show, who was more concerned with keeping the gravy train running than with his crisis.Comedy Central, tired of waiting, ultimately aired the filmed sketches as "the Lost Episodes" with introductions from Chappelle's co-stars. This did not go over well with Dave, who felt betrayed since he had told Comedy Central repeatedly that any deal to have him come back would hinge on the sketches he had filmed never seeing the light of day. This effectively ended the series, as Dave has since returned to doing stand-up full time and leaving fans with the memories of the show and what could have been.
This show provides examples of:
A-Cup Angst: Inverted in It's a Wonderful Breast; Sheila, the sketch's main character laments how much of an inconvenience her large breasts are, when an Almighty Janitor shows her what the world would be like if they were smaller, culminating in her next door neighbor blowing up the world out of having nothing to live for (Sheila's breasts gave him some degree of consolation). By the end of the sketch, she not only embraces her cup size, but also ponders getting implants.
Boomerang Bigot: The skit "Black White Supremacist" featured a blind black man who grows up under the impression that he is white; he becomes a prominent white supremacist writer and Klan leader. He eventually finds out that he is black and divorces his wife for being a "nigger-lover."
Call Back: Wayne Brady's heroic sociopath end of season guest spot was set up way early in season two, with a sketch where the tame and rather non-threatening comic is mocked by way of Paul Mooney saying "white people love Wayne Brady because he makes Bryant Gumbel look like Malcolm X." Said scene is even played back during Wayne Brady's guest spot.
Few people are aware that the Hilarious in Hindsight element of the Negrodamus line was unintentional on Dave's part. Wayne Brady was a major reason the penultimate season two episode existed in the first place. Wayne Brady, in an interview on The Steve Harvey Morning Show, claimed that he disliked the Negrodamus joke. He didn't mind the joke being used at his expense, but he DID mind that it was (to him) completely unfunny. So Chappelle, who respected Brady very much, gave Brady a call to come onto the show, and they collaborated on that infamous Training Day parody. The rest is history.
That parody actually involved a fair few Call Backs, including Dave's "son"'s love for Nick Cannon and Dave's daydream of being a rapper with goat legs.
Season 2 had a lot of callbacks outside of the Brady episode. In the jury selection sketch, Dave is asked by a prosecutor what proof he would need to identify R. Kelly in his infamous "pee tape". He starts his ridiculous list of demands with, "He would have to be singing 'Piss On You'."
The Cameo: Jamie Foxx as "Black Tony Blair" in the Black Bush sketch. Mos Def also pops up there and in a couple other sketches.
Camp Gay: Every man (aside from Kent Wallace, the reporter) in the Gay America sketch from the episode from the second season that featured sketches that weren't fit to air.
Character Development: The "The Three Daves" skit, in which Dave talks about how he's been at least three different people in the (then) past 12 years. He then explores how eighteen!Dave, twenty-four!Dave and Dave!prime react to different situations.
Clip Show: Or "Mix Tape" as Dave called them. The series had several, including several based around the music acts featured in the show.
Creator Backlash: Dave left the show mostly due to the way he felt the racial humor had gone, the fanbase that refused to stop repeating his famous line and how Comedy Central treated the show. This is Chappelle's spin on it, however. The fact that he had gone from stuff like...Half Baked... to becoming a cultural icon in less than five years might have been a bit too much for him to take in all at once.
Dave also said that he didn't believe the third season could possibly live up to the hype of his 50 Million dollar contract, it should be noted that he tried to keep the contract a secret from the media and was upset to see the headline in the newspaper.
Deconstruction: Season 1 had a skit where Dave showed the consequences of what would happen if reparations for slavery were actually sent out, i.e. if the black community suddenly found itself quite wealthy. These consequences included chicken shooting up to $600 a bucket, 800 record labels being started in a hour, and Colin Powell bitch-slapping Dick Cheney. The idea was reconstructed at the same time, however, with Sprint's stock going up after thousands of delinquent phone bills were paid off and the crime rate falling to 0%.
There was also a recurring sketch called "Real Movies", where Dave showed what certain movies would look like if they were actually realistic, such as a version of The Matrix in which it turns out that when Neo was called by Morpheus while in his office, Morpheus was just "Earl from down the hall" and needed to borrow Neo's stapler.
There was also a sketch showing what would happen if people really did "keep it real." The answer? Lotta prison time, lotta beatings.
Parodied old-school McDonald's commercials that claimed how the franchise was really beneficial to low-income neighborhoods by providing many easy jobs. Two months after "Calvin" has been working there, he's frequently mugged (because they know he has a steady paycheck), has lost all respect from his peers, and his girlfriend cheats on him while he's at work.
Defictionalization: Sort of. The "Trading Spouses" sketch was meant to make fun of the Reality TV craze. A little while later ABC announced that they were going to do an American version of Wife Swap. A couple of weeks before it's debut, Fox premiered Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy, and ABC accused them of ripping off their show.
A Rick James comedy biopic was apparently in the works for some time, with Chappelle reprising his role; James' death put a stop to it.
Ice T: Next motherfucker that interrupts me is gettin' shot. Please believe that.
In an example that overlaps with Tough Love, Leonard Washington strands his "Trading Spouses" counterpart's white son in the ghetto after he catches him pretending to be part of "G-g-g-g-G-UNIT!"
"Well, moptop, here ya are! Home sweet home, the hood! ... G-g-g-g-goodbye!"
Dramatization: Parodied with Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories.
Drugs Are Good: Episode 1-4 featured a parody of the TRUTH.com anti-smoking ads ("TRUF.com") in which the announcer says that cigarette smoking causes "feelings of euphoria, increased alertness, rises in short-term memory, and can have a calming effect on nerves."
Dave: And they're not bad after unprotected sex with multiple partners, neither.
Dude Looks Like a Lady: During the Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories skit about Prince, Charlie Murphy remarks how Micki Free, a member of Prince's crew, looked like a girl.
"When he joined the group, I heard mad cats like, 'Yo, Shalamar got a new girl in there, man, that bitch fine like a motherfucker.' They was talking about Micki Free, man, okay? Micki Free is not a girl."
Getting Crap Past the Radar: Dave comments after his first "A Moment in the Life of Lil' Jon" skit that Lil Jon does this when the song "Get Low" plays on the radio, since it contains the word "skeet".
Dave: And you know what the most dope thing about "skeet" is? White people don't know what it means yet. When they figure it out, they're going to be like, "My God, what have we done?"
Also, after the "Ask a Black Dude with Paul Mooney" segment, Dave laughingly claims, "Nigga, I'm gonna get canceled for sure!" Sure, the show wasn't actually canceled per se, but considering all of the factors contributing to Dave's Creator Breakdown and him leaving the show, it almost seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy...
Left It In: In one segment, a reporter is investigating a Jedi abuse scandal analogous to the Catholic priest pedophilia scandals. While interviewing a "Jarth Mader", an anonymous victim who wears a helmet and has a respiration problem, Mader puts his head in his hands in tears. The reporter says "Cut" to the cameraman, but mouths the words "keep rolling" since Mader's not looking.
Life Imitates Art: The final skit of the show's "third season" (filmed before Dave left) has Dave meeting with The All Powerful Show Business, who offers him various ways to capitalize on his popularity (i.e. Dave Chappelle cereal, a Lil Jon movie and an MTV Cribs appearance). The skit ends with Dave walking away from show business.
Similarly, after appearing on the series, Wayne Brady landed a multi-episode stint on the FX show "Dirt", playing an Affably Evilemployee for a murderous rap mogul who threatens to castrate one of the cast members and force-feed them their own penis. Not to mention breaking a basketball player's kneecaps.
The famous Wayne Brady ep opens with a prologue segment in which Dave Chappelle "quits" the show due to the insane filming schedule and Executive Meddling. Even on the DVD Commentary, he admits that the schedule line was very true.
Mundane Made Awesome: The Slow Motion skits would turn Dave from a complete loser to a total Bad Ass when they "replayed" the video in slow motion. (The slo-mo replays were actually different clips that followed a similar sequence of events to that of the regular-motion clips, but the events played out in Dave's favor in the slo-mo videos (except when he sat on the toilet).)
Neck Snap: In the Wayne Brady sketch, both Chappelle and Wayne are pulled over by a traffic cop. Wayne uses his white-friendly image to charm the cop, then snaps his neck to get out of a potential ticket.
Case in point: "The Niggar Family", about a (white) family with a very unlikely last name.
Also subverted in the extended Paul Mooney interview for "Ask a Black Dude" in the season 1 DVD special features. After Mooney ends his answer to Stephen King's question by saying that he wrote a horror film called "Niggas in School", one of the white guys off camera repeats the title while laughing, which makes Mooney laugh as well.
No, You: In one of the interludes with the audience, Dave mentions how his post-"Piss On You" conversation with R. Kelly went:
R. Kelly: How you gonna make a video about peeing on somebody?
Dave: Nigga, how you gonna make a video about peeing on somebody?
Overly-Long Gag: The Lil' Jon sketches (WHAT?!) I said, the Lil' Jon sketches (WHAT?!) the Lil' Jon sketches! (O-KAAY!)
Overused Running Gag: In case it isn't already clear, the Rick James line. And not by the show, by the fans.
Poe's Law: One of the factors in Dave Chappelle's Creator Backlash was the realization that a significant chunk of his audience was racist white people taking the racial stereotyping at face value and/or just being titillated by hearing the word "nigger" a lot.
Slave Master:(brandishing a whip) You better watch yo' mouth! Buck Nasty: Actually, you better watch yo' mouth, before I stick these gators up your ass and show your insides some style!
Reality Is Unrealistic: At the end of the extended Paul Mooney interview for "Ask a Black Dude" in the season 1 DVD special features, someone off camera asks Mooney who he thinks came up with the questions. When he guesses that it was a combination of "Dave and the white writer," everyone tells him they were real questions asked by those who were interviewed. He doesn't believe it at first and insists that all of those people should have been arrested for asking such questions.
Rule of Funny: In the "I Know Black People" game show, the question asked is "Is pimpin' easy?" All of the white contestants (accurately) answer "Pimpin' ain't easy!". The only black person in the contest thinks it over for a moment, and responds "Hell, yeah". Ding!
Host!Dave: Somehow, that is correct!
Running Gag: "Cocaine is a hell of a drug." Mildly amusing the first time, downright hilarious by the time it's finally said in context.
Rick James: I mean, can you imagine two grown men doing this?... Cocaine is a hell of a drug.
Dave's character Chuck Taylor is a white guy who gets progressively whiter in each episode he appears in. In his final appearance he is almost literally white.
In a sketch using the Jedi knights as a metaphor for Catholic priests, Mace Windu (with Jules' Afro) makes an appearance to decry the child sex scandal tearing apart the Jedi order.
Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Parodied by inversion in "Tron Carter's Law & Order". In response to the Enron scandal, Dave did a skit where the titular Tron got the lenient, white-collar treatment and got to plead the "fif" in front of Congress while his white-collar business counterpart got treated harshly, abused, and sentenced to life in prison. And in a month, Tron will be out and back to trafficking rocks... to the community.
Sorry Ociffer: Several skits show various reactions to this. In one instance, the stoned driver convinces the cop to smoke his weed, and then speeds off.
Special Guest: Nick Cannon appears as himself in a sketch. After being picked over Dave for a project. Dave's son thinks he's "hilarious", Dave doesn't.
"I'm BROKE, son, I'm BROKE!"
"FUCK Nick Cannon!"
The Stoner: Dave-at-24 is portrayed as such in The Three Daves sketch; when harassing two police officers, he yells "And you know what? I am high. I'm HIGH!;" 30-year-Dave mentions he's a reefer addict; and he closes the sketch by telling the audience "Hey hey hey hey...smoke weed everyday."
"That's 'cause she is never gonna know about it, bitch!"
Token White: When Chappelle brings up how The Real World always puts one black guy around six of the craziest white people the show can find, he decides to reverse the roles in a sketch titled The Mad Real World. True to form, Chad, the sole white guy in the house is terrorized to no end by the blacks living with him; including but not limited to having his girlfriend stolen from him and his dad getting stabbed.
The entire sketch had a much darker origin, as a Take That against MTV and the producers of The Real World. Dave Chappelle is close friends with Dave Edwards, a comedian who was kicked out of the second incarnation of The Real World under similar circumstances.
Uncle Tom Foolery: Deconstructed, inverted, parodied, and in every other way turned on its head. Sadly, this was lost on at least a few people.
Ironically enough, this was the very reason why Dave Chappelle decided not to go on with the show. He felt he became what he was mocking.
We Used to Be Friends: Co-creator and co-writer Neal Brennan was nothappyat all about the way Chappelle ended the show. Though, recently, on his podcast, The Champs, he's made a point of referring to Dave as "my friend" and talking about their collaboration fondly.