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Dave Chappelle: Stil Crazy After All These Years


Ellsworth Toohey
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Chappelle during his prime (2000-"mid-life crisis") is one of my favorite comedians. Some of the skits on Chappelle's Show will never be touched. But I've never been sympathetic about the "break-down" he had and his subsequent move to Africa. Wahhhh I've reached the pinnacle of my profession that millions dream of attaining and I don't know how to handle the eight figures that my bosses want to pay me Wahhhhh.

You have to look at his bosses though. Unless you're one of the untouchables (Trey and Matt from South Park, Stewart, and now Colbert), they have NO requirement to be loyal to you. Dave probably did not see himself in that category despite the success of the series through two seasons. Look at what Comedy Central did to Katt Williams during the height of his success. He was on the verge of his getting his own Comedy Central series and more specials. Then they pulled the stunt at the Roast of Flava Flav. They treat him shitty before the show, give him no heads up on what other people are going to say, and then give him a script with incendiary racist material targeted toward Flava Flav. Just because Katt gritted his teeth and did it for the money one time doesn't mean that Dave had to over the course of years.

 

 

I read the interview he gave a few years back after it all went down (I want to say TIME), and it his complaints had nothing to do with the suits at CC being too pushy or demanding a certain type of material. One day Dave basically realized some people were laughing at his race jokes without understanding that the jokes were poking fun at them, and because of this, he had his hissy fit and flew off to Africa. If it was the case that CC demanded a certain type of humor that he wasn't comfortable with, I'd support him 100%. But it was a case where the performer discovered his audience wasn't as smart as he originally thought they were.

 

 

You're completely missing the point. Chapelle realized that he was basically becoming a doorway for white frat boys to to yell 'I'M RICK JAMES' and that he was more or less expected to shuck and jive. 

 

That's why he walked away from his show, fame, and millions of fucking dollars. That's why I've got the utmost respect for the guy. He took a long hard look at what it really means to be a black entertainer in today's market, and instead of being comedy's Kanye or Jay Z, who basically make their money having any sort of message they have completely lost in an entitled white kid's ipod, he walked away from it.

 

Chapelle didn't want to shuck and jive anymore, and look what happened: everyone said OH MAN HE'S INSANE WHAT A MELTDOWN and wrote him off. In the past few years I've had the pleasure of seeing him perform drop ins at a few different places, and the dude is amazing.

 

As for hecklers, and the dumb shit argument that 'comedians should just be able to shut them down,' it's just that: a dumb shit argument. No one expects it of Broadway actors, or public speakers. A bunch of drunk people, that had been behaving like shit the entire night, acting like children. And Chapelle is crazy. Fuuuuuck that.  

 

The video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=170zTCWjp1s

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You're completely missing the point. Chapelle realized that he was basically becoming a doorway for white frat boys to to yell 'I'M RICK JAMES' and that he was more or less expected to shuck and jive. 

 

That's why he walked away from his show, fame, and millions of fucking dollars. That's why I've got the utmost respect for the guy. He took a long hard look at what it really means to be a black entertainer in today's market, and instead of being comedy's Kanye or Jay Z, who basically make their money having any sort of message they have completely lost in an entitled white kid's ipod, he walked away from it.

 

Chapelle didn't want to shuck and jive anymore, and look what happened: everyone said OH MAN HE'S INSANE WHAT A MELTDOWN and wrote him off. In the past few years I've had the pleasure of seeing him perform drop ins at a few different places, and the dude is amazing.

 

 

He wasn't expected to do anything besides continue producing his program. Again, from what I've read, CC was ready to give him $50M to do his show the way he wanted; there was no pressure for him to use any specific topic of comedy, he had complete creative control. And don't give me that "doorway for white boys" line when CC was reluctant to air a bunch of his sketches, including blind white supremacist from the very first episode, because THEY felt he was crossing too many lines. No one is ever asked to "shucks and jive" for eight figures.

 

I really don't know what to make of your Jay-Z/Kanye and whiteboys ipod comment. I guess the only legitimate black artists are the "starving" ones? Looks like the only people who really get music are you and Christgau.

 

Chappelle's "meltdown" had nothing to do with artistic integrity or any of that bullshit. To use the parlance of this forum, he was a smark who found out his audience was mostly marks. It was still real to him, damnit~~!

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I don't really have a lot to say here, except that for whatever reason Chapelle seems to attract really rotten hecklers.  I know his last Austin show before this big festival tour had a dude ruin the set.  I think it's a feedback loop where, because he's had bad nights show up on Youtube, and is famous as "a flake" for quitting his show when he became uncomfortable with its content, people try to get under his skin and succeed.  Why security isn't specifically prepared for such eventualities I have no fucking clue, since they must know by now that (a) Chapelle attracts heckling shitbags and (B) Chapelle will ragequit if he feels disrespected.  I'm not saying turn the show into a prison or anything, but they need to be aware that shitbag removal duty is going to be higher on their priority list than usual and they have to be ready to hustle.

 

On a side note, has anyone here ever heckled a comedian at any level of the game?  No judgment from me, as I did it once more or less by accident.  When I was in training for my job, cooped up in a dorm with a ton of other blind and VI people, they made it a point of dragging us all out to the Funny Bone once a month, and then wondering why we all got fucking hammered.  The headliner that night was a decent enough 'working'/touring guy whose name eludes me.  He, rather than the MC, made it a point of thanking the people from World Services for the Blind for coming out and pointed to the group of twenty-five or so white canes in the front of the club, and I blurted out "Just please say you aren't a prop comic."  He gave me an ice cold "no" and only then did I realize I had actually *said* it.  I was totally mortified, and apologized profusely (and bought a CD I have since lost) after the show.

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You're completely missing the point. Chapelle realized that he was basically becoming a doorway for white frat boys to to yell 'I'M RICK JAMES' and that he was more or less expected to shuck and jive. 

 

That's why he walked away from his show, fame, and millions of fucking dollars. That's why I've got the utmost respect for the guy. He took a long hard look at what it really means to be a black entertainer in today's market, and instead of being comedy's Kanye or Jay Z, who basically make their money having any sort of message they have completely lost in an entitled white kid's ipod, he walked away from it.

 

Chapelle didn't want to shuck and jive anymore, and look what happened: everyone said OH MAN HE'S INSANE WHAT A MELTDOWN and wrote him off. In the past few years I've had the pleasure of seeing him perform drop ins at a few different places, and the dude is amazing.

 

 

He wasn't expected to do anything besides continue producing his program. Again, from what I've read, CC was ready to give him $50M to do his show the way he wanted; there was no pressure for him to use any specific topic of comedy, he had complete creative control. And don't give me that "doorway for white boys" line when CC was reluctant to air a bunch of his sketches, including blind white supremacist from the very first episode, because THEY felt he was crossing too many lines. No one is ever asked to "shucks and jive" for eight figures.

 

I really don't know what to make of your Jay-Z/Kanye and whiteboys ipod comment. I guess the only legitimate black artists are the "starving" ones? Looks like the only ones who really get music are you and Christgau.

 

Chappelle's "meltdown" had nothing to do with artistic integrity or any of that bullshit. To use the parlance of this forum, he was a smark who found out his audience was mostly marks. It was still real to him, damnit~~!

 

 

This all pretty much contradicts anything Neal Brennan has said on the matter.

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You're completely missing the point. Chapelle realized that he was basically becoming a doorway for white frat boys to to yell 'I'M RICK JAMES' and that he was more or less expected to shuck and jive. 

 

That's why he walked away from his show, fame, and millions of fucking dollars. That's why I've got the utmost respect for the guy. He took a long hard look at what it really means to be a black entertainer in today's market, and instead of being comedy's Kanye or Jay Z, who basically make their money having any sort of message they have completely lost in an entitled white kid's ipod, he walked away from it.

 

Chapelle didn't want to shuck and jive anymore, and look what happened: everyone said OH MAN HE'S INSANE WHAT A MELTDOWN and wrote him off. In the past few years I've had the pleasure of seeing him perform drop ins at a few different places, and the dude is amazing.

 

 

He wasn't expected to do anything besides continue producing his program. Again, from what I've read, CC was ready to give him $50M to do his show the way he wanted; there was no pressure for him to use any specific topic of comedy, he had complete creative control. And don't give me that "doorway for white boys" line when CC was reluctant to air a bunch of his sketches, including blind white supremacist from the very first episode, because THEY felt he was crossing too many lines. No one is ever asked to "shucks and jive" for eight figures.

 

I really don't know what to make of your Jay-Z/Kanye and whiteboys ipod comment. I guess the only legitimate black artists are the "starving" ones? Looks like the only ones who really get music are you and Christgau.

 

Chappelle's "meltdown" had nothing to do with artistic integrity or any of that bullshit. To use the parlance of this forum, he was a smark who found out his audience was mostly marks. It was still real to him, damnit~~!

 

 

This all pretty much contradicts anything Neal Brennan has said on the matter.

 

I have no idea about Brennan's take on the matter, I'm going on what Dave himself has said. His stated reason for quitting the show was because he didn't feel comfortable with the "type" of laughs his show was eliciting.

 

 

I think we've reached the quota for exclamation marks in this thread.

 

Anyway, it would be crazy to believe that anyone is getting paid $50 million with absolutely no stipulations other than do a show. 

 

It isn't when you're getting the ratings Chappelle's Show was. Again, CC were the ones originally who wanted to "tone down" the show, Dave had complete creative control.

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On the original subject:  There was no meltdown, the heckling wasn't that bad, and the reaction by Dave wasn't that big of a deal at all.  Why do people have to overreact so fucking much these days? I don't even know why this is a story at all. 

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You're completely missing the point. Chapelle realized that he was basically becoming a doorway for white frat boys to to yell 'I'M RICK JAMES' and that he was more or less expected to shuck and jive. 

 

That's why he walked away from his show, fame, and millions of fucking dollars. That's why I've got the utmost respect for the guy. He took a long hard look at what it really means to be a black entertainer in today's market, and instead of being comedy's Kanye or Jay Z, who basically make their money having any sort of message they have completely lost in an entitled white kid's ipod, he walked away from it.

 

Chapelle didn't want to shuck and jive anymore, and look what happened: everyone said OH MAN HE'S INSANE WHAT A MELTDOWN and wrote him off. In the past few years I've had the pleasure of seeing him perform drop ins at a few different places, and the dude is amazing.

 

 

He wasn't expected to do anything besides continue producing his program. Again, from what I've read, CC was ready to give him $50M to do his show the way he wanted; there was no pressure for him to use any specific topic of comedy, he had complete creative control. And don't give me that "doorway for white boys" line when CC was reluctant to air a bunch of his sketches, including blind white supremacist from the very first episode, because THEY felt he was crossing too many lines. No one is ever asked to "shucks and jive" for eight figures.

 

I really don't know what to make of your Jay-Z/Kanye and whiteboys ipod comment. I guess the only legitimate black artists are the "starving" ones? Looks like the only ones who really get music are you and Christgau.

 

Chappelle's "meltdown" had nothing to do with artistic integrity or any of that bullshit. To use the parlance of this forum, he was a smark who found out his audience was mostly marks. It was still real to him, damnit~~!

 

 

This all pretty much contradicts anything Neal Brennan has said on the matter.

 

I have no idea about Brennan's take on the matter, I'm going on what Dave himself has said. His stated reason for quitting the show was because he didn't feel comfortable with the "type" of laughs his show was eliciting.

 

 

I think we've reached the quota for exclamation marks in this thread.

 

Anyway, it would be crazy to believe that anyone is getting paid $50 million with absolutely no stipulations other than do a show. 

 

It isn't when you're getting the ratings Chappelle's Show was. Again, CC were the ones originally who wanted to "tone down" the show, Dave had complete creative control.

 

 

No, it's still crazy to believe. 

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On a side note, has anyone here ever heckled a comedian at any level of the game? No judgment from me, as I did it once more or less by accident. When I was in training for my job, cooped up in a dorm with a ton of other blind and VI people, they made it a point of dragging us all out to the Funny Bone once a month, and then wondering why we all got fucking hammered. The headliner that night was a decent enough 'working'/touring guy whose name eludes me. He, rather than the MC, made it a point of thanking the people from World Services for the Blind for coming out and pointed to the group of twenty-five or so white canes in the front of the club, and I blurted out "Just please say you aren't a prop comic." He gave me an ice cold "no" and only then did I realize I had actually *said* it. I was totally mortified, and apologized profusely (and bought a CD I have since lost) after the show.

That's not heckling, that's fucking hilarious.
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I don't really have a lot to say here, except that for whatever reason Chapelle seems to attract really rotten hecklers.  I know his last Austin show before this big festival tour had a dude ruin the set.  I think it's a feedback loop where, because he's had bad nights show up on Youtube, and is famous as "a flake" for quitting his show when he became uncomfortable with its content, people try to get under his skin and succeed.  Why security isn't specifically prepared for such eventualities I have no fucking clue, since they must know by now that (a) Chapelle attracts heckling shitbags and ( B) Chapelle will ragequit if he feels disrespected.  I'm not saying turn the show into a prison or anything, but they need to be aware that shitbag removal duty is going to be higher on their priority list than usual and they have to be ready to hustle. On a side note, has anyone here ever heckled a comedian at any level of the game?  No judgment from me, as I did it once more or less by accident.  When I was in training for my job, cooped up in a dorm with a ton of other blind and VI people, they made it a point of dragging us all out to the Funny Bone once a month, and then wondering why we all got fucking hammered.  The headliner that night was a decent enough 'working'/touring guy whose name eludes me.  He, rather than the MC, made it a point of thanking the people from World Services for the Blind for coming out and pointed to the group of twenty-five or so white canes in the front of the club, and I blurted out "Just please say you aren't a prop comic."  He gave me an ice cold "no" and only then did I realize I had actually *said* it.  I was totally mortified, and apologized profusely (and bought a CD I have since lost) after the show.

 Ha! I think that's a good one. The response that comes to my mind is, "Of COURSE not!" then silently make a threatening gesture while mouthing "Shut up, you!" As an audience member, I've only ever heckled one comic. He's not someone too well-known, but his schtick was insults. One of the guys at my table was a friend of a friend who didn't get out much due to his terminal brain cancer, and for some damn reason this club's wheelchair section was right up front by the stage. When the comic took the guy's obvious discomfort as encouragement, I spoke up. The dude was fatter than I was, (at the time) so I just used my self-deprecating fat jokes with a harder edge. You can't really call for security when you're doing insult comedy, and the club wasn't gonna toss the guy in the wheelchair out without some sort of direction there, so that got pretty ugly.Crowd dug it, though.

I have no idea about Brennan's take on the matter, I'm going on what Dave himself has said. His stated reason for quitting the show was because he didn't feel comfortable with the "type" of laughs his show was eliciting.

Cuz he isn't a fucking wrestler for whom all heat is good heat. Whether you like him or not, he's in the game for more than just a paycheck, and he cares a lot about how his work impacts society.
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Speaking of the discontinuance of his show, I also have to say that Chappelle deserves to lose several points of respect for how he handled the potential third season of Chappelle Show.  According to numerous news outlets, reputable ones at that (if there is such a thing), CC was saying, "Hey, remember all that money we already gave you?  Think you could come back and put together a third season?" 

Dave: "No." 

CC: "Well, we'll just cobble together a season three with all the stuff you have in the can already, before your 'trip' to Africa." 

Dave: "You do that, and I'll never come back and do a third season." 

CC: "Oh, then you might come back and do season three?" 

Dave: "No." 

 

And so on and so on, until you got that "Chappelle Show: The Lost Sketches" thing with Charlie Murphy & Ashy Larry.

 

I've never seen anything confirming if CC sued his nutsac bare for breach of contract.

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I think the reason this sort of riles me is the immediate reaction of 'Chapelle had a meltdown! HE IS INSANE.' Why? Because he expects a modicum of respect for what he does and considers himself better than a bunch of drunk assholes? 

 

This didn't suddenly happen when Dave came up, the crowd was shitty the entire night.

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I have no idea about Brennan's take on the matter, I'm going on what Dave himself has said. His stated reason for quitting the show was because he didn't feel comfortable with the "type" of laughs his show was eliciting.

Cuz he isn't a fucking wrestler for whom all heat is good heat. Whether you like him or not, he's in the game for more than just a paycheck, and he cares a lot about how his work impacts society.

 

 

One of his reasons for going to South Africa was to get in touch with his roots. If he really wanted to show everyone that he was in it for more than fame and money, he would've finished the season, and gave that $50M to some needy children in South Africa instead. But no, he wasn't comfortable with the laughs, so he took his ball and went home. He bleeds for his art.

 

 

Speaking of the discontinuance of his show, I also have to say that Chappelle deserves to lose several points of respect for how he handled the potential third season of Chappelle Show.  According to numerous news outlets, reputable ones at that (if there is such a thing), CC was saying, "Hey, remember all that money we already gave you?  Think you could come back and put together a third season?" 

Dave: "No." 

CC: "Well, we'll just cobble together a season three with all the stuff you have in the can already, before your 'trip' to Africa." 

Dave: "You do that, and I'll never come back and do a third season." 

CC: "Oh, then you might come back and do season three?" 

Dave: "No." 

 

And so on and so on, until you got that "Chappelle Show: The Lost Sketches" thing with Charlie Murphy & Ashy Larry.

 

I've never seen anything confirming if CC sued his nutsac bare for breach of contract.

 

This is also essentially what I've heard. It wasn't a meltdown, it was just some comedian who wanted to show everyone how "above" them he was.

 

And FYI, the "white frat boys" who were shouting "I'm Rick James, bitch!" were yelling out "I wanna see Samson!" way before that.

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I have no idea about Brennan's take on the matter, I'm going on what Dave himself has said. His stated reason for quitting the show was because he didn't feel comfortable with the "type" of laughs his show was eliciting.

Cuz he isn't a fucking wrestler for whom all heat is good heat. Whether you like him or not, he's in the game for more than just a paycheck, and he cares a lot about how his work impacts society.

 

 

One of his reasons for going to South Africa was to get in touch with his roots. If he really wanted to show everyone that he was in it for more than fame and money, he would've finished the season, and gave that $50M to some needy children in South Africa instead. But no, he wasn't comfortable with the laughs, so he took his ball and went home. He bleeds for his art.

 

 

It's quite amazingly arrogant of you to decide what someone would "really" have done.

 

I mean I thought the dudebros who felt the ticket they paid for gave them license to disrupt the show were entitled, but deciding what a man you presumably have no closer connection to than via his television show should have done with his life? Astonishing.

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I have no idea about Brennan's take on the matter, I'm going on what Dave himself has said. His stated reason for quitting the show was because he didn't feel comfortable with the "type" of laughs his show was eliciting.

Cuz he isn't a fucking wrestler for whom all heat is good heat. Whether you like him or not, he's in the game for more than just a paycheck, and he cares a lot about how his work impacts society.

 

 

One of his reasons for going to South Africa was to get in touch with his roots. If he really wanted to show everyone that he was in it for more than fame and money, he would've finished the season, and gave that $50M to some needy children in South Africa instead. But no, he wasn't comfortable with the laughs, so he took his ball and went home. He bleeds for his art.

 

 

It's quite amazingly arrogant of you to decide what someone would "really" have done.

 

I mean I thought the dudebros who felt the ticket they paid for gave them license to disrupt the show were entitled, but deciding what a man you presumably have no closer connection to than via his television show should have done with his life? Astonishing.

 

 

Is this your first day on the interwebz?

 

 

Isn't most of this thread basically that? Your outrage seems poorly aimed.

 

More appropriately, isn't most of the internet basically that?

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I have no idea about Brennan's take on the matter, I'm going on what Dave himself has said. His stated reason for quitting the show was because he didn't feel comfortable with the "type" of laughs his show was eliciting.

Cuz he isn't a fucking wrestler for whom all heat is good heat. Whether you like him or not, he's in the game for more than just a paycheck, and he cares a lot about how his work impacts society.
 

One of his reasons for going to South Africa was to get in touch with his roots. If he really wanted to show everyone that he was in it for more than fame and money, he would've finished the season, and gave that $50M to some needy children in South Africa instead. But no, he wasn't comfortable with the laughs, so he took his ball and went home. He bleeds for his art.

 

It's quite amazingly arrogant of you to decide what someone would "really" have done.

 

I mean I thought the dudebros who felt the ticket they paid for gave them license to disrupt the show were entitled, but deciding what a man you presumably have no closer connection to than via his television show should have done with his life? Astonishing.

 

Is this your first day on the interwebz?

Yes. In fact:

I just discovered memes!

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Isn't most of this thread basically that?

Presumption? A good portion. It had died down some since you'd stopped posting, but there's been a resurgence.

Your outrage seems poorly aimed.

Your projection even moreso.

 

 

You need to learn what projection means. I don't recall being outraged at anything in this thread. Not even your petty sub-FSW attempts at insults.

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Isn't most of this thread basically that?

Presumption? A good portion. It had died down some since you'd stopped posting, but there's been a resurgence.

Your outrage seems poorly aimed.

Your projection even moreso.
 You need to learn what projection means. I don't recall being outraged at anything in this thread. Not even your petty sub-FSW attempts at insults.
You probably haven't even been reading this thread. You're just going off of others' comments.
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To me, the goofiest part of this discussion is that the "take his ball home" rhetoric smacks of entitlement. He gave the world two seasons of arguably the best sketch show ever. What he did after that is colossally irrelevant.

 

 

As for the Hartford gig, I thought he was still being funny, personally. I don't think it's the same as doing his act, to be sure, but I do think he was still entertaining and I think it's all being blown way out of proportion. Mountains and molehills and all that. 

 

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