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Ban The N Word
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BN-W eNewsletter #26

Posted in: eNews 2005
By BN-W
Feb 17, 2005 - 1:12:13 PM

DAVE CHAPPELLE
"ANALYSIS" OF CHAPPELLE'S SHOW


Fully Monitored:
Chappelle’s Show Season One – Uncensored DVD

Partially Monitored:
Comedy Central airings of season two of Chappelle’s Show

Before we get started with this BN-W Dave Chappelle document, we highly encourage you to see Chappelle’s Show for yourself if you haven’t already – or take a closer look at it if you’re a regular/intermittent viewer of the show – and come to your own conclusions and opinions about what you see.   Again, we highly encourage you to take the time to see it for yourself.   Analyzing is not necessary (we all cherish our down time), just take a laid back look and listen.

BN-W received inquiries on whether we would do an “analysis” on Dave Chappelle’s comedy, including his Showtime cable special that aired around Labor Day in September 2004 and his self-titled show, Chappelle’s Show, which airs on cable’s Comedy Central and will start its third season this year; Chappelle signed a two-year extension deal in August 2004 worth about $50 million.   Instead of doing an analysis, however, we’ve decided to do only our “observations.”   While we were unable to catch the Showtime special (basic cable is all we want and it’s not out on DVD yet), we did take the time to patiently watch the Chappelle’s Show Season One – Uncensored DVD, which was more than enough.   We also tried to catch whatever season two shows we could on Comedy Central.   To do an analysis would require sitting through all of his shows and specials diligently, as well as through any non-Comedy Central DVDs – and that would be very hard to do on a voluntary basis because in addition to completely and totally abusing the N-word, his act is extremely insulting to Black people overall, especially Black men, and, quite frankly, to all women as well.   The only people he seems to cut some slack to and let off the hook are mostly White males.   Why?   Black males get roughed up the most – they’re often portrayed as pimps, thugs, killers, dumb, and other mostly negative characters.   Overall, females are portrayed stupidly, and Black females are portrayed most offensively.

As for the Showtime special, as mentioned above, we did not see it but were informed that “Dave started off using the N-word profusely in front of a mostly White audience who seemed to delight in his use of the N-word in a manner that was not even cogent.   In addition to using the N-word, his joke topic was crude, lewd, and downright disgusting.”   If you saw it, you can be a better judge to the accuracy of that description yourself.   Is that a fairly accurate description?   In the “Letters” section of the March 2005 edition of Black Enterprise magazine (www.blackenterprise.com), a reader writes:   “There’s no doubt that Chappelle’s Show is very funny, but it would be even more appealing and more amusing if the “N” word wasn’t used so excessively and unnecessarily.   Chappelle and his writers should do one show without using that word.   When they see how easy it is to still be funny without using that word to induce laughter, they could then do a whole season without using it.   It sickens me that artists, comedians, and rap stars, especially, are making it acceptable for non-blacks to sing or say this word.   Heaven knows it’s bad enough hearing that word flow out of the mouths of my own people.   I certainly don’t want to sit with a mixed group and hear it from non-blacks as well.”   This writer breaks it down nicely and has no connections to BN-W.   We’d also add to this that we wouldn’t sit with our own group or a mixed group of people using this word without point blank asking them to stop using it in our presence as well as asking them why they choose to use it.   People do respond and do respect the request.

And, yeah sure, Chappelle’s just a comedian and we need to lighten up because he’s only joking.   What we say to that is this:   there are already enough people laughing – after all Comedy Central/Viacom executives thought enough of him to give him a contract worth $50 million and his Season One DVD is one of the fastest- and highest-selling television series DVDs ever.   So he can surely handle a few individuals who are willing to give an opposing view and point out the lack of humor his type of comedy elicits from us.   So, hey, you lighten up!

Some quick stats on the show are as follows:

1.    Chappelle’s Show debuted in January 2003 and, along with “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and “ South Park,” quickly became one of Comedy Central’s “hottest” properties.

2.    In its second season, January 2004, it regularly had more than 3 million viewers and became the #1 rated show in its time slot among young men between the ages of 18-34 (are these “young men” selected from the mysteriously known yet still unknown Nielsen Media Research company’s electronic measurement system? Do you have a “meter” in your home? Do you know anyone who does?).   Nielsen Media deals with broadcast and cable television ratings, Arbitron deals with radio ratings, and, of course, VNU has a connection to both.  Check out the sites:   www.nielsenmedia.com; www.arbitron.com; www.vnu.com.

3.    The Season One Uncensored DVD came out in February 2004 and was expected to be the highest-selling television series DVD ever – selling nearly two million copies.   That is until Jerry Seinfeld’s first three-season Seinfeld DVD series came out in November 2004 selling about 4 million copies, making it the “highest-grossing and fastest-selling TV DVD so far.”   http://www.usatoday.com/life/movies/news/2005-01-05-dvd-sales-inside_x.htm?POE=click-refer

4.    According to various recent news reports, the third season of the show was supposed to begin airing February 16, 2005, but was delayed due to Chappelle being ill with the “flu” and “borderline walking pneumonia.”   Therefore, the 2005 Chappelle’s Show premiere is scheduled to start in May.   The release of the second season DVD is also delayed from the original February 8, 2005 date to May 24, 2005 because its release was scheduled to tie-in with the launch of the new third season airing date.   This information was taken from a link off the Chappelle Web site (www.davechappelle.com) dated 1/20/05, which stated that it will be a 3-disc set running 275 minutes – oh boy, unless there’s some kind of miraculous pride that happened during his sickness, we already know what’s coming up – an onslaught of insults at, toward, and about Blacks (oddly enough told by a Black face but written by a Black and a White man).

Before we get to the observations, we’ll let you know up front that on this first season DVD of Chappelle’s Show, the N-word was used more than 100 times.   That’s right, more than 100 times.   As mentioned above, it was anticipated to be the highest-selling television DVD ever – up until Jerry Seinfeld’s Seinfeld DVD series came out in November 2004.   Do you think “kike,” “hymie,” “cracker,” or “honky” is used more than 100 times throughout Seinfeld’s three-season DVD set?   How about once, twice, or ten times?   What do you think?   Is there a difference in how Chappelle portrays Blacks and how Seinfeld portrays Jews/Whites?   For the record, we didn’t watch much of Seinfeld, so we wouldn’t know.   But it’s very doubtful any of those terms were used to any great extent, if at all – and that’s because it wasn’t necessary to put on a qualitatively funny show and it wouldn’t have been acceptable.   Granted, Chappelle’s on cable television and Seinfeld’s on broadcast television, but ask yourself, do you really think Seinfeld would find it necessary to talk abusively about his ancestry and Jews/Whites on cable or would he probably still do qualitatively funny material without going “there”?   Seinfeld wouldn’t have to do it out of the innate respect he has for himself and his history.   Additionally, the executives who give the final approval would not allow anything derogative about the Holocaust to get the greenlight.   Why Dave Chappelle and his “best friend”/writing partner Neal Brennan feel so comfortable not only writing about Blacks so derogatively but then the development, money, and production time that goes into making the sketch a reality is amazing.   And then for Comedy Central executives to approve it for national and international airing/distribution is even more mystical.

And, in no way, is Seinfeld getting put on a pedestal.  As we’ve indicated, we never watched much of his show because, as with the Jennifer Aniston sitcom Friends, you see either no or an occasional Black character – which is odd for two sitcoms that are supposed to be in New York City.   In fact, one of the rare occasions we viewed Seinfeld’s show, the Black character we happened upon was a fairly young Black female housekeeper or home attendant (something related to household duties) taking care of a physically sickly yet mentally horny dirty old White man.   Yeah, that episode and that type of scenario!   Again, we never watched Seinfeld much, haven’t monitored it (and don’t intend to), so there could have been other types of Black characters shown, but that’s just the one we happened to catch.

Although Chappelle and his “best friend”/writing partner Neal Brennan are far from fair and unbiased in their portrayal of Black people the vast majority of the time, we prefer to be as fair and as open-minded as possible to Chappelle and his “career.”   And is it fair to say that (1) just because you’re Black doesn’t mean you can’t do your own people wrong a lot of the times and (2) just because you’re White and you hang out/work with a Black person doesn’t mean you don’t have underlying opinions about Black people that are not positive and, if at all possible, can be filtered through the almighty pen under the guise of humor?

We can only hope that the effort his team makes into putting together these sketches will produce a season three that puts a new and much more balanced viewpoint than what’s been shown so far.   Although we didn’t see Season Two in its full and uninterrupted “glory,” based on what we did see, it’s hard to imagine it was a whole lot different from Season One.   The breakdown of BN-W’s observations will be Chappelle’s Show sketches, Dave Chappelle quotes, and BN-W’s Chappelle Web site and other forum activity.

Chappelle’s Show Sketches

Some sketches include the following:   making light of slavery, making light of reparations, and making light of the Civil Rights Movement (even going so far as calling the sit-ins for equal rights “shit-ins”); regularly showing a seriously unbalanced portrayal of Black men as oversexed and disease spreading (AIDS), crackheads/drug and alcohol abusers, pimps, thugs, gangsters, murderers, uneducated, and ignorant; sexist and disrespectful of women overall.

A description of some of the more popular sketches are as follows:

  • “Tyrone Biggums” – a Black crackhead who’s a regular character on the show.   He steals and is always scheming for ways to get his “high on.”   Chappelle has stated that this is his favorite character.   A quote from one of the forums about this show and this character:   ‘‘Some White guys are like the White guy in Trading Spouses, and TONS of Black people are just like Tyrone (and this is coming from someone who is Black).”   Whether or not the person is Black doesn’t matter, but since the individual felt a need to add that he/she “is Black” kind of makes you wonder.   We briefly discuss the Trading Spouses sketch farther down.
  • “Clayton Bigsby” – a regular character on the show who is a “White” blind KKK supremacist that doesn’t realize he’s, in fact, Black.   How ironic that this sketch gets called brilliant.   Why?   Visually, it’s just a Black man saying what some Whites might either believe or want to say but can’t or won’t.   This “White” Black man also uses the N-word profusely in this sketch, which, again, just visually shows a Black man using the word “nigger” over and over and over again.   Why would anyone want to promote this and who is this sketch working for, it certainly is NOT working for Blacks.   Who then is it working for or better yet whose gaining the most from seeing Blacks portrayed this way on every episode of Chappelle’s Show?   Maybe if it’s changed to a White blind man then it would be serving a social purpose to make people take pause about silly racist attitudes (as some try to claim it’s supposedly doing now???).   But doing that – changing it to a White man – would put the White man on the spot and make too many White people feel uncomfortable, something Chappelle and his “best friend”/writing partner Neal Brennan always avoids.   [It would be so interesting to see them do this and have a White man say what Chappelle says in the Bigsby sketches.   Don’t you agree?]   As it stands right now, it’s just a sketch showing a Black man talking negatively about his own people and saying what some Whites might really think, especially ones that have no interaction with Blacks whatsoever.   And remember, Blacks are only 12-13 percent of the U.S. population – and the total U.S. population is almost 300,000,000 people (www.census.gov).   Based on that, there are many areas that have no Black people, so the only “source” for some people is what they get from television.
  • “Niggar Family” – a regular sketch about a White family that has the last name of Niggar.   All we can say is why “the Niggars,” why not “the Kykes”? why not “the Spicks”? why not “the Cheenks”?   why not “the Whetbacks”?   There are references made to the Niggars not paying their bills on time, to the Niggars being late, and other general comments just to use “Niggar.”   And they think this is funny?   Substituting it with the use of Kykes, Spicks, Cheenks, or Whetbacks wouldn’t make this type of sketch any funnier or effective because it would be just as insulting to people from those cultures and the sketch is just NOT funny, especially since they’ve turned the N-word usage into a recurring theme throughout every episode of the show.   Why do Chappelle and his “best friend”/writing partner think they can run the use of the N-word into the ground by using it in every single show?   Dudes, it’s just NOT funny.
  • “Blackzilla” – Chappelle plays a Black version of Godzilla who’s smoking an entire weed tree, whipping “it” out and taking a piss, using bitch, and in the finale, after murdering Godzilla, he’s either screwing or humping a dead Godzilla or a mountain.   There they go again in showcasing a Black man – pothead, thug, sexist, murderer, and oversexed.   Who wrote this – was it you Dave, your “best friend” Neal, or was it a joint effort?
  • “Trading Spouses” – there’s the stereotypical impatient don’t-take-no-mess Black guy and the stereotypical patient do-anything-to-please-you White guy.   There’s also the show-me-what-you-packing Black woman and the I’ll-do-anything-for-you White girl stereotypes.   For the kids, two males probably between 10-12 years old, the Black kid is masturbating to a porn magazine and the White kid tries to dress and act like a rapper/hip-hopper because he’s a “wannabe.”
  • “Wayne Brady” – this sketch is about Brady’s alter ego – one that commits Black-on-Black violence, including shooting Chappelle and killing other Blacks, one that murders a cop, one that’s a drug dealer, and one that’s a pimp.   It’s supposed to be a spoof on “Training Day.”   Wayne, why cave into peer pressure now, at your age (even if it is just for a “joke” that’s definitely on Black people)?   “Do you,” not what others want you to do.   Two prime examples of why it’s not wise to always follow blindly – Ice T and Jay-Z.   Ice T used to rap about killing a cop and all that kind of stuff – and now he’s getting paid to play one on television.   Jay-Z was arrested for stabbing someone – and when faced with the possibility of prison, eventually pled guilty and plea bargained to stay out of prison.   [And it’s nothing wrong with what they did, but the point is they push one thing on everyone else, but do something else for themselves.]   Jay-Z is even now supposed to be coming out of the so-called “retirement” he staged.   These people are living and learning life like we all are.   They will make mistakes like we all do.   They will learn from them and change like we all do.   The point is to “do you’’ not them.
  • “NY Boobs” – in this sketch, a woman complains about having large breasts and is then shown how she’d be treated differently (more negatively) if she had small ones.   The most memorable thing about this sketch is actually what’s on the DVD’s bonus footage.   In the bonus footage, Chappelle uses “man” in the closing punch line, but what we see on Comedy Central and on the main portion of the DVD is the following:   “I’m just a nigger that loves titties.”   Who decided to make the change from “man” to “nigger” – was it you Dave, your “best friend” Neal, or was it a joint effort?   Also, Chappelle’s character in this sketch steals some cash from the register.   (Again, it would have some humor to it if so many other characters weren’t already doing similar things.)
  • “Roots” – it’s unfortunate that Chappelle and his “best friend”/writing partner feel a need to go down this road of horrific slavery for jokes, but since they do, we want to ask – would you do a spoof of “Schindler’s List” and write/stage a whole production of Holocaust victims being lead to gas chambers?   Would you dare?   So what gives you the audacity to do one on “Roots”?   And Comedy Central/Viacom executives, what would you do if presented with such a sketch on the Holocaust?
  • “Fucking Pay Me” – this sketch and statement might just sum up Chappelle’s whole concept.   Maybe getting paid is all that matters to him.   If so, that explains his ability to do sketches that bash Blacks steadily and non-stop as well as treats Black history very frivolously and cavalierly.   His characters are ones that some individuals feel very comfortable seeing because it’s what they want to believe about Blacks.   No one wants to face true American history when it comes to the genocide of Native Americans and the genocide/slavery of Africans.

Dave Chappelle Quotes

From a 10/19/04 CBS 60 Minutes II Interview :

  • On the N-word:   it “used to be a word of oppression.   But when I say it, it feels more like an act of freedom.”   If a White comedian used it, “I’d be furious.   That word, if you could sum up the story of America in a word, that might be the word that I’d pick.   It has connotations in it that society has never dealt with.”   OK, Dave, these statements are contradictory.   It “used” to be oppressive, but its use also raises issues that society has not “dealt with.”   So, with that obvious inner conflict, why do you use it – all the time?   Knowing the “connotations” of that word, why then would you be “furious” if a White person uses it and OK if a Black person uses it?   The history of the word here in America is that it started out as being used against Blacks by Whites; and then Blacks began using it against themselves based on Whites using it against them.   Based on that historical context, does it make sense to keep using it?   You (and your “best friend”/writing partner) are not diluting its sting by using it and greenlighting the show’s guests to use it.   Whatever you think you’re doing is not working.
  • On his meeting with the Fox Network to pick up his show, which didn’t work out, and he accused the network of racism:   “It was racist.   Look, I don’t think these people sit around their house and call Black people ‘n-----s’ and all this kind of thing.   But the idea that, unless I have White people around me on my show, that it’s unwatchable or doesn’t have a universal appeal, is racist.   You know?   They don’t make them put Black people on ‘Friends.’   Or they don’t make them put Black people on ‘Seinfeld.’   But all of a sudden I get in the room, and it’s like, ‘Where’s all the White people?’”   Again, this is somewhat contradictory for two reasons:   (1) the “original” use of the N-word reappears, which continues to make it clear why that word is not JUST a word and why its use should stay with its origins of racism and prejudice (then and now) and not used by Blacks endearingly or hatefully.   It’s not our word.   It belongs to racist people of the past and the present – let them continue to use it (as they certainly do – search the Web if you have doubts).   (2)   His “best friend”/writing partner is the “White” person that may not be out front too often, but he appears to definitely be playing a major part in tearing it up behind the scenes.   No doubt about that.
  • On the screening premiere of the Clayton Bigsby sketch:   “I’m completely at peace with this.   It’s edgy, it’s scary, it’s wild.   But I, in no stretch of my imagination, am I like embarrassed about this.”   As we mentioned previously, it would be very interesting to see this sketch played as is with a White character.   It’d be interesting to see the squirming begin – that would be edgy, scary, and wild.   The Black Bigsby is just a Black man calling his own people what some racist and prejudice Whites have been calling or wanting to call them for years.   Edgy, scary, and wild it ain’t!   Do the sketch as a blind White KKK leader and then we’ll be impressed.   In fact, it’ll be interesting to see your “best friend”/writing partner play the part; he’s acted pretty well in some of the show’s other sketches.

From an 8/8/04 TV Guide article :

  • On how race plays a part in his show’s viewership:   “I’m happy to say this show I’ve got now has blown that f---in’ theory completely out of the water.”   “I have so many White fans who watch a show that’s rooted in Black culture.”   Based on the kind of Black characters that are regularly part of the sketches – thugs, pimps, prostitutes, calling one another “nigger,” etc. – is it any wonder?   As we’ve said repeatedly throughout this document, by-and-large Whites come out unscathed, even when slavery and civil rights are joked about (topics that should be off limits to jokes (as is the Holocaust), especially if they can’t be fair).   The same can’t be said for Blacks.   It’s easy to laugh at and sit back and enjoy sketches that are only one percent focused on you and your so-called foibles.   When the host cracks on himself and his own people worse than you ever could or would, why wouldn’t you be tickled pink?   Based on the Nielsen Media data, three million people watch his show and it’s the desired demographic of 18-34 year-old young men.   Who are they talking about?   Are they talking about White men?   They must be, so that helps explain it.

From a 1/24/03 Africana article :

  • On writing his own material and acting:   “If it’s just you and another dude it’s like, there’s no question this is your stuff, so succeed or fail it’s you.   If it fails you get all the blame, but if it succeeds you get all the glory and I – I’d rather take the chance and get my due in, ‘cause I fancy myself prolific.”   “…further on in time, they’ll look back and be like, ‘this guy was really putting it down.’”   “These are the types of characters [a crackhead who does drug education with kids, a blind White supremacist who doesn’t realize he’s Black] that a Black dude will never do.   For a Black dude to play this point of view you’ve got to think, you’ve really got to stretch.”   “ If you look, if you really look at what I’m saying, I can justify each and every thing.   And before I do it, I pre-think it out:   is this a disservice?   And I don’t think I’m doing a disservice to anybody.”   Brother, if you think you’re prolific, putting it down, stretching, and doing no disservice to anybody, then more power to you.   Just remember that there’s always room for improvement for all of us.   No one should be immune to admitting mistakes, learning from those mistakes, and growing from those mistakes.   That’s called evolving and adapting as necessary to life’s constant changes.
  • On how some Blacks react to his comedy:   “It doesn’t make me less of a person – why can’t we just be ourselves and do what we do?   Don’t let people kill your spirit or create this inferiority complex, trying to accommodate or apologize for who we are.”   We know you know that “who we are” is not pimps, thugs, killers, drug addicts, prostitutes, oversexed, dumb, and ignorant, yet that is how you overwhelmingly portray Blacks in your show.   And the key word is “overwhelmingly.”   An inferiority complex is not the issue at all, it’s just a matter of being reasonably fair and balanced.   We know your “best friend”/writing partner is White, you’ve said on one of your shows that your wife is Asian, you’ve said that “rappers are really saying [stuff] and taking serious chances,” which is the reason for the hip-hop vibe on your show, and you’ve also made it a point to mention the Bigsby character is based on your blind grandfather whose mother is White and who himself looks White, but considers himself Black.   Your inner circle and reference points are very diverse, so the only request Blacks are making is that you portray balance, not leave the “bad” stuff out (whatever that is), just balance.
  • On testing out his shows:   “My brother-in-law is a corrections officer and I take the tapes to the jail.   And if anyone’s got a reason to be mad it’s them dudes.   So if them dudes is cool with me, if my moms is cool with me, then I’m at peace with it.”   That statement speaks volumes.   Hopefully, you get a well-rounded viewpoint of praise as well as constructive criticism from various sources.

Chappelle Web Site and Other Forums

There was a whole lot of buzz on the Web regarding Chappelle’s Show toward the end of last year when we first started to gather information.   It has died down considerably because of the big delay in production for Season Three.   A whole lot of it praised his innovation and edginess and glorified his characters, especially the Black KKK leader Clayton Bigsby and crackhead Tyrone Biggums.   Yeah, those two Chappelle’s Show sketch regulars.   Nevertheless, we found some quotes of interest to share with you.   We’ve also included some links at the end of this document that you can access and read in full for yourself that include Whites who think Chappelle as well as other Black comedians are racist.   Following are some quotes:

  • “Not funny.   Obnoxious…can’t tolerate his voice.   Racist Racist Racist.   And yet, he perpetuates the negative stereotypes of Blacks.   (Red Balls?   Black homeless guy on crack stealing car audio units…?)”
  • “Yeah it’s racist, but who cares?   He makes fun of every race, stop being so sensitive.   Comedy is about laughing at the things that are wrong with our society.”
  • “’I’m Rick James, bitch!’ makes me long for the days when the catch phrase du jour was ‘You’re the Weakest Link, goodbye.’”
  • “I can honestly say I have never laughed as hard in my life as when I heard the words ‘Is Wayne Brady going to have to choke a bitch?’ come out of Wayne Brady’s mouth.”
  • “If anything, Dave made it okay for white people to say the ‘N’ word in context without pissing Black people off.   Anything that can make Black people LAUGH when a white person says the ‘N’ word is OK by me.”
  • “My only problem is the show gave illegitimate poetic licenses to Caucasians to use the ‘N’ word.   Times have not changed, so check yourselves.   Peace.”  

You can also access BN-W’s interaction with fans on his Web site.   It lasted for about a month, from October–November 2004.   It was fun, especially since we’re not really the forum/chat room crew.   But we did try to learn some of the forum rules and also learned some cyberspace terminology such as “newbie” and “PM” (private message).   We got PM’d by the forum administrator and told to go onto other forums and cut out the “propaganda.”   But even the administrator came around when we explained that others were coming into the forums instigating stuff with BN-W because seeing our name just brought out the “argument” in them.   And, of course, it was very enlightening just mixing it up with Chappelle fans – some were hard core fans and one even cursed us out, but most were reasonable and respectful.   To bring that type of interaction out of people, there has to be some discomfort – even if there is some resistance.   Our favorite, of course, was “ Damascus,” who gave us the link for the “Nigger and Caricatures” piece www.ferris.edu/news/jimcrow/caricature/, and getting that link alone made it so worth going onto the site and becoming a “shitstarter” as we were nicknamed.   We haven’t gone on there since that time other than to get quick updates in preparation for this “analysis.”   Besides, perhaps somewhere in the back of our minds, we were just trying to stir things up a little.   But, we do want to thank “ Damascus” once again and also thank one of the writers of the piece, Dr. David Pilgrim of Ferris State University ( www.ferris.edu/news/jimcrow/vision.htm) , who gave us permission to share it.   The link for BN-W’s cyberspace interaction is:  www.davechappelle.com/forum/shwmessage.aspx?ForumID=7&MessageID=46012

Dave.   Dave.   Dave.   Why?   Why?   Why?   Why do 99% of your jokes end with a punch line that bashes people who look like you, Blacks?   Why do you use the N-word obsessively, excessively, and unnecessarily?   Why do so many of your Black guests (Wayne Brady, Jamie Foxx, Mos Def, Snoop Dogg, Lil Jon, Paul Mooney, etc.) use it automatically – is it part of the script and their contract with Chappelle’s Show?   How much do you write and how much does your “best friend”/writing partner Neal Brennan write?   Since Brennan is White, is it a safe assumption that he’s quite comfortable assisting in writing scripts that, overall, portray Blacks overwhelmingly negatively and, that, overall, portray Whites as either jerks or passive?

Many critics have described Chappelle’s Show as brilliant, edgy, and offensive to everyone.   (We, no doubt, disagree.)   Some Whites complain about being portrayed as corny, square, ditzy, unable to dance, uptight, uncool, slutty, and naive.   But when you see how Blacks are regularly portrayed on Chappelle’s Show – as crackheads, potheads, thugs, pimps, killers, ignorant, dumb, prostitutes, etc. – overall, who’s getting the better portrayal and what category would you prefer to be in?   What’s funny is that the Whites, especially males, who complain don’t realize how fortunate they are because the writing duo of Chappelle/Brennan puts the entire burden of slavery, reparations, and civil rights on the shoulders of Black people.   Whites are not carrying the weight (or the joke punch line) for anything – they don’t really get called out (comically that is) for brutalizing the enslaved, raping women, committing pedophilia, selling the enslaved, lynching Blacks, sabotaging voting rights, burning down homes and businesses, etc.   The Blacks are the joke punch line for everything even if there was a fleeting reference to a White male doing wrong.   Here are just a few examples of the punch line being at the expense of Blacks every time:

  • Reparations :   don’t give them reparations because they’ll just waste the money and run through it by spending it on material things – how about throwing a joke in there explaining WHY some Blacks are materialistic and how it ties into some feeling “less than” due to the conditioning of 246 years of slavery and another 100 official years of Jim Crow laws and oppression (and need we go into what goes on today?).   And who’s the punch line?
  • Deep Impact :   pointing out the injustices of a government that had a cure for AIDS but kept it away from the public.   Chappelle is the new Black U.S. President and he’s letting everybody know about the available cure.   Come to find out, he’s the oversexed Black male who, himself, is spreading AIDS around – he tosses a vial to a young White girl and says “cure for AIDS, sorry about last night.”   And who’s the punch line?
  • Camera :   this is one of his few intelligent and interesting sketches.   In this one, there’s a camera with special powers that can see a person’s inner self and thoughts as well as into the future.   It’s actually pretty funny until the end – Chappelle’s character throws it away because it’s too ominous, but guess who finds it?   Crackhead Tyrone, with thoughts of getting high.   And who’s the punch line?   [This ending might actually have some funny kick to it if Tyrone wasn’t a constant throughout every show.]

An interesting side note to the Chappelle/Brennan writing duo is that they give major support to one sketch on the history of the Holocaust – Hitler actually gets beaten up in this sketch.   Wouldn’t it be nice to see the enslavers get that more often, especially considering how many sketches were done on or about enslavement and racism on this show.   Interesting that Hitler gets a semi-beat down and enslaved African Americans get made fun of – why is that?   [Got to ask – Dave, why are you letting yourself and the historical significance of African Americans here in America get played like this?   What’s up, brother?]   The true bottom line is that Chappelle and his “best friend”/writing partner should not be making regular jokes about enslavement and America’s history of racism, especially when they reduce it to teasing the enslaved/pro-civil rights marchers and largely letting the enslavers/anti-civil rights protesters off the hook.  

For those who feel Chappelle’s humor is insulting, but accepts it because others seem to accept it, in a 1963 interview, writer James Baldwin said the following:   “Guilt is easy, responsibility is hard, and action is even harder.”   Dave, we also ask you, is it really worth it to sell your soul and the souls of your ancestors for a few million bucks to an audience that’s undoubtedly laughing at you, not with you?   As you stated in the 60 Minutes II interview mentioned above, your Ohio farm is “all paid for.   This is the kiss-my-a-- farm, show business….I’m cool with failing so long as I know that there are people around me that love me unconditionally.   And I got that.   So…what do I got to lose?”   With that type of attitude and he’s still young (only early 30s), there’s hope yet that we’ll get you on the side of simple historical facts, and, yes, that will mean making the White males uncomfortable with facts.   There’s not much we agree with commentator Armstrong Williams on, but he was absolutely correct (his payola scandal aside) when he said “entertainers need to stop letting these owners and executives pimp them.”

As for Chappelle’s “best friend” Neal Brennan, while we at BN-W know nothing whatsoever about their professional and personal “bond,” we have to still wonder and ask, based on our observations as outsiders, is he really a friend at all?   As Baldwin also said in this same interview in reference to any real human connection:   “People modify each other, that’s what’s called love.”   But, hey, who are we to wonder what makes a “best friend”?

www.jumptheshark.com/c/chappellesshow.htm  (“Chappelle’s Show - Other Thoughts”)

www.3.8mustang.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-34661  (“Black Comedians Are Racist”)

www.us.imdb.com/name/nm0152638/board/nest/11382673  (“Dave Chappelle Hates Whites And Thinks They Are Devils”)

The DC Examiner, which is a free newspaper in Washington, DC, wrote a piece on Chappelle.   The writer, Tom Elliott, also writes for the New York Sun newspaper, a conservative newspaper that’s on par politically with the New York Post.   As we expected, the writer put a piece together that’s very favorable toward Chappelle’s type of humor.   He even voices his disdain for “reparations” and puts it in the category with government handouts.   (Wonder if he feels the same way about the Holocaust distributions that have gone (and still go) to survivors here in America and the billions that go to Israel annually.   That’s probably OK.)   In referencing Jesse Jackson’s lack of political clout, he writes the following:   “No matter:   Jackson insists that Blacks should be rewarded for the suffering of their forefathers; Blacks shouldn’t have to perform as well to get into college; nor should Blacks feel badly or even responsible about being disproportionately represented in prison populations – because, of course, society is racist, the system is corrupt.”   Just like George W. Bush, who we know definitely got to where he is solely based on his high grades, intelligence, and because he earned it.   Isn’t that right, Tom?   This is the proof of a sample of Dave’s support base.   Elliott also praises the “gun-toting bubblegum rap of MTV,” such as Lil Jon, that Chappelle DOES NOT have on his show.   How funny (and incorrect!) is that?  Yeahhhhh!   Thank you, Tom, for e-mailing this piece today; it’s right on time.   Read the full story at http://www.dcexaminer.com/articles/2005/02/17//opinion/op-ed/01aaaaechapelleoped.txt

BN-W Monitor Coming Soon:   “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” [Kimberly Elise, Steve Harris]; “The Honeymooners” [Cedric the Entertainer, Gabrielle Union]; “King’s Ransom” [Anthony Anderson]; “The Pacifier” [Vin Diesel]; “Beauty Shop” [Queen Latifah, Ice Cube]; “Guess Who” [Bernie Mac, Ashton Kutcher]; “Man of the House” [Cedric the Entertainer, Tommy Lee Jones]; “An Unfinished Life” [Jennifer Lopez, Robert Redford]

Also Coming :   DVD Monitoring; Spring 2005 Music Monitoring

 

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