While trying to maintain the spirit and success of the first two seasons of his hit show, Dave Chapelle may be unwittingly starring in a real life version of one of his famous skits.
After a shinning debut, the Dave Chapelle show broke out in its second season, seemingly in one bold, and braggadocios proclamation, ” I’m Rick James bitch!” The show took aim at any and every issue, and offended any and everybody, and spanned all borders of age, race, or political predilection.
With intelligent wit and fearless humor, It became fine cuisine to an audience accustomed to fast food television. No one expected the huge success of the show, especially Chapelle himself, who seemed to be caught off guard by his sudden fame.
Anticipation for the third season was high as numerous delays were announced, and then came word from Comedy Central that production of the third season was to be postponed indefinately. During this tumultuous time, Chappelle had been wholly silent, even amid ramped rumors ranging from drug use to mental instability.
It was only recently that he finally spoke out in an interview he gave to Time Magazine. He admitted that the pressure of delivering under the weight of his mammoth contract was difficult. “There were things that overwhelmed me, but not in the way that people are saying. I haven’t spent any of the money. All that stuff about partying and taking crack is not true.”
He adressed concerns he has about creative control, and other disagreements he had with Comedy Central. “I want to make sure I’m dancing and not shuffling. Whatever decisions I make right now I’m going to have to live with. He gave the interview from South Africa where he is visiting friends, not in a mental facility as rumor would have it. “You hear so many voices jockeying for position in your mind that you want to make sure that you hear your own voice,” Chappelle said. “So I figured, let me just cut myself off from everybody, take a minute and pull a Flintstone; stop a speeding car by using my bare feet as the brakes.”
And that leaves us, the starving fans of the Dave Chapelle show. Our bowls in our hands, our voices weak, humbly asking, “please sir, I want some more.”
Chapelle has accomplished a rare feat in Hollywood. Originality. His sketches and punch lines, even the monologue-to-presentation style format of the show are things we had never seen. All that need happen for the show to continue its groundbreaking success, is for Dave Chapelle to just show up and be Dave. Or Rick. Or Lil Jon. Or Prince, or whoevever he wants to be.
Fans care little about his wallet busting bank account, and will not judge his comedy by its measure. If he is trying to write $50 million dollar jokes, he will fall on his face every time, and the joke will have been on him. Chapelle seems to be oblivious to one fundamental truth. People love Dave Chapelle. No matter what he presents, the fans will devour it. They will love it, and they will come back for more. Not because of his absence, but because of his brilliance.
Dave Chappelle’s woes seem to stem from a genuine attempt to remain grounded and stay true to himself, which is very commendable. But it seems we have seen this skit before. Chapelle should glean a lesson from one his own stories that warned of the consequences when keeping it real, goes wrong.
Fans of the show can only hope that Comedy Central will remain patient with its troubled star, and that he still has a show to come back to when he is done keeping it real.