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Posted June 17 2007 - 07:06 AM
The Best of Chappelle's Show (Uncensored)
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Running Time: ~60 minutes
Audio: English 2.0
Release Date: June 5, 2007
Review Date: June 17, 2007
Comedy. It’s ultimately subjective for enjoyment, and is dependent on timing and intangibles like the makeup of the audience. What one person might find hilarious another might find complete and utter drivel. I love “Super Troopers” but some college friends found it pointless and stupid. I loved “Team America” but others find it tepid. On the contrary I’m told how absolutely hysterical “Napoleon Dynamite” is, yet I think I sat through its two-hour run time without cracking so much as a smile.
Comedy is also heavily reliant on context. What might be funny on the stage might not translate to the television screen. Fortunately Dave Chappelle knows how to mix standup humor with sketch comedy and has put together a wonderfully funny television program.
The structure is very familiar to comedy traditionalists who remember the works of Flip Wilson or Johnny Carson’s skits on “The Tonight Show.” “Chappelle’s Show” takes its humor in a scattershot manner, throwing gags up at a wall and seeing what sticks. Dave does impersonations of everyone from rapper “Lil’ John” to golf superstar Tiger Woods. Chappelle puts together parodies of advertisements like Sam Adams Beer (Samuel Jackson Beer). In fact some of Dave’s most memorable scenes come from his superstar parodies: most people associate the show with the phrase “I’m Rick James, Bitch.”
But the funniest pieces, in my estimation, are the original skits that address racial issues. The writing crew postulates on theories like “White People Can’t Dance” or that there needs to be a draft to clarify what race popular entertainers of mixed races like Lenny Kravitz or Tiger Woods are. “Chappelle’s Show,” with tongue planted firmly in cheek, looks at things like the “N-word,” racial epitaphs, and our perceptions of race. By exposing these offensive concepts Chappelle and his crew force us to look at something that is negative in a different light. Will it change anyone’s views on race in America? I doubt it. But it sure is funny.
This single-disc set is a compilation of the twenty-five “most famous” bits. We get to meet neo-classic characters like Tyrone the Crack Addict, and Rick James. I prefer the episodes where the gags are fast and furious rather than the longer, more storied installments. The structure of the show means that the pieces can be taken out without losing anything, and that is the reason I can recommend this set. You don’t need the full episodes and larger sets; this set saves dollars and shelf-space.
As for the tag of “uncensored,” that’s only partially true. The language is unbleeped, and full of profanity. Personally I always thought the bleeping was the funniest part of the show, what they tried to get away with on television. On DVD, to my sensibilities, it seems excessively profane. Others will find the swearing hilarious. There are a few exposed breasts that are blurred out, so it’s not completely uncensored.
It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but if you like Dave Chappelle and want to check out his uncensored thoughts on the program, you’ll be in heaven. I find it hilarious and it’s a cultural touchstone. You’ll be in heaven.
The program is presented in its original 4:3 broadcast aspect ratio. Since it was originally presented on cable TV, you’ve likely seen good quality copies before and this is no slouch. The colors are bright, though the lines are a touch soft on the DVD presentation. I didn’t see any compression artifacting or scratches on the negative.
Again presented in its original broadcast standard of 2.0 stereo, there aren’t a lot of dynamics to worry about with this comedy program. The dialogue comes through clear, at least when it’s not being masked by the laughs of the live, studio audience. remarkable but nothing to complain about, either.
Two episodes are collected in their entirety, because the humor is reliant on the timing of the full twenty-two minutes. Those episodes, of course, are the Charlie Murphy True Hollywood Stories about his interactions with the late Rick James.
“Chappelle’s Show” is not for everyone. It’s got a very youth-oriented sensibility. If you’re easily offended by profanity I’d recommend you stay far away from this series. If you don’t mind a racially charged set of gags and a mockery of popular culture you’ll find a lot to enjoy in this collection of the finest from “Chappelle’s Show.”