CORPORATE LINE: Comic genius Dave Chappelle trained his satirical eye on the vagaries of pop culture and race relations in his brilliant but short-lived Comedy Central series CHAPPELLE’S SHOW. The edgy funnyman brandished his unique style of streetsmart comedy to skewer everything from car commercials to the KKK, blending sketches, parodies, standup, and musical guest performances into a hilarious sendup of modern American life. Though the show was cancelled after only two seasons, Chappelle did record a handful of skits for a possible third season, presented here as a collection of “lost episodes.”
THE REVIEW: All of the leftover Chappelle material comes uncensored and it was much anticipated once the world found out he wasn’t coming back. The problem is how the set isn’t whole. In a sense its a handful of stuff we wouldn’t have ever seen had Chappelle come back. How can we be sure Chappelle would have let these episodes see the light of day? This is either a chance to watch Chappelle’s final episodes or Comedy Central chance to recoup money from one of their cash cows.
Chappelle’s episodes aren’t terrible—they just lack energy and solid material throughout. Chappelle’s power has always been about making you think with skits about racism, sexism, and other issues. Chappelle is brilliant at getting laughs at the expense of others. That brilliant humor is rarely on display in these episodes.
Ultimately there are two, maybe three, episodes that are really funny. The others are mildly amusing—but nothing compares to the first two seasons and the many episodes that made you belly laugh. The best skits involve a discussion of Tupac, MTV Cribs, and Chappelle getting a haircut. What makes the episodes even less tolerable are the skits where Chappelle is missing completely. And don’t even get me started on the painful hosts Charlie Murphy and Donnell Rawlings.
“Bonus unaired sketches” – This material is unaired for a reason—none are finished. There is nothing worth watching.
“The Fabulous Making of Chappelle’s Show” – With Chappelle this is a weak featurette.
The deleted scenes are painful and only added to beef up a lacking DVD. The blooper reel on the other hand is actually funny. There is a performance by John Legend and Dead Prez which is interesting if you like either artist—otherwise it’s another piece of filler. Does anyone care about a commentary by co-stars Charlie Murphy and Donnell Rawlings without Dave Chappelle? We didn’t.
FRANKLY: Chappelle’s Show: The Lost Episodes might have been the reason Mr. Chappelle decided to go into exile. Perhaps he knew the show had run its course.
+ Charlie Craine