Top positive review
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Fearless, controversial, and absolutely hilarious
on November 4, 2004
I had caught snippets of Chappelle's Show here and there before, but I had never made a point of actually sitting down and watching a complete episode. Then a friend of mine told me about a hilarious skit featuring Dave Chappelle as a black white supremacist (he is blind and doesn't know he is actually a black man); if it was only half as funny as she said it was, I knew I had to see it for myself, so I soon bought myself a copy of Chappelle's Show Season One. Not only is the skit in question hilarious, it basically defines the type of humor Dave Chappelle brings to the comedy scene. I don't think the television viewing audience has ever seen anything like this before - certainly not to the extremes that Dave Chappelle takes it. When he jokes about the fact the show has not been cancelled yet, it actually rings with a bit of truth. Very few comedians could get away with this type of over-the-top humor.
To say that this is mature humor is something of an understatement. Adult language abounds, and all the bleeps you heard on television are now removed - thus, the Uncensored! tagline. You'll find a lot of jokes centered on human anatomy - especially female anatomy. Far beyond everything else, though, is a relentless comedic skewering of racism. Some would probably consider this a racist show, actually - the "n word" is used in abundance, and stereotypes of blacks, Asians, whites, and other races are exploited shamelessly. The whole point of the race-based comedy, though, is to show just how extreme and ridiculous racist thinking and behavior really is. Some people won't "get it," of course, and they will probably think Chappelle's Show is one of the most offensive things they have ever witnessed - and that's OK. The majority of viewers, I believe, will "get it" and will join me in an extended laugh-fest that lasts throughout all twelve episodes of Season One as well as the bonus materials included in this DVD offering.
Among the gut-bustingly funny stuff you will find in Chappelle's Show Season One are the antics of crack addict Tyrone Biggums (including a visit to a drug awareness day at an elementary school), Chappelle-ized scenes from hit films such as Roots and The Matrix, a news report detailing the profound aftereffects brought about by the paying of reparations for slavery, "Great Moments in Hookup History," a "Real World" episode featuring one really white guy living with five crazy African-Americans, a hard-hitting documentary detailing the racism of famous animal performers, a documentary covering great inner city gang wars of the 1980s, an interracial episode of Trading Spouses, numerous Chappelle-ized television ads, Ask a Black Dude features with comedian Paul Mooney, a hilarious look at the international Player Hater Ball, and of course a lot of crude jokes about drugs and bodily functions. The only bad thing about these episodes is the fact that they are sometimes rather short. Chappelle featured rap and hip-hop musical guests on each show, but those segments are not included on nine of the twelve episodes you get here (and it's only a half-hour show to begin with).
The comedy is a little uneven at times. A few skits never really catch fire and are thus forgettable, but the vast majority of the material here will have you rolling in the aisles. Even the kind of toilet humor that normally isn't that funny will have you in stitches because Chappelle just keeps going to the well so many times that he makes it funny despite itself.
Five of the episodes come with audio commentary by Dave Chappelle and the show's co-creator Neal Brennan (who is white, by the way), as does the extra 29-minute feature of bloopers and deleted scenes. I was actually a little disappointed by the audio commentary; it was informational but not as funny as I had expected. The bloopers and deleted scenes were also less than hilarious - but I realized long ago (thanks to Dick Clarke and Ed McMahon) that bloopers really aren't very funny much of the time. All these extras are just icing on the cake, though, as the twelve episodes of the show more than make this Season One collection worth the money. Heck, it's worth it for just the blind, black white supremacist feature by itself.