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Chappelle's Show (S2)
DVD disk
May 26, 2005 By: Mike Sampson
Chappelle's Show (S2) order
Director:
Neil Brennan

Actors:
Dave Chappelle
Charlie Murphy
Paul Mooney

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Basically it's a sketch comedy series created by comedian Dave Chappelle. If you really need to know more, Comedy Central describes it as such: "Chappelle's Show" brings Dave's jokebook to life, with episodes consisting of sketches, man-on-the-street pieces and pop culture parodies introduced by Dave in a stand-up format in front of a studio audience. Chappelle's unique point-of-view on the world provides a hilarious, defiant and sometimes dangerous look at American culture, including music, movies, television, advertising, current events and everyday life situations."

IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I got the sense, about halfway through the second season of Chappelles Show when it was originally airing on Comedy Central this past summer, that I was witnessing a defining moment in modern comedy. The term water cooler was coined by television executives to describe a show so dynamic that people have to talk about the next day at the office but the idea has recently become antiquated with the advent of TiVo, spoilers, message boards, etc. But Chappelles Show was becoming a water cooler show, of sorts, for the young generation reaching an obvious crescendo with Episode 204 better known as the Rick James episode.

Even before Charlie Murphys True Hollywood Stories, I felt like there really was something special about the second season of Chappelles Show. It seemed like everyone, everywhere was talking about it. Didja see the one with? I remember a specific incident where my wife and I were in the middle of a particularly heated argument and eventually I (or we) had enough and I just plopped myself down on the couch to try and cool off. Chappelle was on and in particular it was Episode 202 and the Niggar Family sketch. Now keep in mind my wife and I are still both pretty pissed at each other and neither one of us is talking. The tension in the room is thick like summer air. But as the skit played out, both of us, who wanted nothing better than to NOT laugh, couldnt help ourselves. Minutes ago we were about ready to head into a steel cage match and now we were both busting a gut.

It was around that time I saw the first promo for the Rick James episode, which would define Season 2 and eventually a good portion of Dave Chappelles career. In the commercial they showed the What did the five fingers say to the face? bit and man it just killed. You KNEW that episode was just going to be killer. And killer it was. It was an episode that was almost instantly quotable. If you were easy you went with the now commonplace, Im Rick James, bitch. If you had more discerning taste, perhaps you busted out ???? But no matter what you quoted, everyone knew what you were talking about. Sometimes it takes things like this to build; like, perhaps, NAPOLEON DYNAMITE. But with Chappelle within days of airing, you could walk into any bar and bust out a Samuel Jackson (Itll get ya drunk!), Lil Jon (uhWHAT?!) or even Wayne Brady (Is Wayne Brady gonna have to choke a bitch?). I felt the same way the first time I saw Chris Rocks Bring the Pain HBO special. And the first time I saw EDDIE MURPHY: RAW. Chappelles Show Season 2 launched Dave Chappelle into the same hallowed territory as both Rock and Murphy and if Season 3 can eventually maintain that legacy remains to be seen, but well always have this DVD as a testament to his genius.

So to answer the question, "Is it a good movie?" YES. There's one of those promotional quotes on the back of the DVD case from a local New York paper that says "Chappelle's Show" is the best show on TV. Unfortunately, due to Chappelle's recent problems, it's not on first-run TV anymore but when it was, I'd would've agreed with that statement heartily.

THE EXTRAS

If this DVD included nothing BUT these extras, I'd recommend you buy it. Let's take a look at what's included:

Uncensored - I don't know if you'd technically consider this an extra per se but it certainly seemed like it (and it's a big selling point of the disc) so I'll include it here quickly. Obviously there is nothing cut out here and you get the show in all it's graphic format. In addition to the uncensored audio there are also a number of gags that were cut away from on the TV show (such as a character actually smoking a joint), which are put back in here. The only thing you won't see in the episodes themselves is the nudity. That's still blurred. Why? Not sure, but in the outtakes section you can see some of the unpixelated boobs (nothing too exciting cause they're wearing pasties).

Bloopers and Outtakes - I lost track of the time myself but the packaging claims there is over one hour of footage in this section and I have no reason to doubt that. Some stuff is hilarious (like Dave ad-libbing his way through Rick James, Sam Jackson or Lil Jon impressions) and some stuff isn't necessarily (The Racial Draft) but it gives you a good sense as to what goes into making an episode of "Chappelle's Show." I was surprised to see how much green screen they use in filming some episodes. The clips run chronologically throughout the episodes and are available to watch one-by-one or as a "Play All" feature.

Uncut Rick James Interview The entire 20-minute Rick James interview from the Charlie Murphys True Hollywood Stories is included here, with co-writer Neil Brennan asking questions off-camera in response to Charlie's stories, and is a pleasure to watch. Not only is Rick hilarious in his own right but you get a better appreciation for the man here. The episode is edited to seem like Charlie was a normal guy while Rick was a drug and alcohol fueled maniac (which he admittedly was) but when you watch Ricks full interview he even cautions you that Charlie wasnt exactly an angel in those days either. Plus you realize some of Ricks quotes are taken out of context like the, Yeah I remember grinding my feet on Eddies couch instant replay bit. While it seemed absurd that he was saying that in the episode, when you watch the unedited interview, you realize that Rick, in his own logic, is making some sense. Also we learn here that, in trying to defend himself, Rick is the one who told Chappelle and his crew about the Prince basketball game that wound up becoming another skit on the show.

More Charlie Murphy - The DVD packaging lists two unaired Charlie Murphy stories, but really you get three. First you get some of the stuff that was cut out of the Rick James stories where he talks about how close he is with Rick and how after all that nonsense, they're still very good friends (as revealed in the commentary later, he was actually a pallbearer at James's funeral). The other two clips are brand new "True Hollywood Stories" one revolving around a drunken member of Eddie's posse who was asking for (and received) a major beatdown and the other following Charlie's detail on Eddie's security crew. Neither one packs the punch of either the Prince or Rick James stories but perhaps that's because both of these are presented unedited. Perhaps the funniest is Charlie's insistance to use a pseudonym for one of the people in the stories but his continued inability to remember not to use the guy's real name.

Dave's Stand-Up - This is about 20 minutes of the Chappelle "stand-up" segment of the show when he comes out, raps to the audience and introduces the clips. These were likely cut out for timing or content issues. While I would've preferred some pure stand-up (from Dave on tour perhaps) this isn't bad and just has the guy up on stage saying whatever's on his mind.

Audio Commentary - Chappelle and seies co-creator Neil Brennan provide five audio commentary tracks for five of the episodes (1-4 and 12) and all the deleted material. It helps to have guys talking on a commentary track that are obviously good friends and know each other well as they're what a good track should be - informative and entertaining. Where else could we learn that Martin Scorsese is a big fan of the "Playa Hater's Ball" sketch? These are definitely worth a listen and much, much better than your garden variety commentary track.

Comedy Central Previews - Perhaps the only negative to this entire set are the five clips/commercials for other Comedy Central DVDs that start playing as soon as you pop in Disc 1. Thankfully you can skip right past them but I'd rather not have to sort through commercials for "South Park," "Reno 911," or a Richard Pryor documentary.

FINAL DIAGNOSIS

If you're a fan of the show, you probably won't laugh harder at a DVD this year than you did watching everything there is to offer on these discs. Sometimes the stories behind the stories are just as funny as the stories...if that makes sense. It's just a shame that the episodes (now without commercials) zip by at a brisk 18-minute pace (especially considering I often zoned out during the musical performances). Given we may not see any new "Chappelle" until 2006, if ever, I highly recommend you head out and pick up a copy of "Chappelle's Show" (S2) and file it right next to the rest of the comedy classics in your DVD library. Then in 20 years, when you want to show your kids some classic comedy, bust it back out right alongside Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, et. al.

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