On January 22, 2003 Black television changed forever. Comedian Dave Chappelle premiered his late night sketch comedy show on Comedy Central filling a void in late night television that had been vacated by the likes of “The Aresenio Hall Show” and “In Living Color.” But Dave’s irreverent humor was in a class all its own.
Fact: The Clayton Bigsby character was based on Dave’s own grandfather
The D.C native’s affinity for hip-hop and fearless approach to sensitive topics made him an instant hit. Whether it was “The Racial Draft” where Tiger Woods became Black or the classic Charlie Murphy’s Truth Hollywood Stories with the late Rick James Chappelle took made sketch comedy feel like oral history. In fact, mere phrases from the show (“I’m Rick James, bitch!” ) have become ubiquitous, embedding themselves into the American lexicon.
Add performances from some of hip-hops best like Kanye West, Erykah Badu and Snoop and Chappelle’s Show was must-see TV. Sales of season 1 and 2 on DVD made it one of the most successful of all time, beating out The Simpsons in 2005.
Unfortunately, Chappelle would take his talents back to Ohio and Season 3 never officially materialized. Fans still pine away for the return of Chappelle to TV and Chris Rock recently hinted that the two may tour together. In any respect we need him back.
“He was the new generation Eddie Murphy,” says DJ Rob Flow, who walked away with a jar or Pomade and a pack of Newports after winning the “I Know Black People” contest on Chappelle. “Every generation has a black comedian that expresses a particular type of angle on the culture. In ’70s we had Richard Pryor. ’80s we had Eddie Murphy. He was definitely a part of hip-hop culture and he loved conscious artists. He was important to the culture for that. He ended up really pushing the racial lines and that’s what freaked everybody out. It got really popular and he realized white people aren’t laughing with us. That’s my theory. I think that’s why he left. But he needs to come back and finish the thought. Get white people to laugh with us, not at us.”
|True Hollywood Stories – Rick James Pt. 1|
Throughout the month of February TheUrbanDaily.com will be celebrating 25 of the biggest moments in pop culture, sponsored by Gillette.