The Chappelle Show Essay example

The Chappelle Show Essay example

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"Where have I been?"  Dave Chappelle asked a San Francisco crowd in 2005. "It is a long story. It is a long, uninteresting story ..." Perhaps it is. And perhaps it isn’t. One thing is for certain. Today, Chappelle is considered by many to be one of the most influential comedians. He is particularly well known for his lively, controversial, and sometimes bordering on the obscene stand-up comic acts. In 2006, he was labeled “the comic genius of America” by Esquire. More recently, Billboard (2013) proclaimed him “the best.” Amazingly, it has been more than ten years since his comedy series, “The Chappelle Show” first aired. What’s even more amazing is the fact that his main body of work comes from only the first two seasons.
The main subjects of Chappelle's comedy routines have typically been race, inequality, sex, drugs, and politics. Yet, while the use of these subjects for parody is not uncommon, what is unique is the fact that Chappelle’s comedy preaches an all-together different perspective. Rather than simply leaning on this subject matter for shock value as so many comedians would do, Chappelle has urged his audience to see how we tend to label people all too often. And, in the end, labeling gives to the creation and perpetuation of cultural stereotypes.
            However, Chappelle’s comedy routine and the subject matter that it embraces is a long way from his roots. He was born David Khari Webber Chappelle in Washington D.C. in 1973. His father was a statistician before accepting a position as professor at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. His mother was a professor at several colleges and universities, to include Howard University. She was also a minister in the Unitarian Church. Chappelle grew up in Silver Sprin...

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...or for some time to come. His message may far outlive him
Finally, Chappelle recently turned down a $50 million contract with Comedy Central, deciding to put The Chappelle Show on hiatus. Rumors spread like wildfire surrounding his possible motivations and a short-lived and by all accounts disappearance. The media made it seem as if Chappelle had suffered either a drug-related issue or a mental breakdown. This was proven not to be the case. Chappelle literally had escaped to South Africa in order to flee the limelight. He also claimed that he wanted to gain an appreciation for new culture. Can anyone blame him for wanting to gain an appreciation for his African roots? In the final analysis, Dave Chappelle may be trying to teach us a few things cross-cultural acceptance. However, it’s clear that he plans to continue to live, learn, and grow along with the rest of us.

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