Paramount // 2004 // 275 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // June 1st, 2005
It's Season Two, b****!
Well this is ironic...and a bit awkward. The release of the sterling Season Two of Chappelle's Show comes right on the heels of the big news that its titular host may or not be (a) meditating, (b) introspecting, or (c) crazy. Despite the disappointing news that Season Three is postponed indefinitely, Dave's sophomore effort has finally arrived, and if anything, it painfully shows why this comedian's sudden absence sucks.
This three-disc set contains all 13 Season Two episodes, spread over two discs, with a third devoted to bonus features. Chappelle built on the fan following and taboo-shattering comedy that he and series co-creator Neal Brennan forged in Season One, and the result is a season of shows that trumped much of the material that came before it, in terms of both shock and hilarity.
It's all here: rolling with Wayne Brady, the expedition to determine if white people really can dance (with John Mayer), Samuel L. Jackson's beer, Making the Band with P. Diddy, Ashy Larry, the Racial Draft, Black Gallagher, Negrodamus, and, of course, the legendary "Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories" featuring Rick James and Prince.
Season One put Dave Chappelle on the map of television comedy; Season Two made him a dominant geographical force. These are the shows that defined Chappelle's Show, which eventually earned an unparalleled $50 million payday for its star.
Let me make this clear: Chappelle's Show: Season Two is one of the funniest pieces of rounded plastic you can jam into your DVD player. Chappelle and Brennan have crafted a sophomore season that raises their game to such a high level that it makes Season One look amateurish.
This stuff is laugh-out-loud, Mountain-Dew-spewing-from-your-nostrils funny. Plus it's offensive. And everyone gets it. Much of the show's humor derives from its assault on racial issues, exploiting all the stereotypes of the rainbow with gusto. I think that's a real indicator of why Dave and Neal have been so successful: their humor excludes no one from a vigorous lambasting. They are truly equal-opportunity offenders.
All of it is anchored by Chappelle himself, who may not be the greatest thespian in the world but boasts a great physical presence and an engaging charisma on-screen. When you add that he is unafraid of self-deprecating humor -- a refreshing trait in any comedian -- you've got a solid performer to build a show around. Oddly, the difference between Dave in his sketches and Dave on stage with the audience is jarring; the energy he exudes in the taped material contrasts dramatically with the lethargic, almost sedated persona that introduces the stuff.
Regardless, it's great, and if you like to laugh and have a strong constitution for virulently anti-PC humor, this set is a must-own. And now, some of my favorite Season Two moments:
* "Rick James"
For my money, this is the sketch that launched Chappelle's Show into the pop culture collective consciousness. Charlie Murphy spins the tales of his bizarre encounters with Superfreak himself, Rick James, and the multiple times he's had to "whip his ass." And it's all true!(Dave and Neal verify this in the commentary.) "I'm Rick James, bitch!" officially entered the mainstream lexicon because of this sketch.
Another Charlie Murphy True Hollywood Story, this one seems just too wacky to be believed, but if we are to take the series creators at their word, this is another gem rooted in real events. Prince playing basketball?! And dominating? Then serving pancakes? WTF?!
* "White People Can Dance"
Here's a great example of the all-around stereotyping humor that the show exceeds at. Dave brings John Mayer with him to see if white people can in fact dance, and if -- as Dave postulates -- it depends on the music. Sure enough, the white folks get down when John rips with the electric guitar. Next stop is a Harlem barber shop, where the guitar fails miserably. But some drum beats get the joint hopping, and when an electric piano is added the Latinos join in. Dave's rendition of the theme to The Jeffersons at the end of the show is priceless.
* "Puppet STDs"
Snoop Dogg voicing a puppet with severe groin rot. Nothing else needs to be said.
* "Riding With Wayne Brady"
A hilarious play on the perception of Wayne Brady as the black person of choice for white people, this sketch details a horrific night Dave has riding shotgun with Wayne himself. Clever nods to Training Day abound, and be prepared for quite possibly the most brilliant line ever conceived in television history: "Is Wayne Brady gonna have to choke a bitch?"
All the shows are presented in their original full-frame ratio. The transfers are clean and solid and look fine. Sound is adequate as well, the usual Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo mix. It's a TV show, a sketch series at that, so I wasn't expecting intense technical wizardry. I would like to gripe about the lack of chapter selections within episodes, though; for a series such as this, with individualized comedic segments, the ability to jump back and forth would have been welcome.
Bonus features are robust. Selected episodes feature decent commentary tracks by Dave and Neal, the most interesting to me being the back story to Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories. Disc Three is where all the rest of the bonus material lies. There you'll find two more Charlie Murphy stories (which feature him standing against the green screen telling stories with no reenactments), some stand-up footage of Dave Chappelle, an hour plus of bloopers and deleted scenes, and the extended Rick James interview used for the sketch. It's a good lineup, though I would have liked to see a feature about how the show comes together behind the scenes.
Again, this release serves as a reminder of the zaniness currently happening over at the show, as production has halted, the Season Three premiere has been postponed, and Dave, seemingly, has left the building (?).
This is some funny s -- -. Seriously. Go watch it. Then buy it. For all we know, this might be the series' swan song.
The accused pleads the fif.
Review content copyright © 2005 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Golden Gavel 2005 Nominee
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 275 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Commentary with Series Creators
* Deleted Scenes and Bloopers
* Extended Rick James Interview
* Two Unaired Charlie Murphy Stories
* Stand-Up Footage
* Comedy Central Quickies
* Official Site