HBO Max is removing Dave Chappelle‘s groundbreaking sketch comedy series, Chapelle’s Show, from its streaming platform at the end of the year. Back in November, a clip from one of Chappelle’s standup made its rounds on the internet.
In this clip, Chappelle implored fans to boycott streaming the show. ViacomCBS owns the rights so Chappelle doesn’t receive any money when it’s licensed. Netflix honored Dave’s requests and removed it before the month ended.
Chapelle’s Show debuted on Comedy Central on January 22, 2003. It would go on to become a critically acclaimed success and pop culture phenomenon, and it etched Chappelle’s name in stone in the pantheon of comedy legends, along with the likes of Richard Pryor, George Carlin, and Eddie Murphy. Chappelle would use his platform to highlight racial disparities between Black people and other races with edgy and absurd humor. Here is a list of some of the most memorable Chappelle’s Show sketches.
This sketch featured on the debut episode of Chappelle’s Show and set the tone for the outlandish and controversial jokes that made the show infamous. Clayton Bigsby, played by Chappelle, was a blind Black White Supremacist. The added hilarity comes in the form of Bigsby himself being unaware that he is the very thing he hates… a Black person.
The character Tyrone Biggums would be recurring throughout Chappelle’s Show‘s tenure. Biggums was a drug addict with a heart of gold, but his addiction to crack cocaine makes him a danger to society and himself. His first appearance was the Drug Awareness Day sketch.
The Mad Real World
The Mad Real World was a hilarious take on MTV’s reality series, The Real World. But instead of a group of eclectic well-meaning strangers living together, it was a jailhouse environment wherein one of the roommates is the constant recipient of psychological, physical, and emotional abuse from his other roommates.
50 Cent was the most popular rapper at the time of Chappelle’s Show launch. Part of his allure was the story of the Queens MC surviving nine gunshot wounds. Chappelle would use this as inspiration to introduce the world to Fisticuff, a rapper who lost hearing in one of his ears because of a gunshot. The idea of a rapper being deaf in one ear is Chappelle taking the already unbelievable and taking it to another level.
The Racial Draft
The differences between Black people and other races have always been a prominent theme in Chappelle’s comedy. The Racial Draft played up the concept of a race being able to lay claim to a celebrity who exemplified them. The draft saw Tiger Woods (Chappelle) drafted by the Black community and The Wu-Tang Clan by the Asian community. Guest appearances included Yasiin Bey (at the time known as Mos Def), Bill Burr, and RZA and GZA from The Wu-Tang Clan.
Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories: Rick James
The chain of events that were inspired by this episode is a testament to how iconic Chappelle’s Show had become. This episode was a recount of Eddie Murphy’s older brother and cast member the late Charlie Murphy‘s friendship with the talented yet unstable singer Rick James.
Not only did this episode give birth to some of the most memorable catchphrases in television history, but it brought Charlie out of the shadow of his megastar brother. It also served as a resurgence of sorts for James, as the sketch would make him the most relevant he had been in years. James would pass away in 2004.
The Hater’s Ball
The Hater’s Ball is a gathering of the most hated and hate-filled pimps in the world. They hold a ceremony annually to honor and antagonize the best of the worst. This sketch featured rap legend-turned-actor Ice-T and the late Patrice O’Neal.
The World Series of Dice
Chappelle’s propensity to showcase everyday Blackness as somewhat of an extreme sport is a blueprint that a lot of comedians try to emulate to this day. The World Series of Dice gathered the greatest dice players on the planet in an attempt to crown a king. Some would argue there are more memorable sketches, but this sketch was the introduction of Ashy Larry, played by Donnell Rawlings.
Making The Band
The “Making The Band” sketch was another rip on a popular MTV reality series with the same name. Sean “Diddy” Combs handpicked a group of singers and rappers to become the next superstar act on his Bad Boy label.
Making The Band 2 saw the groupmates engage in weekly scraps with one another, as well as being subjected to Diddy’s wrath in the form of shutting down the recording studio or making the group walk from Manhattan to Brooklyn for a slice of cheesecake.Chappelle would play Combs and Da Band member Dylan, who labels himself as the top five greatest rappers of all time.
The Wayne Brady Show
Dave’s frustration with his newfound fame got him to the point of quitting his show…..for one whole episode. Taking his place would be the presumably squeaky clean Wayne Brady. Dave took a lighthearted jab at Brady’s likability in a previous episode, but this sketch revealed Wayne’s dark side, as he makes Dave an accomplice on a joy ride to hell.
Honorable Mention:Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories: Prince
Charlie Murphy’s Rick James story was one of the highlights of Chappelle’s Show‘s second season. Dave would follow up with Charlie Murphy’s Hollywood story about the time he played basketball against Prince.
One of the great things about Charlie’s stories is when viewers can’t know what’s real and what’s fake. Charlie recalls not only Prince being amazing at basketball but also making pancakes after Prince and his team walked away with the win.