Thursday, April 13, 2006

Dave Chappelle in Esquire

So it really was The Man's fault after all.

After hinting at why he walked away from a $50 million deal with Comedy Central last year, Dave Chappelle spells it all out clearer than ever in the May issue of Esquire, which hits newsstands Saturday. (Disclosure: The quotes here are via E!Online).

"The bottom line was, white people own everything," Chappelle told Esquire, "and where can a black person go and be himself or say something that's familiar to him and not have to explain or apologize?"

"I felt like I was really pressured to settle for something that I didn't necessarily feel like I wanted," he continued. "The thing about show business is that, in a way, it forces dysfunctional relationships in people."

OK, fair - and true - enough, but here's what I still don't understand and would love to know: What exactly did Comedy Central keep him from doing? As an addict of his weekly exploits there, I thought he was really pushing the envelope pretty far already. Clayton Bigsby? The racial draft? "I'm Rick James, bitch"? Where else on TV, could you have seen such outrageously entertaining stuff.

The sad answer, of course, is nowhere. If he wants to put his money where his always welcome mouth is, why not take his act to BET? New president for entertainment Reginald Hudlin has promised the network will focus on original programming rather than the music videos that have sustained it thus far. I can't imagine he would turn Dave away.

"Hot Fuzz" from the "Shaun" team

My love for the movie "Shaun of the Dead" is unconditional. A funny movie about zombies is a natural draw for me, and this one was one of the funniest I've seen.

Now, in good news from Variety, it seems we'll be getting a new dose of fun from the team that created "Shaun."

Rogue Pictures has nabbed North American distribution rights to "Hot Fuzz," a police comedy featuring "Dead" stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, director Edgar Wright and producer Nira Park. Wright and Pegg penned the screenplay for the estimated $12 million film, in which Pegg plays a successful London cop whose jealous co-workers transfer him to a podunk British town and place him with a hapless partner (Frost). The pair stumble upon a series of suspicious accidents.

This one gets my guarantee: There is no way it won't be funny.


Jay said...

I totally agree with you about Dave Chappelle. The only place I can imagine that he could go, and do what he was doing, is BET. No way even SNL or MadTV allow him to do what he did with Comedy Central.

I think he just didn't want to do it, or was afraid he'd fail or something.

And, as for the "white people own everything" .. well .. they were going to give him FIFTY MILLLION FREAKIN' DOLLARS.

I watched his show. He was funny, but not THAT funny.

Duffy said...

Wait, why does Chapelle need anybody? He has enough clout to get any deal he wants and there are a ton of black people with money in Hollywood that could carry this thing from script to screen unaltered. No whitey involved except the ones who buy tickets!

Really, I think he's putting too much emphasis on race here. The "suits" interfere with artists all the time. They try to broaden the appeal of a product until it's so watered down you don't recognize it at all.

Kevin Smith spoke about this wrt to writing Superman. He was given three criteria:

Superman cannot be shown flying
Superman cannot wear the signature costume
Superman has to fight a giant spider in the third act

There were additional notes about the need to incorporate franchising/toy opporutinites throughout the film.

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