My Radio

My attempts to channel what's playing on the many stations of my mind

Posts Tagged ‘Comedy’

Chappelle’s No Show

Posted by and1grad on October 6, 2009

In the last few weeks, I’ve heard some commentary about whats on TV nowadays, especially concerning African American representation. The Jaded NYer actually spoke about this a week ago during her webcast (Monday nights, 10pm EST). One of the genres where African Americans have always had the most, or maybe best, representation has been sitcoms. My own experience digs back into the late 70s/early 80s with Good Times, Sanford & Son, and Whats Happening moving into shows like Diff’rent Strokes (kinda), The Cosby Show, A Different World, etc. Then transitioning through the 90s with shows like In Living Color, Martin, Living Single, etc. In my opinion, this transition seems to pretty much end with My Wife and Kids and the Bernie Mac Show. I dont know many people who find those Tyler Perry shows all that funny, plus it isnt network anyway, so I’ll leave them out of the discussion altogether. During the run of this last piece of this timeline, Chappelle’s Show was gaining steam and could legitimately be considered the funniest show on TV. A TON of us can randomly cite phrases from this show. You’re probably doing so right now.

Only a small part of this post is to lament the lack of African American presence on TV. What I’m touching on right now is the simple fact that the lead parts of these sitcoms were mainly presented by a Black comedian. The only thing that made up for the lack of that is great writing. Lets face it, we arent seeing great writing for a Black show anymore. That means, we need a comedian to step up and carry the baton of African American comedy. That person was David Chappelle. I’ve never fully understood why he ran away from the stage when he was at his peak. Was he afraid of the moment? The responsibility of bringing comedy? Isnt that what he DOES for a living?

I kind of compare it to when Michael Jordan left to play baseball. Can you imagine if MJ never came back? What if the burden that comes with the responsibility of being exceptional had kept him away from the game? Look at all we would’ve missed. He came back and has passed the baton to those like Kobe, Lebron, and Wade. The baton of comedy needs to be passed and I feel like the lack of the greatness that Chappelle was displaying has left a void that is yet to be fulfilled. We unexpectedly lost Bernie Mac, who was carrying it. Now what do we have? I’d love to root for Michael Strahan’s show but come on.

I fully believe that Chappelle’s Show, including his cast & writers could STILL come back and be one of the funniest things on TV. Comedians dont stop being funny and having ideas. And people would fall all over themselves to watch it even if it was only meeehhh. Saturday Night Live is a good example of that. Not that I hold out hope for that show to come back but I cant help but wonder who will pick up the baton that he’s left behind.

Is there a show on the horizon that might be able to fill the void? Wanda Sykes? Should I pay more attention to these Tyler Perry shows?

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