The pitch from Dave Chappelle for a one-hour comedy special on Showtime might have made the network’s entertainment president Bob Greenblatt one of the happiest white men outside of Halliburton. If you thought that comment was offensive, then don’t watch this special. But if you want to laugh, make your appointment with Dave Chappelle: For What It’s Worth.
This is not Chappelle’s Show. This is Showtime — and the comic takes advantage of premium-television freedom in this original, honest and, most importantly, funny performance.
While it’s no secret the multiple Emmy-nominated performer is talented, be forewarned: the show is full of commentary filtered with all the diligence of a 3-year-old. Chappelle has moments where he channels the late Redd Foxx, making fun of just about anyone who breathes oxygen — all with equal vigor.
Shot in San Francisco, Chappelle starts with a couple of cheap shots at his audience and host city. He gets the comic’s reward, though, because no matter how politically incorrect, his accuracy is so dead-on that in some cases the laughter comes with a guilt-free pass.
Up for a little infotainment? Chappelle defines what 15 years old is, comparing R. Kelly’s infamous private-turned-public video co-star to Elizabeth Smart and, with a twist on the “celebrities a comedian has to make fun of” category, explains why African-Americans celebrated O.J.’s acquittal the wrong way.
Outlining his explanation of why now is a difficult time to be a black celebrity, Chappelle starts with Kobe Bryant and his troubles in a Colorado hotel room, then puts in plain words why Michael Jackson is being accused of a crime for being a good host to his houseguests.
Walking on the outer edge of provocative, Chappelle hypothesizes how the gloved one might have the cure for cancer.
Chappelle also recounts a trip to Disneyland with his kids where he realized he can’t escape being noticed. The story is also a reminder that he’s one of the few people who can still make people laugh with a joke about the late R&B superstar Rick James.
In a reality check, Chappelle clarifies why Ja Rule’s opinion about Sept. 11 isn’t important, but green macaroni is.
It might be redundant, but it’s worth saying again: Chappelle is funny. Make your appointment.
Dave Chappelle: For What It’s Worth premieres on Showtime Sept. 4 at 9 p.m. (ET/PT).