Wednesdays from 10:00-11:30 PM on Comedy Central might just be the funniest 90 minutes of television. Ever. Starting with the revitalized South Park and ending with the consistently brilliant The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, those two half-hours alone present some of the best satire and criticism presented anywhere. But I must admit that until recently I was completely oblivious to the 30-minutes of pure, unadulterated, daring and almost always laugh-out-loud-even-when-I'm-sitting-alone-in-my-apartment comedy that emanates from the mind of Dave Chappelle on the wickedly funny Chappelle's Show.
I am not overstating this. I'm not sure how I missed watching this series for so long. It's not like I was unaware of Chappelle. With his acting, stand-up and frequent appearances on The Howard Stern Show, I knew that he had some sort of regular program on Comedy Central, but I had never watched it. Then suddenly a friend at the "new job" started talking about it and told me I had to watch.
Tonight's episode was a perfect example of how creative and imaginative Chappelle is with this show. Generally, the episodes involve Chappelle doing bits of stand-up as introduction to a variety of sketches. Tonight, Chappelle was missing from the regular opening, replaced by Wayne Brady (for whom I have renewed respect after his performance making fun of his own image tonight). The opening song and title had been changed to "Wayne Brady's Show," and Brady explains that he's taken over the show. It was now his and Dave was gone. Since Chappelle's departure was abrupt, they have some old sketches to burn off, so he introduces a bit with Chappelle playing a homeless crack addict competing on Fear Factor.
After the commercial, though, sketches and "reality" merge as we see Dave watching Brady on TV. He returns to the studio and takes out some producers backstage before confronting Brady in front of the audience. They then flashback to two months before on a night where Brady and Chappelle were just "hanging out together," where "hanging out" basically means Brady takes Chappelle hostage on an all-night crime spree. I won't recap it for you; find the episode and watch it. Look out for Brady's confrontation with a cop: I nearly started crying.
You don't need to wait until next Wednesday or even frantically search your program guide to see what I'm talking about. This Saturday night from 9 PM to 2 AM, Comedy Central is airing a marathon of 10 straight episodes. Set those DiVos, TiVos, VCRs or just stay home for a change. Unlike SNL, even when a Chappelle sketch falls a bit flat, there's still a really funny premise there. If you're not watching, give Chappelle's Show a chance. You won't be sorry.