Dave Chappelle came out of hiding recently to promote his new Radio City tour and surprised the world by wearing a suit. Not just any suit, a nice classy designer suit at that, i.e. Dolce Gabbana, Brooks Brothers type when he interviewed with Dave Letterman on June 11th, 2014. http://youtu.be/6wTa4lpyz6Q
People did not know who he was when he arrived.
You see, for the last 20+ years Dave’s uniform has been pretty basic tee-shirts, jeans, sneaks, the occasional hat. We know Dave when we see him on the small screen, films, stages, at the Seven-11 getting a drink, he’s always the same. A suit? Didn’t realize he even owned one, even with all the riches he has amassed being one of the world’s most beloved but reclusive comedians living out in Ohio away from the limelight. Probably a closet full of sneaks, I can see that, probably a gizzillion tee shirts, I can see that. Designer suits? Crickets chirping comes to mind. If he had arrived in a Cosplay costume it would have been less surprising, questionable, but not as confounding.
What really sets Chappelle out from the pack of professional and amateur comedians is his realness, Dave is that funny ass kid that lives down the street that keeps you in stitches just seeing him. His simple facial/body reactions to situations results in hysteria, a roll of the eyes leaves audiences convulsing in laughing fits. Joke wise his comedic timing is impeccable, his pitch solid, its hard to tell what is scripted and what isn’t, it’s a natural feeling when watching him, he is the genuine thing. Why his legacy is so endearing.
It doesn’t surprise anyone his comedic plateau is still on the same elevated level. Yes, he ditched is beloved variety show ‘Chappelle’s Show’ way back in 2006, he hasn’t appeared in a film or television show since 2003 (Yes! Long time!), with a handful of stand up films and hosting a concert series, he hasn’t done shit on camera – but the audience still clamors for him like he is still on top of his game! His recent stage tour – sold out quickly even with high prices; coming in only second to Jerry Seinfield is a testament to his endurance. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jesselawrence/2014/06/17/dave-chappelle-tickets-for-nyc-run-second-most-expensive-comedy-tour-of-2014/
Dave is our dude, we respect him as a person and give well wishes for his need for privacy, at the same time we would love to have the opportunity to party with this man. As Chappelle spoke to James Lipton ‘Inside the Actors Studio’ “The higher up I went, the less happy I was. Once you get famous, you can’t get unfamous. You can get infamous, but you can’t get unfamous.”
Such the curse of stardom, but in perspective; Dave our buddy next door, now donning tailored suits in 2014 looking more ‘Miami Vice’ than ‘Half Baked’ has matured into a wiser more knowledgeable father of three who lives on a farm – albeit we believe he can handle it.
Dave obviously loves to make people laugh, and now can do it on his own terms.
Can he be the force that changes the industry? Is he the poster child for talented people to avoid selling there soul for the sake of ratings and riches? Can you make that bling and still be a champion for the masses? Does their have to be so much pressure to bridge the fence or can we just enjoy his talent? You only live once right?
Dave in the tailored suit, hamming it up with Dave, and Jimmy, marketing his latest tour, he looked at home.
Dave recently went back to ‘Inside the Actors Studio’ and this time, he interviewed its famous host and dean, James Lipton – albeit in trademark jeans and a tee, he looked at home. http://youtu.be/cT7KWNGjMrM
Comparing the events, he echos the all time late night champ, Johnny Carson. Yes, I said it, the man every late night host looks up to, tries to emulate, tries to catch his very essence of being.
This could be his calling to continue his craft and cement his legacy. At the same time hold onto his sense of autonomous lifestyle with his family.
Even with all of the celebrity surrounding late night show hosts, who are all basically graduated comedians per say; they still don’t command the comparable scrutiny of tabloids such as TMZ, EW, and worse such as the Enquirer that falls upon our favorite movie stars. Yeah, sure Dave Letterman may stir up a bit of controversy with a mistook joke, or surprise, he has a wife and child – but no where the same frenzy of Tom Cruise or Angelina Jolie acting as a flawed human being we all are, and doing something deemed surprising that the tabloids attack upon.
The disturbed reporter who tried to kiss Will Smith and fondle Brad Pitt, he doesn’t harass Jimmy Kimmell or Seth Meyers. Meyers can go camping with his family in relative autonomy, he just happened to publish his own selfie’s about auto trouble.
The current talk of the country; Fallon was semi-successful in film but has blossomed into a credible talent hosting late night entertainment. While his boyish charm can be a bit offsetting when he gushes like a groupie over some of his interviews, it’s his variety skits that seal his infamy; molded directly from the SNL camp; perfect fodder for Youtube excerpts, news quotes and office chatter. Perfect for Fallon to build and keep his audience, good news for network executives to maintain a healthy rating share and retain advertisers.
Chapelle in comparison busted through the ionosphere with his own branded comedy variety show. The Chapelle Show broke records for a cable network and shot Dave from an indie favorite to the limelight. Why fans remain patient and anxiously await his return. Why he can command upwards of $200 for show tickets after years of silence. Not even Chris Tucker can pull that.
A Chappelle takeover of late night couldn’t even be compared with the recent demise of another comedian’s return to talk show form. Only comparison Chappelle would have with Arsenio Hall is that they are of the same race and would guarantee a high percentage of the urban audience. Other than that, their comedic styles are world’s apart. That would be like comparing the same audience as Fallon vs Steven Colbert who will be bowing in to challenge the former in 2015 when Letterman retires. Two different styles, same generic 18-49 audience the shows are targeted too, we will see how the tide flows once it begins.
A Chappelle late night talk show would dominate for several aspects:
*He is widely considered one of the best comedic forces of a generation. Even in seclusion his popularity has not waned. Through the web and DVD’s he gets passed on to the younger generation.
*His comedic skits catapulted him to infamy. Even with limited room on a talk-show format, his skits alone would be enough for rabid fans to tune in with record numbers and massacre the competition.
*His stand-up demands attention, regardless of maturity, his insane spontaneous bursts, his relatable take on the world @large, his visual aesthetics, his agreeable take on race, culture, politics – audiences love and support him. Regardless of a few naysayers who have hated on him, their malfunction stems probably from their disappointment of not having them bowing down to their beck and call.
*Dave is relatable. A grounded individual, as said, the zany guy next door. Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Indian, he’s our boy, our buddy. Why people believe he’s approachable, why he’s easy to talk too even if he’s cracking jokes on you. Dave has midwest roots, we’re everyday everyman out here. You see Dave at the gas station, long as you don’t approach him like a psycho and be cool he’ll be cool with you.
Being accessible, his persona supports captivating interviews. To ham it up with celebrities and influential people, evoke classic conversational pieces, pulling out emotions in a relaxed state, Dave has all the possibilities to channel Carson. He already has great taste in artists, expand on it.
*Dave could rest on his legendary status already. Within a short 10-year span he went from the bottom to the top, his stand-up and show sealed his fate. He’s touched the new generation through word of mouth and the ever-present media, dvd’s, Tivo, Youtube, Vimeo, Vevo, etc; etc; If a comedian can keep the same status by NOT doing anything – imagine the frenzy he would leave with a another daily gig.
*Best for him, with his net worth and legend status he can write his own ticket. If a network wants him, they better beg, roll, over and take a treat. Yes, they would have to be his bitch. He has that clout, the money bag advertisers know this, networks knows this, Dave knows this. They don’t want him to walk again, the contract will be solid, no BS, lay it on the table. That table has turned, he is driving now.
Which leads too, whatever he decides to do, whatever official comeback, whatever will top what he’s already accomplished; is he planning an official comeback or he goes J.D. Saligner on us again and retreats back to his safe haven. Stand-up is his roots, his tree of life, but any comedian knows to be up there with the greats such as Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby, Seinfield, one must keep building, keep being in the public eye, keep relevant. Kevin Hart is milking this right now, little man is everywhere and is reaping the benefits. On the other side Kat Williams had a few issues, fell out of the spotlight, and will understandably have a long road to return to his previous popularity.
That’s life in the public eye, if you answered your calling and achieved it, how you deal with it after you reach a certain plateau is how the world will forever remember you. If bucking the spotlight one of the most noblest things is to give back to society, be a philanthropist, a mentor, support a cause and embrace it. If you still want sold out shows when you’re in your 70’s like Cosby, keep working.
Note**CBS is currently holding the fate of the Late Late Show featuring Craig Ferguson in its hands. The comedian has announced his retirement as of Dec. 2014. No replacement has been announced. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/wp/2014/04/28/craig-ferguson-announces-he-will-leave-late-late-show-in-dece
Dave Letterman’s production company, Worldwide Pants, was holding the fate of its two premiere shows but CBS pulled its mega power and immediately announced Stephen Colbert would be taking over Letterman’s Late Show when he retires early 2015. Craig had been promised the show. The Late Late Show’s future is currently in limbo. While CBS played roulette with the syndicated Arsenio Hall show, they left him hanging after he was squeezed out by Jimmy Fallon taking over the Tonight Show. They need to save face as the public has been upset over this ill-advised decision for cancellation just months after publicly renewing Hall. If they don’t save Arsenio, they should offer this show to Chappelle. Dave is cool with Dave, they should bring it to the table together since the network dissed on both Ferguson and Hall. Would be a win win for everybody involved and be a historic moment.
He may have to smoke E-cigs while on a major network and tone down his profanity. Other than that, watch out, he would ultimately control late night.
Dave, what do you think? You down?