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Comedy Central Home Video presents
Chapelle's Show: The Complete First Season (2003)

"It's not HBO. It's just regular ass TV."
- Dave Chappelle

Review By: Kevin Clemons  
Published: March 03, 2004

Stars: Dave Chappelle
Director: Rusty Cundiff, Andre Allen

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for strong language, sexuality, drug use
Run Time: 04h:33m:12s
Release Date: February 24, 2004
UPC: 097368799141
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Some television shows are content with merely toeing the line between acceptable humor and humor so daring, satirical, and hilarious that some may find it offensive. And then there are others that cross the line without even blinking, Chappelle's Show is one of those shows. As Dave Chappelle points out in the audio commentary for this new two-disc DVD set, his series is not a skit show, but rather a comedy show. A very funny one at that.

Over the past several years Comedy Central has given us the best and the brightest minds that humor has to offer. From the smart and hilarious Daily Show to the obscene but funny South Park, the network consistently turns out a product that is on the cutting edge of both humor and satire, be it racial or political. Chappelle's Show may be the best yet to have come from the network as Chappelle constantly turns out humor that is both original and boundary pushing. Pieces such as a Frontline spoof focusing on an African-American white supremacist as well as those featuring recurring character and crack addict Tyrone Biggins (Chappelle) are so funny that it is secondary how groundbreaking they are.

Other highlights include a Trading Spaces parody called "Trading Spouses" in which a father from the suburbs is switched with another from the inner city. While this is not the funniest piece, it is the best example of why Chappelle's Show works so well. The piece is rather basic on the surface, but Chappelle has such a presence and perfect comedic timing that many of the best lines may or may not sound funny on paper, but his delivery renders them laugh-out-loud funny.

Samples of other moments from Season One include Dave being the Big Brother of a cancer victim and his subsequent heckling of the child as they play a video game; a commercial for Wu Tang financial; and a hilarious take on the training video for a Kinko's-like copy store.

Quite simply, Chappelle's Show is the edgiest show on basic cable today and it is easily the smartest. Chappelle acts as a ringmaster to a brilliant circus and, in doing so, he has created the funniest television series to have come along in quite some time.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Presented in the original full-frame aspect ratio as the original airings, Chappelle's Show boasts a very poor video transfer. Colors are done well, but the more vibrant colors show bleeding on occasion. Blacks lack solid depth and show grain throughout. There are numerous occasions where shimmering is evident and there are moments of slight edge enhancement that are distracting.

Image Transfer Grade: C+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Surround mix offered for each episode is nicely done with strong and crisp dialogue throughout. The rear speakers are rarely present with the left and right speakers doing a fine job of reinforcing the music used in every episode.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 8 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Deleted Scenes
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Dave Chappelle and Neal Brennan
Packaging: Book Gatefold
Picture Disc
2 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extras Review: A handful of extras are offered, the first of which is a commentary track by Dave Chappelle and co-creator Neal Brennan. For five episodes, the pair discuss the creation of the show and the writing process, and, most importantly, the freedom of improvisation. For the most part, though, the two resort into conveying what is happening on screen, and there are large gaps of silence.

A 30-minute collection of bloopers and deleted scenes is also offered, and it is largely a chance to see the improvisation done by Chappelle and his cast. Several of these made me laugh harder than most of the moments in the entire first season. Finally we are treated to a 12-minute segment of "Ask a Black Dude" featuring Paul Mooney and while the jokes here are very funny the piece becomes repetitive towards the end.

Extras Grade: B


Final Comments

With the second season airing on Comedy Central as of this writing, it is clear that Chappelle's Show will be around for quite some time, something that is very good for the future of television. Season One is highly recommended for anyone who appreciates good comedy.


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