The comedic genius of Dave Chappelle has been one of the most underrated yet beloved among comics during the late 90's and early 2000's. What made his topics and style unique was his ability to formulate a mirror image of society from his prospective (a black man's viewpoint). Though common to a black audience, Chappelle transcended into the world of mainstream media in his sketch comedy series Chappelle's Show. The series merged the comic's creativity with social issues of that time period and events that happened prior. But what made this gem of an idea stand out, were characters like Tyrone Biggums.
These manifestations of Chappelle's imagination were more than the laughs they were made out to be. They all had some type of flaw which made them realistic to an extent. For example, Biggums is a staple character to the series as he appears in several sketches. Though satirical, the crack addict with blistered lips that many have grown to love over the years is the actual representation of marginalized individuals. The politically inspired comic successfully merged laughter with a purpose with characters like Tyrone.
Some other characters were iterations of actual people, but were intertwined with the "Dave" perspective. Most notably, the comic's portrayal of Prince and Rick James in the "True Hollywood Stories" sketches became embedded in American media culture. The obscurity of Prince and the charismatic Rick James were ideal individuals in which one can expound upon humorously. Chappelle did just that, and the inclusion of Charlie Murphy's and Rick James' narratives not only made the sketch more realistic, but it also highlighted that sometimes history is hysterical. The man said it best as he was in character, "I'm one of the baddest m***********s of all time, one of the best singers and one of the best looking m***********s you've ever seen".
The range in personalities and episodes within the show were endless and eccentric. He played a blind and black/white supremacist (Clayton Bigsby), employed the use of whiteface for comedic effect, created a black version of former U.S President George W. Bush, mocked the trial of R. Kelly, and even created the concept behind "The Racial Draft". Dave Chappelle had produced so much innovative content that he hated to see his own work become compromised by superior network control. This was one of the reasons he decided to leave the show. What the comic also left behind was a wide gap of what could've been sketches.
Today, Dave Chappelle is a comedic legend. His most recent media appearance was hosting Saturday Night Live on November 12th, 2016. Chappelle had a phenomenal monologue that covered the 2016 presidential election results and became a voice for the disenfranchised American people. As expected, the skits he performed were outlandishly hilarious and some of his most treasured characters from Chappelle's Show made an appearance. Though the comic's show is no longer in production, the memories, laughs, and ridiculous characters of Dave Chappelle will always have a historical significance among each generation.