Saturday, March 04, 2006

Dave Chappelle's Block Party

Director: Michel Gondry
Rogue Pictures

One of the strangest disappearing acts in the history of entertainment occurred last year when Dave Chappelle, riding a huge contract from Comedy Central on the basis of his hugely popular "Chappelle's Show," decided to call it quits. There are numerous opinions as to why he went to Africa and didn't tell anybody about it, and how his partnership with co-writer Neal Brennan dissolved, but ultimately we all lost out on some future comedy brilliance for his decision. Excuse us for being selfish.

Now, a film coming out depicting a block party he held in Brooklyn on September 18, 2004, before all the hoopla started, featuring acts Kanye West, The Fugees, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Common, The Roots, Dead Prez, Mos Def, and others. I'm sure when the trailers hit, it looked like possibly, just possibly, Chappelle had saved some good "Chappelle's Show" magic for a 2-hour movie.

Those looking for that will be disappointed. But if you want to see a good rap show with some occasional Chappelle comments here and there, you'll be overwhelmed with glee. For me, I thought the film cut away from the acts too much, but hearing Chappelle comment funny or not meant to be funny, is still entertaining. It's interesting to hear his opinions on what songs won't ever be played on the radio and why. And of course, the other part of the film is watching the lucky people who were invited by Chappelle himself (including a marching band from his hometown in Ohio that gets to play "Jesus Walks" along with Kanye West), and others who just heard the rumors about a show getting to see a one-of-a-kind set of performances.


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