This week 16 years ago a program debuted that changed the landscape of TV and comedy forever. So today we shoutout one of the funniest #CultureClassics of all-time, Chappelle’s Show.
Chappelle’s Show was a groundbreaking sketch comedy show created, hosted, starring, and executively produced by Dave Chappelle. The series premiered on January 22, 2003, on Comedy Central and ran for two complete seasons and a third, truncated season (dubbed “The Lost Episodes”).
The show was funny and raw, NOTHING was off-limits (from O.J. to R. Kelly, racism to politics). Classic sketches include Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories (where he recalls epically funny encounters with Prince and Rick James), the Racial Draft, Wayne Brady Day, When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong, Samuel L. Jackson Beer, and the Player Hater’s Ball. Chappelle was at his creative peak and the show was so isync with The Culture it became appointment viewing every week so viewers wouldn’t be left out on the jokes at the watercolor the next day. It became Comedy Central’s number one show as soon as it debuted and was quickly a cultural phenomenon.
Being a guest star became a coveted gig and included Snoop Dogg; RZA, GZA and Method Man of the Wu-Tang Clan, Rick James, Damon Dash, Redman, Ice-T, Arsenio Hall, Wayne Brady, Mos Def (who was also a musical guest), Eddie Griffin, Q-Tip, Rashida Jones, Jamie Foxx, and Spike Lee.
And Chappelle’s Show repped for hip-hop too devoting a segment every episode to a musical performance from the top MCs of the time. Musical guests included De La Soul, Ludacris, Robert Petkoff, Talib Kweli, Fat Joe, Wyclef Jean, Killer Mike, Big Boi of OutKast, Anthony Hamilton, Kanye West, Common, DMX, Busta Rhymes, Slum Village, Questlove, Cee-Lo Green, Erykah Badu and Lil Jon.
Unfortunately Chappelle’s Show can to an abrupt end during season three where Chappelle himself decided to end the show after something of an awakening to how he felt he was being treated in Hollywood. Tough for fans but choosing principal over profit can’t be judge too harshly. Either way The Culture was blessed with 28 episodes of one of the funniest and most important comedy TV series of all-time.
#FunFacts: TV Guide ranked Chappelle’s Show number 31 on their list of “TV’s Top 100 Shows” and it also was placed at number 26 on Entertainment Weekly‘s “New TV Classics” list.
If you enjoyed that look at a throwback TV classic. Check out more of our #CultureClassics:
Written by @TalentedMrFord