The Comedy of Dave Chappelle

Critical Essays

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About the Book

Perhaps best known for his highly acclaimed, short-lived Comedy Central program Chappelle’s Show, Dave Chappelle is widely regarded as one of today’s most culturally significant comedians. Through the sketch comedy show and his stand-up act, Chappelle has offered truly memorable commentary on racial and ethnic tensions in American society. This book assembles 13 essays that examine motifs common in Chappelle’s comedy, including technology and digital culture; race, gender, and ethnicity; economics and politics; music, television, film, and performance; and memory, language, and identity.

About the Author(s)

K.A. Wisniewski is an assistant professor of history at Stevenson University in Stevenson, Maryland. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in a variety of publications including journals Genre, The Mochila Review, Welter, and the Small Press Review.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by K.A. Wisniewski
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 245
Bibliographic Info: notes, filmography, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4188-4
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5427-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Introduction

K.A. WISNIEWSKI      1

1. Exploring Niggerdom

Racial Inversion in Language Taboos

RICHARD J. GRAY II and MICHAEL PUTNAM      15

2. Comic Genius or Con Man?

Deconstructing the Comedy of Dave Chappelle

NOVOTNY LAWRENCE      31

3. The Comedian Is a “Man”

Gender Performance in the Comedy of Dave Chappelle

ANDREA CUMBO      47

4. Dave Chappelle, the Wu-Tang Clan and Afro-Asian America

GRAHAM CHIA-HUI PRESTON      60

5. Laughing Whiteness

Pixies, Parody, and Perspectives

BRIAN GOGAN      72

6. Impersonating Hollywood

The Conflicting Identity Discourses of Charlie Murphy’s True

Hollywood Stories

JULIA ROUND      86

7. The Artistry of Ethnography in Dave Chappelle’s Block Party

C. RILEY SNORTON      102

8. Gramsci, Selling Out, and the Politics of Race Loyalty

Exploring Chappelle’s No-Show

AMARNATH AMARASINGAM      115

9. “When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong”

Subversions of Racial Authenticity

KATHERINE LEE      127

10. When “Keeping It Real” Goes Right

KIMBERLEY A. YATES      139

11. “White People, Run for Cover”

Dave Chappelle’s Festival of Misrule

FRANCESCA GAMBER      156

12. Haunted

Dave Chappelle’s Radical Racial Politics in the Context of Co-opted

Blackness

CHIWEN BAO      167

Conclusion

Legacy and Dave Chappelle

K. A. WISNIEWSKI      184

Filmography      195

Chapter Notes      197

Bibliography      217

About the Contributors      229

Index      231