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.

Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

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