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Dave Chappelle’s Block Party (2005)

November 23, 2009

8/10 Boss Emcees

One of those magical little movies that’ll a big ol’ smile on your face from beginning to end. Man, what the hell happened to Dave Chappelle?

Dave Chappelle’s Block Party is a documentary that follows Dave Chappelle – back when he was living it up as the funniest man on Earth –  as he puts together an utterly epic block party in Brooklyn, NY featuring some of the biggest names in the history of R&B and Hip-Hop. And being that Dave Chappelle is the man, he makes it into a free show, buses droves of people from his hometown in Ohio to go to the show, and makes everyone laugh their asses off.

What a guy.

Now, I happen to like a lot of the acts that Dave lined up for this show, especially since he somehow managed to get The Fugees back together for it (if you’ve never listened to The Score, you don’t know what you’re missing, brotha). So being that I like to laugh hard and since I’m always down for some choice R&B and Hip-Hop, this was a win-win for me, but I can understand how a number of folks out there might not see the attraction to this little comedy/rap concoction. For those of you who fall into this category, listen close, I have a story to tell thee.

I kinda had to rope my friends into seeing this one when it was out in theaters because they could really have given a shit about every aspect about this movie that didn’t have to do with Dave Chappelle. But by the time they came out, even though they still didn’t really care much for the musical aspect of it, they were soundly entertained across the board.

Part of this is because of Dave. The humor here is kinda different from Chappelle’s Show in that it’s not really trying to be edgy or push the envelope, it’s just capturing Dave as this normal, genuine, and totally hilarious guy that’s just trying to throw this sweet party for everyone to enjoy. The only bits that are scripted are a couple acts he does onstage with Mos Def and The Roots, but his best stuff is just when he’s being himself. It’s a damn shame that he’s been written off as this mental case over the years, because the impression you get from him here is that he’s of the rare humble, and grounded breed of celebrity that’s doing his best not to let fame get to his head. There’s a lot of celebrities out there who could learn a thing or two from Dave. That guy’s A-okay in my book.

But the other part of this is actually because of Michel Gondry. From a visual standpoint, you’d never know Gondry was behind this as it pretty much boils down to him with a camera and that’s it, but it’s something about the overall positive vibes this movie puts out that feels very much his own. Gondry makes movies about people, movies that bring people together, and that’s the beauty of Block Party. More so than the acts on stage, Gondry makes the people going to the show the main characters, showcasing this melting pot of cultures and happiness that all came together for this one kickass occasion.

It’s an unlikely one, but Chappelle and Gondry are a great team whose visions really complement each other. Good times all around with these guys.

Dave Chappelle’s Block Party is just a damn good time. Not only is it funny as hell, but it’s surprisingly insightful, has a huge heart, and the concert itself is totally awesome, too. So give it a shot, even if you could care less about a Fugees reunion, everyone needs a good reminder every now and again of the genius that is Dave Chappelle.

We miss you, man. Come back to us.

One Comment leave one →
  1. madhatter21 permalink
    November 23, 2009 12:34 pm


    Such an awesome doc, and one that I wish more people would see. I love the moment when Chappelle points out that some of the best music out there right now can’t seem to buy play (“You never hear bands like Dead Prez on the radio”). It was true when the movie was filmed back in ’05 and it’s still true today…maybe more so.

    That shows me that Dave doesn’t live in a bubble, and really wants to get the word out on the music he loves.

    …oh, and the scene of him doing bad stand-up with Mos Def on drums is pure fun.

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