Apropos of absolutely nothing, King Magazine went and rounded up a bunch of Chappelle’s Show regulars to compile what it calls “the definitive oral history” of the much-missed series.
While I dispute that three short pages of Web copy can really be called a definitive oral history of anything, there is some pretty good stuff in there.
For some of the regulars, like writer/actor Bill Burr, the explosion of popularity the show enjoyed was downright stupefying:
I was doing stand-up at this festival in Tennessee called Bonnaroo—a bunch of white hippie bands, alternative shit. I was backstage waiting for this band to come out, and all of a sudden the lights went out. Five thousand people waiting in the dark, and then you just hear some kid in the back go, ‘Whaaaat?’ Then somebody else yells, “Okaaaay! Yeeaaah!” It sent a chill up my spine.
This may partly explain why Chappelle famously flaked out and fled to Africa for some sort of black comedian NOLS trip.
Also, there’s a funny sequence in there about the Wayne Brady sketch — which remains my all-time favorite. Brady had seen comedian Paul Mooney make fun of him in a prior episode and had complained in person to some of Chappelle’s friends. Chappelle called Brady the next day and eventually they arranged the cameo.
What’s funny, in hindsight, is that the most famous line of the sketch, “Is Wayne Brady gonna have to choke a bitch?” was not originally in the script. Here’s Brady’s curious take on how things got changed:
I curse. I’m not squeaky clean. [But] I didn’t like the term, “Slap a ho.” I’ve got a daughter; there’s something about [that] that’s too real. So we came up with the whole line “Is Wayne Brady gonna have to choke a bitch?”
So to avoid getting “too real,” Wayne Brady changed “slap a ho” to “choke a bitch.” I think that makes perfect sense, and confirms my belief that Wayne Brady is a comic savant.