Utter the words ‘Dave Chappelle’ or ‘The Chappelle Show’ to any person and odds are they will think of the ‘Lil’ Jon’ skit or the ultra famous “I’m Rick James, bitch”. While this one joke doesn’t even come close to the charm and humor that Dave Chappelle had on his once popular ‘Chappelle Show’ on Comedy Central, it still has become the most popular joke. But enough about that and more about the actual film at hand.
Dave Chappelle’s Block Party takes place around September of 2004, which was before …happelle walked off of the third season of his show, but after the famous $50 Million Dollar deal that Comedy Central offered him. Chappelle has decided to have a block party on the 18th of September. He has invited many big artists to perform at the block party including Kanye West, Mos Def, Common and the Fugees to name a few.
Before the actual event begins on the 18th, Chappelle goes back home to Ohio. Acting like a man who has just won the lottery, Chappelle invites many of his hometown friends and family to this block party. This makes Chappelle come off as a genuine and charming guy, which he obviously is. Don’t pay any attention to the way Comedy Central has portrayed Chappelle as a man who just walked off his show due to not feeling well. Granted this is partially what Chappelle did, but he also didn’t have the creative control Comedy Central promised him. The actual party is a host of various hip-hop artists performing around area in Brooklyn. The performances are spliced in with random jokes and quips by Chappelle; a majority of them being funny mostly because the jokes are Chappelle at his natural best. No forced scripts or censorship, especially in this Unrated edition, are at hand. Chappelle can be his natural self, where he is definitely the funniest he has been in quite some time.
This is exactly what makes Dave Chappelle’s Block Party so funny. Chappelle is himself at all times. The performances are great and all have the energy to give the film that necessary boost. The film celebrates what the hip-hop culture has done. I found it interesting how the performers performed near the School that Biggie Smalls once attended. This was definitely Chappelle paying homage to the late artist.
I must warn people though, especially those who are new to Chappelle’s humor. If you go into Dave Chappelle’s Block Party expecting a longer, uncut version of his hit ‘Chappelle Show’, you’ll come out extremely unsatisfied. The only thing the film has, that is like his show, is obviously Chappelle himself. The jokes are funnier, whimsical, and showcase Chappelle at his true best. The film comes recommended for those true Chappelle fans. Those who are new to his material, I suggest renting this one before purchasing to see if it has enough to warrant more than one watch through.
Dave Chappelle’s Block Party has maintained its theatrical aspect ratio of 1:85:1 for the DVD release. Since a majority of the film was shot with steady cameras, the transfer tends to have a bit of grain and print damage in some scenes. The color palette, while mostly being muted, does what it can to help express the street urban theme. Considering the legion of fans Chappelle has, I expected this transfer to be better than the end result.
We’re given the standard Dolby Digital 5.1 Audio Track. The track is good, especially considering the theme and subject of the film; an outdoor concert. The booming hip-hop flavored music, even though hip-hop isn’t my super favorite genre, still sounds great. Artists like Kanye West and The Fugees perform with great style. Little things like the crowd yelling and cheering can be heard from the rears while dialogue, while sometimes hard to hear due to the commotion of the crowd, is just fine. The audio transfer, due to the subject of the film, comes off a lot better than the video transfer.
- September in Brooklyn: The Making of Block Party: This making of feature is not necessarily a standard making of package but rather a package that dives very deep into the film. Chappelle gives us a lot of information on the film; so much that it seemed like this feature was an actual continuation of the film.
- Ohio Players: This feature follows the various people that Chappelle invited in from Ohio. I really started to like these features, as they really weren’t necessarily features but extensions to the film. Unfortunately, we’re only given two basic featueres.
As a film, Dave Chappelle’s Block Party showcases Chappelle at his best. While the video and audio transfers lack the spark that most films have, they are good enough to get the job done. The biggest disappointment here is lack of features, especially since the features presented were great. Still, the film is funny enough to recommend for at least a rental for any person.
Special Features List
- September in Brooklyn: The Making of Block Party
- Ohio Players