Who owns the Chappelle Show? It’s “Chappelle’s” Show; says so in the title. “Intellectual Property”? Sounds like Mental Oppression; Welcome to the new slavery.
By Robert Simmons
Opening the door:
Nobody’s life is perfect. No matter what it looks like from the outside, you don’t know what the fuck’s going on inside.
Heading down to the basement:
…meanwhile…look at what’s happening. They just killed another 12 people in a mass shooting in Virginia Beach… Shooting up school is a white kids’ game….You know, I hated school, too…Just do what I did…Try some things. “Have you skipped school? Skip school! Take a walk and meet some other kids. Fuck school. Try drugs. Have you tried drugs out?…I’ve given this a
lot of thought. I don’t see any peaceful way to disarm America’s whites. There’s only one thing that’s going to save this country from itself…Every able-bodied African American must register for a legal firearm. That’s the only way they’ll change the law.
Digging up some truth:
…My Dad said, ‘if you wanna go to the dance bad enough, there’s some money in the change jar, get the money from there – I was twelve years old – that’s what I did. I showed up to the dance early, there was a long line of kids waiting behind me, while I’m at the door trying to count out 300 pennies to get inside. I will never forget this shit for as long as I fuckin’ live. Oh man, you know, if you been poor, you know what that feels like, ashamed all the time, it feels like it’s your fault. And all them kids was laughing, Ha ha ha ha, look how poor Dave Chapelle is; when I think back at it, that was really the only time in my life that I ever thought to myself ‘I should kill everybody at school.
Dave traveled down into his own head, in order to find the connection between himself and white school shooters. It was “shame”; he had to go through “poor” to get there. Thankfully, Dave has made it his job to take us with him on these little excursions, down to where we would never go by ourselves; straight to the root of all our collective misery. He is willing to entertain us for a whole hour, just to get us to open our minds for a couple minutes, because otherwise, we would never do it. That door is locked. No one wants to go see what’s down in the basement. Too scary. We don’t even want to guess what’s going on down there.
Being a self-professed “introspective dude”, Dave is not afraid of the dark, or anything hiding in the closet, either. Abortion, Gun Control, the MeToo movement, LGBTQ rights, the opioid crisis; while we’re down here, I want you to meet O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson, Louis C.K., and Bill Cosby.
In The Age of Spin, Dave sets us up with his idea for a superhero who saves people, but in order to activate his super powers, this superhero also has to rape women; he both “saves and rapes”. Dave had to work hard on this journey, taking us from his opening pitch of a gay superhero, with stereotypical quirks the audience could accept, to one that beats up Mexicans and pats vaginas. All along, he was taking us down to where he really wanted us to go: to see Bill Cosby, if only for two seconds, as a whole person; someone who, at the surface of society, could only exist in either light, or in shadow.
Dave can tell a helluva story, and has great comedic timing. Like a great jazz musician, he definitely has the improvisational “chops”; but Dave’s real superpower is that he knows how to connect with people. For him, it’s easy. He spends most of his day in the deep end, digging at the root of things; lucky for us, he cares enough to occasionally pop up to the surface, and invite us to come down and take a look at what he’s been working on.
Up at the surface, things have been turbulent for…well, since forever. We stagger through life, blind as bats, bouncing our radar off each other, always trying to pinpoint our exact location relative to every one else. Dave knows we would see things much better if we opened our minds instead; pry that basement door open, head down into the darkness, and “Feel” our way around. When Dave takes us there, somehow it’s not so scary; he seems to know all our demons, and they all know Dave; he introduces them all to us. it feels surprisingly safe.
It’s a spiritually guided tour, and as Dave would likely tell us, once we reach down to the root of human suffering, where we are all connected, we would finally realize that we “don’t hate anybody, [we] just hate that feeling.”
The entertainment business creates these somewhat dysfunctional relationships, where we wind up in friendships with people we’ve never actually met before. It does prove the point that the more we know about people, the more we like them; and America pretty much agrees that it likes Dave, because it is clear that Dave cares enough about us to bust his ass up on stage, trying to bring us together.
The more a person tells us who they are, the more we learn about ourselves; the more a person tells us about who we are, the more we learn about them. The Third Option is grateful to Dave Chappelle, for being strong enough to tell us who he is, so we can better see ourselves through him.
We should help Dave out, too. First, don’t watch his old how (Chappelle’s Show), still streaming (for now) on CBS All Access. Dave doesn’t want you to do it, so just say no. (What’s so hard about that?)
The other thing we can do for Dave is understand what Dave is trying to do for us: get us to think a little more. We need to start doing that for ourselves, without Dave having to remind us. At first it may hurt, but only because our thinking muscles are so weak; they are sure to get stronger, the more we engage them.
As you reflect on your individual suffering, you may decide, like Dave, to share it with others; chances are, it will resonate among anyone currently taking this journey with you. If you ever wish to share your story with us, we will be happy to post it, with your permission, on our website.