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April 17, 2002 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-04-17

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Student film screenings ...
See student work, including
"Big Bad Dallas" all day Sat-
urday at the Natural Science


APRIL 17, 2002

Dave Chappelle returns to A2
The youngest old-school comedimn on fame andfilm


By Andy Taylor-Fabe
Daily Film Editor
At a time when most comedians have set-
tled into a comfortable rut of post-Seinfeld
observational humor or Def Comedy Jam-
style "white people vs. black people" behav-
iotal shtick, there are precious
few comedians out there today
who are defining their own
styles and relying on their own D
wits. Dave Chappelle, one of C
the brightest and funniest HA
young comedians today, feels At the Mi
that comedy must go deeper a
than most comics take it.
"You've got to have a more April 25
keen understanding of the situ-
ation. Some people do those
kind of (racial) jokes because that's all they
got, you know, all their'stuff starts like
'when brothers are on a plane, they be like
'And you know, some people like that ...
but I can pull my dick out and people will
think it is funny, but you've got to go deeper
than that."
Chappelle started his career in comedy as

a teenager in Washington, D.C., with his
mother driving him to his club shows.
Developing his comedic style in the late
'80s, his influences were clear to him.
"When I started out, my favorite was Eddie
Murphy. That was when he was getting real-

ly big, but
chigan The-
5 at 8 p.m.

later I started listening to
(Richard) Pryor a lot, and I
actually like Pryor's stuff bet-
ter ... you know, there's a real
depth to it, but I always like
Eddie's movies better. I never
really liked Pryor's movies that
much, but for straight comedy,
you couldn't beat Pryor."
Although he became a hit
on the East Coast club circuit,
the beginning of his wide-
spread success began when he

was 20, when he made his Hollywood break-
through in Mel Brooks' spoof "Robin Hood:
Men in Tights." His scene-stealing perform-
ance as Ahchoo soon led to roles in other
films as well as a sitcom called "Buddies."
In 1996, he appeared in "The Nutty Pro-
fessor" as an audience-abusing comedian
who goes toe-to-toe with Eddie Murphy, and

in 1997, he appeared in the high-budget
action flick "Con Air" with Nicholas Cage,
John Malkovich and John Cusack, in which
he plays the devious inmate, Pinball. "If I
had to choose one role where I look at it and
think, yeah, I was good, that would be it ...
because my character is just crazy, man."
Chappelle's largest success, however,
came from "Half Baked," a munchie and
burnout-filled salute to weed that Chappelle
co-wrote and starred in. Along with Jim
Breuer and Harland Williams, Chappelle
combined the everyday adventures of the
stoner with crazy schemes and screwball
comedy. The film became an instant cult
classic among chip-and-twinkie-eating col-
lege audiences.
Chappelle has also co-starred in many
films since, including "Woo" (1998),
"You've Got Mail," (1998), "Blue Streak,"
(1999), "Screwed" (2000) and the upcoming
"Undercover Brother," in which he plays
Conspiracy Brother, who sees conspiracies-
where they sometimes may not exist. Acting
is something that Chappelle will continue to
pursue, but his hope is that his roles will
become more diverse as he goes on. "I want
to eventually play a regular guy - you
know, a real character."
So far, Chappelle has not been bombard-
ed with offers to play the leading man.
When asked why, he said, "Cause I'm funny
looking. You know, when they're making a
regular romantic comedy, they don't exactly
come running to me. I'm on the short list to
be (the leading man's) funny best friend."
But as his career in Hollywood continues,
he has been able to have more input into the
ctative process. "Yeah, I usually get a lot
of freedom when I'm acting, especially
when it's a comedy, so the director will let
me go for a while, and if I go too far, he'll
pull me back."
As passionate as Chappelle is about
movies, he is equally dispassionate about sit-
coms, which are usually seen as the Holy
Grail for comedians. "For me, it's the oppo-
site - They're unholy. Some comedians,
their comedy works real well in that format
- like Ray Romano, his stuff works like
that, but I don't feel like it works for me. It's
so planned out. You have to worry abou.t

pleasing every audi-
ence, you know you
have the network say-
ing that you can't say
or do certain things,
because you have to
worry about sponsors
too, but I always
wondered how come
the commercials can
be all disgusting but
we can't do what we
want on the show?"
Like most comedi-
ans, Chappelle faced
some difficult times
after Sept. 11 when
people were too
shocked to laugh and
wondered if comedy
and irony could
recover. "I found that
for a few weeks, I
had to tone down my Dave Chappelle, bathin
stuff because people
were pretty out of it, and I've found that
since then, I've had to quit doing some of
my more political stuff with certain audi-
ences because at first, they weren't really
enjoying some of it. Sometimes they get in
there and once I start, they're really into it
and they seem relieved. But every audience
is different, and you have to judge it based
on how they react to everything. If you feel
like they're not into it, you can feel them
turning against you."
Chappelle also faces the same problem
that actors and comedians alike must face
when in public or even around friends -
that everyone wants you to be funny. "Peo-
ple always expect you to be on, but I always
try to be nice. It depends on what kind of
mood I'm in and what I've got going on,
what's on my plate. There's two kinds of
people who will come up to you. There are
people who want to talk to you because4hey
like your work, and they're usually really
cool, and then you've got people who want
to talk to you because they know you're
famous. And I don't even really need to be
there for that - because it's really just them
talking at me. They usually want to talk


g In the warm glow of a non-hostile crowd.
about other famous people that I know.
'How was it working with so-and-so?' I get
tired of that pretty quickly."
Chappelle's comedy ranges from subtle
political insight to relationship jokes to dis-
cussion of the way that white people talk,
which he describes as being very "eeeven."
He said that his highly utilized white guy
voice is "a composite character"
Chappelle is able to move between the
profound topics and goofy material with the
ease. "That's why I really like the college
audience, because they can deal with the
smart stuff and still laugh at the low brow
stuff. I mean, when I started out in comedy
and was playing colleges I was younger than
most of the people at the shows, but now
I'm older but I can still relate to them, you
know, we listen to the same music and shit."
However, Chappelle doesn't see his comedy
as being aimed at one specific demographic.
"I don't feel like I have one target audience.
I mean, certain people are going to think
some stuff is funny and other stuff isn't, and
I'm always happy to see them there, and if
you like me, then I love you, and if you
don't, thenfuck you!"


White, black, Hispanic - weed knows no racism.

" .'.i Nudity doesn't save poor 'Apes'

By Lyle Henretty
Daily Arts Editor

While Hollywood often takes a
popular formula and runs with it,
Seduction Cinema has sunk to a new
low with it's blatant rip-off of of Tim
Burton's masterful summer block-
buster "The Planet of the Apes."
Seduction's remake-cum-ripoff
"Play-Mate of the Apes" appears less

than a year after the original, and the
witty dialogue and brilliant make-up
of the original has been replaced by
naked girls and plastic monkey suits!
Why director John Bacchus
("Gladiator Eroticvs: Lesbian War-
rior") chose to waste his talented cast
and squander his skill as a director is
unclear for both the script and pro-
duction value of "Apes" is off par
with the director's usual work. While

no masterpiece, his "Girl Explores
Girl: Alien Encounter" was all
atmosphere and character develop-
ment. When that film was over, a
part of the viewer was left behind.
His current opus takes place in the
"far dis-
t a n t

w i t h
G aylor
"Er otic
C a s t -
w h o

Picture/Sound: **
Features: ****
Seduction Cinema

becomes marooned with her ship-
mates on a desolate planet run con-
troled by talking apes, led by the evil
Gereral Lade (Zachary Winston
Snygg, who is also responsible for
the atrocious script). The astronauts
soon team up like the friendly Dr.
Cornholeus (oh, that's original!) and
beautiful wild-woman Uvala. Need-
less to say, the rest of the film
revolves around women having oral
sex with one another and plenty of
nipple play.
The only redeeming factor of this
direct-to-video garbage (I hate to
keep harping on the subject, but the
origianl POTA was the best movie of
the past year!) is the fine packaging
and extras included in the DVD. You
can see not one but TWO "Play-
Mate" trailers, the uncut film itself
and a naked interview with co-stars
Anoushka and Sharon Engert. It is
because they are naked that the
interview is better.
Also look for a behind the scenes
interview with hilarious staged-out-
takes and sexual hi-jinks on the set.
There is also a rare clothed, heart-
felt interview with Mundae, Rochon
and Craine.
The movie itself is a waste of
time, yet the original full-screen
presentation and loads of fellatio
may appeal to film buffs or guys
that like to hear women say things


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