“Dave Chappelle’s Block Party” is 60% hip hop concert film and 40% documentary about how it was put together. Those expecting canned video clips like his old TV show may not get it, but Dave Chappelle fans everywhere will have a reason to revisit the movie theaters to soak up some time with the funniest man in America.
The concert movie side follows the similar format that played out in the recent live performance of “Block Party” that Chappelle brought to places like the Warfield here in San Francisco last month. Top draw musical acts like Erykah Badu and Mos Def take the stage with Dave Chappelle stepping in between to let loose some on the spot comedy routines while being the host for the show.
In the “Block Party” movie, Dave digs deeper with the artists and lets acts like the ‘Dead Prez’ explain their political messages in their music that prevents them from being played on the radio. These scenes quickly jump back to the films focus, the music and the musical line up is incredible. Superstars like Kanye West, The Roots and Jill Scott all stir the pot that boils over when a long awaited reunion of the Fugees closes the show.
Under the direction of his long time “Chappelle Show” collaborator Michel Gondry a camera crew follows Dave Chappelle around as he makes preparations for his dream event. Shot during September in 2004, Dave picked out a street corner in the heart of Brooklyn to throw a free concert for fans and three bus loads of lucky people from Chappelles hometown in Dayton Ohio.
Some of the best moments in “Block Party” are simply watching Chappelle roaming Dayton to hand out the self described ‘golden tickets’ that covered an expense paid trip to the concert in New York and back for Chappelle’s hometown friends and fans. As the camera follows Dave around it explains his widespread appeal. Dave isn’t an out of touch mega celebrity he’s a regular guy who understands everyday people, and his humor connects with us.
“Block Party” is Dave’s first offering to the masses since walking away from his weekly TV show on Comedy Central and the $50 million dollar contract that threatened to steal Chappelle’s soul. While some people thought that he was crazy for doing it, as a fan I’d rather have Dave Chappelle be happy with what he’s doing and not have his comedy compromised by executives in conference rooms. To get a better understanding for where Dave is at or maybe what he was thinking when he left the country, stay for the closing credits. At the end, Chappelle gives heartfelt thanks to his supporters for pushing him to finish the “Block Party” movie followed by a note, asking people to not pressure him any more.
Take as much time as you want Dave, we’ll be here to enjoy your show when you’re ready to share it with us again. For Movie Magazine, this is Purple.
© 2006 - Purple - Air Date: 3/8/06
Dave Chappelle’s Block Party
USA - 2005