Something strange has happened this week. We’re not talking about the presidential election — although, depending on your values you may indeed feel that way — we’re referring to the announcement that Dave Chappelle will return to sketch comedy for the first time in 10 years, hosting the Nov. 12 episode of “Saturday Night Live.”
A lot has transpired since Chappelle abruptly walked away from “Chappelle’s Show” in 2006. Ultimately feeling pressure and manipulation by those around him, Chappelle famously turned down a $50 million renewal contract that would’ve seen his groundbreaking sketch show last through to a fourth season. Instead, it barely got through a third one.
Chappelle has always been able to ride the edge of sharp satire, bringing his insight to our shared struggles without softening the blow — so this week, the timing couldn’t feel more perfect. While “Key and Peele” may have continued Chappelle’s sketch comedy legacy, it’s time for the comedian’s own brightly pragmatic and political savvy voice to help us break through the noise and chaos again.
With his first ever “SNL” hosting gig on the horizon, we have four suggestions of classic characters we’d like to see once more.
Ten years later, Lil’ Jon is still going strong in his career. Aside from making the term, “I’m Rick James, b**ch” popular, Dave Chappelle’s impersonation of the hip hop artist and producer found immense staying power in popular culture. Since Chappelle will be hosting and A Tribe Called Quest will be the musical guest — which is of course amazing in its own right — we feel involving Chappelle’s Lil’ Jon in the festivities, in some way, would just fit.
Clayton Bigsby, the black white supremacist
To say that Chappelle’s character of Clayton Bigsby didn’t leave a mark would be false… So false. Not only was the “Frontline” sketch ahead of its time, breaking ground in multiple fashions — an African American who subscribes to the belief system of the KKK being the most outlandish — Chappelle flipped the script on the way America perceives its ongoing issues with class struggles and racism. And with the conversation around white nationalism so strongly involved in our country’s discourse and future, something tells us it’s about time to check back in with Mr. Bigsby. Just to see how he’s doing.
Dave Chappelle’s most popular character — who also recurred the most on “Chappelle’s Show” — Tyrone Biggums became America’s most lovable crackhead. But what has happened to the struggling addict since last we checked in with him?
Not for nothing, but we have an inclination that Tyrone’s life may have gotten better during Obama’s two terms in office. But as we march into an uncertain 2017, will Mr. Biggums backslide into old habits? Inquiring minds want to know.
Prince, with the help of Charlie Murphy
This may be a tough one, we understand that, but of all the Prince tributes we’ve seen on television over the past year, Dave Chappelle’s has yet to be seen. It’s well known that Chappelle and the Purple One were good friends. His performance as the iconic artist in an episode of “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories” even inspired Prince to write a song about those pancakes.
It may be too soon for Chappelle to don the Prince hair and blouse once more, that would be completely understandable. But something tells us a tribute to the late, great singer — with the help of Charlie Murphy — might provide one final bit of closure many of us are still seeking.
“Saturday Night Live” airs Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.