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Dave Chappelle Revives Chappelle's Show in SNL Spoof of the Walking Dead

After ten years away from television, Chappelle's SNL appearance marked an auspicious return.

By Allie Z.Published 7 years ago 4 min read

Last weekend's airing of #SaturdayNightLive is probably going to be one of the most talked about episodes of the year. The installment was already expected to be a smash hit, considering that #DaveChappelle was hosting. After 10 years away from television, Chappelle's SNL appearance marked an auspicious return.

When news broke of the comic favorite making a TV appearance, fans of his hit #ComedyCentral series Chappelle's Show were asking all the obvious questions a fan would ask: Is Chappelle's Show coming back? Are any of the characters from Chappelle's Show going to appear on Saturday Night Live? And while those are reasonable questions, Chappelle kept quiet on how much, if anything, from his show would be included.

However, it was clear from Saturday night's opening monologue that Chappelle was well and truly back, and he planned to give the fans exactly what they wanted.

Aside from the spectacular mashup between #AMC's The Walking Dead and Chappelle's Show, Chappelle did something we didn't expect him to do. He brought back several fan-favorite characters, along with former sidekick #DonnellRawlings.

And out of all the fictional characters created by Chappelle, he chose the best to revive for this one-time event. Between #TyroneBiggums and the African-American Ku Klux Klansman, Chappelle picked the cream of the crop to appear in his SNL skit.

Six Classic Characters From Chappelle's Show Join In On the SNL Fun

The first glimpse of Tyrone Biggums drew a subtle roar from the studio audience, who immediately recognized the character. It's been some time since Tyrone has been seen on TV, but his appearance was definitely acknowledged at first sight.

Tyrone Biggums is the embodiment of a stereotypical crack addict who'll do anything for a fix, and when I say "anything," I mean "anything." Most of Chappelle's fictional characters have stereotypical attributes, and Tyrone is just the tip of the iceberg.

Aside from known crack addict Tyrone Biggums in the lineup, we also saw Dave's pasty-white counterpart Chuck Taylor being made to kneel before #Negan. This overt caucasian male was known for inciting a stereotypical view on current affairs. The character varied; sometimes he would be the paranoid white neighbor, sometimes the news anchor who forgets that he's live on air while spouting racially charged comments.

Then we also saw Chappelle's impression of a partially deaf Lil Jon. The name might not sound all that familiar, but in the 2000s #LilJon was a popular hip-hopper. On his old show, Chappelle had an ongoing joke about Lil Jon being hard of hearing because the rapper's thick dreads would inhibit his ability to hear clearly. Of course, Lil Jon isn't hearing impaired, but Chappelle's gag derives from Lil Jon's frequent utterance of "What?!" in many of his songs.

Aside from the three aforementioned characters, Chappelle also brought back known pimps Silky Johnston and Rawlings' Buckasty. Like Chappelle, Rawlings also played various characters on Chappelle's Show, most notably #AshyLarry.

Some fans were skeptical when determining whether Chappelle would be willing to do impersonations of his beloved characters, following his abrupt departure from the sketch series in 2006. But after #SNL's weekend revival of Chappelle's Show, it's clear that Chappelle isn't done with television just yet.

So What Happened Way Back When?

Chappelle's Show ran for a very successful two seasons, but the third one was cut short in 2006, after Chappelle abruptly terminated his contract with Comedy Central. The details surrounding the dissolution between the comedian and the channel have never fully been explained, but his comments on the matter have implied that he didn't want to forfeit any level of creative control over his titular show when Comedy Central attempted to tone down some of his racially charged skits.

One thing was made very clear when Chappelle called an abrupt time on Chappelle's Show — he didn't want to be a part of the televised forum, period. And in the past 10 years he's kept decidedly true to that stance, instead choosing to stay busy by performing standup in comedy clubs.

When considering the circumstances under which Chappelle ended his TV show, one would expect that terminating his contract with Comedy Central would force him to give up rights to the characters and all elements presented within. But following his appearance on Saturday Night Live, that doesn't appear to be the case.

With that in mind, the reappearance of these characters might be hinting at Chappelle finally resurrecting his comedy series. If so, his appearance on SNL might have just been the tipping point for his full-time return to television.

So Is Dave Chappelle Returning To Television?

As for where we might see Chappelle next, it's yet to be determined. But after hosting SNL, he's bound to have the late-night talk show circuit clamoring for him, seeing as we all want to know what he's going to do next.

If his SNL appearance does mark a long-awaited return to TV comedy for Chappelle, it does raise a number of questions:

  • Which network will the potential new series run on?
  • What type of series will it be?
  • Would it be a similar format to his previous show?
  • Does Dave have an agreement with Comedy Central for the return of his past characters?

Comedy Central still holds the rights to Chappelle's Show, but that won't stop Chappelle from being able to create an entirely new series. However, if that were to happen, Chappelle might not be able to utilize his familiar characters in a new series. No matter. Chappelle's first comedic appearance on television in a decade means something much more important: He's ready to return to TV.


About the Creator

Allie Z.

I cover most entertainment related topics and am venturing into journalism.

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