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Chappelle's Show Returns -- Sorta

For Comedy Central, it's a $50-million question: Can you have a Chappelle's Show without Dave Chappelle?

After watching a review tape of the first "lost episode" the cable channel cobbled together of material filmed last year before Chappelle had his infamous wig-out and headed to South Africa, the answer seems to be -- yes.

But is that really a good thing?

To explain: the cable channel on Sunday begins airing the first of three episodes slapped together from sketches recorded before Chappelle walked away from the series. The new episodes also lead into new shows from the Chappelle-like Mind of Mencia and the COPS spoof Reno 911!

Comedy Central made a few goofs in shaping these new episodes -- specifically, hiring second-stringers Charlie (Eddie's brother) Murphy and Donell (Ashy Larry) Rawlings to sub for Chappelle, introducing the pre-taped skits. They're uncomfortable (Rawlings is so manic, you can barely understand half his punchlines) and unfunny enough to remind us all what the channel lost when Dave took a powder.

(Mind of Mencia is much worse, grounding Mencia's mediocre standup material in amateurish sketches trying so hard to be offensive, they are almost cartoonishly perverse. But I gotta admit, I watched much of his new show while thinking about the rumors spread by Joe Rogan and George Lopez that Mencia plagiarized much of their material in his stand up act and fakes being a Mexican.)

The skits are c-list Chappelle, from a mildly funny riff on how people changed after news broke of his huge contract extension (a barber charges him $11,000 for a haircut, then flashes a pistol when he tries to avoid paying up) to a too-long bit on how he uses his newfound wealth to get revenge on those who dissed him in the past and a Tupac song in which the rapper seems to be singing to Dave in real time.

It's just funny enough to make you wonder what Chapelle might have acheived had he kept his personal paranoia in check long enough to finish the season. But it's also banal enough to drop a few clues to why he left in the first place.

MySpace Teams With...Seventeen?

Let's say you're a social networking site struggling with allegations you're a playground for pedophiles. Do you make a high profile alliance with one of the best-known magazines catering to teen girls?

If you're MySpace, I guess you do -- and depend on the power of positive thinking to keep any craziness from breaking out.

The magazine and MySpace have announced a new PSA contest, in which readers are encouraged to create a 15 to 30-second public service announcement about why it's important to be a social activist ("Forget about that trip to the Juicy Couture store; I've got a sit-in to organize!"). Visitors to and the magazine's MySpace page can vote among the top three finalists picked by the magazine and site.

A look through some of the friends listed for the magazine reveal some pretty radical girls. (Are you allowed to have a MySpace name with the f-word in it?) Still, knowing how much little girls want to look older, I wonder if teaming the nation's most controversial networking web site with the most popular magazine for young women really makes the most sense.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:36pm]


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