Chappelle's Show: The Lost Episodes

Dave Chappelle's comedy has always been rooted in his own experience, drawing from his ability to blend and consort with average Americans in order to glean the nuggets of hilarious truth in the absurdity of the everyday, whether it's conflicting attitudes about race, the entrepreneurial spirit of the average crack head, or simply saying socially unacceptable shit that happens to cross his mind. But a funny thing happened on the way to Chappelle's Show becoming the Comedy Central's golden goose — and no, I'm not referring to Dave's alleged crack-up and flight to Africa, leaving only this handful of sketches to form an aborted third season. No, the odd thing that happened when Chappelle got his $50-million deal was he lost his ability to touch the common people. It wasn't that he changed — people's perceptions of him changed. A preponderance of sketches on these Lost Episodes (which barely add up to three) concern "Life After the Deal" — a barber suddenly charges $11,000 for a haircut, for example. It's reflected in Chappelle's own reluctance to air the "pixies" sketch — apparently the one that sent him packing — in which racial stereotypes are reinforced by a tiny race-baiting pixie. It's neither as funny nor as incisive as two other race-related sketches (season one's career-defining black white supremacist and season two's race draft) but it reflects Chappelle's increasing discomfort with the position he's in that half the episode is taken up by audience discussion of their impressions of the sketch and the appropriateness of its messages. Touchy-feely audience feedback? This isn't the Dave Chappelle I remember. Extras on the single disc include five more sketches (two are funny), deleted scenes and bloopers that are padded to the hilt and a reasonably clever "Making of Season 3-ish" that is foisted on this year's hosts, Charlie Murphy and Donnell Rawlings. Plus: audio commentary, more. (Comedy Central/Paramount)