For What It's Worth Is a Excellent Performance by Dave Chappelle - Comedy Essay Example

For What It’s Worth is a excellent performance by Dave Chappelle There are not too many forms of entertainment out there that are as demanding and nerve-racking as stand-up comedy is - For What It's Worth Is a Excellent Performance by Dave Chappelle introduction. One person has to performs in front of a live audience ,while also trying to make a diverse group of people laugh of things one has made up, it is pretty difficult which give extra credit to the stand-ups comedians.

With that being said, in the past decade, I have not seen others comedians come up with a well-rounded stand-up comedy as Dave Chappelle does in For What It’s Worth. There is a reason why Dave Chappelle has often been named as a “comic genius”, and For What It’s Worth proves him worthy of that designation. Dave has an unusual, nearly magical ability to take a painful subject and turn it into something hilarious, not every stand-up comedian can do it this easily, but it just comes easy for Dave Chappelle.


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Chappelle uses a mix of physical comedy and topical which is one of the primary reasons for his tremendous performance; For What It’s Worth is without a doubt an excellent performance by Dave Chappelle. For What It’s Worth is such an excellent performance by Dave Chappelle because of many things but especially because of the stories and the message that Chappelle tell. For What It’s Worth takes place at the Fillmore in San Francisco, California in June 2004, where Chappelle makes jokes about many aspects of American culture including racial stereotypes, pop culture and politics.

A homeless person masturbating on a bus, smoking weed with Native Americans, calling a Korean man Chinese, and exploring the differences between what white and black people eat/drink, were just a few of the many hysterical points Dave touched on this great performance. For What It’s Worth has many incredible jokes but the highest joke happened when he was talking about the homeless guy masturbating on the bus, it was extremely funny. I could stop laughing from the beginning of it until the end.

Dave expands the regular racist comments and takes them to ridiculous exaggerating limits making For What It’s Worth one of the most hilarious stand-up comedy I have ever seen. There are a lot of extremely gifted comedian but Dave Chappelle stand out us my favorite, because of the problems he tries to address in his comedy, especially in For What It’s Worth. He has a talent for saying things that you may be too scared to say it. He has ideas; He packages those ideas into an original context. Dave pre-thinks his messages; he defends self-esteem. He does not exclude thnicities. He advocates dialogue between cultures. Dave is extraordinary he brings out real problem while still remaining funny. His methods allow Chappelle to use offensive ideas in his routine, but to subtly express concerns relating to inconsistencies and inadequacies among the American. It is pretty interesting the way that Dave Chappelle uses his comedy show to portray a bigger message. Chappelle uses a lot of topical comedy because he talks about important affairs, real facts and analyses it while still remaining funny but also in a very logic way.

I do not know a lot of comedians that can do that. For example, he expresses his thoughts on the war on Iraq; he talks about how people speculate a lot about Kobe Bryant or Michael Jackson and also advise that they should as he says “reserve judgment until all the facts come out”, and so on. In other words, the fact that he is making people laugh while addressing real problems, telling true stories is really something extraordinary and is one of the reasons that makes For What It’s Worth a great performance by Dave Chappelle.

One of the things that impressed me the most was the passion and intensity that Dave Chappelle showed throughout his performance, especially with different types of voices and gestures. He is so passionate that the stand-up routine feels so personal. Each time you watch him and particularly in For What It’s Worth, it is as if Dave is in your living room and personally performing for you. He is so passionate that he even often laughs at his own jokes, and it feels appropriate, never arrogant, probably because he is so hilarious.

The small things like voices and gestures also play a part in making it better and helps accentuate what is happing. For example, he uses a Chinese accent when he is talking about Asian, which by itself is funny and it also help demonstrate his talent. The use of gestures is in any stand-up comedy really important but it is really impressive how Chappelle uses not only his hands but his entire body to make his story funnier. Dave is constantly moving around and acting things out. Chappelle uses all sorts of gestures, but the famous category of gestures he uses, in For What It’s Worth, is sexual gestures.

For example, at the beginning of his show where he is talking about a homeless person masturbating on the bus, Chappelle uses masturbating gestures which makes everyone laugh. Also, it is fascinating to see how his gestures turn seriously when Dave is talking about serious subjects. For example when he is talking about “how old is fifteen,” his posture and hands gesture turn seriously to adapt to what he is talking about. Dave’s jokes would surely be less comical if he just stood still and told them. People are not only amused by story but they are particularly entertained by the gestures and voice you put in your story.

Funny and appropriate gestures and voice brings any stand-up performance to a greater level. Dave’s performance surely demonstrates the significance of gestures and accents in comedy. It was impressive how Chappelle smoothly goes from topic to topic because most of the time you can be aware that the comedian has run out of stuff to say about certain subject, and he quickly jumps to another subject. Chappelle is different. He connects the subjects; that is why when he change subject its feels so natural that we do not even notice or care.

We are entertained and so deeply focused that the changing of topic does not hit us, showing how good Chappelle is. For example, in the beginning, he does a very effective transition while he is talking about San Francisco, he says “you guys (San Francisco’s people) got subways and …, I am scared of public transportation, I was on bus that was hold hostage… “, and then goes on to talk about the homeless guy masturbating on the bus. It was even possible to see how smoothly he changes from the homeless guy and goes on to talk about the story of aids.

Like in For What It’s Worth, when you make your topics connected, in a stand-up comedy, the show feels more natural and fluent, making it a better show. Dave has fans all over the world, from all races and gender’s, but like anyone else he does have his critics as well. I understand that some people may feel that throughout For What It’s Worth and his other comedy Dave uses a lot of stereotypes, and he is also depreciating the progress of race relations. It is true that Chappelle uses stereotypes but only to make you laugh but not to depreciate the progress of race relation.

I know that race relations has improved a lot but stereotypes still exist, Chappelle brings it up in his comedy but they are just for fun. He does not “target” any particular race, because throughout his show he talks about different ethnicity or race, for him no race is ever free of receiving the Chappelle treatment. He gives equal opportunity to all the races allowing the audience to understand that if Chappelle happens to “undermine” your race, it is just for entertainment. I personally as African do not feel offended when he says “Black people love chicken”, and as he defends in an interview with CBS’ Bob Simon “…with a black person, if omeone so much as says you like chicken you’ll flip out—and secretly, you probably do like chicken—I know I do. It doesn’t’ make me less of a person…. why can’t we just be ourselves and do what we do. ” Basically, he is saying that it is just comedy after all, and the listener should let their preconceived belief and ego at the door. He just hopes we will watched with an open mind. For What It’s Worth remains one of the best stand-up performances I have ever seen. It definitely lived up to the reputation of Chappelle’s comedy and exponentially exceeded my expectations.

In this stand-up, it seems that there are no limits for the subject of his jokes as long that the extremity of the subject raised is overshadow by the comedy the joke provides. Chappelle analyses society in such a way that is subtle to the audience thought he is able to get his point across without giving the impression that he could run America better than anyone else. Dave tries to take his comedy to another level by making it a way to talk about problems and issues of American society. He has reservations about some particular things that exist in his culture.

His amazing ability to make jokes of the black, Asian, Indian, Mexican, and other cultures without offending anyone and making everybody genuinely laugh at themselves and each other is a major part of Dave’s talent and its is showed throughout For What It’s Worth. Chappelle’s jokes were tempered by a voice and exaggerated movements that are inherently hilarious. Dave Chappelle is a comedic genius who is even more brilliant than most people think he is. For What It’s Worth is definitely a great performance by a great artist, “long live Chappelle”.

1. Chappelle, Dave. For What It’s Worth. DVD-ROM.
2. Chappelle, Dave, interview by Bob Simon, 60 Minutes, CBS, Oct. 20, 2004.

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