Dave Chappelle is back! The New York Times critique

Spoilers of comic material? How cruel can you be?

First, the good news:

Dave Chappelle is back. Right now he’s on the standup circuit, and reporter Jason Zinoman of The New York Times is on top of it.


Not only has Zinoman attended Chappelle;s shows in January and in June, but also he has this credential, quoting directly from the Times:

Jason Zinoman is the author of the newly released “Searching for Dave Chappelle,” a Kindle Single that explores why the comedian left the spotlight.

First of all, what the hell is a “Kindle Single”? A one-track recording? The nonfiction equivalent to a novella?

As far as I can tell, Jason Zinoman (JZ) gives us what is at the very heart of his thesis—he suggests that Chappelle reveals in his current stand-up ambivalence, perhaps even regret, towards his self-imposed exile from performing (when he walked away from an offer of a gazillion dollars to do a third season of his TV series on Comedy Central,  “The Chappelle Show”).

JZ makes some interesting observations, like this one:

His stories wander but their baggy structure provides a nice frame on which to hang jokes. Part of the pleasing unpredictability of his delivery is that Mr. Chappelle would rather seem to stumble into punch lines than be guided by them.

Nice way of putting it. I like it.

But then…..just when you least expect it, ….SPOILERS!

Zinoman gives us the punch lines to three of Chappelle’s stories.


These spoilers support Zinoman’s thesis—that Chappelle’s standup reveals “the repercussions” of Chappelle’s hiatus, part of which causes inner “turmoil” in the comedian.

Does Zinoman and The New York Times not trust us to believe Zinoman’s observations? Do they think that we will never get a chance to see Chappelle? Isn’t it quite OBVIOUS that most comedy entertains with its PUNCH LINES?

But there is one detail missing: how can we catch Chappelle’s act?


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